The tarrasque (pronounced: /tɑːˈræsktah-RÆSK[6][7]) was the most terrible creature known to inhabit the Prime Material Plane. The beast was a full fifty feet tall and seventy feet long[8] quadruped with a long tail, reflective carapace, and two large horns on its head.[9] Supposedly, there was only one tarrasque, which slumbered within the world's core.[9] No one could predict when it would next awake.[8]

The tarrasque was irreversibly tied to the Prime by its nature. As a result, the most one could hope to do was put the creature to sleep within the core, holding it off for a while longer. However, ancient texts seemed to indicate that there might be a way to finally and ultimately deal with the creature, if one could somehow deceive it, luring it into another plane and sealing it there.[9]

Although the tarrasque was indisputably a force of pure destruction, it was not truly evil or even chaotic by nature, lacking the consciousness necessary for it to take a moral stance. As a result, it was merely neutral in alignment.[9]


The tarrasque was an enormous abomination, roughly the size of an ancient dragon, with two long horns extending from its forehead, a thick carapace, mighty tail, and a wide, toothy mouth. The tarrasque also had two small eyes, but it did not rely on these for its primary method of sensory perception—if they were blinded or removed, it was effectively unhindered. The tarrasque was impossible to frighten or charm and had resistances to every kind of damage imaginable. It moved at a speed roughly half again that of a human, either while walking on the surface, climbing a height, or burrowing through the earth.[9]


The tarrasque was an eating machine while awake, capable of swallowing creatures of roughly giant size whole. When roused, it would, by its design, eat quite literally the entire world, including plants and animals.[9] Fortunately, it would only be active for a week or two before it returned to its slumber to sleep for five to twenty months, although, once every decade or so, the tarrasque would stay active for several months, after which it would sleep four to sixteen years, unless disturbed.[8] Why it returned to slumber is unknown, though it seemed inevitable that at some point it would try and fulfill its purpose to destroy the world entirely.[citation needed]

The tarrasque had many unusual abilities gifted to it by its creators. Among the most terrifying of these was its ability to ignore any natural resistances its victims had, cutting right through them with its deadly attacks. It also had the ability to dramatically hinder the ability of creatures within 200 feet of it to fly, reducing their speed substantially while also bringing them down to a maximum altitude of twenty feet, which put them within the beast's reach. Most dangerous of all, of course, was the tarrasque’s insatiable appetite.[9]

The tarrasque had the ability to instill nearby creatures with terrible fear, rendering them incapable of action. It was also immune to the ill effects of fire, poison, or disease.[8] It was generally immensely difficult to injure.[9]


The history of the tarrasque was controversial. Most persons were wholly unaware of the tarrasque's existence and those that did know of it were unsure about its origins, which they surmised to be anything from its actual creation to it being the weapon of an ancient and evil cabal of wizards. Most dismissed these theories, however, as unproven musings. More important was that the tarrasque rarely left evidence or witnesses, so dangerous was its nature.[8]

Some sages argued that the tarrasque was created by the primordials as a weapon of destruction during the Dawn War, with the purpose of undoing the stability instilled in the world by the gods so that the primordials could remake it. Fortunately, the primordials created only one tarrasque.[9]

Another theory was that the tarrasque was but one specimen of an entire population of the creatures living on the planet Falx, which was located somewhere in another crystal sphere. Falx had several hundred creatures that were either the same species as the tarrasque of Toril or else an (unfortunate) example of convergent evolution. According to this view, Toril's tarrasque had simply been transported or summoned to Toril from Falx in ancient past.[10]

In the final years of the first Netheril empire, the creature's lair (in what used to be southwest Anauroch) was under heavy guard by Angardt barbarians whose shaman's prophecies told of the beast's imminent awakening. In −339 DR, adventurers hired by the archwizard Karsus came to cut out the tarrasque's pituitary gland, which was to be used as a spell component for the casting of Karsus's Avatar. A gold dragon named Dracolnobalen, who protected the Angardt tribe, provided the adventurers working for Karsus with a liquid that she claimed would keep the tarrasque from waking again once applied to its body.[11]

It seemed to have worked, since no gigantic, hungry monsters emerged from the "lair of the sleeping beast" since those adventurers ventured inside. Before the desert was restored to fertile land, the tarrasque's lair still existed and was known to those few who knew of its location as "The Secret Place in the Sands".[citation needed]

However, around 1358 DR, a mage summoned the tarrasque through a ritual that required the heads of five adult dragons to complete.[12][13]



The tarrasque's first appearance was in Monster Manual II 1st edition (1983), page 117.



Further ReadingEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 286–287. ISBN 978-0786965614.
  2. Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 13, 287. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 240. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
  4. Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 339. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  5. Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), p. 117. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  6. Frank Mentzer (January 1985). “Ay pronunseeAYshun gyd”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #93 (TSR, Inc.), p. 30.
  7. Dungeons & Dragons FAQ (HTML). Wizards of the Coast. (2003). Archived from the original on 2017-07-09. Retrieved on 2018-05-22.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet and Monte Cook (October 2000). Monster Manual 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 174. ISBN 0-7869-1552-1.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  10. Template:Ctie book/Practical Planetology
  11. slade (1996). How the Mighty Are Fallen. (TSR, Inc), pp. 34–35. ISBN 0-7869-0537-9.
  12. Jeff Grubb (February 1990). “Dragonsmoker”. In Elliot S. Maggin ed. Forgotten Realms comics #07 (DC Comics), pp. 1–26.
  13. Jeff Grubb (March 1990). “Dragons (and Other Beasts)”. In Elliot S. Maggin ed. Forgotten Realms comics #08 (DC Comics).


AnaximAstral stalkerAtropalBlood fiendPhaneTarrasque
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