Guide for Exploring the Basement in Betrayal at House on the Hill

The top two floors of the house in Betrayal at House on the Hill are doom-and-gloom enough on their own. To toss in a basement, however… a location notorious for evil goings-on in any fictional story… that might just be too much for the game’s characters.

The basement of the house is, by far, the most annoying area in the game. Why? There are several reasons:

– It’s difficult to get to – there are no obvious stairs leading down, and you either need to find a staircase, a hole or the Mystic Elevator to find your way to the Basement Landing

– It’s quite possible that once you get down, particularly if you go down the Dust Chute, that you won’t be able to get back up until you find the stairs out – and you’ll probably take damage when you first arrive, to boot

– The rooms typically don’t have beneficial effects for your character, and are much more likely to either damage them or force them to make annoying, difficult rolls

– Many of the game’s most difficult Haunts stem from the basement and work their way up through the house – which can make them all the more difficult to beat if you don’t yet know how to access the basement

The basement is dangerous. Even under pre-Haunt conditions it’s a hazardous area that’s likely to stymie players and force them into near-lethal situations, which may well reduce them to near-death levels once the Haunt begins and they actually can die.

Is there any reason to go into the basement, then? Aside from the fact that you often have no choice? There is one major advantage offered: the basement is typically home to more items than anywhere else in the house. If you go down and you get a bit lucky, you’ll wind up with more items than anywhere else. This can prove vital to successfully defeating a traitor, or, as the traitor, for beating out foes.

It’s also notable that, while the basement is terrible for players, it’s typically a haven for the traitor. A character that manages to become the traitor after getting down to the basement in a less-than-accessible manner may find themselves improving steadily as the heroes make their way down, which is excellent for delivering a quick coup de grace when the inevitable confrontation comes. The basement is additionally great because monsters can easily bypass the many difficult terrains spots, spots that the heroes can’t ignore.

If you plan on becoming a hero, make the basement as small as possible by looping the rooms together. If you’re going to turn into the traitor, make it nice and expansive. Force the players to work for their victory, something that the basement does really well.