Role-playing reviews

Reviews related to role-playing games, with a focus on Gods & Monsters, and a bit of superhero gaming.

Gods & Monsters Fantasy Role-Playing

Beyond here lie dragons

Giant saber-toothed leaping salmon

Jerry Stratton, March 12, 2016

Sabertooth fish: “Coccorella atrata, a species of sabertooth fish (family Evermannellidae). From Brauer, A., 1906. Die Tiefsee-Fische. I. Systematischer Teil.. In C. Chun. Wissenschaftl. Ergebnisse der deutschen Tiefsee-Expedition 'Valdivia', 1898-99.”; fish

If this were nine feet instead of seven inches, and half a ton instead of a pound or so, I would personally stay far from the ship’s rail.

Pluto and the thunder lizards aren’t the only legends getting downgraded by science. Paleontologists used to think there were two-meter-long saber-toothed salmon roaming the prehistoric seas, according to the February 6 Science News. Now they think their tooth was more of a tusk. Saber-toothed or saber-tusked, giant leaping attack salmon sound like a great monster. The prehistoric Oncorhynchus rastrosus—from the late Miocene—weighed, according to Susan Milius, “more than 450 kilograms”. That’s nearly half a ton.

Other sources say the saber-toothed salmon was two to nearly three meters long. Technically, they probably ate plankton, but you don’t need to tell your players that when they’re being attacked by nine-foot-long half-ton saber-toothed fish.

The artists’ renditions of these things don’t look particularly frightening. You could use that to lull the adventurers into complacency, or you could upsize the modern sabertooth fish to give it a makeover.

Meanwhile, on land, the same issue reports that the small Tanzanian Rhampholeon spinosus chameleon “accelerates its tongue 2,590 meters per second per second with a power output of 14,040 watts per kilogram of muscle—the strongest movement on record for any reptile, bird or mammal.”

Perhaps they had a giant cousin in the Mesozoic, too. We can always dream. Make that six to nine feet and half a ton, and it could grab up fully-armed humans in its tongue.

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