Dark Sun World - Tortles

I am wondering if, since the release of “The Rise of the Veiled Alliance,” has anyone introduced, played, or had a player play a tortle character? If so, how did it go?

Were there any issues with the mechanics of the race? Did you have a backstory as to where tortles appeared from, or have they always existed in your campaign world and are now just a playable character race?

For those unfamiliar, tortles are a race of intelligent tortoise-like humanoids with large shells on their backs. They first appeared in the Creature Catalog and AD&D Mystara campaign setting (1986), but not as a playable character race. In Dragon Magazine #315, 3.5ed stats for tortles appeared, but again, not as a playable character race.

Most recently, tortles reappeared for D&D 5th edition as part of a special charity package tie-in module released to coincide with the release of Tomb of Annihilation through the DM’s Guild website.

The connection to Dark Sun in through the release of the “Rise of the Veiled Alliance” actual play videos, produced by LFM Network, in which one of the main characters plays a tortle named Kronqual.

Tortles were a playable race in the Red Steel campaign setting for AD&D second edition.

True. However, I never played the supplemental material - back then it was nearly all homebrew worlds for my gaming group. This (5th ed D&D) is the first time I’ve seen the race fleshed out.
So, did you play Red Steel? How did the tortle play? Do you think it is possible to incorporate the race into the Dark Sun campaign setting?

Lorewise I see no reason why not. You could have it that they have an affinity for cha-thrang. They would exclusively be the desert tortoise variety that are tan coloured. Keep them an insular tribal group that is not prone to venturing far to explain why they aren’t commonly seen.

Boom playable race.

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Note to self: Tortles would make great giant-sized tortoise blades.

Make tortoise blade from the shell of the children of the rival tribe

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Teenage Lifeshaped Psi-monk Tortles

(Sorry, simply could not pass up that opportunity…)


And cough just saying, but if their limbs are master shaped, then it counts as masterwork weapons and you can now psionically enchant your monk type character…


There could be 4 brothers who were raised my an aged Tari master monk.


There is no reason aside from personal preference I think, to exclude them. In the canon of the books at least they saw ‘new races’ are being born all the time in the wastes.

Look at Magnus and Mahtra.

I’m running City by the Silt Sea for a most Dark Sun naive group. One player asked to be a goblin so I said sure! Use all the goblin mechanics but we’ll say you are a halfling warped by the magic of the Pristine Tower.

The what?

Oh, we’ll get to that…


I would give tortles the dark sun treatment.
Instead of hard shelled tortoise men, i would base them on soft shelled Turtles.

Living in the deeper parts of silt sea, these reclusive folk rarely come in contact with one another.They spend most of their days wandering and hunting.The only time they actively seek each other’s company is when both moons come together in the eclipse that marks the end of the endlean cycle, where they gather around in secluded beaches on remote islands to mate and lay eggs.
Females choose partners not based on physical prowess, but the amount and quality of the stories they have gathered in the past 11 years, so males especially will seek out other folk to trade stories with for guidance of ships or knowledge about safe routs to take through the traitorous sea. When the mating is over the females will burry the eggs under the sand and both sexes will go their separate ways until next time. The young hatch fully aware and capable of surviving on their own, and instinctively know the tortle language and costumes.
While their shells aren’t as tough as their counterparts on other worlds, it does allows them to wear light or medium armor, though these must be specialized to fit them and to not hinder their swimming. Furthermore, despite their sluggish appearance and conduct, athasian tortles are deceptively quick, capable of sudden bursts of speed. This, combined with their ability to exude a cloud of silt, allows them to escape predators on both land and sea.
If that fails, the tortles are capable of psionicly hardening their shells with a seemingly crystalline force.

Thats just at the top of my head, im more of a fluff guy, so i didnt bother with rules and balance, just throwing idea that maybe useful to somebody

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Using the original source material, I’ve adapted the 5e version of Tortles to the world of Athas. Feel free to use in your campaign:

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Can you make all those pictures one pdf? I am very
interested in these guys!

Here is a printable pdf version:


I could see tortles as being an offshoot or alternate form of high driks.


Thanks Anglea, I’ve already used your supplement and added a Tortle ambassador to my campaign!

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