As animals, dinosaurs have little interest in treasure, although velociraptors, like their bird cousins, enjoy keeping sparkling baubles in their nests, but the remains of adventurers strewn about their lairs often still have valuable gear. Dinosaurs can also be harvested for rare and valuable trophies such as teeth, talons, armor plates, and the like.
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How to incorporate dinosaurs into your world
If you don’t know where to place dinosaurs in your world you can relegate them to different parts of the plane or even using portals to bring them sparingly into your world.
Remnants from the world’s primeval era, these enormous reptilian animals still exist in large numbers in isolated and remote wildernesses or far underground within magical Darklands caverns.
Ancestries that domesticate dinosaurs
Lizardfolk, orcs, giants, and other monstrous humanoids sometimes use dinosaurs as mounts, guards, or hunting animals. Humans and other ancestries have also been known to collect dinosaurs, be it to display them in menageries or keep them as exotic pets or guardians.
Such activities are generally pursuits of the rich or eccentric, but certain druids and other guardians of nature feel strong kinships with dinosaurs as well and take them on as companions. When dinosaurs establish themselves in regions beyond their normal habitats, it is generally the result of these captive creatures escaping into the wild.
Another classic place where dinosaurs are found in fiction is in “hollow worlds.” Some campaign settings might not contain entire isolated worlds within them, but many, such as Golarion, have expansive underground lands. The deepest region of the Darklands of Golarion—a realm called Orv—is an optimal place to find a hollow world.
Typically infused with magic that allows for jungles to grow deep underground (and sometimes even sunlike orbs that illuminate the lands from above, simulating a day‑night cycle), areas such as Deep Tolguth of Orv make perfect places for dinosaurs to roam.
A smaller cousin of the deinonychus, the velociraptor is a swift, cunning pack hunter. It has no fear of larger creatures, and a group of these dinosaurs won’t hesitate to attack creatures the size of a horse. Velociraptors are social animals and tend to live in groups of up to a dozen other velociraptors.
They have manes of feathery plumage that extend down their backs and along the sides of their arms, legs, and tail, while their underbellies and flanks are scaly. These feathers allow them to blend into their natural terrains with ease, but when excited, attempting to intimidate, or seeking a mate, a velociraptor can puff and frill this plumage to expose much brighter colors normally covered by the longer feathers.
A typical velociraptor is 1-1/2 feet tall, 7 feet long, and weighs 35 pounds.
Velociraptors can use one action to perform a Leaping Charge. The velociraptor strides up to 10 feet, ignoring difficult terrain as it leaps over obstacles. It then makes a strike with its talons, gaining a +1 circumstance bonus to its attack roll. If in a pack of velociraptors, they can use pack attack. The velociraptor deals 1d4 extra damage to any creature that’s within reach of at least two of the velociraptor’s allies.
Velociraptors like to hunt in packs to take out larger animals for food.
They aren’t very intelligent (- 4) but are wise (+1). They won’t often be found alone but if they are they are either injured, old, sick, or banished from their pack.
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A small group of humans comes across the adventures right before dusk. They say they are being hunted by an orc warrior using a velociraptor as a tracker. He caught their scent two days ago and they managed to kill some of the orcs that were hunting them but were too injured to defeat those that were left.
A lone velociraptor has been seen roaming near a mysterious portal. If your world doesn’t have dinosaurs in it then this leads to a world filled only with dinosaurs and an evil wizard has opened this portal to see if these beasts can be tamed and used for his purposes.
A wealthy noble has offered a large reward to anyone who can bring back a velociraptor egg. The players must find and retrieve a velociraptor egg before the other 5 parties that have also taken up the quest do. The other groups will stop at nothing for this prize.
The egg is stored in a retired sorcerer’s collection under a permanent ice spell to keep the egg from hatching. There are several different ways into the sorcerer’s mansion. You could play this like a heist adventure setting up different traps and obstacles that the players have to navigate through.
Here is a sample map that could be used for the sorcerer’s tower in your game. I would put the egg in room number 15. The steps by room number 1 could lead to a natural cavern that is used for cold storage. There could be a secret way into that cavern if they ask around and potentially bribe the right people. Otherwise, they can try the front door, which would be the stairs by “a” that leads to a long hallway to room 16.
Do you want 10 adventure ideas for the Velociraptor?
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About the Author:
Dwight Scull has been playing tabletop role-playing games (starting with Dungeons and Dragons 3.5) back in 2001. He started being a dungeon master around 2005.
He loves to play many different types of TTRPGs, including Pathfinder, GURPS, Shadowrun, Vampire: The Masquerade, Mage: The Ascension (and other White Wolf Games), Nights Black Agents, and others.
Fan of mysteries, light horror, co-op board games, true crime, sci-fi, and fantasy.