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The tortanian people are a tortoise-like ancient people. The species is so long-lived that their true ancestral home planet has long been forgotten, though they claim several swampy planets throughout the galaxy as their own.

The average tortanian lives almost 1000 years.

This gives them ample time to become skilled crafters, technologists, and magic users alike.

Physical Description

Tortanians are leathery skinned, tortoise-like humanoids with shells which cover their backs and partially protect their legs and short tail as well. Their hands are larger than most humanoids, making complex manipulations difficult. The color of their skins is almost uniformly a deep gray, though some show slight green or yellow tones in the cracks and wrinkles of their skin. A tortanian’s shell can display any infinite number of colors (and those with duller shells often have brighter colors added to heighten their appeal). Unlike many other species, tortanians range very widely in size, from the size of an ysoki to that of a particularly beefy vesk.


Tortanians live in a strict matriarchal society, with fertile females (called “egg-mothers”) making most decisions in both personal relationships and governmental structures. Those females unfortunate enough to be unable to lay eggs are still revered over the males, but are never elevated to powerful positions. Despite the matriarchy, males are allowed and encouraged to follow any pursuit they like (outside of political aspirations).

Lorekeepers of both genders are some of the most highly-respected within tortanian society, and those who aspire to teach the younger generations are provided with homes, land, meals and gifts by other members of the community, in an effort to allow their minds to be free of the burdens of wants or needs.


The long lifespan of tortanians lends itself to deep introspection about the true nature of life and the universe, which can cause some difficulty when dealing with shorter-lived species. Their infinite patience and tendency to act only after careful consideration can be frustrating to those who might prefer to shoot first and ask questions later. However, once a tortanian has decided that someone is a friend, they are some of the most loyal and trustworthy beings in the universe. Tortanians find a kinship with many of the more long-lived races, including kasathas and manu, and often are found in parties made up of these races, though they invariably outlive their allies, provided they are not reckless. That being said, some tortanians find recklessness exhilarating, as long-lived creatures have more to lose in death, and this can be jarring for those who wish to keep their heads.

Alignment and Religion

Long lifespans don’t lend themselves to impetuousness, and most tortanians lean toward the Lawful side. They run the full spectrum of good and evil, though many find neutrality a good fit. While a large portion of tortanians find religion to be tedious, those who find a deity who speaks to them worship with a fever-like intent, often becoming zealots. Male tortanians who find religion gravitate toward Doolipuda, some seeking liberation from their female oppressors. Males and females alike may feel a kinship with Eistibus, as the pursuit of knowledge is a tortanian virtue, and it is believed the Eistibus has existed even longer than the tortanian race themselves, a feat that not many can claim.


Younger tortanians are the most likely to seek adventure (though “young” is a relative term, as they are not even considered adults until past the age that most humans could only dream of). Reasons for adventuring vary, as with any race, but many tortanian adventurers set out to find some sacred or unknown trove of knowledge to add to the vast libraries that are kept on all tortanian planets and many of their capital vessels.


Male Names: Braanoo, Harmaat, Toonarr, Paataam.

Female Names: Proonee, Urmaa, Reenaa, Inoo, Almaa.

Standard Racial Traits

-2 Dexterity, +4 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, +2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma: Tortanians are extraordinarily healthy, intelligent, wise, and charming, but their rigid shell limits their agility.

Racial Hit Points: 6 HP

Racial Traits

Size and Type: Tortanians are Medium humanoids with the tortanian subtype.

Slow but Steady: Tortanianss have a land speed of 20 feet, which is never modified when they are encumbered or wearing heavy armor.

Low-light Vision: Tortanians can see in dim light as if it were normal light.

Enshell: As a move action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, a tortanian can withdraw his head, arms, and legs fully into its shell. Objects or weapons with light bulk (l) or 1 bulk can be pulled inside his shell as part of the same action, while larger held objects are dropped in the tortanian’s square. The tortanian has soft cover (+4 bonus to AC) while enshelled and does not have line of sight to anything unless he has some means with which to see through his shell. The tortanian’s shell structure prevents him from falling prone while enshelled.

The bonus to AC increases by +1 at 6th, 12th, and 18th levels, to a maximum of +7 at 18th level.

While enshelled a tortanian can take no actions other than to exit from its shell (as a move action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity) and does not threaten spaces around it. The enshell effect ends automatically if the tortanian becomes unconscious or dead.

Hard-Shelled: The shell of a tortanian protects them from many threats. Tortanians have a +2 racial bonus to their KAC.

Stability: Tortanians receive a +4 racial bonus to their KAC against bull rush and trip combat maneuvers.

Stubborn: Tortanians gain a +2 racial bonus on Will saving throws to resist spells and spell-like abilities with the charm and compulsion descriptors. In addition, if a tortanian fails such a save, it receives another save 1 round later to prematurely end the effect (assuming the spell or spell-like ability has a duration greater than 1 round). This second save is made at the same DC as the first. If the tortanian has a similar ability from another source, it can only use one of these abilities per round, but can try the other on the second round if the first reroll ability fails.

Languages: Tortanians speak Common and Tortanian. Tortanians with high Intelligence scores can learn Aquan, Aurellian (though they cannot speak the language without some way to change their shell color at will), Dwarven, Giant or Manu.

Playing an Tortanian

You Likely…

  • Think things through before rushing in.
  • Consider everyone else reckless for not taking their time with anything.
  • Have a hard time forming bonds with others, as they all seem to die of old age, just as you get to know them.

Other Races Probably…

  • Lose their patience with how slow you are.
  • Think that you avoid trouble at all costs, by retreating into your shell, both physically and metaphorically.
  • Believe that you are incapable of taking aggressive actions.

Alternate Racial Traits

The following racial traits may be selected instead of the standard tortanian racial traits.

Consult your GM before selecting any of these new options.

Small Size: Your size and type changes to a Small humanoid with the tortanian subtype.

This changes the size and type racial trait.

Soft Shell: Your shell is softer and more flexible than normal. You gain a +2 bonus to Dexterity.

This trait replaces the hard-shelled and stability racial traits.

Umbra Touched: Umbra touched tortanians gain energy resistance 5 to cold and electricity.

Additionally, attacks made against them while they are within areas of dim light have a 50% miss chance instead of the normal 20% miss chance. This trait does not grant total concealment; it just increases the miss chance.

This is a supernatural ability. This trait replaces hard-shelled racial trait.

Mighty Shell: The tortanian gains damage reduction 5 against kinetic damage. This trait replaces the stability and stubborn racial traits.

Racial Subtypes

You can combine various alternate racial traits to create tortanian subraces or variant races, such as the following.

The Exposed

A tortanian’s shell is intricately connected to her sense of self-worth, and most tortanians take meticulous care of their shells. However, there are instances where a tortanian’s shell can become so poorly maintained, or sustain enough damage, that it can fall off completely. Tortanians who have lost their shell either through accident or disuse are termed “the exposed”, and are pitied and reviled by their fellow tortanians. This can actually lead to exposed tortanians more often becoming adventurers, and some of them have found a place among other races as bounty hunters or assassins.

The following special racial traits apply to exposed tortanians. While most racial traits must be chosen at character creation, any tortanian who loses his or her shell instantly gains these racial traits, replacing the normal tortanian racial traits as listed:

Improved Dexterity: Without your shell, you find that you can move much more freely. You gain a +4 bonus to Dexterity. This replaces the enshell, hard-shelled, stability and stubborn racial traits.

Fast speed: Exposed tortanians find that they can move more quickly without their shells. Their base speed is 30 feet. This trait replaces the slow and steady racial trait.

Broken: The overwhelming pity and revulsion you’ve been exposed to by your fellow tortanians has scarred your psyche for life. You take a -2 penalty on all Will saves.

Racial Archetypes

The following racial archetypes are available to tortanians.

Shellshocker (Soldier Archetype)

Shellshockers are a relatively radical group of tortanian ragers who have developed a specialized way of fighting, using their shells for both protection and offense.

Charging Inertia: A shellshocker’s massive shell keeps her from accelerating quickly, but once she gets up to speed, there is little that can slow her down. During a charge, a shellshocker does not provoke attacks of opportunity when performing a bull rush, and receives a +2 bonus on bull rush attempts. She also gains a +2 bonus to CMD against bull rush attempts. This counts as having the Improved Combat Maneuver (bull rush) feat for feat prerequisites, though any feats which require Improved Combat Maneuver (bull rush) can only be performed during a charge unless the shellshocker also takes Improved Combat Maneuver (bull rush) separately. This ability replaces the primary style technique gained at level 1.

Shell Fortification: The shellshocker’s shell starts to harden until it becomes more like steel than bone. When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on the shellshocker, there is a 25% chance that that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated and damage is instead rolled normally. This ability replaces the primary style technique gained at level 5.

Improved Shell Fortification: The shellshocker’s shell becomes even more resistant to attacks. The chance to ignore critical hits or sneak attacks increases to 50%. This ability replaces the primary style technique gained at level 9.

Ultimate Shell Fortification: The shellshocker’s shell has become almost impossible to bypass with attacks. The chance to ignore critical hits or sneak attacks increases to 75%.

This ability replaces the primary style technique gained at level 13.

New Racial Rules

The following options are available to tortanians. At the GM’s discretion, other appropriate races may also make use of some of these.

Tortanian Feats

Many tortanians make use of the following feats.

Abjurant Shell

Your shell is your magical bulwark, and you see no reason to leave it, especially when someone is hurling spells at you.

Prerequisite(s): Tortanian, enshell and mighty shell racial traits, ability to cast 3rd level spells.

Benefit(s): While enshelled, you gain spell resistance equal to 5+ your character level.

Quick Enshell

You’ve become adept at quickly hiding in your shell and popping back out again.

Prerequisite(s): Tortanian, enshell and soft shell racial traits.

Benefit(s): You can enshell or end the enshelled condition as a swift action.

Normal: You must use a move action to enshell or end the enshelled condition.

Tortanian Equipment

Many tortanians make use of the following equipment.

Technological Equipment

Tortanians are adept at adapting weapons from other cultures for their own use, but every so often a brand new weapon type is invented by a tortanian. The shock bat is one such weapon.

Shock Bat

A shock bat is a 2-3 foot long baton covered in round, glowing half-spheres which are used to conduct electricity through the skin or armor of the target, and which can knock you senseless.

There are also variants which conduct either cold or heat instead (this is decided when the weapon is initially purchased). The bat can also be used with the power turned off, expending no charges; in that case, treat the weapon as a club.

Advanced Melee Weapons
One-Handed Weapons
Name Level Price Damage Critical Bulk Special
Shock Bat, Tactical 4 2,000 1d8 C,E, or F Staggered 1 Powered (capacity 30, usage 2)
Shock Bat, Centurion 10 20,000 2d8 C, E, or F Staggered 1 Powered (capacity 30, usage 1)
Shock Bat, Commando 15 108,000 6d8 C, E, or F Staggered 1 Powered (capacity 30, usage 1)



New Augmentations

Tortanians have invented a special category of cybertech called shell enhancements.

Tortanians (except “the exposed”, see above) have an additional cybertech slot, their shell slot, onto which one shell enhancement can be installed.

Shell Cannon

Price: 64,000 gp

System: Shell; Level 14

A single heavy weapon has been integrated into the shell. The user is considered to always be wielding this weapon and is always considered proficient with it. The weapon can never be disarmed, thanks to the tight integration of the weapon into the tortanian’s shell. The price for the weapon is in addition to the price for this augmentation.

Shell Spikes

Price: 4,000 gp

System: Shell; Level 6

A simple set of cybernetic spikes has been installed into the shell, which the wearer can extend from her shell with a thought. Extending the spikes is a Swift action, while retracting them is a Move action, neither of which provokes attacks of opportunity. While extended, the spikes grant the tortanian a natural attack, which deals 2d6 piercing damage. These spikes can be magically enhanced like other weapons

Spell Absorber

Price: 32,000 gp

System: Shell; Level 12

A small metal conduit connected to a matrix of small holes are installed into the shell. These magically-enhanced conduits allow a tortanian spellcaster to imbue her shell with specific types of spells, exhibiting some of these effects, through her shell. Any spell which can normally take the shape of a wall which is not solid (for example, wind wall or wall of fire) can instead be cast into these conduits and stored until activated. As a full-round action, the wearer can activate the spell absorber, at which point the spell’s duration begins, and the effects of the spell are projected from the conduits into a single space adjacent to the wearer. The wearer can change the direction of the effect as a free action, but only up to once per round. The effects can be difficult to control, which causes the wearer to be staggered during the duration. The spell absorber can be deactivated as a standard action, which dismisses any remaining spell duration.

Underwater Exploration Kit

Price: 16,000 gp

System: Shell; Level 9

An elaborate set of equipment meant to allow for deep sea exploration on watery worlds is integrated into the shell. This includes a buoyancy control, a rebreather, and a small underwater jet which assists with forward motion. This equipment increases the wearers to their land speed or 30 ft. (whichever is higher), grants a +20 to Athletics checks to swim, allows the user to breathe underwater indefinitely, and allows the user to float at any depth (including on the surface) indefinitely with no physical exertion. The rebreathing apparatus is directly tied into the user’s lungs, so there is no mask required for use. This cybertech takes up space within a tortanian’s shell which would normally be required in order for her to enshell, so the user loses the enshell ability when this package is installed.

Tortanian Magic Items

Item Level Price Bulk
Shellbrooch 12 26,000 L

Three times per day on command, this large, round brooch made of gold and jade gives the wearer the ability to magically remove and shrink her shell and attach itself to the brooch. While the wearer’s shell is stored on the brooch, she gains a +4 enhancement bonus to Dexterity and gains the effects of a freedom of movement spell.

If the brooch is removed from the user’s neck while her shell is attached, it will remain in that form until it is worn again.

Tortanian Spells


School divination

Casting time 1 standard action

Range personal

Duration 1 minute/level (D)

This spell allows a tortanian spellcaster to see through her shell as if it were clear glass, allowing her line of sight (but not line of effect) as if deshelled. This does not grant line of sight if it would otherwise be blocked.

Tortanian Vital Statistics

Race Avg. Height Avg. Weight Age of Maturity Maximum Age
Tortanian Female 5½ – 7 ft. 250 – 270 lbs 100 1000+2d% years
Tortanian Male 5 – 6 ft. 225 – 245 ft. 100 1000+2d% years