So I happened to be in possession of those 3 items:

  1. The Idol : once during your turn, you can add 2 dice to your roll, but lose 1 Sanity in the process
  2. The Skull : anytime you should take mental damage, you can take the same amount of physical damage instead
  3. The Armor : Anytime you take physical damage, take 1 damage less of it

You can guess what I'm getting to: with this combination, I was able to use the idol on each turn without losing Sanity or any trait points whatsoever.

The only problem is that this interpretation of the rules implies that "lose X [Mental trait]" equates to "take X mental damage". In a way it is true, because technically, by losing 1 point of Sanity, you are "taking damage to one your mental traits". In other words, if you lose enough of said trait, you'll die. So you are being "damaged".

But on the other hand, "take (X) mental damage" is an explicit request mentioned on cards and rules ; and precise naming conventions are fairly important in a game like Betrayal. (such as the difference between players, heroes and explorers)

What is your opinion on that matter?

  • 1
    I'm inclined to say that using the Idol costs 1 sanity, not that you take 1 sanity damage. Similarly in MtG paying health as a cost doesn't count as taking damage. This interpretation fits thematically with the cards, too, I think. It doesn't make sense that you get to Idol for free all the time. The Skull / Armor combo is a good one, though, especially for the tougher characters.
    – mfoy_
    Jun 12, 2015 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


"Lose one sanity" instructs you to reduce one specific stat, which is quite different from taking one point of mental damage, and so are the situations were both occur. While taking damage results in stat loss, I don't think stat loss is damage. The existence of a difference between the two is supported by the game using both "lose 1 from a mental trait" and "take 1 point of mental damage" in different circumstances.

  • Where could I find occurrence of "lose 1 from a mental trait"?
    – SylvainB
    Jun 13, 2015 at 11:21
  • 1
    Scenario 44 mentions both "lose 1 point in a mental trait" and "take 1 point of mental damage". In the same table of effecst, even!
    – ikegami
    Jun 13, 2015 at 15:40

You've got your causality reversed. Taking 1 mental damage causes you to lose 1 from a mental trait. Losing 1 from a mental trait does not cause you to take 1 mental damage. (Similar to how in MtG, damage causes loss of life, but loss of life is not damage.)

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