This article originally appeared in Pyramid #16

The Tyrants

GURPS Stats for "Time of the Tyrants"
by Stephen Dedman

Editor's Note: When we led off Issue #15 with the adventure "Time of the Tyrants," it was scheduled with the idea that Stephen Dedman's fine GURPS Dinosaurs would be available at about the same time. Well, that didn't exactly happen, and now it looks like GURPS Dinosaurs won't be out until early 1996. But we don't want you to miss out on the adventure we ran last issue, because it's a lot of fun. So here are the stats for the beasties that rampage through the adventure. Consider it a free taste of GURPS Dinosaurs . . .

ST: 70-90
Speed/Dodge: 13/7
Size: 14+
DX: 14
PD/DR: 2/2
Weight: 1-2 tons
IQ: 3
Damage: 4d imp
Habitats: P, F
Reach: C, 1
Time: Late Cretaceous (76 mya to 68 mya)
Range: North America Discovered: 1905

Albertosaurus sarcophagus ("flesh-eating lizard from Alberta") was an early tyrannosaurid. It was slightly smaller than Tyrannosaurus rex, growing to 33' long and standing up to 18' tall. Its hind limbs were long, and its build light, making it a faster runner than most carnosaurs. It also seems to have been stealthier: Stealth-14. Its two-fingered forelimbs were slightly larger than those of T. rex, but still useless in combat; instead, it bit at 1-hex range for 4d impaling damage, probably using its taloned hind feet to pin down small prey (Contest of ST). Albertosaurus seems to have been a solitary hunter, preying mostly on hadrosaurs, hypsilophodontids and other medium-sized, fast-moving herbivores. It may also have been a strong swimmer, propelling itself with its powerful tail as crocodiles do; if so, its Move in water is 7, Dodge 6.

ST: 100-150
Speed/Dodge: 11/7#
Size: 15+
DX: 14
PD/DR: 2/3
Weight: 4-8 tons
IQ: 3
Damage: 5d+2 imp
Habitats: P, F
HT: 15/50-80
Reach: C, 1, 2
Time: Late Cretaceous (68 mya to 65mya)
Range: North America, Asia Discovered: 1902

Tyrannosaurus rex ("King of the Tyrant Lizards") is one of the most famous of dinosaurs, thanks largely to its major roles in films including Fantasia, Jurassic Park and Caveman. It was also one of the most widespread, and one of the last to become extinct. It grew up to 50' long, and stood 20' high; its massive skull (DR 4) was more than 4' long, with 6" saw-edged teeth, and its jaw was well-muscled, allowing it to rip off 500 lbs. of meat in a bite. Its arms were less than three feet long, ended in two claws (not used in combat), and had ST 14-15. Its long and powerful hind legs and bird-like feet enabled it to outrun most herbivores, and may also have been used to pin down smaller or weakened prey (Contest of ST to pin; does 3d cutting damage). It bit for 5d+2 impaling damage. Tyrannosaurus had well-developed stereoscopic vision and good hearing, and probably an excellent sense of smell; make all sense rolls at 14. A huge Tyrannosaurus skeleton found in South Dakota in 1990 showed claw and tooth wounds that had healed, suggesting that T. rex was an aggressive hunter and killer, not merely a scavenger. It preyed mostly on hadrosaurs and ceratopsians, and probably intimidated smaller carnosaurs away from their kills as lions do to hyena. Tyrannosaurus traveled in small family groups, at least for part of the year. Estimates of Tyrannosaurus running speeds vary from a conservative 15 mph to Bob Bakker's 50 mph (Move 22!). Lessem and Horner, in The Complete T. Rex, point out that a Tyrannosaurus running at 25 mph (Move 11) could catch any Cretaceous herbivore, and that moving any faster would increase the risk of falling and being unable to get up again. As a 20'-tall Tyrannosaurus falling onto hard ground would take 6d-12 damage, GMs may assume that Tyrannosaurs could move faster than Move 11, but rarely did.

ST: 7-9
Speed/Dodge: 12/6#
Size: 15#
DX: 14
PD/DR: 0/0
Weight: 50-190 lbs.
IQ: 3
Damage: 1d cut
Habitat: P, F, S
HT: 11-13
Reach: C, 1
Time: Late Cretaceous (75 mya to 65 mya)
Range: America Discovered: 1971

Quetzalcoatlus northropi (named after an Aztec god and an aircraft company) is the largest flying creature ever discovered. It had a wingspan of 40' to 50', larger than some light aircraft, and soared and glided over great distances in search of food. B-movies to the contrary, it was not strong enough to carry Raquel Welch, or any other adult human. Unlike most pterosaurs, Quetzalcoatlus lived hundreds of miles from the sea-coast. It was probably a scavenger, using its long, narrow, toothless beak for cracking bones and its long, flexible neck for reaching into bodies (like the marabou stork of Africa). It may also have eaten small prey that it could kill with a single crunch. Quetzalcoatlus may have been the last of the pterosaurs: it survived until the end of the Cretaceous, keeping company with the very large T. rex and Triceratops. It was ungainly on the ground; Move 1, Dodge 4, Size 1. Remains of long-necked Cretaceous pterosaurs, similar to Quetzalcoatlus in size and appearance, have been found in Russia and Senegal (Azhdarcho, named after a dragon from Russian legend; 105 mya to 88 mya) and Jordan (Titanopteryx, "titanic wing"; 94 mya to 85 mya).


ST: 200+
Speed/Dodge: 10/6
Size: 15+
DX: 12
PD/DR: 2/2#
Weight: 4-8 tons
IQ: 3
Damage: 5d imp#
Habitats: P
HT: 17/50-75
Reach: C Time: Late Cretaceous (68 mya to 65 mya)
Range: North America Discovered: 1889

Largest, last and best known of the ceratopsians, Triceratops horridus ("horrid three horn face") was the most common large herbivore in North America at the end of the Cretaceous era; more than 70 percent of large dinosaur fossils from the end of the era were Triceratops remains. An adult Triceratops grew from 25' to 30' in length, with brow horns more than 3' long. Its head, neck and shoulders were protected by a solid bony frill, up to 7' wide, with PD 4 and DR 6. In close combat, its head butt could do 3d+2 impaling damage with either brow horn; it also Blocks as though its shield skill were 12. A Triceratops could charge at up to 25 mph, doing 7d impaling damage, but was at -3 to hit a human-sized target with this type of attack. Its trample did 3d crushing damage with no penalty to hit. Unlike most ceratopsians, Triceratops had blade-like teeth, which sheared through palm fronds and cycads and could do 5d cutting damage (at -4 to hit). With its long horns and solid shield, a Triceratops would be an excellent mount for an alternate world Hannibal. It could carry up to Medium encumbrance (1 ton!) on its back, and its brow horns might be augmented with metal points, increasing damage by 1 point per die. The riders would be seven to ten feet above any infantry, out of range of any hand weapon except polearms, and the howdah could be well stocked with ranged weapons: miniguns would be ideal, but slings and bows would do.


The Ceratopsians ("horn-faces") were large, short-necked, strictly quadrupedal herbivores, distinguished by the huge bony frills that adorned their heads and anchored their neck and jaw muscles. Most had at least one horn large enough to deter carnosaurs, and possibly injure or kill them. Though ceratopsian skeletons have been found with wounds inflicted by jousting with other ceratopsians, the only fossil evidence of a fight between ceratopsians and carnivorous dinosaurs was a Velociraptor discovered grappling with a hornless Protoceratops. The ceratopsians' short necks were powerful and extremely mobile, enabling them to use their horns in close combat like a spiked shield. Their strong leg muscles enabled them to run at high speeds, at least in short bursts. A hornface's charge might be intended as a bluff; like modern rhinos, they probably had difficulty hitting moving targets. Being small-brained, if they missed their intended victim, they might well forget them immediately unless their young are endangered. Male ceratopsians also duelled with each other, and might be very dangerous during the mating season, mistaking ATVs for rivals and charging them, doing considerable damage to both the vehicles and themselves. A ceratopsian must make a roll against HT when it butts a smaller target (such as a Troodon or time traveller), at +5 if it is moving at less than 3 hexes a turn. If it fails, the ceratopsian is stunned; on a critical fail, it may break its horn(s). It takes no actual damage unless it head-butts a target of similar or larger size, such as another ceratopsian or a car; in that case, it takes damage only if loses a Contest of ST by 10 or more points. Damage taken is equal to half the damage normally done by the animal it is butting heads with, or half the damage it normally does itself if it butts an inanimate object such as a car. A ceratopsian's horns can get stuck (see p. B96) if it makes a successful charge at a large target, but most ceratopsians will make their ST rolls to unstick it automatically. A smaller target impaled in a charge may get stuck on the horns, and assuming he survives and remains conscious have to remove himself. If this fails, the ceratopsian will try to remove his body by bashing him against a tree (treat as trampling damage) until the body falls to pieces, or some similarly gentle method. Ceratopsians traveled in herds, and are thought to have migrated great distances, especially when the weather began to cool in the late Cretaceous. Anything in the path of a stampeding herd of ceratopsians would take damage first from the head butts (crushing rather than impaling, unless the hornfaces are actually targeting them) and then, after being knocked down, half normal trampling damage from every ceratopsian to pass through that hex.

ST: 10-13
Speed/Dodge: 14/7
Size: 1-2
DX: 15
PD/DR: 0/1
Weight: 90-150 lbs.
IQ: 3-4
Damage: 1d+1 imp
Habitats: P, F
HT: 10-11
Reach: C, 1
Time: Late Cretaceous (76 mya to 72 mya)
Range: North America Discovered: 1922

Dromaeosaurus ("swift-running lizard") was a 6'-long relative of Deinonychus, with a 3" killing claw. Like Deinonychus, it was agile and fast, and may have hunted in packs. Treat as a small Deinonychus (see below) in most respects.


ST: 14-17
Speed/Dodge: 13/7
Size: 2-3
DX: 16
PD/DR 1/1
Weight: 120-200 lbs.
IQ: 3-4
Damage: 1d+2 imp#
Habitats: P, F
HT: 13/12-14
Reach: C, 1, 2#
Time: Early to Late Cretaceous (140 mya to 67 mya)
Range: Asia, North America Discovered: 1964

The discovery of Deinonychus ("terrible claw") by Dr. John Ostrom in 1964 was largely responsible for the modern concept of the hot-blooded dinosaur fast, birdlike, and fairly intelligent. Deinonychus was only 8' to 10' long including a rigid tail, and stood 5' or 6' feet high, but it was apparently able to bring down large prey such as Tenonto-saurus by using pack tactics, speed, and the claws for which it was named. Deinonychus had a five-inch-long sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each hind foot, which was held up off the ground to keep it sharp. This claw did 1d+2 impaling damage at close or 1-hex range; Deinonychus attacked large prey by leaping at up to 2-hex range, increasing damage to 2d+1 impaling with each foot, and holding on with its teeth and foreclaws (1d cutting damage), then slashing with its hind feet. Against smaller opponents (such as time travelers), it stood on one leg to kick with the other, doing 1d+2 impaling damage. Anyone entering the Deinonychus's front hex may be kicked without that kick counting as an action. Deinonychus hunted in packs of six or more. It had large eyes, and may have been active at night as well as by day: treat vision as 16+ (possibly with Night Vision), Smell and Hearing at 14+, and Stealth at 15+. It could high-jump six feet with a running start, or broad-jump five yards. Deinonychus is often depicted as having tiger stripes or leopard spots. While there is no evidence for this (nor for the idea that it was covered with feathers or fur), it would certainly suit its style. If it was a night hunter, something in basic black would be even more appropriate.

ST: 30-50
Speed/Dodge: 11/7
Size: 16-20+
DX: 14
PD/DR: 1/1#
Weight: 2-3 tons
IQ: 3
Damage: 2d cr (tr.)
Habitats: P, F
HT: 15/25-35
Time: Late Cretaceous (76 mya to 65 mya)
Range: North America Discovered: 1922

Parasaurolophus was a 30'-long typical hadrosaur with a 6'-long curved crest (females had smaller, but still obvious crests), containing two hollow tubes that looped back to the nostrils. These tubes could have been used to produce low-frequency sounds as a warning (low-frequency sounds travel further, and are harder for carnosaurs to home in on), and may also have given Parasaurolophus an acute sense of smell (Smell-18, Vision-13, Hearing-15).

Article publication date: December 1, 1995

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