Here Are D&D’s New Official Dinosaur Racing Rules

Here Are D&D’s New Official Dinosaur Racing Rules
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Dungeons & Dragons‘ selling point is that is lets players be and do things they have always dreamed of. Dinosaur racing has never been one of those things for me, but if it is for you, D&D‘s newest adventure, which launched today, delivers on that very specific fantasy.

Dungeons & Dragons

Tomb of Annihilation is a campaign set on the jungle island of Chult. Although the adventure details fantastic beasts such as mandolin-strumming felines, half-gold dragons, and a jaguar whose neck spurts out snakes, Tomb of Annihilation‘s dinosaur breeds sound more like “T-rex” and “Velociraptor”. That’s OK — you can’t race the snake jaguars, anyway.

A pretty substantial portion of Tomb of Annihilation‘s first chapter is dedicated to how to race dinosaurs and how to bet on dinosaur races. The city of Port Nyanzaru, a bright, tropical city full of commerce and action, is famous for these weekly races through the city streets. A typical race day, Tomb of Annhilation reads, “has three races: one for four-legged beast, one for two-legged beasts, and one no-holds-barred ‘unchained’ race.” They’re each nearly 100m long and span from the harbour to the outer hills.

If it’s race day, players can place bets with locals or directly involve themselves. Because this is D&D, there is a table dedicated to betting on dinosaurs such as Banana Candy or Big Honker:

D&D Tomb of Annihilation

D&D Tomb of Annihilation

The rules note that if players lose a bet and don’t pay up, they should expect a visit “by a debt collector backed up by Chultan legbreakers”.

When it comes to racing yourself, the mechanics aren’t as straightforward. It’s possible for players to mount anything from a young Allosaurus to a big ol’ Dimetrodon (the one with the fin on its back). Each Jurassic beast has a different speed and susceptibility to players’ commands. To win a race, players must roll dice every few seconds to see whether they can manage their race dinosaur with what’s called an “Animal Handling” check. Each successful roll contributes to a running tally. Whoever has the most points wins.

Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons

Tomb of Annihilation‘s very robust dinosaur racing rules also note that players can attempt to win by “lashing the animal furiously”, but if the dinosaur buckles under pressure, they may be handicapped the rest of the race.

I’m most excited about the “unchained” race, which lets racers play dirty. Dinosaurs can attack each other if they’re in proximity. Unfortunately, riders can’t attack or be attacked, the rules state, but thankfully, D&D really gets me: “DMs with a cruel streak might be tempted to relax that rule.”


  • I am unsurprised by the sudden increase in campaigns set far outside the sword coast, 5e kinda ruined the region.

      • You mean apart from post sundering pretty much turning all of the hubs into super boring settings? Or the last of the high magic regions being pretty much retconned out of existence in favour of “grounded” fantasy?

        I like the systems for 5e, they are great for our younger players, but the setting is a snooze. I did one campaign in it before deciding that it didn’t have much to offer and making a completely new land for our group.

          • It really is, this is what we are currently working with as my new map. It is worth noting that I have removed the areas that my party are not aware of incase they happen across this post.

            So far they are attempting to work out how to survive the imminent destruction of the island they are on by an old sleeping dragon “god” so large that it wraps around the island in the sea trench.

            I really miss the high magic settings of old school D&D, I know it is campy, but the scenes can be much more interesting.

        • The setting has been super easy for me to throw all 17 of my assorted players into, with DMing simple allowing me to spice up what I want.

          • Yeah, but I wanted a high fantasy setting that I feel a lot of 5e does not allow for. Instead opted for a completely new island where the sundering never had any effect (magic fields that stop massive waves from crashing into port cities, great dwarven forts that are essentially open cut mines into the earth and giant angry god that wants to smash everyone into itty bitty pieces).

  • I thoroughly enjoyed watching High Roller’s do their Tomb of Annihilation short series. on Twitch. It had some damn good laugh out loud moments.

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