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

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 […]

Crock Pot

So my son asks, after I’ve been the GM for the second session of Hoard of the Dragon Queen, ‘Where’s the treasure?’” “We really need to find some treasure,” he continues. “I wanna buy that thing that will let me shoot an arrow with a line so we can climb up walls.” “You mean, some kind of grappling line?” “Yeah. But my rope is too heavy for an arrow.” Yes, it is. “I might need a crossbow, too.” That would be handy, I agree. “That […]

GMingAdvice05

One need not be an accomplished author to be a GM, but there is overlap, certainly. Both professions have stories to tell, an audience that awaits the description of the next scene. I recall running an adventure from The Wheel of Time campaign years ago. I needed a  description of a Borderlands fortress that the party was approaching.  The game was based on the fantasy novel series by Robert Jordan, so instead of writing something myself, I grabbed the first novel, The Eye of the World, and […]

GMingAdvice04

Do you have a party of player characters that hit a dungeon like a well-trained SWAT unit? This is a party that moves through corridors and chambers like a well-oiled machine, muscling past lesser challenges and traps with speed and efficiency. These folk blow down doors and don’t stop to loot the place until the big bad is dispatched. While that level of competency is to be encouraged and applauded, a good GM should prepare a counter to this tactic if there is a story need […]

GMingAdvice04

What’s more realistic? A group of heroes waits in a tavern until adventure finds them … … or a rich, well-connected patron provides them with the means to set out on the next adventure? As cliched as both options can be, I’ve been rethinking my aversion to using the patron as a means of hooking into an adventure. What’s caused this change of heart? I’m reading David Grann’s story of Victorian-era British explorer Percy Fawcett and his lifelong quest for “The Lost City of Z.” […]

GMingAdvice012

A well-utilized signature monster can drive a campaign for a long time. The monster doesn’t necessarily need any exceptional abilities to be compelling. For example, savage orcs move the adventures along in Middle Earth and skulking goblins jump start things in Golarian. There is something very basic in this approach, as the enduring popularity of zombie movies shows. Many players find appealing the idea of brightly shining heroes beating back hordes of brutes that are parodies of true men. Not all monsters are outwardly monstrous. […]