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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

RMA: Dragon Turtle

Oh boy, oh boy! Do I loves me the DT! Despite it's complete awesomeness, it's a sort of unusual critter. I think that's for two reasons:

  1. Aquatic encounters are more unusual because aquatic adventures are more unusual.
  2. This fella is the badassedest* thing in the BX books.
*If it wasn't a word before, it is now! Hooray for English!

Take a look at that picture by Steve "the Man" Zieser. That's nearly to scale! This monster eats ships! Let's take a look at the stats:

(From BX)
AC: -2
HD: 30
Attacks: 3 (2 claws/1bite) & Steam breath
Damage: 1d8/1d8/10d6
Save: F15
Morale: 10

OK, first off this is one of the only creatures in Moldvay/Cook with a listed negative AC! So that shell is pretty tough. Thirty HD (30!) means you're capping out at 240 hit points, and averaging about 135. Its bite attack is dealing up to SIXTY points in a go! That's a siege weapon! While it would take several such blows to finish off a large ship, chances are the crew would be long dead before that was an issue.

Most alarming however is that this thing also has a breath weapon. Following BX rules, the cloud of superheated steam it exhales does its current hit points in damage. That's right, so an average dragon turtle does 135 hit points of breath weapon damage to everyone in the area of effect (30' x 90'). To put this in perspective, a maxed out gold dragon is dealing 88 hit points of fire damage in the same area. Even if you make your saving throw against the middling DT's breath weapon, that's still 67 hit points damage! In other words, a 6th level fighter with an 18 CON and maximum hit points (d8 hit die), is automatically killed! Using average HP and no CON bonus, even half damage still kills a 14th level fighter with room to spare. 

Can you say 'eek!' ?

Add in the fact that it's swimming around the ocean and could capsize a good sized ship before you even knew it was there, this is one nasty, nasty encounter.

(*wipes away a tear* "So very beautiful!")


  1. I don't see the problem. With no magic resistance, my mage casts Repulsion (no save), the dragon turtle turns and swims away, and I didn't even have to bust out a 7th, 8th, or 9th level spell : )

    1. Well, first edition uses a wussified version of the DT, so it wouldn't have been much of a fight anyway! ;-)