by Edward A. May
The Ichthyosaurus appears very much to be a smaller species from the same family line as the Shonisaurus. Despite this fact the Ichthyosaurus fits a very different profile role than it's larger cousin. While Shonisaurus prefers the deep waters during the day the Ichthyosaurus prefers the shallow waters during the day and the deep waters at night!
Observing a flock or pod of Ichthyosaurus would remind one very strongly of observing a pod of dolphins darting through the sea. Unlike dolphins however the Ichthyosaurus is not friendly, and do not run and play together, they fight, bicker amongst themselves, and hunt - this is all they do.
While Shonisaurus goes for medium sized prey - sometimes feeding on creatures as large as Dolphins and Ichthyosaurus themselves, Ichthyosaurus hunts small cephalopods and small schooling fish very close to shore. This brings them far closer to contact with humans than their larger brethren. While not generally interested in eating humans or other humanoids Ichthyosaurus has developed an instinctive tactic to draw other fish to it - to attack a larger creature en masse and tear it up. The resulting blood and bits of food in the water serves as chum to attract unsuspecting prey right into their waiting jaws. It is this instinct that has caused several humans in this region and indeed others to be killed by the Ichthyosaurus.
Alignment: Animal intelligence; Roughly equivalent to miscreant - while dumb they CAN hold a grudge especially if they have been injured by a specific race of people before.
Attributes: IQ: Medium animal intelligence, ME: 1D6+1, MA: 1D6, PS: 2D6+20, PP: 3D6+6, PE: 3D6+2, PB: 2D6+6, Spd: 25 mph (40 km/h.).
Size: Pups are born at 8 inches (20.3cm.) in length, adults though can reach 6' (1.8m.) in length.
Weight: Pups weigh 5-10 Lb. (2.26-4.54kg.) while the largest adults can weigh in at 375 Lb. (170.1kg.).
Horror Factor: 11.
Natural Abilities: Swim: 98%, bio-regeneration of 3D6 M.D. per 24 hour period.
Depth Tolerance: Maximum depth is limited to 1 mile (1.6km.) - they usually reside at around 3,000' (914.4m.) during the night surfacing only to breathe. During the day they seldom dive any further than 200-300' (60.96-91.44m) underwater in shallow waters, sometimes going right up to where their fins will scrape along the bottom in the surf. Their metabolism is slow enough to allow them to go three days between feedings.
Visual/Audio Perception: Unlike similarly sized dolphins this species hunts exclusively using its precise vision and it's exceptional hearing. It can hear sounds as quiet as 10 decibels up to 1 mile (1.6km.) away in the water. It can also see movement in the water up to 6,000' (1,828.8m.) away. Moving at extremely low speeds in the water and NOT making any noise makes it more difficult for it to locate a person in the water, but at ranges of 500' (152.4m.) or less even a racing heart beat and heavy breathing would be enough to reveal a person's location. Nightvision is limited to 150' (45.7m.) in pitch-black conditions but extends to 1 mile (1.6km.) in areas where ambient starlight and/or moonlight is available.
Lungs: Although this creature is completely aquatic it breathes air like any other reptile. Despite this the Ichthyosaurus has developed large lungs and a slow metabolic rate permitting it to remain underwater for 6D6+30 minutes at a time usually depending on the creatures' size and health.
Attacks Per Melee: Five.
Combat Maneuvers & Damages:
Leap in Air: This creature often uses leaps to evade
larger predators and to snatch low flying birds from out of the air. Leaping height is limited to 10' (3.04m.) plus the creature's own length.
Bite: The Ichthyosaurus's bite is intended to kill fish on the first bite and to hold them in place - 2D6 Mega-Damage.
Tail Slap: Like it's larger brethren this is not generally a purposeful attack mode, but instead is usually the result of accidental damage. Damage for this is 4D6 Mega-Damage.
Speed Bursts: The Ichthyosaurus is built for speed - it can double it's speed up to four times per hour for 10 minutes at a time!
Bonuses: +6 to initiative, +4 to strike, +6 to dodge, and +1 to save vs. horror factor.
Average Life Span: About 10 years. It would be closer to 15 were it not for the multitude of predators that prey upon creatures the size of Ichthyosaurus.
Market Value: Their meat tastes absolutely horrible but is useful as chum bait, and also as a fertilizer. The hide is quite tough and can be made into tough leather. It is often used to make clothing and other useful articles among the Nootka, Makah, and Haida. The teeth are valued ornamentation and their skulls are useful for manufacturing fetishes. Ichthyosaurus are often killed when they stray close to inhabited beaches especially among the Haida but are seldom purposefully hunted.
Appearance: A bluish gray creature that is much like dolphin in shape and size but with a strangely reptilian head.
Prey: Cephalopods first and foremost are their favorite prey including octopus and varieties of shallow water squid. They primarily subsist on small schooling fish however. They will occasionally attack larger creatures in an effort to "chum" the waters to draw more prey to them. They do not generally eat large creatures though.
Feeding Habits: These are flocking predators that generally attack in modest sized groups of 4D6. They will often approach a school of fish or other prey from a distance and slowly swim up on them. Once close enough they will spring forward into the schools and attack grabbing and gulping down as many as they possibly can. Unlike Shonisaurus once they feed they lose all interest in the school of fish they are following.
Social Behavior: As a flocking reptile or schooling aquatic creature they are social animals. They generally have a pecking order in which the largest and/or strongest male is the alpha in the flock. The flock leader always is the first to attack and is the one, which chooses which schools of fish it will be that they follow. The Ichthyosaurus is NOT territorial like the Shonisaurus and instead rather keeps to itself finding prey as necessary. Ichthyosaurus breed once per year, always in late March - giving birth to one live young in early July.
Habitat: This creature is most at home in deep water at night, but comes up very close to shore during the day to feed. They may be found all up and down the western coast of the Americas and across a thin band near South America leading to the Polynesian Archipelago and up the Eastern Coast of Asia. They are however very seldom found any further north than the islands dominated by the Haida. Their territory is gradually expanding to include the Indian Ocean, plus the Northern and Eastern coast of Australia.
Note: The illustration provided is the creation of artist John Sibbick of National Geographic depicting Ichthyosauruses hunting. This image is used without the permission of the artist, but claims no rights to this image, it is merely used to depict a creature described upon this page. If there is any dispute concerning the use of this image, please select the contact feature on this page to contact the webmaster. Any dispute will be dealt with in an expedient fashion.
Questions?|Monsters of the RRVGG|SirTenzan's RIFTS Gallery