Tuatara, Giant

This reptile has a beak like upper jaw, a long narrow body and is covered in hard scales and short spines running along its back.

Giant Tuatara CR 4 (XP 1,200)

N Large animal
Init +1; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +8


AC 15, touch 10, flat-footed 14 (+1 Dex, +5 natural, –1 size)
hp 42 (5d8+20)
Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +2


Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft.
Melee bite +7 (1d8+7)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.


Str 21, Dex 13, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 2
Base Atk +3; CMB +9; CMD 20 (24 vs. trip)
Feats Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Acrobatics +5, Climb +9, Perception +8, Stealth +1, Swim +9


Environment temperate plains or hills
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure none

This burrowing reptile has a sharp beak designed to crack and tear through the carapace or scaled hide of its prey. A tuatara’s diet consists of anything it can find: plants, insects, and adventurers. Prey that is not devoured immediately is dragged back to its lair and either fed to the young. Their slow metabolism allows them to go long periods of time without eating so food is generally not kept or saved. In times when food is scarce, tuataras often eat their own kind.

They generally bury their eggs in a burrow with females producing 1d10+4 eggs per litter during the warmer months of the year. Females mate once about every four or five years, and rarely before 20 years of age (tuataras have a slow metabolism and do not reach maturity until about 20 years of age). Mating occurs in the early spring months and incubation lasts 13 to 15 months with young being born the following summer. Young are helpless and depend solely on their mother for survival for the first few months of their life. Tuataras live to be about 100 years old.

A giant tuatara is about ten feet long and weighs close to 400 pounds. Its color ranges from gray or olive to dull red. It lacks ears but has two small openings on either side of its head that seem to function as such. On top of its head is a “third eye” (or parietal eye) that helps the tuatara in regulating its body temperature. Males have a noticeable crest down the center of its neck and back; females have the same crest, but it is much less pronounced.

Tuataras stalk their prey at night, having excellent vision in low light and a keen sense of smell. They generally avoid contact with creatures larger than themselves if they can help it. When threatened, a tuatara inflates its body, raises and flares its crest, and darkens the scales between its shoulders and neck.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Giant Tuatara from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; Author Scott Greene.

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