by Dmitri Scull
Art by Christopher Shy
The standard Venom Advantage for GURPS works beautifully, up to a point. While it admirably covers many toxins and corrosive attacks, it does have some weaknesses, and does not manage to describe many real-world venoms very well; especially toxins normally found only in invertebrates, plants, or fungi. In addition, many creatures have, instead of an actual venom, a virulent symbiotic disease; for which the Venom Advantage is inappropriate.
The following Advantages are racial Advantages specifically for such races; also included is the Strong Jaws Advantage, as the Disease Carrier Advantage is especially appropriate for scavenger races, who while not specifically needing Sharp Teeth, should have a better bite attack than normal.
Note that much of the new material is an addition to the Venom Advantage; for clarity's sake, the original Venom rules are included as part of the revision. Note that there are a couple of new Enhancements as well, especially ones that can be used to create combined venoms (such as a poisonous toxin that acts as an anaesthetic as well).
The venom the character possesses is a particularly nasty one; any wounds from the envenomed attacks are treated as if the victim had the Hemophilia Disadvantage. Once the wound has been bandaged, it will heal normally, but until it is bandaged, it will continue to bleed.
The character is a carrier for some virulent disease. The character will not infect himself, but can contract other diseases (unless he or she has the Immune to Disease Advantage). If the character is assumed to be suffering from the disease, he should take an appropriate Disadvantage. For 5 points, the disease will only be transmitted by some form of close contact, usually from a natural attack such as a bite or claw attack. A victim of the attack must make a HT roll (for each wound) or suffer the effects of a serious, but not lethal illness (GM's choice). For 10 points, transmission is airborne; anyone around the character must make a HT roll once per day or contract the disease; the character's natural attacks still carry the infection. Individuals with Immune to Disease are (naturally) immune.
- Special Enhancement: The disease is especially virulent; HT rolls are at -5; +5 points.
- Special Enhancement: The disease is fatal; +10 points.
- Special Enhancement: The disease is magical in nature, and can infect even those who are immune to disease, depending on the special effect of that advantage; +10 points.
The character gains an effective bite attack. Damage is still crushing, but is now calculated using the character's full ST score.
You secrete a venom that can be delivered by various means. Types of venom include:
- Anesthetic: Rather than causing direct damage, the venom numbs the target; each level of the venom costs the victim 1d points of DX; at 0 DX, the victim is too numb to move. Anesthetic victims must enter the blood to work; else they must be bought as Contact Agents. If the character succeeds in a HT roll, no DX is lost, but the HT roll is at a penalty equal to the number of levels of venom, and a cumulative -2 for each injection after the first.
- Corrosive: Such as acids and digestive enzymes; these venoms do damage quickly, and on contact (there is no need to buy the Contact Agent enhancement for Corrosive venoms). They do 1d of damage per level on the first turn of contact; on each subsequent turn the venom does 1d less damage until no damage is done. Armor protects at full DR on the first round, but loses 1 DR each round. Objects, including armor, are similarly damaged. There is no HT roll to avoid damage from a corrosive venom.
- Hallucinogenic: These venoms, rather than harming the target directly, cause wild hallucinations. Needless to say, this can be potentially more dangerous than other types of venom, but it still must enter the bloodstream. The target must make a HT roll to avoid the effects (at a penalty equal to the number of levels of venom, and at a cumulative -2 for each injection after the first). If the HT roll is failed, the victim will hallucinate for 1d minutes per level of the venom.
- Irritant: The venom does not kill or knock the target out, but drives the target away or incapacitates him; if inhaled, delivered to the eyes, or injected, the victim must make a HT roll (at a penalty equal to the level of the venom) or take 1d-4 damage and be incapacitated for 1 turn per level of the venom. Each turn of incapacitation, the victim may make a Will roll (at a penalty equal to the level of the venom) in order to recover.
- Lethal Paralytic: These venoms kill by paralyzing the diaphragm and heart; they are rather deadly. Even if they do not kill you, you will become paralyzed by the attack. The venom must be injected into the blood, but once it is, the victim must make a HT roll (at a penalty equal to the number of levels) or take 1d damage per level of the venom. If the victim survives, he is paralyzed for 1d hours per level of the venom. If the HT roll is made, a second HT roll must be made (at the same penalty) or the victim is still paralyzed for 1d minutes per level of the venom. Lethal Paralytic venoms are considered a +50% Enhancement.
- Lethal Poisonous: These venoms are similar to ordinary Poisonous venoms, except that there is no immediate damage. However; the damage if the HT roll is failed is 3d per level of the venom, and even if the HT roll is made, the victim still takes 1d damage.
- Necrotic: This venom works almost identically to the poisonous venom; however, HT rolls are made by the day rather than the hour, and all damage is applied to the location where the poison was introduced until the location is destroyed; then the next location adjacent begins to take damage (moving inwards). Limbs crippled (or worse) by Necrotic venoms generally must be removed; however, this will stop the poison if done before the damage "migrates."
- Paralytic: These venoms paralyze rather than kill; they must be introduced into the blood, then the victim must make a HT roll (at a penalty equal to the number of levels of venom) or be paralyzed for 1d hours; if the roll succeeds, a second HT roll (at the same penalty) is required, or the victim has a penalty of -1 per level of venom on all rolls (this is not cumulative, but it does apply to HT rolls to avoid paralysis).
- Poisonous: These venoms must be introduced into the bloodstream; once poisoned, and every hour thereafter, the victim must make a HT roll (at a penalty equal to the number of levels of the Venom advantage) or take 1d damage per level of the venom. Once the victim succeeds in a HT roll, no further rolls are needed.
- Soporific: These venoms knock the victim out, rather than causing any real harm. They must be introduced into the bloodstream; once injected, the victim must make a HT roll (at a penalty equal to the number of levels of venom) or take 1d Fatigue damage per level of the venom; when ST reaches zero, the victim is rendered unconscious. Soporific venoms are considered a -33% Limitation.
Venom Enhancements and Limitations
- Special Enhancement: Any venom (other than Corrosive venoms, which are already such) can be defined as a contact agent, which absorbs through the skin; contact agents cannot be washed off. +70%.
- Special Enhancement: The venom may be delivered at range (spit, squirted, etc.). This is a ranged attack, based on DX, with SS 12, Acc +12, ½D n/a, and Max 5. Corrosive venoms work normally; other venoms must strike open wounds or mucous membranes (or be defined as contact agents) in order to work. +35%.
- Special Enhancement: The venom may be sprayed as a cloud of mist. The cloud covers 3 hexes (they must be adjacent to each other and at least one must be adjacent to you) and lasts 1d turns. +100%.
- Special Enhancement: The venom (which cannot be a Soporific) has an additional soporific effect in addition to its normal effects. This is normally bought for Anesthetic, Hallucinogenic, Paralytic, or Poisonous venoms. +50%.
- Special Enhancement: The venom has an additional effect (other than Soporific or Lethal Paralytic; Soporific venoms cannot take this Enhancement, although Lethal Paralytic venoms can) in addition to its normal effects. Venoms combined with Corrosive venoms enter the bloodstream if they do damage. This is commonly used to create Poisonous Corrosive effects or venoms with Anesthetic effects to mask their true nature. +100%.
- Special Limitation: You sweat your venom; it cannot be delivered actively except by grappling or being bitten. -70%.
- Special Limitation: Your flesh delivers the venom; it is only delivered if you are bitten. -100% (keep in mind the 20% minimum cost, though).
Article publication date: December 29, 2000
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