Terrapin (3.5e Race)

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The Terra'pin are the slow but sturdy race that guard the very pillar that gives them their name: "Terra's Pin", the mythical pillar of the elemental plane of earth, and the sister pillar to the "Atlas Pin", which is located in the elemental plane of water, located opposite of Atlas in the planar sphere. Together, the two pillars provide a structural integrity between all the central planes, including the elemental planes, the material, ethereal, and shadow planes.

While all Terra'pin can effectively walk either on both lower legs, or on all fours, many prefer to simply lie in place when possible. As a race of peaceful but vigilant guardians, they find that their presence is enough, in most situations, making up for their size and weight. Most have strong affiliations with the Earth and Water Planes, often carrying characteristics of both, due to their exposure to each plane from traveling between their two pillars.


The Terra'pin are by far lax and without much initiative, or so it seems to the occasional viewer. The turtle-like beings, in reality, actually view time in a much different respect than most other races, taking perspective to a whole new level: They are acting normally, and it is simply everyone else who is going too fast. This said, the aloof sense of personality, combined with their slow movement and initiative cause them to be taken less seriously by many other races, even when it eventually ends in their surprise: Terra'pin can be quite excitable and enraged under the correct conditions, especially when passionate about the subject matter.

Physical Description[edit]

The Terra'pin are large, hulking but gentle creatures, perhaps most resembling that of many shelled reptiles of the material plane, such as turtles. The hard shell on their backs often serves as both a home and a set of natural armor when dire situations approach, giving them a natural edge in the environments in which they live. In fact, the comparable giants are nearly enclosed with the shell, though their underbelly being slightly less so. Their faces are mostly defined by the beak-like mouth, while their body is usually a set of wet and smooth scales.

The shell itself, one of the most notable features, comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes, mostly depending on the types of experiences and environments the Terra'pin in question had been exposed to. Those who had been living longer than others and been to both planes often enough, even in a few wars, might have jagged rock-like protrusions coming from the shape of the shell, shaped by the very elements themselves throughout many years. Younger Terra'pin usually have smoother shells.


The Terra'pin are usually undisturbed by other races, and rarely do they venture out to extend first contact to the others they share existence, preferring to simply sit and care for the pillars dutifully and in their own, lax-like nature. Other races might, upon meeting the Terra'pin, see them as lazy, slothful creatures, but might soon be won over by their merit-filled speech and advocation of balance.


Most Terra'pin share characteristics of being neutral. They find that balance is the most important thing in life, which is why they often find themselves travelling from one end of the pillar to the other, regularly. Others find that duty is important, as the pillars are theirs to safeguard for all who depend on them, so Lawful is also a common alignment.


Terra'pin feel more at home in the muddy regions of the Stone and Water planes, but can live effectively wherever water exists. They are in constant need of being wet, and without it, their skin shrivels, crippling them until death.


Religion is very rare in Terra'pin culture. When it does occur, it is usually in very small occurrences, often in the form of nature gods or fatalism. Rarely do the Terra'pin align themselves with a cause that is not their own, devoted to preservation of the normal balance that rules their lives.


Terra'pin speak an ancient form of Draconic, which most other Draconic-speaking races can dissect into understandable segments. Some more adventurous few can speak common.


Terra'pin name themselves by choice. At the 45th year, they are allowed to exchange their 'child' name for an adult name of their choice and design. This is an important ceremony, signifying the balance between the transitioning segments of their lives. Some choose to keep their child names if they mean enough to them, however.

Racial Traits[edit]

  • +4 Strength, −6 Dexterity, +4 Constitution, +2 Charisma: Terra'pin owe their constant daily trekking and their hardy bodies much of their life, having honed the oversized flesh and scales to their peak through general activities. While they search for little in the ways of knowledge outside their domain, they do seem to have a way with words.
  • Monstrous Humanoid (Water, Earth): Terra'pin are much larger than other races, usually a size larger, if not more in some cases. They also have an affinity to stone and water, especially mud.
  • Large Size: As a creature of large stature, Terra'pin gain all the normal benefits of a Large Size creature.
  • A Terra'pin's base land speed is 20 feet: Terra'pin can move at a speed of 20 feet on hind legs; on all fours, they move half their total calculated base speed, including all addtions from feats and traits.
  • Terrapin have the ability to include their Constitution Bonus to their Armor Class, alongside their Dexterity Bonus.
  • Shell Withdrawal (Ex): By spending a full round action, a Terra'pin can move into the ultimate defensive stance: His Shell. While within his shell, the Terra'pin is unable to attack anything outside the shell unless he has a weapon with the reach trait stored inside. While inside the shell, Terra'pin enjoy a boost to their armor class equal to +10, +1 per every two hit die, and a damage reduction equal to half their hit die, minus two. In this state, the Terra'pin cannot move, cast spells, or use spell-like abilities, unless otherwise stated. They can, however, still activate small magical items, including wands and rings. The shell counts as a Tower Shield, for all that it benefits and detriments.
  • Crawl(Ex): A Terra'pin can choose to walk on all fours instead of his hind legs, at the cost of half his base speed. This allows him to carry double his load capacities (Effectively increasing all values by ×2). In this position, he can carry up to two medium sized creatures, six light creatures, etc.; The downside is that he cannot hold any weapons at this time, and is effectively considered prone, only allowing him the use of a Natural bite weapon, and the ability to move, and a flat-footed status.
  • Natural weapon: Terra'pin can Bite for 2d4 slashing and bludgeoning damage.
  • Natural armor: Terra'pin have naturally hard scales and thick skin, along with softer shells, amounting to a +6 Natural armor, +1 per every four hit die. For the cost of enhancement, the scales are considered breastplate, and enhancements may only effectively cover the central body (Chest, Torso).
  • Awkward Shape (Racial Flaw): Terra'pin are unable to wear physical armor, even non-standard armor, and cannot acquire any proficiency for it. Because of this, the Terra'pin have to rely entirely upon their natural armored body and shell. They can, however, still acquire enhancements.
  • Calm-headed (Racial Trait): Terra'pin, due to their long lives and slow progression through them, are tempered against any type of exertion and stress. They may not initially attack anything without passing a Will Save of DC 10 (with an additional 1/2 half of their hit die). When possibly impassioned, such as excessive circumstancial danger or a Lawful's need to protect others, they can reduce the penalty by their hit die, removing the 1/2 bonus.
  • Automatic Languages: Draconic. Bonus Languages: Common.
  • Favored Class: Druid, Bard
  • Level Adjustment: +3

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