Tortoise (3.5e Monster)

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Author: Paleomancer (talk)
Date Created: 1 October 2012
Status: Complete
Editing: Clarity edits only please
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CR 1/8

N Tiny Animal
Init/Senses -1/low-light vision; Listen +4, Spot +4
AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 13
(+2 size, +2 natural, -1 Dex)
hp 5 (1d8+1 HD); DR 1/bludgeoning
Fort/Ref/Will +3/-1/+3
Speed 10 ft., burrow 5 ft.
Melee Bite +1 melee (1d2-1)
Space/Reach 2-1/2 ft./0 ft.
Base Atk/Grp +0/-9
Abilities Str 9, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 8
SQ Retract
Feats Alertness
Skills Hide +9 (+13 in sand or brush), Listen +4, Spot +4
Advancement 2-3 (tiny)
Retract As a standard action, a tortoise can retract its head and limbs. It cannot attack or move, but its damage reduction increases to DR 3/bludgeoning. It may extend its limbs and head from its shell as a move action.

A small brown-yellow reptile, bearing a hefty, patterned shell and a toothless beak, looks warily at you from a nearby bush

Most tortoises are small, harmless reptiles, almost all of which are strict herbivores. Sometimes tortoises are kept as pets, and can reach ages well over a century or more. Tortoises are also considered good eating by many creatures, although the effort involved in cracking the poor creature's shell is usually far more bother than the subsequent meal is worth. Tortoiseshell from certain species is also valued for items.

Strategies and Tactics[edit]

Tortoises prefer to flee or hide from attackers; given their slow movement, hiding tends to be more effective. They will burrow for protection, but only through soil and sand, not stone. If given no option, a tortoise will bite or retract into its shell for protection.

Sample Encounters[edit]

ELC 1/2: One of the party has been captured by a goblin tribe and is sentenced to be torn to pieces by 4 wild tortoises.

ELC 1/4: One of the party is badly concussed by a falling tortoise, itself rather dazed. The eagle which dropped the tortoise subsequently tries to recover its meal.


Environment: Arid environments, deserts, rainforests, warm plains.

Typical Physical Characteristics: Tortoise shells range from 8-12 inches in length, and 6-8 inches in breadth. They weigh between 3-4 pounds as adults. They are usually a sandy or khaki color, although their shells can often be patterned with black, green, yellow, and red-brown. They have a beak with no teeth and stubby legs with stubby claws.

Alignment: As animals, tortoises are incapable of ethical or moral decisions and are always neutral.


Tortoises are seen as symbols of endurance and patience in many cultures.


Eating plants, making eggs, avoiding eagles.

Sample Lair[edit]

Some tortoises will burrow into soil, making burrows in which to shelter. Others make do with natural rock caves or shelter under thick foliage.

Typical Treasure[edit]

They don't own property, but sometimes the intact carapace is used for helmets, shields, or containers; species with more fancy shells are prized for specialty tortoiseshell items. Tortoise eggs are also valued for food and for certain traditional medicines, and of course, one can hatch out an adorable baby tortoise pet from one.

For Player Characters[edit]

Tortoises can be taken as familiars. They give a +2 bonus to Fortitude saves. If you are using the Tome of Prowess rules, tortoises instead give a +3 competence bonus on Endurance checks.

Back to Main Page3.5e HomebrewMonsters

Paleomancer's Homebrew (11 Articles)
AuthorPaleomancer +
Benefit+2 Fortitude saves +
Challenge Rating1/8 +
Identifier3.5e Monster +
NameTortoise +
PrerequisiteNone +
RatingUnrated +
SizeTiny +
SummarySmall shelled reptiles commonly kept as pets. +
TitleTortoise +
TypeAnimal +