This article originally appeared in Pyramid #9


A Dinosaur Bestiary for Car Wars®
By Stephen Dedman

Dinosaurs are big business in 2044. Cloning technology has enabled geneticists to reconstruct many of the vanished giants of the past. The first successes were mammoths cloned from the frozen corpses found in Bereshkova, descendants of whom can now be found in every good zoo world-wide. Intact dinosaur DNA has been more difficult to obtain, and nearly every dinosaur on the market has dozens of patents slapped on its genes. One of the most successful companies is DinoRe-Creations (a subsidiary of Lone Star Petroleum, Inc.), which owns the rights to some of the most famous dinosaur and pterosaur species, including those listed below.


A heavily-armored herbivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous, armed with a clubbed tail which it swings for 1d+1 damage to pedestrians (half damage to vehicles); to hit 8, hand-to-hand only. An ankylosaurus stands about 5' tall, 7.5' wide and 22.5' long; -1 to hit from front or rear. Its sides are protected with spikes as well as armor.

Ankylosaurs plod along at 5 mph (though they can sprint at 10 mph for 10 seconds). If attacked, they hunker down and swing their tails; if the attack persists, they will run at their assailant sideways (the spikes do 1d-4 to vehicles, 1d-2 to pedestrians). Pedestrians passing adjacent to an ankylosaurus take damage as for cycle blades.

Ankylosaurs have 10 hits; 7 hits will incapacitate one. Armor: F3, R3, L3, B4, T6, U3. Accel. 2.5, HC 1, 6,000 lbs.


The brachiosaurus is one of the largest of the sauropods, the great herbivores of the Jurassic: 75' long from snout to the tip of its relatively short tail and just over 20' wide. It stands 40' tall -- so big that it's more appropriate to treat it as a slow-moving building perched on four trees than a large vehicle. It is +1 to hit from the front and rear, and +6 from the side; it has 40 hits (28 to incapacitate). Its legs have 10 DP; if two of them are broken, or the brachiosaurus is incapacitated or killed, it will collapse like a building, doing 10d damage to anything beneath it. Pedestrians can run beneath a standing brachiosaur without difficulty; cycles and cars can pass beneath, taking a D2 hazard. Vans and vehicles with top-mounted turrets may pass underneath, but have a sideswipe collision between the beast's underbelly and the vehicle's top armor. Trucks and buses cannot pass underneath at all.

The brachiosaur plods at 5 mph, sprints at 10 mph, and tramples anyone or anything who stands in its path for 10d-10 damage; treat it as an attack from above with a to hit of 3. Accel. 2.5, HC 2, 80,000 lbs.


Deinonychi are small (4' high, 8' long) bipedal predators, nimble and -- by the undemanding standards of dinosaurs -- intelligent. They have rigid tails, for better balance while running, and sickle-shaped toe claws designed for disembowelling larger prey (their name translates as "terrible claw"): to hit 5, hand-to-hand only, 1d damage to pedestrians and tires. They hunt in packs of four to eight.

Deinonychi run at 20 mph, and sprint at 25 mph. They have 4 hits, 3 to incapacitate. In most other respects, treat as a pedestrian (no armor, -3 to hit) with an attitude. Accel. 15, HC 6, 150 lbs.


The parasaurolophus is a fairly typical hadrosaur -- a 30'-long herbivore than can stand upright or walk on all fours. The 6' crest on its skull acts as a resonator, enabling it to make as much noise as a police siren, sound system, or foghorn.

The parasaurolophus has 10 hits (7 to incapacitate) and can run at 15 mph or sprint at 20 mph. It is -1 to hit from the front or rear, +1 from the side. Its only form of defense is a tail swipe -- to hit 7, hand-to-hand only, does 1d-2 to pedestrians, half damage to vehicles. If stampeding they can also trample pedestrians for 2d-2. Accel. 10, HC 3, 6,000 lbs.


Pteranodons are large (20'-25' wing span) pterosaurs from the Cretaceous period. Like a gigantic albatross, it can flap its wings and fly very well but prefers to glide on updrafts; treat a pteranodon as a microplane or powered hang-glider.

Pteranodons eat fish and will not attack moving targets on the ground, but they may mistake hang gliders for their own kind and "play tag" with them, causing a D3 hazard. They fly at 30 mph and have 1 hit. Accel. 10, HC 4, 25 lbs.

Quetzalcoatlus Northropi

Named after an Aztec god and an aircraft company, quetzalcoatlus is the largest animal ever known to have flown under it own power -- a long-necked pterosaur from Texas with a wing span of 45'. "B" movies to the contrary, they are not strong enough to carry Raquel Welch or any other adult human, preferring prey small enough to swallow whole (puppies will do nicely) or carrion. They will circle and eventually descend on any fallen dinosaur or pedestrian; their toothless beaks do 1d-3 damage to flesh. They cause a D4 hazard when they sideswipe hang gliders; they fly at 35 mph, and have 3 hits (2 to incapacitate). Accel. 10, HC 3, 150 lbs.


Largest, last and best-known of the Cretaceous ceratopids, triceratops ("three horn face") is a dangerous herbivore. Its head and neck are protected by a bony frill which it uses like an enormous spiked shield. In close combat, it does 1d-2 damage to pedestrians (to hit 7, half damage to vehicles). But a triceratops, like a rhinoceros, tends to charge any suspected or imagined threat, doing ram damage. It can sprint at 35 mph (normal top speed is 30 mph), and it does an extra 1d of damage because of its horns, while taking only half damage itself. A triceratops has 20 hits (14 to incapacitate); it is +1 to hit from the side. Armor: F4. Accel. 10, HC 1, 10,000 lbs.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

T. rex is the largest carnivore known to have walked the earth, a 50' long and 20' high killing machine with 8" talons, 6" serrated teeth, a stomach the size of a small car, and ridiculously tiny forearms. Though less intelligent than a lion, it is just as lazy, and not above chasing smaller predators away from a kill. It will rarely bother with prey as small and slow-moving as a pedestrian, but cycles are another matter. It attacks by biting -- to hit 8, 1d+2 damage to pedestrian/rider, D2 hazard whether it hits or misses. It runs at 35 mph, and has 20 hits (14 to incapacitate). It is +1 to hit from any angle. Accel. 10, HC 2, 15,000 lbs.


Ninety-six percent of all paleontologists have voted the utahraptor as the dinosaur they'd least like to meet in a dark alley. It is very much like the deinonychus in all respects but size -- it is 20' long and stands 8' tall. It is -1 to hit. The utahraptor has 7 hits (5 to incapacitate), runs at 25 mph, its toe claws (to hit 6, hand-to-hand only) do 1d+3 damage to pedestrians and tires. Accel. 10, HC 3, 1,500 lbs.

Dinosaurs weighing 750 lbs. or more are treated like vehicles for purposes of determining which weapons affect them; they also set off mines as vehicles do.

All land dinosaurs can sprint using the same rules as pedestrians; that is, they can run for 10 seconds at 5 mph over their top speed. Only the deinonychus and utahraptor can climb stairs or climb atop (or into) certain vehicles, like flatbed and semi trailers, pickup beds, buses and the like. No dinosaur can enter the interior of a van-sized or smaller car or a truck cab.

Paramedic skill can be used on dinosaurs, but at -3 to success rolls.

Scenario: Mesozoic Midville

When saboteurs switch off the electric fences at the DinoReCs complex in North Dakota, the migratory herbivores head towards nearby Midville, followed by the carnosaurs. The inhabitants of Midville flee in panic, and DinoReCs hires a group of autoduellists to stop the dinosaurs before they reach the suburbs of Bismarck. The cars will be followed by at least one (unarmed) helicopter TV crew.

The duellists and the dinosaurs will arrive in Midville (use the basic two-piece map) at the same time -- the vehicles from the north, the dinosaurs from the south. Proceeding along Kazango at 5 mph are two triceratops, who will charge any vehicle they see as soon as they draw within 20". Following them by 2" is a pack of eight parasaurolophus, also moving at 5 mph; they will mind their own business, but will stampede (at top speed and all in the same, random direction) if anything frightens them. While the beasts are used to cars and helicopters, they will be frightened by any unsilenced gunfire, explosions, or flamethrowers fired within 10" of any one of the pack. Next (3" behind) is a lone brachiosaurus, plodding along at 5 mph; if unmolested, it will turn east at Fourth Street and head for the park at Oak and Fourth to eat the trees there. An ankylosaurus trails the parade up Kazango, another 4" back.

Coming up Oak at 5 mph is a tyrannosaurus rex, stalking the herbivores. A quetzalcoatlus and a pteranodon glide above the t. rex, hoping for fresh carrion. Three utahraptors are following the tyrannosaurus at a respectful distance of 1d6 + 2 inches.

Six deinonychus are walking up Elm, parallel to the triceratops ("No thanks, I don't like ceratops!"). When the shooting starts, they will head for the mall, where the tyrannosaurus and the cars cannot follow; once they are inside the mall, the duellists will have to leave their vehicles and take them on with hand weapons.

DinoReCs is offering rewards for the return of each creature. Once a dinosaur has become incapacitated, it will stop where it is and can no longer attack. The DinoReCs people will be more than happy to come in and pick up the incapacitated monsters (and any dead ones), once the threat has been neutralized. The rewards are as follows:


One of the players (or the GM) controls the dinosaurs and pterosaurs; the others have $60,000 worth of cars, bikes and hand weapons, and up to eight beginning characters. The autoduellists win if they stop the dinosaurs in Midville. The dinosaurs win if any of them exit the north end of the Midville map. The GM should play the herbivores as being pretty stupid, and the carnosaurs as mainly interested in the herbivores; don't just send them all on a relentless cattle drive across the map to achieve the victory condition.

Prestige points: +1 for each deinonychus, utahraptor, quetzalcoatlus or triceratops taken alive; +2 for taking the tyrannosaurus alive; +1 for killing the tyrannosaurus. No points for killing any other dinosaur, or for capturing any dinosaur not listed above. The -1 prestige penalty for leaving a vehicle that can move and fire does not apply to this scenario.

Even if some of the dinosaurs escape, give the surviving duellists the prestige points and cash rewards listed above for the ones they managed to stop.

New Equipment:

Tranq Ammo

Available for Rifles, Assault Rifles, LMGs and MGs. After penetrating any armor, Tranq Rounds continue to do 1 point of damage per turn to living targets until the target is incapacitated, at which point the damage stops. WPS as for normal ammo; CPS is normally $100, but DinoReCs will sell them to the duellists for half price for this mission.

Car Wars Dinosaur Counters

Images copyright ©1994 Steve Jackson Games. Permission is given to reproduce them for personal use.

Article publication date: October 1, 1994

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