Saturday, 1 February 2020

Tortles for OSE and other B/X clones


They're turtle people. You have a stronger idea of what that means for your setting than whatever guff is in the monster manual.

Physical Detail (d12)

  1. irregular, blotchy shell colours, almost like leopard spots
  2. belly indicates sex: concave is male, convex is female
  3. powerful, bone-crushing jaw
  4. looong neck, as long as your torso
  5. bright red belly in youth, slowly fades to orange with age
  6. overlapping spurs on your forelimbs, like a pine cone or scale mail
  7. upper jaw tapers straight down like a hawk's beak
  8. spiny, crinkly brown head like a fallen autumn leaf
  9. each scute of your shell is pale in the centre, shading to a dark border.
  10. small pig-like snout
  11. spiny ridge down the centre of your shell
  12. light and dark lines run radially through each scute

What trinket do you carry with you? (d6)

  1. a crude knife made from a sharpened clam, given to you by your youngest child.
  2. your great grandmother's claw, yellowed and brittle, bound tightly to your forearm with a woven bracelet.
  3. a jar of toasted seaweed you traded for. you allow yourself little snacks as a reward.
  4. a fragment of speckled sea glass. it throbs in seawater.
  5. tattooing needle and bright ochre inks. you are still unmarked but will be ready when the time comes.
  6. a glass bottle you found floating in the sea, holding a crude map of an island you do not recognise and a letter in the human tongue pleading for help.

Stats for Old-School Essentials and other retroclones

XP Requirements. As Magic-User

Ability Score Requirements. Con 9

Languages. Alignment, Common, Lizard man

Saves. As Fighter. Saves vs wands and breath attacks are made as a Fighter 3 levels higher, due to your protective shell.

Attack. As Fighter. You can wield all weapons, but tortles usually disdain bows and crossbows in favour of slings and thrown weapons more resilient to wet environments.

Hit Dice. 1d8 per level, +3 per level after 9th.

Claws. You can make melee attacks with a hand that isn't holding anything. This deals damage as a dagger, i.e. 1d4, if the optional rule for variable weapon damage is used.

Hold Breath. You can hold your breath for 6 turns (60 minutes). Strenuous activity such as combat consumes air at twice the normal rate, or a minimum of 1 turn.

Navigator. You count as a navigator on the open ocean, reducing the chance of getting lost to 2-in-6. See Waterborne Adventuring: Losing Direction.

Shell. Your Armour Class is as plate armour, i.e. AC 3 [16]. You cannot wear armour over your body, but you can wield a shield, and can benefit from magical bracers and greaves.

Swimming. You aren't an exceptional swimmer compared to other aquatic demihumans, but you are more adept than a typical human. Whenever you negotiate an aquatic hazard, adjust your odds of success by 10% on a percentile roll, or by 2 if the referee prefers an ability check rolled on d20. See Hazards and Challenges: Swimming. Note that a single failure is unlikely to cause drowning, due to your Hold Breath ability, but subtracting 1 or more turns of available air is a possible outcome of a failed roll.

Tortle Progression
Level XP Hit Dice To-Hit Saving Throws
Death Wands Paralysis Breath Spells
1st 0 1d8 19 [+0] 12 11 14 13 16
2nd 2,500 2d8 19 [+0] 12 11 14 13 16
3rd 5,000 3d8 19 [+0] 12 11 14 13 16
4th 10,000 4d8 17 [+2] 10 9 12 10 14
5th 20,000 5d8 17 [+2] 10 9 12 10 14
6th 40,000 6d8 17 [+2] 10 9 12 10 14
7th 80,000 7d8 14 [+5] 8 7 10 8 12
8th 150,000 8d8 14 [+5] 8 7 10 8 12
9th 300,000 9d8 14 [+5] 8 7 10 8 12
10th 450,000 9d8+3* 12 [+7] 6 5 8 5 10

* Modifiers from CON no longer apply.

Optional: Separation of Race and Class

If you are playing with the Advanced Fantasy Genre Rules, tortles have the following benefits.

I strongly disagree with that book's decision to adjust ability scores, and haven't provided such adjustments. Similarly, come up with your own demihuman level limits if you want to.

XP Requirements, Ability Score Requirements, Saves, Attack, Hit Dice: As your chosen class.

Languages, Claws, Hold Breath, Navigator, Swimming: As above.

Shell. As above.

Additionally, your bulk may hinder certain thief-type skills at the referee's discretion.

Your shell doesn't affect divine spellcasting, but does impede arcane spellcasting. If you belong to an arcane spellcasting class, you have half the spell slots (rounded up) that that class would normally have at your level. e.g. a 7th-level tortle Magic-User has two 1st-level slots, one 2nd-level slot, one 3rd-level slot, and one 4th-level slot.

Your shell grants you a bonus to saving throws versus wands and breath attacks. This bonus is dependent on your CON score, as follows:

  • 6 or lower: No bonus
  • 7-10: +2
  • 11-14: +3
  • 15-17: +4
  • 18: +5

Other Advanced Genre Rules Class Notes

  • Knight. A tortle Knight of 5th level or higher may train aquatic monsters as mounts at the referee's discretion.

  • Paladin. A tortle Paladin of 4th-level or higher may summon a sacred crocodile instead of a warhorse. AC 5 [14], HD 5+5 (27 hp) Att 1 × bite (1d8), THAC0 14 [+5], MV 90’ (30’) / 90’ (30’) swimming, SV D8 W9 P10 B10 S12 (4), ML 9, AL Lawful