Want to throw your players for a complete loop? Just throw one of these guys at them! I once attacked my party with a T-Rex and my players were so confused that they forced me to show them the page and prove that I wasn’t making it up. They then shrunk the beast’s skull down and used it as a tool for intimidation.
I miss that campaign every day…
Now, technically there are six dinosaurs in this segment. But all of them are so light on lore and stats that I figured it’d be best to lump them all in together. Plus, only two of them have proper artwork attached, so I won’t be talking about their designs (they’re fantasy dinosaurs; if you’ve seen Jurassic Park, you already know what they look like). So this one shouldn’t take too long.
Thank God. I’ll have some variety before I talk about Dragons for twenty weeks.
Lore wise, these guys basically have none beyond being old reptiles. Each individual dinosaur’s flavor text just explains how they look and how they function; how fast they run, how they eat, etc. There is literally no potential for storytelling with what is given here. These guys are fodder enemies, meant to give the party something to kill while traveling between places.
Which… I mean… they do that job well, I suppose.
There are six of these guys in total, between the Allosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Plesiosaurus, Triceratops, Pteranodon, and the T-Rex. But in terms of stats, they’re all fairly similar. The only one with an AC higher than 13 is the Ankylosaurus and the only one that can attack more than once is the T-Rex. Their HP ranges wildly, as well as their damage numbers, so there’s plenty to set them apart.
Neither the Allosaurus nor the Ankylosaurus is all that dangerous, though they can do some serious damage given their levels. The Plesiosaurus is in the same boat, but it’s restricted to water, so you won’t use it that often (I managed to use it once and it was a ton of fun; I one-hit KO’d the party Paladin and he got really mad). The Pteranodon is so weak that even a level one wizard wouldn’t have a problem killing it. The only truly powerful ones are the Triceratops and the T-Rex. But even then, neither one will pose any challenge beyond a Level 5 party.
Sadly, you can’t really do anything interesting with a dinosaur fight. They boil down to ‘dinosaur shows up, the party fights it, move on’. Ultimately, the only real purpose of these monsters is to give the players something to kill. Unfortunately, it shows.
Is it cool to have dinosaurs in Dungeons and Dragons? Oh, fuck yeah! Unfortunately, they lack any substance beyond that. They’re just dinosaurs, plucked from real-life history and put into the game. There’s nothing creative or interesting beyond that.
With all that in mind, let’s put the dinosaurs on the Best of the Bestiary!
- Death Tyrant
- Death Knight
- Bone Devil
- Shadow Demon
- Animated Armor
- Pit Fiend
- Chain Devil
- Bearded Devil
- Barbed Devil
- Spined Devil
- Ice Devil
- Horned Devil
- Carrion Crawler
- Rug of Smothering
- Bugbear Chief
- Vine Blight
- Twig Blight
- Needle Blight
- Dinosaurs (All six of them) <——
- Flying Sword
- Crawling Claw
I grouped them all together because there isn’t enough to set them apart in any way. They all have extremely similar flavor text, stats, so on and so forth. As fun as they are, they don’t have any merit to put them any higher on the list.
In this series, I look for creativity in every aspect. Unfortunately, these guys don’t have it in any.