3.5 Converting Prehistoric Creatures
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  1. #1
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    Converting Prehistoric Creatures

    I happen to be going through my Monstrous Compendia as one does and I noticed that the Titanothere from the "Prehistoric Animals" entry of MC3 and MCA2 lacks an official 3E conversion.

    Since the old Converting prehistoric animals thread got displaced after the Great Website Hiccup of a few years back I opted to start a new thread of the same title.

    So shall we bother converting this beastie?

    It shouldn't take long. Mechanically it's a bigger version of a Rhinoceros with a charge & trample attack.

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    Titanothere Original stats

    The Titanothere appears in both the AD&D and BECMI versions of D&D with slightly different stats.

    2E AD&D
    Here's the 2E AD&D version from the "Pleistocene Animal" entry of the Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two (1995):


    Titanothere
    CLIMATE/TERRAIN:
    FREQUENCY:
    ORGANIZATION:
    ACTIVITY CYCLE:
    DIET:
    INTELLIGENCE:
    TREASURE:
    ALIGNMENT:
    NO. APPEARING:
    ARMOR CLASS:
    MOVEMENT:
    HIT DICE:
    THAC0:
    NO. OF ATTACKS:
    DAMAGE/ATTACK:
    SPECIAL ATTACKS:
    SPECIAL DEFENSES:
    MAGIC RESISTANCE:
    SIZE:
    MORALE:
    XP VALUE:
    Plains
    Unc.
    Herd
    Day
    Herb.
    Animal
    Nil
    Neutral
    1–12
    6
    12
    12
    9
    1
    2d8
    Trample
    Nil
    Nil
    H (16′)
    A (8-10)
    2,000

    The titanothere, also known as the brontotherium, is a rhino-like animal. The adult measure eight feet at the shoulder and 16 from nose to rump and weighs up to 8,000 pounds.

    It is a huge and fearless herbivore armed with a yoke-shaped horn on its nose. The horn can be used to ram an opponent for 2d8 points of damage. Opponents of man-sized or smaller are also tossed up to 20 feet in the air by the force of the blow. It can trample man-sized or smaller victims with its forelegs, inflicting 2d4 points of damage with each foot.

    If any creature threatens the herd, the bulls charge. If the charge strikes home, horn and trample damage is doubled.

    If more than six titanotheres are encountered, there are 1d4 calves. The calves are 10% to 80% grown. They do not attack. If threatened, they head for their mothers and try to hide underneath or behind them.

    The titanothere’s hide is worth 20-70 gp. It is extremely thick and well-suited for making leather armor, especially for larger humanoids or other armor-wearing beings.


    There's an earlier 2E version in Monstrous Compendium Volume Three (1989) which is basically identical except it has a different SPECIAL ATTACKS line:

    Titanothere
    SPECIAL ATTACKS: Charge & trample


    1E AD&D
    Here's the version from the original Monster Manual (1977):


    TITANOTHERE
    FREQUENCY: Uncommon
    NO. APPEARING: 1-12
    ARMOR CLASS: 6
    MOVE: 12″
    HIT DICE: 12
    % IN LAIR: Nil
    TREASURE TYPE: Nil
    NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
    DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2-16
    SPECIAL ATTACKS: Charge & trample
    SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
    MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
    INTELLIGENCE: Animal
    ALIGNMENT: Neutral
    SIZE: L (8′)
    PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
    Attack/Defense Modes: Nil/Nil


    These huge and fearless plant-eaters roam the temperate plains of the Pleistocene era in herds. If more than 6 are encountered 1-4 of those numbering over one-half the possible total will be young, from 10% to 80% grown.

    If any creature threatens the herd, the largest animals (males) will charge. If the charge strikes home, damage inflicted is double the amount shown on the dice (4-32). Titanotheres will trample (2-12 per foot) any opponent low enough for them to step upon.

    There’s also a 1E AD&D article entitled Into the Age of Mammals article by David Howery in Dragon Magazine #137 (1988) that has this to say:

    Titanotheres were part of a lengthy line of creatures that died out in the Oligocene. As they evolved, the titanotheres grew steadily larger. Brontotherium was the largest and the last; this is the titanothere described in the Monster Manual. Earlier titanotheres can be treated as hornless rhinoceroses.


    BECMI
    Here's the BECMI version from the Arnerson/Gygax Expert Set Rules (1981):


    Titanothere
    Armor Class: 5 No. Appearing: 0 (1-6)
    Hit Dice: 12 Save As: Fighter: 6
    Move: 120’ (40’) Morale: 7
    Attacks: butt or trample Treasure Type: Nil
    Damage: 2-12/3-24 Alignment: Neutral

    The prehistoric titanothere resembles a huge blunt-horned rhino, 12’ tall at the shoulder. They are generally peaceful if left alone, preferring to graze grass and eat leaves off trees. They will not hesitate to defend themselves, however, and in combat, they butt or trample their opponents. Small herds of these creatures are found in the grasslands of “lost world” areas.


    There's also a BECMI version in the AC9 Creature Catalog (1986) which adds an Intelligence Score of 1 and misnames it as a "dinosaur":

    DINOSAUR
    Titanothere
    Armour Class: 5
    Hit Dice: 12
    Move: 120′ (40′)
    Attacks: 1 butt or trample
    Damage: 2-12 or 3-24
    No. Appearing: 0 (1-6)
    Save As: F6
    Morale: 7
    Treasure Type: Nil
    Intelligence: 1
    Alignment: Neutral
    XP Value: 1250
    Titanothere: This herbivorous dinosaur resembles a huge, blunt-horned rhino, and stands 12 feet tall at the shoulder. Titanotheres are generally peaceful if left alone, preferring to graze grass and eat leaves off trees. They will not hesitate to defend themselves, however, and in combat, they butt or trample their opponents. Small herds of these creatures are found in the grasslands of “lost world” areas.



    CONCLUSION
    That’s pretty much it for their D&D publication history.

    In what we like to think of as the “real world”, official taxonomy gives the Titanotheres the genus of Megacerops. We should probably use that name for the conversion.

  3. #3
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    Megacerops it is!

    I guess the first question I have is if we want to keep them to the SRD dino standard or improve them a bit (like the SRD dinos should be).

    Looks like a gore (?) and trample SA. And maybe some kind of SA to increase damage or threat range during a charge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freyar View Post
    Megacerops it is!

    I guess the first question I have is if we want to keep them to the SRD dino standard or improve them a bit (like the SRD dinos should be).

    Looks like a gore (?) and trample SA. And maybe some kind of SA to increase damage or threat range during a charge.
    I'd pretty much follow the original idea:

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleon View Post
    It shouldn't take long. Mechanically it's a bigger version of a Rhinoceros with a charge & trample attack.
    So take the SRD Rhinoceros with its Powerful Charge SA and bolt on a standard Trample attack. Increase the HD to 12 and tweak the Strength up a bit - maybe to 28 or 30?

    I'd probably make them Huge as well, since these beasties are "elephant sized". That'd help the Trample attack.

    The Titanothere's Megacerops damage is higher in both BECMI (2d6 gore & 3d8 trample vs. the Rhino's 2d4 & 2d8 in BECMI) and AD&D (2d8 gore & 2d6/2d6 trample vs 2d6 or 2d4 gore & 2d4/2d4 trample*). That difference is accounted for if we give it a size upgrade, although I'd be happy to give it a 2d8 gore like the original too.

    *In AD&D the 9 HD "two-horned rhino" has a 2-12 gore and the 8 HD "one-horned rhino" has 2-8.

    That'd probably do. The AC and Move already match the standard AD&D/BECMI Rhinoceros so I wouldn't fuss around much with those beyond maybe adding a point of natural armour to balance out the size penalty of upsizing a Rhino to Huge.

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    Megacerops Working Draft

    Megacerops
    Huge Animal
    Hit Dice: d8+ ( hp)
    Initiative:
    Speed: ft. ( squares)
    Armor Class: 1 (+– Dex, + natural), touch 1, flat-footed 1
    Base Attack/Grapple: +/+
    Attack: Gore + melee (d+)
    Full Attack: Gore + melee (d+)
    Space/Reach: 15 ft./10 ft.
    Special Attacks: Powerful charge, trample d+
    Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
    Saves: Fort +, Ref +, Will +
    Abilities: Str , Dex , Con , Int , Wis , Cha
    Skills:
    Feats:
    Environment: Temperate or cold plains
    Organization: Solitary or herd (?–?)
    Challenge Rating:
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always neutral
    Advancement: – HD (Huge)
    Level Adjustment:

    Description.

    Background.

    Combat
    Tactics.

    Skills:

    Note: Originally called "Titanothere." Renamed to match current taxonomy.

    Originally appeared in Monster Manual (1977).
    Last edited by Cleon; Wednesday, 19th June, 2019 at 09:06 AM.

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    I've posted a mostly blank Working Draft to give this thread a gentle nudge.

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