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This came up in a game involving Haunt 23, Tentacled Horror. (Spoilers will be kept to a minimum.) There are multiple different types of monsters in that Haunt: some of them have a Sanity trait, and others don't. One of the Heroes had the Ring, which let him attack with Sanity instead of Might. He attacked a monster that had a Might trait, but no Sanity trait, using the Ring. At the time, I told him that the monster had no Sanity trait and that he'd need to try a different type of attack, and he ended up doing a Might attack using the Sacrificial Dagger instead.

Was this the right thing to do, or should the initial attack have failed entirely? Or should we have explained which traits the monster does and doesn't have the instant the monster went on the map? The rules just say "you can't use a trait to attack against a monster that doesn't have that trait," but it's unclear on how to handle the attempt. This is particularly vexing, because all monsters have hidden traits and this is going to come up again.

(I looked at the updated Secrets of Survival and Traitor's Tome, and it turns out that the specific Haunt I was looking at no longer has that problem, but I'm sure this question will still apply to other monsters.)

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As the ring only allows you to attack a monster that has a sanity trait in the first place, he shouldn't have ever been allowed to attempt the attack. So if by "attacked" you mean "rolled the dice for the attack", then he should have already been corrected sooner. If by "attacked" you mean "declared that he was using the ring to attack", then I believe you did the right thing.

I don't think there's a specific thing that addresses this in the rulebook, but if the legality of an action (such as using the ring to attack) depends on certain factors (such as whether the monster has sanity or not), then the heroes should be allowed to ask if the monster has a sanity trait, and the traitor should answer. (NOT what the sanity value is, just whether or not it exists). This is the only way that the heroes can make a legal decision.

  • Good point; as it happened in the game I played, I stopped the Hero from rolling dice. Mind you, the existence/nonexistence of a trait can be an important strategic decision, too: the game I played had a character loaded for bear (both Ring and Sacrificial Dagger), but the lack of a trait could be a very unpleasant surprise for a Sanity 8, Might 2 character. – PotatoEngineer Mar 3 '15 at 21:39
  • Right, I believe that the traitor should only be forced to answer which traits exist at the moment when it becomes a question of if a particular action is allowed by the rules or not. So the heroes would have to decide whether to enter the room with the monster without knowing if it has sanity. – GendoIkari Mar 3 '15 at 21:59

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