I want to shake hands with whatever genius concocted this beautiful creature.
The dragon section has been a fun and wild ride. We’ve gotten some of the best creatures on the list so far! I’ve managed to blast right through it since I don’t need to review a dragon’s design! Reviewing each one has given me so many fun ideas for stories to use in future campaigns! These last few months of Best of the Bestiary have been my favorite of this series’ entire run!
But all good things must come to an end. So, today, we’re gonna review the final dragon. Here’s hoping we go out with a bang!
Lore: Suck it, Kraken!
Oh my god, I need to put a Kraken VS Dragon Turtle fight in a campaign now! Just imagine how sick that would be!!
Like regular dragons, dragon turtles lust for treasure. They’ll sink ships and scavenge their contents from the bottom of the ocean. Once it finds its prize, they’ll swallow it for transport and vomit it back up in its lair, a cave hidden in a coral reef, beneath the ocean floor, or along the stretches of the coastline.
Don’t mistake it for a wild beast, however. It is smart enough to be bribed. Often times, pirates will offer them treasure in exchange for safe passage. Some of the more rich ones will even ally themselves with a dragon turtle, offering them loot in exchange for its services in a raid or as a bodyguard. Some dragon turtles essentially become titanic mercenaries, hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.
Every now and then, a dragon turtle will find its way to the Elemental Plane of Water. Here, they’ll often be found in the service of marids. Some will even be used as the building grounds for a throne, turning the beast into a massive mount.
God damn, this lore is amazing! There’s so much you can do with that! Do you just want a quick, terrifying encounter on the high seas? Maybe an infamous boss in the world has a dragon turtle employed under him! Or perhaps the party gets stranded on an island and needs to find a treasure valuable enough to bribe the monster with for passage away back home! There is so much potential for fun and memorable storytelling with this monster! It’s honestly amazing!
Design: Turning Something Cute and Friendly Into Not That
Regular turtles are so damn cute. Why would you make this thing? Just look at this monster!
This thing is intimidating as fuck! The spiked shell, the fish-like draconic head, the massive, bladed fins, everything about this thing screams ‘death’ and ‘fear’! If I saw this thing sailing at my ship, I’d most certainly piss myself several times over! It’s genuinely terrifying in the most badass way possible!
Unfortunately, it leaves something to be desired in terms of creativity. It really does just feel like a dragon replaced its wings with a turtle shell. Is it awesome? Oh, hell yeah! Is it fun? Undeniably! But when the only description you need is ‘picture a dragon, but with fins and a shell’, you leave a bit to be desired. At least for me.
Still, in fairness: I can’t think of any other fantasy game with something as cool as a dragon turtle! It’s a much better option than the typical sea-serpent-like dragons. Sure, it isn’t all that interesting in a creativity department. But the premise alone is an instantaneous win!
Yes, I am biased towards anything called ‘dragon’. I wanted a komodo dragon in real life for so long just because it’s called a dragon.
Stats: Say Goodbye to Your Ship
Hope you didn’t like sailing. Or breathing. Or being alive in general.
Unless you’ve got a One Piece style warship, you probably won’t bring this bastard down. Its AC sits at an even 20, which isn’t that difficult for a higher-level party. Unfortunately, it does have a ridiculous amount of HP, averaging well beyond the three-hundred range. If you choose to be the fool and stand and fight, you’re in for a long one.
But he isn’t. His attacks are, quite frankly, ridiculous! Both its Bite and Tail attacks do 26(3d12+7) damage, with the ladder move possibly knocking you prone, and its claw attack does 16(2d8+7). Combine that with its multiattack, which allows it to strike once with its bite and twice with its claws, or once with both its bite and tail, and you’ve got a monster that could very easily tear a ship apart.
Oh, did none of those intimidate you? Well, it’s Steam Breath attack might! This scalding cone of steam, should you fail the saving throw (with a motherfucking DC of 18), does a whopping 52(15d6) fire damage! If you get caught up in this thing, congratulations! You are dead and your ship is now boiling away!
This can make for such a cool boss fight! It offers the party so many different possibilities in the fight itself! Do they just use their normal abilities and pray? How do they use the ship to their advantage? How do they protect the ship from the monsters attacks? Does the turtle go straight for the boat and sink them all or does it go straight for them in its fury? You can do so much with a dragon turtle boss fight, all of which would be incredibly fun and memorable! In terms of a seaside boss fight, I can think of none better!
Unless you also had it fighting a Kraken. I’ll never get over that idea.
God damn, this dude is awesome! Sure, the design doesn’t have much creativity, but it’s still incredibly fucking cool and scary! Combine that with some really fun, interesting, and flexible lore, as well as a super fun and terrifying boss fight, and you’ve got one of the best monsters in the entire book!
With all that in mind, let’s put the Dragon Turtle on the Best of the Bestiary!
- Death Tyrant
- Dragon Turtle <——————
- Green Dragons
- Red Dragons
- Blue Dragons
- Black Dragons
- White Dragons
- Silver Dragons
- Bronze Dragons
- Brass Dragons
- Copper Dragons
- Gold Dragons
- Death Knight
- Bone Devil
- Shadow Demon
- Animated Armor
- Pit Fiend
- Chain Devil
- Bearded Devil
- Barbed Devil
- Spined Devil
- Ice Devil
- Horned Devil
- Shadow Dragon
- Displacer Beast
- Carrion Crawler
- Rug of Smothering
- Bugbear Chief
- Vine Blight
- Twig Blight
- Needle Blight
- Dinosaurs (All six of them)
- Flying Sword
- Crawling Claw
Yes! Top three! We ended on a bang! Fuck yeah!
At last, we come to an end of this section. We’ve reviewed the titular dragons! I’ve fulfilled the ultimate goal of any Dungeons and Dragons… well, anything! And that is to reach and overcome a dragon!
Now, at last, it comes time to move on. Now there are only a few more monsters in the D section until we move on! No more dragons!
Until we get to Tiamat. But considering how much we’ve got left in this book… we’ve got a few years to go.