Goliath Turtle

October 2nd, 2017

Joshua Zaback

Exotic Encounters Archive

Islands bearing exotic castles, mystic caves, and the lone hovels of hermits that turn out to be giant turtles are not terribly uncommon myths. The question is, then, why did it take me so long to create a giant turtle/island? Enjoy the goliath turtle, a mundane beast of truly extraordinary proportions.


Goliath Turtle
This immense sea creature more closely resembles an island than an actual animal, as its shell is overgrown with moss and coral and the ruins of several structures can be seen upon its back. Close inspection however reveals that the island is in fact a truly elephantine turtle with deep eyes speaking of an ancient wisdom.

GOLIATH TURTLE                                                 CR 22

XP 614,400
N Colossal animal
Init +6; Senses low-light vision; Perception +62


AC 22, touch 8, flat-footed 20 (+2 Dex, +14 natural, –4 size)
hp 399 (42d8+210)
Fort +29, Ref +25, Will +26
DR 10/—


Speed 60 ft., swim 200 ft.
Melee bite +37 (4d8+21/19-20 plus grab), slam +38 (3d6+14/19-20)
Space 30 ft.; Reach 30 ft.  
Special Attacks capsize, ship shearer, swallow whole (special; see text), tidal wave


Str 38, Dex 14, Con 18, Int 2, Wis 31, Cha 18
Base Atk +31; CMB +53; CMD 65
Feats Alertness, Cleave, Dodge, Great Cleave, Great Fortitude, Greater Vital Strike, Improved Critical (bite, slam), Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Improved Vital Strike, Iron Will, Mobility, Power Attack,  Skill Focus (Perception), Spring Attack, Toughness, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (bite, slam)
Skills Perception +62, Swim +22; Racial Modifiers +8 Swim
Languages none


Terrain water
Organization solitary
Treasure triple  


Capsize (Ex): A goliath turtle never suffers a penalty on combat maneuvers made to capsize a ship due to its size.

Ship Shearer (Ex): A goliath turtle has powerful jaws, specialized for destroying ships. A goliath turtle adds 1-1/2 times its Strength modifier to its bite attacks. Additionally, a goliath turtle’s natural attacks deal double damage to objects, and three times as much damage to objects made primarily of wood.

Swallow Whole (Su): A goliath turtle’s belly contains a gateway to an extradimensional space. This space is characterized as a huge water-filled cave containing numerous skeletal ships, as well as crumbling towers and houses. The space has adequate air and an environment suitable for most creatures. There are many exits from this space, but each is difficult to find. Escaping requires a DC 15 Intelligence or Wisdom check made as a full-round action.

Tidal Wave (Ex): As a full-round action, a goliath turtle can create a massive wave, allowing it to make a bull rush combat maneuver and use its capsize ability against all creatures and ships within 100 feet. The goliath turtle must be underwater to use this ability.



Sometimes called living islands, goliath turtles are curious creatures. Massive aquatic creatures, these goliath turtles live for thousands of years, endlessly roving the oceans waves. Though a goliath turtle is not a particularly intelligent creature, they seem to possess an almost supernatural intuition. They are exceedingly difficult to observe due to the rarity of their appearance.

When they do appear, it is often a grand sight, heralded by a terrible wave and seismic events. The creatures’ appearances are so rare that some scholars believe that only one such beast exists, and all manner of legends about their appearance and the structures that occasionally appear upon them. It is these structures, often water-worn towers and crumbling mansions, that some scholars indicate as the primary evidence for more than one of these creatures existing. What the structures seen on their backs might be is the subject of great debate. Some claim they are the homes of wizards or hermits, while others say they might be the ruins of more mundane buildings built upon the goliath turtles’ backs during one of their long forays on the surface of the water, either being conceived of as part of an island, or as an island all to itself. In addition to buildings, the goliath turtles’ backs are covered in exotic vegetation, including most forms of sea plants, corals, and similar.

The behavior of a goliath turtle is driven by a powerful instinct that seems to dictate its motions, and to a certain extent, its actions. According to some scholars, these movements seem to be linked with celestial events, and some theorize that the movements of the stars can be used to predict their patterns.