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How to unlock Thanatophobia, the almost impossible trophy, in Rogue Legacy

Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

Thought you had mastered the Castlevania-esque roguelike? Ha, not quite!

When Rogue Legacy drops on Sony's platforms this week, it'll contain all the features that have already arrived on PCs and Macs via Steam. But there is one brand new trophy that's been added. And it's brutal.

The trophy is called "Thanatophobia," or fear of dying. Here's the official description of how to unlock it: "WITHOUT using the Architect, complete the game dying 15 times or less."

Fans of Rogue Legacy will recall that the Architect is able to lock down the castle, preventing it from randomly generating each time you die. So you've essentially got 15 lives to make it through a constantly-shifting hellscape. As a point of comparison, my first playthrough on PC required nearly 100 deaths before I made it through the castle. Not pretty.

Teddy Lee, one of the creators of Rogue Legacy, spoke with Polygon over email about the specifics of the trophy and how it came to be.

"The way it works is that starting with a new file, you have to beat the game from the very beginning using 15 lives or less," Lee explained. That means you can't beat the game and start going for the trophy in New Game Plus. It has to be a completely fresh character.

"It's nice how the achievement ended up working," said Lee. "It makes you play the game in a much more Roguelike fashion while still keeping true to Rogue Legacy's permanency theme since you've more or less got 15 lives, and it enforces mastery of the game as a whole since you're punished if you cannot accommodate your playstyle for your character classes and traits."

Lee has managed to complete the trophy himself, with only six deaths, so it's definitely possible. But he also admits that it's a serious challenge, and was more than happy to provide a few handy tips to aid in the quest.


1) You'll want to min-max your free health potion usages (such as not breaking the statues by boss doors and teleporter rooms for their free HP/MP drops).

2) Get used to casting spells and class abilities. A lot of people forget about it, so learning to utilize MP is super important, especially against the bosses since some spells are crazy useful against them (boomerang vs Alexander, Giant sword vs Khidr, barbarian shout vs Ponce, etc).

3) Delve into the dungeons and tower early, and try to get some chests. If you can get a tier 5 sword drop, it's worth dumping like 10 points into Equip Up in order to carry a sword which will buff the crud out of your stats.

4) Kill mini-bosses often. They give you a lot of gold, and they're the easiest way to get gold chest drops if you can beat them consistently.

5) Plan how you want to level your dood.

6) Vertigo gives you +3 to gold gain, so it's not bad to run now if you need money.

7) Miner + dwarf + avoiding combat by using dwarf holes to get to all the chests racks in BILLIONS.

Speaking as a glutton for punishment, this trophy has my name written all over it.