Trophy Gold First Reading

Some feedback/questions after a first read-through:

A) Need more examples of play, especially around Hunt Rolls & Props/Traps/Treasures, Monster Defenses/Conditions in play, and casting Rituals. A good example: how can I decide to cast “Bolt” during combat? Squeeze in a risk roll between rounds? What effect would it have? Reduce Endurance by 2? Win the entire combat? Need guidance here.

B) In combat, why does the size of the party increase the potential for more ruin (because the number of dark dice you roll is based on the size of the party)? It also increases the chance of success, but this feels off, feels like it doesn’t factor into account a dangerous enemy. Maybe if the party fails to beat the monster endurance, roll dark dice equal to monster endurance, and assign ruin based on weak-point die as usual. The only thing I can think of is high endurance = many rounds = more dark dice each round = more ruin.

C) How do you backtrack through sets? How do you wilderness travel back and forth to the dungeon?

D) For monster conversions, why not use Hit Dice as the main method for determining Endurance?

E) How would you handle a combat with multiple groups of different monsters? Example: BBEG, his bodyguard, archers up high, and a summoned demon?

F) How and when do you use ranged and melee weapons? I.e. why take both?

G) In the conversion examples, Props/Traps/Treasure seem strongly correlated in the tables. Is that intentional, or can you design the three in relative isolation from each other?

H) Really want to see how B2 would run with Trophy Gold :slight_smile:

I) Could you vary the amount of tokens required to proceed to the next set? What’s the game design notes behind standardising at 3? Also, I assume this target is not necessarily a hard goal, like finding the secret door, but could represent a soft goal, like “the party is ready to move on”?

Overall I found TG to be intriguing, and I’m about to listen to Jason’s actual play of TotSK on YouTube. Good stuff, Jesse!


Added I), above, to keep everything together.

The main dissonance I have in my mind is between the “consolidation” of a module into Sets, vs the actual geometry of the map. Really need to see this in action to grok it.

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Cc: @jesseross in case he wants to chime in. I have some thoughts I may share a little later when I can catch a breather from this Kickstarter, haha

Thanks for all the great questions. I’ll share some thoughts on all of these today. Stay tuned!


I listened to your Kickstarter special:

Expanding Trophy to include Journey rules and more “Back at Home” stuff sounds great. My request for the Kickstarter is to please include examples of play that cover “edge cases”. For example, a combat against melee monsters where some players have ranged weapons and want to hang back and snipe. How Hunt rolls work when exploring a module that has a map with defined locations (including traps in specific areas). How Hunt tokens work when the Goal is to find a specific location on a map.

Am reading Trophy Gold in the context of using it to run B2 with - not that I have anything against B/X D&D (especially since OSE was published!), but TG might be different enough for a group of hardcore 5E players to sit-up and take notice (read: for my current group to be interested in playing “not-5e”. They have played Delta Green before, so there’s hope with Trophy Dark one-shots to start with.).

And my goodness guys - the Kickstarter video is sublime - who wrote the poetry? Jim Crocker? The voice actor is so-Darkest-Dungeon. The font-face for titles in TD is so Symbaroum!


Another thought after reading Trophy Dark and Gold previews - hot damn, “Trophy Mythos” is begging to be created to run Lovecraftian investigations.

Not sure what you’d do with the Gold/Burden mechanic, but Occupations/Backgrounds/Drives/Rituals/Ruin fit like a glove. The Hunt roll is basically an Investigate roll, most Sets goals would be a plot point discoveries, and Troubles can be antagonist reactions.

Could easily use that to run Trail of Cthulhu scenarios. It did be interesting to see if you can condense a scenario down into Sets.


@starmonkey, @jesseross

I actually had this same question about ranged attacks. It doesn’t make a lot of sense that someone sitting back with a crossbow thwanging away would take damage in the same or way an axe wielding fighter would.

In addition, what happens if a player uses their ritual lightning or whatnot to fight?

My thinking is that they would instead suffer a Risk roll rather than a Combat roll, where the risk is that the ritual goes wrong or it takes too long and they end up enmeshed in the fighting but that’s just my take at the moment.

I am curious to see what others have tried as I am starting to run my first game of Trophy Gold in a Play by Forum context.

The key with the Combat Roll is the first step, with the light die:

When you attempt to defeat a monstrosity, first say how you expose yourself to injury or attack, then roll a single light die. The number on the die is called your Weak Point, and represents the risks you’re taking to face the monster. If multiple treasure-hunters are involved, each rolls their own die.

Each player states how their character is exposed to injury or attack: that’s their entrance fee to the fight and how they contribute more dark die (thereby increasing the chance of success). Maybe the room is cramped, so the ranged character isn’t actually at a safe distance. Maybe they have to maneuver and they might slip too close. Maybe they stumble and trip on a rock, laying themselves out. The entire combat might be decided in a single roll, so a lot of narrative ground can be covered!
This follows for rituals. Since combat accounts for Ruin, you can just roll the Combat. The sticking point, I think, is if the character using the ritual is attempting to defeat a monstrosity or not — maybe their making it brighter to lower the monstrosity’s endurance; healing another character; solving a puzzle. Those would be Risk Rolls, with the narrative consequence an attack from a monstrosity while they were busy, instead of mind-warping magic.

Another option, you might combine the Combat and Risk Rolls: there’s already both a light and dark die, which satisfies the requirements for a Risk Roll. The player still determines how using this ritual in the midst of combat exposes [their character] to injury or attack, but then they have two ways to increase their Ruin: rolling at or above their Weak Point. Might fit the tone of your game depending on how dire you want it to be (or how bad magic is)!
ETA: an important piece I should’ve mentioned about that (homebrew) option above: the player whose character is using the ritual should be the one making the Combat Roll, since having another player roll and incidentally increasing a different character’s ruin is…not great imo


My understanding (and forgive me if I’m wrong and I’m making matters worse) is that Ruin isn’t damage. Ruin is the inability to adventure. It is losing control of the character.

It might be falling due to one’s wounds (perhaps the monster has missile attacks and is returning fire) or perhaps the monster is preternaturally fast and closes the distance before the archer can get away.

But maybe it isn’t a hit-point kind of damage at all. Maybe the treasure-hunter watches his friends get butchered from a safe vantage point and turns cold and monstrous. Maybe they watch a friend get eaten and lose the will to delve or maybe they watch a friend get eaten and wish they could have devoured their flesh themselves.

I don’t think of Ruin as the end of the character’s hit points but the end of that character as a protagonist.


I don’t think of Ruin as the end of the character’s hit points but the end of that character as a protagonist.

More than hit points it reminds me of hitting zero Humanity in the RPG, Sorcerer.


Honestly though, why bother with a ranged weapon or ritual at all then if they are the same mechanically? I think I really prefer considering it a Risk roll. Maybe, I’m thinking too trad. IDK.

Meanwhile, I am trying to run Trophy Gold by forum. I’ve got 6 PCs. Hunt roll works GREAT! Risk roll works GREAT! 1st Combat though is brutal. Can’t get the group to decide on their actions. I dropped it down to 3 options for simplicity after reading various opinions.

  1. Rescue the 2 PCs hanging by a spike over a ledge
  2. Escape across some wet, slippery stones into the dark
  3. fight the crystal crusted lizards

Any advice on how to get them to press ahead with a decision?

Using the right tool for the job or putting the monster in a bad spot means the GM should take that into account and adjust their Endurance accordingly. Smart use of the environment should be rewarded (not only with dice). The different kinds of attacks make a difference but not in a hex-mappy, line of sight, counting inches kinda way.

I’ve found that ranged weapons make a difference and Rituals always invoke a dangerous Conflict roll.

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It sounds like you’re thinking wargame-y, maybe? I don’t want to use “trad” as a pejorative, but if I presume trad to mean maps and minis, initiative, attack rolls, armor class, etc, then I think there is an important difference with what the Combat Roll in Trophy Gold is doing compared to the granular difference between ranged and melee attack rolls in D&D, for example.

Because you’re right: there’s no mechanical reason to use, actually, any weapon at all in Trophy Gold. You might as well say you’re going to wrestle the dragon: there aren’t any saving throws to stop you from grappling it, for example.
But, especially since combat can be resolved with just one dice roll, Trophy Gold is asking for narrative, fictional work rather than mechanical work. It makes no difference to the Combat Roll mechanically whether you use a sword or bow, but that variety in combat and character approach is definitely more interesting, right?
The way the Combat Roll sets up requires every participant to collaborate on what the scene will look like. The light die generates the Weak Point and then the drama is escalated by rolling the dark dice — then we see who is injured, scared, whatever (because yes, of course, Ruin is more than just HP) and if anyone even hurt the monster.
So a whole scene is being constructed; it’s not six-second turns in a round, but sixteen minutes (for example) of multiple actors taking various actions and movements, all of it being stitched together as multiple long cuts across, potentially, multiple scenes.


Not sure that really helps. I get that the “rounds” of combat can have any number of actions per player and I do think I was too tactical minded before though.

I have swung the other direction in my thinking to the Dungeon World 15 HP dragon concept where narrative positioning is king. That solves the immediate problem of justifying to the players why they are still in danger.

The one thing I have figured out is that the excellent Hunt-> Risk -> Combat feedback loop doesn’t really work very neatly in reverse with jumping to a Risk roll from a Combat roll.

I realized I am okay with not breaking the loop mechanically (as it isn’t really designed to do that) but where a character should obviously have a narrative advantage, it just seems punitive not to give them something.

SO, I am thinking, how would I treat the swordsman against a flying beast using narrative positioning here? What if they have anything they can throw (even say a big ass sword) that would work. For the second round, they could throw any other weapon that makes sense in the narrative. Then, when they run out, they would be forced into running off because they don’t have a weapon to fight the flying monstrosity.

Meanwhile, I still don’t know about how to get a clean start to a combat when playing by forum. I decided on those 3 actions above, and the newb surprised all of us with skipping past all of them and driving down a waterfall while trying to get the beasts to follow him. Perfect 6 on the Risk roll so no combat as they all followed him. ;p.

Probably a self sacrifice but it was still randomly awesome and stalled multiplayer combat to a later date. Any suggestions on how to get a consensus to group battle easier?

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Don’t fix what’s not broken : Rule of cool made the character could skip past the beasts, luck made them succeed (I guess a 6 was a good result?), and victory will have the highest cost.
Both the players and the mechanics probabilities allowed for it, and it’s meaningful.
But maybe the forum form is to mend if there is no way to veto an implausible narration?

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I played Trophy gold two days ago and we came up with a very similar list of questions. Did they get answered somewhere?

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Aside from the conversation above, @jasoncordova is currently walking through the mechanics on the Trophy Podcast:

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I am going to listen to the podcast episodes, thank you!

One of the disconnects we had during the game was related to the use of rituals during combat or instead of combat. On one hand we were thinking that the casters could stay out of combat and affect it using rituals (risk roll), on the other hand we considered that if you are affecting the combat, then you should engage the combat roll mechanics. However the combat mechanics do not consider the contributions of specific characters…

As an example, if a sorcerer casts mirror image and enters combat and gets hit, does he get to check if a mirror image got hit instead, or it is assumed that the mirror image was not hit because he got it? I am not sure how to handle this disconnect between narrative and mechanics in combat.

Also, if the enemies are split in two groups, do we run two separate combats? What about someone using a bow from afar? should he be immune to combat consequences?

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One thing to consider is that the Combat procedure starts off with each player saying “how you expose yourself to injury or attack”. So attacking from range is (usually) not a method of getting invulnerability.

Another possibility is a Risk roll that reduces the monster’s Endurance for the actual combatants; I know several GMs do this for things like the effects of Rituals.

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I cover that exact sort of thing in the Combat and Risk episode of the How to Run Trophy Gold series