Author: Troy E. Taylor

About Troy E. Taylor

Troy's happiest when up to his elbows in plaster molds and craft paint, creating terrain and detailing minis for his home game. A career journalist and Werecabbages freelancer, he also claims mastery of his kettle grill, from which he serves up pizza to his wife and three children.


In our GMing strangeness, we all have a pet monster. Some monster that appeals to us — and to be perfectly honest — to us alone. You bring out this monster and the players around the table may even roll their eyes, as if to say: “That thing, again.” It’s fair to say the flumph falls into this category. So do a lot of first edition Fiend Folio selections for the old guard players. The logic of the monster’s insertion into the story doesn’t even […]


As far as random generators go, here’s an oldie but a goody worth revisiting. GMs run the gamut when it comes to their appreciation for compiling random encounter charts. For some, it’s an hour well-spent, a selection of monsters and NPC’s that fits perfectly with the next adventure you plan on running. If the adventure is one you devised, then it further enforces your vision of the fantasy world you are presenting to the players. But even if it is a  published product, a custom […]


A tavern is more than a name or its bill of fare. It’s the folk inside. They’re the ones who belly up to the bar, order a round, risk all in a game of chance, grouse over a mug, join in a group song, do a little business, try to steal a kiss, concoct a scheme, agitate the rabble, debate politics, or seek refuge from the world’s troubles. And while the tavern’s name on the board outside or the general condition of the building might […]


If there’s one design element that’s in my wheelhouse as a game master, it’s designing NPCs of varied backgrounds and motivations. Being an avid reader of fiction and understanding the genre of a particular game help in crafting characters that the players at the table find engaging and memorable. So, yes. So long as I’m armed with a keyboard and my imagination, I’m usually in good shape. Besides, there’s that nifty little doorstop of a book, Masks: 1000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game, within […]

Crock Pot

When you write for a blog that emerged from the old Treasure Tables, you tend to be the sort that takes an old school approach to stocking dungeons.  Draw a map. Add monsters. Add dressing. Then last, add the treasure based on random results rolled from homemade d100 tables tucked away in a game master’s folder that you made for just that purpose. As an exercise, it might prove fruitful if a GM turned that process on its head. Take a look at your gaming […]

Crock Pot

What’s the old phrase? On a wing and a prayer? Flying can be dangerous business, even in fantasy adventures. But adventures set in the skies can be rewarding. Soaring into cloud cities. Reaching the mountain roosts of the most ancient creatures. Daring to step onto the hallowed ground of Mount Olympus. Brushing shoulders with titans and demigods. Dogfights against dragons and others who consider the sky their domain. For many GMs, the skies are uncharted territory. Setting adventures, or even a portion of an adventure […]


Looking for a change-of-pace scenario for a longstanding campaign? Consider an infiltration encounter that requires nonlethal solutions against friendly, or at least neutral, opponents. It’s the sort of single-session event that can satisfy a group that needs a break from the traditional kill the monster loot the dungeon routine. Players who’ve created combat monkeys might find their characters stretched to complete some of the tasks, but on the other hand, characters with noncombat skills will get the chance to shine. The setup: This can be […]