Pacts in Trophy Gold
8 min read

Pacts in Trophy Gold

The Pact Roll introduces a mechanic to Trophy Gold that let’s 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.

Pact Roll

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.

Thirteen Pact-makers

The Black Blade

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.

The Black Blade is skilled in fear, murder, physiology and undeath. While satisfying the terms of the pact, it may be used as a weapon without increasing the bearer’s Burdens.

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.

Tlasuth is skilled in birds, contracts, consorting and glamour. They know the Rituals desire (understand someone’s deepest desire as your own) and invert (lies sound like truth and truth sounds like lies).

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.

Heron is skilled in archeology, monsters, rituals and time. He knows the Rituals scry (gaze into a reflective surface to receive a memory of another time or place), materialize (conjure a simple, handheld object) and exuviate (molt your skin to heal 1 Condition).

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.

Gameta is skilled in allegories, hunting, teamwork and winter. It knows the Ritual call (summon a wolf from a nearby shadow). While satisfying the terms of the pact, your sense of smell is sharpened.

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.

One of the small gods is skilled in folklore, memories, nature and survival. They know the Ritual bloom (accelerate the growth of plant life in a small area). While satisfying the terms of the pact, you have a seventh backpack slot.

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.

Bimulla is skilled in currency, funerals, travel and waterways. They know the Rituals cross (walk across the surface of water) and peer (momentarily see any spirits in the area).

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.

Hemmeh is skilled in astronomy, divination, double-talk and patronage. While satisfying the terms of the pact, you may roll a die before going on an incursion: you can replace any result with the result you rolled as long as you can relate the murky dream that gave you this foreknowledge to the situation at hand.

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.

Taborath is skilled in insects, perseverance, rumors and treasure. While satisfying the terms of the pact, you may treat Taborath as any amount of Coin for anything but your Hoard.

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 spirit who refuses to pass is skilled in duty, languages, revenge and vigilance. They know the Ritual speak (you may converse with the undead). While satisfying the terms of the pact, you may assign a Condition you receive to the spirit. (The spirit can hold three Conditions and, to clear them, you must do something for the spirit.)

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 merchant prince is skilled in burdens, coin, debt and trade. While satisfying the terms of the pact, you do not need to pay for quotidian services (transportation, room and board, etc.)

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.

The eldest tree is skilled in ecology, endurance, seasons and time. It knows the Rituals forecast (learn what the weather will be until the next day) and feign (appear dead for a brief time). While satisfying the terms of the pact, when your Ruin reaches 6, you can return to life by increasing your starting Ruin by 1. If your starting Ruin would be 6, you cannot return to life.

Snake-Tongued Meliira

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.

Meliira is skilled in culture, hierarchy, secrets and seduction. She knows the Rituals glare (paralyze someone as long as you hold their gaze) and surmise (learn a named monster’s Weakness).

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.

Iosis is skilled in alchemy, elements, philosophy and rituals. They know the Rituals migrate (briefly travel outside of your body to visit another place) and purify (strip apart alloys or other mixed materials into their base components).