System Reference Document

About Trophy

Trophy is a collaborative storytelling game about a group of treasure-hunters on a doomed expedition into a forest that doesn’t want them there. It requires one game master (GM) to moderate the game and portray the dangers of the world, and one or more players to portray the treasure-hunters. A game of Trophy takes about 3–4 hours.

The game tells the story of the physical and mental descent of the treasure-hunters as they move deeper and deeper into the dangerous forest. Their journey will ultimately bring them to ancient ruins that hold the treasure they seek, and the monstrous entities which now dwell there. This is not, however, a hopeful story of brave and daring adventurers slaying dragons and dragging bags of gold with them back to town. This is a horror story of entitled pillagers meeting tragic ends. It is very likely that all the treasure-hunters will die or—at best—be permanently scarred and haunted by their expedition.

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The Trophy System Reference Document (SRD) contains the core mechanics of Trophy. The contents of the SRD are available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY) License.


Using this license requires you to say that your game is based on Trophy, and the works that Trophy itself is based on. To give proper credit, add the following after your own copyright, and in the same size as your copyright:

This work is based on Trophy (, product of Jesse Ross and Hedgemaze Press, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( Trophy is adapted from Cthulhu Dark with permission of Graham Walmsley. Trophy is also based on Blades in the Dark (found at, product of One Seven Design, developed and authored by John Harper, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (

If you are publishing electronically, you can link the following phrases to their URLs instead of printing them separately:

  • Trophy:
  • Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY) License:
  • Blades in the Dark:
  • Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license:

Using this license means that you cannot imply or state that Jesse Ross or Hedgemaze Press is endorsing or sponsoring you unless you have made a special arrangement with us. Don’t use the Trophy logo or the Hedgemaze Press logo without talking with us first. You may, however, use the “Rooted in Trophy” logo referenced below as long as you include the required text associated with it.

Additionally, using this license means that you cannot use any part of Trophy that is not included in the SRD, including names, people, and places relating to the world of Trophy and any of the artwork or graphic elements identified with Trophy.

We will eventually be releasing a licensing system which lets you publish material which refer to Kalduhr, Fort Duhrin, and other notable locations and people in the world of Trophy. In the meantime, you must create your own original material, building off of the Trophy SRD.


You are free to make a copy of this SRD in any format you wish, provided you include the original copyright notice found with this text, and don’t add any kind of copy protection. You are also free to create new works derived from the SRD.

You are free to create, distribute, and sell new works based on the material within the SRD.

Additional rights and requirements are detailed within the complete text of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Rooted in Trophy

If you would like to provide additional credit, you may use the phrase “Rooted in Trophy” to identify your game’s heritage. To make legal use of the “Rooted in Trophy” logo, you must include the following text:

Trophy™ is a trademark of Hedgemaze Press. The Rooted in Trophy Logo is © Hedgemaze Press, and is used with permission.

Rooted in Trophy logo

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Hacking Trophy


Games rooted in Trophy are built around characters willing to push their luck. The character are often desperate, with something driving them to continue against all odds. The system itself encourages risk taking, so if your game isn’t about risks or characters who push themselves, then Trophy might not be the best foundation.

Trophy is also about decline. Characters tend to degrade over time, or have some precious resource that they’re gradually losing (or a negative resource that they’re gaining). If your game is about characters becoming more and more powerful, then you might want to try a different system.

Players & Characters

Players of Rooted in Trophy games take on the role of individual characters. These characters are very light mechanically, but very rich thematically. Their mechanical elements are:

  • Skills
  • Rituals
  • Ruin

They tend to be good at a few things, which we call Skills. Skills are often single words or short phrases, like athletics or spirits. Importantly, having a relevant Skill gives a player an extra die during certain rolls, and may give them fictional permission to attempt something they would not otherwise be able to do.

In Trophy, the characters are treasure-hunters who have a few Skills provided to them by their Occupation (what they do now) and Background (what they used to be or do). Your game might not break up Skills the same way, but should provide some method for characters to be assigned Skills. You also might opt not to have Skills at all, but you will probably need some way to define what makes one character better at certain tasks than another. This is one of the ways we allow players and their characters their own individual moments to shine.

Because Trophy takes place in a fantasy setting, the characters have access to supernatural abilities called Rituals. Rituals should be renamed and rethemed to better reflect the setting of your game. Because using Rituals requires rolling risky dark dice, they are one of the ways that a character can increase their Ruin.

Ruin is a number between 1 and 6 which tracks a character’s descent. Nearly every roll that a player makes has a chance to affect their character’s Ruin. At 6 Ruin, a character is removed from play.


Games Rooted in Trophy tend to use two different colors of six-sided dice: light dice and dark dice. Light dice are typically less risky, whereas dark dice are typically more risky.

Players may make rolls using dice of just one type or the other, but it’s common to roll one or two of each during a single roll. The individual rolls (described below) will tell you which dice to use when.


Risk Roll

When your character attempts a risky task, say what you hope will happen and ask the GM and the other players what could possibly go wrong. Then gather 6-sided dice.

Take one light-colored die if the task is something your character would be able to do because of one of their Skills.

Take another light die for accepting a Devil’s Bargain from another player or the GM. Devil’s Bargains are described in the following section.

Add a dark-colored die if you are willing to risk your character’s mind or body in order to succeed. You must include this die whenever your character performs a Ritual.

Roll the dice. If your highest die is a:

1–3 Your character fails, and things get worse. The GM describes how. The GM may also allow your character to succeed, but things will get worse in some other way.
4–5 Your character succeeds, but there’s some kind of complication. The GM describes the complication, then you describe how your character succeeds.
6 Your character succeeds. Describe how.

If you included a dark die and it rolled equal to or higher than your highest light die, it counts as a Ruin Roll as described under Ruin Roll.

If you are unhappy with your roll, you may add an additional dark die to your dice and re-roll. You can keep adding more dark dice and re-rolling. You cannot re-roll when a dark die is the highest die in your roll.

If you use a Risk Roll to try to defeat a monster in hand-to-hand combat, you will die. Instead, roll to hide, roll to escape, or roll to use a Ritual against it. If you fight something that is not monstrous or if you fight a monster but not to defeat it (for example, to fight your way past it), be clear about what you want from the fight, then roll normally.

Devil’s Bargains

The GM or any other player can offer you a bonus light die if you accept a Devil’s Bargain. Common Devil’s Bargains include:

  • Your character causes collateral damage or unintended harm.
  • Your character gets lost or separated from their companions.
  • Your character sacrifices an important item.
  • Your character betrays a companion.
  • Your character attracts unwanted attention.

The Devil’s Bargain occurs regardless of the outcome of the roll. You make the deal, pay the price, and get the bonus die.

The Devil’s Bargain is always a free choice. If you don’t like one, just reject it (or suggest how to alter it so you might consider taking it). You can always just risk your character’s mind or body and take a dark die instead.

Anyone may veto or suggest alterations to a proposed Devil’s Bargain, especially if it would also impact their character.

Ruin Roll

Your Ruin shows how much physical and mental harm your character has suffered. It starts at 1.

When your character witnesses or undergoes something disturbing, make a Ruin Roll by rolling one dark die. If you’ve made a Risk Roll which includes a dark die, and that die is equal to or higher than your highest light die in that roll, your dark die is automatically considered a Ruin Roll.

If your dark die rolled higher than your current Ruin, add 1 to your Ruin and work with the GM to describe the decline of your character’s mind and body.

Reduction Roll

When your Ruin reaches 5, you may now reduce it when your character attempts subtle acts of sabotage against their companions.

Each time your character does this, roll one light die. If you get less than your current Ruin, your character succeeds at their task and you decrease your Ruin by 1. You may continue reducing your Ruin in this way when your Ruin drops below 5.

Losing Your Character

When your Ruin reaches 6, your character is lost. This is an important moment: Everyone focuses on your character’s last flashes of lucidity before they run away or turn against their companions.

Hand your character over to the GM to control, and either create a new character or exit the game.


Download the SRD in plain text format.



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