The ironback spitter is an enormous, bipedal, carnivorous turtle found in the swamps of western Immoren. It is an opportunistic ambush predator that attacks everything it encounters when hungry. Despite its massive bulk, it can be hard to identify in its lurking places among the muck and wild vegetation.
Standing on its hind feet, an ironback spitter reaches over six metres high, its skin and shell mottled olive and brown. Their dorsal shells are strong enough to shield the ironback spitter from all but the most devastating attacks, and the thick carapace repels even explosive blasts — the ironback can simply pull back into the shell for protection. Shells of older ironbacks feature pronounced spikes that can grow several feet long. As ironback spitters age, patches of thicker scales grow on their extremities, their density similar to that of the shells.
Juvenile ironback spitters lack the characteristics that make adults so fearsome. Their shells are soft, their claws and beaks are dull, and their saliva bladders are nearly undeveloped.
An ironback spitter prefers to roam on four legs, particularly when it is looking for smaller prey. When facing a significant threat, it rises to its full height. Ironback spitters are able to blend in with the swamp as dry patch of muck and wild vegetation, rising to attack when it encounters prey. Young ironbacks subsist on fish and vegetation until they grow large enough to catch more substantial meals. Adult ironbacks will attack nearly anything to satisfy its hunger, though many seem to prefer small, bipedal creatures such as bog trogs or humans.
The beast’s claws and beak are fearsome weapons, but its acidic spit is its most dreaded attack. If an ironback spitter identifies a suitable meal that is beyond its immediate reach, it spews a massive stream of acid that melts nearly everything it touches, including flesh which is then consumed by the ironback at its leisure.
There's no parental care in ironback spitters. Female ironbacks lays eggs in a secure location, burying them close to the water’s edge in order to give the hatchlings the best possible chance to escape into the swamp. This is the most dangerous time in an ironback's life: hatchlings are remarkably vulnerable to predators, including adult ironback spitters. For every dozen eggs that hatch, only one or two young will successfully evade predators and survive to maturity.
No one knows just how long ironback spitters live: their lifespan has been estimated to perhaps exceed two hundred years.
Even gatormen are prey for ironbacks, but the most powerful bokors and warlocks among them have learned to tame the creatures. Gatorman and bog trog warlocks value ironback spitters for their incredible resilience and the corrosive fluid they spew with unsettling accuracy. Although slow, they are extremely powerful creatures who can shield their warlocks behind their massive shells. Spitters in service to a swamp warlock are both aggressive and relatively fearless.
Intact ironback spitter shells are invaluable to bog trogs and swamp gobbers, who hack the creature’s body from its carapace and use the hollowed shell as building material for their primitive hovels.