Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The reason nobody uses dinosaurs in D&D

It's because they're boring. I mean, sure, dinosaurs, cool, but at the end of the day they're just large bags of Hit Points with a bite attack. If they're really extravagant, they might have trample or a tail swipe. In a game with dragons, demons, wizards and weird monsters that just doesn't cut it.

So for those who want to use dinosaurs without their players yawning, here's a Random Dinosaur Mutation Table! It doesn't have as many entries as I'd like to see, so add your own one in the comments!

1 aura of silence – 75% for a few rounds at a  time,  20% for hours, 5% constantly
2 breathes fire
3 breathes frosty air blast
4 breathes mutagenic gas
5 burning blood – harms whoever inflicts close combat damage
6 commands other reptiles
7 feathered (or featherless, if otherwise typical theropod)
8 friendly – 50% to whoever is kind to it, 50% picks a friend and sticks with him to the point of being burdensome
9 giant
10 glittering feathers/scales – when moving in bright light, observers must save or be stunned
11 glows – 1 in 3 chance glow is radioactive or has magical effect
12 inorganic diet – 50% preferred diet is ferrous (armour, weapons), 50% prefers coins and/or treasure
13 invisible – 75% for a few rounds at a time, 20% for hours, 5% constantly
14 knows how to operate doorknobs, winches, levers, etc.
15 laser (or death energy) eyebeam
16 lulling song – 50% magical sleep effect
17 mind control – 50% short duration, direct „puppetmaster”, 50% long duration insinuator
18 miniature
19 multiple heads – 75% 2 heads, 25% 1d6+2 heads
20 non-reptilian animal head
21 religious – greatly respects: 20% the given land’s immortal ruler / 20% some god from the  God Coast / 20% a dinosaur deity / 15% the Olm / 15% Baratrón / 10% other
22 sound mimicry (like the Predator, it can mimic but doesn’t understand it)
23 primitive (tribal level) intelligence (50% it affects the entire herd/pack)
24 shapeshifter – 40% into similar-sized animals, 40% into inanimate objects or plants, 20% into humans (but doesn’t gain human intelligence)
25 spawn – miniature copies burst out from carcass
26 speaks
27 spellcaster
28 spits acid
29 spits hallucinogenic substance
30 spits poison
31 telekinesis – 50% weak, 40% strong enough to hurl people around, 10% collapses buildings
32 walks through walls
33 winged, can fly (though pretty clumsily if it’s a Tyrannosaurus or somesuch)
34 wreathed in flames
35 wreathed in frost
36 X-ray vision
37-50 several mutations, roll again twice and do NOT ignore this result in the future


  1. 37. Intelligent: roll 3d6 for Intelligence; can and will use weapons and minions if available.

  2. Also, this:

  3. 38. Gaseous form, as per the spell.

    Great ideas!

  4. Dinosaurs can be awesome for that "Lost World" sort of vibe.

    Also, dinosaurs are supposed to be captured and transported alive back to civilization. That is classic D&D, and it was classic fiction even before it was classic D&D.

    If no one is riding pterodactyls in your campaign, someone had better start riding pterodactyls ASAP.

    Young people today - they don't ride pterodactyls enough. What is the world coming to?

    1. It's a sad world where people don't ride pterosaurs :(

  5. nice blog, I included you on my OSR blog list