Holding Your Breath
Under normal circumstances (with a good gulp of air and not performing
strenuous feats), a character can hold his breath up to 1/3 his Constitution score in
rounds (rounded up). If the character is exerting himself, this time is halved
(again, rounded up). Characters reduced to 1/3 or less of their normal movement
because of encumbrance are always considered to be exerting themselves. If
unable to get a good gulp of air, these times are reduced by ½. All characters are
able to hold their breath for one round, regardless of circumstances.
While attempting to hold his breath beyond this time, the character must roll
a Constitution check each round. The first check has no modifiers, but each
subsequent check suffers a -2 cumulative penalty. Once a check is failed, the
character must breathe (if he cannot reach the surface, he drowns).
Diving: All characters can dive to a depth of 20 feet in a single round. For each
encumbrance category above unencumbered (or for each point of movement below the
character's normal rate, if this optional system is used; see “Encumbrance” in Chapter 6), two feet are added to this depth (the additional weight helps
pull the character down). A short run or a few feet of height adds 10 feet of
depth to the first round of a dive. For every 10 feet of height above the
water, an additional five feet of depth is added, up to a maximum addition of 20
feet. Thus, with a run and from a height of 40 feet or more, an unencumbered man
can dive 50 feet in a single round.
Surfacing: A character can normally rise at the rate of 20 feet per round. This rate is
reduced by two feet for every encumbrance category above unencumbered or for
every point of current movement below the character's normal rate (if this
optional system is used). Note that, under the optional encumbrance system, heavily
loaded characters (those who have lost 10 or more points off their normal
movement rate because of their current encumbrance) cannot even swim to the surface.
Those simply floating to the surface (unconscious characters, for example) rise
at a rate that is five feet per round slower than someone similarly encumbered
who is actively swimming up to the surface. It is quite possible for a
moderately weighed-down character to sink if he makes no effort to stay on the surface.
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