I had been thinking about a Great Ape race template for Dark Trails RPG based on Tuesday Night Fiend Club’s excellent Star Crawl race templates. Fortunately, Justin Ryan Isaac on the Dark Trails Facebook Group kicked me into action.

This template is designed for any of the Great Ape species - e.g. Gorilla, Orangutan etc.

Without further ado here is my Great Apes Dark Trails Race Template.(I also have a mouseling template I’ll repost here).

Apologies again to David Baity and Jonathan Snodgrass!

Great Ape Dark Trails Race Template

Special Abilities:

Fist 1d6
Skill checks: +1d (anything strength related), +2d climb checks (from page 7 of Primal Tales)

Ability modifiers:

-3 Per, +1 Sta +2 Str, +1 Stamina saves

Class Modifications:

15’ movement when walking upright due to unusual gait. 30’ movement when using all four limbs to move.

Brachiation – some great apes like Orangutans can move with ease through the trees (30’ movement). These types of apes suffer another 5’ movement penalty when trying to walk outside of the trees. This type of movement can be applied when swinging off structures, e.g. chandoliers, or climbing buildings etc.

Intimidation - Great Apes can inspire fear in other creatures - +1d to checks involving intimidation and fear

Anger- Great apes are prone to anger. When entering battle, they should roll a will save DC 12 or become enraged suffering -1d rolls on any attacks involving increased mental awareness (like wielding a gun). All attacks that involve brute force , i.e. fists, club etc gain a +2 to damage.

This lasts for one round and then allow another check for the great ape to regain control of its instincts.

NOTE: A check should be made each time a great ape is wounded – subsequent wounds after the first impose a +2 to the DC.


Some say that the talking great apes were the result of an experiment gone wrong. Some say that the seven days of night and its evil influence are responsible.

Whatever the reason, the first great ape gunslingers began to appear in western traveling Medicine shows and circuses and in the bustling streets of the cities of the coasts a few years after the dead wouldn’t stay dead.

The apes were quick to mimic their close cousins and while not common enough to not cause a stir, are certainly not a rarity.

Great Apes can be any one of the classes in Dark Trails though they gravitate toward gunslingers, luchadors and bedlamites.

Famous Great Apes of the Weird West:

  • King Kong

  • Mighty Joe

  • Silver Back Slim

  • Knuckles Winslow

  • Red Mclintock

  • The Gorilla Kid

  • El Gorila Loco