Trophy Discussion Thread


Hello! This is a place to discuss the game Trophy by @jesseross. Trophy is a game of dark fantasy and psychological horror. It was first made available in Codex - Dark 2 and has been expanded in every issue of Codex to come out since.

If you have played Trophy and would like to share your thoughts about the game, or if you simply have questions, Jesse and myself will be watching this space.

If you’d like to get the Trophy core rules, you can do so right here:

The first expansion for the game is in Codex - Emerald, which is currently PWYW on DriveThru:


I ran Trophy for the first time Tuesday night; the Flocculent Cathedral incursion. We got through three rings and are going to finish up the last two tonight (Friday). I felt this incursion would be a little easier to GM the first time. The body horror and gross-out aspects are nice to lean on as opposed to the more psychological horror of Shifting Sands.
We have really enjoyed the game so far. I look forward to running another incursion or even better, playing.
I want to finish the incursion before giving my impressions, but I can say the system is tight. We really enjoyed the other players, not just the GM being able to come up with what bad could happen during a risk roll. It’s really a touchstone of what this game is about, Inter-player and inter-character fuckery. The moves where the players got to dictate a condition on the other player, were brutal. Players were way more viscous to each other than I would be. It took them a little time to get to that point, but once they did, damn it was good.
Zoomed back, the GM sets the theme, sets the tone and imagery, then shakes the jar of bees until the players tear each other apart.
Be extra deliberate and diligent with your safety tools on this game and check in often.


I love this game - it is very inspiring. I wrote & ran an incursion (The Writer’s Retreat, twice), and the second time things were so tense that my hands were shaking and I was rather jittery afterwards, because my players were so awesome and things were coming together so well.

For my part, I believe that the drives are very important in this game - a really good drive already shows the cracks in the character’s psyche and invites the players to lean into that.
A really good drive should be something very personal and relatable, and I think it pays out if the GM asks questions about it to turn the screw just so on that later.

For my incursion I used drives rooted in the need to be affirmed, the need to deal with personal issues, jealousy, obsession & self-preservation. Even those drives that had somebody else in them were really about the way these others viewed the player character - it wasn’t about doing something nice for those secondary people. Because I feel Trophy works best if the characters are deeply flawed even before going on the incursion. Even better if the flaw drives them towards it - the seeds of the character’s deconstruction should already be there from the beginning.


Looking forward to your impressions when you’re done! It’s neat to see it out in the world with other people running it!


Second session went very well. The players got to the cusp between Ring 4 and ring 5 and died appropriately and satisfactorily.
We had a bit of a snag when PvP came up. We settled on a slightly modified risk role where the player being attacked or acted against was the one to decide, after negotiation, the “what could possibly go wrong” part of the risk roll.
The ruin reduction roll was also useful in less direct PvP actions. I was a bit liberal with the interpretation of acting in the interests of the forest. Sowing chaos and discontent feeds into the forest’s agenda. Of course, this doesn’t come into play until the player has reached 5th level of ruin. So before level five of ruin, it was a risk roll only, after level five, I gave the player the option. As long as it was narratively appropriate.
We really enjoyed the game. I’m looking forward to running it again, and hopefully getting a turn to play. Trophy is a good tool for sharpening a GM’s story telling skills. Tone and mood being of utmost importance. I found myself drifting in and out of the described moments and condition lists depending on what was happening in game, and my imagination. I highly suggest playing this way. Nothing wrong with using the moments and conditions as listed. I leaned on them heavily, extrapolated some, and came up with my own. One instance, I was describing a location, adding some flavor, and based on the high level of paranoia of the characters and players, they keyed in on this one throw away thing so I grabbed onto that, and a whole new sequence arose organically from it.
Trophy seems to be a good fit for my GM style or it’s just so unobtrusive it allows for all kinds of GM’s to work well with it.
If anyone has any specific questions about the game, I would be happy to address them as best I can,


Just a note that I have a little segment on the upcoming episode of The Gauntlet Podcast called “9 things I learned from running 9 games of Trophy.” I think it will be really helpful for folks!


I am very interested in giving this game a spin, and would like to know any tips and tricks for GMs new to the game.

Also: Are there any actual play podcasts of Trophy out there? I’d like to give a listen before I attempt to run this for my group.


Jason Cordova does a segment on the podcast on running horror games effectively. That’s probably the best place to start for tips and tricks. The mechanics themselves are pretty strait forward.

I’d look at the GM Guide section on creating an incursion. Knowing how one is put together is a big help in knowing how to use it.

Be sure to have a CATS discussion before play, I emphasized it more than normal before Trophy.

Make sure everyone is on board with the tone. In Trophy, tone is more important than story. It helps for everyone to be on the same page from the start. Breaking the tension is detrimental to game play.

Reiterate your safety tools. Trophy is meant to evoke strong visceral reactions from players. Establish lines and veils, make sure everyone knows about and understands the X card can be utilized at any time for any reason, no questions asked.


There are plenty of AP videos from Gauntlet games and there are browser plug-ins to convert YouTube videos into mp3s.


Here’s a video of my new incursion from Codex: Glamour 2


I think a space hulk game I was writing is turning into a Trophy incursion

Space Hulk is a genre that borrows a lot from Alien and Metroid. You search and search and search and there’s dangers everywhere. It started life as a Lasers and Feelings hack, but who knows where it’ll wind up.


I’m so glad to hear your game went well!

This is how I play too. I very rarely use the lists exactly as-is, and I’m always ready to jump on something that ties more directly to what’s happening in that particular session.

Also, thanks for the feedback about PvP. Deciding whether it was worth having a specific mechanic for it was something that I went back and forth on, and obviously ultimately dropped it, leaving just the Ruin 5 rules. I’ll keep it in mind though, and maybe earlier-round PvP will arise in a future iteration of the game…