Thursday, 23 March 2017

Undead Dinosaurs

Some undead dinosaurs from the Memories of Ruin, the section of Behind Gently Smiling Jaws set in the aftermath of the cataclysm which brought the dinosaur age to an end.

Quetzalcoautlus Wraiths

The Quetzalcouatlus was a huge, leathery flyer, with a wingspan 15 metres from tip to tip and a long powerful head that was almost entirely jaw. It soared the ancient blue skies in search of fish, feeding grounds, or carcasses, sharp-eyed and leisurely. In fields it gathered in small flocks and crawled in an ungainly fashion amidst the vegetation, on all fours, its wings curled up about its body, searching for lizards or insects to snatch.

Mere wraiths of them remained after the cataclysm. Tied to the ground and unable to fly. Wisp-like black vaporous shapes, thin and stretched and featureless like silhouettes, repeating what they did in life with the concentration of the dead. Scrabbling about, vast elongated heads twisting and rotating as if searching, searching, ever searching. As fragile and ephemeral looking as smoke, dancing and twisting in the wind while somehow retaining their shape. 

HD 6+6, AC 18*, ATT Special, Move 150
*Immune to non-magical and non-silver attacks.
*Dark tendrils of death emerge from their willowy forms when living things approach. If these tendrils touch, the target loses his or her life force (1d6 points of CON per touch). No ‘to hit’ roll is required; the tendrils touch automatically anything within 10 feet. Once CON reaches 2 or less, the subject dies. CON loss cannot be recovered.
*Dissipated entirely by magical wind. 

Ghast Alamosaurs

Driven to starving insanity by lack of food in the long dark winter in which all around them died – their ancient herds reduced to stumbling ruins and finally corpses – some vegetarian beasts turned in desperation to eating flesh. Their teeth and digestive systems were unsuited for it, but they attempted it nonetheless, falling on the carcasses of dead children, relatives and other members of the herd and gobbling what sustenance they could from their withered remnants. Sure enough, this sustained them and prolonged their lives; but their unconscious bargain with Death changed them. Their hunger for meat came to crowd out their hunger for anything else – indeed, they became insatiable for it. And the more they ate of it, the more they transformed, becoming ever more sinuous and lean and savage. Eventually, Death gave them another bargain: eternal life in return for eternal hunger and eternal feeding. This they accepted with the willing primal instinct of all beasts presented with food.

They retain the form of a sauropod, but thin and wizened into sinew and muscle. They stand 20 yards long from the tip of the tail to the top of the head, perched on a long snake-like neck. Their eyes are yellow and jaundiced; their skins are black. They hunt for meat like a predator despite their herbivorous ancestry, relying on lumbering power rather than ambush, stamina or intelligence.

HD 9, AC 14, AB +8, ATT Bite 1d6/Trample 3d6 (after charge), Move 150
*Will stop to devour meat, corpses, and so on - cannot resist carrion.
*Always initially attempt to attack by charging, but due to momentum must move full rate for two rounds if doing so - doing 3d6 damage to anything in the way. 

Maiasaur Wights

When the catastrophe came, the will of parents to protect and care for young was so strong that in some cases it surpassed death. Maiasaur mothers with unhatched eggs in nests are a particular example. While the eggs of such undead maiasaurs will never hatch, and the bodies of the young – cold and stiff – will never see life return, the mothers persist as wights, mournful sentinels over their progeny, unable to comprehend eternity but condemned by their protective instincts to experience it. They were proud hadrasaurids once: ten yards at least from snout to tail tip, able to walk on two legs or four, herbivorous but with dangerously muscular tails, and possessing a delicate gentle compassion in their relations. Now they traipse wearily and slowly around their dead and desiccated nests, half-skeletal and half-mummified by parching heat, dust and time – leathery, wrinkled, with skin stretched tight over bone. They guard the nests with the relentlessness of despair.

HD 7+7, AC 14, AB +5, ATT Tail Swipe 1d8+4, Move 180
*What is left of their organs is irrelevant to them, but damage to their bodily structure will impair them. Are immune to piercing weapons and take only half damage from slashing weapons, but suffer double damage from bludgeoning weapons.
*Maiasaur wight mothers will follow stolen eggs forever and attack anybody approaching their nests.
*Smashing all eggs in a nest (generally 2d6 in number) will cause the mother to expire over the course of d6 rounds as the protective instinct maintaining its existence dissipates.
*Eggs can hatch if a Raise the Dead spell is cast on them. Baby maiasaurs will loyally follow the first living thing they see, and can be trained to perform simple tasks. They have 1 HD and are noncombatants until the age of three. Resurrecting eggs will cause the mother to expire in blessed relief.


  1. Huh. Did the Alamosaurs make a deal with Death, or with a dream of Death?

    Regardless, these are great. Particularly the maiasaur. Treating the eggs as loot is up there with carrying around troll body-parts.

    AC is ascending base 12?

    1. They made a deal with actual Death... Or maybe the crocodile just imagined or dreamed the whole thing? AC is ascending base 12 but I might go back to what I'm comfortable with and use descending AC - haven't quite made up my mind.

  2. These are all late Cretaceous dinosaurs? That sounds correct given this is in the immediate aftermath of the K/T Yucatan impact. Interesting that the undead aspects of these monsters do not correlate too closely to their conventional, human-based counterparts (Maiasaurus wights do not drain levels, Alamosaurus ghasts do not generate a stench).
    Might there be other undead dinosaurs of other families, such as Styracosaurus Spectres, Shadow Dromaeosaurs and, horror of horrors, Vampiric Tyrannosaurus rexes?

    1. Yes. A lot of the late Cretaceous dinosaurs are undead. But the avian dinosaurs and mammals are proliferating.

  3. Good stuff, going way beyond the near-cliche of the animated T-Rex skeleton!

    1. Tyrannosaurs do feature but as a kid I always preferred Deinonychus.

  4. This is brilliant: macabre, eerie and yet strangely touching.

    1. Thanks. I want to get across a slightly elegaic feel.

  5. Will there be another part to this with something like a Dinosaur Revolution T-rex taken to the extreme?