Haunt 17 in the Secrets of Survival book states:

When you have placed a number of Candle tokens equal to the number of heroes when the haunt was revealed, you exorcise the Poltergeist.

Does "number of heroes when the haunt was revealed" include the traitor? If the game began with 3 players, will the heroes need to place 2 or 3 Candle tokens?

  • 2
    @TheChaz2.0 My interpretation is that it's meant to distinguish between the number alive when the haunt was revealed versus the number alive when the Candle tokens are placed (you can't place one Candle token, wait for all but one hero to die, then claim victory). Jul 17, 2018 at 17:22
  • Cool. I wasn't sure of the terminology. No sense in leaving the unhelpful comment! Jul 17, 2018 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


When the haunt was revealed, one player becomes a traitor (or in some scenarios, is removed entirely), and the rest become heroes.

Do the following at the start of the haunt:

  • The traitor takes the Traitor’s Tome and leaves the room. The traitor reads only the haunt that is starting now.

  • The rest of the players become heroes. They look up the haunt with the same number in Secrets of Survival and read it together. (The heroes should also talk briefly about their plan for survival.)


So if the game started with three players, two of them become heroes. There weren't any heroes before that.

"The number of heroes when the haunt was revealed" is used instead of "the number of heroes" to avoid having the goal become easier as heroes are eliminated.


No, the word Heroes in Betrayal at House on the Hill only ever refers to players that are not the traitor. The game uses 3 different terms to refer to players:

  1. Explorers: All players of the game, this covers both before the haunt begins and after it has started.
  2. Heroes: Those players who are not the traitor. This has no meaning until the haunt starts.
  3. Traitor: The player who is the traitor of a specific haunt. This has no meaning until the haunt starts.

This is seen in multiple parts of the rules (2nd paragraph emphasis mine):

In Betrayal at House on the Hill, each player chooses an explorer to investigate a creepy old house. As you explore the house, you discover new rooms. Each time you enter a new room, you might find something . . . or something might find you. Explorers change over the course of the game (for better or worse), depending on how they deal with the house’s surprises. The house is different each time you build it.

At some random point during the game, one explorer triggers a scenario called a haunt. When the haunt is revealed, one explorer becomes a traitor bent on defeating his or her former companions. The rest of the explorers become heroes struggling to survive. From then on, the game is a fight between the traitor and the heroes—often to the death.

There are exceptions to this, for example where there is no traitor, or where the traitor may change, but the haunt in question is not one of those exceptions. This means that in a game with 3 explorers when Haunt 17 starts, there will be 1 traitor and 2 heroes, and you would need 2 candle tokens.

  • 1
    yeah, just like I said 2 years ago X_X
    – ikegami
    Apr 7, 2020 at 22:39
  • @ikegami 2 years ago your answer did not mention the third term, "Explorers" which Stoz was confusing for Heroes and should be included to properly show the game HAS a term for all players that it would have used if it intended the Traitor to be included.
    – Andrew
    Apr 7, 2020 at 22:44

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