We like Tortles! We’ll show you why…
My home on my back-Tortle Haiku
Adventure and friends await
Join me, or do not
Tortles are 500-pound bipedal humanoid Tortoises that can tank for you one moment, and offer you guidance the next. They are lifelong adventurers, gentle souls, and fearsome warriors. Speak softly and carry a big stick, or an axe, or a halberd…
Tortle 5e Stats
“What many tortles consider a simple life, others might call a life of adventure. Tortles are born near sandy coastlines, but as soon as they’re able to walk on two legs, they become nomad survivalists eager to explore the wilderness, experience its many wonders, put their skills to the test, and make new acquaintances.”
- Strength. + 2
- Wisdom. + 1.
- Age. Up to 50 years.
- Alignment. Lawful good.
- Size. Tortle adults stand 5 to 6 feet tall and average 450 pounds. Your size is Medium.
- Speed. 30 feet.
- Claws. Unarmed strikes. Slashing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier.
- Hold Breath. 1 hour.
- Natural Armor. Base AC of 17.
- Shell Defense. As an action, withdraw into your shell.
Until you emerge from your shell:
- Gain +4 to AC
- Advantage on Strength and Constitution saving throws.
- Disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws.
- You are prone.
- Your speed is 0.
- No reactions (such as attacks of opportunity).
- Only bonus action possible is to emerge from your shell.
- Survival Instinct. Proficiency in Survival.
- Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Aquan.
Are Tortles good in 5e?
Tortles are good in DnD 5e for their high base Armor Class of 17, which is hard to match in the early game. The drawback is you can’t use armor. If you want to increase your AC as a Tortle, your only option is a magical item, a bracer, or a shield.
You’re a gigantic turtle that can spellcast! Muscle and magic are a fearsome combination. It’s usually hard for a spellcaster to reach an AC of 17, but with a Tortle, you can be a defensive-minded Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard.
Tortles’ strength is also great to balance out DEX-based melee classes like Monk, Rogue, or Ranger.
You can also go full tank with Barbarian or Fighter.
What book is Tortles 5e?
Tortles are in the book The Tortle Package, which was originally an online-only supplement for Tomb of Annihilation released in partnership with the Extra Life charity. You can find the Tortle 5e pdf here.
If you want Tortles in print, Tortles are also in the book Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount on page 181.
This is where you can find the Tortle Stats most commonly used above.
But hold your Tortles! Recently, Tortles received an update in Wizards of the Coast’s official Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse.
Changes to Tortles in Mordenkainen’s Monsters of the Multiverse:
- Size. Can now be Medium or Small
- Claws. Damage increased to 1d6 + STR. Now considered an unarmed attack instead of a natural weapon.
- Survival Instinct. Replaced with Nature’s Intuition.
Choose a skill proficiency: Animal Handling, Nature, Medicine, Perception, Stealth, or Survival.
Are Tortles good Druids?
Tortles are fantastic as Druids. Druids and Tortles both use Wisdom for spellcasting, and Tortles mitigate Druid weaknesses in AC and DEX. Tortle lore also fits with Druids, as Tortles have to survive in nature on their own.
Druids take ancient oaths not to wear metal armor, but it’s difficult to find good medium or heavy wooden armor—so you’re usually stuck with light armor. With Tortle’s base AC of 17, you can dump DEX as a stat and not have to worry about low AC!
With Tortle Druids, you can dump STR and use the Shillelagh cantrip, which infuses your club or quarterstaff with the power of nature—as a bonus action. Shillelagh uses spellcasting ability + a d8 for attacks instead of STR. For a Tortle, this means your high Wisdom + a d8. Make strong melee attacks without investing in STR!
Tortles are especially good Circle of the Moon Druids. Circle of the Moon Druids can use Wildshape to turn into a powerful wild animal as a bonus action AND more quickly than other Druids. Boost all your mental stats, beast out, and be a force of nature for any baddie that comes your way.
Be aware that you don’t keep your Natural Armor when Wildshaped. You get the AC of the creature you transform into.
Best Classes for Tortle
Tortle Monk, Tortle Barbarian, and Tortle Cleric are other tortle-ly popular choices.
Tortle Monk 5e
Monks use Wisdom for lots of abilities and also get Unarmored Movement.
“Starting at 2nd Level, your speed increases by 10 feet while you are not wearing armor or Wielding a Shield. This bonus increases when you reach certain monk levels, as shown in the Monk table.
At 9th level, you gain the ability to move along vertical surfaces and across liquids on Your Turn without Falling during the move.”
Translation: Be a Ninja Tortle! Gamecow-a-bunga…!
Tortle is also one of the only ways to do a viable Strength Monk instead of a Dex Monk. Grapple and shove your way to the frontlines! Grab an annoying enemy and run up a wall! Usually, Monks pick and choose their way through battles, but Tortles can be more brutal. Meditate and dominate!
Tortle Barbarian 5e
AC and damage reduction are fantastic at early levels. One hand has a shield, the other is clawing with rage (and can’t be disarmed!). Saunter across the battlefield and begin the carnage.
Draw enemy focus! Even if they hit, you take half damage.
GameCows Tip: Maintaining a grapple isn’t an action. Try grabbing onto a few foes (use your beak too!) and withdrawing into your shell. You may not get all the way inside, but your enemies will be pinned until they disengage.
Tortle Cleric 5e
Clerics fit with Tortle lore, as a cleric shipwrecked on the original Tortle island and coerced them to worship her goddess.
It’s hard to go wrong with a Cleric, as long as you take Guidance, Healing Word, Spiritual Weapon, and Spirit Guardians when they become available. Having a spiritual Tortle that heals and smites evildoers with light is a lot of fun! You can also protect your crew with your shell, blocking doors and sacrificing yourself as a good Cleric should.
Desert Tortles fit well for the Sun Domain:
“Those who follow the Sun Domain value light, purity, travel and justice. Not unlike the Light Domain, the Sun Domain worships the sun and its trek across the sky”
Sun Clerics use their Wisdom modifier to harness the power of the sun. Can you imagine a wise, old Tortle praying to their Sun God in the morning, and burninating their way through the countryside in the afternoon? We can too.
If you want one melee and one ranged cantrip as a Cleric, consider taking the following:
- Wizard cantrips. Booming Blade, Minor Illusion
- Cleric cantrips. Guidance, Toll the Dead, Light / Thaumaturgy
So you have class ideas, but what should you name your Tortle?
Tortle Names 5e
Tortle names are usually exotic while being no more than two syllables, with no distinction between genders. Tortles don’t have surnames or family names, since their parents tend to leave Tortles when they are very young. Tortle names can change a lot throughout their lives due to their nomadic existence.
Some ideas for Tortle names:
Tortle 5e Lore
Tortles are natural adventurers that become orphans within the first year of life. Their parents may tell them stories and leave them some meager items, but they are expected to survive on their own. Young Tortles go off into the wilderness to hunt, catch fish, and make do. Before long, they are overwhelmed with a call for adventure and set off on their journey.
The island named the Snout of Omgar is the most likely origin point for Tortles. The Snout used to be a mountainous peninsula named Chult, before it was cleaved off in the Spellplague. A strait then formed between Omgar and Chult. Tortles and crab people claimed the island as their own due to its natural protection from the strait.
The northwest portion was covered by thick rainforest. The forest ended at the crag of High Horn at its northern tip, which was the site of several shipwrecks.
One such shipwreck was by a cleric of the evil sea goddess Umberlee. The wily Cleric convinced the burly yet mild-natured Tortles to erect a mountainside palace to her deity. Tortles spent a decade building Dangwaru, the Typhoon palace, which secretly became a temple to Umberlee.
The temple fell into ruin over generations and is said to be filled with dark sea magic. The palace is shunned by most but ventured into by braver Tortles as a rite of passage.
Tortles have strong habits and personalities and respect the privacy of others. They are obstinate yet peaceful and are happy to share their catch if there is enough to go around. Tortles speak slowly, choosing each word carefully. They are very friendly with Lizardfolk due to both being reptilians, though are kind to all creatures. Tortles seek adventure and discovery, and friends who share their adventuring spirit.
Tortles are mysterious to those outside of the Menagerie Coast and are an old wive’s tale to the common folk. Many people living in the Dwendalian Empire and Xhorhas think Tortles are a hoax since they have never seen one or met someone who has. Tortles live a migratory existence and don’t settle in any one place for very long.
Tortles live around 50 years. They get a strong wave of homesickness to return to their origin before passing.
Tortle 5e Appearance
Tortles walk on two legs and are humanoids. They are reptilian and hairless with thick, stocky bodies, and usually carry a staff for walking on their long journeys.
An adult Tortle stands between 5 and 6 feet tall and weighs more than 450 pounds. A third of the weight is in their shell. Their scaly skin ranges in mottled shades of green and brown, olive, or blue-green. Their back shells are usually shinier and darker than their skin, while their front shells tend to be lighter, with a yellowish cast.
Tortles can’t wear normal clothes but can make use of belts, cloaks, and packs. Try putting a net over your shell to hang items off of, which is a neat aesthetic for a nautical creature.
Though officially Tortles only live to about 50 years, they achieve maturity at a very young age. Some players like extending the Tortle’s lifespan to hundreds of years to match with their wise nature.
Tortle 5e FAQ
What’s the best class for Tortles?
Tortles are best for classes that need Strength or Wisdom and can take advantage of the AC 17 from Natural Armor. Rangers and Druids are the best class thematically since they are both nature-based.
Do Natural Armor and Unarmored Defense stack?
No. you can only use either Natural Armor or Unarmored Defense to calculate your Tortle Monk or Tortle Barbarian’s AC, not both.
Can I change my AC as a Tortle?
You can only change your AC as a Tortle through shields, bracers, or magical items like cloaks or rings.
Can a Tortle wear clothes?
No, Tortles can’t wear clothes normally. You can technically wear armor for cosmetic value, but it doesn’t add any benefits.
Can you maintain a grapple in Shell Defense?
Yes. The Rules as Written allow you to maintain a grapple in Shell Defense. This is one of the best uses of a Tortle’s Shell Defense, as it can keep multiple enemies from moving.
Can Tortles Swim in 5e?
Tortles can swim, but they are not natural swimmers. Tortles follow the same swimming rules as other 5e races except they can hold their breath underwater for up to an hour.
We hope this guide helps you out of your Tortle shell. Why not try our other guides like New Genasi 5e, Aasimar 5e, or False Life Spell 5e to get comfortable?