Sunday, 5 August 2012

Making The Prehistoric Scene

I'm working on the sixth and final main wilderness encounter table for "savage" environments in the spirit of Lost World pulp tales. Naturally, it takes me back to the days when dinosaurs and Pleistocene megafauna were all I could think about, thanks to their three-dimensional embodiment as MPC toys ...

Origin of my horned gopher obsession.

and Aurora "Prehistoric Scenes" models.

Those were the two-fisted days when dinosaurs dragged tail and wouldn't be caught dead in feathers. The Aurora models already strained credibility with the prehistoric woman in a rawhide Mary Quant number menaced by a two-headed snake. On top of that, their bases fitted together to create a young-earth Flintstone monster zoo where saber-toothed tigers rubbed shoulders with Styracosaurus.

There were fourteen models and I owned eleven. Haven't thought about them in decades, but memories of the plastic parts and the jigsaw of the bases leapt forth from my memory with unseemly speed. Here's a nostalgia site with some much better paint jobs than I could manage ...

Anyway, for gaming purposes there only need to be 8 dinosaurs, right? For medieval sword-slingers who've stumbled on the Valley of the Lost the distinction between a Rhamphorhynchus and a Lambeosaurus doesn't bear mentioning.We don't need to pad things out the way Gary padded the Monster Manual and MM2. Add to the canon laid down in the 50's, Spielberg's own raptor-types for a low-to-mid-level challenge. The crested guys are more for random prey than any significant danger.

 (some silhouettes by Telecanter, others by me, others from the Phylopic archive.)


  1. I member those toys well. Never had any Aurora models, but I had an older cousin that did. They always looked cool.

  2. I recently played Isle of the ape and wondered what the heck the point was with several different varieties of otherwise identical dinosaurs that wouldn't have any interesting reason for interacting with the PCs. A dozen or less would generally do the trick.

    As for models I had the flying reptile, the sabretooth (without tar pit) and two moveable dinos with motors froma later or same scale lind.

  3. 17, there were 17 Aurora Prehistoric Scenes. They just weren't all released at once.