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How do you use dinosaurs in your campaign?


I love dinosaurs. That little kid wonder at these giant beasts has never gone away in me.

And yet, I never use dinosaurs in my campaigns!

How do you use dinos in your game? Are they common? Extinct? Intelligent? Domesticated?

I've always wanted to run a campaign set in the "Age of the Dinosaurs," but with D&D lineages. The world is divided into different classic pop culture dinosaur environments, and the gods themselves are giant dinosaurs and other reptiles... Maybe I'm just thinking of Primal Rage!

Tell me about your dinos (or other prehistoric beasts)!

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aramis erak

I used them a couple times in the 1980's in D&D.
I have a couple of xeno-dinosauria as species in my homebrewed trek rules, which I've not used since the 1990's.

That's about it.

In my two previous 3.5 campaigns, dinosaurs were pretty much relegated to specific primitive islands, usually filled with lizardfolk, nagas, and the like as the dominant intelligent races.

In my current 3.5 campaign, the PCs are starting on an Australia-sized continent that has no dinosaurs on it, but the larger, Asia-sized continent they'll be visiting in the latter half of the campaign will be a "Savage Land" filled with dinosaurs and prehistoric animals. (That's also where the halflings will be from, as I've decided to port in the Eberron-style, dinosaur-riding halflings into this campaign. The males are generally rangers and the females druids; both genders domesticate dinosaurs as riding mounts and load-beasts, and the halfling Navy consists of massive barges pulled by plesiosaurs and the like.)



Staff member
It varies from campaign to campaign. Some have none, some have a few, and in a couple, they’ve been integral. I haven‘t used the idea myself (yet), but I once suggested using raptors or moas in place of horses & dogs in a Plains Indian type culture.


Elder Thing
In the Eberron campaign setting there is a society of halflings who domesticate and use dinosaurs. I really like that approach; in a world with dragons and goblins, why do we assume dinosaurs went extinct?

In Glen Cook's Garret novels, there is an area of the world still inhabited by "thunder lizards" (dinosaurs). They're mentioned as dangerous and wild, but are almost always mentioned in the background. Eventually they start migrating outwards and into populated lands, and some are apparently intelligent (and are referred to as 'dragons'). I have used this approach as well.


David Jose
Our current campaign started off as a worldbuilding game of Microscope. One of the players had laid the groundwork for there to be riding dinosaurs/lizards of some kind, but he isn't with the group anymore. I'm not sure if anyone else is ever going to pick up that thread and run with it.

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