RPGs That Time Forgot: The Complete Guide to Velociraptors

Tag line: Velociraptors are not the largest dinosaurs, nor the strongest, nor the scariest. A tyrannosaur can eat a tribe of velociraptors for dinner, a brachiosaur shakes the earth with every footstep, and a kronosaur can swallow a boat whole. Yet velociraptors are the most feared of all dinosaurs, for a single reason - they are smarter than humans. Homo sapiens' tool-using opposable thumb is its only advantage over velocimptor mongoliensis. But in game worlds where raptors can observe humans and their tools, the raptors learn quickly, and the advantages of a thumb diminish with every passing day.
Makers: Goodman Games, for d20 Dinosaur Planet-Broncosaurus Rex (written by Joseph Goodman, 2002)

What is it?
A splat book that allows you to play/run sentient Velociraptors in the Dinosaur Planet campaign setting, essentially a western where dinosaurs replace horses and the American Indian.

Neat stuff
-The tribal culture imposed on the Raptors is rich and detailed, and though superficially based on Native Americans during the colonial/frontier era of American history, the specifics are very much derived from the way these dinosaurs were thought to behave.
-Special care is given to their tactics, not just in war and combat, but in politics as well! Why yes, there IS a Disembowel Feat. This whole section is actually useful and interesting for ANY game where such actions are possible.
-Doesn't just cover character creation, but tribe creation as well.
-Silverclaws are Raptors who, believing they aren't quite fearsome enough as it is, have their natural claws replaced with steel ones!

Bad stuff
-Even though the Raptors really have their own culture, the premise does seem insensitive to First Nations, essentially being replaced by violent animals in the western narrative of Broncosaurus Rex. The section on Velociraptors "under the influence" may also sting.
-The book is incomplete and sends you to the company's website for things like Velociraptor Spells and Tactician Feats. That's not a BIG problem, as these are optional variants, but the address given doesn't work. I've found it elsewhere: HERE IT IS.
-It's d20. I hate d20. But that's just me.

"Violence is a part of daily life for velociraptors. Their language does not include a word for peace. At the same time, it has no word for war. As far as raptors are concerned, there is always violence. Some days are just more violent than others."

How I've used it
I haven't yet, but I'm working on a Battleworld-type setting where one of the domains would be a cross between Torg's Living Land and Broncosaurus Rex. And I intend to give the Raptors a lot of play if the players cross into the domain's boundaries.

In conclusion
Not a big book at 32 pages, but it efficiently describes an interesting new character race, usable as a fearsome foe or as an unusual playable species and culture. The black and white art looks good, and the layout doesn't waste too much space on mechanics that d20 haters like me don't really care about. The adventure seeds cater to non-Dinosaur Planet games, so they're entirely integratable into whatever game you're playing (within reason, of course). A very cool idea that delivers in the content.

Anyone else ever read it or use it?



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