Tarrasque (Dungeons & Dragons)
A custom built miniature of the Tarrasque.
|Stats||Open Game License stats|
|Source books||Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual, 3.5 Edition|
The tarrasque is a gigantic lizard-like creature which exists only to eat, kill, and destroy. In most campaign settings, only one tarrasque is said to exist on each world. The tarrasque has a low intelligence and cannot speak. It is neutrally aligned, for despite its violent and savage nature, it lacks the mental capacity to choose between good and evil.
The tarrasque was introduced to the D&D game in the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It is based upon the French legend of the tarasque.
The tarrasque first appears in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977–1988) Monster Manual II (1983).
The tarrasque appears in the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000–2002).
The tarrasque appears in the revised Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003–2007).
The tarrasque is very large, 50 feet tall and 70 feet long, and has a Tyrannosaurus rex–like form, although it is much more broad and muscular, with a differently shaped head, and with larger and more developed front arms. It has brown skin, with scabs and warts and bits of encrusted dung all over it which are grey in color. Protecting its back and tail is a thick, glossy caramel-colored shell or carapace. It has spikes coming from its chin, the sides of the mouth, the underside of its neck, the elbows of its front arms, and its shell. The creature also has two horns projecting forwards from the top of its head. The tarrasque's skin is very hard and thick, and provides excellent armor. The second edition of the game included rules for extracting treasure from the creature's carcass.
The 2nd edition Monstrous Manual calls the creature "the most dreaded monster native to the Prime Material Plane" and "a killing machine", and goes on to say:
It is hoped that the tarrasque is a solitary creation, some hideous abomination unleashed by the dark arts or by elder, forgotten gods to punish all of nature. The elemental nature of the tarrasque leads the few living tarrasque experts to speculate that the elemental princes of evil have something to do with its existence. In any case, the location of the tarrasque remains a mystery, as it rarely leaves witnesses in its wake, and nature quickly grows over all remnants of its presence. It is rumored that the tarrasque is responsible for the extinction of one ancient civilization, for the records of their last days spoke of a 'great reptilian punisher sent by the gods to end the world'."
The tarrasque has also been called "a creature that embodies wanton destruction" and "singularly deadly". It was ranked No. 2 on the list of the ten best high-level monsters in Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies.
The tarrasque is a greatly feared creature. It spends most of its time dormant, sleeping deep in an underground lair. Its sleeping periods range from a couple of months up to thousands of years. After these periods the tarrasque awakes, erupting from its underground lair, terrorizing the nearby area, smashing every structure, devouring both plant and meat alike, killing anyone who opposes it, and ultimately turning the area into a barren wasteland.
The older the tarrasque gets, the longer its periods of sleep seem to last. Never however does the tarrasque weaken or lose its lust for destruction.
The tarrasque is a highly destructive creature. It needs to eat constantly and savors its desire to destroy in order to survive. As a result, it has many combat methods. It can attack with its tail, its claws, its spikes and horns, by stomping, by grabbing and by slamming its massive 130-ton body into opponents. The creature does not have a breath weapon, but it can swallow victims whole. It can inspire terror in people by charging or rushing. Its armor, in addition to giving excellent melee protection, can also deflect all manner of offensive spells, and the tarrasque has some regeneration abilities.
In the 4th edition version of the game, the tarrasque cannot be killed; reducing it to 0 hit points causes it to burrow into the core of the earth to slumber for a time (instead of killing it). The only monsters that are more feared in combat are deities, the largest and oldest dragons, certain powerful outsiders (such as demon lords) and epic monsters.
Various explanations of the tarrasque's origins exist: some claim it is a curse from the gods, while others say it was created by evil wizards. Neither TSR nor Wizards of the Coast has ever provided a definitive answer.
In the Spelljammer series, the accessory Practical Planetology suggests the tarrasques originate from the planet Falx. Several hundred tarrasques live there in a docile state, where they are silicavores (rock eaters); upon removal from their homeworld their temperament changes to the violent, rapacious one better known elsewhere in the Dungeons & Dragons universe.
In the 4th edition version of the game, the tarrasque is listed as an "abomination" and classed as a "Gargantuan elemental magical beast"—a living engine of death and destruction created by a primordial race for use as a weapon against the gods.
The main plot of the video game Dark Sun: Wake of the Ravager revolves around the villain attempting to awaken a tarrasque ("The Ravager") with hopes of controlling it.
- "Dungeons & Dragons FAQ". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
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- Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual II (TSR, 1983)
- Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume Two (TSR, 1989)
- Stewart, Doug, ed. (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. TSR, Inc. p. 339.
- Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
- Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
- Greenwood, Ed and Johnathan Richards. "The Ecology of the Tarrasque". Dragon #359 (Paizo Publishing, 2007)
- Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
- Slavicsek, Bill; Baker, Richard; Mearls, Mike (January 2009). "32: The Ten Best High-Level Monsters". Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Wischstadt, Bryon (April 2003). Faeries. Bastion Press, Inc. p. 119. Retrieved July 3, 2012.
- Findley, Nigel D. Practical Planetology (TSR, 1991)
- Bulmahn, Jason (lead designer). Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (Paizo Publishing, 2009)
- Cagle, Eric. "Worshipers of the Forbidden". Dragon #296 (Paizo Publishing, 2002).
- Ward, Kyla. "The Petit Tarrasque and Other Monsters". Dragon #329 (Paizo Publishing, 2005).
- The Tarrasque Creature Incarnations by Robert Wiese (Wizards of the Coast, D&D Fight Club column 11/09/2005)
- Seven Ways to Kill the Tarrasque on thirteen experience levels or less. Retrieved 2009-11-12.