The Apex Predator. The Tyrant Lizard King. No matter the name, the Tyrannosaurus rex strikes fear into the hearts of man and tabletop players alike. The giant lizard had little to no equal in its time, and ruthlessly ate everything and anything that was unfortunate enough to be in its line of sight.
It is no joke in the Dungeons and Dragons department either. The monster is as ferocious against a small group of adventures as it would be against a tasty dinosaur treat, though some would argue that they are the same thing in the Tyrannosaurus rex’s eyes. Here’s what every player needs to know about the T Rex in Dungeons and Dragons if they don’t want to be on the menu.
5 Running Might Not Be An Option
Despite its size, the Tyrannosaurus rex is fast. This monster clocks in at 50 feet per turn or 80 feet if it is dashing, leaving most characters and some monsters in the dust in a typical encounter. After all, it has to be able to catch up to its food.
This means that running away might be far from the best idea when encountering the Apex Predator. In most situations, the Tyrannosaurus rex is either twice as fast as a base race’s normal speed during combat or very close to it. It would take some combination of the monk’s unarmored movement, feats, or magical items to match or outpace the creature. Though the good old Expeditious Retreat spell can out-speed it by itself. Now, if someone thinks they can take advantage of the chase rules in the Dungeon’s Master’s Guide to outrun it, tough luck. With it’s Constitution Score of 19, it will be able to use the Dash action a full 7 times a turn. Even then, it has a decent chance of beating the DC 10 Constitution check to get even more dash actions a turn.
4 It Is Huge
That is not just a way to describe the T-Rex, it is also the way D&D classifies it. At that size, a huge creature takes up fifteen by fifteen feet of space (or three by three squares on a squared mat), can typically reach other creatures up to ten feet away, and has about 1d12 hit points per hit point die. Furthermore, in reflection to its size and its appetite, the T-Rex is able to grapple a medium creature or smaller with a successful bite attack. Inflicting all sorts of nasty effects on the creature it has in its jaws.
On the brighter side, the Tyrant Lizard King’s size and lack of ranged options does give a player an opportunity to find refuge in small spaces. Whether they be tight corners, thin hallways, or small caves to either try to escape or plan their next action.
Image by Herschel-Hoffmeyer.
3 It Is CR 8
Here is something for the DMs at the table. Setting up encounters that are both challenging and fun can be hard to do. Especially when taking into account what sort of challenge the specific group of adventures the DM is in charge of can handle. Thankfully, Dungeons and Dragons has some loose rules that serve as a guideline on what sort of players can handle what sort of creature thanks to their Challenge Rating systems.
At CR 8, a Tyrannosaurus rex should be a very challenging encounter for a group of four level seven adventurers or below, medium or difficult encounter for four characters at level eight, and a medium to easy encounter for any four-person group beyond that. Of course, these are only loose rules. Different makes and combinations of characters, low or high level, can easily defeat or be defeated by the creature. So it’s best to take into consideration the level, the number, and the abilities of the people in a particular playing group and adjust the encounter accordingly.
2 Easy To Hit
Time for some good news. While the creature can be a terrifying encounter for most adventurers, it thankfully doesn’t have much in the way of Armor Class. A Tyrannosaurus rex has an AC of 13 without any other special modifiers altering it. Considering that the monster should be encountered no sooner than level 8 given the typical adventuring party, that’s fairly low. Given that a level eight character has a proficiency bonus of +4 to hit at a base, and then accounting for any bonus they may get to their attack roll due to stats or magical items, they should have about a 75% to 80% chance of hitting the creature with a typical roll.
Time for some bad news. On average, it has 136 HP. Which means it can take quite the beating before going down. It might be wise to invest in the Great Weapon Master feat for those that prefer big and beefy weapons and characters, and whose Dungeon Master’s allow feats to even the odds.
1 It Has A Zombie Form
In the tried and true D&D tradition of taking something terrifying and making it even more so by making it undead, the Tyrannosaurus rex has a zombie form as well that any DM can pin on their unsuspecting party.
Even at the same CR, it is a much more ferocious adversary. Not only does it gain all of the undead resistances that include immunity to poison, darkvision, and a rather nasty ability called Undead Fortitude that can prevent it from outright dying if it beats a constitution saving throw of 5 plus whatever damage would kill, but it serves as a zombie factory. As a bonus action on each turn, it can spew out a zombie from within its body in any space within ten feet of it. The ability only stopping if they roll a one on a d6 die whenever the ability is used. And as a last nasty act after death, if it still has that trait before dying, 1d4 zombies erupt from its dead(er) carcass to fight the party.
The giant lizard had little to no equal in its time, and ruthlessly ate everything and anything that was unfortunate enough to be in its line of sight