The Kerberos Club (FATE Edition) The Royal Dinosaurs (and others)

(Cross-posted on spiritoftheblank.com.)

Well! It certainly took longer to follow up that last post than I’d intended. I can blame the holidays, right?

In any event, below is a sampling of dinosaurs that ought to cover nearly every dinosaur-related need for your Kerberos Club (FATE Edition) game. I’ve included a selection of what are, to me, archetypal dinosaurs. When I think “Dinosaur!” I think of these guys. However, with a little tweaking here and there, they can easily represent a much wider variety of dinosaur species (and/or kaiju, if you want to go that way).

I’m pretty accustomed to building skills in Strange FATE by now, but you know what made this even easier (and more fun) for me? Dustin Swede’s totally amazing Custom Skill Generator. Go check that out, because it’s awesome.

Anyway — on to the dinosaurs!

Iguanodon (Adversary)

Biped:

  • Aspects:
    • Bulky Herbivore
    • Toothy Beak
    • Thick Scaly Hide
    • Ungainly Run
  • Skills:
    • Superb (+5): Brawn (E)
    • Great (+4): Prodigious Size (E)
    • Good: (+3): Beak and Claws (E), Alertness
    • Fair (+2): Powerful Legs
  • Unique Skills:
    • Prodigious Size (Resist Damage, Stress Capacity [Health], Resolve; Minor Snag: Resolve trapping only applies to obviously physical threats)
    • Beak and Claws (Strike)
    • Powerful Legs (Move)
  • Tier Benefits:
    • Weapon 1 [Health]
    • Armor 1 [Health]
  • Gifts:
    • Thumb Spike (Deadly x2: Weapon 2 [Health], Aspect: “Thumb Spike”)
  • Stress and Consequences:
    • Health OOO OOO (Armor 1)
    • Composure OOO

Quadruped:

  • Aspects:
    • Gigantic Herbivore
    • Toothy Beak
    • Thick Scaly Hide
    • Slow and Strong
  • Skills:
    • Superb (+5): Brawn (S)
    • Great (+4): Prodigious Size (S)
    • Good: (+3): Beak and Claws (E), Alertness
  • Unique Skills:
    • Prodigious Size (Resist Damage, Stress Capacity [Health], Resolve; Minor Snag: Resolve trapping only applies to obviously physical threats)
    • Beak and Claws (Strike)
    • Powerful Legs (Move)
  • Tier Benefits:
    • Weapon 2 [Health]
    • Armor 2 [Health]
  • Gifts:
    • Thumb Spike (Deadly x2: Weapon 2 [Health], Aspect: “Thumb Spike”)
  • Stress and Consequences:
    • Health OOO OOO (Armor 2)
    • Composure OOO
    • Trifling (P):

Notes: The paleontological record includes several species of Iguanodon, at least one of which, i. bernissartensis, was native to England, and discovered in the 19th century. The Royal Dinosaurs, many (if not all) of which were brought over from the Brazilian Empire, also include a few Iguanodons. Relatively speaking, it’s one of the more common species of dinosaur a Kerberan might encounter. Two different stats are given here, one for young bipedal Iguanodons, and one for adult quadrupeds. Despite being bipeds, young Iguanodons could only run about as fast as the average adult human, which makes that Fair (+2) Powerful Legs skill a bit of an exaggeration. And adults were even slower (note the lack of a rated skill for movement), albeit stronger and larger — probably between 30 to 45 meters long, and weighing in at about 3.5 tons. The thumb spike is an interesting case. Odds are pretty good that Iguanodon used it for self-defense, which is why it gets weaponized here. Victorian reconstructions of the species, however, located the spike on the nose, so if you want a more period-authentic (though scientifically inaccurate) version of Iguanodon, feel free to change that Thumb Spike to a Nose Spike. As an herbivore, an Iguanodon won’t hunt down Londoners in the street, but the panic-driven property damage would likely be… significant.

 

Tyrannosaurus (Adversary)

  • Aspects:
    • Ravenous Thunder Lizard
    • Dagger-Like Teeth
    • Apex Predator
    • Terrifying Roar
    • Keen Eyesight
  • Skills:
    • Fantastic (+6): Thunder Lizard (S)
    • Superb (+5): Apex Predator (E)
    • Great (+4): Powerful Legs
    • Good (+3): Alertness
  • Unique Skills:
    • Thunder Lizard (Resist Damage, Stress Capacity [Health], Physical Force)
    • Apex Predator (Strike, Notice, Stress Capacity [Composure], Menace + Zone, Willpower; Major Snag: Willpower only applies against obviously physical threats, Major Snag: Armor [Composure] only applies against obviously physical sources of Composure stress)
    • Powerful Legs (Move)
  • Gifts:
    • Impact: Thunder Lizard
  • Tier Benefits:
    • Weapon 2 [Health]
    • Armor 2 [Health]
    • Armor 2 [Composure]
  • Stress and Consequences:
    • Health OOO OOO (Armor 2)
    • Composure OOO OOO (Armor 2)
    • Trifling (P):
    • Trifling (M):

Notes: What collection of dinosaurs would be complete without a T. Rex? These same stats can be used to represent any large theropod predator, including Giganotosaurus, Allosaurus, Megalosaurus, and Spinosaurus, without little (or no) variation. The Victorians thought Megalosaurus was a quadruped, so for a little period authenticity, downgrade Powerful Legs to Fair (+2) or below. Despite not being able to run faster than a human (an athletic one, anyway), T. Rex is obviously an attractive candidate species for the Royal Dinosaur Cavalry. If you like your T. Rexes (Rices?) a bit on the faster side — say, able to keep pace with a horse or automotive — simply up the Power tier on Powerful Legs from Mundane to Extraordinary. Everyone loves a good chase, right?

 

Triceratops (Adversary)

  • Aspects:
    • Sturdy Build
    • Deadly Horns
    • Protective Armor Frill
    • Crushing Jaws
  • Skills:
    • Superb (+5): Thunder Lizard (S)
    • Great (+4): Three-Horned Face (E)
    • Good (+3): Alertness
    • Fair (+2): Gallop (E)
  • Unique Skills:
    • Thunder Lizard (Resist Damage, Stress Capacity [Health], Physical Force)
    • Three-Horned Face  (Strike, Parry)
    • Gallop (Move; Minor Snag: No free movement unless charging or chasing)
  • Gifts:
    • Head Frill (Protective x2: Armor 2 [Health], Rugged: +1 Health stress box, Deadly: Weapon 2 [Health]; Minor Snag: Armor only applies to attacks defended against with Three-Horned Face)
    • Theme: +1 to Three-Horned Face after moving at least 1 zone, Ignore penalties to movement from physical zone borders, Use Thunder Lizard instead of Resolve to defend against fear and intimidation
  • Tier Benefits:
    • Weapon 2 [Health]
    • Armor 2 [Health]
    • Move 1 zone for free when charging or chasing
  • Stress and Consequences:
    • Health OOO OOO O (Armor 2)
    • Composure OOO OOO (Armor 2)
    • Trifling (P):

Notes: And you can’t have T. Rex without Triceratops horridus. (I can’t, anyway.) Nearly 30 feet long, 10 feet tall at the shoulder, and a hefty 13 tons, Triceratops is a living tank. Plus, it can run as fast as a racehorse (making it another excellent unit for the Royal Dinosaur Cavalry). The paleontological record indicates that those sweet-looking head horns and armored frill were probably used more for dominance displays than for combat, but it’s hard to imagine including Triceratops in a game without someone getting gored. With a slight alteration, this can also serve as a rhinoceros — just rename Three-Horned Face and eliminate that Head Frill Gift, and you’re good to go.

 

Ornithomimus (Fair Minion)

  • Fair (+2): Physical (E)
  • Average (+1): Mental
  • Aspects:
    • Speedy Theropod
    • Desperate Sprint
    • Toothless Beak
  • Gifts:
    • Swift Legs (Well-Made: +1 Physical when covering ground, Well-Made: +1 Physical when rolling initiative, +1 Physical when dodging)
  • Fate Point Cost: 2

Notes: Ornithomimus (“bird mimic,” so named for its birdlike footprints) is a relatively small theropod, in that it’s the size of a horse. (Which might also make it suitable for riding….) Think of it like a big, prehistoric road runner.

 

Apatosaurus (Adversary)

  • Aspects:
    • Earth-Shaking Sauropod of the Jurassic
    • Long, Flexible Neck
    • Whip-Like Tail
    • Complication: Lumbering Beast
  • Skills:
    • Fantastic (+6): Thunder Lizard (A)
    • Superb (+5): Stampede (S)
    • Great (+4): Tail Whip
    • Good (+3): Alertness
    • Fair (+2): Powerful Legs
  • Unique Skills:
    • Thunder Lizard (Resist Damage, Stress Capacity [Health], Physical Force)
    • Stampede (Strike + Zone; Minor Snag: Must follow movement)
    • Tail Whip (Strike + Zone + Ranged [1 zone], Menace + Zone + Ranged [1 zone])
    • Powerful Legs (Move, Minor Complication: Lumbering Beast)
  • Tier Benefits:
    • Weapon 3 [Health]
    • Armor 3 [Health]
    • Remove one Trifling Physical consequence per scene
  • Gifts:
    • Impact: Stampede
    • Theme: +1 to Stampede when moving as a supplementary action, Ignore penalties to Powerful Legs from zone borders, Use Thunder Lizard instead of Resolve to defend against fear/intimidation
  • Stress and Consequences:
    • Health OOO OOO (Armor 3)
    • Composure OOO
    • Trifling (P):
    • Trifling (P):

Notes: You may know it as Brontosaurus, but its real name is Apatosaurus. (I know this because my toddler watches Dinosaur Train.) At an average length of 75 feet and weighing some 25 tons, it was one of the largest land animals known to Man. Amazingly — to me, anyway — young Apatosaurusi were able to stand up and run on their hind legs; you can easily reflect that mechanically by boosting Powerful Legs from Fair (+2) to Good (+3). These numbers are also good for any similarly sized sauropod, like Diplodicus and Brachiosaurus (or the even-huger Supersaurus). Computer simulations run by modern-day Renaissance man Nathan Myhrvold suggest that Apatosaurus could snap its tail like a whip to create a sound as loud as a cannon — or, possibly, a sonic boom. Now, there’s some uncertainty about this in the scientific community, but cool trumps science here, so I say let’s use it. Like other large herbivores, the main danger a rampaging Apatosaurus would pose to Victorian London would be its sheer destructive size.

 

Plesiosaurus (Adversary)

  • Aspects:
    • Long Neck
    • Dagger-Like Teeth
    • Cunning Marine Predator
    • Powerful Flippers
    • Keen Eyesight
  • Skills:
    • Fantastic (+6): Gigantic Reptile (S)
    • Superb (+5): Marine Predator (E)
    • Great (+4): Powerful Flippers (E)
    • Good (+3): Alertness
  • Unique Skills:
    • Gigantic Reptile (Resist Damage, Stress Capacity [Health], Physical Force)
    • Marine Predator (Strike, Notice, Stress Capacity [Composure], Willpower; Major Snag: Willpower only applies against obviously physical threats, Major Snag: Armor [Composure] only applies against obviously physical sources of Composure stress)
    • Powerful Flippers (Move + Unusual: Swimming; Minor Snag: Only in water)
  • Gifts:
    • Impact: Powerful Flippers
  • Tier Benefits:
    • Weapon 2 [Health]
    • Armor 2 [Health]
    • Armor 2 [Composure]
  • Stress and Consequences:
    • Health OOO OOO (Armor 2)
    • Composure OOO OOO (Armor 2)
    • Trifling (P):
    • Trifling (M):

Notes: While Theropods like T. Rex are the apex predators of the land, marine carnivores like Plesiosaurus rule the ocean. The classic Plesiosaur has four flippers, a short body, no tail fin, and a long, flexible neck. The most likely place to find one of these creatures, of course, is just outside Inverness, Scotland, but no doubt the Atlanteans have some means of taming or controlling them. The prospect of a submarine armada of Atlantean-controlled Plesiosaurs ought to put the fear of God into any right-thinking Kerberan. Not all members of Plesiosaurae have that characteristic long neck, but if you really want to differentiate between Elasmosaurus and Pliosaurus, simply drop the “Long Neck” aspect.

 

Pteranodon (Fair Minion)

  • Fair (+2): Physical (E)
  • Average (+1): Mental
  • Aspects:
    • Sharp Beak
    • Power Dive!
    • Burst of Speed
    • Wide Wingspan
  • Gifts:
    • Theme: Skyborn Predator (Well-Made: +1 Physical with flight, Well-Made: +1 Physical with beak, Deadly x2: Weapon 2 [Health] with beak)
  • Fate Point Cost: 2

Notes: Technically, Pteranodon is a pterasaur, not a dinosaur. Whatever — your players won’t have time to worry about that when one of these beasts is coming at them like an earth-bound rocket. Pteranodon (or, as the Victorians probably would’ve called it, Ornithochirus) is among the largest flying reptiles, with a wingspan of nearly 20 feet, but its North American cousin Quetzacoatlus dwarfs it at over twice that size, with a wingspan measuring more than 50 feet from tip to tip. On the ground, Pteranodon is a quadruped, and some speculate it could swim, as well. There’s a bit of controversy within the scientific community over just how Pteranodon was able to fly — the general consensus is that it launched itself into the air with its forelimbs — but the same can be said of no small number of Kerberans, so it should fit right in.

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About Mike Olson

Mike Olson is a freelance writer and game designer whose credits include Legends of Anglerre and The Kerberos Club (FATE Edition).