The giant tortoise is perfect for your fantasy Galápagos. And at Colossal size and wearing trees atop its shell, the immense tortoise is your fantasy Galápagos.
In service to a ship’s surgeon, adventurers accompany him to a supposedly uncharted island. Their task is to help the surgeon, who is also a naturalist, sketch these great reptiles that have never known civilization. Unfortunately egg-stealing pirates have landed on this island before, and the tortoises now regard any humanoid larger than a water mephit as a threat.
The slow and steady immense tortoises can bear the weight of massive howdahs, war catapults, and artillery platforms. So the genie-blooded orcs of the tropics, more disciplined than their northern kin, use the immense tortoises as siege towers. Hanging their magical war banners from such great heights atop such ancient beings also seems to increase the power of these bloody artifacts.
An awakened immense tortoise prefers to feed on treants. His strange diet has apparently given him the powers of a shaman, though he serves no power of nature other than himself—and as he is older than even a few gods, perhaps that is no surprise. Even his spirit animal (a crane) seems to defer to him, rather than the other way around.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 4 263
I want to give a shout-out to this week’s silent hero, the alphabet, for serving up giant animals all this week. I could not have handled both real life and blogging if it had been a week of dragons or Japanese ghosts or something. (Also, no radio show tomorrow, for exactly that reason. Life, that is, not Japanese ghosts. So far. But you can still get last week’s show for five more hours.)
Speaking of giant animals, here’s how I imagine editing the Tortoise entry went down in the Paizo offices:
“We need a name for a monster tortoise.”
“That’s already a thing. That’s the basic tortoise.”
“We’ve used that.”
No words, just a heavy sigh.
“Look, have you even read the Bestiaries?”
“Or a single Adventure Path issue?”
“This is Paizo, not Penguin.”
“For a tortoise? Too Ninja Turtles. Palladium’s lawyers will be all over us.”
“Um…” Panicked page-flipping through a thesaurus. “Immense?”