View Full Version : New and Improved Dinosaurs (3.5, PEACH)

2012-08-18, 04:00 PM
Let's face it: The dinosaurs in the SRD are lame. They're big and they hit hard, but that's about it. Let's look at the Tyrannosaurus from the SRD: CR 8, lots of hit points, hits hard... and that's it. Compare that to a CR 7 monster, the Chaos Beast: it's literally a blob of pure chaos that can turn you into another blob of pure chaos. Or an Ogre Mage, also CR 8: various spells and spell-like abilities, interesting tactics, etc. Or compare that to a CR 8 player race with character levels. Of these four options, the Tyrannosaurus is the least interesting encounter. Not to mention that at level 8, the party Wizard can cast Fly, and the Tyrannosaurus is useless.

So, how do we make an encounter interesting? Easy: We make the monster more than just a bag of hit points that can hit in melee. We do this by giving it special abilities. This is easier said than done. We don't want our dinosaurs slinging spell-like abilities. I hope that I can keep the balance between "interesting" and "unrealistic".

So, without further ado, the first dinosaur overhaul:

Huge Animal
Hit Dice: 18d8+96 (177 hp)
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)
Initiative: +1
Armor Class: 14 (-2 size, +1 Dex, +5 natural); touch 9; flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +13/+30
Attack Standard Bite: +20 melee (3d6+13)
Full-Attack: Bite +20 melee (3d6+13)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved Grab, Swallow Whole, Roar
Special Qualities: Low Light Vision, Scent
Saves: Fort +16 Ref +12 Will +8
Abilities: Str 28, Dex 12, Con 21, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 10
Skills: Hide -2, Listen +14, Spot +14
Feats: Alertness, Improved Natural Attack (Bite), Toughness (2), Power Attack, Run, Track
Environment: Warm plains
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: X?
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always Neutral
Advancement: 19-36 HD (Huge); 37-54 HD (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: -

A Tyrannosaurus is the most feared of the carnivorous dinosaurs. Their roar can cause even the most hardened of warriors to flee, and their powerful jaws can cut through steel effortlessly.


A Tyrannosaurus begins combat by roaring. This is usually enough to send most creatures fleeing. The Tyrannosaurus will then charge after its prey and try to knock it down. Creatures that stand their ground are attacked in melee.

Improved Grab (Ex)
To use this ability, a tyrannosaurus must hit an opponent of up to one size smaller with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to swallow the foe the following round.

Swallow Whole (Ex)
A tyrannosaurus can try to swallow a grabbed opponent of up to two sizes smaller by making a successful grapple check. The swallowed creature takes 2d8+8 points of bludgeoning damage and 8 points of acid damage per round from the tyrannosaurusís gizzard. A swallowed creature can cut its way out by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to deal 25 points of damage to the gizzard (AC 12). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out.

A Huge tyrannosaurusís gizzard can hold 2 Medium, 8 Small, 32 Tiny, or 128 Diminutive or smaller opponents.

Roar (Ex)
As a Standard action, a Tyrannosaurus can produce a tremendous, earth-shaking roar. Any creature that can see the Tyrannosaurus and hears it roar must succeed on a DC 19 Will save (The DC is Strength based) or become Panicked for 1d4 rounds. A creature that succeeds on its saving throw is instead Shaken. A creature within 30 feet of the Tyrannosaurus must also roll a DC 19 Fortitude save (The DC is Strength based) or become Deafened for 1d4 rounds. Creatures that successfully save cannot be effected by the same Tyrannosaur's roar. Further, a Tyrannosaur's mouth is filled with decaying remnants of past meals. When the Tyrannosaurus roars, all living creatures (except Tyrannosaurs) within a 30 foot cone must succeed on a DC 15 Fortitude save or be sickened for 10 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based. Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same Tyrannosaurus' stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the effect from the sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are unaffected, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on their saving throws.

Tyrannosaurs are scary as hell. It stands to reason that a giant monster roaring at you should make you run away. I got the idea for the stench ability from the Jurassic Park novel. The Tyrannosaurus smells like rotting flesh. In the book, people about to be attacked by a Tyrannosaurus are usually frozen with fear. I think a paralyzing roar is too powerful, though; however, the description of "Panicked" states that if cornered, a Panicked creature will cower. If the Tyrannosaur's prey is within its threatened range and will provoke an Attack of Opportunity by fleeing, I'd be tempted to call that "cornered".

Thoughts: The T-Rex isn't a dinosaur that needs to many special abilities. It is, after all, mostly just a heavy hitter. I did give it Power Attack since its usual prey is going to be low-AC big dinosaurs. The Roar attack should give a T-Rex a good opening. I'd play him as an ambush hunter. If he catches most of the party with his opening roar, he should be able to do a decent amount of damage before they can take him out. Low will save melee types might flee, provoking an Attack of Opportunity. Mage types probably won't fail their Will saves, but might become Deaf long enough to stop them from casting a save-or-lose. A pair of Rexes should be an actual threat now.

More dinos coming soon, I promise!

2012-08-18, 04:24 PM
Size/Type: Medium Animal
Hit Dice: 4d8+16 (34 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 60 ft. (12 squares)
Armor Class: 17 (+2 Dex, +5 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+7
Attack: Talons +7 melee (1d8+4)
Full Attack: Talons +7 melee (1d8+4) and 2 foreclaws +2 melee (1d3+2) and bite +2 melee (2d4+2)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Pounce, Hamstring, Powerful Charge 1d6+4
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, Scent, Leap to Safety
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +2
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 15, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 10
Skills: Hide +12, Jump +26, Listen +10, Spot +10, Survival +10
Feats: Run, Track
Environment: Warm forests
Organization: Solitary, pair, or pack (4-8)
Challenge Rating: X?
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 5-8 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment: ó
A deinonychus is a small, stealthy dinosaur that hunts in packs. Together, a group of deinonychus can bring down prey much larger than they are.

A deinonychus uses a combination of speed, grasping forearms, large teeth, and hind legs with ripping talons. It hunts by running at prey, leaping, and ripping with its rear talons as it claws and bites. The talons count as one attack. A deinonychus has a relatively large brain for a dinosaur, and its pack hunts with cunning tactics.

Pounce (Ex)
If a deinonychus charges, it can make a full attack.

Hamstring (Ex)
If a deinonychus makes an attack that would qualify as a sneak attack, it can reduce its opponent's land speed by half. Other forms of movement (fly, burrow, and so forth) aren't affected. The speed reduction ends when the target receives healing (a successful Heal check, any cure spell, or other magical healing) or after 24 hours, whichever comes first. A hamstring attack does not slow creatures that are immune to sneak attack damage or those that have either no legs at all or more than four legs. It takes two successful hamstring attacks to affect a quadruped.

Powerful Charge (Ex)
When a deinonychus charges into combat, it deals extra damage.

Leap to Safety (Ex)
A deinonychus can use a Jump check instead of a Tumble check to move at half speed without provoking Attacks of Opportunity.

A deinonychus has a +8 racial bonus on Hide, Jump, Listen, Spot, and Survival checks.

This is a dinosaur that depends on badass special moves a lot more than the Tyrannosaur. I gave it Powerful Charge and Leap to Safety in order to encourage hit-and-run tactics: If a pack of eight attacks the PCs, a few should charge in (Hamstringing if they can), take a round of punishment, and then use Leap to Safety to escape into cover while the other pack members leap in. Alternatively, the pack can use Leap to Safety in order to place themselves strategically to allow maximum flanking.

2012-08-19, 09:37 PM
This is awesome. Keep up the good work.