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From PFSRD:

No form of attack can suppress the tarrasque's regeneration—it regenerates even if disintegrated or slain by a death effect. If the tarrasque fails a save against an effect that would kill it instantly, it rises from death 3 rounds later with 1 hit point if no further damage is inflicted upon its remains. It can be banished or otherwise transported as a means to save a region, but the method to truly kill it has yet to be discovered.

This essentially means wish or miracle, which was possible to keep it dead in 3.5, does not work for this wretched CR 25 world-slaying abomination. (Well, it is not an abomination by rules, but anyway.) However, I think there are at least means to keep it suppressed from resurrecting.

  1. One thing flashed through my mind is that it was actually not immune to physical damage, and an epic weapon can penetrate through its DR. Can I keep it incapacitated by first "slaying" it and letting a machine fire an epic ranged weapon upon the remains every round?
  2. Is there any method of keeping Tarrasque unconscious and incapable of resurrecting, RAW?
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/4490/4089. Almost a duplicate, if not for the fact that the other answers there largely neglect Pathfinder. \$\endgroup\$ – LitheOhm Jan 24 '14 at 7:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LitheOhm It may sound like an excuse, but for defense of my question: "How to kill Tarrasque" with [dungeons-and-dragons] will net you summaries of methods to kill Big T for each edition. "How to kill Tarrasque" with [dnd-3.5e] will net you elaborate methods to kill Big T with regard to D&D 3.5 rules. "How to kill Tarrasque" with [pathfinder] will net you elaborate Pathfinder-specific methods. I want Pathfinder-specific methods, not general tactics for wide varieties of D&D editions. \$\endgroup\$ – Arle Camille Jan 24 '14 at 8:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is completely valid, as tagged. It is system specific and asks a solvable question. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jan 24 '14 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ArleCamille I agree with the existence of this question, no need to be defensive. Note the lack of close votes cast :) the other question's answers only barely touched on PF. I've not a lot of PF experience but how I read it is that PF presents it's own challenges in regards to the Tarrasque, distinct from D&D in general. \$\endgroup\$ – LitheOhm Jan 24 '14 at 15:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm only familiar with the tarrasque's neutered, 5e cousin, but what happens if you kill it, then hit it with a flesh to stone spell? Will it regenerate past the stone? \$\endgroup\$ – chif-ii Dec 21 '16 at 20:34

11 Answers 11

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Keeping it down is easy

Dealing continual damage will keep the Big T down for the count as long as you want to keep it down. Drowning him or placing him in an environment that causes continual damage that he can't resist (or something more exotic - Positive Energy Plane?) can do the same job. Big T can't burrow, so you can drop him in a deep hole (dug with magic, probably) and then cave it in on him.

Making Him Dead, Though...

Essentially you'd need a way to strip him of the regeneration trait entirely. 3.5 had a psuedo-poison (Trollbane) that would suppress Big T's regeneration, but that content isn't available in Pathfinder and furthermore their version of the Big T ignores it by virtue of your quoted text. Without a way to strip the ability entirely the best you can really do is kill him, summon a small army of flying things that don't need to breathe, and ask them to drop him off in the vacuum of space.

And Requested By Comment

Further clarification on the Positive Energy Plane was requested, so:

The Tarrasque is not immune to being blown up by the Positive Energy Plane, though it is immune to dying thereby. Dropping him into the Plane is mostly to get rid of him from your dimension; lacking a native way out, he heals, overheals, and then 'dies', returning to 1 hit point to restart the cycle. The Negative Energy Plane isn't as useful because the Tarrasque regenerates the damage it's dealt every round, and even if it comes into contact with some aspect capable of killing it instantly Big T's Fort save is more than sufficient to protect it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The version from Pathfinder: Inner Sea lists the Tarrasque as a Spawn of Divine Destruction, which means dropping it in the vacuum of space or drowning it will not work: "If a spawn is forced into an environment where it cannot breathe and would suffocate, it goes into hibernation until conditions are right for it to reawaken." and hibernation specifically states that they no longer need to breathe while hibernating. So at best you're keeping it asleep, not dead. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Mar 27 '15 at 12:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Theik Oh, wow - I'm suddenly imagining an orbital spelljammer colony built on a sleeping tarrasque... \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jul 6 '15 at 1:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ can't burrow does not mean can't dig. T can just break, claw out, and eat dirt and rock till a path opens. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jul 22 '17 at 11:14
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I started this as an elaboration of @LorenPechtel's answer, but since it was pointed out it would change the answer too much, I instead show the elaboration as a separate answer.

Before doing this, prepare a lot of high-level (at least 13, to use control undead) Wizards or evil-aligned Clerics. Oh, make sure the Wizards have control undead, and the Clerics have Command Undead.

First, encounter a horde of allips. Use Command Undead or control undead to control them. Given the high level of the characters, they will probably succeed. Control as many as possible.

Teleport to the battlefield. Command them to attack Mr. T. Allips have final attack bonus of +4. Normally, its touch attack should inflict 1d4 Wisdom damage, but Mr. T is immune to ability damage, so let's just hope they score critical hit, which inflicts ability drain instead. Allips score critical threat at natural 20, where the attack MUST land regardless of Mr. T's AC. Now, if they score critical threat, Mr. T has AC 40, so confirming critical is nearly impossible, but wait! They are incorporeal, so natural armor do not work against their attacks! Thus, when threat happens, an allip can confirm its critical hit if natural 1 does not happen. This means 4.75% chance to critical for each allip. Furthermore, T's wisdom score is 15, so it takes 6 critical hits on average to completely drop his Wisdom point to 0.

Now look at the battle at Mr. T's side. He has epic damage resistance, so his natural weapons are treated magical. During full-round attack, T makes 4d8+15 (avg. 33) bite attack, two 1d12+15 (avg. 21.5) claws attack, and two 1d10+15 (avg. 20.5) gores attack with +37 to hit, and finishes his full-round attack with 3d8+7 (avg. 20.5) tail slap with +32 to hit. Sadly, allips only have 14 AC, so they are almost naturally hit by T's attacks. Since they are incorporeal, T must inflict 60 damage to kill one allip. Around two or three attacks are enough to kill one on average, so consider that two and a half allips die off on average, per round.

If everything goes as in expected values and averages, then 0.11875 decrement of Wisdom is expected from T for every round. This means approx. 127 attacks must successfully land to T. A simple solution is to have over 127 allips, but since each allip has 4 hit dice, this would require 43 13th-level Clerics, or 22 13th-level Wizards. Actually, eight 13th-level clerics can control 24 allips, and they can land 130 attacks on average, before dying from T. (Explaination: 24 Allips first attack T. T kills two, and wounds one. 22 (with one wounded) still attack T. (Total attack 46) T finishes the wounded, and kills two more. 19 still attack T. And so on...)

Now, T's Wisdom is down to zero, due to ability drain, not damage. Nothing special is defined on T's sheet regarding this, so let's check the ability score rules. From core rules regarding Ability Scores:

(...) A character with a Wisdom score of 0 is incapable of rational thought and is unconscious.

Unconscious. Not dead. As written, Tarrasque can only regenerate its hit points, not ability scores. Furthermore, it cannot regenerate itself from death, because it is not at all a disintegration, death effect, or some other save-or-die. Therefore, Big T will be unconscious there, until some madman decides to cast restoration on this world-slaying monster. Cheers.

If you are done celebrating, spray some Undeath to Death to kill remaining allips, before they start attacking your mercenaries.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You're simply providing the numbers behind the tactics I was suggesting. Note that you can do it with fewer clerics because they can go back for another wave. You'll go through a LOT of Allips but one cleric could do it. \$\endgroup\$ – Loren Pechtel Jan 25 '14 at 2:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ " If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry." --Terry Pratchett Basically, "until some madman decides to cast restoration on it" might be less time than it takes you to get to a safe distance, particularly considering how swarming most D&D worlds are with madmen trying to rule the world or end the world or annoy the world or whatever it takes to get the PCs' attention. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthew Najmon Jan 25 '14 at 3:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it immune to Constitution ability drain, once you’ve used a swarm of allips to send it into a coma? \$\endgroup\$ – nick012000 Dec 18 '19 at 0:57
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Going by the rules as written, there's a few nifty ways to abuse the fact that the Tarrasque is technically dead for the 3 rounds between failing to resist a death effect and rising from death with 1 hit point.

If your party has a high level necromancer of some sort, he can cast "Animate Dead" on the Tarrasque during those 3 rounds - all you need is to be level 15 (even less if you're within an area affected by a Desecrate spell) and have a Black Onyx worth 750gp. The casting time is only 1 standard action - and you've got 3 rounds. Becoming undead causes the Tarrasque to lose his constitution score - and rules on Regeneration state that you need a con score to have it. In other words, the Tarrasque just lost the ability that allows him to rise from (un)death.

If your party has a high level witch with the "Forced Reincarnation" grand hex, the witch may attempt to use it on the Tarrasque. The tarrasque has no immunity against it, so if he fails his will save, he will be "slain" and thus dead for 3 rounds. However he is immediately subject to the effects of reincarnation, which likely result in a new body that lacks the regeneration ability.

Of course, any given DM may rule that #1 doesn't work because "he isn't truly dead" and that #2 simply results in the Tarrasque reincarnating into his own species regardless of the fact that he is a magical beast.

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Mr. T could be brought down with a group of Allips (although I haven't looked at Pathfinder in enough detail to know how they might be brought to the battle). It won't take much to zero out his Wisdom and at that point he's impotent - they have a touch attack, it doesn't matter they're far below his CR. Transport him to someplace he's not a threat and that he can't leave.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are requests for clarification only. If you don't like the system, you are not required to answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jan 24 '14 at 11:07
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Get it eaten by something really bad. In this case I recommend a Devourer controlled by you via Being a Cleric or some kind of Necromantic spellcasting. The Devourer's relevant ability states:

Devour Soul (Su)

By making a touch attack as a standard action, a devourer can deal 12d6+18 points of damage as if using a slay living spell. A DC 22 Fortitude save reduces this damage to 3d6+18. The soul of a creature slain by this attack becomes trapped within the devourer's chest. The creature cannot be brought back to life until the devourer's destruction (or a spell deflection—see below) releases its soul. A devourer can hold only one soul at a time. The trapped essence provides a devourer with 5 essence points for each Hit Die possessed by the soul. A devourer must expend essence points when it uses a spell-like ability equal to the spell's level (for sake of ease, spell levels for its spell-like abilities are included in its stats in superscript).

At the start of an encounter, a devourer generally has 3d4+3 essence points available. The trapped essence gains one permanent negative level for every 5 points of essence drained—these negative levels remain if the creature is brought back to life (but they do not stack with any negative levels imparted by being brought back to life). A soul that is completely consumed may only be restored to life by a miracle or wish. The save DC is Charisma-based.

The most important part of this is the "...may only be restored to life by a miracle or wish." clause. There are a number of very permanent sources of death that include this clause and any/all of them can work, though you may have to repeat them a fairly large number of times to get the Tarrasque to fail some saves.

This is more reliable than methods involving ability drain in that it works on both official versions of the tarrasque (The inner sea campaign version is immune to ability drain) and requires a 9th level spell to reverse rather than a 4th level one. Also it results in the tarrasque being properly dead, but death v.s. incapacitation in 3.X D&D has always been more of a continuum of deadness than any kind of 'dead/living' binary in terms of how long those states tend to last.

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So the two biggest issues with the allip strategy, detailed in two other answers, is that there's a reasonable chance it simply won't work at all because the creature might be immune to ability damage, and that a single restoration spell can restore it to murdering glory.

But the basic premise is good, it just needs to not rely on something that half the World-Eaters are immune to, and that is constantly renewed, right? Here we go.


Bonestorms were written for the Pathfinder setting of Golarion, but are technically a conversion of 3.5 content, like a lot of the earliest Pathfinder stuff. If your GM will let you use these, it'll be more efficent and require many fewer people with the Command Undead feat or create greater undead spell.

So here we go: Dig a big pit, put the Planet Devourer at the bottom of it. This presumes you've beaten it unconscious already - but with that 40 point regen, probably have someone keep hitting it until you set up long term containment. Bring your undead creatures - I'd suggest at least eight bonestorms, just to keep the law of averages on your side. Once they're in, the pit needs to be sealed, since Bonestorms are flying creatures. Bonestorms are swarms, automatically hitting every turn for 3d6 unholy (and on rare occasion, their base 3d6 damage will hit for 16-18, getting 1-3 points through the Campaign Ender's DR), and because they're Diminutive, they're immune to each other's swarm attacks. This means you can lose control of them once they're locked in and it's fine, they won't kill each other. Do be sure the pit itself is secure enough that they're not likely to break out, though - perfect flight and Diminutive size means they can escape through any hole. They're not likely to leave while there's still a creature they can keep killing forever, but it's still worth noting they could.


If bonestorms are unavailable, Frostfallen Mammoths will do. But they're rarer and can't be created by PCs typically, so you have to go find them the hard way. Also means it has to be the Command Undead feat only, and you'll want a ton of them.

This variant doesn't require the pit be sealed, since the Mammoths can't climb out. And it's a good thing, because you'll want to keep adding more Mammoths. While mindless undead don't normally attack each other, there's no rule absolutely preventing it, so once their controllers release them (or die) there's a small chance they might attack each other, so their standing orders should include destroying a rogue Mammoth (and the specificity that Mammoths destroying a rogue shouldn't be considered rogues themselves). They also have to hit repeatedly, and its unclear if mindless creatures can perform coup de grace maneuvers, so the fact they're rolling against that AC... they need a 16 to hit and get two attacks per turn. On the plus side, their hits are a lot harder, so it's ok if they miss often if there's enough of them.


Option #3: I haven't done the research to see if there's a way to overcome the GM's Best Friend's immunity to fire permanently. If you can find something that works, filling the pit with burning bloody skeletons will get him for 1d6 fire per turn each. 40 of those skeletons will be enough damage to keep him down for good no matter how bad your rolls are. This is useful because a much lower level caster can create these from any old mostly-complete set of bones. But the trick for getting past his fire immunity probably requires the skeleton's creator to have a certain feat or class ability...


Time to wrap up: these methods have a few advantages over the allip method. The creatures don't need to be destroyed, they can keep wailing on the Scourge of Players for centuries. Even if someone comes along to ruin it, the Eternally Contrived Title might be far enough in the negatives that you'll have time to fix it before he wakes up.

TL;DR: Using undead that can't escape or that can be controlled indefinitely allows you to keep the Most Theorized Monster in negative hp forever, despite that regen, as long as they have a non-physical damage type that DR doesn't apply to (and it's not immune to).

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If the tarrasque fails a save against an effect that would kill it instantly, it rises from death 3 rounds later

So it is actually dead... That means that it might work to use:

Soul Bind: You draw the soul from a newly dead body and imprison it in a black sapphire gem. The subject must have been dead no more than 1 round per caster level. The soul, once trapped in the gem, cannot be returned through clone, raise dead, reincarnation, resurrection, true resurrection, or even a miracle or a wish. Only by destroying the gem or dispelling the spell on the gem can one free the soul (which is then still dead).

If your DM says no, well then the Tarrasque's spell resistances and immunities are very specific and they don't cover:

Trap The Soul: Trap the soul forces a creature’s life force (and its material body) into a gem. The gem holds the trapped entity indefinitely or until the gem is broken and the life force is released, which allows the material body to reform. If the trapped creature is a powerful creature from another plane, it can be required to perform a service immediately upon being freed. Otherwise, the creature can go free once the gem imprisoning it is broken.

The "Trigger object" invocation of Trap The Soul gives no save and no spell resistance and requires only that you know the creature's name and convince the creature to pick up the gem. The former is probably relatively easy to obtain and the latter likewise simple given that we're talking about a monster that wants to devour anything in sight that remotely resembles food. If not, well, then you just have to beat its will save and spell resistance, which requires a fairly high level caster, but is definitely doable.

In either case you should then stash the gem someplace secure... Say a personal demiplane just large enough to hold it and nothing else that you then erase your memory of so nobody can ever find out where it is.

edit: And it just occurred to me that the bit about a "powerful creature from another plane" being "required to perform a service" when freed may well apply to the Tarrasque. Now that could be an interesting plot device...

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The Tarrasque is not immune to Illusion effects, only the subset that are mind-affecting. The Baleful Shadow Transmutation spell also lacks the Polymorph descriptor by not actually being a transmutation spell in the first place. This means that, Saving throw and spell resistance willing, BST can have its full effect on the Tarrasque.

The effect we're looking for is this:

If the subject fails its Will save, it believes that it is the chosen creature, causing it to lose its extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like abilities, lose its ability to cast spells (if it had the ability), and gain the alignment, special abilities, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores of its new form in place of its own. It retains any class features (other than spellcasting) that aren’t extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like abilities.

Regeneration is classed as an Extraordinary ability, and the Tarrasque's ability to escape death is listed as a property of its regeneration. This means that Successfully casting BST on the tarrasque will cause it to lose its immortality. It can then be killed by the most convenient method.

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Best you can do is seal it away; you can teleport/banish it to Avernus, the Elemental Plane (of Electricity, Water, or Cold) or the Plane of the Pantheon... although, I don't think they would appreciate that very much...

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I cleaned up some of your grammar. I would recommend backing this up with what the expected results of sending it to various planes are likely to be, or your own experience facing one. I'm also unsure that an elemental plane of electricity or cold exist, but I'm less familiar with the lore about the various Planes than other areas. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Aug 31 at 17:21
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Y'all are missing the point here. You can not cause the Tarrasque to die. It is basically a Titan. Mindless Elder God. The peasants call it a force of nature. For a reason.

If a DM is going to use this in a campaign, it shouldn't be for anything less than launching a group of characters from Epic level to Extra-Planer. ..or killing off a group of bast*** characters that were allowed to get too far away from legit.

Some of your guesses come close. Putting it in a plane where it blows up forever would certainly keep it at bay. I liked the idea of having something consume it. Some world eater or other Titanic creature?

You could always toss it in to the sun. While you can't technically kill it, it would take divine intervention to scoop up its ashes and restore them to terra firma.

Stealing its soul simply wouldn't work. One of the reasons that it's so indestructible is that it's a constructed being. It's soul and elemental earth were forged together when it was created.

Anything along the lines of an unstoppable force hitting an immoveable object is on the table. The solution is all in the scripting, as long as the heap of applicable rules all say that it's okey-dokey.

One final note, the d&d version specifies that it can travel on or under the earth faster than walking speed. It specifically mentions burrow, in fact. Unless the Pathfinder book says it CAN'T burrow, you might rethink that statement. I would say that it CAN burrow, just usually doesn't, since (IF) the Pathfinder version(s) doesn't mention burrowing.

Oh, also, it mystically weakens flying creatures and consumes them. Scratch that one off the list.

Just to put the above comment in perspective, I didn't look up nothing. I'm just going off of decades of experience as a DM / GM. I could be wrong on various minor points, but the gist of it stands. You can't kill a creature that 'godly' without a godly countermeasure. Better off thinking of a way to nullify it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hey! Welcome to the site! On rpg.se we try to formulate our answers based on backing from the sources of the system or (less desirably) insight from the designers. Your answer of "there is no way to kill the tarrasque" needs some backing to be a good answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Blake Steel Aug 31 at 6:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Crogonint, you may want to take the tour. \$\endgroup\$ – Raj Aug 31 at 12:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ It looks like you've accidentally made two accounts. You should go through the process of getting them merged so you'll be able to respond to comments and edit your own answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Aug 31 at 18:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't site a realm or edition specific answer, the Tarrasque transcends those. BOTTOM line is what the DM/GM allows, unless it's a sanctioned campaign. KEY: it's body/soul was machined, like a Titan. Player: 'The Monster Manual stat sheet says no such thing!' Correct. You need to READ the creature/monster manuals, they actually DO present guidelines. Stat sheets are prime, then other canon material (READ the manuals), then canon fiction, then historical (fact based) mythology. Developers answers aren't automagically canon, just authoritative. Note the DM can leave the players guessing. \$\endgroup\$ – Crogonint Sep 11 at 23:29
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Everyone is assuming Wish and Miracle don't work because they are not listed in the Tarrasque's rules but Wish and Miracle are the exact spells that are designed to allow rule-breaking.

Wish

You may try to use a wish to produce greater effects than these, but doing so is dangerous.

Miracle

Protecting a city from an earthquake, volcanic eruption, flood, or other major natural disaster.

So if you are a Cleric and your deity is not a fan of the Tarrasque (basically any deity that isn't Rovagug or maybe Groetus, but really, who would worship Groetus?), you can ask your deity to kill it.

If you are a Wizard you can ask your DM to kill it, and it is all going to depend on if your DM will allow you to and what consequences there are to it. Also how accurate your phrasing is.

Don't do this:

You: "I wish for the Tarrasque to be dead."

DM: "Ok, the Tarrasque is dead, it resurrects 3 rounds later."

And you can't do this:

You: "I wish for the Tarrasque to lose its Regeneration ability."

DM: "You can't use game-mechanical terms in your wish, that is breaking the 4th wall."

Anyway, the point of the Tarrasque is that the method to truly kill it has yet to be discovered. So every DM can, and should, think of their own way how it can be killed and finding out how is a a quest on its own for the players at that table. For some DM's a wish spell would be enough but others might require that you hunt down some ancient artifact or keep it unconscious while you transport it to the realm of the gods themselves to undo it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "to lose its regenaration" seems a pretty reasonable wish to do. It's not because "race" is a mechanical term that my players can't refer to it in-game, for example. The thing that makes the Tarrasque heal has a name, they are just using it. \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar Feb 23 '16 at 13:35

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