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Savage Coast Races: Tortle

by Trevor Mellis

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 about 6 feet tall and weighs more than 500 pounds.

Personality: Despite their ancestry, tortles are not especially slow, either mentally or physically; however, they are thinkers who might ponder a question a little longer than most before answering. Most tortles are peaceful and slow to anger. While they have the same range of emotions as humans, tortles are not as demonstrative and often seem cold and distant to more passionate races.

Physical Description: 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. Also, they usually wear no clothing, though some may wear cloaks, belts, or harnesses for carrying tools and supplies.

Relations: Tortles are peaceful and reclusive, and tend to get along well with races with similar habits and personalities. They are especially friendly toward the peaceful lizard folk (like the caymas, shazak, and the wallaras), for few races are able to look past the reptilian aspects of their species. Other than using the slash and burn farming method (which leaches nutrients from the soil), tortles generally live in harmony with nature.

Alignment: Tortles tend to be lawful and good; chaotic or evil individuals are quite rare.

Tortle Lands: Tortles prefer warm climates and enjoy sunning themselves; they have little tolerance for cold.

Tortles are most common in Bellayne and Renardy and on the beaches south of Renardy. Most modern free tortles live along the beaches in small family groups, typically in huts made of mud and wood.

Religion: Sages and priests are common among tortles. Tortle clerics usually follow Mother Ocean (Calitha, patron of Water and Strength) or Father Earth (Ka, the patron of Earth and Life).

Language: Tortles speak their own language, simply called tortle, and most also speak Common.

Society: 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 defended. 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 Racial Traits