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.

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In a recent session of Hoard of the Dragon Queen, the players jumped on skis and whisked their way down the mountainside, pursued by the cultists’ elite ski troopers — dwarves armed with crossbows. Cue the James Bond music, please. A little DIY It was a chance to put into play the chase rules as detailed in the fifth edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. For the DIY crowd, the d20 chart in the DMG was easily adaptable to cards, which I always prefer for chases. I think […]

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Sometimes listening to a podcast is a little like eavesdropping on a conversation. The topic is so interesting you want to jump in and contribute. So it was when I was listening to a recent installment of “In Our Time” hosted by Melvyn Bragg for BBC4. The show regularly invites a panel of experts to have a discussion on a given subject, usually history and the humanities, but occasionally science. The episode that had me on my seat was on Beowulf, the poem about the […]

The Prince of Redhand, one of the great social encounter scenarios. (Dungeon 131, February 2006.

As I run almost exclusively in the d20 fantasy sphere of games — Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, d20 Modern — one of the tools that gets used often is a combat grid, whether it is a published or dry-erase footmat, HirstArts tiles of my construction or printed cardstock tiles. But should you use the grid for social encounters? You might think the default decision for social encounters is to never use the grid, reasoning that if the players aren’t focused on the table, then they […]

Start of the character themes section from the Neverwinter Campaign Setting. (Wizards of the Coast, 2011).

Depending on the experience level of the players gathered around your game table, one thing to keep in mind is that the array of class, race and faction choices available to them can be overwhelming — paralyzing, even.   Even in a standard fantasy game of elves, dwarves, humans and halflings playing wizards, fighters, clerics and thieves, new players will inevitably ask: “What’s the best choice?” It’s actually a hard question for GMs to answer. Mainly because the answer lies somewhere between the best choice […]

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Are your gaming sessions a little stale? Maybe what your table needs is a pie in the face. No, make that a mud pie. Fair warning: This advice may not work with your group. It may not even work with most groups. But maybe what you need is a bit of things you step in, go squish, and involve unwashed and unbraided hobbit feet. The appeal of gross-out humor might only be toward a slim segment of the gaming community. After all, things that make […]

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So I’m watching an episode of my new favorite TV show, “The Librarians,” which is about a D&D adventuring party …. (Oh, wait, I’m sorry — it’s really about these “librarians” — who fight bad magic on the side of good with John Laroquette offering sage advice from the sidelines.) And in this episode they need to make a pentagram to ward off the magic of that nameless sorceress from Arthurian Britain (hope that isn’t too spoilery). But hey, this is the modern world! How […]

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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. […]