Tortle (5e Race Variant)

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Physical Description


Tortles are humanoid tortoises. They walk upright with a ponderous, rolling gait. The creatures have leathery, reptilian skin and shells that cover their backs and bellies. An adult Tortle stands just under 6 feet tall and weighs more than 750 pounds.

Tortles have no hair; their skin is mostly olive or blue-green. Their back shells are usually shinier and darker than their skin, while their front shells tend to be lighter, with a yellowish cast. A Tortle's mouth is beak-like and toothless and can deliver a vicious bite.

Tortles are stocky, but most of their weight comes from their shells, so they tend to remain at the same weight throughout their adult lives, never growing fat or thin. Their arms and hands are shaped like those of humans, but thicker. Tortles can wield most weapons as easily as humans, though they usually do not wear clothing, only sometimes wearing cloaks, belts, or harnesses for carrying tools and supplies.


Tortles are peaceful and reclusive and tend to get along well with races with similar habits and personalities. They tend to move and speak in a slower, more mild fashion, compared to the other dwellers of the material plane. They live in hunter/gatherer style tribes and are ignorant of modern technology, normally living in mud and straw huts. They live under the servitude of the Chief of the Tribe, who rules like a monarch, with their descendants taking the mantle once they pass. Tortle tribes are friendly to most if not all races but are especially friendly toward peaceful Lizardfolk. Few races are able to look past the reptilian aspects of both their species, because of this, they get along. Other than using the slash and burn farming method (which leeches nutrients from the soil), tortles generally live in harmony with nature.

Tortles crawl for the first few weeks of their life. After they learn how to walk on two legs, tortles are expected to fend for themselves. Tortles mature by the age of 40, and live for about 365 years. Tortles refrain from mating until they are approaching the final years of their lives, and will die within a year of mating. All females ready to produce eggs gather in a specially prepared compound, which the males guard against attack. Tortle eggs are considered delicacies, so the location of the egg-laying grounds is always defended. Each female lays 4-24 eggs, which hatch about six months later. Because of this, tribes are often massive, spanning miles upon miles of land. However, it is not uncommon for tortles to practice a nomadic lifestyle. This is because tortles consider their homes to be the shells on their back.

Tortles who are clerics, monks or paladins worship one of the four deities:

  • Shima, the Ocean — Alignment: LN — Domains: Tempest, Knowledge — Symbol: A vortex of swirling water
  • Maka, the Earth — Alignment: N — Domains: Nature, War — Symbol: A single mountain
  • Jaci, the Moon — Alignment: CN — Domains: Death, Trickery — Symbol: A downward turned crescent moon
  • Oota, the Sun — Alignment: NG — Domains: Life, Light — Symbol: The sun rising over a horizon

Tortles believe that these four gods work together in harmony, keeping the balance of nature intact and sharing prosperity to those who worship them.

Tortle Names

Tortle Names are as follows

Male: Aranck, Arre-Catte, Beshiltheeni, Dustu, Gad, Kanuna, Lanu, Mahkah, Nastas, Taheton, Grok

Female: Abetzi, Anna, Doya, Ehawee, Kuwanyamtiaw, Macawi, Mituna, Talulah, Sikya, Sokow

Family Names: Anthu, Chilan, Dzuwa, Galu, Lanpansi, Mwala, Mwezi, Nyanja, Tengo, Thanthwe

Tortle Traits

Peaceful turtle like humanoids who live in harmony with nature.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution and Wisdom scores each increase by 1.
Age. Tortles can live up to 350 to 380 years, the average is 365
Alignment. Tortles tend to be chaotic good.
Size. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet. Your swimming speed is 30 feet.
Shell. You have a hard shell that protects you from harm. Your Armor Class is equal to 13 + your Constitution modifier.
Hold Breath. You can hold your breath underwater for 1 hour.
Retreat to Shell. Using an action, you can pull your head and limbs into your shell for up to an hour. While retreating, you are prone, your speed is 5 feet and you are resistant to non-magical piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage. Once used you cannot use this feature against until you complete a short or long rest.
Turtle Snapper. Your mouth cuts through leaf and flesh like butter. Whenever you hit a creature with a melee attack on your turn, as a bonus action you can make a melee attack against the same enemy. If you hit with them, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Aquan.
Subrace. There are three subraces of tortle: Razorback, Softshell, Desert. Pick one.


Razorback Tribes can be found in swamps and marshland areas. They are the most aggressive of all the tortle kinds and the most untrusting. Their shells are covered in sharp ridges and barbs and are often decorated in paints.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.
Razorback. When you are struck by a creature within 5 feet of your, you can use your reaction to cause that creature to take 1d4 piercing damage from the barbs on your shell.
Razor Fist. Your barbed fists are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.


Softshell Tribes can be found near the coast, or by riversides. These tortles are the most friendly of all three types and the most willing to help. Their shells are flat and fleshy, they do not offer much protection, but make the tortles especially agile.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Softshell. A softshell tortle's loses their Shell and Retreat into Shell traits. Instead, your Armor Class is equal to 13 + your Dexterity modifier.
Tortle Agility. Your base walking speed increases to 30 feet. In addition, your swimming speed increases to 40 feet.


Desert Tribes can be found in the desert, but also in other arid or mountainous areas. These tortles can be described as almost apathetic, not caring much for the affairs of other races. But by saying this, this doesn't make them unfriendly or rude. Their shells are like hard round domes. Smooth and polished by the sands picked up by the winds.

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Nomad. You are proficient in the Survival skill and you are acclimated to extreme heat, as described in chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Shell Master. A desert tortle can use their sturdy shell to negate damaging blows. When you make a Dexterity saving throw, you can, as a reaction, add your Constitution modifier to the roll. You can do this a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier before you must complete a long rest to regain all expanded uses.

Random Height and Weight

5′ 0″ +4d4 350 lb. × (4d6) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

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