Converting prehistoric animals

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Monster Junkie

Anyone have any suggestions for additional flavor text?

And don't feel bad, Demiurge...I swear I've seen a Scent feat before somewhere. ;)


Inventor of Super-Toast
"During the early days of the dinosaurs, they were not actually the dominant life on the planet. Crocodile-like archosaurs such as Erythrosuchus had a wider variety of body plans and were more common. It was mainly by chance that the dinosaurs were able to spread, but in some remote valleys of lost worlds, the crocodilians remain supreme."


Monster Junkie

I'll have to regain my bearings and figure out what's next. I watched Season 1 of Primeval last week so I've definitely got prehistoric horrors on my mind. :cool:


Shirokinukatsukami fan
As far as I can tell, here's what's left in the prehistorically-themed bin:

Dragon #112: Rhynchosaur, Cynodont, Dicynodont
Dragon #137: Alticamelus, Gigantopithecus, Astrapotherium, Short-Faced Bear, Deinotherium, Macrauchenia, Ground Sloth, Moropus, Sivatherium
Dragon #167: Agriotherium, Pelorovis, Metridiochoerus, Giant Camel, Dwarf Elephant
Dragon #176: Armored Predatory Fish, Early Therapsid, Giant Therapsid, Estemennosuchus, Electric Agnath
Dragon #204: Amiskwia, Anomalocaris, Leanchoilia, Marrella, Odontogriphus, Ottoia, Sanctacaris, Wiwaxia, Yohoia
Dungeon #56: Giant Hippo
Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Two: Giant Sea Turtle


Inventor of Super-Toast
Sure thing! In three sizes.

Medium Animal
Hit Dice: 3d8+6 (19 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 40ft (8 squares)
Armor Class: 16 (+2 Dex, +4 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+4
Attack: Bite +4 melee (1d6+3)
Full Attack: Bite +4 melee (1d6+3)
Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft
Special Attacks: Tear fallen +1d6, trip
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +2
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 6
Skills: Hide +6, Listen +5, Move Silently +6, Spot +5, Survival +3
Feats: Alertness, Track
Environment: Warm plains
Organization: Solitary, pair or pack (4-8)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 4-6 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment: -

A pack of sleek spotted creatures run by, looking like reptilian wolves with prominent canine teeth.

An example of a mammal-like reptile, the lycaesaurus is a cunning scavenger and hunter, filling a niche similar to coyotes found elsewhere. Eating anything smaller than themselves, lycaesauruses prey on lizards, rodents, eggs, birds, small dinosaurs, and carrion. Lycaesauruses mate for life, laying eggs in burrows and caring for their pups with mammalian diligence. Lycaesauruses are known to band together in packs and follow V-rexes and other huge predators, either sneaking in to steal meat from a fresh kill or making off with juveniles disoriented and unprotected amidst the attack.

A lycaesaurus can grow up to five feet long, including a fairly short tail.

Lycaesauruses are skittish of anything more aggressive or much larger then themselves so are unlikely to bother adventurers unless starving, being more likely to follow adventures and scavenge off of corpses left behind than to attack them. A halfling or gnome in lycaesaur territory would be wise to not get themselves separated from the rest of their party, however. Lycaesauruses attack in coordinated strikes, hoping to pull foes down and tear out their throats.

Tear Fallen (Ex): A lycaesaurus can deal an addition +1d6 points of damage to a prone opponent.

Trip (Ex): A lycaesaurus that hits with a bite attack can attempt to make a trip check (+2 modifier) as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the attack fails, the opponent cannot react to trip the lycaesaurus.

Skills: A lycaesaurus gains a +4 racial bonus on all Hide and Move Silently checks.

Small Animal
Hit Dice: 2d8+6 (15 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 40ft (8 squares), climb 10ft
Armor Class: 18 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +4 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-2
Attack: Bite +5 melee (1d4+1)
Full Attack: Bite +5 melee (1d4+1)
Space/Reach: 5ft/5ft
Special Attacks: Swarmfighting
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +1
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 6
Skills: Climb +9, Listen +5, Move Silently +7, Spot +5, Survival +2
Feats: Alertness, Track (B), Weapon Finesse (B)
Environment: Warm forests
Organization: Solitary, pair or pack (4-12)
Challenge Rating: 1
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 3-5 HD (Small), 6 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment: -

This animal resembles a reptilian bulldog with a crocodile’s hide. Jagged teeth poke out from its mouth, and its short tail wags listlessly behind it.

Consummate pack hunters, dinocanisauruses are relatives of the larger lycaesaurus of the plains – they are both species of cynodonts, mammal-like reptiles that have evolved into canine-like forms. Dinocanisauruses live in the deep forests of Skull Island, having adapted to thick undergrowth and climbing trees, although they are fairly clumsy at the latter. Highly social, dinocanisauruses have a matriarchical pack structure and are fiercely territorial. They are intelligent enough not to bother larger predators, and are in fact preyed upon by venatosauruses.

The largest dinocanisauruses can be as large as wolves, but these specimens are rare. The average dinocanisaurus is a mere three to four feet in length.

Dinocanisauruses hunt by endurance, chasing prey through the thick forest floor and tiring it, eventually tearing into it with needle-sharp teeth. They are shy around humanoids and generally will not fight them unless threatened or starving.

Swarmfighting (Ex): Dinocanisauruses work well crowded into tight spaces with their packmates. Up to three dinocanisauruses can fight from the same square without penalty, and they gain a +2 morale bonus on all attack rolls when doing so.

Skills: A dinocanisaurus gains a +4 racial bonus on all Move Silently checks.

Large Animal
Hit Dice: 8d8+32 (68 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 40ft (8 squares)
Armor Class: 16 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +6 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+15
Attack: Bite +11 melee (2d6+5/19-20x3 plus bleeding wound)
Full Attack: Bite +11 melee (2d6+5/19-20x3 plus bleeding wound) and 2 claws +6 melee (1d6+2)
Space/Reach: 10ft/5ft
Special Attacks: Augmented critical, bleeding wound
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +4
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 9
Skills: Balance +4, Hide +1, Listen +4, Move Silently +5, Spot +4, Survival +6
Feats: Stealthy, Track, Weapon Focus (bite)
Environment: Warm mountains
Organization: Solitary, pair or display (3-6)
Challenge Rating: 5
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 9-12 HD (Large), 13-24 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: -

This large quadruped blends mammal and reptilian characteristics. Its huge pronounced saber-teeth clearly mark it as a carnivore, and its red stripes and the feathery fin growing from its back give it something of a jaunty air.

Showy mammal-like reptiles related to the wolf-like lycaesaurus of the lowlands, gladiodons specialize in hunting montane carnivores. Voracious predators, they help to keep the populations of arsartis and bidensaurus down. The males and females both have a dorsal fin, which can be filled with blood to make it a vibrant red. The males compete for females with these fins – the male with the largest, brightest fin is most likely to be selected by a female.

Gladiodons have a wide range of body size. The smallest are a mere eight feet in length, but they can grow up to eighteen feet long.

Gladiodons generally attack from ambush, but they have little fear of the chase. A gladiodon will usually strike once or twice with their massive fangs then retreat, tracking the dying victim by the trail of blood it leaves behind.

Augmented Critical (Ex): The saber teeth of a gladiodon strike with deadly precision. A gladiodon’s bite attack threatens a critical hit on a roll of 19-20 and deals x3 damage on a successful critical hit.

Bleeding Wound (Ex): The saliva of a gladiodon contains a vicious anticoagulant, making even the tiniest nick of its teeth bleed uncontrollably. Any creature bitten by a gladiodon must succeed a DC 17 Fortitude save or continue to bleed, taking one point of damage per round at the beginning of the creature’s turn. A creature that is bitten multiple times and fails multiple Fortitude saves takes damage each round equal to the number of Fortitude saves failed. A DC 20 Heal check or any cure or heal spell ends the effect. Creatures immune to poison are immune to the bleeding wound effect, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus to saving throws.


Monster Junkie
Here are the original writeups.

NO. APPEARING: 1 or 2-20
MOVE: 12'
HIT DICE: 1 hp to 4 HD
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 (bite)
SIZE: S to M (up to 6' long)

Cynodonts are mammal-like reptiles from Triassic times. They range from mouse-sized up to the size of a large sheep or small bear, and include both carnivores and herbivores. They have a number of mammalian traits, but their front legs retain a sprawling reptilian gait, and they have low flat lizard-like heads and thick reptilian tails. Roth carnivores and herbivores have prominent canine teeth. They have nails, but not hooves or sharp claws. They may be found singly or in small groups. Though the herbivores seek to avoid encounters, the carnivores may stalk and track prey and even work in groups. Cynodonts vary as shown below:
HD: 1 hp (the rest is missing)
DAMAGE: Nil 1 1-2 1-4 2-5 2-7 2-8
SIZE: S(to 2) S(2½) S(3)

Herbivore cynodonts of a given size are treated as if they were one size class smaller for hit dice and damage (i.e., a 6'-long herbivore has 3 HD).

MOVE: 12”
HIT DICE: 1 hp to 6HD
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 (bite)
SIZE: S to L (up to 9' long)

Dicynodonts are mammal-like reptiles from the Triassic. They are herbivores and vary in size from that of a woodchuck to that of a small rhinoceros. These bizarre creatures are bulky, with short, stout limbs, a thick tail, and a barrel-shaped torso. The limbs sprawl out towards the sides rather than being fully tucked under the body, as they are in mammals or dinosaurs.

Dicynodonts have few teeth, or may even be toothless with the exception of a pair of tusks in the upper jaw. The teeth are largely replaced by a horny beak resembling that of a parrot or turtle. The snout is short, and the large eyes face forward. There are no hooves, only large flat claws and stubby toes. Though small dicynodonts may use their claws to dig, and large ones may rear up and use them to pull down foliage, dicynodonts are not dextrous enough to use their claws in self-defense. Some common sorts of dicynodonts are semiaquatic herbivores, like hippopotami. The shape of the beak varies with the diet, which may include any sort of vegetable matter.

Dicynodonts vary with size as follows:
HIT DICE: to ¼ ½ 1 2 3 4-6
DAMAGE: Nil 1-2 1-4 2-5 2-8 2-12
SIZE: S(to 2) M(3) M(4) M(5) L(6) L(7-9)

Dicynodonts that have tusks do no more damage than those lacking them, since the primary weapon used in biting is the beak.

Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine #112 (1986).

Therapsids, early
DIET: Carnivore
ORGANIZATION: Hunting pack
THAC0: 17
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2d4 (bite), or 1d4 (butting)
SPECIAL DEFENSES: None (some have poison)
SIZE: S to L (up to 10' long)
MORALE: Unsteady (7)
XP VALUE: 120 (270 for poisonous ones)

These are the mammal-like reptiles of the Permian period, somewhat different from the cynodont and dicynodont that appeared in the Mesozoic era(described in "Dinosaurs," DRAGON issue #112). These early therapsids are a varied group: anteosaurs, titanosuchians, gorgonopsians, and therocephalians. All members of this catchall group have some things in common.

They are still more reptilian than mammalian, meaning they are slower and less efficient than later models. They also have tough reptilian hides instead of the softer skin of mammals; hence their superior armor class. They may have been intelligent enough to hunt in packs; no one knows for sure.

Two of these therapsids are equipped with special attack forms. Anteosaurs have prominent bony eyebrows, giving them a butting attack for 1-4 hp damage that was used for social combat. The gorgonopsians may have been equipped with a poisonous bite (save at +2; the first land-vertebrate poison shouldn't be all that strong). From the outside, these therapsids mostly look alike. They fill up all predator roles where they are dominant, being as varied as lions, tigers, and bears today.

Therapsid, giant
DIET: Carnivore
HIT DICE: 8 + 8
THAC0: 13
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 3d6/1d4/1d4
SIZE: L (10-12’ long)
MORALE: Elite (13)

This creature didn't really exist, but I thought we ought to have a couple really big natural animals in the Paleozoic even if this one would be more at home in the early Triassic period. Think of this fellow as the culmination of therapsid develop ment: a giant cynodont with fangs and clawed feet. Such a creature would still be driven into extinction by the dinosaurs, either by "wolf packs" of coelurosaurs or by more efficient stalking Teratosauruses. Another competitor is the last creature in this collection (Erythrosuchus).

Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine #176 (1991).


Inventor of Super-Toast
Sounds good!

I don't expect to keep the wounding saliva, but I rather like it. Other options include making it more a bear-like grappler (with Multiattack and Imp. Grab).


Monster Junkie
I like the wounding saliva as well. I'd be fine with keeping it, although the bear-like grappler might make more sense.

Just for fun, here's a few clips of the gorgonopsid from Primeval.

[ame=]YouTube - Future Bat V.S. Gorgonopsid[/ame]

[ame=]YouTube - Primeval - Stephen fights the Gorgonopsid[/ame]

And here's one from Walking with Monsters

[ame=]YouTube - Walking With Monsters Part III (1/3)[/ame] (near the 7 minute mark)


Inventor of Super-Toast
That looks pretty good! We should change the name of the group (display only works with the originals, since they have the giant fins).


Inventor of Super-Toast
Pack sounds good. And actually, thinking back on it, it would appeal to my evolutionary biologist sense if we did call it "gorgonopsid, Inostrancevia". Therapsid is a paraphyletic clade, because "Therapsidia" includes both gorgonopsids and cynodonts, and cynodonts contain both primitive forms and modern mammals.

Thinking on its environment, the Gladiodon was a montane creature, and I don't think any actual gorogonopsids were. Warm hills and plains, perhaps? If we took it out of the mountains, we might want to work with its skill points a bit, strip out Balance, that sort of thing.

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