Dungeons and Dragons players have spent decades slaying gigantic beasts. Long time players love to tell stories about the time they pantsed a troll or killed a dragon with a bridge. Fans of the Third Edition setting Eberron even have to deal with dinosaurs depending on what part of the map they explore. Judging by the hints and clues thrown out by the Stream of Annihilation, dinosaurs are also going to factor into the upcoming Fifth Edition Tomb of Annihilation campaign as beasts that need to be dealt with before the good guys even make it to the cult’s hidden temple. While we wait for that book to drop, here are some other RPGs that let players battle, befriend, and even become dinosaurs at the table.
Hollow Earth Expedition
A hollow earth is a pulp fiction staple. Exile Game Studio’s classic Hollow Earth Expedition takes players to a 1930’s setting full of hungry dinosaurs, priests of Atlantis, mad-science digging machines, and a table full of characters trying to find their way home. The Ubiquity System uses dice of any size and shape and has also been adapted to several other games due to its ease of use. The other three books expand the setting to the surface world and even out to the nearby planet of Mars for fans of old pulp novels looking to get their John Carter on. Players who want to spend an evening or two feeding Nazis to a T. Rex will find an excellent choice in Hollow Earth Expedition.
Atomic Robo Roleplaying Game
This Fate Core game featuring action scientists on adventures around the globe (and in a vampire dimension or two) is based on the setting of Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s fantastic webcomic. The book uses plenty of examples from the comic, and features Robo’s ultimate nemesis: Doctor Dinosaur. Doctor Dinosaur is the Daffy Duck to Atomic Robo’s Bugs Bunny, having arguments about whether Doctor Dinosaur should even exist and how time travel isn’t a plausible answer. (Doctor Dinosaur’s rebuttal? CRYSTALS.) The flexibility of Fate Core means players could choose to play another dinosaur like the bad guy and fit right in, while using him as a villain is a great way for GMs to show off what’s fun about the Atomic Robo setting.
Speaking of time travel, dinosaurs prove to be one of the leading antagonists of the time travel game TimeWatch. The sophosaurs claim to be remnants of an alternate timeline where the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs didn’t hit the earth and are working to restore their timeline at the expense of our out. As the timeline agents of the default setting, players clash with these psychic dinosaurs to keep history the way it is supposed to be, but the corebook also provides several other campaign structures that might have the players working with the dinosaurs in time heists and other unusual setups.
The final game in this prehistoric round-up is also the newest: Predation. Monte Cook Games funded this setting as part of its Expanded Worlds Kickstarter and the PDF was released in June 2017. Time travelers stuck in the past have built a society while they wait and see when—not if—the meteor strikes and wipes out their colony of “commuters”. It’s not all doom and gloom; the game is setup so each player has a dinosaur companion that’s played by one of the other players!
What is your favorite dinosaur-related RPG? Let us know in the comments.
Feature Image Credits: Exile Game Studios, Wizards of the Coast, Pelgrane Press, Evil Hat Productions, Monte Cook Games
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves, Vulcans and sometimes all of them at the same time. His blog is here, his Twitter is here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.