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New race: wyrtle/tortagon

by Bruce Heard

Here's the idea folks -- I was going to put a new creature together based upon the comments submitted after my innocent question. So far, I saw a lot a about tortles (he turns away and screams: "AAAH! TORTLES!"), various colors, and a draconian. Hmm... Winged, draconic, color-coded, turtle guys... Oooookay. There we go (It's all your fault. You made me do this!)

Where do I start...

We have dragon blood. We also have tortle blood. Aha! It must be an ancient tortle creature endowed with dragon ancestry (suuure, a chelonian crossed with a reptilian... it could happen!). In the process it lost its shell, but grew wings. The shell is now much less bulky but softer and more leathery. It has lost its protective uses and naturally, the creature can no longer pull its head and members into its shell.

Now, about these colors... I did mention the thing sucks light right out of the ambiant daylight, say within a 15' radius. Light breaks up into colors -- here's a link (I'll get back to this later). The creature would have to be a nemesis of the night dragons (Synn is a specimen of the latter). Night dragons do best away from sunlight. This creature, however, NEEDS light to survive. If night dragons embody all that is evil, this creature and its variously hued kin would thus be creatures of goodness.

As long as the creature can maintain direct line of sight to daylight (including reflections of such, like moonlight, starlight, mirrors, etc), the creature remains active. When no sunlight remains in sight, the creature becomes inanimate within a short period of time (a round per HD). When it becomes inanimate, the creature blends with nearby rocks thus remaining out of harm and effectively out of sight from visitors. When sunlight becomes near again (within *sight* of the creature's hiding spot), the creature revives and must come out of the rock.

The creature dies instantly if it cannot reach a large enough rock at the time it becomes inanimate (for example, it travels at sea on a ship, in space far from a rock, in another plane that has no rock, etc). The rocky material must be big enough to fully enclose the creature. Destroying the rock would simply cause its dormant occupant to *slide* to an adjacent rock, if one exists. Else, a rock to mud spell fails altogether if the rock's occupant succeeds a saving throw.

It can remain in this semi-dormant state as long as 10 years per HD after which it fossilizes. At this point, the bones must be carefully unearthed and exposed to direct sunlight for the creature to revive. When semi-dormant, the creature can see and hear what happens outside its hiding place, as if it was dreaming. It needs to succeed an Intelligence check to accurately remember/interpret specific details however. Once fossilized it becomes totally dormant (no dreams). Occasionally, it migt be able to communicate very simple, rather obscure messages with people sleeping (dreaming) nearby (30 yards radius). This is what caused the local wallaras to come up with legends about such places being haunted by dream spirits.

This particular creature had become dormant during a moonless and stormy night. The area where the creature rock sat quickly flooded during the storm, creating a sinkhole that pulled the rock underground, away from sunlight. It remained there for some time until Doc Purringtone came across rumors of such haunted places. It led him to dig up the rock and free the ancient bones.

Anyway... about the pesky colors. These creatures are born with one spiritual color. It can't be recognized visually as it is something that lies in their heart and soul. Their way of reproducing entails finding a mate of a different color. When they do, the two creatures literally blend together, joining their *colors*. Each time two creatures join in such a way, 3-4 eggs are created. Several years later, the *parent* creature resumes its quest to find another mate with a color not yet acquired. All memories and personalities of blended creatures do survive within the new being. When all the colors of light have been acquired, the creature becomes incorporeal and ascends to a higher state of being (perhaps the servant of an Immortal, like Ka probably).

The spiritual color(s) of these creatures can be recognized with a detect invisible spell cast at a level equal or higher than the creature (1HD = 1 exp. level), or if simply observed from the Astral plane. Simple magical abilities are linked to each of these colors, perhaps like those of dragons, although not necessarily breath weapons. Each time two creatures join, the new creature gains 5 HD and better AC, again a bit like dragons. Start with AC6 and drop 1 for every new color (down to AC 0 plus any protection magic).Intelligence and Wisdom both grow the same way -- start with minimum 13 in each scores, +1 for each new color. A single-colored creature starts with 5HD minimum, up to 35HD with all seven colors of the rainbow (physical size does not change however). Note that two creatures both with multiple colors cannot join. Only one of the two can have more than one spiritual color.

These creatures could have some connections with present tortle and wallara cults for obvious reasons. They could quietly wander the world in search of mates but also of evil to defeat (like Synn), which means they would need some way of disguising their appearance. They have wings, probably dragon-like, which would need to fold rather tightly on their backs in order to be easily concealed under a cloak. Else, they could pass off as some skinny tortle breed.

Okay, I think I've got all the pieces so far. Any comments? What magical abilities do the colors confer? What shall we call our strange creature? A Wyrtle (wyrm-tortle)? A Tortagon (tortle-dragon)? A greater chelonian?