# How do traits work in Betrayal At House On The Hill?

Why are some character traits missing a number and some have repeated numbers?

For example, Father Rheinhardt has two 7s in the Sanity trait but no 6 at all.

Mechanically, "Gain 1 Sanity" means move up 1 position on your Sanity track; this may increase your actual Sanity statistic (how many dice you roll) by 0, 1, or 2 depending on your character and previous position. This allows for greater variety in the characters than would be possible if all the tracks increased 1 point per position. It gives the players varying incentives and can also be used to flesh out the thematic/roleplaying part of the game - for example, one character feels a nervous breakdown coming on (next Sanity decrease -2) and is hiding from the scary ghosts at all costs; another is about to make a para-scientific breakthrough (next Knowledge increase +2) and really wants to confirm a few last facts in the Library. It can also encourage more cooperative interaction between the players, since an item that offers e.g. +2 Sanity will increase players' actual dice rolled by different amounts so may be worth trading to whoever gets the most actual benefit from it.

• I don't quite get your explanation, what im confused is the gap of the digits in a trait for example, jenny Leclerc speed has: 8 6 5 4 4 4 3 2 SKULL. There is a gap after between 8 and 6 and number 7 is missing. In my conlusion, the position of the numbers dictates the amounts of points in your stats while the actual numbers means how many dice you can roll in your current amount of stats, am i right? Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 9:31
• Your conclusion sounds correct, though nothing in the game will ever count how many 'points' you have in your stats - e.g. if something says "If you have 5 or more Sanity, do X" or "The player with the highest Sanity does X," it's referring to the printed number (which is also how many dice you would roll). The only time how many 'points' you have matters is when you're modifying it - e.g. "Lose 1 Sanity" means lose one 'point' of Sanity, so it would take Jenny from 8 to 6 or from high 4 to mid 4. Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 16:42

Unlike traditional games, Betrayal At House On The Hill does not use a strict increasing order on the stats for each character.

The current rating in each stat for a character is shown by the position of the marker in the card. The actual point value is used to determine the number of dice used when rolling.

Damage or boosts are performed by counting positions, not the actual numbers. A boost may be of one position but increase the stat by two points, or by two positions but only one point.

The positions of trait markers also act as a set of "health bars". If any trait is reduced to the skull, that character dies. The lower numbers on traits when the markers are at lower positions indicate weakened physical and mental capacity as the character is hurt by damage.

• So basically the number's on the traits indicates the amount of dice rolled while the position of the numbers dictates the amount of points they currently have in a stats? Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 9:21
• The number in the trait says how many dice, yes, and the position of the trait is an indicator of how much damage can be taken before a character dies (any trait reaching the skull level means dead).
– Nij
Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 9:31
• Just to make sure, jenny Leclerc has three 4 in her sanity trait, the middle one is highlighted green which means its the starting value right? but the number is position fifth not including the skull which means her starting sanity points would be 5 and 4 dices can be rolled in a sanity roll or watsoever? Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 9:39
• Yes, exactly. Start at position five, lose five positions on Sanity and die, roll four dice for a Sanity check/contest.
– Nij
Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 9:53

First, let's review the rules to make sure there are no misunderstandings.

The value of a given trait represents the number of dice rolled in roll for that trait.

When that happens, roll dice equal to the number your explorer currently has in that trait. For example, if your explorer must attempt a Sanity roll, and she currently has a Sanity of 4, roll 4 dice and add the dots together to get the result.

– Betrayal at House on the Hill Rulebook, 2nd Edition, page 13

If you are told to increase or decrease a trait, you do it by a number of steps on the corresponding slider. For instance, say that Father Reinhardt's current Sanity is 5 and the next value is 7. If you are told to increse your Sanity by one, then you increase it one step to the next value, which in this case is 7.

Zoe’s starting Sanity is 5. If an effect reduces her Sanity by 2, you would slide the clip 2 spaces toward the skull symbol, dropping her Sanity to 3.

[The accompanying image shows her Sanity spread is 8, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 4, 3, Skull (with 5 being the starting value the clip is pointing to and 3 being the ending value)]

– Betrayal at House on the Hill Rulebook, 2nd Edition, page 5

You are never asked to calculate the numerical difference between two numbers. The fact that Father Reinhardt has a spread of 7, 7, 5 (with a numerical difference of 0 for the first pair and a numerical difference of 2 for the second pair) is irrelevant. All that matters is the number of steps on the slider.

You seemed to be especially confused as to why the trait sliders sometimes skip numbers, as with Father Reinhardt. I have not seen any designer commentary specifically about why the numbers are spread out and skip numbers, but I speculate it's for two reasons:

• Thematically, skipping to a higher number represents a character getting a second wind or steeling their resolve, while skipping to a lower number represents a character having a mental breakdown or such.
• Characters who are have stronger mental or physical fortitude have repeated numbers to represent being able to take a hit, or already being fairly well off. For instance, Ox Bellows has a lot of repeated high numbers for Strength, which means he will stay strong if he is injured, but doesn't have a lot of room for growth if he improves it because he's already naturally strong.