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D&D 5E Making tortles interesting

Casimir Liber

Explorer
Coming across tortles, they struck me as lamely vanilla...however, @Shroompunk Warlord 's idea of combining them with Kappas (loved reading about Kappa stories as a kid and glad they got a guernsey in some editions of D&D) as a race was inspired. So making them have some dish-shaped headspace with a liquid that preserves their strength and making that playable is really cool. And gives the race some depth and colour right from the get-go.

 

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Casimir Liber

Explorer
There is a whole pdf on dm's guild for Tortle PCs, in case you have not seen that yet:

aha, some good reviews...which is promising. But still looks like vanilla chelonians with a funky island setting. But promising...might get it. Anyone else got it?
 



Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Shell Defense being an action to activate and a bonus action to end feels really bad. I can count the number of times I’ve seen a PC take the Dodge action on two hands, I think if you had to use a bonus action to do anything other than dodge, no one would ever use it. I propose making it a reaction to activate and an action to end. That way it’s a strong defensive panic button move that costs you some future action economy, instead of a defensive stance that you have to predict the need for and use preemptively.
 

I have kappa as their own thing, but just, lead into general turtle nonsense with Tortles.

You're a turtle person. So, take from actual turtles. Big ol' gnarly snapping turtle ones who'll bite a dude in half. Desert survivalists who get food from the most unexpected sources, like clay or the like. Ocean-goers who can lazily spend most of their life out at sea. Seemingly slow because they go through life chill but the moment you annoy them they will ruin your stuff.

I also pointedly ignore that whole 'they have short lifespans' thing because, c'mon, they're turtles
 

DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
Coming across tortles, they struck me as lamely vanilla...however, @Shroompunk Warlord 's idea of combining them with Kappas (loved reading about Kappa stories as a kid and glad they got a guernsey in some editions of D&D) as a race was inspired. So making them have some dish-shaped headspace with a liquid that preserves their strength and making that playable is really cool. And gives the race some depth and colour right from the get-go.

I'm really only using the name-- I can't call them koopas, and I can't call them tortles, and I refuse to call them turtlefolk. Kappa is a public domain name for turtle people that nobody can stop me from using. In Shroompunk, befitting their roots, they're a kith of honor-bound knights and pact-bound dragon sorcerers... like a cross between dragonborn and tortles, and between paladins and sorcerers.

Which is one way of making them unique. Use it with my blessing, because I'm only selling my work to make it worth stealing.

But yeah, make them actual kappa with head-bowls and cucumbers, small-size super-grapplers. Extremely long-lived ninja/druids trying to preserve the balance of power between shorter-lived factions? Oracles of the Great Beyond, bearing the figurative weight of the entire world on their shells?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I’ve never used tortles- my anthropomorphic turtles are River Folk, based on snapping turtles. So they have a vicious bite.

They inhabit the areas in and around most of the freshwater and brackish rivers, ponds, bogs and swamps, where most work as merchants, ferrymen, crew, longshoremen, and other trades…along with the odd gambler or marine.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I'm really only using the name-- I can't call them koopas, and I can't call them tortles, and I refuse to call them turtlefolk. Kappa is a public domain name for turtle people that nobody can stop me from using. In Shroompunk, befitting their roots, they're a kith of honor-bound knights and pact-bound dragon sorcerers... like a cross between dragonborn and tortles, and between paladins and sorcerers.

Which is one way of making them unique. Use it with my blessing, because I'm only selling my work to make it worth stealing.

But yeah, make them actual kappa with head-bowls and cucumbers, small-size super-grapplers. Extremely long-lived ninja/druids trying to preserve the balance of power between shorter-lived factions? Oracles of the Great Beyond, bearing the figurative weight of the entire world on their shells?
Love the idea, so do you include hammer throwing Kappa and a boom-boom subspecies?
What about wings?
 

DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
Love the idea, so do you include hammer throwing Kappa and a boom-boom subspecies?
What about wings?

Basically, in Shroompunk, hammers replace swords as the most common noble/civilian weapons for kappa and for humans... because kappa are both kith's second most common enemy. Kappa knights can indeed belong to the Brotherhood of the Hammer, which gives them a soulknife-like ability to spawn and throw a limitless number of hammers. Boom-Boom and the Koopalings wouldn't be represented as a separate subrace, just as expressions of higher-level kappa class options.

Wings are an option, at about the same level everyone else is flying around anyway, but are incompatible with the heavier, spiked shell upgrades most higher-level kappa take.
 

Dragonhelm

Knight of Solamnia
I played a tortle aberrant mind sorcerer (during the playtest stage) fairly recently. His name is Geode. Basically, a sapphire dragon saved his life, but in so doing, gave him psionic abilities. Now his shell has crystals growing out of it. When he casts magic missile, three crystals launch from his back.

In other words, I took the physical appearance of a tortle, added some psionic flavor, came up with a cool backstory, and instant interesting tortle.
 

Dragonhelm

Knight of Solamnia
Also, I think playing a tortle cleric with the war domain who tells war stories all the time would be fun. Think of Kup from The Transformers.

I call him Shellshocke. :D
 




Blue Orange

Adventurer
I have kappa as their own thing, but just, lead into general turtle nonsense with Tortles.

You're a turtle person. So, take from actual turtles. Big ol' gnarly snapping turtle ones who'll bite a dude in half. Desert survivalists who get food from the most unexpected sources, like clay or the like. Ocean-goers who can lazily spend most of their life out at sea. Seemingly slow because they go through life chill but the moment you annoy them they will ruin your stuff.

I also pointedly ignore that whole 'they have short lifespans' thing because, c'mon, they're turtles

Turtles actually have pretty long lifespans for their size--giant turtles can live to be over 100. A lot of the tropes about elves or dwarves and their long lifespans could easily apply to tortles, who presumably would have medicine and cure disease spells in a fantasy world.

"Yep, the Fast Peoples live and die like hummingbirds. When the Creator God made the tortles, he wanted a people who could remember the world gone by. So he made us with hard shells on our back, not like the soft Fast Peoples who die if you poke them with a sharp stick and have to build houses out of wood and straw that go up in a fire. They even say there's a tortle holding up the world, though I doubt that much."
 


Casimir Liber

Explorer
here on gmbinder is someone's stab at Kappa as a PC race.

I am not sure how their penchant for wrestling (from older editions not the above page) strikes me as compatible with the liquid head-bowl organ. I guess I'd make the head-bowl fluid a bit more viscous and harder to spill - the fluid contains a unique biological microorganisms from the kappa's pond that lives in harmony with the concave sensory organ that fine-tunes and strengthens its muscles. If spilt, the kappa loses2d6 strength until the bowl is refilled. Kappas can carry replacement fluid but the microorganisms die after (let's say) 2d4+4 days.

Kappa PCs would prefer crossbows and spears as weapons maybe (due to limited movement of upper limbs (?) restricted to stabbing and thrusting weapons (???)

Writing in a stream-of-consciousness fashion here....
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
here on gmbinder is someone's stab at Kappa as a PC race.

I am not sure how their penchant for wrestling (from older editions not the above page) strikes me as compatible with the liquid head-bowl organ. I guess I'd make the head-bowl fluid a bit more viscous and harder to spill - the fluid contains a unique biological microorganisms from the kappa's pond that lives in harmony with the concave sensory organ that fine-tunes and strengthens its muscles. If spilt, the kappa loses2d6 strength until the bowl is refilled. Kappas can carry replacement fluid but the microorganisms die after (let's say) 2d4+4 days.

Kappa PCs would prefer crossbows and spears as weapons maybe (due to limited movement of upper limbs (?) restricted to stabbing and thrusting weapons (???)

Writing in a stream-of-consciousness fashion here....
I see what you did there.
 

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