Hey folks. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, I decided I should finally get off of my butt and do some transcribing of a review for y’all to use; thus I took the time to dig out my copy of Complete Guide to T-Rex by Goodman Games. At 32 pages counting the OGL in the back (more on that later), it’s not exactly an award-winning novel in length, but does it have the quality to beat the quantity? Let’s find out.
The first thing you’ll notice when you open this book is that the tyrannosaurus here:
A. Has a d10 hit die despite being of the animal type (a holdover from 3.0’s beast-type)
B. Has an Intelligence score on par with an orc rather than animal-level intellect.
C. Is Lawful Evil.
Why is it Lawful Evil? Because predators always seem to be required to be Lawful Evil if they are sapient. You know, ignore the neutrality of most awakened creatures and all. This preset end goal colors the flavor text that follows, with conflicting notes of a deep sense of family yet a “ruthless nature” that compels them to pick on smaller creatures and a “bloodthirsty” nature that keeps them from cooperating with each other (despite evidence to the contrary in reality). Added onto this is a very familiar age progression system and psionic powers manifesting as they age. Lawful Evil, non-animal intellect, bloodthirsty, supernatural powers, age progression…sound familiar? Yep, they essentially turned Tyrannosaurus rex into a wingless dragon.
The monster feats are nice, but are strangely enough not Open Game Content. The reptile-themed psionic powers, on the other hand, are Open Game Content, despite being more limited in scope and only applicable to the Tyrant Masters (super old supernatural rexes). This strikes me as a very strange and confusing choice, and one that I cannot commend.
Campaigns and Miscellany
The interesting portions here mostly pertain to including the Tyrant Masters into the Broncosaurus Rex campaign setting (which is one of the few places I can see it easily meshing, since it’s a world of intelligent dinosaurs). There’s also some stuff on blurring the line between dinosaur and dragon…gee, who would have guessed it? There’s also a dynasty generator, which is nice to have if you want to use the Tyrant Dynasty concept. Finally, the appendix has stats for the different age groups of the smart-rexes and feat choices for three different builds (the standard gulper called “Big Mouth”, the tiny creature-bashing “Swarm Hunter”, and the sheer power in exchange for less endurance “One Hit Wonder”), a cold-blooded and swamp-dwelling B-movie style “Exo-Rex”, and the small fleet-rooted nanotyrannus. These are okay, but again need some conversion to be up to 3.5 snuff. They are also the only other major OGL stats present. A non-OGL appendix on uses for tyrannosaurus body parts is also useful, but locked away under Closed Content. Alas.
Whether or not you like this book depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for a sciencey-type rex database, don’t come here. If you want smart pseudo-dragon rexes..this book is okay, but not spectacular. This is not exactly the shining jewel of the Complete Guide series by any measure, and I’d say save the $11 it would cost you for a few quality d20 PDFs or something nice like that. 6/10.