The Trove is a piracy and archive website that stored pdf files of Dungeons and Dragons books, documents, and other resources.
What happened to the Trove website?
The Trove website is offline. Trove is a piracy website that has been inaccessible since June 2021. Although Trove released a statement claiming front-end technical difficulties, the website remains unavailable on Google. The site was allegedly shut down due to intellectual property allegations.
In this article, we’ll explore everything we know about what happened to the Trove.
Did One Person Get the Trove Shut Down?
There were probably many individuals and companies that reported Trove for piracy.
Daniel D. Fox, Executive Creative Director of games at Andrews McMeel Publishing—the company behind the Zweihander Role Playing Game (RPG)—is likely one person at least partially responsible for getting the Trove shut down.
There are plenty of correlational anecdotes showing his involvement in the downfall of Trove.
For example, Fox wrote a Medium article titled, On TTRPG Piracy of Books, Consent, and The Trove.
In his article, Fox is not kind to the Trove.
He describes the practice of pirating documents from hard-working creators as unethical and harmful.
I can’t say that I disagree with him.
The main image for his Medium article is a screenshot of a 503 Service Unavailable message for TheTrove.is.
On his Twitter account (@ZweihanderRPG) Fox also tweeted about the need to oust sites like the Trove.
In one tweet on September 25, 2020, he said:
If you truly care about the #ttrpg industry: creators, artists, editors and producers, you will immediately report @/TeamTrove to Twitter.
The Trove has pirated incalculable RPGs over the years. Cost indie creators $$$. Monetizes its site with ads. And needs to be shut down.
On February 22, 2021, he tweeted about Trove’s Twitter account (@TeamTrove) being suspended.
Clearly, Fox was a vocal opponent of Trove.
If you read through the comment thread on his Twitter account, you’ll see people who supported Trove and people who agreed that the site should be shut down for piracy.
What Happened to the Trove? (YouTube Video Update)
In June of 2021, the Tenkar’s Tavern YouTube channel released a video update on what happened to the Trove.
You can watch the video below.
This video update is one of the last mentions of the Trove on YouTube that I could find.
In the video, the creator shares two juicy updates:
- An IP lawyer might be involved in shutting down the Trove
- Inside contacts at The Trove said that the backend files were still available
An IP lawyer is a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property law.
The fact that an IP lawyer is potentially involved in shutting down the Trove could be a sign that efforts to get the site shut down were successful.
It could also mean that Google got wind of the piracy on the Trove.
Either way, it is likely that an IP lawyer is involved.
The second update is also significant. If the backend files are still available, it’s possible that the site could come back at some point.
Many users of the site would be happy because they had no other way of accessing certain older Dungeons and Dragons books or materials. Many former site users say that they would happily purchase these materials if they were available elsewhere.
At the time of the video, Tenkar’s Tavern also suggested that the Trove was still accessible by email.
I was not able to validate this finding in my research.
Here is the video update from Tenkar’s Tavern in case you want to watch it:
What Happened to the Trove? (Wayback Machine)
The Wayback Machine is a digital archive that stores snapshots of websites over time.
When I checked the site myself, the Wayback Machine currently possesses 920 snapshots of TheTrove.is.
This means that the site was indexed by the Wayback Machine before it went offline in 2020. According to one snapshot from June 4th, 2021, the Trove operated from 2015 to 2020.
Of course, it actually ran through part of June 2021.
The earliest snapshot of the site available on the Wayback Machine is from September 2020.
Unfortunately, the archive does not inform us why the Trove is no longer in operation.
If you’re wondering if you can still download files from the Wayback snapshots, I don’t recommend trying.
It’s still piracy and I can’t, in good faith, promote it.
I will say that many of the links don’t seem to work, anyway.
What Happened to The Trove? (Trove Mirror)
Mirroring a website means copying it and hosting the copy on a different server.
This is often done for legal reasons.
For example, if a website contains copyrighted material, the owner of the copyright may order the site to be taken down.
If the site is popular, people may want to access the content even after it’s been taken down.
In these cases, a mirror of the website may be set up.
This is what happened with the Trove.
There are currently mirrored versions of the site that I could find online. I won’t link to the mirrored repositories here but they are easy enough to find with a simple Google search.
As with any mirrored site, be careful what you download.
You could unintentionally open our computer to harmal viruses, malware, or other risks.
I also want to reiterate that piracy is illegal.
Even if the original site is no longer in operation, downloading pirated content is still questionably unethical and possibly against the law.
Is The Trove Gone Forever?
At this point, it’s hard to say.
The Trove was a site that was well-known for pirating documents from RPG creators and companies.
This piracy allegedly cost some creators a lot of money and the Trove profited off of display ads.
Theoretically, the site could come back at some point in the future.
There is no easy or verifiable way to predict whether this will happen. However, the site seems to remain shut down since June of 2021. Close to a year later, it is still not back in operation.
That’s not a very good sign.
The longer the site is down, the more likely it is that it will not come back.
It’s possible that we may never truly know what actually happened to the Trove.
My Thoughts On What Happened to the Trove
Personally, I never used the Trove but I understand why people did.
It served a source of older RPG materials, especially Dungeons and Dragons-related stuff.
I know many avid D&D fans who frequented the site.
And not all of them wanted to get D&D materials for free. Many either accessed hard-to-find books or resources.
Others previewed pdfs before purchasing the original source material from other sites like Amazon or DM’s Guild.
I can see the value of previews and accessibility.
Hopefully, another site without piracy issues will rise to replace the Trove.
Until then, here is a chart where you can find some of the core D&D materials:
|Recommended D&D Resources||Price|
|D&D Core Rulebook Set||Check the latest price|
|D&D Rules Expansion Set||Check the latest price|
|D&D Dice Set||Check the latest price|
|D&D Accessories Bag||Check the latest price|