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In numerous campaign settings of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, dinosaurs, based upon the actual-life extinct reptiles of prehistoric ages, are present. Some of the dinosaurs used in D&D, such as the Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Ankylosaurus, are real ones which used to exist on earth. Others, such as the bloodstriker, fleshraker, and swindlespitter from the Monster Manual III, though labeled as dinosaurs, are made up, and as such are likely better regarded as monsters. Most D&D settings have a location where dinosaurs are known to dwell, and seeing as they coexist with intelligent races, they are sometimes depicted as tamed, with such things as armored T. rexes being used in battle and velociraptors used as mounts.

History of Dinosaurs in Dungeons & Dragons[edit | edit source]

Dinosaurs have existed in each edition of the Monster Manual,[1][2][3][4] and have played a significant role in Dungeons & Dragons since nearly the very beginning. In the 1981 dinosaurs were a major antagonist in the module the Isle of Dread (which was exceptionally widely distributed as it was included with the Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set).[5] Also in the The Bane of Llywelyn, an early first edition Dungeons & Dragons module featured Amazons on Pterosaur-like dinosaurs.

In 1990, the Hollow World Campaign Set was introduced. It "…takes all the best elements of the fantastic adventure fiction of the '30s and '40s (dinosaurs, savage men, lost empires) and marries them to the tropes of Dungeons & Dragons (elves, dwarves, Vance-style magic)."[6]

Dinosaurs continue to play a major role in a number of more recent published adventures and campaign settings. In the 2002 Eberron campaign setting dinosaurs play a major role,[7] and are the primary food source, work animal, and mount of the halflings of the Talenta Plains.[8] Much Eberron artwork depicts halflings with such dinosaurs, and these images have became strongly symbolic of the setting.

In 2006, the first part of the Savage Tide Adventure Path was published. These adventures return to the "dinosaur-ridden" Isle of Dread.[9]

Dinosaurs in the Forgotten Realms[edit | edit source]

In the Forgotten Realms setting, dinosaurs are rather prevalent as well, although not as much as in Eberron. They are known to inhabit the Chultan Peninsula, among other locations. While dinosaur mounts and battle-beasts are not quite as common in the Faerûn, there are numerous humanoid dinosaur-like races present in the setting, including the triceratops-like saurials and the pterosaur-like pterafolk.

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

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