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Compsognathus

The compsognathus is a small bipedal dinosaur that moves in swift, darting motions. Its bite injects a venom that causes numbness and weakness, a trait that the animal uses to bring down larger prey, although it prefers to scavenge food or snatch up insects and other smaller creatures for its meals. The compsognathus is curious to a fault; most encounters that result in combat with these diminutive dinosaurs result not from the creatures' hunger but from frightened defensive reactions when the dinosaurs' inquisitive natures compel them to enter into situations (such as wagons or bedrolls) that inadvertently put them at odds with surprised adventurers.

A compsognathus measures 3 feet long from its head to the tip of its tail and weighs 15 pounds. It is small enough to serve as a house pet or even as a familiar for a spellcaster. In cases where magical links aren't involved, however, those encountering or keeping the creatures would be well-advised to treat them with the same caution one might extend to a pet viper or other poisonous reptile, as they are at best partly tame.

Recall Knowledge - Animal (Nature): DC 13

CompsognathusCreature -1

NTinyAnimalDinosaur
Source Bestiary 2 pg. 80 2.0
Perception +5; low-light vision, scent (imprecise) 30 feet
Skills Acrobatics +6, Stealth +6
Str +0, Dex +3, Con +2, Int -4, Wis +2, Cha -2
AC 15; Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +4
HP 8
Speed 30 feet, swim 15 feet
Melee Single ActionSingle Action jaws +7 [+3/-1] (agile, finesse), Damage 1d6 piercing plus compsognathus venomCompsognathus Venom (poison) Saving Throw DC 16 Fortitude; Maximum Duration 4 rounds; Stage 1 1d6 poison damage and enfeebled 1 (1 round); Stage 2 1d8 poison damage and enfeebled 1 (1 round)

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Compsognathus Familiars

Appropriate familiar abilities for a compsognathus familiar include climber, damage avoidance, fast movement, kinspeech, manual dexterity, scent, or speech. A compsognathus familiar who can talk tends to do so in a rapid voice, with plenty of questions as a result of its eager curiosity. Note that while dinosaurs aren't technically all the same species, you should consider allowing a compsognathus with kinspeech the ability to speak to any dinosaur rather than limiting it to only fellow compsognathuses.

All Monsters in "Dinosaur"

NameLevel
Ankylosaurus6
Brontosaurus10
Compsognathus-1
Deinonychus2
Hadrosaurid4
Iguanodon6
Pachycephalosaurus3
Spinosaurus11
Stegosaurus7
Triceratops8
Tyrannosaurus10
Velociraptor1

Dinosaur

Source Bestiary pg. 96
Remnants from the world’s primeval era, these enormous reptilian animals still exist in large numbers in isolated and remote wildernesses or far underground within magical Darklands caverns. Lizardfolk, orcs, giants, and other monstrous humanoids sometimes use dinosaurs as mounts, guards, or hunting animals. Humans and other ancestries have also been known to collect dinosaurs, be it to display them in menageries or keep them as exotic pets or guardians. Such activities are generally pursuits of the rich or eccentric, but certain druids and other guardians of nature feel strong kinships with dinosaurs as well and take them on as companions. When dinosaurs establish themselves in regions beyond their normal habitats, it is generally the result of these captive creatures escaping into the wild.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Dinosaur Abilities

While the real world fossil records hold a wealth of inspiration for the reconstruction of dinosaurs in an RPG, you can also look to living creatures for ideas. Giving a dinosaur a poisonous bite or an unusual attack routine like Clobbering Charge ensures that dinosaurs are as interesting in combat as they are in appearance.

Sidebar - Related Creatures Dinosaur Guardians

As with most animals, dinosaurs can be tamed or domesticated, but the difficulty of this task increases along with the dinosaur’s level. Lizardfolk and orcs are fond of using dinosaurs as beasts of burden, workhorses, mounts, or even war beasts. Certain dinosaurs, such as velociraptors and deinonychuses, make excellent trackers as well. The largest and most dangerous dinosaurs, such as the tyrannosaurus, are generally avoided, although more powerful creatures like giants have been known to be able to keep them as pets, guardians, or even brutal executioners. In certain cities, dinosaurs are popularly featured as combatants in blood sports and other gladiatorial battles.

Sidebar - Treasure and Rewards Dinosaur Resources

As animals, dinosaurs have little interest in treasure (although velociraptors and deinonychuses, like their bird cousins, enjoy keeping sparkling baubles in their nests), but the remains of adventurers strewn about their lairs often still have valuable gear. Dinosaurs can also be harvested for rare and valuable trophies such as teeth, talons, armor plates, and the like.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Dinosaurs in Fantasy

At first glance, the inclusion of dinosaurs in a fantasy setting might seem strange, but dinosaurs are an excellent creature to use in a game that bridges the gap between familiar real-world animals and legendary monsters. If having dinosaurs mix freely with lions, manticores, and dragons still seems strange to you, consider having them dwell in remote, primeval lands, as suggested in the section below. On Golarion, dinosaurs do exist in the wilder regions of the world, particularly on the continent of Garund, though they are common enough that PCs might find some on display in a menagerie in a northern city, in use as guardian creatures, or even kept by druids as loyal animal companions.

Sidebar - Locations Hollow Worlds

Another classic place that dinosaurs are found in fiction are in “hollow worlds.” Some campaign settings might not contain entire isolated worlds within them, but many, such as Golarion, have expansive underground lands. The deepest region of the Darklands of Golarion—a realm called Orv—is an optimal place to find a hollow world. Typically infused with magic that allows for jungles to grow deep underground (and sometimes even sunlike orbs that illuminate the lands from above, simulating a day‑night cycle), areas such as Deep Tolguth of Orv make perfect places for dinosaurs to roam.

Sidebar - Advice and Rules Magical Dinosaurs

In a fantasy setting, magical effects or supernatural influences can enhance dinosaurs by giving them unexpected attacks, modes of movement, or other abilities. You can quickly create a memorable magical beast simply by giving a dinosaur the magical attack of another creature of an equal level, such as a spinosaurus gaining an acidic breath weapon akin to that of an adult black dragon.

Sidebar - Related Creatures Other Dinosaurs

A wide range of dinosaurs are presented on these pages, but any trip to the movies, exploration of dinosaur books, or a quick online search reveals a wealth of additional creatures that could fit into your game as well. Armor-headed pachycephalosaurs, spike-thumbed iguanodons, duck-billed hadrosaurs, sail-backed spinosauruses, and more await discovery by those who would seek out the mysteries of the lost worlds where the thunder lizards still rule!

Sidebar - Locations Primeval Lands

Dinosaurs fit well into certain types of settings. They’re often found in isolated lands like primeval jungle valleys or plateaus—regions known as lost worlds for their inaccessibility and lack of any encroaching civilization. In addition to dinosaurs, other megafauna can exist in these places as well, along with giant insects or aggressive creatures like bulettes, carnivorous plants, chuuls, and drakes. Such regions can make for perilous and intriguing adventure sites, especially if you combine them with ruins of ancient civilizations to explore once the party has navigated the hostile wilderness regions.