Stingrays in GURPS

The world's many species of stingrays are common inhabitants of tropical waters. They lie in wait on the sea floor, partially covered in sediment. Moving slowly along the ocean bottom, they detect potential prey using their electroreceptive sense in combination with touch and smell. Once found, prey is uncovered by jettting water from the mouth or with currents of water propelled by the pectoral fins.

Stingrays are docile and unagressive, but defend themselves if molested. Stingray jaws cause very little damage to humans, as they are mainly used for crushing shells. Their main line of defense is their sting, a saw-edged spine coated in venom that protrudes from the ray's tail. When greatly provoked, the stingray whips its muscular tail about. The sting can cause severe lacerations and deep puncture wounds. Worse, the sting is covered by a venom filled sheath. When striking, the sheath breaks and venom enters the wound. The venom of the sting causes severe and immediate pain, followed by nausea, tremors, pallor, delerium, fever, and progressive paralysis possibly culminating in heart failure or cesation of breathing. The venom also has a necrotizing effect, leading to tissue death in the vicinity of the sting wound. Each sting can only envenomate once, since once the sheath breaks no more venom is supplied to the sting. The sting can continue to deliver cuts and stabs, however. Stingray stings are periodically replaced, so the stingray's ability to deliver venom will eventually be regained.

The stingray uses its sting soley for self defense. Humans are occasionally stung when they step on a resting stingray when wading, or when a fisherman hooks a stingray and attempts to bring it on board his vessel. When wading, walking with a shuffling gait will prevent directly stepping on a stingray - just bumping the ray with the feet causes it to swim away rather than sting. People who step on a stingray are almost always stung in the foot or leg. Fishermen often come off much worse, getting skewered through the torso or even the vitals.

In game terms, the venom of a stingrays sting is broken down into four parts

There is a chance that a stingray injury does not introduce venom into the wound at all. Roll a die, on a 14 or less, all effects of the venom occur. On a 15 or more, no envenomation occurs. Only roll once for all venom types. If the wound is not envenomated, the stinger is not "discharged" of its venom, and can still envenomate on a later strike.

Although the cardiotoxin and neurotoxin are resistable, a successful resistance roll will not stop further damage - another resistance roll must be made for each cycle regardless of how many were succeeded beforehand (in game terms, the Cyclic modifier is not halved, but Resistable is at full value). In order for the venom effects to properly scale with the victim's size, it is suggested that the Afflictions and Poisons house rules be used, where the victim gets a 3×SM modifier to HT rolls to resist the effects of envenomation. This is easy to implement in most games, since humans (SM 0) will not be affected and it can mostly be ignored. Optionally, you can also implement the rules where large margins of failure cause the victim to succumb more quickly (take more fatigue damage). This is realistic, but adds additional complexity which you may prefer to ignore.

Stingray venom is broken down by heat. Soaking a stung extremity in not-quite-scalding water for a hour gives a +4 to all subsequent HT checks to resist the venom.

Game Statistics

choose a species:
Species tiny
0.5 kg
1 kg
4 kg
10 kg
25 kg
50 kg
100 kg
200 kg
400 kg
enter weight (kg)
The radio button entries in the table above give realistic sizes of the species of that row. If you want a specimen outside that range, enter the weight in kg manually.

Marking the T? checkbox will give you the stats in template form with all costs listed, otherwise you get a stat sheet as for a character.

Marking the HR? checkbox will print the information using all my house rules. Otherwise, the stats will be as compatable with plain vanilla GURPS as possible (although several custom advantages and disadvantages will be present, see my Traits page).

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