Tooth & Claw
Adventure Roleplaying in the Age of Dinosaurs
By Jared A. Sorensen Introduction
Welcome to the Mesozoic Era! Welcome to the Age of Dinosaurs!
Dinosaurs were creatures that lived in the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of Earth’s history. Although many mysteries remain, scientists have uncovered many clues to explain what the dinosaurs were like and how they lived.
About 250 million years ago (a period called the Triassic), all the continents were joined together into a super-continent called Pangea. The Triassic heralded the arrival of some strange new lifeforms – the first dinosaurs. Over time, Pangea slowly broke apart into halves to form the continents of Gondwana and Laurasia. During the latter half of the Mesozoic Era (the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods), those two continents broke up and drifted apart, forming the basis of the continents that exist today.
Dinosaur evolution was a long and varied process. From the primitive saurians of the early Triassic to the mighty kings of the Cretaceous, dinosaurs changed to adapt to their environment, to climate, to new predators and to new prey. As such, not all dinosaurs existed at the same time. Some dinosaurs you may be familiar with weren’t even around during the later periods. And when the continents broke apart and the land bridges were severed, some dinosaurs evolved into separate species, never meeting one another face-to-face again.
In this game, we’re going to re-write history a little bit in order to accommodate the existence of all the dinosaurs you know and love. Pangea has yet to break apart, primitive flowering plants have evolved and all the dinosaurs of the Mesozoic exist at more or less the same time. Granted, this is a major deviation from scientific fact, but you’ll see that it’s one of only a few changes that have been made in this game. Part of what’s so cool about dinosaurs is that they really existed…and part of what makes Tooth & Claw so special is that these adventures really could have happened!
So with this in mind, step back into the misty past and enter the Age of Dinosaurs! About the Game
In Tooth & Claw, you’ll play the part of an ancient species, millions of years long gone. This poses a challenge because dinosaurs are so mysterious and despite a wealth of knowledge uncovered over the last few decades, we only have a limited amount of information about dinosaurs. You’ll notice that some of the details in this game are based on scientific fact, while others are based on theory or speculation. In many cases, some of this stuff is entirely made up!
Also, this game doesn’t attempt to delve into all aspects of dinosaur physiology, behavior and (!) society. The best place to fill in the considerable gaps is in your local library or via the World Wide Web. Additional information can be found in the excellent “Walking with Dinosaurs” series that has aired on the Discover Channel (DVDs are also available and are highly recommended). Of course, when in doubt, feel free to make things up. I did!The Setting – Mesozoic Earth
Tooth & Claw takes place in a world very different than our own. The climate is wet and hot in the vast jungles and dry and desolate on the savannah. Spiky cycads and tough vegetation dot the landscape. There are no grasses anywhere – they have yet to evolve – but ferns and conifer trees are abundant. Large insects buzz through the air while immense crocodilians and strange gilled creatures swim through brackish lakes and streams. The earth is in constant flux and fierce storms sweep across the land. Volcanoes spew ash and smoke, raining flaming ruin upon the valley below, and strange lights streak across the evening sky. One of these, a dense sphere of meteoric iron, has recently crashed into a mountainside. The still-smoking crater is a hundred feet wide and the earth around it is fused smooth from the force of the impact. A great ocean covers the planet and surrounds the enormous landmass where the dinosaurs roam. Within its mysterious depths lurk strange and terrifying beasts, forever a mystery to their terrestrial cousins.
It is in this savage land where your adventures unfold. Survival of the fittest, won in battles of tooth and claw.GNS Issues and (Continental) Drift
Ostensibly a Simulationist exercise, it’s more than likely that your Tooth & Claw games will “drift” toward the two extremes of gameplay: Narrativism and Gamism. A Narrativist game of Tooth & Claw is sure to touch upon issues of family and co-existence, possibly reaching a state I’ve dubbed “Shakespeare with Dinosaurs.” In essence, your dinosaur characters face very human conflicts and dealing with those conflicts in a dramatic way becomes the focus of the game. Check the “Mesozoic Theatre” section for a handful of potential dino-stories.
Gamist play focuses on the various ways that dinosaurs can interact and the different kinds of challenges that could arise. Depredation, sexual rivalry, protection (of the herd, of offspring), daily survival, life and death come down to a roll of the dice and clever ways to approach the system. This is certainly encouraged as much as thematic exploration.
In the end, Tooth & Claw is simply about pretending that you’re a dinosaur. What does that entail? Well, hopefully the game will give you some ideas but in the end, it’s up to you.The Big Questions
“Can Tooth & Claw characters speak?”
Yes and no. Dinosaurs can communicate, but it’s up to the group how this communication is approached. “Disneyfication” is one way…that is, the dinosaurs speak with human voices (your voices) and the characters are played much the same as in other RPGs. Another way is to limit vocalizations to roars, growls, trumpets and other dinosaur-friendly sounds. Actual communication is done player to player, usually by speaking in the third person. “Crookclaw lowers his head and growls a warning to the new arrival. It would be wise to step away from the clutch of eggs before he charges you.” is perfectly acceptable. You can even mix the two methods, using narration and dialogue interchangeably. Talk about it before the game and discuss the pro’s and con’s of each of the three methods.
"Are there humans? Mammals?"
Tooth & Claw takes place millions of years ago, long before humans existed. Mammals do exist, however, but they’re small, shrew-like creatures or inquisitive protosimians (such as lemurs). No mammoths, no saber-toothed cats. Small reptiles are abundant and insects of every imaginable size, shape and color are everywhere. Sharks, rays and fish swim in the seas. Birds have just started to make their appearance.
"Can I play a Plesiosaur? Or a Pteranadon?"
Although marine and winged reptiles are Archosaurs (ruling reptiles), they’re not dinosaurs. Neither are the mammal-like reptiles (such as Dimetrodon). If you have your heart set on playing a non-dinosaur Archosaur, discuss it with your group.
"Can we roleplay the 'End of the Dinosaurs'?"
If you want to, but I’m not sure how fun it would be. Tooth & Claw doesn’t really go into the how’s, whys or when’s of dinosaur extinction but feel free to run a “post-apocalyptic” game if you wish to do so.Game Mechanics
The best way to dive into the material is to discuss the game mechanics and the various options that you (as a player or as the GM) will have during the game.
Tooth & Claw is a die-pool system that uses six-sided dice. When rolling the dice, you’re looking for successes. In this case, that means a roll of 1 on any one die. Additional successes may be gained by rolling a sequence of numbers starting with the target number of 1. For example, if I roll four dice and score the following results:
1, 2, 3, 4
Then this qualifies as four successes. Additional 1’s or numbers out of sequence don’t count. Neither do multiple sequences. For example, this roll counts as two successes:
1, 1, 2, 4
1, 2 are counted because they form a sequence. The extra 1 doesn’t matter and the 4 isn’t included in the sequence because the number 4 doesn’t follow the number 2 when counting from one to six.
Most unopposed challenges only require one success. These are die rolls that resolve simple questions that arise during the game. “Can I do cross this river?” “Is this food good to eat?” A single success is enough. Opposed challenges are more common and involve some kind of competition or adversarial relationship. One dinosaur is hiding from a predator while the predator is searching for its prey. One dinosaur is courting a female while another is trying to out-do his display. In challenges such as these, each “side” makes its own die roll and the challenger with the most successes wins the contest.
For example, in the hidden dinosaur vs. searching dinosaur example, the following results are rolled:
Hiding dinosaur: 1, 1, 2, 3
Seeking dinosaur: 1, 4, 4
The hiding dinosaur gets two successes. The seeking dinosaur only gets 1. Therefore, the hiding dinosaur wins the challenge and remains hidden.
When successes are rolled, they can sometimes be carried over as bonus dice to follow-up rolls. For example, a hidden predator that rolls well may apply the successes as bonus dice to an attack roll.
Some dinosaurs have a special ability that allows them to increase their target number range, which increases the chances of rolling a single success. If a dinosaur has +1 to their target number, it means that rolls of 1’s or 2’s are treated as successes (a roll containing a 1 and a 2 is treated as a two-success sequence). If such a character rolled 2, 3, 4, 4, for example, this would net that character three successes (2, 3 and 4 are in sequence).
Dinosaur abilities are called Behaviors and are rated as a number of dice that are rolled when that Behavior is used. For example, if my dinosaur has a Fight Behavior of 3, that means I get to roll three dice whenever my dinosaur fights. Dinosaur Behaviors are grouped according to their ruling Attribute. The three Attributes are Stamina, Speed, and Skill. During character creation, you’ll determine your Stamina, Speed and Skill and from there you spend points to establish your various Behavior scores.
Die rolls may be augmented by expending Survival Dice and Skill Dice. In either case, one die is added to the roll for each Survival Die or Skill Die that is spent. Survival Dice and Skill Dice can only be spent on specific behaviors – you can’t mix-and-match them. There are actually two kinds of Survival Dice: Survival (Stamina) and Survival (Speed). Survival Dice (Stamina) may only augment Stamina-based Behaviors while Survival Dice (Speed) may only augment Speed-based Behaviors. Skill-based Behaviors are augmented by spending Skill Dice. If a Behavior has a score of 0, it means that Survival Dice or Skill Dice must be spent in order to use that Behavior.
The following is a list of all nine Behaviors (broken down by Attribute) and their various uses:Stamina Behaviors
Stamina Behaviors deal with physical strength and endurance. The larger the dinosaur is, the higher its Stamina will be.
Fight: Fight is used to inflict injury on another creature, be it through predatory attacks, defensive strikes or ritualized combat. When wounds are inflicted, they remove Survival Dice and (eventually) Stamina points. A dinosaur dies when it loses all of its Stamina.
Survive: Survive is used to fend off injury, be it from attacks, diseases, accidents or natural hazards. In practice, Survive is used to cancel the successes from an opposed roll.
Display: Display is used to attract mates, intimidate aggressors or scare off weaker creatures. Though not as readily useful as Fight or Survive, a powerful Display can help to add bonus dice to an opposed roll.
A side-note about courtship and mating: The fossil record hasn’t left us with many clues about dinosaur mating habits but we can infer some details by studying modern reptiles and birds. The mating habits of dinosaurs vary according to sub-order, species and diet. Big female carnivores usually raise their offspring without assistance from a male while smaller carnivores hunt in mated pairs. Herbivores have the strongest familial bonds, with aunts, uncles and grandparents assisting in child-rearing duties. Displays of strength are common among the bigger herbivores. Meat-eaters prefer to offer “gifts” to the objects of their affections. Females have their pick of the suitors and opt for the one with the greatest “earning potential.”Speed Behaviors
Speed Behaviors deal with quickness and agility. The larger the dinosaur is, the lower its Speed will be.
Chase: Chase is used whenever one dinosaur is in pursuit of another. Sometimes, this is just a friendly race but most often it’s used to run down a potential source of food.
Escape: Escape opposes the Chase Behavior and is also used to outrun danger. When faced with a superior opponent, Escape is sometimes the only sensible option.
Move: Move is used to traverse difficult terrain. This includes leaping, climbing, swimming and balancing. Move can be used to thwart an attacker, to survive a fall or to scamper up a tree in search of food.Skill Behaviors
Skill Behaviors deal with intelligence and perceptive abilities. Skill Behaviors are determined by your dinosaur’s age.
Hide: Hide is used to escape detection and is always opposed by the Seek Behavior. The Hide Behavior can be used in many ways: moving silently, hiding in dense foliage, staying downwind of a predator or using camouflage or the cover of darkness to conceal oneself.
Seek: Seek is used to detect a hidden creature. It’s also used as a catch-all for the various senses that dinosaurs use in day-to-day life. Dinosaurs are diurnal, meaning that they operate best during daylight. Their visual acuity varies from poor (large theropods and herbivores) to very good (the medium to large-sized raptors). Mammals, on the other hand, are mostly nocturnal (active at night) and cannot see color. Unlike dinosaurs, their night-vision is superb.
Dinosaurs possess fairly good hearing, enabling them to pick up the sounds of wounded prey, stalking predators, mating calls and territorial challenges. Hearing also plays an important part in communication and dinosaur vocalizations can be quite complex, especially among the more intelligent raptors and socially-minded herbivores.
By far, the most important sense for a dinosaur is its sense of smell. For some dinosaurs, it’s the only sense worth noting. Scavenging carnivores can smell rotting meat for miles and miles…if you can imagine a nose with legs and teeth, you’re not too far off.
Because the sense of smell is so important, it bears further investigation and explanation. To a dinosaur, there are three smells that it lives and dies by: blood, carrion (rotting meat) and dung. The first two scents are of obvious importance: carnivores are drawn to the smell of food, and in a pinch, a rotting carcass could spell salvation for a hungry theropod. But it’s equally important to herbivores and omnivores. Herbivores know to steer clear of that smell because it means “meat-eaters are around.” Omnivores can sniff out carrion and maybe get some scraps without too much hassle – a good deal for them, to be sure. The smell of blood could also mean that an injured creature is nearby. Possible prey, yes…but an injured dinosaur is just as often a dangerous enemy.
Dinosaurs are territorial creatures and they mark their territory in a number of ways. Clawing or knocking down trees shows off their size and strength. Scent-glands are also a good way of spreading information, especially when seeking a mate. And last, but certainly not least, deposits of dino droppings get the message out loud and clear. Dinosaur dung contains lots of olfactory information and it lasts longer than other methods. Think of it as the dinosaur Internet: a pile of steaming dung is like a message on a bulletin board, “Hey. I’m a big male with a family and this is my home. Stay out!”
Learn: Learn is a curious Behavior that defines a dinosaur’s intelligence, memory and ability to process information. When something is encountered for the first time, use of the Learn Behavior can be used to gain valuable information. Is that plant safe to eat? Is there a mud-hole nearby? Who is the leader of that herd? Learn is used to answer these questions and many more.
As a side-note, Learn is used to pass on knowledge to other dinosaurs (especially offspring). Plant-eating dinosaurs in Tooth & Claw use complex songs to communicate vast distances and warn of potential threats, much like modern whales. Meat-eaters pass on information by physical gesture, showing rather than telling.ConflictsWho Goes First?
When combat is initiated, the combatant with the higher Speed may act first (in the event of a tie, Speed Survival Dice may be spent to increase this number). The dinosaur that wins Initiative may choose any number of combat options (Fight, Survive, Move, Chase, Escape or Display). Combat
Once the fight has begun, you may choose to either Attack (roll your Fight Behavior) or Defend (roll your Survive Behavior). If both combatants roll their Fight, then each dinosaur may suffer injury. If one combatant rolls Survive, then that person simply needs to roll at least as many successes as their opponent. If both dinosaurs are rolling Survive, they stop fighting and no roll is even needed.
In a Fight vs. Fight situation, each success equals a wound inflicted upon an opponent (damage does not roll over into bonus dice). In a Fight vs. Survive situation, each success greater than the defender’s total successes equals one wound the defender suffers. Each wound reduces the victim’s Survival Dice (Stamina or Speed) by 1. When all Survival Dice have been lost, then start subtracting Stamina.
After the roll has been made, the dinosaur that won Initiative may choose to continue or to retreat. If it decides to retreat, the defender can simply allow this to happen or start a new round of combat. Again, the highest Speed wins Initiative.
If Stamina is ever decreased lower than a Behavior, that Behavior becomes equal to the reduced Stamina score. This means that if the Stamina of a dinosaur with a Fight Behavior of 3 drops to two or less, their Fight Behavior is decreased as well. When the dinosaur has no more Stamina and no more Survival Dice, it dies (it can no longer Fight or Survive).Scars
In lieu of reducing one’s Stamina as a result of injury, a Scar may be taken. If this is done, permanently reduce a Behavior by the number of wounds received. Behaviors may not be reduced below 0 points. Scars appear as lost eyes, broken limbs or other such afflictions. Scars do not ever heal.Feeding and Healing
Dinosaurs heal from injury at a rate of 1 Stamina point per day. Survival dice are gained at a faster rate. When the dinosaur eats, roll a feeding die. If the die results in a success, the dinosaur regains one Survival Die. More dice can be rolled if the situation permits and the dinosaur may gain additional Survival Dice if they possess a Survival Advantage (see the list of Advantages in Character Creation for more details).
Use the following guide to determine how many feeding dice to roll:
Carnivores: Carnivores find food by tracking and killing prey or by scavenging remains. Roll an extra die for every size category smaller than the prey. If the prey is carrion, roll one die to determine the “freshness” of the carcass and roll this many dice less. If more than one Carnivore is feeding on a carcass, split these dice up between then (you can also make Display rolls to “steal” feeding dice from others).
Omnivores: Omnivores scavenge the remnants of carcasses for food the same way as Carnivores. They can also forage for eggs, grubs and other odd bits of food. To do this, make a Seek roll (unopposed) and roll any successes over as extra dice for the foraging attempt.
Herbivores: Herbivores graze on vegetation. If food is plentiful, roll an extra die for every hour spent grazing. If food is scarce, allow the character to make a Learn roll opposed by its Stamina. Success means that the dinosaur knows where to find enough plants to eat and it gains a Survival die for each success (successes may be rolled over for other herbivorous characters).
Skill Dice are regained if the dinosaur performs certain tasks (according to Diet). All uninjured dinosaurs regain all of their Skill Dice after waking from a good night’s sleep. An injured dinosaur regains one Skill die after waking from a night’s rest.Other Behaviors in ActionDisplay
Dinosaurs can also use their fierce demeanors to scare off an attacker. Both dinosaurs roll their Display Behavior. The loser must either withdraw or give a die bonus to the defender equal to the defender’s excess successes. If the dinosaur is facing multiple attackers, it can split any successes up between them or it can concentrate its successes on just one (an extremely impressive dinosaur might be able to drive off several attackers!). Outside of combat, the Display Behavior can be used to attract or repel a prospective mate (males are more likely to use Display than females). Make an unopposed Display roll (or opposed if in direct competition with another dinosaur). Success doesn’t mean you instantly attract a mate…it only opens the door. If in competition with another dinosaur, you can roll over those successes into a Fight roll (if you wish to cut to the chase and physically drive away the rival).Pursuit
In a Chase vs. Escape situation, the aggressor rolls Chase and the defender rolls Escape. If the aggressor wins, it catches up to the escaping dinosaur and may begin combat as if it won initiative. If the defender wins, it escapes pursuit unless the aggressor presses on. If the chase continues, the defender may add its successes to its next Escape roll. Pursuit ends when either party gives up (either the aggressor stops pursuing or the defender stops running away).
The defender can also try to use its Move Behavior to get away from an attacker if the terrain permits such a maneuver (such as running across a log, climbing a rocky slope or diving into deep water). The retreating dinosaur must roll more successes than the attacker. If it does so, it escapes into the wilderness. If not, the attacker catches the escaping dinosaur and combat commences.Ambush!
Ambushes are done by making an opposed Hide vs. Seek roll. If the hidden dinosaur catches its quarry unaware, it may use any extra successes as a one round bonus for purposes of establishing Initiative or beginning Pursuit (if not within striking distance). If the defender wins the challenge, it may initiate combat as if it won initiative (from there it can fight or flee).Learn
The Learn behavior can be used to attempt complex maneuvers or other uses of quick-thinking (such as tail-sweeping an opponent or knocking down a tree to impede the progress of pursuer). Successes from a Learn attempt are rolled over as bonus dice. Examples of a Learn vs. Learn opposed challenge are rare but can come up. Simply treat them as normal opposed challenges where the winner adds extra successes as bonus dice. Learn cannot be used to increase the number of wounds inflicted on an opponent. Reduce any wounds by the number of bonus dice rolled by the aggressor.Character Creation
When creating a dinosaur there are many variables to think about. The Sub-order is probably the most important as this defines (or limits) what your choices may be. Using the following guide, you can model an existing dinosaur (such as Utahraptor or Triceratops) or create your own unique dinosaur.Dinosaur Traits
Sub-order: the type of dinosaur that you are
Size: your size in relation to other dinosaurs (determines Stamina and Speed)
Age: determines Skill
Stance: how you walk around (also has an impact on some Behaviors)
Diet: what you eat
Suggested Advantages: qualities common to dinosaurs of a certain sub-orderNames
Players of Tooth & Claw are encouraged to create their own descriptive names for the various species and orders of dinosaurs (such as Shield-Bearers, Long Necks or Three Horns). Individual dinosaur “names” are usually descriptive (One-eye, Blood-Talon, Crookclaw) though a particularly savage creature might only identify itself with a blood-curdling roar.Sub-Orders of Dinosauria
Scientifically speaking, members of Dinosauria were split into several orders, sub-orders, intermediate groupings and families. Although we have taken some liberties with dinosaur classification in this game, we’ve tried to stay fairly close to scientific fact.
There are five Sub-Orders of dinosaurs and all dinosaurs from a Sub-Order share similar characteristics (Size, Stance, Diet and certain Advantages). For example, all saurians from the “Beast Foot” Sub-Order (called Theropods) walk upright on two legs – most of them eat meat. On the other hand, virtually all Shield Bearers (Thyreophorans) are heavily armored plant eaters that walk on all fours, close to the ground.Beast Feet – the Theropods
Size: Tiny to Huge
Diet: Carnivorous or Omnivorous
Suggested Advantages: Deadly, Powerful, Ferocious, Agile, Faster, Cunning, Wiry
Theropods are bipedal dinosaurs and almost all of them are carnivores (meat-eaters). They walk upright on their powerful legs, which allow quick and agile movement when hunting and stalking prey (usually large herbivores). Most are armed with razor-sharp teeth and lethal claws. The smaller Theropods hunt in packs while the larger ones prefer to keep to themselves or stay in mated pairs. Some of the smaller Theropods also possess feathered wings and can use them to glide or fly.Lizard Feet – the Sauropods
Size: Medium to Immense
Stance: Semi-Quadruped or Quadruped
Suggested Advantages: Alert, Powerful, Experienced, Wise, Intimidating
The polar opposites of the Theropods, Sauropods are plodding and massive quadruped herbivores. With their long necks they graze on leafy twigs high up the air and their impressive stature and sinewy tails provide a means of defense against predators. Although most sauropods are gigantic, some are almost petite and actually rear up on their hind legs in order to defend themselves or reach the upper branches of trees.Shield Bearers – the Thyreophorans
Size: Large or Huge
Suggested Advantages: Armored, Deadly, Determined, Quiet, Experienced
Thyreophorans are low-slung, heavily armored dinosaurs who feed on low-laying vegetation. Their armor and tails (usually spiked or mace-like) make them experts at fending off predator attacks, thus earning them their nickname. Thyreophorans are split into two groups: Stegasaurids (who have bony plates along their vertebrae) and Ankylosaurids (who are covered in bumpy, bony, spiky armor).Margined Heads – the Marginocephalids
Size: Small to Huge
Stance: Biped or Quadruped
Diet: Herbivorous or Omnivorous
Suggested Advantages: Decorated, Deadly, Ferocious, Powerful, Intimidating
Marginocephalids are named for the frills and shelves that project from the back of their skulls. Armed with sharp beaks for cutting through tough, fibrous vegetation, these dinosaurs are split into two main groups: the bipedal Pachycephalosaurians and the quadrupedal Ceratopsians.Bird Feet – the Ornithopods
Size: Small to Huge
Stance: Biped or Semi-Quadruped
Suggested Advantages: Experienced, Faster, Camouflaged, Quick, Alert, Decorated
Ornithopods are powerful bipedal herbivores equipped with cheek teeth adapted for grinding. Peaceful creatures, the larger Ornithopods had some very odd physical features – inflatable sacks above their nostrils, hollow crests or back-sails. Ornithopod size ranges from the small to the tall. The smaller ones rely on their speed to avoid danger while the larger ones keep together in large herds for safety.Diet
Before we move onto attributes, we should take a moment to talk about your dinosaur’s Diet. Your character’s Diet describes what it eats and where it sits on the food chain: predator, prey or opportunist? Each of the three Diets determines what kind of dinosaur you are, what you eat and what special abilities you may have.
Carnivore: Carnivores eat other animals. Some of them are pack hunters who stalk their prey live, like the wolves of today. Others are solitary hunters or scavengers that eat carrion (dead animals). Carnivores may not run with Herbivores…the two just can’t get along. Only Theropod characters can be Carnivores.
Young Carnivores (and older) receive Deadly as a bonus Advantage. They replenish their Stamina and Speed Survival dice by eating meat (fresh or carrion) and they replenish their Skill Dice by hunting or resting. Young Carnivores may also regain Skill Dice through play.
Omnivore: Omnivores are Theropods that eat fish, insects and (mmm!) eggs. They are usually much smaller than Carnivores and don’t have the ripping teeth and claws of their larger friends. Instead, the have bird-like beaks that can crack open eggs or crunch insects and tiny creatures. Because they’re small and sneaky and mostly harmless, Omnivores can get along fine with both Carnivores and Herbivores (except for that whole “egg-thief” business). Omnivores are often quite Wiry, making them much more suited to climbing than other dinosaurs.
Omnivores replenish their Stamina and Speed Survival dice by eating eggs, carrion or small animals (such as fish, lizards or insects). They replenish their Skill Dice by exploring or resting. Young Omnivores may also regain Skill Dice through play.
Herbivore: Herbivores eat plants. Not the most exciting (or nutritious) diet, but there’s plenty of vegetation out there…and it doesn’t bite back! Sauropods and Ornithopods enjoy browsing the tasty branches of trees, cycads and conifers. Thyreophorans and Marginocephalids graze on the fibrous ground vegetation and ferns. Needless to say, being on the menu doesn’t endear them to the Carnivores. Omnivores are tolerated, as long as they stay out of the way (splat!).
Herbivores replenish their Stamina and Speed Survival dice by browsing the lowland for ferns and cycads or by grazing amongst the conifers for leaves and bark. They replenish their Skill Dice by devoting time to their families or resting. Young herbivores may also regain Skill Dice through play.Size
A dinosaurs Size determines its Stamina (strength, endurance and health) and its Speed (how fast on its feet the dinosaur is). The general rule is this: the bigger the creature, the higher its Stamina and the lower its Speed.
Next to each size are two numbers. The first shows how many dice you have to spend on Behaviors. The second number is your starting number of Survival Dice. Dinosaur’s Size --- Stamina Points --- Survival Dice (Stamina)
Tiny ------------------------------- 1 ----------------------------- 7
Small------------------------------- 2 ----------------------------- 6
Medium -----------------------------3 ----------------------------- 5
Large -----------------------------4 ----------------------------- 4
Huge ----------------------------5 ----------------------------- 3
Gigantic --------------------------- 6 ----------------------------- 2
Immense -------------------------- 7 ----------------------------- 1Dinosaur’s Size ------- Speed Points ------- Survival Dice (Speed)
Tiny ------------------------------- 7 ----------------------------- 1
Small------------------------------- 6 ----------------------------- 2
Medium -----------------------------5 ----------------------------- 3
Large -----------------------------4 ----------------------------- 4
Huge ----------------------------3 ----------------------------- 5
Gigantic --------------------------- 2 ----------------------------- 6
Immense --------------------------1 ----------------------------- 7Skill
A dinosaur’s Age determines its Skill (its ability to process information, remember events and plan actions). The general rule is this: the older the creature, the higher its Skill.
Next to each Age group is a set of two numbers. The first number shows how many dice you have to spend on Skill Behaviors. The second number is your starting number of Skill Dice. Dinosaur’s Age -------- Skill Points ------------------ Skill Dice
Baby -----------------------------1 ----------------------------- 7
Young ----------------------------2 ----------------------------- 6
Adolescent -----------------------3 ----------------------------- 5
Adult -----------------------------4 ----------------------------- 4
Mature ----------------------------5 ----------------------------- 3
Old --------------------------------6 ----------------------------- 2
Ancient ---------------------------7 ----------------------------- 1Purchasing Behaviors
Depending on your Size and Age, you will have between 1 and 7 points to spend on each group of Behaviors. You may place as many points into a single Behavior as you’d like, but remember: if your dinosaur has a Behavior score of 0, it can only perform that Behavior by spending Survival Dice or Skill Dice. Age and Growth
Although it’s assumed that your dinosaur is an Adult dinosaur, you may choose to play a much older or younger dinosaur. Playing a youngster is challenging, but at least you’ll be quick enough and smart enough to stay out of trouble (maybe!). Older dinosaurs are gifted with great knowledge, but their physical attributes suffer. The size progression from young to old depends on how big your dinosaur will be at Adulthood:Baby > Young > Adolescent > Adult
Tiny ---- Tiny ---- Tiny ------- Tiny
Tiny ---- Tiny ---- Small ----- Medium
Tiny ---- Small --- Medium -- Large
Small -- Medium - Large ---- Huge
Small -- Large --- Huge------ Gigantic
Small -- Large --- Huge ----- Immense Older Dinosaurs
There are three other Age groups but they come after Adulthood so their dinosaur’s size doesn’t increase to a noticeable degree. Mature dinosaurs are “middle-aged” but still in their prime. Their health is quite good and they can still bear young and hunt for their own food. Old dinosaurs are beginning to show their age – they suffer a penalty to some of their Survival Dice pools. Ancient dinosaurs are venerable and wise, but they’re simply not as tough or as fast as they used to be. Seldom do dinosaurs live to be Ancient in the savage world of Tooth & Claw.
Once a dinosaur becomes Old or Ancient, it suffers a penalty to both its Stamina and Speed. Old dinosaurs are treated as being one size smaller when determining Stamina. Ancient dinosaurs are treated as being two sizes smaller when determining Stamina. Likewise, Old dinosaurs are treated as being one size larger when determining Speed and Ancient dinosaurs are treated as being two sizes larger. This means that Tiny dinosaurs can’t live to reach Old age and only Medium-sized or larger dinosaurs can ever become Ancient.
This raises the question: how old can a dinosaur get? Well, that’s up to you…usually the bigger the dinosaur, the longer they can live (females and Herbivores tend to live longer than males and Carnivores). Given enough food and a safe place to grow, some dinosaurs can get really ancient and live up to 150 years! But remember that despite their long lives, all dinosaurs die. It’s nature’s way and should always be kept in mind. Stance
Your dinosaur’s Stance determines whether it runs on two legs or walks on all fours. Stance also confers a bonus to some actions.
Biped: Your dinosaur walks on two legs and can manipulate objects (to some extent) with its hands. Bipeds are usually faster than other dinosaurs and they are more adept at climbing and leaping. Bipeds gain +1 to any one of their Speed Behaviors.
Quadruped: Your dinosaur spends its days walking on all fours. These dinosaurs are usually low to the ground or so massive that they need the support that a quadrapedal stance can provide. To make up for this, many have long necks capable of peering over treetops or sweeping across low, wide areas. Quadrupeds are lousy jumpers and can’t really hold anything (unless they use their mouths). Quadrupeds gain +1 to their Seek Behavior or +1 to any roll involving balance. Quadrupeds suffer a -1 to their Move Behavior when climbing or leaping.
Gigantic and Immense Dinosaurs must be Quadrupeds.
Semi-Quadruped: Your dinosaur spends most of its time on all fours but can walk or run for short periods of time on two legs. Semi-Quadrupeds have shorter front legs than hind legs and their front legs are equipped with fairly dexterous “hands.” Semi-Quadrupeds gain +1 to any Speed Behavior when on two legs (make an unopposed Stamina roll to remain standing on two legs). When on all fours, they’re treated as having the Stance of a Quadruped.Advantages
All Adolescent dinosaurs receive one starting Advantage of any type. Each additional increase in age gives the dinosaur an additional Advantage. Carnivorous dinosaurs of Young, Adolescent, Adult or Mature age gain an extra Advantage. It is possible to take one Advantage multiple times. This has the effect of adding additional dice to your Survival Dice or Skill Dice, adding dice to your Behavior rolls or increasing the target range of success when rolling Behavior dice.
Age ----------- Starting Number of Advantages
Baby ---------- 0
Young --------- 0*
Adolescent ---- 1*
Adult ---------- 2*
Mature -------- 3*
Old ------------ 4
Ancient ------- 5
*Carnivores gain an extra advantage at this ageSurvival Advantages
Survival Advantages grant you a bonus die in the appropriate Survival Pool when you regain Survival or Skill dice in that area.
Powerful: regain +1 Survival Die (Stamina)
Faster: regain +1 Survival Die (Speed)
Experienced: regain +1 Skill Die Behavioral Advantages
Behavior Advantages augment the number of dice you roll when using that Behavior. For example, if your dinosaur is Wise, you can roll an extra die when using the Learn Behavior.
Quiet: roll +1 Hide die
Wise: roll +1 Learn die
Alert: roll +1 Seek die
Wiry: roll +1 Move die
Quick: roll +1 Escape die
Agile: roll +1 Chase die
Ferocious: roll +1 Fight die
Decorated: roll +1 Display die
Determined: roll +1 Survive dieEvolutionary Advantages
Evolutionary Advantages will increase the range of successful Target Numbers. In this case, any number within the target range will count as a success (a character with +1 target number will succeed on a roll of 1 or 2).
Camouflaged: add 1 to Hide target numbers
Cunning: add 1 to Chase target numbers
Feathered**: add 1 to Escape target numbers (per GM’s approval)
Deadly: add 1 to Fight target numbers
Intimidating: add 1 to Display target numbers (when challenging a rival)
Big-Brained: add 1 to Learn target numbers
Armored: add 1 to Survive target numbers
Dexterous: add 1 to Move target numbers
Inquisitive: add 1 to Seek target numbers
Colorful: add 1 to Display target numbers (when impressing a mate)
Crested*: add 1 to Learn (when communicating via Song)
Crested**: add 1 to Display (when impressing a mate)
Aquatic*: add 1 to Move target numbers when in water
*Herbivores or Omnivores only
**Carnivores or Omnivores onlyExtraordinary Advantages
Extraordinary Advantages allow dinosaurs to be larger, faster or more intelligent than normal (this translates to an extra Behavior die and one less Survival die). Note that only one Developmental Advantage may be taken and only when the dinosaur has reached a minimum age of Adult.
Monstrous: treat Stamina as if one Size larger
Fleet-footed: treat Speed as if one Size smaller
Ingenious: treat Skill as if one Age category higher
Immense dinosaurs cannot choose the Monstrous Advantage.
Tiny dinosaurs cannot choose the Fleet-footed Advantage.
Ancient dinosaurs cannot choose the Ingenious Advantage.Mesozoic Theatre
Here are a few plot ideas for games of Tooth & Claw:
A tribe of herbivores is under the thumb of some bullies. A few herbivores are sent out into the wilderness to find big carnivores to help them fight the bullies.
A clutch of eggs is in danger from predators. But the parents are dead! Who will protect them? You will! Bring them to a safe place.
Follow up story #1 – Malicious dinosaurs destroy the eggs. You must exact revenge!
A rogue, outcast from his own tribe, comes into town. He challenges the elder of your tribe (a relative of yours), kills him and takes over. He’s mean.
Follow up story #1 – The rogue brings in his cronies and they subjugate the tribe. You revolt!
Follow up story #2 – The rogue brings in his cronies and they subjugate the tribe. You are forced to flee!
Follow up story #3 – A volcano is going to erupt! The rogue doesn’t believe this will happen and you move the tribe to a safe place without the rogue or his cronies finding out.
You and your friends have ticks and the tick birds that used to eat them are no longer around because you have moved to a new place. Find the tick birds, or find another way to heal yourselves.
There is a terrible drought but a wise shaman has seen a fire in the sky that can help bring rain. Find the sky-sphere and bring it to him (unfortunately, it’s near the lava flow).
An evil dinosaur kidnaps the chieftain’s mate and you must help to find her.
The meat-eating Jungle Lord demands a tribute. Do you do as he wishes or fight him? Or is there another way?
Follow up story #1 – The Jungle Lord is found slain. Who killed him? And what is going to happen to you now that he’s no longer there to keep away all the other carnivores?
The local tribe has no breeding females but the tribe the next valley over DOES. Try to persuade some females to join your tribe.
You have a personality conflict with another dinosaur from your tribe and one of you is next in line for the position of chieftain. Then the chieftain dies…what happens?
A powerful female Knife-Tooth cannot bear young so the she tricks males into stealing other Knife-Tooth eggs…then kills the males. The Knife-Tooth elder needs your help.
Blood Madness strikes the tribal guardian and he goes on a rampage! You can either kill him (allowing enemies to attack) or restrain him and find a cure.Resources
Walking with Dinosaurshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/dinosaurs/
Sue (the most complete T-Rex ever found)http://www.fmnh.org/sue/default.html
You can also use Google.com to find more dinosaur-related material on the web.