Tortles aren't known well in the human lands, as they tend to keep to themselves and not concern themselves with worldly things and travel. Those that know them speak of their gentleness and love of peace and the life around them. Tortles met are usually some of the best philosophers and judges on the basis of fairness.
Tortles tend to be slow moving, unselfish, and unconcerned in most things. Tortles value family life above other things and are content living as simple farmers and scholars. Those who make enemies of the tortles, however, learn just how strong and quick they are to strike back and that usually the hardest to provoke are the toughest to defeat.
Tortles stand between 5 and 6 feet in height with both males and females at about the same height. They can weigh anywhere from 500 to 700 pounds as they have massive shells on their backs. Tortles otherwise appear like large, bipedal turtles and have no hair and dull green, gray and brown scaley skin. Tortle eyes have pupils are horizontal ovals in shape. The irises are vibrantly colored, usually blue, but sometimes green or red. A tortle's mouth is beaklike and toothless and can deliver a vicious bite. Every tortle has a shell on their back that they can retreat into with some effort. 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 and tipped with sharp claws. Most tortles wear little or no formal clothing as it interferes with their shells and usually is not designed to fit them. Headbands, belts, wristbands, and simple shoes are the most complex their clothing usually gets. A tortle reaches majority at 20 years in age and can live up to 250 years old.
Tortles tend to keep to themselves and be peaceful, and as such any race that is not openly threatening to them will usually be able to pass through their homes and seek aid from them. Tortles most sympathize with the lizard-kin that live near them, but they also are on friendly terms with most of the other major races (humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and so on). Tortles generally distrust and dislike half-orcs, used to their humanoid and goblinoid relatives raiding their villages and killing their children.
Tortles are usually lawful, and they tend strongly towards neutral. Adventuring tortles are less likely to fit this mold, as they will have had some reason to take such a non-racial stance as to leave their homeland.
Tortles prefer warm climates and enjoy sunning themselves; they have little tolerance for cold. Tortles do not have a nation all to their own and usually dwell entirely within the borders of other nations. As such, tortles enjoy a considerable amount of autonomy. Their homes are usually made along the borders of seas and rivers and other places where crops grow well. Tortles live in large, extended families that span several generations, and it is not unlikely for an entire "city" to be just one family unit.
Tortles tend to restrict themselves to the tools of the culture in which they live. This adaptation to neighboring cultures carries over into all aspects of tortle society. Tortles who live outside the boundaries of other nations (the "free" tortles) tend to be simple farmers, many still using ancient "slash and burn" methods. Other free tortles live the simple, if demanding, lives of hunter-gatherers. However, most tortles dwell within other nations, where they are peasants (usually farme), living in the style of peasants of that nation. Tortle legends claim that the creatures once built cities of grandeur, but little real evidence exists to support this.
Most modern free tortles live along the beaches in small familial groups, typically in huts made of mud and wood. A cluster of huts forms a village center, with outlying huts forming a perimeter of several hundred yards. Each tortle dwelling has an alarm of some sort, usually a horn or gong. Tortles stay in contact with their neighboring tortles, depending on one another for defense and assistance on major building or farming projects. A typical tortle lives about 50 years. The creatures mate only once in their lives and invariably die within a year afterward.(Tortles who do not mate can live to become extremely old, with little loss of vitality.) Mating takes place in late summer, egg-laying during the fall. All females ready to produce eggs gather in a specially prepared compound, which the males guard against all attacks. Tortle eggs are considered delicacies, so the location of the egg-laying grounds is always defensible. Tortles from all nations travel to these egg-laying grounds in the lands of the free tortles. Each female lays 4–24 eggs, which hatch about six months later. Some young fall prey to predators, but most survive to be raised by adults, usually under the tutelage of aunts and uncles. Tortle families are unusual, since parents do not live long enough to raise their children. Thus, a tortle family might consist of a small number of adult tortles and a number of their nieces and nephews of varying ages. The "family" is usually very close. Tortles never refer to fathers or mothers, except in reference to the Immortals, including Mother Ocean (Calitha, their protector)and Father Earth (Ka, the bringer of life). Within the last century, most tortles have added two more Immortals to their pantheon, both adopted from the lupins and considered the children of Mother Ocean and Father Earth: Brother Shell (Mגtin), the protector of families, and Sister Grain (Ralon), the patron of farmers and the bringer of food. Other than using the slash and burn farming method (which leaches nutrients from the soil), tortles generally live in harmony with nature. They are tolerant of most other intelligent people, as long as those beings treat tortles fairly.
Tortles tend to be more spiritual, with their worship restricted to primal forces of the planet and nature around them. Good choices are those who have special interest in water, forests, and philosophical thought.
Tortles speak their own tongue, a slow and tedious language called Tortle. As a reflection of the slow pace of their life, an entire conversation in Tortle may take over an hour whereas it would take no more than fifteen minutes in Common. Tortles that speak in Common usually do so painfully slow to their listeners, which is a reflection of their normal pace.
Tortles are given a single name at birth and use this name their entire life. Though they keep themselves closely grouped in family, surnames are neither needed nor practiced by their culture, as they know who they "belong" to by what village they live in.
Chul, Hennas, Jung, Lau, Quan, Xchi.
Anoi, Kai, Lenna, Mai, Pao.
Tortles take up adventuring for the purposes of learning more about the world around them to gain a deeper understanding of life, or for the purposes of retribution of wrongs done to their family unit. Tortles find life among most races moving at a pace far too fast for them, and as a result they will usually try to find occupations that allow them to move more to their liking. Tortles enjoy deep debates on difficult issues, regardless of who the race they are dealing with is.
Tortle Racial TraitsEdit
- +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity: Tortles are hardy and resistant but slow and heavy due to their shells.
- Medium-size: As Medium-size creatures, tortles have no special bonuses or penalties due to their size.
- Tortle base speed is 20 feet.
- Low-light vision: Tortles can see twice as far as humans in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. They retain the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions. In addition, tortles retain this ability to equal distances while underwater.
- Tortles can hold their breath underwater for 10 minutes before having to make standard checks for drowning.
- Tortles are proficient with either the kama or nunchaku and the shuriken.
- +2 racial bonus to Sense Motive and Swim checks: Tortles have deep understandings of how races act and are strong swimmers.
- Tortles can attack with their bite and claws. Their bite inflicts 1d6 points of damage and has a x2 critical multiplier. Their claws inflict 1d4 points of damage each and have a x2 critical multiplier. When using these natural weapons, Tortles are not considered unarmed.
- Tortles can pull themselves into their shells. This gives them a racial +6 bonus to their AC. While in this state, a tortle cannot move, attack, or cast spells with somatic components.
- -2 racial penalty to Climb checks: Tortles have small, weak arms and cannot lift their own weight well.
- Automatic Languages: Common and Tortle. Bonus Languages: Gnoll, Goblin, Draconic, Lizardfolk, and Orc.
- Favored Class: Cleric. A multiclass tortle's cleric class does not count when determining whether he suffers an XP penalty for multiclassing.