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December 16, 2011 / Wythe

These dinofliers must have been jokes

Exhibit A: Sharovipteryx.

(Image copyright Dmitry Bogdanov, used noncommercially by a dino-enthusiast; please don’t sue me.)

This shit is hilarious:

Exhibit B: Longisquama.


(Image copyright Nobu Tamura, used noncommercially by a dino-enthusiast; please don’t sue me.)

Now, I love dinosaurs as much as the next paleonerd. But these things mostly crack me up. What I’ve come to realize as a GM, however, is that what cracks me up becomes terrifying in only slightly altered circumstances: Make these critters gigantic, irradiated, venomous, worth tons of money, pack animals that travel in massive rat-rhizome-herds, sexual adventurous, etc. Suddenly the joke’s on the players.

The story of an RPG (like any story) is founded on inversion. Nothing is what it first seems—not because of a hidden layer, necessarily, but because the onlooker isn’t looking very deeply. Make your PCs/readers look deeper. Don’t settle for dinosaurs with wings: Put some wings on their legs. (Then make them irradiated.)

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One Comment

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  1. Wythe / Dec 21 2011 7:34 pm

    Non-RPG-related: My favorite dinosaur-themed humor remains Dinosaur Comics – http://www.qwantz.com/index.php

    Would love to see T-Rex interact, anachronistically, with Longisquama.

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