I am a relatively new DM working on a homebrew paleontology mechanic to implement into my campaign. As such, I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions about what I could improve or rework.
The mechanic itself would first revolve around 3 ability/skill checks: Perception to notice the fossil, Strength to excavate the fossil, and Nature to identify the fossil and what it came from.
The Perception check would be based on the DC for the surroundings, specifically how much the player gets over the DC. In addition, since the Perception check provides details about how exposed the fossil is, the Strength check for excavation is likewise tied to the check.
|Perception over DC||Result||Strength Check to Excavate|
|3||Notice a small difference in the color of a rock||DC 25|
|5||Notice small fragments of something standing out in the surroundings||DC 20|
|7||Notice a semi-exposed fossil||DC 15|
|9+||Notice a nearly completely exposed fossil||DC 10|
For the Nature check, I wanted to use it both as a means for the players to determine the specific fossil as well as what it belongs to. As such, I've included an example of what could be gleaned based off of the DC tiers.
|5||ID down to kingdom||Animalia|
|10||General description about fossil, ID down to phylum||Long bone, Chordata|
|12||Vague ideas about the fossil, ID down to class/similar clade||Limb bone, Archosauria|
|15||Some certainty about where the fossil is from, ID down to order/similar clade||Arm bone, Dinosauria (specifically Theropoda)|
|18||Good guess about the fossil, ID down to family/similar clade||Either a radius or an ulna, Oviraptoridae|
|20||Specific fossil identified, organism ID down to genus||Radius, Oviraptor|
|25+||Specific fossil identified, organism ID down to species/subspecies||Radius, Oviraptor philoceratops|
In addition to these checks, I've created a chart that breaks down the specific geologic time periods and assigns them to a d20 roll. Each of these time periods will then have their own tables that determine which fossils the players can find, as well as the information given to them by the Nature check.
|2||Proterozoic (minus Ediacaran)|
I also have an idea to include a table to determine the specific bone/bones the players find that is influenced by the Perception check. If the check exceeded the DC by 5, then this table is rolled on twice, with an extra roll added every 2 over the DC before 25. At a Perception check of 25 or over, the table can be ignored.
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "Homebrew Paleontology Mechanic for D&D" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
Top 20 NEW Medieval Games of 2021
Swords, dragons, knights, castles - if you love any of this stuff, you might like these games throughout 2021.
10 NEW Shooter Games of 2021 With Over The Top Action
We've been keeping our eye on these crazy action oriented first and third person shooter games releasing this year. What's on your personal list? Let us know!
Top 10 NEW Survival Games of 2021
Survival video games are still going strong in 2021. Here's everything to look forward to on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and beyond.