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Thread: Dinosaurs!

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    Default Dinosaurs!

    Dinosaurs were always among my favorite animals growing up.
    Perusing the Monster Manual, I always found the dinosaurs therein to be rather lacking, so here's some revised ones and maybe some new ones.

    Hope you like/love dinosaurs!

    Tyrannosaurus Rex
    Deinonychus
    Triceratops


    By Nathan Rosario

    Tyrannosaurus Rex
    Gargantuan Animal

    Hit Dice: 18d8+126 (207 hp)
    Initiative: +5 (+1 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
    Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
    Armor Class: 16 (-4 size, +1 Dex, +9 natural), touch 7, flat-footed 20
    Base Attack/Grapple: +13/+41
    Attack: Bite +24 melee (4d6+20)
    Full Attack: Bite +24 melee (4d6+20)
    Space/Reach: 20 ft./20 ft.
    Special Attacks: Crushing bite, frightful roar, improved grab, swallow whole
    Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
    Saves: Fort +19, Ref +13, Will +8
    Abilities: Str 34, Dex 12, Con 25, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 10
    Skills: Hide +0, Listen +19, Spot +19, Survival +10
    Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Run, Snatch, Track, Weapon Focus (bite), Weapon Specialization (bite)
    Environment: Any terrain barring glacial
    Organization: Solitary or pair
    Challenge Rating: 10
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always neutral
    Advancement: 19-36 HD (Gargantuan); 37-54 HD (Colossal)
    Level Adjustment:

    Tyrannosaurus rex (L. tyrant lizard) ranks among the largest of all land carnivores. Scholars have speculated from both observation and skeletal remains that it may have measured up to 42 feet long and weighed up to a massive 7 tons; and is generally regarded as an apex predator. However, despite its enormous size and massive bulk, tyrannosaurus appears to have been a fast runner. This notwithstanding, evidence suggests that tyrannosaurus would have willingly consumed carrion, relying on its incredible constitution to protect itself from harmful bacteria and diseases.

    Measurements taken from deceased remains applied with liberal applications of gentle repose have yielded skull lengths of up to 6 feet and wickedly serrated teeth; the longest measuring up to 12 inches. Scholars theorise from studying the creature at length that it possesses unusually good binocular vision.

    Scholars believe that tyrannosaurus has the single most powerful bite of any terrestrial creature, that its teeth alone could exert a crushing force of more than 3,000 pounds. This indicates that its bite is so staggeringly powerful that it can impact bone; as evidenced in indentations left on the skeletons of consumed prey.

    Combat

    Crushing Bite (Ex): Any time that a tyrannosaurus successfully wins a grapple check against an opponent, it may deliver it's staggeringly powerful bite on its victim. A tyrannosaurus deals triple bite damage on a critical hit and its bite is strong enough to ignore the hardness of objects. The crushing bite exerts such immense force that it resolves as a melee touch attack.

    Frightful Roar (Ex): A tyrannosaurus is capable of unleashing a thunderous roar every 1d4 rounds up to a radius of 60 feet, its very sound unsettling foes. Opponents with fewer HD than it and who fail a Will DC 24 check may become frightened for 4d6 rounds.

    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 start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it grapples its foe, it can attempt to swallow the creature the next 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 tyrannosaurus' 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 14). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out.

    A Gargantuan tyrannosaurus' gizzard can hold 2 Large, 8 Medium, 32 Small, or 128 Tiny or 512 Diminutive or smaller opponents.

    Skills
    A tyrannosaurus has a +8 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks.
    Last edited by Amiel; 2009-07-26 at 08:30 AM.
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    Thumbs up Re: Dinosaurs!

    I think you've captured the T.Rex a bit better than did the MM; especially since this seems to reflect what I read on Wikipedia.



    Debby
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    Yep. Spinosaurus (MM2) is way bigger than Big T? No way. See if you can do more.
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    Spinosaurus is bigger (longer, heavier) just not "way bigger".

    Size categories are a bit wide- T-rex can justifiably be put in both Huge and Gargantuan.

    (weight-wise, being comparable to a big elephant which is Huge,
    length-wise, comparable to a fairly large whale (Gargantuan).

    4th ed "rex equivalent" the Huge drake in MM2, has Roar and tail strike- maybe a tail strike would fit here?
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2009-07-16 at 04:29 PM.
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    I don't think a T-Rex can use its tail to attack. It has to use its tail to balance with -- especially since it has an oversized head. That's what keeps it from being a non-flying dragon.

    Debby
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    I don't think a T-Rex can use its tail to attack. It has to use its tail to balance with -- especially since it has an oversized head. That's what keeps it from being a non-flying dragon.

    Debby
    Agreed. And I thought I was the only person who remembered dino trivia from his/her youth. (More or less.)

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Spinosaurus is bigger (longer, heavier) just not "way bigger"
    Never disagreed. Also, proper punctuation is nice.
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    Yes it is. But occasionally, one forgets full stops when putting separate sections up.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2009-07-16 at 04:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Yes it is. But occasionally, one forgets full stops when putting separate sections up.
    Fair enough. Forgiven, ye whose avatar is also lawful.
    I'm the GWG from Bay12 and a bunch of other places.

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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    I toughened up my T-Rexes as well to be a bit more realistic. Increased the damage die to 4d6 for Huge, gave them a natural threat range of 18 for bite, improved critical(bite) as a bonus feat with a x3 crit. Also, a creature that's two size categories smaller or more is affected by Frightful Presence (DC 10 + 1/2 racial HD + Cha modifier), 5 HD or lower panicked for 4d6 rounds, higher than 5 shaken. Thoughts on this?

    Also, you might want to tweak the crushing bite thing. Yes, T-Rex could bite through a car, but if it were to bite an adamantine car...

    Edit: Actually...

    Tyrannosaurus
    Size/Type: Huge Animal
    Hit Dice: 18d8+108 (198 hp)
    Initiative: +1
    Speed: 50 ft. (8 squares)
    Armor Class: 18 (-2 size, +1 Dex, +9 natural)
    Base Attack/Grapple: +13/+31
    Attack: Bite +22 melee (4d8+15)
    Full Attack: Bite +22 melee (4d8+15)
    Space/Reach: 15 ft./10 ft.
    Special Attacks: Improved grab, swallow whole, Deadly bite
    Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
    Saves: Fort +17, Ref +12, Will +8
    Abilities: Str 31, Dex 12, Con 23, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 10
    Skills: Hide -2, Listen +14, Spot +14
    Feats: Alertness, Improved Natural Attack (bite)B, Improved Critical (bite)B, Run, Toughness (3), Track, Weapon Focus (Bite)
    Environment: Warm plains
    Organization: Solitary or family (1 plus 1-3 offspring)
    Challenge Rating: 10
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always neutral
    Advancement: 19-36 HD (Huge); 37-48 HD (Gargantuan)
    Level Adjustment:

    Despite its enormous size and 6-ton weight, a tyrannosaurus is a swift runner. Its head is nearly 6 feet long, and its teeth are from 3 to 6 inches in length. It is slightly more than 30 feet long from nose to tail but can grow up to 40 feet.

    Combat
    A tyrannosaurus pursues and eats just about anything it sees. Its tactics are simple—charge in and bite.

    A tyrannosaurus' bite attack has a natural threat range of 18-20 x3.

    Deadly bite (Ex):
    A tyrannosaurus's bite attack has the same effect as a Wounding weapon, dealing 1 Constitution damage from blood loss per successful attack. Critical hits do not multiply this damage.

    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 either maintain the hold, dealing additional bite damage the next round and each round it maintains the hold, or 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 tyrannosaurus's 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 tyrannosaurus's gizzard can hold 2 Medium, 8 Small, 32 Tiny, or 128 Dimunitive or smaller opponents.

    Skills: A tyrannosaurus has a +2 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks.

    Without Improved Natural Attack, the core T-Rex would be doing a pathetic 2d6 with its bite. I increased the base damage to 1d10, which is 3d8 for Huge, 4d8 for Gargantuan. A Gargantuan T-Rex would be upgraded to a 6d8 bite.

    They have a 50 ft. movement speed because with the addition of my method of calculating speed, it ends up being very close to the maximum speed a Tyrannosaurus was able to move based on research, up to 19 mph.

    As a side note, I noticed your Tyrannosaur's skills are a little funky. It has 21 skill points, and if it were Gargantuan, it would have a -12 Hide modifier. As is, your dino has 43 skill points.
    Last edited by Jergmo; 2009-07-16 at 10:45 PM.


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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    I think its bite it a bit too much at 4d8; that's tougher than a dragon's bite for the same size. Comparatively speaking, dragons should still be bigger and badder than dinosaurs.

    Debby
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    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    I think its bite it a bit too much at 4d8; that's tougher than a dragon's bite for the same size. Comparatively speaking, dragons should still be bigger and badder than dinosaurs.

    Debby
    Aha, but there were bigger dinosaurs than the Tyrannosaurus, and their PSI didn't come close.

    Tyrannosaurus: 40-50,000 PSI
    Gigantosaurus: 18,000 PSI

    Plus, dragon's have higher natural armor, flight, better reach, natural spellcasting, damage reduction/magic...five natural attacks per round on a full attack...if it wanted to, the dragon could also take Improved Natural Attack(Bite)
    Last edited by Jergmo; 2009-07-16 at 10:49 PM.


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    DM: "Sunder the wall?! WT**** kind of tactics are these!?"
    Me: The kind that armies have been using for millennia.
    DM: They didn't do it with swords!
    Me: Which makes us so much cooler.

    Player: Where are the babau in relation to everyone else?
    Me: They're right behind you. Vesil is covered in Loki's blood. That is their location in relation to you.
    Player: I was just wondering about a fireball.

    My Homebrew

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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    I think you've captured the T.Rex a bit better than did the MM; especially since this seems to reflect what I read on Wikipedia.



    Debby
    Thanks, Debby! :)

    Yeah, I wanted these stats/mechanics and any following stats of other dinosaurs to reflect facts collated from scientific dissertations and discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Yep. Spinosaurus (MM2) is way bigger than Big T? No way. See if you can do more.
    Actually, as hamishspence said, Spinosaurus is indeed bigger than Tyrannosaurus. Incidently, science seems to support the 'way bigger' position. In fact, the smallest spinosaurus would probably have had the same measurements as the largest tyrannosaurus; give or take.

    The longest theropods are as follows:
    • 1 Spinosaurus: 14.3-18 m (46.9-59.1 ft)
      2 Carcharodontosaurus: 12-13.2 m (39-43.5 ft)
      3 Giganotosaurus: 12.5 (41 ft)
      4 Tyrannosaurus: 12-13 m (39.3-42.6 ft)

    and so on and so forth

    I would actually like to complete other dinosaurs; with the dinosaurs in the MM preceding any new ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Size categories are a bit wide- T-rex can justifiably be put in both Huge and Gargantuan.
    All books, and cross-checking with scientific papers, I've read indicates the smallest tyrannosaurus began length measurements at 33 feet thereabouts, which is within the Gargantuan size category; Osteology of Tyrannosaurus rex, a research paper, instead begins length measurements at 39 feet. If one were to factor degree of error, conservative estimates, and such into the equation, 33 feet seems to be a nice nadir.

    A footprint imprinted on terrain that was once vegetated wetland mudflat yielded measurements of 83 centimetres (33 in) long by 71 centimetres (28 in) wide.

    You know, I actually believe WotC chose to purposely chumpify the tyrannosaurus and the other dinosaurs in the MM.

    (weight-wise, being comparable to a big elephant which is Huge,
    length-wise, comparable to a fairly large whale (Gargantuan).
    If a Gargantuan bipedal predator weighs as much as an equivalent herbivore quadruped or a fairly large whale, or even an elephant, there'd be something seriously wrong :p. Tyrannosaurus seems to have been built for speed foremost, which underpins the 'predators need to run - exert physical effort - to hunt their prey, while plant-eaters can remain relatively stationary for extended periods of time.' In other words, a bipedal predator or even quadrupedal predator need not and should not weigh similarly to a quadrupedal herbivore of equivalent size.

    4th ed "rex equivalent" the Huge drake in MM2, has Roar and tail strike- maybe a tail strike would fit here?
    Debby answered this one nicely. A tail strike or tail slap is going to unbalance it, especially since its forearms are so ridiculously short as to be next-to-useless; their only use seems to be to support itself upright from a horizontal position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jergmo View Post
    I toughened up my T-Rexes as well to be a bit more realistic. Increased the damage die to 4d6 for Huge, gave them a natural threat range of 18 for bite, improved critical(bite) as a bonus feat with a x3 crit. Also, a creature that's two size categories smaller or more is affected by Frightful Presence (DC 10 + 1/2 racial HD + Cha modifier), 5 HD or lower panicked for 4d6 rounds, higher than 5 shaken. Thoughts on this?
    I agree with Debby that 4d8 bite damage is a bit too much, especially for a Huge creature; it was the force of the bite rather than the base damage of the bite that was so overpowering. Were it Gargantuan, perhaps 4d8 would be appropriate for inclusion; with 4d8 you're looking at the equivalent of a Colossal dragon.

    Regarding the frightful presence, I would actually tie that in with another ability/quality. It's not the physical presence or (frightful) actions of dinosaurs, and tyrannosaurus in particular, that make them frightening, it's that thundering, tremendous roar.

    Despite Jurassic Park being unrealistic in its portrayal of dinosaurs, you may note that tyrannosaurus did not inspire dread or fear through force of presence alone, it was its roar that set them fleeing.

    Also, you might want to tweak the crushing bite thing. Yes, T-Rex could bite through a car, but if it were to bite an adamantine car...
    There was a program that compared the various attributes of various dinosaurs, and it was discovered that T-Rex could chomp through the solid metal frame of a car. And heh, it was an attempt to duplicate the crushing force of its bite. Perhaps ignoring ten points of hardness of adamantine objects as opposed to fully ignoring hardness?

    Without Improved Natural Attack, the core T-Rex would be doing a pathetic 2d6 with its bite. I increased the base damage to 1d10, which is 3d8 for Huge, 4d8 for Gargantuan. A Gargantuan T-Rex would be upgraded to a 6d8 bite.
    I would definitely think that 6d8 bite damage for a Gargantuan tyrannosaurus is definitely too much.
    Were you so inclined, you could say that since its bite exerts so much force, Improved Natural Attack is not needed but base damage would be the same number if it had Improved Natural Attack. This way, you could spend the feat on something else and duplicate its crushing bite :)

    They have a 50 ft. movement speed because with the addition of my method of calculating speed, it ends up being very close to the maximum speed a Tyrannosaurus was able to move based on research, up to 19 mph.
    The Run feat nets you a five multiplier increase to run speed; which for your tyrannosaurus would be: 250 feet. O_O. Did it actually run that fast?

    As a side note, I noticed your Tyrannosaur's skills are a little funky. It has 21 skill points, and if it were Gargantuan, it would have a -12 Hide modifier. As is, your dino has 43 skill points.
    Heh, yeah. I found the penalty of negative Int to skill points rather silly. The skill points were calculated according to a modifier of +0.
    Alternatively, I could give T-Rex a +8 racial bonus to Listen and Spot.
    Last edited by Amiel; 2009-07-17 at 06:40 AM.
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    By jigoku-no-son

    Deinonychus
    Large Animal
    Hit Dice: 4d8+16 (34 hp)
    Initiative: +2
    Speed: 60 ft. (12 squares)
    Armor Class: 18 (-1 size, +2 Dex, +7 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 19
    Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+13
    Attack: Bite +8 melee (2d6+6)
    Full Attack: Bite +8 melee (2d6+6) and 2 claws +3 melee (1d4+3)
    Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
    Special Attacks: Improved grab, pounce, rake
    Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
    Saves: Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +2
    Abilities: Str 23, Dex 15, Con 23, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 10
    Skills: Hide +10, Jump +28, Listen +10, Move Silently +10, Spot +10, Survival +10
    Feats: Run, Track
    Environment: Warm forests, floodplains, open plains or savannah
    Organization: Solitary, pair, or pack (3-6)
    Challenge Rating: 3
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always neutral
    Advancement: 5-8 HD (Large), 9-12 HD (Huge)
    Level Adjustment:

    Deinonychus (L. terrible claw) is a deceptively agile predator. Belying its great size - scholars contend that deinonychus grew to a length of at least 10 feet or more - increasing evidence from field observation suggests that deinonychus was capable of ambushing prey with a remarkable lightness of tread and frightening speed; and willingly accelerating to chase down prey in the event of any failed ambuscade.

    Considered by sages to possess a greater intelligence than most dinosaurs, deinonychus appears to greatly favor stalking runs and stealthy ambushes.

    One of the most terrifying examples was the ordeal suffered by a druid loremaster who sought to study these creatures in their native environment.
    This venerable sage was shadowed for an age to determine any weakness before being subjected to an ambush. He asserts that the attack came not from the front but from the side, two simultaneous powerful charges from opposite directions onto the one target. He firmly believes that the spearhead, the only visible dinosaur was a decoy, a lure to distract and to deceive.

    It is precisely this tactic that scholars accept as the greatest evidence of deinonychus working in packs, going so far to suggest that like wolves, deinonychus depended on and was rewarded by functioning as a group. Combining its intelligence and capability of teamwork, this would made deinonychus a frighteningly dangerous predator.

    Combat

    Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a deinonychus must hit an opponent with its bite attack. It can then start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it grapples its foe, it can attempt to rake the creature the following round. Unlike other instances of improved grab, a deinonychus may use this ability against foes of up to two sizes larger.

    Pounce (Ex): If a deinonychus charges, it can make a full attack, including two rake attacks.

    Rake (Ex): A deinoncycus that pounces onto a creature can make two rake attacks with its strong, wickedly curved sickle claws. Attack bonus +8 melee, damage 2d6+3.

    Skills
    A deinonychus has a +8 racial bonus on Hide, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, and Survival checks.
    Last edited by Amiel; 2009-07-26 at 08:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    Wizards downgraded it to Medium size in errata to 3.5 MM. I think, in this case, they were focussing on weight and height, rather than length.
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    Hmm, that does seem remarkably strange; the majesty of dinosaurs is in their length and size rather than weight and/or height. I mean if going by weight, nearly all bipedal predators would be at least one size category or more smaller. If by height, deinonychus would be assumed to be smaller, when at 10 feet long is simply not true.

    Not to mention rather silly; Wizards do give length measurements after all...
    If as you say they were focussing on height and weight, they've also shot themselves in the foot as T-Rex could comfortably be considered a Large animal; going by biped's height with HD advancements into Huge. It would not be Huge off the bat, as it were.

    Do you or others agree with designing dinosaurs according to height and weight specifications as opposed to length? Or disagree.

    My position is that, unlike extant animals, dinosaurs, even bipeds, should be built with length in mind rather than height. The main reasoning is that all bipeds would be considered smaller than what their length would indicate; as their heights in no way approach what they measure length-ways. Nor do other bipeds have an integral support anchor in the form of a tail of such length.
    Last edited by Amiel; 2009-07-17 at 10:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    However, the T-Rex in the Monster Manual is not Large, but Huge and it is clear that they are measuring by length because they mention it being "over 30 feet long."

    The WotC chart says to use height for bipeds and length for quadrapeds, but obviously they made an exception here. I think that makes sense. I also think that giving the T-Rex a crushing bite and fearful roar are good additions for a more cinematic version of the T-Rex. The Jurassic Park movies certainly brought the T-Rex and other dinosaurs to life and I think Amiel's version captures that quite well. I admit, that is the picture in my head when I think of T-Rex.

    Realistically, what we know about "living" dinosaurs is all speculation and even the experts don't agree. The Wikipedia article says that the T-Rex "may have been" an apex predator, but there is also indications that it was a scavenger. There's no guarantee that T-Rex could roar either.

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    Perchance have you seen the Dino threads at EnWorld and the Wizards Boards?
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    Evidence for it being an apex predator- healed tooth marks on the bones of prey animals, matching those of T. rex- showing it not only atacked living prey, but sometimes the prey got away.

    I think they use all 3 key features- height, weight, length, and pick the size that they think works best.

    (they also downgraded the 20-odd ft Megaraptor to Large in the same errata.)
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    I also got to admit that putting Dienonychus as a large target is pushing it. It might be three meters long but not more then human size al in all, weigt about 60-70 kilogram, that's not more then humans. Why is this creature large target?

    Oh by the way, love that you have given the Dienonychus A little more flavour by giving them higher Int. Sure Animals Aren't suppose to have higher then 2, but this thing is more of an in between animal and more intelligent creature. Nice touch!
    Last edited by AceofDeath; 2009-07-18 at 06:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amiel View Post
    Hmm, that does seem remarkably strange; the majesty of dinosaurs is in their length and size rather than weight and/or height. I mean if going by weight, nearly all bipedal predators would be at least one size category or more smaller. If by height, deinonychus would be assumed to be smaller, when at 10 feet long is simply not true.

    Not to mention rather silly; Wizards do give length measurements after all...
    If as you say they were focussing on height and weight, they've also shot themselves in the foot as T-Rex could comfortably be considered a Large animal; going by biped's height with HD advancements into Huge. It would not be Huge off the bat, as it were.

    Do you or others agree with designing dinosaurs according to height and weight specifications as opposed to length? Or disagree.

    My position is that, unlike extant animals, dinosaurs, even bipeds, should be built with length in mind rather than height. The main reasoning is that all bipeds would be considered smaller than what their length would indicate; as their heights in no way approach what they measure length-ways. Nor do other bipeds have an integral support anchor in the form of a tail of such length.
    Yeah, agreed.

    Edit: The following part is seperate from the former.

    If you ask me, an encounter with a dinosaur should be different from one with a more "mundane" animal.
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    And the size makes a different feeling?

    Sure an encounter with a huge roaring animal is different from the little stealthy one. But whatever the creature has scales, furs or feathers, it's really how it is being presented, not the size category that matters.
    I feel that dienonychus is actually more interresting as a medium creature, since that would make it feel very different from the large lion or the huge tyrannosaurus. Given it it's own touch as the small yet agile, smart and quick dinosaur as it might had been

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    Quote Originally Posted by AceofDeath View Post
    And the size makes a different feeling?
    I should have made it more clear that those two parts were separate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    However, the T-Rex in the Monster Manual is not Large, but Huge and it is clear that they are measuring by length because they mention it being "over 30 feet long."

    The WotC chart says to use height for bipeds and length for quadrapeds, but obviously they made an exception here. I think that makes sense. I also think that giving the T-Rex a crushing bite and fearful roar are good additions for a more cinematic version of the T-Rex. The Jurassic Park movies certainly brought the T-Rex and other dinosaurs to life and I think Amiel's version captures that quite well. I admit, that is the picture in my head when I think of T-Rex.
    Yeah, some of WotC's design decisions do seem...rather odd. Why they decided to build the stegosaurus in Serpent Kingdoms as a Gargantuan creature is anyone's guess, and we'll probably never know the reason why...
    Something else that rather confuses people is why they gave the T-Rex a strength that is equivalent to a bear, effectively relegating its prime stat to 'low ability score infamy', when in reality, it would have been much, much stronger.

    There does seem to be somewhat of a(n apparent) disconnect between the stats of some dinosaurs and what their real-world counterparts would have 'looked like'; going by their given reasons and following their design 'mandates,' there really shouldn't be any need for T-Rex to be anything more than Large, they are measuring vertical height after all

    And thank you for kind words, Debby! :)
    By the by, I've gone ahead and edited bits of T-Rex's statblock; replacing Alertness with Snatch, modifying the skill bonus to +8, and adding deals triple damage on a critical and that it resolves as a melee touch attack; hope that's not too much.

    Realistically, what we know about "living" dinosaurs is all speculation and even the experts don't agree. The Wikipedia article says that the T-Rex "may have been" an apex predator, but there is also indications that it was a scavenger. There's no guarantee that T-Rex could roar either.

    Debby
    Agreed on all counts.
    I reckon that nearly all successful predators would have been 'alpha' predators and scavengers in a bid to boost survivability and survival rates. They'd be predators in periods of abundance and scavengers and consumers of carrion in lean times. Fortunately, that also explains why they were so darn successful, existing for millions of years.
    And in my heart of hearts, I really, really wish the real T-Rex could produce resonating, frightening roars.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bhu View Post
    Perchance have you seen the Dino threads at EnWorld and the Wizards Boards?
    I'm only familiar with the Dino thread on the Wizards boards in passing; never did do a full perusal, the dinosaurs look pretty neat though.
    Would the dinosaurs perchance be in the Creature Catalogue over at EnWorld? Never seemed to find the thread...

    Quote Originally Posted by AceofDeath View Post
    I also got to admit that putting Dienonychus as a large target is pushing it. It might be three meters long but not more then human size al in all, weigt about 60-70 kilogram, that's not more then humans. Why is this creature large target?
    Proportionately, it's larger than a human; standing fully erect it'd also be larger.
    Since they're not biped humanoids, and hence have a tail rather than lack one, even their height should include the length of said tail; which when all considered is actually/really the horizontal length, or just length in other words. Not to mention, some dinosaurs lack height measurements altogether (not surprising considering their length is really height including tail); the dinosaurs in the hadrosaur group being 'prime offenders.'
    And being 3 metres long, it's going to present more surface area to inflict damage on.
    Otherwise, you're going to end up with some very funky situations; Utahraptor is a prime example.

    Utahraptor, according to Wiki, is 6.6 ft tall (which would place it in the Medium size category) and 21 feet long (ie Huge).
    That's a rather large (no pun intended) discrepancy right there.
    There is no conceivable way it's a Medium animal, yet if we're designing per WotC's rules, that'd be exactly what it is.

    Since dinosaurs are evolved reptiles and/or devolved dragons (YMMV), when designing them the focus should be on length (as if they were quadrupedal); generally, if length trumps height, length takes priority in designing critters.

    Oh by the way, love that you have given the Dienonychus A little more flavour by giving them higher Int. Sure Animals Aren't suppose to have higher then 2, but this thing is more of an in between animal and more intelligent creature. Nice touch!
    Thank you kindly, sir! :)

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    Yeah, agreed.

    If you ask me, an encounter with a dinosaur should be different from one with a more "mundane" animal.
    The majesty of dinosaurs is more awe-inspiring than the average, regular animal.

    Quote Originally Posted by AceofDeath View Post
    And the size makes a different feeling?

    Sure an encounter with a huge roaring animal is different from the little stealthy one. But whatever the creature has scales, furs or feathers, it's really how it is being presented, not the size category that matters.
    I feel that dienonychus is actually more interresting as a medium creature, since that would make it feel very different from the large lion or the huge tyrannosaurus. Given it it's own touch as the small yet agile, smart and quick dinosaur as it might had been
    Dinosaurs are generally larger than equivalent creatures; they differ in a rather significant way because they possess a tail, something that adds an increased measurement and more importantly proportion to their bodies.

    I agree that portrayal is most important, but deinonychus as a large, deceptively agile, quick, and intelligent dinosaur would be greatly terrifying (boot-quaking, knee-quivering fear) and as interesting, perhaps even moreso if it had been smaller. Incidently, deinonychus would have been a lot larger than a lion, yet the lion is large while it is medium... This does not mean it would've been heavier, which is a different kettle of fish.

    And I believe you're thinking about velociraptor rather than deinonychus ;)
    Last edited by Amiel; 2009-07-19 at 06:57 AM.
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    Thats probably why compromise sizes are probably best.

    7 ft tall, 21 ft long (Utahraptor)- Large (but should probably have a lot of reach)

    4 ft tall, 12 ft long- (Deinonychus)- Medium
    (fully upright is not a position it would usually have taken).

    (Note that both of these are post-errata rather than pre-errata).

    T. rex? 13 ft tall at the hips, 40 ft long- Huge at minimum.

    (primarily because Large bipedal creatures range from 8 ft tall (half-ogre) to 12 ft tall (pit fiend) whereas T. rex has legs much longer than those of any Large creature)

    (Velociraptor was 6 ft long, but only 33 pounds at most- upper end of Small might work, or lower end of Medium)

    also, Dragon Magazine 318 went with Huge rather than Gargantuan for Stegosaurus.

    While hip height might not work for all animals (snakes?) I do think it makes a good place to start for bipeds.
    Doing it this way would probably place Utahraptor at the top end of Large (legs about twice as long as those of human),
    T. rex at the top end of Huge (legs nearly four times as long as those of a human,
    Deinonychus comfortably in Medium, and Velociraptor comfortably in Small.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2009-07-19 at 07:09 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Thats probably why compromise sizes are probably best.
    Oh, I wanted to say that I agree with you on T-Rex being an apex predator...but the boards did something.

    However, I'm a little iffy on the choosing best compromise out of height, weight and length.

    As already said, dinosaurs, both bipedal and quadrupedal differ in a rather significant way to humanoids of equivalent size; namely they possess a tail, which is going to increase proportion and length to their bodies.
    IMHO, a dinosaurs' height should really include their tail, which for all intents and purposes is basically its length.

    7 ft tall, 21 ft long (Utahraptor)- Large (but should probably have a lot of reach)
    Utahraptor, as with all other dinosaurs, should be designed IMHO as if they were quadrupedal. Otherwise, you're going to be creating something that doesn't do the inspiration justice.
    Utahraptor is going to 'look small' if it were designed as a Large creature.

    4 ft tall, 12 ft long- (Deinonychus)- Medium
    (fully upright is not a position it would usually have taken).
    Remember, Deinonychus is larger than a lion, yet the lion is Large, while it is Medium.

    (Note that both of these are post-errata rather than pre-errata).
    Thank you for the heads-up!

    T. rex? 13 ft tall at the hips, 40 ft long- Huge at minimum.

    (primarily because Large bipedal creatures range from 8 ft tall (half-ogre) to 12 ft tall (pit fiend) whereas T. rex has legs much longer than those of any Large creature)
    I'm not sure an ogre, or any other equivalently sized humanoid is an 'appropriate' comparator, primarily because it is going to lack a tail.
    For a biped humanoid-esque creature, 'what you see is what you get,' its height begins at its head and terminates at its feet.
    With a dinosaur, it's a different bag of chips, it's height should begin at its head and terminate at its tail, in other words, what we are measuring is its length.

    (Velociraptor was 6 ft long, but only 33 pounds at most- upper end of Small might work, or lower end of Medium)
    As I said earlier, weight for a hunting predator is always going to be relatively lighter than what its size would indicate, otherwise you're going to end up with a creature that can't move due to its bulk and will die due to a flaw in evolutionary design.

    also, Dragon Magazine 318 went with Huge rather than Gargantuan for Stegosaurus.
    Whew, that is definitely a nice and warranted change.
    Last edited by Amiel; 2009-07-19 at 07:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amiel View Post
    Whew, that is definitely a nice and warranted change.
    That particular issue slightly predates Serpent Kingdoms- two different sources both picking sizes, and one (arguably) getting it wrong.

    Dragon also went with Medium pteranodons, whereas Eberron and SK preferred Large (and capable of lifting people)

    I was suggesting Height for size-determining purposes beginning at head- continuing to hips, then going straight down to feet- in an L-shape.

    Primarly because the tail doesn't really come into play, and using the tail effectively "exaggerates" the real bulk of the creature- especially when, in the case of dromaeosaurids, it was very long and thin.

    Deinonychus may have been longer than a lion, but bulk-wise it was a lot less bulky.

    Velociraptor was much smaller than a human- weight wise it was comparable to a 3.5 ed halfling.

    T. rex could probably be put in either Huge or Gargantuan without much trouble.

    I also notice that space, for anything long in the tail, tends to concentrate on feet- Diplodocus (Dragon 318) was 90 ft long, but had only a 30 ft space- because, its long tail and neck were very slim, so don't really count, for size.

    MM2 Seismosaurus (120 odd feet) had a heftier 40 ft space.

    I think Size is always going to be tricky, with multiple factors coming into play- height, weight, expected reach, etc.

    Lions are pretty small in most ways, yet they have the Large size- possibly because here, they focussed pretty firmly on weight (and probably used the largest recorded lions as a baseline)
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    While I like the notion of D&D versions of prehistoric creatures, sometimes it's difficult to find a close counterpart to the D&D creature.

    Just as, weightwise, the MM Deinonychus is closer to a small Utahraptor (or Achillobator) than the real animal, so the MM Dire Wolf is considerably heftier than Canis dirus.

    Argentavis is probably the closest to the Sandstorm Dire Vulture (big enough to qualify for Large, vulturish enough to fit.

    Harpagornis probably fits the MM2 Dire Hawk.

    Unfortunately, there is nothing big enough and eagle-like enough to fit the Races of Stone Dire Eagle.
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    Neat ! I really like them. Might throw them at my PCs soon...
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    Default Re: Dinosaurs!

    Probably the oddest example of D&D dinosaurs not fitting their real counterparts, is Ceratosaurus vs Allosaurus.

    MM2 Allosaurus has less Hit dice than Serpent Kingdoms Ceratosaurus.
    Definitely something odd there, given Allosaurus was both longer and heavier.

    Stormwrack's decision to introduce a Plesiosaurus even larger and heavier than MM Elasmosaurus or MM2 Cryptoclidus is another oddity.

    "Terror birds" (Phorusrhacos) might be a good basis to compare Utahraptor and Deinonychus to- similar pose, if slightly more upright, bipedal, avian- and twice the weight and height of Deinonychus. Size in Fiend Folio- Large.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    That particular issue slightly predates Serpent Kingdoms- two different sources both picking sizes, and one (arguably) getting it wrong.

    Dragon also went with Medium pteranodons, whereas Eberron and SK preferred Large (and capable of lifting people)
    Given the track record, why is that not particularly surprising?

    I was suggesting Height for size-determining purposes beginning at head- continuing to hips, then going straight down to feet- in an L-shape.

    Primarly because the tail doesn't really come into play, and using the tail effectively "exaggerates" the real bulk of the creature- especially when, in the case of dromaeosaurids, it was very long and thin.
    The problem with this reasoning and approach is that it does ignore the holistic animal and imposes some arbitrary restrictions upon the creature.
    Were the animal completely without a tail, then yes, what you are suggesting would work well, but the tail is as much part of the dinosaur as is the shell on a turtle. One is nothing without the other.
    The tail does not exaggerate the real bulk of the creature, especially as you refer to it being very long and thin in some dinosaurs (which is seems to be a contradiction), what would be a real exaggeration is claiming it does :p.

    What you are suggesting is to ignore a fundamental aspect of the animal, and were it any other biped humanoid-esque I would agree, but it is a dinosaur. No dinosaur has no tail.

    Even more complicated is, what you are suggesting will imbalance the length-size ratio in favor of the sauropods and so forth. Both bipedal and quadrupedal dinosaurs have tails. When you decide to design one set with tails in mind and another without, you're going to end up with a heap of inconsistencies.

    Deinonychus may have been longer than a lion, but bulk-wise it was a lot less bulky.

    Lions are pretty small in most ways, yet they have the Large size- possibly because here, they focussed pretty firmly on weight (and probably used the largest recorded lions as a baseline)
    Not only longer but taller too.
    If it were as bulky as a lion, it's never going to run as fast it could nor would it survive long, as the possibility of it not moving at all is there, and thus starving to death. Hence, weighing as much as a lion would be a rather substantial evolutionary flaw.

    Velociraptor was much smaller than a human- weight wise it was comparable to a 3.5 ed halfling.

    T. rex could probably be put in either Huge or Gargantuan without much trouble.
    I believe weight should be taken with some measure of reserve if considered or used for comparison; a bipedal predator is never to compete weight-wise with a quadrupedal herbivore or even quadruped predator. Heck, a biped predator is probably not going to compete favorably with another biped that leads a more sedentary lifestyle, ie your half-ogres for example; ie a biped predator of equivalent size is always going to weigh less than one who leads a less active existence, probably as much as one size category less.

    I also notice that space, for anything long in the tail, tends to concentrate on feet- Diplodocus (Dragon 318) was 90 ft long, but had only a 30 ft space- because, its long tail and neck were very slim, so don't really count, for size.

    MM2 Seismosaurus (120 odd feet) had a heftier 40 ft space.
    In some dinosaurs, space/feet should really measure which feet or spaces it actually threatens. So, it makes no sense for the head to threaten any feet or space, but with the tail slap, it should always threaten feet with its tail.

    I think Size is always going to be tricky, with multiple factors coming into play- height, weight, expected reach, etc.
    It is only ever complicated if you intend it to be so.
    IMHO Dinosaurs should be designed with one over-riding measurement, length, both because they are an advanced offshoot of reptiles, that weight measurements should be taken as a guideline only, and because designing otherwise is going to bring in a lot of internal contradictions and inconsistencies.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    While I like the notion of D&D versions of prehistoric creatures, sometimes it's difficult to find a close counterpart to the D&D creature.

    Just as, weightwise, the MM Deinonychus is closer to a small Utahraptor (or Achillobator) than the real animal, so the MM Dire Wolf is considerably heftier than Canis dirus.

    Argentavis is probably the closest to the Sandstorm Dire Vulture (big enough to qualify for Large, vulturish enough to fit.

    Harpagornis probably fits the MM2 Dire Hawk.

    Unfortunately, there is nothing big enough and eagle-like enough to fit the Races of Stone Dire Eagle.
    Actually, would you say that WotC probably didn't design with a real-world prehistoric equivalent in mind when they built these dire versions of the base animal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Loss View Post
    Neat ! I really like them. Might throw them at my PCs soon...
    Thank you kindly, sir! :)

    Be sure to tell us how that went! It'd be definitely worth hearing, not to mention of great help (in critiquing CR and all that)

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Probably the oddest example of D&D dinosaurs not fitting their real counterparts, is Ceratosaurus vs Allosaurus.

    MM2 Allosaurus has less Hit dice than Serpent Kingdoms Ceratosaurus.
    Definitely something odd there, given Allosaurus was both longer and heavier.

    Stormwrack's decision to introduce a Plesiosaurus even larger and heavier than MM Elasmosaurus or MM2 Cryptoclidus is another oddity.

    "Terror birds" (Phorusrhacos) might be a good basis to compare Utahraptor and Deinonychus to- similar pose, if slightly more upright, bipedal, avian- and twice the weight and height of Deinonychus. Size in Fiend Folio- Large.
    Heh, well, bear in mind, this is the same company that gave us a Gargantuan stegosaurus :P
    Last edited by Amiel; 2009-07-19 at 10:08 AM.
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