Trophy Gold Discussion

This is a place to discuss Trophy Gold by @jesseross, which was released in Codex - Gold, the newest issue of our zine. If you have read and/or played Trophy Gold and would like to offer some thoughts, this is the place to do it.

You can pick up Codex - Gold in The Gauntlet’s $6+ Patreon feed:

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TG looks great! I can see how a typical campaign arc leading to an existential Endurance 12 (or more!) threat could be a string of side quests that, if achieved, peg it down into a more manageable range and give the in play experience of Solving the threat as much as Defeating it.
Also, the Burdens rule is a really neat rationale for a baseline Drive for Lewt. It anchors equipment, training, sanctuary, healing. I can see Burdens being the device that activates/ motivates the character relationship map.

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Also, If you have Trophy Gold but no OSR goodness to convert, Google `5 room dungeon’. Great template for an incursion and loads of online examples.

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the True Gold Forge by Lu Quade is awesome!

Some excellent prompts for downbeat moments while camping/travelling in dungeon world, or any fantasy trek style game really.

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If you’re looking for some monsters for Trophy Gold, google `Fighting Fantasy Monsters’. Fighting Fantasy trait Skill maps fairly well to TG Endurance.

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Troika as well, given the fact that it was inspired by FF. FF and Troika have a larger range, but it will definitely work at the common tiers.

Troika also has Mien, which is a 1:1 map to Habits.

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This is a great excuse to dig out my old Out of the Pit (Fighting Fantasy bestiary)!

I’ve just been reading Trophy Gold and I am very impressed! I liked the idea of the original Trophy but this has totally clicked for me. I look forward to putting it to use in the near future and I’ll definitely try it out with a couple of old modules or maybe even try converting a Fighting Fantasy book or two.

Combined with listening to Fear of a Black Dragon this is giving me a wealth of inspiration.

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Yes. The FF wiki has most of the monsters in it too.
I like the junction of Simplicity and Consequences. This for me is the sweet spot of Minimalism.

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I really like it. The simplicity of the Gold and Burdens mechanics is great. I also love the player being able to decide how their character is removed from play. Overall it feels like a storygame that captures the “OSR aesthetic” in the same way that Dungeon World captured the aesthetic of “vanilla D&D”.

I have some concerns about the combat rules though… unless I’m reading it wrong, it seems like adding more PCs to a combat increases the chances of getting hurt for all PCs involved in the combat (because there are more Dark Dice). This would sometimes create some weird cases where the optimal strategy is for some of the PCs to just “abstain” from combat.

For example… say you have 5 PCs and you’re fighting a fairly weak monster with 6 Endurance. If 3 PCs attack the monster and the remaining 2 just stand back and watch, then your chances of defeating the monster are around 90%. If the other 2 PCs join in the fight, then your chance of success goes up to, like, 99%. But the chance of getting hurt increases substantially for everyone involved. This obviously doesn’t make much sense in the fiction.

Maybe it wouldn’t come up very often in play, but if it did then I think I would find it pretty annoying as a player - since it means that “playing to win” requires you to step completely outside of the fiction and engage only with the abstract game mechanics.

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@garmr
I was thinking about this too and my inclination is to take the Mooks/ Boss approach.
Mooks are the stormtroopers, goblins, Picts, torchbearers, etc. Fights with the Mooks are Risk Rolls. Conan or Red Sonja don’t fight Mooks, they wade through them. Mook fights can introduce interesting twists and complications via Devils Bagains and opting for the Dark Die.
Combat Rolls are Boss Fights. Whatever the Monstrosity’s Endurance, everyone who participates is risking Ruin to win the potential Gold reward of Victory.
Also, Hunt rolls are a good match for running battles, chases, etc. Change encounter something terrible in the results list to encounter an Obstacle. Add a few options to the Token spend list eg: 3 Tokens to escape/break contact, 1 token to defeat 1/4 of the pursuers in a brief sortie.

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In other Fighting Fantasy derivative news, I’ve released a few oneshot scenarios for my Quarrel and Fable.

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A 6 endurance monster is probably like an orc or a goblin. If you had 5 characters facing off against a single orc, I don’t think that’s a roll of any sort—you just kill it.

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Yep, @jasoncordova’s got this exactly right. The GM always has leeway to adjust the Endurance of a monster, including decreasing it to the point where a Combat Roll isn’t even required (and could be replaced by either a Risk Roll or no roll at all).

Also, having more characters involved in a fight definitely does increase your likelihood of getting hurt, and that’s very much intentional. This is meant to represent the chaos of the fight and the risk of friendly fire, where limbs and blades are moving much too quickly for anyone’s good.

@MattHaines’s approach is also excellent. Fully endorsed.

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Quarrel and Fable is excellent. Everyone should check it out.

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Right, that makes sense. I guess you would only get weird results when the PCs are nearly guaranteed to win anyway, so it wouldn’t be a big deal in play.

I had one other question about the rules… having a Household means that you have to spend 1 gold per incursion, but it heals 1 ruin automatically. But, it also says under ‘Healing’ that you can spend 1 gold to heal 1 ruin whenever you’re in town anyway. So what’s the benefit of having a Household?

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Good catch! The Household should heal 1 Ruin and all Conditions – it’s the only way to remove Conditions.

We’ll get that file updated shortly.

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I loved Trophy Gold as soon as I started reading it, as a fan of OSR and Storygames, and a huge BitD fan, it ties together a lot of what I’m looking for in a game!

One question though - how does the Hunt roll and Tokens tie into the players’ capacity to explore the environment and ask questions? For example in the False Tomb of ToTSK what happens if the players have 1 Token and ask to investigate the idol with water pooled around the base? Even if they roll a 6, they won’t have enough Tokens to “get what they’re looking for,” so how would that manifest in play? Or am I misinterpreting how the 3 Tokens are spent? (My interpretation is that you spend 3 Tokens to attain the Goal of that particular Set)

Thanks for any help anyone can provide!

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The Hunt Roll is a replacement for exploration rounds in OSR games. If they only have 1 token but they’re close to the end of the set, I’d suggest stretching out the set or adding a complicated path they can’t quite get through to force them to spend more time exploring. This should be especially true if they spend all their tokens on treasure – they don’t get to just find the exit for free if they’re picking up gold everywhere!

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Just chiming in to say this comment thread is great and very insightful. The feedback helps a lot.

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Think about it a bit more, I’m really interested in the way Trophy Gold does lethality in comparison to OSR games. Just by eyeballing the math, it seems like TG characters are a lot more likely to survive in the short term, but probably less likely to survive in the long term.

E.g. - in your first session, your TG character has to take exactly 6 ‘hits’ before they ‘die’. Compared to OSR games where it’s a lot more swingy but the average number of hits you can take is probably between 1 and 2. So your TG character is not going to get gibbed by a critical hit from a kobold.

On the other hand, if your OSR character survives a little while they gain more hitpoints, more powers and generally improve in survivability. Plus, you can replenish your health and items more or less for free whenever you go back to town. Whereas TG characters get worn down gradually and have to spend a relatively large portion of their precious gold if they want to regain resources. In the long term I don’t see it ending well for many TG characters…

I really like this because it incorporates a lot of things that OSR designers and players love. We love the resource management, the scrambling for a little bit of gold, the PCs getting gradually mutated and broken by their experiences. But we are more likely to let those things emerge naturally from a mesh of chaotic systems (critical hit tables, encumbrance rules, spell failure tables, etc.). Whereas TG adopts the storygame approach of “this is what I want from the game and I’m going to make sure it happens”.

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