Dragon turtles were distantly related to dragons and had dragon blood. They appeared as huge turtle-like creatures with a long tail and neck with large, taloned flippers. Their heads had a golden crest down the center.
The scales of a dragon turtle were generally smooth, but overtime becoming more coarse until finally being molted. By that time the scales had lost much of their durability.
The shell of a dragon turtle measured between 15 to 25 feet (4.6 to 7.6 meters) in diameter and was strong enough to leave it almost impossible to harm. The shells were streamlined with jagged protrusions. The shell was often a shade of deep green, similar to the color of the ocean, with silver highlights running along the raised areas. This meant that a surfacing dragon turtle was often mistaken for light reflecting on the water.
Due to the shell's immense strength, shields made from dragon turtle shells were exceptionally tough and had resistance to heat or steam attacks. Their shells were also valued for use as book covers, jewelry, spell components, furniture, or as a building material.
Dragon turtles were aggressive and solitary creatures who would attack any ships and other dragon turtles that entered their territory. Like true dragons, dragon turtles were obsessed with gold and treasure. They often attacked ships in order to loot the treasure. After sifting through the wreckage, the creatures would carry the valuables back to their lair in their mouths. Sailors wishing to pass through the territory of a dragon turtle found that the creatures were intelligent enough to accept bribes or tributes. Sometimes turtle dragons could even be bribed to fight for others, notably working with sahuagin raiders or powerful marids. Some dragon turtles could even master powers of sorcery. Dragon turtle sorcerers were rumored to guard farm caverns in the Undermountain.
When in combat, dragon turtles would use their massive bulk to slam into enemies. Dragon turtles were capable of capsizing even large vessels. Dragon turtles could also expel a blast of scalding steam from their mouths.
A dragon turtle guarded a vast territory that could expand up to 50 square miles (130,000,000 square meters). Other dragon turtles were only permitted to enter the territory of another during mating season. Dragon turtles lived in vast caves under the seafloor or hidden in coral reefs. These lairs were used to store their treasure hoards.
Dragon turtles were carnivorous and would eat almost anything in order to satisfy their appetite, even other dragon turtles. If food was in particularly short supply, dragon turtles were known to hunt sea birds using their steam breath attack.
High quality dragon turtle scales, those which had not been naturally molted, were highly valued for the production of armor that was both durable and flexible.
As of 1358 DR, a dragon turtle had been floating off the coast of T'u Lung for 20 years. The creature was immense even by dragon turtle standards and was often mistaken for an island. Due to its immense size, it did not see ships as a threat, and when disturbed, it simply left for a better spot to rest.
In 1369 DR, the corpse of a young dragon turtle washed up on the shore of the Deepwash. The body attracted scavengers and spoiled fishing in the Deepwash for months. The juvenile was killed by another far older and larger dragon turtle whose territory spanned most of the deepwash.
In 1371 DR, a Red Wizard Brazhal Kos developed a successful method of enslaving dragon turtles that were inhabiting Lake Thaylambar in large numbers. Thay was trying to cull the dragon turtle population for years before and after the story of Brazhal's successes spread. The number of hunters on the lake increased dramatically after that, even though many of them died in the process. The number of aspiring fishers remained high for a few years that followed. The fishermen could easily be spotted by their unusual gear, nets, and huge hooks, big enough to catch a dragon turtle.
Notable Dragon Turtles
- Aremag was a venerable and grouchy dragon turtle who lived in the Sea of Swords. Aremag patrolled the trade routes of sailors heading south from Baldur's Gate and Waterdeep. Aremag had established protection rackets forcing traders to offer tributes of gold or food in exchange for safe passage. He had also been known to guard the port of Chult and demand tribute from people wishing to leave the city. 
- Sometime around 1367 DR, Parnak awoke and sank two ships in the Golden Gulf in Al-Qadim. The dragon turtle had sought tribute but sunk the ships after the tribute wasn't enough.
- Scyllmara was a wealthy dragon turtle who took up residence in the flooded city of Soorenar in Chessenta.
- The Curse of Irphong
- This mighty dragon turtle lived in the flooded caverns around Sloopdilmonpolop but was killed by a kraken in 1363 DR.
- One of Toril's largest known dragon turtles.
- Lake Midai Monster
- The dragon turtle in Lake Midai attacked any boat that set upon the water's surface.
In Velen, hanging over the hearth at Morgan's Inn was the head of a dragon turtle that was slain by Captain Morgan. The inn had gained fame for this gruesome trophy and the ghost of the sea captain who still resided at the tavern.
Rumors & Legends
- The residents of Elmwood a town on the shores of the Moonsea, told legends of a vicious dragon turtle, the size of their entire city, who dwelt in the depths of the lake.
- Some claimed that frost giants used the abrasive, molted scales of a dragon turtle to exfoliate, though there was little evidence to support this.
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Chromatic dragons: Red • Black • Blue • Green • White • Brown • Gray • Purple • Pink • Salt • Yellow
Gem dragons: Amethyst • Beljuril • Emerald • Sapphire • Topaz • Crystal • Obsidian • Ruby
Neutral dragons: Amber • Jacinth • Moonstone • Pearl
Lung dragons: Chiang lung • Li lung • Lung wang • Pan lung • Shen lung • T'ien lung • Tun mi lung • Yu lung
Planar dragons: Adamantine • Astral • Battle • Blight • Chaos • Ethereal • Hellfire wyrm • Howling • Mirage • Oceanus • Pyroclastic • Radiant • Rust • Shadow • Styx • Tarterian
Epic dragons: Force • Prismatic
Catastrophic dragons: Volcanic
Miscellaneous dragons: Cobra • Dzalmus • Mist • Radiant • Rattelyr • Song • Vishap
Draconic transformations: Air • Ascendant • Hidecarved
Linnorms: Corpse tearer • Dread • Stygian
Drakes: Ambush • Black firedrake • Dragonne • Elemental (Earth • Fire • Ice • Magma • Ooze • Smoke • Water) • Felldrake (Crested • Spitting) • Greater • Guard • Mind • Portal • Rage • Space • Vulture
Dragonets: Crow's-nest dragon • Draken • Faerie dragon • Firedrake • Pseudodragon
Dragonbloods: Draconic creature • Dragonborn of Bahamut • Dragonspawn
Drow-dragon (shadow) • Drow-dragon (deep) • Half-dragon • Kobold (Dragonwrought • Urd) • Weredragon • Zar'ithra • Zekyl
Undead dragons: Dracolich • Dragonwight • Ghost • Hoarder • Rathrea • Vampiric • Zombie