d20, Giant Otters, and Upgrades Thereof

Giant Otters have been bouncing around D&D games since Blackmoor – but haven’t usually been a major menace. In this case, however, they may be, since the original base species got experimented on – first creating the Untremi of the Anomaly and later the Militarized Untremi – also known in some regions as the “Zerg”. So here are the base statistics. Also a minor experiment in using the Pathfinder format.

Giant Otter:

  • Challenge Rating: 1/2
  • Neutral (Playful) Medium Animal
  • Initiative +3; Senses Low-Light Vision, Scent; Perception +10


  • AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+2 Natural, +3 Dexterity)
  • HP 13 (2d8+4)
  • Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +2


  • Speed 30 ft, swim 50 ft.
  • Melee bite +1 (1d4 plus grab)
  • Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
  • Special Attacks rake (2 claws +2 (1d3)), Improved Trip (running between your legs).


  • Str 10, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 12
  • Base Attack +1; CMB +4 (+8 grapple); CMD 17 (21 vs trip)
  • Feats Finesse (Uses Dex Mod instead of Str Mod for Combat Maneuver purposes).
  • Skills Acrobatics +7, Disable Device +5, Perception +10, Stealth +5, Swim +8.
    • Racial Modifiers: +2 Disable Device, +4 Perception, +2 Stealth, +8 Swim
  • Special Qualities: Cute (people often keep them as pets), Hold Breath, Weather Tolerance (can live outdoors with few issues).


  • Environment: rivers and lakes, warm swamps and marshes, wet jungles, and shorelines.
  • Organization: solitary, pair, family (1d6+2), or clan/pack (3d6+3)
  • Treasure: Mildly valuable pelts. 20% chance of playthings in lair which might (but likely will not) include something shiny and potentially valuable.

Giant Otters are native to rivers, lakes, and shorelines, where they feed primarily on fish, including (in a fine demonstration of the advantages of a warm-blooded air breathing metabolism over a cold-blooded water breathing metabolism) predatory fish such as piranha, and secondarily on reptiles, crustaceans, and molluscs. They hunt in the daytime, are very alert, and live in family groups of up to eight individuals centered on a breeding pair. They are highly social, fiercely territorial, and can be quite affectionate, with many behaviors resembling wolves or dogs. Attacks on people (usually while swimming) are rare, but do occur (mostly when they are defending their territory or young). They are clever with their paws and can get into all kinds of things (sea otters are actually took users, which is fairly rare in the animal world). Males can reach almost 8 feet long (although a sizeable part of that will be their muscular tail) although females are usually slightly smaller. Unsurprisingly, their short (and mostly) brown fur is very soft, dense, and water-repellent. They are quite clever for animals, and make good (if excitable and bouncy) companions. Unfortunately, they are notorious for scaring horses and knocking things over.

Thanks to their “Playful” and “Cute” qualities, characters will often find it more profitable to catch and sell giant otters alive than it is to kill them – which also generally counts as defeating them. It’s also perfectly possible to take them as familiars or animal companions, although probably not as riding animals unless you are very small or you make your otter a great deal larger.

I would, out of fond memories, recommend The True Story Of Okee The Otter – but evidently enough other people share those memories to make obtaining a copy absurdly expensive.

One Response

  1. […] The Untremi Base Species – The base animal species upon which the Untremi (uplifted giant otters) were created from […]

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