Small Trophy health hack

Hi I really like the Trophy system but I wanted to use it to run a mystery game that was not so doomed. So I removed Ruin and have this “health” system instead. We playtested it the other day and it went pretty well.

Basically I replace the Dark dice with Stress dice and don’t track ruin, you just lose Stress dice.

You start with 6 Stress dice (which is also your maximum) that represents wear and tear on your body and mind. When you run out of Stress dice you are removed from play.

If you don’t like the result of a roll then you can add a Stress die and reroll all your dice. However if any Stress dice roll highest then you have to take the result and you lose the die (or dice if they are equal highest).

Regain 1 Stress die when you can take a moment to do something relaxing. Regain 2 if the rest is exceptional in some way.

What made this interesting in play was this is currently the only way to lose Stress dice so risking mind/body is completely in the player’s hands. Also the players seemed to enjoy the idea of risking the dice.

Anyway it’s simple but I was pretty happy with it so thought I would share.


Seems natural enough, and I like how tactile it is (“here are your Stress dice… ah, now you lost one!”). That’s very easy to see and feel, and that’s nice.

However, two comments/observations:

Your formulation is, in terms of losing dice, actually much LESS forgiving than the rules as written.

What you have added, however, is the ability to regain a die when you rest.

In theory, you could have a simple rule where you lower your Ruin by a point whenever you rest, and it wouldn’t be that different.

What happens if the players never risk the stress dice? can they die by fiction?

Not really. At the moment it just says On a 1-3 something Bad happens. It might not even mean they failed.

This usually means going back my PbtA “GM Moves” list. e.g. split them up, opponent gets something they want, succeed as severe cost, make a life or death decision, surprised by a new danger or foe, they lose something or someone, something or someone else gets hurt, etc.