You can find Darren's excellent Mecha rpg HILT//BLADE (among others) on his itch.io page here.
The Pact Roll introduces a mechanic to Trophy Gold that lets treasure-hunters enter into dangerous negotiations and even more dangerous pacts—a mystically binding relationship that transfers some of the pact-maker’s power to the treasure-hunter—with beings who hold more power in the world than the treasure-hunters will ever be able to.
The mechanics are intentionally highly risky to suit the tone of the game, but also to reflect the dynamic of the relationship: the treasure-hunter is free to call on this power, but they by no means are capable of holding that power. The pacts are contracts, but, while the costs are clearly outlined, the results or any way to void the pacts are not.
Entering into a pact will probably kill a treasure-hunter, but what doesn’t in Trophy Gold?
The Pact Roll is outlined along with the rules for using a pact and then a list of 13 examples of pact-makers are given.
When you begin negotiations to enter into a pact with a being more powerful than you, state your terms and then gather 6-sided dice.
- Take a dark-colored die for risking your mind or body to negotiate. (You must include this die whenever you want to enter into a pact.)
- Add one light-colored die if you have a relevant skill from your occupation, background or training or because you are taking advantage of a piece of equipment or the environment.
Roll the dice. If your highest die is a:
1-3 — If you accept their unfavorable terms (they will not renegotiate), you must also increase your starting Ruin by 1.
4-5 — They will state their terms. You may take it or leave it; they will not negotiate further.
6 — They find you worthy and will negotiate their terms with you.
The being you enter into a pact with has four Skills, zero to three Rituals and other possible uses (depending on their form and the terms of your pact).
Whenever you wish to use a Skill or Ritual from your pact or the being itself, you must include a dark die in your roll. If your pact gives you fictional positioning, make a Ruin Roll when you invoke that feature.
If you do not meet the terms of your pact, the GM will give you appropriate and potentially escalating Conditions.
The Black Blade is a depraved weapon, a coward whose only strength is killing. Many warriors of both good and ill repute have wielded it and each of them with one fact in common: in the end, it was the Black Blade that killed them, too.
- Who does the Black Blade want to make pacts with? Cold-blooded killers.
- What terms might the Black Blade place on the pact? Wanton killing, ritualized murder or strict rules governing who may be slain by it.
Tlasuth, Fae Courtier
The Faeborn are not fae, not fully. That has become terrifyingly clear to you, as has the reason for the masks that the fae wear. Tlasuth may show you, depending on promises given or flip compulsion. Sometimes, they just like to see you scared.
- Who does Tlasuth want to make pacts with? Alluring charlatans or hedonistic libertines.
- What terms might Tlasuth place on the pact? Regular baths of honey, substitute harmless details when recounting something or bind any promise or agreement (no matter how small) as a contract.
Heron the Ageless
To escape the shackles of time...is that not true magic? Freedom from the inexorable, the mundane. Heron breathes in the beginning of time and exhales its end. Walk with him for a awhile and slough off the coil of mortality.
- Who does Heron want to make pacts with? Hedges, magicians and sorcerers.
- What terms might Heron place on the pact? Collect small, earthen jars, hoard books or obsessively research a single subject.
The Wolf Gameta
Gameta has had many names, all chosen by itself and now forgotten by everyone else, but all know of Gameta whether through children’s stories, the drunken tales of hunters or from a terrifying night spent too close to the treeline of the forest.
- Who does Gameta want to make pacts with? A renowned ranger who first agrees to a duel.
- What terms might Gameta place on the pact? Protect animals at all costs, replant a forest or drive people away from nature.
One of the Small Gods
You can find one of them almost anywhere: the hinges of a traveler’s lantern, the seam of a runaway’s knapsack, the grease slapped onto a knight’s armor by their squire...some people say hello or thank them, but most don’t even think to look.
- Who does one of the small gods want to make pacts with? Faithless treasure-hunters or someone seeking answers.
- What terms might one of the small gods place on the pact? Collect stories, follow will-o’-wisps or toss Coin into pools of water.
Bimulla the Ferryman
“Where do we pay the toll? / How do we save the soul? / Over the eyes, put it right there, / so at the ferryman they cannot stare!”
- Who does Bimulla want to make pacts with? The newly dead or those who throw Coin into a river at dusk.
- What terms might Bimulla place on the pact? Perform funerary rites on every corpse, collect Coin as tax or destroy the undead.
Hemmeh, a Fortune Teller
The diviners who wander from town to town have a bad reputation, though that is the fault of the customer craving convenience over truth. Those who have met one unknowingly, however, may have had their entire reality shifted without realizing it.
- Who does Hemmeh want to make pacts with? Dreamers and those who have seen the future.
- What terms might Hemmeh place on the pact? Misguide a patron, donate Coin to those in need or deliver news to the unjust at an inopportune time.
Taborath Imprisoned in Amber
Centuries ago, avarice was a flavor. It seeped out of bone white lilies, and pooled thickly on the soil. Something like locusts found it, ate it, grew and multiplied; the stillness of the air drowned in buzzing. Then the lilies died and so did the locusts.
- Who does Taborath want to make pacts with? The greedy, consumed by a buzzing only they can hear.
- What terms might Taborath place on the pact? Hoard Coin to the detriment of anything else, steal or always bargain for a higher price.
The Spirit Who Refuses to Pass
“It is well known that a powerful emotion felt at the exact moment of death will block a person’s spirit from ascending. The most common feelings, naturally, are betrayal, despair and love…” Professor Eduto, presenting at the University of the Crown.
- Who does the spirit who refuses to pass want to make pacts with? Those with a strong sense of justice or who view the world in black and white.
- What terms might the spirit who refuses to pass place on the pact? Enact vengeance whenever possible, assassinate someone who wronged the spirit or perform dogmatic rites.
The Merchant Prince
The gods aren’t dead; they’re right here in this pile of coins and this ledger of transactions. In fact, people fear a tax collector or debtor’s prison far more than any angel and hell! But who controls the coin?
- Who does the merchant prince want to make pacts with? Those foolish enough to sign their name on a contract.
- What terms might the merchant prince place on the pact? Pay double your Burdens, invest in risky startups instead of your Hoard or always bargain for a lower price.
The Eldest Tree
In a copse past a clearcut patch of the forest—warded in an old, old way by those unspoken of—stands a tree that has witnessed countless migration of animals and countless nobles come to rule the ungovernable.
- Who does the eldest tree want to make pacts with? You. It has been waiting so, so long.
- What terms might the eldest tree place on the pact? Carry its seeds, dedicate time to a community garden or regulate wildfires to rejuvenate vegetation.
Some say they are all named “Meliira” and that that is more of a job title than a name. Others claim they are, in fact, all the same woman. Others still claim that she is a fantasy who keeps the wicked cold at night and the just warm.
- Who does Meliira want to make pacts with? Discerning lovers.
- What terms might Meliira place on the pact? Foment rebellion, undercut patriarchal systems or shelter minorities at risk of abuse or exploitation.
Iosis, the Transmutated Soul
From a charred, unnamed book rescued from a burning building: “—d then pour a pint of quicksilver into a bone-fashioned bowl suspended in an ice-cold bath filled with a liter of blood (note: yours is fine, but a young subject is prefer—”
- Who does Iosis want to make pacts with? The singularly obsessed and those who know the value of relentless pursuit.
- What terms might Iosis place on the pact? Circular argumentation, cataloguing of the base components of the world or ascetic minimalism.
In the spirit of Trophy, this text is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License, which means you are free to copy, adapt, remix or whatever else you’d like to do with it as long as you credit Darren Brockes.