Many popular tabletop RPG systems see dinosaurs occasionally appear as enemies, but some true dinosaur RPGs focus entirely on dinosaurs and other wonderful megafauna. These dinosaur RPG sets and scenarios speak of prehistoric fantasy worlds, scientific expeditions to forgotten lands, and Jurassic ParkStyle theme parks where dangerous creatures have just escaped from their cages.
Since paleontologists began to excavate, study and display the fossilized remains of creatures of the clade Dinosaur (sense “terrible lizards“), people have been creating works of fiction where humans have the opportunity to find living dinosaurs. Jules Verne described creatures from the Mesozoic era in the underground setting of Journey to the Center of the Earth. Arthur Conan Doyle placed living dinosaurs and primordial hominids atop an isolated plateau in The lost World. Most recently, Michael Crichton’s book series Jurassic Park and his film adaptations envisioned theme parks filled with prehistoric creatures resurrected by genetic engineering, while James Gurney beautifully illustrated Dinotopia The books described an isolated island continent where humans and sentient dinosaurs lived together in a harmonious, decentralized utopia.
The following sci-fi and fantasy tabletop RPGs are inspired by these seminal works of dinosaur-centric adventure fiction, while also incorporating more contemporary advancements in paleontology (feathered dinosaurs, for example). Basically, each of these dinosaur RPGs relies heavily on the fundamental “coolness” of prehistoric creatures, and how interesting it would be for humans to be able to fight, run, pet, and ride them.
Plan, a fantasy setting full of dinosaurs to D&D 5e, takes place in a primordial, newly formed land of verdant jungles, wild creatures, and wandering tribes of hunter-gatherers. It’s a twist on the classic Dungeons and Dragons fantasy world, where clergymen worship scattered pantheons of unfinished little gods, wizards tattoo spells on their skin, and dwarves are partially made of stone. It is also a world teeming with dinosaurs, with tyrannosaurs, pterodactyls, raptors, and other creatures from different eras of prehistory coexisting in glorious anachronism.
A prehistoric adventure setting built around Monte Cook Games’ Cypher RPG system, Predation uses time travel tropes instead of fantasy ones to bring humans and dinosaurs together. In the backstory of Predation, a time-traveling megacorporation called SATI established a colony of humans on Earth during the Cretaceous era, then time travel stopped working and temporary settlers were deprived of support and resupply. Players in a game of Predation portrays both the human descendants of the original settlers and their fellow dinosaurs as they venture out, rummage through leftover technology, and discover how they will survive the massive asteroid destined to hit the planet in the not-too-distant future.
Expedition to the Hollow Earth is an RPG steeped in twentieth-century pulp adventure fiction tropes, including troublesome and colonialists, as evidenced by the cover that prominently exotizes stereotypical depictions of indigenous women. The game draws heavily on the Transparent Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, which take place in a huge space at the center of the Earth filled with ancient civilizations, animals from the depths of prehistory, and mutated creatures with no paleontological basis. Player characters in Expedition to the Hollow Earth They are prone to encountering giant mushroom forests, massive killer worms, cultures descended from ancient Roman legions and 17th century pirates, mad scientists, fascist villains who practically demand a punch in the face, and loads of dinosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. periods.
The name of Muldoon’s famous last words in the first Jurassic Park movie Smart girl Journaling Dinosaur RPG is a pure homage to the series. Each Smart girl the game starts in a Jurassic ParkDinosaur-style theme park, where a group of genetically modified predators has escaped from their pens. Players adopt the perspective of humans on the run, forced to choose between risking their lives to help others or playing it safe by letting them die, or the perspective of newly released raptors, who hunt humans for food or revenge.