Armordillo (5e Race)

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A race of nomadic desert-dwellers, the armordillos (Colloquially called “dillos”) are few in number, but exceptionally hardy. Only a small handful of people ever meet one in person, leading many to pin them to being only myth and legend. The same legends purport them to be great, powerful creatures, standing 10 feet tall and all with spikes as sharp as steel and shells as hard as stone. But, while they are very real, they are not nearly as formidable as legend may have people believe. In the desert, they tend to wander, scavenging food and making small communities and buildings. They are somewhat primitive and do not have much of a culture, nor vocabulary, but they can and have got by in the cities as fighters and occasionally mages. There are two sub-races of the dillo, the rockbacks, and spikebacks.


Place Holder

Dillos are short and stout upright-walking turtle-like mammals, with scaled skin and stubby arms and legs, each ending in three small digits. Their faces have two front-facing eyes, two nostrils, and a beaked mouth with no teeth. Their main feature is the shell on their backs, which covers from about midway up their head to just above their knees. The shell is plated in a V pattern, allowing it to move more freely and fold. Spikeback dillos have multiple bony protrusions extending from their shell ending in a sharp point. The color of their scales and shells is generally varied, but most have sandy yellows and dull greens, with occasional flecks of red. Most dillos will wear a cloth tabard-like garment on their chest, and a cape tied to their shell with the emblem of their tribe emblazoned upon it. They also may use belts and such to hold pouches and equipment. Some may have crude metal plates attached to their shells where cracks have formed, and others might use such plates as protection and decoration.

Nomads of the Sand[edit]

Most armordillos spend their long, long lives wandering the vast sandy plains. What little culture they have is tribal and somewhat primitive, with occasional flashes of modern society. They are simple folk, and are rarely territorial or violent, although occasionally, they may settle down near an oasis, and from there build a small village. Little is known about the social structure of wild dillos in their tribe villages, but they appear to be led by a single elder. Usually, only spikebacks will roam on the surface, however. Rockbacks prefer the caves that writhe beneath the sands and make their homes in the tombs and temples of ancient kings and gods. It is this behavior that has lead some surprised adventurers to think of them as protectors for the riches within the tombs, running from them in fear of the wrath they could incur. In reality, most dillos wouldn’t even know they were in a tomb, nor that the shiny pieces of metal had any value.

Philosophy and Gods[edit]

Dillos very rarely worship Gods, though it is not out of ignorance. They understand that gods exist, yet they simply refuse to worship them. Surprisingly, as dull-witted and slow as dillos may seem, they are not entirely simple. They have each had centuries to think on their lives and the universe, and have developed a few interesting ideas. Most dillos refuse to worship gods, because they do not believe them to have earned worship. Rockbacks especially tend towards not heralding the gods, due to spending their lives in ancient temples to olden evil deities, and deciphering the terrible stories carved upon the walls. The few dillos that do worship a god, however, are often fiercely devoted to them, and only if the god has shown themselves to be worthy.

Leaving the Tribe[edit]

Occasionally, a dillo will become curious of what else there is to see in the world. It is not uncommon for dillos to leave their tribe in search of more interesting societies and lifestyles, but rarely do they do so for personal gain or wealth. They simply wish to know more about the world and have wondrous experiences, and would put themselves at great risk to learn. A dillo will usually start adventuring with a party because they wish to meet friends, conquer trials, and learn as much as they can of the world outside the tribe.

Armordillo Names[edit]

Most armordillos never take a name, at least, not those in the deserts, and are just known to other dillos by their characteristics. Ones who dwell among the other races of the world, however, will usually take a name to avoid confusion. It is often a single word they have heard and like the sound of, despite not really knowing its meaning nor its spelling. They can have a traditional name if it is told to them and they like it, but most tend towards non-traditional ‘names’ due to this behavior.

Example Male: Sorrd, Staal, Danejer, Taaven

Example Female: Abble, Breease, Tailor, Seam

Armordillo Traits[edit]

Armordillos, above all, are sturdy, but typically will fall into being either wise or strong. Their shells give them an innate source of protection, which they can utilize to full effect in combat.
Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 2.
Age. Dillos age phenomenally slowly. They reach adulthood young, at about 15 years. Most die of unnatural causes before the end of their first century before they can die of old age, but they can live up to 250 years old.
Alignment. Dillos are closer than most other races to bestial creatures, and so tend to be neutral. They do have an inherent idea of morality though, so they can be anywhere on the neutral spectrum.
Size. Dillos are reasonably short, only around 4 feet tall. They are quite stout and wide, however, and weigh on average 160 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Naturally Armored. Due to your extensive scales, tough shell, and the shape of your body providing ample protection. You have a base AC of 17, your Dexterity modifier doesn't affect this number). However, you gain no benefit from wearing armor but if you are using a shield, you can apply the shield's bonus as normal.
Defensive Curl. You can withdraw into your shell as an action. Until you emerge, you have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage, and you have advantage on Constitution saving throws. While in your shell, you are prone, your speed is halved and can't increase, you have disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws, you can't take reactions, and the only action you can take is a bonus action to emerge from your shell.
Desert Dwellers. You’re acclimated to Extreme Heat, as described in chapter 5 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Common (with occasional mistakes), and Rockspeak. Rockspeak is the simple language of grunts and guttural sounds spoken by dillos. When speaking a different language, they are usually short-spoken, and often mix up grammar. Very few are used to the complex nuances of common, and often need clarification for unusual words.
Subrace. Two main subraces of dillos roam the world, rockbacks, and spikebacks. Choose one of these subraces.


Rockback’s shells are particularly steadfast and durable. They tend to populate the dark caves and tunnels found in deserts.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Tremorsense. You have a tremorsense range of 10 feet.


Spikebacks are easily distinguished from rockbacks, due to them having an array of spikes protruding from their shells. They are more common on the surface of the desert.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1.
Spiked Shell. When a creature makes a successful melee attack against you while you are in a Defensive Curl, that creature takes 1d4 piercing damage.
Spiked Knuckles. Your fists are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with them, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

3′ 10″ +1d4 150 lb. × (4) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)

(one vote)

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