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.

GMingAdvice05

In the spirit of “you can never have enough five-room dungeon posts,” here’s a 5-step mini-quest using the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. For reference, check out these past posts by myself and Matthew J. Neagley on the utility and craft behind the five-room dungeon. This one will use the Moose layout, though it can be adapted to the Evil Mule. Setup Family and friends of Dionysus worshipers approach the PCs, requesting they intercede in a planned bacchanal, orchestrated by wicked maenad Calepida. […]

GMingAdvice012

Incorporating elements of the supernatural into my games has never been a strength of mine. I have to make a conscious effort to dip into that well. In most of the fantasy-style games I run, there are enough flesh and blood beasts, demons and devils to keep adventurers busy. But haunts and spirits are great for creating mood or for using as markers to point player characters in a certain direction. I need to utilize them more. To school myself in the gaming possibilities of […]

GMingAdvice04

Veteran game masters might fall into the trap of viewing every monster in terms of its hit dice and combat capabilities. It’s too easy to just plug in a monster that matches the requisite challenge rating, call for initiative, and play on. Resist that urge. Freshen up those monsters. Every time your group rolls up new player characters or you start a new campaign, you have a chance to make those familiar entries in the Monster Manual new again — legendary even. The key is […]

GMingAdvice04

On the map, those entrances to a dungeon level look so innocuous: Hash marks to indicate a stairwell, a stylized ‘H’ for a ladder, a curving arrow for a slide. But dungeon-delving adventurers should be wary. There’s no better place for a monster to call home than at the doorway to another dungeon level. After all, what monster doesn’t want to be first in line at the buffet? Even game masters working from published game modules should take note to tweak those adventures by adding […]

Crock Pot

Oh, those patron higher powers. So prickly. So judgmental. So demanding. And when a GM has to portray a boss, patron, king, devil or god, by what means does she use to evaluate a character’s devotion to a particular ideal — then act accordingly? Is the cleric’s faith strong enough? Is the paladin’s heart pure enough? Is the monk’s mind in tune? Are the druid and ranger at one with the environment? And what of other characters? Is the warlock abiding by the infernal contract? […]

Crock Pot

The adventuring party’s raid on the abandoned temple was successful. They rousted the bandits and defeated the wight and the other skeletal defenders. A thorough search of the building revealed many treasures, some mundane, some with divine magic. This d20 chart has a list of treasures you might find in the ruins of a temple or in a crypt. (In parentheses is a magical enhancement — using the D&D 5th edition cleric spell list — for the item, if you wish to make it one.) […]

GMingAdvice04

Thanks to Dungeons & Dragons and Tolkien, the fantasy baseline of “demihumans” (as we used to call them back in the day) were dwarves, elves and halflings. You create a fantasy setting, and there is either an expectation or casual acceptance that those three player races are in it. But let’s wipe that board clean. Let’s imagine a new fantasy world. What races could — or should — we include? Now this is one of those nice thought experiments you can do at home with your […]