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.

Crock Pot

One legacy of the game’s origins is a dungeon laid out on a grid: A collection of rooms, hallways and doors drawn out on an 11- x 8-inch sheet of cyan lined paper. Good fun to be certain. But talk to a geologist. A feature of natural terrain are vertical shafts, carved from the rock by volcanic lava tubes or eroded away by water and gravity. And let’s not forget the activities of human beings, who dig wells for that most precious resource of water […]


Looking for that hook to make your character “come alive” at the game table? Players and Game Masters can lift what they need to portray a PC or NPC straight off their character sheets. Yes, the cues you need are right there in that stat sheet of words and numbers.  Writing up back stories or using detailed character generators can be useful approaches. But when time doesn’t allow for that, don’t fret. The character sheet should already have sufficient material that you can use to […]

Crock Pot

OK Game Masters, here’s the chance to drop something on your characters’ collective heads as you design your next adventure. Have a few obstacles fall from the sky and see how your players react. The reason it works is because many folks at the table aren’t expecting it. They’re looking for the next monster to come through the door. They’re less prepared for things that go clunk and splat from above. In fact, some may even cry foul. (Aren’t the complaints of players music to […]


As GMs, we’re called upon to portray every monster and every nonplayer character — which is part of the fun, of course. Superficially, that means dictating their actions in combat and providing their dialog when they are addressed directly. But in a dungeon environment — the setting for many adventures — is there a little more to it? I mean, as a sane person, I can’t envision what mental impetus would drive a wizard, evil priest or warlord to establish their base in a maze of […]


In the James Fenimore Cooper novel “The Pathfinder, or The Inland Sea,” which is one of the Leatherstocking Tales, the party sets out for Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario. The group that accompanies the Pathfinder, master of the long rifle, nearly sounds like the quintessential adventuring party. (There is the scout, Arrowhead, his wife, Dew-of-June, the wise warrior Chingachgook, the old salt Charles Cap, a freshwater sailor Jasper Western and the fetching Mabel.) Early in the trek, they face a dilemma when they reach the […]


One of the things that made Planescape work, flavor-wise, was the cant. The designers had incorporated the rhyming slang of 19th century old world thievery and made it a part of the way NPCs spoke. Our friend and kobold rival Wolfgang Baur did something similar in The Book of Roguish Luck, a sourcebook he designed for Malhavoc Press back in 2005. As part of the creation of a new class, the gutter mage, an impromptu street-educated magic user, he gave new names to the standard […]

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New games usually offer only a modest selection of monsters — dictated either by the limitations imposed by publishing (such as with an all-in-one game book’s self-imposed page limit) or because the game has, at least initially, a narrow thematic focus. That bring us to D&D Next, which recently made its final playtest packet available for download. The next iteration of Dungeons and Dragons does not seem so constrained. While it remains to be seen what D&D Next will offer in the range of monsters […]