Dinosaurs, and some adventures to put them in

On Sundays I’ve been posting some illustrations I’ve made to use in roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons. Last week folks on Twitter voted for me to do some dinosaur illustrations, and I said I’d include some zombie dinosaurs. (The upcoming D&D adventure Tomb of Annihilation involves zombie dinosaurs.) So here’s a regualr version and a zombie version of a hadrosaurus and an ankylosaurus:


I noticed that Trash Mobs has also been designing some dinosaur miniatures, including undead versions.

I’ve also been thinking about what kind of adventures could be run involving dinosaurs in the meantime, and I thought of a couple of ideas based on exisitng stories from outside D&D.

Based on Jurassic Park

A rich and eccentric circus operator has set up a dinosaur park on an island off the Sword Coast, for the viewing pleasure of the aristocracy. Of course, everything’s gone wrong – perhaps magical wards keeping the beasts in their enclosures have failed. He needs some adventurers to go into the park to find and rescue any staff and visitors who’ve survived. Some of the adventurers might actually be rangers, alchemists or wizards who’ve been working at the dinosaur park. Alternatively, some of the dinosaurs may have escaped and begun to wreak havoc in settlements on the mainland.

I think an important theme to pick up on in this kind of adventure would be the failure of human and technological systems to contain wild nature.

Based on Terra Nova

I think there was a lot that didn’t work with the show Terra Nova, but I think the general idea could provide a seed for a story. I’d imagine a scenrio set after the Tyranny of Dragons storyline, where Tiamat and the Cult of Dragons now rule over the Sword Coast. A small group of survivors has fled to the ends of the earth, to Chult. They attempt to set up a colony among the dinosaurs in the jungle. But not everyone will agree about how the community should live together.
Another resource that I think would be useful in running this kind of adventure is the artwork from James Gurney’s Dinotopia books, which portray humans living among dinosaurs in a premodern setting rather than a futuristic setting.


Illustration by James Gurney

Flutterbones

During the week, while I was working on a commission (not gaming-related) I came up with a monster idea for Dungeons & Dragons, which I’m keen to develop. I think it would fit into a number of different settings that I have in mind. I had an idea for a kind of good-aligned, undead monster. I’m currently calling it ‘Flutterbones.’ There’s a PDF here, which I’ve made with Homebrewery.

If you try it out and have any feedback, email me.

The shadow in D&D and psychoanalysis

Each Sunday I’m publishing a monster illustration I’ve made for use in tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder.

This week I’ve drawn a shadow:

In Dungeons and Dragons, shadows are undead creatures that are particularly drawn to good creatures. The 5th Edition Monster Manual says,

A creature that lives a life of goodness and piety consigns its basest impulses and strongest temptations to the darkness where the shadows hunger.
(269)

Shadows basically attach themselves to good creatures and feed off their suppressed wickedness, sapping their strength and physicality in the process.
This seems similar to the psychoanalyst Karl Jung’s idea of the shadow archetype. In Jungian psychoanalysis the shadow represents the parts of our personalities that we don’t want to recognise. Often (but not always) these are more negative attributes. We’re normally unconscious of our shadows.

Are there any aspects of your own personality that you find hard to recognise?

Mindless zombies

On Sundays I’m posting monster illustrations that I’ve made to use in RPGs. A couple of weeks ago I posted a drawing of a ghoul, and today I’ve posted a zombie. You might well ask what is the difference between a zombie and a ghoul? I’d say the main difference (at least in D&D) is that a zombie is virtually mindless. A zombie does the bidding of its master without thinking. as the 5th Edition Monster Manual says,

A zombie might stumble into a fast flowing rover to reach foes on the far shore, clawing at the surface as it is battered against rocks and destroyed.
(Monster Manual. 315.)

Of course the strength of zombies is that they normally come in large groups and can overpower adventurers by their large numbers.
Something that I think zombies can lead us to ask about our human experience is whether we’re we’re paying attention. Are we aware of how we are spending our existance, or are we mindlessly striving toward senseless ends?

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If you’d like to use my illustrations in your game, head over to my Patreon page and become a supporter: patreon.com/ChrisABooth

Monstrous consumption

You might start noticing a pattern in my posts… I’m trying to get into a rhythm so that I’m posting daily. At the moment I’m trying out posting RPG monster illustrations on Sundays, but who knows that might change…

This is a ghoul that I drew for an adventure we played last Monday. I’ve been gradually going through the short Adventurers’ League stories from Tyranny of Dragons, and in this episode we needed some ghouls.

A week ago when I posted my kobold illustration I said that I think fantastical or horrific monsters actually tend to be a way of talking about mundane human experience. I think this is the case with ghouls. In D&D and Pathfinder ghouls tend to be associated with gluttony and cannibalism (eg. elves or humans whose hunger for flesh turned them cannibalistic). Cannibalism isn’t exactly something I’d call mundane, but there are more subtle ways that humans prey on each other too aren’t there?

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If you’d like to use my illustrations in your game, head over to my Patreon page and become a supporter: patreon.com/ChrisABooth