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We encountered this in Haunt 23: Tentacled Horror. After the heroes discovered the location of the head (a monster), they placed it on one side of the chasm. The head has no speed. On the head's monster turn, can it move across the chasm? I see three reasons this is true:

  1. "monsters can ignore any harmful text on a room tile" (Rulebook, p19)
  2. "[m]onsters always ignore barriers" (ibid, p7)
  3. "[c]rossing the barrier [of a barrier room] doesn't count as moving a space." (ibid, p7)
  • Clarification question, why would it matter which side of the barrier the head is on? As far as I know the barrier only matters for the question of moving to an adjacent room. If the head can't move into the next room, then I don't think it would really have a concept of which side it is on, – GendoIkari Mar 6 '17 at 2:58
  • The head is susceptible to attack, so being able to move across the chasm away from an attacking hero would presumably force the hero to speed roll to cross the chasm and attack the monster. That said, the rules are somewhat ambiguous if the hero actually needs to cross the chasm to even attack the monster: "Explorers can't fight or interact in any way with an explorer in the same room but on the opposite side of the barrier." Since the monster is not an explorer, perhaps heros have no need to even cross the chasm to attack. – user126350 Mar 6 '17 at 3:05
  • No where is it specified that the head can't move; it merely doesn't have a speed. The dog, for example, also has no speed, but can move. ("Companion omens don't have physical or mental traits.", p12) – user126350 Mar 6 '17 at 4:05
  • A monster must have speed to move, companions are different as you quoted above – Wouter Mar 7 '17 at 12:56
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Yes.

From the rules, under Special Rooms, page 6:

Crossing the barrier doesn’t count as moving a space.

and

Monsters always ignore barriers.

The fact that a monster's movement is defined by speed is relevant to discussing how many rooms the monster can move between.

At the start of the monster turn, roll a number of dice equal to each monster’s Speed. That’s the number of spaces that monster can move that turn

This means that a monster than doesn't have speed can move 0 spaces each turn. But your question is not related to how many space a monster can move. Your question is about which side of the barrier room the monster is considered to be on. And monsters can choose to be on whichever side of the barrier they want to be on. Going from one side of the barrier to the other isn't "moving" as the game generally describes moving.

It is worth noting that many rules in Betrayal are either unclear or lacking; and this is a case where the rules as written are not fully in line with the thematic answer. That is to say, it makes sense thematically that a monster that "cannot move" couldn't ever get from one side of the tower to the other. Because if this, it makes perfect sense for your playgroup to decide to play the game with the thematic answer rather than the strictly rules-based answer.

  • I appreciate the distinction between a "thematic" and "rules-based" answer, although I'm still dubious of the notion that zero speed means the monster "cannot move". – user126350 Mar 8 '17 at 16:42
  • I think this answer is spot on. Thematically it's pretty clear that Speed 0 means it cannot move under its own volition. It's correct to note that in a strict reading of the rules crossing the barrier isn't moving, but thematically that's silly: there's no reasonable creature that can navigate catacombs and jump over chasms but can't no matter how much time you give it get itself from the entrance hall to the foyer. And this is one of the few games where I'd favor the thematic ruling. – Benjamin Cosman Mar 8 '17 at 18:00
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If you look at the rules (emphasis mine)

Monsters move differently.

At the start of the monster turn, roll a number of dice equal to each monster’s Speed. That’s the number of spaces that monster can move that turn. For groups of the same type of monster (Bats or Zombies, for instance), just roll once for the whole group. Each monster of that type can then move that many spaces that turn.

If there is no speed, no dice are roled and no movement. So this implies the head does not move.

  • 4
    To me, this just means the monster can move zero spaces; as quoted above, crossing a barrier counts for zero spaces. So, this doesn't seem incompatible with moving the head. – user126350 Mar 5 '17 at 23:07
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No.

Movement is defined in terms of Speed.

At the start of the monster turn, roll a number of dice equal to each monster’s Speed. That’s the number of spaces that monster can move that turn

Without speed (or rules-overriding text such as the Dog's), nothing gives it the ability to move.

You list ways in which the movement of monsters wouldn't be hampered by the house. But since the head can't move, that list is irrelevant here.

  • "Since the head can't move..." Again, it doesn't have speed. No where is it specified the head can't move. Furthermore, the rules suggest the head might not need the ability to move, since crossing the barrier counts for zero movement. – user126350 Mar 8 '17 at 16:35
  • That's irrelevant. As I explained, nothing specifies the head can move -- the rules only permit monsters with speed to move. Since you can only take game actions permitted by the game, the head can't move. – ikegami Mar 8 '17 at 16:48
  • That's irrelevant. As I explained, nothing specifies the head can move -- the rules only permit monsters with speed to move. Since you can only take game actions permitted by the game, the head can't move. – ikegami Mar 8 '17 at 16:59
  • I agree, nothing specifies the head can move either. But the rules are quite clear that crossing a barrier room consumes zero movement. And the game explicitly permits monster to ignore harmful text, specifically barrier rooms. So a monster does not need to move to cross a barrier room. The question of speed then seem less relevant and perhaps barrier crossing is simply another action independent of movement allowed to monsters. – user126350 Mar 8 '17 at 19:19
  • Re "But the rules are quite clear that crossing a barrier room consumes zero movement", Of course, but that presupposes there is movement to be consumed. There isn't in the case of the head. Again, the fact that the house doesn't hamper the movement of monsters doesn't matter if they have no moment to hamper! – ikegami Mar 8 '17 at 19:38

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