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.

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 […]

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 […]