by Jason Cordova
As of this writing, I have run 16 games of Trophy, Jesse Ross’s game of dark fantasy and psychological horror. The purpose of these blog posts is to share the lessons I have learned so you can improve your own experience with the game (and possibly your experience with roleplaying games in general).
Links to the other entries in this series:
9 Tips for Running Trophy
Trophy: Notes on Ring 1
You can learn more about Trophy by clicking the image.
Oh, there are so many answers…
The events of the Incursion are not set in stone!
I, for example, do not care for Ring 4 in Witchwood as written. Encountering zombie snake-men versions of the dead men in Ring 1 does not feel suitably epic to me. So, I use the Monstrosities table included in that same expansion to roll up a different monster for Ring 4, adjusting for the red and green color theme.
You might need more material than what is included in the Incursion.
If you’re running for a larger group or over the course of more than 1 session, you might need a few encounters in addition to those implied by the Incursion text. The tables are a great resource for developing those encounters (ahead of time or, if you’re really organized, on the spot).
Trophy takes place in its own world.
Regular, repeated references to certain geographical features in the Incursions (such as the Naveh river and Fort Duhrin) are evidence that every Trophy Incursion takes place in the same world. The tables contribute many details, explicit and implied, about this world.
Tables are a space for collaborative world creation.
Related to the above, tables are a pretty great vehicle through which to create a world in a collaborative way. This is true at both the player level (see the note below) but also at the game text level. Each of the Trophy expansion authors, for example, has been able to put their own stamp on the world through the tables included with their Incursion.
And we have brand-new ways of using tables to flesh out the world of Trophy. Today we kicked-off the first of our Trophy crowdsourcing efforts for the standalone book. Check out the post here and get involved!
The tables are a great on-the-spot resource for GMs and players alike.
Given the highly collaborative nature of Trophy, players are frequently called upon to flesh out details in a scene or to come up with answers to questions posed to them by the GM. GMs are frequently called upon to flesh out important details on the fly as the result of failed rolls and Devil’s Bargains. The tables are a great resource for getting inspired, and if you know ahead of time what Incursion you’re going to be playing, you can have a few thematically-relevant tables handy.
Use them for other games! Or for your own works of fiction!
The Trophy tables are largely system-agnostic. Use them for all your fantasy gaming needs! Or for your fiction! (A credit is nice if you end up publishing something official.)
Trophy Gold is coming!
Trophy Gold is a separate game that takes the core rules and philosophy of Trophy, and adapts them to be a more traditional, OSR-style adventure game. The existing Trophy tables will all be compatible with Trophy Gold—a fantastic resource for creating a campaign!