Pinnipeds in GURPS

Pinnipeds are sea-going mammals, commonly known as seals. They are typically grouped into three main categories - eared seals, which have small external ears, back flippers that can face forward for a quadrupedal gait, and swim by using their front flippers like wings; earless seals, which have no external ears, back flippers that stay pointed behind them so they need to move on land by caterpillar-humping their way along, and swim by undulating their body up and down and using their back fins for propulsion while their front flippers are used for steering; and walruses, which have large tusks and locomotion patterns that are a combination of the other two types. Seals cannot stay at sea indefinitely, they need to come ashore to give birth and mate, and for the annual shedding of their pelts. Many seals rest on rocks or beaches on the shore even during other times of the year.

Pinniped eyes are large and adapted to seeing in dim light underwater. On land, their vision is adequate but not extraordinary. Their underwater hearing is excellent and useful for locating prey and escaping predators. Of particular interest is the seals' sense of touch based on its whiskers - these organs allow the seal to detect nearby moving objects by their disturbance of the water. So sensitive are they that seals can track swimming fish by the turbulent wakes they leave in the water for minutes after the fish has passed. Seal's sense of smell is poorly developed, and not much better than that of humans.

Seals are entirely carnivorous. Depending on the species, they eat various proportions of fish, squid, crustaceans, bivalve mollusks, sea worms, sea birds, and other seals. Seals can not chew, so if they subdue large prey they need to tear it apart with vigorous thrashing.

Seals are usually solitary when hunting, but on shore may gather in large groups. Many species are harem breeders, arriving in huge numbers at their traditional breeding grounds for the males to grunt and slam and fight each other for the perfect territory to win the attentions of lots of females.

When seals fight, they may slam with their bulk or bite with their sharp teeth.

Game Statistics

choose a species:
Species Male Female (optional)
enter weight (kg)
Captive? T?HR?
Eared Seals
California Sea Lion

Steller Sea Lion

Australian Sea Lion

New Zealand Sea Lion

South American Sea Lion

Fur Seal

Brown Fur Seal

Galapagos Fur Seal

Earless Seals
Harbor Seal

Spotted Seal

Ringed Seal

Baikal Seal

Caspian Seal

Harp Seal

Ribbon Seal

Gray Seal

Hooded Seal

Bearded Seal

Leopard Seal

Weddell Seal

Crabeater Seal

Ross Seal

Southern Elephant Seal

Northern Elephant Seal

Monk Seal


Desmatophocidae (all extinct)


Early Pinnipeds (all extinct)



The radio button entries in the table above give typical sizes of the seal species of the selected sex. If you want a larger or smaller specimen, enter the weight in kg manually.

The Captive checkbox is for animals that have been kept in captivity all their lives, without the ability to hone their reflexes, muscles, and skills like thier wild relatives. It would be appropriate for performing sea lions or an aquarium animal.

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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