|| DRAGONQUEST Newsletter 2003 
|| Volume 8 / Number 4 

The DQ Newsletter is for discussions of the DragonQuest role- 
playing game. The key addresses you need to know are: 

Rodger Thorm (Editor, Article Submissions, Etc.) 

All articles are copyrighted property of their respective 
authors. Reproducing or republishing an article, in whole 
or in part, in any other forum requires permission of the 
author or the moderator. 

C O N T E N T S [v8/n04] 

Editorial -- New Content 

Dragon Magazine Articles, Intro -- Rodger Thorm 

Going up and getting wet -- Paul Montgomery Crabaugh 

Getting in over your head -- Craig Barrett 

For a fuller background -- Paul Montgomery Crabaugh 

EDITORIAL: The Dragon Articles 
This volume of the DragonQuest Newsletter is going to contain the 
text versions of all of the remaining Dragon magazine articles for 

After this series, the DQN is going to adjust to a new focus. We 
will roll out the new changes in 2004 with the first issue of 
Volume IX. 

Rodger Thorm 
DQN Editor 

-- Rodger Thorm 

In the early- to mid-1980s, when DragonQuest was still present and 
viable, there was enough interest in it that Dragon magazine ran 
several articles on the game. These articles addressed different 
aspects of DQ and suggested some additional rules that were though to 
be missing from the original rulebook. Some of these included rules 
for swimming (two different articles), hunting, and learning magic. 
The authors were not part of the SPI team (although they may have been 
playtesters), and their articles all seem somewhat at odds with SPI's 
style. Nonetheless, some good material is present, even if it needs 
further modification to be used in a DQ campaign. 

An anonymous contributor recently made .PDF files of all nine Dragon 
magazine articles available. These files are now posted as individual 
articles in the Files section of the DQN-list group 
as well as in a single .ZIP file containing all nine .PDFs which is in 
the Files section of the DQ-rules group 


The nine articles are: 
Travel & threads for DragonQuest 
The versatile Magician 
The thrill of the hunt 
Enhancing the enchanter 
The warrior alternative 
Learn magic by the month 
Going up and getting wet 
Getting in over your head 
For a fuller background 

These articles are also being converted into plain text files by a few 
other dedicated members of the DQ community. These articles will be 
included as a regular part of the DragonQuest Newsletter for the next 
nine issues (starting with this one) to make the files accessible to 
as many people as possible. As soon as we have the entire set of text 
files ready, those will be made available as well. 

Thanks to the following individuals for their help in collecting and 
preparing these articles for the Newsletter: the anonymous contributor 
for supplying the .PDF articles; John Rauchert, John Kahane, and 
Steven Wiles for text conversion and proofreading. 

-- Paul Montgomery Crabaugh 
(Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine, December 1984, pg. 62) 

Going up and getting wet 
   How DRAGONQUEST natives climb and swim 

by Paul Montgomery Crabaugh 

The fear of falling is one of the most basic emotions humanity enjoys. 
For characters in role-playing games, it is a fear realized 
unfortunately often. They're always trying to climb something, and 
just as frequently not succeeding. 

There is also another kind of falling: the swimmer who misses a beat, 
whose strength or lungs give out, falls as well. It's a much slower, 
gentler fall -- but the oceans are far deeper than any building or 
cliff is high. 

Thieves in the DRAGONQUEST game are provided with the ability to climb 
things, quite high and smooth things, but non-thieves have no such 
ability. And no one, not even a Navigator, has the ability to swim. 
These omissions are remedied below. 

Climbing is a minor skill, like Stealth or Horsemanship. All 
characters have it at Rank 0 to begin with. Characters who are Thieves 
already have access to their own, superior form of climbing and will 
not generally wish to increase Rank with this skill. Using Climbing, 
the base chance for a successful climb is (3 x MD) plus (10 x   Rank) 
minus one-tenth of the square of the height (in feet) being climbed. 
This figure is expressed as a percentage chance. Thus, a character 
with a Manual Dexterity of 20 and Rank 2 ability in Climbing has a 
40% chance of successfully scaling a 20-foot-high wall: 
(3 x 20) + (10 x 2) - (400/10) = 40. 

This formula works for a typical building exterior, with cornices, 
ledges, and other handholds, when the climb is being made in 
illuminated conditions. If the climber cannot see the surface he is 
climbing, the base chance is reduced by 15%. If the surface is 
unusually sheer, the chance is reduced by 20%. The presence of a 
firmly anchored rope to aid the ascent will increase the base 
chance by 50%. 

If the roll for success is missed, a second roll on percentile 
dice will determine what percentage of the climb had been accomplished 
before the fall; this is the distance fallen. The damage the character 
takes as a result is the square of (distance fallen/10) -- 1 point for 
a 10-foot fall, 4 points for a 20- foot fall, 9 points for a 30-foot 
fall, and so   on. These points of damage are taken directly off EN, 
and not absorbed by armor. Damage is increased by 1 point for each 
point of AG lost due to encumbrance. 

Swimming is also a minor skill, but characters do not automatically 
start with it, even at Rank 0. The chance of swimming without incident 
is somewhat dependent on the time which will have to be spent in the 
water, reckoned in increments of 15 minutes. For example, if a 
character will have to swim for half an hour, then the "duration" 
in the formula for the base chance is 2. The base chance for a 
successful swim is (EN + WP + MD) plus (10 x Rank) minus the square 
of the duration. Thus, a Rank 1 swimmer with EN 15, WP 12, and MD 18 
who is trying to swim for an hour has a 39% chance of succeeding: 
(15 + 12 + 18) + (10 x 1) - (4 x 4) = 39. 

The base chance is adjusted by +30% if the water is very still, by 
-30% if the water is unusually rough, by -20% if the character was 
completely unprepared for a swim (i.e., thrown in unawares), and by a 
negative amount equal to the square of (AG loss due to armor + AG loss 
due to encumbrance). If the roll is failed and the character is alone, 
the unfortunate swimmer drowns. If a companion is traveling with the 
character, all is not lost: the companion may attempt to save the 
victim, at a base chance of (2 x companion's AG) + (5 x companion's 
Rank), with modifiers of +20 for still water and -30 for rough water. 

If this roll also fails, the character is dead. Even if the companion 
manages to keep the character from drowning, the character being saved 
takes 1D10 damage directly to Endurance and must make a new attempt to 
complete the swim. If this second attempt also fails, the character 
drowns with no possibility of being saved by a companion. 

A character who has not attained any Rank with Swimming but who needs 
it anyway has to make a roll against (4 x modified AG) to stay afloat 
-- and repeat this for every minute spent in the water. The character 
who can't swim may be able to keep from sinking, but cannot make any 
headway in the water. 

The experience point costs to gain Ranks in these new skills are as 

           0   1    2    3    4   5 
Climbing   0   150  300  450  600 750 
Swimming   100 200  300  400  500 600 

           6   7    8    9    10 
Climbing   900 1050 1200 1350 1500 
Swimming   700  800  900 1000 1100 

-- Craig Barrett 
(Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine, April 1985 pp.56-60) 

Getting in over your head 
   Sink-or-swim rules for the DRAGONQUEST game 

by Craig Barrett 

In the realm of the Deep, mankind is an alien. Given the most 
sophisticated modern equipment (or its magical equivalent in the 
DRAGONQUEST game), man is still only a visitor here. He does not 
really belong in this environment. 

He is, however, a persistent visitor. Whether freshwater lake or 
saltwater ocean, the Deep is a repository of mysteries and treasures 
that has lured man from time immemorial. So, DRAGONQUEST game players 
ought to reconcile themselves to the fact that sooner or later one of 
their characters is going to be drawn into an aquatic adventure. If he 
is going to survive that adventure, he better have an idea of what 
could happen to him once his head goes under the surface. 

These rules are an attempt to meet that need for knowledge of 
underwater life and activities; be aware, however, that every effort 
has been made to adhere to existing DRAGONQUEST rules. When necessary, 
realism has been sacrificed to playability. So, players should start 
thinking of swimming (which, for clarity's sake, includes skin diving) 
as an adventure skill (according to rule 83.0), not as an acquired 
skill (Chapter VII). 

Every DRAGONQUEST character begins campaigning with the Swimming skill 
at Rank 0. A character can keep himself afloat in the water if he 
doesn't panic, but that's about all. He can hold his breath for 6 
pulses (30 seconds), but the thought of diving is utterly appalling to 
him. As the PC increases his Swimming Rank, he begins to extend these 
and other abilities; by Rank 10, he is an adept Swimmer. 

To chart this progress, use the experience point costs listed for 
Stealth, which are exactly the same for Swimming, on the Experience 
Point Cost Chart (87.8). Up through Rank 4, EPs are applied to this 
skill as described under rule 87.5; from Rank 5 on, EPs are applied 
directly, as described under rule 87.6. 

When a PC achieves Rank 1, he acquires these abilities: diving under 
the surface to a distance of 7-1/2 feet (1.5 cubic hexes), holding his 
breath for 6 pulses while diving and swimming, and swimming without 
stopping (hereafter called a sprint) a maximum distance of 25 yards, 
at a speed of TMR 1/2. 

With each advance in Rank, diving distance increases by 7� feet, 
underwater time increases by 2 pulses, and sprint distance increases 
by 75 yards. Swimming speed  increases to TMR 1 at Rank 3 and to TMR 
1-1/2 at Rank 8. For all humans, chase speed in the Adventure Sequence 
(see 80.0, paragraph 2b, and Movement Rates, 65.0) is determined by 
multiplying the TMR by 50 yards/minute. Note: A PC must spend 3 pulses 
(Ranks 1-4) or 6 pulses (Ranks 5-20) hyperventilating before diving; 
if this isn't done, his diving time is reduced by 30%. 

Some PCs begin campaigning at a higher Swimming Rank. The Diver is a 
person who was born and raised around water, and who probably learned 
to swim very soon after he learned to walk. He has a natural affinity 
for water that is almost magical and that no landsman could ever hope 
to match. 

In order for a player to develop a PC who is a Diver, during the 
character generation process he simply opts, when he comes to rule 
8.7, for his PC to be a Diver in lieu of enrolling the PC in a magical 
college. The PC automatically receives the Swimming skill at Rank 5 
(worth 7,500 EPs), along with the following advantages: 

1. A Diver can progress to Rank 20 in the Swimming skill. With each 
advance in Rank from Rank 11 up, diving distance increases by 9 feet, 
underwater time increases by 3 pulses, and sprint distance increases 
by 100 yards. At Rank 12, his swimming speed increases to TMR 2. 
(EP costs for Ranks 11-20 are 5,000 EPs per Rank.) 

2. If a Diver becomes a Beast Master specializing in aquatics, a 
Navigator, or a Ranger specializing in the ocean environment, his EP 
cost for advancing in that skill is reduced by 25%, provided that his 
Swimming Rank is at least 2 levels higher than his Rank in that skill. 
Also, Divers have their success percentages in these skills modified 
by 5 points in their favor, whenever these skills are used in, on, or 
under the water. 

3. A Diver who becomes a water mage receives a +5 addition to the base 
chance of performing any talent, spell, or ritual of his College. No 
Diver may become an air mage, fire mage, earth mage, or black mage. 

Players are not encouraged to blithely enter their PCs into the Diver 
class. Unless the player expects most of his PC's early adventures to 
be in and around water, the advantages of the Diver class are 
insufficient to compensate for not being allowed immediate entrance 
into a magical College  or ready access to "The warrior alternative" 
(see DRAGON Magazine, issue #86, p. 24). The Diver option is primarily 
included for GMs to use in creating very important NPCs who ought to 
have special aquatic advantages due to their origins, and to 
illustrate the fact that latecomers to the sea face enormous 
difficulties in attempting to match the prowess of people who have 
spent all their lives in and around water. 

However, players who feel that they're getting their value's worth can 
make their PCs into Divers if they wish. While this excludes them from 
using the warrior alternative, PCs who are Divers can always enter a 
magical college at a later stage of their careers. 

In addition, Swimmers are not forever barred from the higher ranks of 
the Swimming skill. Once a Swimmer has achieved Swimming Rank 10, any 
further EPs obtained during aquatic activity while wearing a merfolk's 
cap of woven gold can be applied toward achieving Swimming Rank 11 and 
up. Without a merfolk's cap, swimmers must pay 7,500 EPs/Rank to 
achieve Ranks 11-15, and 10,000 EPs/Rank to achieve Ranks 16-20. In 
this way, a Swimmer can go as high as Swimming Rank 20 if he desires, 
but he uses the skill increases per Rank described under the 
"Swimmers," heading above, not the increases given for Divers. 
Swimmers are never Divers: the advantages of Divers described in this 
section never apply to Swimmers, no matter how high a Swimming Rank 
they achieve. (But Swimmers do get TMR 2 at Swimming Rank 12.) 

As to whether Divers who are already water mages (or some other type) 
can also become air, fire, earth, or black mages, using the option 
described in Eric Goldberg's DRAGONQUEST article in Chaosium's 
Thieves' World, this should be left to GM discretion. I would favor 
it, providing the Diver became a water mage before becoming any of the 
other four types, to fully establish his mastery of the water 

Underwater combat 
All surface dwellers, whether Swimmers or Divers, suffer one common 
disability underwater: they are "legally blind." They can locate 
light sources, and they can see, fuzzily, for about 3 hexes, but 
that's all. Fortunately, this problem can be overcome by using goggles 
(which block peripheral vision into the rear half of each hex on the 
character's right and left front) or a diving  mask (which gives 
unobstructed vision in those hexes). 

Less easy to overcome is the 25% visual distortion with regard to 
distance, size, and angles that also affects all surface dwellers 
underwater. Only experience teaches compensation for this, so 
distortion is reduced to 20% at Rank 1, 15% at Rank 2, 10% at Rank 3, 
5% at Rank 4, and 0% at Rank 5 and above. This affects all ranged 
and melee combat, underwater only. 

Other than that, aquatic combat is essentially governed by rule 67.0, 
with directions reversed: base chance of a character on the surface 
hitting a character underwater is reduced by 20, with the added 
provision that no character who is 5 cubic hexes or more below the 
surface can be hit by ranged combat from the surface. Base chance of 
a character below the surface hitting a character above the surface 
is reduced by 15. 

All ranged weapons are useless underwater, except for three. Crossbows 
and heavy crossbows can be used, with reduced ranges of 3 and 4 hexes 
respectively, but no change in the base chance for being underwater. 
Nets used underwater have a range of 2 hexes, with -10 to the base 
chance for the second hex only. 

Both in and under the water, any melee or close combat weapon has its 
base chance reduced by 10. Underwater, both Class B and Class C 
weapons suffer a further reduction of -20 to their base chance, as 
well as -5 to their current damage modifier. The minimum Physical 
Strength for proper use of Class B and C weapons is increased by 1 
while underwater. 

These reductions do not apply to magic weapons. Likewise, the fact 
that surface dwellers are unable to make effective vocal communication 
while underwater does not affect the use of magic. The limited sounds 
that are possible serve magical purposes perfectly well. However, the 
process of casting a spell, vocal or not, reduces underwater breath 
time by 1 pulse in all cases -- unless the Water Breathing Spell 
(41.G-12) or the merfolk's cap of woven gold is being used. 

A note on watergoing monsters: In addition to the 13 creatures listed 
in the Aquatics section of the DRAGONQUEST rule book, the rules also 
contain swimming information for crocodiles, giant land turtles, 
suarimes, nixies, fossergrim, nagas, water elementals, and the demons 
Furcalor, Vephar, and Forneus. Tigers and sabertooth tigers may also 
be met in the water, and these have TMRs of 1 and 1/2, respectively. 
Other non-aquatic creatures that are in water seldom move faster than 
TMR 1/2. 

Another critical factor in underwater combat is buoyancy (hereafter 
abbreviated as BCY). With positive BCY, an object rises in water; with 
negative BCY, it sinks. At 0 BCY, an object floats where it has been 
placed until it is moved. 

The following assumptions are made for game purposes only: When used 
to balance weight, 1 BCY point equals 5 pounds. How fast an object 
rises or sinks depends on how much BCY it has in excess of 0 BCY, with 
1 BCY point equal to 1 TMR. Maximum rates are TMR 4 in ascent and 
TMR 7 in descent. 

Example: If a Diver wants to raise a 15- pound object from the bottom 
of a lake, he can attach three 1-pound flotation bags (each filled 
with +1 BCY equivalent of air) to get 0 BCY, and then he can add one 
more to get 1 TMR of lift. The object will rise 1 hex every pulse 
until the bags reach the surface. Attaching a total of seven flotation 
bags would give the maximum ascent of TMR 4. 

Example: To gain extra "bottom time," a Diver can hold onto a line 
attached to a heavy weight and move with it as far down as he likes. 
If the diver is at 0 BCY, a 35- pound weight will take him down at 
the maximum rate of TMR 7. 

Human males have +1 natural BCY and require a 5-pound weight belt to 
achieve 0 BCY, human females have a +2 natural BCY and require a 
10-pound weight belt. Or, natural BCY can be overcome by expending 
Agility points, with 1 AG point equal to 1 BCY point. 

Example: A woman of AG 15 can use 2 AG points to overcome her +2 
natural BCY, rather than a 10-pound weight belt. 

Similarly, the Diver described above  could have used 4 AG points to 
lift the 15- pound object to the surface, rather than four flotation 
bags. While Physical Strength states how much one can carry (see 
rules 4.1 and 82.9) and indicates how much energy is needed to 
overcome the inertia of objects in water (to lift, pull, or push), 
Agility dictates whether one can or cannot move that weight. Use 
this formula: 1 AG = 1 BCY = 1 TMR. 

This can become dangerous, though, because AG points are also required 
for a swimmer so that he can move himself in water. At Ranks 1-2, 6 AG 
points are required per 1/2 TMR of speed; at Ranks 3-7, 3 AG points 
per 1/2 TMR; at Ranks 8-11, 2 AG points per 1/2 TMR; and, at Ranks 
12- 20, 1 AG point per 1/2 TMR. These AG points are not lost, and AG 
used for swimming can be simultaneously used for combat, stealth, or 
when determining Initiative Value. But AG points used for swimming 
cannot also be used for BCY.  

Example: At Swimming Rank 9 and AG 15, with a 5-pound weight belt for 
0 BCY, a Diver needs 4 AG points to swim at 1 TMR and 4 more to lift 
the 15-pound weight at 1 TMR. This would still leave him 7 AG points 
unused and a total of 11 AG points available for combat (his normal 
15 minus only the 4 AG points used to lift and move the 15-pound 

Example: A woman of AG 15 would have 13 AG points available for combat 
if she used 2 AG points to overcome her natural BCY, no matter what 
her Rank is or how fast she chooses to swim. With a 10-pound weight 
belt to counter her natural BCY, all 15 of her AG points would be 
available for other uses. 

All of this points to the trouble a clothed and armored man has in 
water. Clothes become waterlogged rapidly, and their weight affects 
both BCY and AG, with a minimum AG loss of 2 points. Shoes absorb an 
additional 1 AG point; boots, 2 AG points. All types of armor except 
chain mail have 30% added to their weight; all types of armor except 
plate mail add 1 to the wearer's AG loss, and plate mail doubles its 
AG loss.  

Example: Wearing chain mail armor and seven pounds of clothes and 
boots in water, a man of AG 25 has a total AG loss of 7 points (2 for 
clothes, 2 for boots, and 3 for armor). He also suffers -10 BCY 
(7 + 42 = 49 pounds of weight, divided by 5 = 9.8, rounded up to 10). 
His natural BCY is +1, but the additional 9 AG points applied to BCY 
gives him a net result of 0 BCY. With 7 AG points already lost, that 
leaves him with 9 AG points to spare. He can easily apply 1 AG point 
to moving the weight he's carrying and 6 AG points to swimming, no 
matter what his Swimming Rank is. He even has a total of 8 AG points 
for combat (his 9-point reserve minus 1 point needed to keep the 
burden he's carrying in motion). 

With only AG 16, he would have enough points to keep afloat, but not 
enough to   swim even one stroke. How long he could float like that, 
or whether he could unburden himself, would depend on GM discretion. 
With only AG 15, he couldn't even float. He'd sink at a rate of TMR 1, 
starting the moment he entered the water. 

If two men grapple in the water (two combatants, or a drowning victim 
clutching in panic at his rescuer), all of their AG points are 
absorbed in combat and cannot be used for BCY. (The same is true of a 
man who is entangled.) Men in this condition rise or sink according to 
their combined BCY, with -2 BCY added to their total to account for 
the effects of mutual awkwardness in water. 

Normal exertion 
Time spent active in water is always costly in Fatigue points for a 
landsman. Whenever a character spends a significant portion of any 
given hour in water (see 82.1, paragraph 3), consult the Fatigue and 
Encumbrance Chart (82.9) as though he had been carrying 60 pounds of 
weight for a full hour, and charge him the appropriate number of FT 
points. The exercise rate should be read as one level higher than the 
same exercise on land. (In lieu of assigning it a higher rate, the 
cost of strenuous exercise is doubled.) 

This does not include the FT cost of anything being carried, pushed, 
or towed in water for a significant amount of time. Determine this 
cost separately, again at a rate one level higher than on land. 

Exceeding the limits 
Up to this point, the life of a Swimmer or Diver is relatively easy 
and uncomplicated. As long as he stays within his limits (and out of 
the reach of the nasties, he doesn't have much to worry about. But if 
he wants to complicate matters, he can exceed his limits -- for a price. 

1.If a character dives past his Rank limit, he immediately expends 
1 FT penalty point for every 5 feet that he exceeds it by. 

2. If a character exceeds his sprint limit, he immediately expends 
1 FT point for every 5 yards (+5 per Rank), or portion thereof, that 
he exceeds his limit. 

3. During the tactical stage (rule 80.0, section 3), a character may 
double his TMR for a number of pulses equal to his Swimming Rank. To 
do this, he must have enough free AG points to account for the extra 
speed (at the usual AG cost for his Rank). He must also pay 1 FT point 
per 1/2 TMR of extra speed, payable every 10 pulses, or portion thereof, 
spent at extra speed. Underwater, the FT penalty is payable every 5 
pulses, or portion thereof. This burst of extra speed is possible only 
once per sprint or dive. 

4. A character may exceed his underwater time by a number of pulses 
equal to one half of his Willpower (rounding down), at a cost of 1 FT 
point every third pulse. The first FT penalty point is lost on the 
first Willpower pulse. If the character is not able to take a breath 
by the time these pulses are used up, he immediately begins to drown. 

5. In addition, whenever a surface dweller dives past 33 feet, he 
immediately loses 1 FT penalty point. Another point is lost going past 
66 feet, and another going past 99 feet. FT penalty losses due to 
these five causes are cumulative during a single sprint or dive. (A 
sprint is ended when at least 3 pulses are spent at rest; a dive, when 
the character resurfaces.) If a character accumulates FT penalties 
greater than one-third of his original Endurance level (rounding 
down), the effect is the same as if he had suffered these losses due 
to a wound (rule 19, paragraph 2): the character is immediately 
stunned and begins to drown if still in the water. Fortunately, so 
long as the character doesn't incur the drowning penalty, FT losses 
due to these five causes are fairly easy to recover -- unlike normal 
FT losses, which aren't. Once the character is able to spend time 
resting totally out of the water, his rate of recovery is determined 
by dividing his normal FT level by his Swimming Rank (rounding up). 
The result is the number of pulses of rest it takes him to recover 
each FT penalty point. (FT points lost to causes other than these 
five cannot be recovered in this fashion.) Females recover FT penalty 
points as if they were one Swimming Rank higher than their current 
level. A character has one hour to recover FT penalties; all 
unrecovered points after that time become normal FT losses that will 
have to be recovered in the normal fashion. FT penalty points are 
treated as lost points for all purposes until they are recovered. If 
a character hyperventilates for a full dive, but only dives for 70% 
or less of his allotted underwater time, 1 FT point lost during that 
dive is automatically restored at the end of the dive. Also note that 
a character can exceed his TMR limit while descending, without 
penalty, by making a sounding dive. This is only possible at Swimming 
Rank 8 or higher. The technique is to float on the surface at 0 BCY, 
often while using a diving mask and snorkel to observe below. When the 
character wants to make an extra-rapid dive, he jackknifes in the 
water, throws his feet into the air, and descends at TMR 3 (for males) 
or TMR 2 (for females). Hyperventilation cannot be used with a 
sounding dive. Even the number of FT points a character has can be 
exceeded (as in rule 82.6), but for a character in water, this is dire 
danger. The character may expend "phantom" FT points up to one-half of 
his initial FT points (rounding down) in aquatic activity. In the 
pulse in which the last phantom point is expended, he immediately 
collapses. These phantom FT points must be "restored" by sleeping 1 
hour per 2 points, and only when this is completed can the character 
begin restoring real FT points. (By now, FT penalty points have become 
normal FT losses, of course.) For  rule 82.6, paragraph 3, 1 phantom 
FT point equals one half-hour of exhaustion. 

Drowning is the greatest danger a character faces in the water. 
Aquatic enemies may or may not be present in any given situation, but 
wherever there is water, there is the danger of drowning. 

For game purposes, drowning is a process of Fatigue and Endurance 
point loss. In the pulse a character is declared to be drowning, he 
loses 1 FT point, and then continues to lose 1 FT point every pulse 
thereafter. When he has lost all FT points, he is stunned. In the 
following pulse, EN point loss begins at the rate of 1 point per 
pulse. When all EN points are gone, the character is dead. 

Once drowning has begun, the process continues until it is 
corrected by direct action, or until the character dies. 

Drowning may result from several things. Whenever a character 
underwater uses up all his breath time, including his extra Willpower 
pulses, he is declared to be drowning. Swim rate is reduced to 1/3 TMR 
(plus BCY ascent rate), and the character immediately makes a 
Willpower test to see if he panics. If he rolls equal to or less than 
(Willpower x 4), he retains his self-control and can continue to help 
himself (by releasing his weight belt if he hasn't already done so, 
for example). If he rolls higher, he panics and can no longer help 

A character who is stunned in or under the water is also declared to 
be drowning. He cannot recover from being stunned or panicked until 
after the drowning process is stopped (presuming he's rescued). 

Panic may result from anything that would cause panic on land (see 
rule 64.1, for example). When consulting the Fright Table (44.8) for 
characters in water, any result from 26-95 should be considered as 
panic only -- use the 26-76 explanation (recognizing that in water a 
panicked, drowning victim is virtually immobilized). All panicked 
victims begin to drown. 

In addition, a Rank 0 Swimmer who (voluntarily or involuntarily) 
enters a free body of water up to neck level makes an immediate 
Willpower check. If no fright occurs, a further WP check is made 
every 30 seconds the swimmer remains in the water at that depth, or 
whenever an event occurs that would frighten him (such as a splash 
sending water over his head). If fright occurs, consult the Fright 
Table, with 01-20 as given and 21 + as a panic reaction. 

Rescue and recovery 
To rescue a drowning victim, the rescuer must come into close contact 
and execute a successful restrain action (16.5) on the victim. A 
victim who is either stunned or not panicking presents no problems 
(use the PS and AG of the rescuer, x 3, only), and the victim can be 
pulled to safety at � TMR (if rescuer has a Swimming Rank from 1-7) 
or 1 TMR (if rescuer has a Swimming Rank from 8-20). 

A panicked victim, however, will attempt to grapple (16.3) any rescuer 
who comes within range and sight. If the grapple action succeeds, the 
rescuer must attempt to break the victim's hold, or both may sink (see 
Buoyancy, above). To lessen this risk, two rescuers may make a 
combined restrain attempt on a panicked victim. 

An unstunned victim may also attempt a self-rescue by using a grapple 
action to seize a rope, branch, floating log, bush, or some other 
object that is within reach and sight, and pull himself to safety. 
Base chance of the grapple is determined as if the object were a 
person with PS 0 and FT 0 (see 17.6, Strike Chance Modifiers). A 
panicked victim suffers a -10 penalty to his base chance. 

Only when the drowning victim reaches or is brought to a place of 
safety -- essentially, out of the water, though the GM may rule a 
character halfway up on a log or rock to be considered safe -- can an 
attempt be made to end the drowning process. 

Every Swimmer and Diver learns lifesaving techniques when he learns to 
swim, and improves them as his Swimming Rank increases. Therefore, the 
rescuer with the highest Swimming Rank should make the primary 
lifesaving attempt. The base chance for this is the total of the 
victim's remaining FT and EN points at the moment of the attempt, plus 
(the rescuer's Swimming Rank x 3). If a D100 roll is equal to or less 
than the base chance,  drowning stops at once. If not, drowning 
continues, but further attempts may be made every pulse until the 
victim is saved or dies. If more than one rescuer is present, a second 
rescuer may assist by adding his (Swimming Rank x 2) to the base 
chance. (An unstunned victim who is not panicking may add his 
unmodified Swimming Rank to that of a single rescuer.) 

An unstunned victim who has performed a self-rescue may attempt a 
self-save by adding his unmodified Swimming Rank to his remaining FT 
and EN points; a panicked victim uses only his FT and EN points. The 
self-save attempt may be repeated only until the character becomes 

If the victim is under the Spell of Flotation (41.G-4), the extra 
Willpower pulses added to his breath time are increased by 50%, and 
his chance of resisting panic is increased by the strength of the 
spell (base increase of 5, plus 1 per mage's Rank). All rescue and 
lifesaving attempts (both by himself and others) also benefit by the 
strength of the spell. (Attempts by a panicked victim to grapple 
rescuers are reduced by the strength of the spell -- the magic helps 
its target in spite of himself.) 

In the pulse that a lifesaving attempt succeeds, all FT and EN losses 
end. Panicked victims will not resist lifesaving, though they may 
have resisted rescue, and panic ends in the pulse that lifesaving 
succeeds. Beginning with this pulse, stunned  victims may attempt to 
recover from stun (see rule 19). 

Once the drowning victim has been saved, recovery of FT and EN points 
lost due to near-drowning depends on the victim's fitness, as measured 
by his Swimming Rank. First, lost EN points are recovered at a rate of 
2 per Rank for every six hours the victim sleeps. Once that process is 
completed and all EN points lost due to near drowning are recovered, 
then FT points lost due to near-drowning are recovered at a rate of 2 
per Rank every hour the victim rests. If no EN points were lost, FT 
recovery may begin at once. 

New weapons and basic goods 
The following items should be added to the weapons and goods lists: 
Diving knife: 14 oz., PS 7, MD 11, base chance 50, damage modifier +1, 
range P (not weighted for throwing), Class A, use MC, cost 12. Skill 
Ranks with daggers apply. 

Diver's safety line: 150 ft. long, 15 lbs., 15 SPs. 

Diving goggles: 9 oz., 15 SPs. 

Diving mask: 16 oz., 30 SPs. 

Snorkel tube: 12 oz., 2 SPs. Used to breathe while floating facedown 
in water. Sounding dives will not dislodge it. Be sure to clear it of 
water before each use. 

Weight belts: 5-pound type, 3 SPs; 10- pound type, 4 SPs; 15-pound 
type, 5 SPs. Belts have quick-loose ties and should be put on last 
when donning diving gear so that they can be released without trouble 
during emergencies. 

Flotation (air) bags: 1-pound size, 2 SPs. 

Diver's net sack: 8 oz., 1 SP. Since water flows through the fine, cut- 
resistant mesh, the sack never adds + BCY beyond whatever is placed 
inside. It has a drawstring closure. 

Diver's belt: 12 oz., 4 SPs. Belt has sewn pouches for items small 
enough to pass through the mesh of a diver's net sack, and it also 
has loops for carrying tools and weapons. 

Calf sheath: 8 oz., 2 SPs. Used for carrying a diving knife (only) at 
the calf; can be used on either leg. 

Remember that the gear that a diver actually wears is made for 
underwater use and never imposes BCY or AG penalties on the wearer -- 
except for weight belts, which affect BCY. 

A final word: These rules are designed for a Mediterranean-style 
climate. If campaigns are to occur in cold Northern waters, be 
prepared to add warm clothing -- longjohns, for example (of the 
waterproof sort) -- to the basic goods list. 

In real life, the hallmark of the good swimmer or diver is caution. 
Wisdom dictates that he knows his limits and that he doesn't go beyond 
them. Hopefully, that principle has come across in this article. If a 
Swimmer or Diver stays within his limits, he can collect all the 
rewards of the Deep and perhaps suffer none of its penalties. 

-- Paul Montgomery Crabaugh 
(Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine, May 1985, pg. 28) 

For a fuller background 
   Heritage in the DRAGONQUEST game 

by Paul Montgomery Crabaugh 

Sooner or later, either as a player of the DRAGONQUEST game or as a 
referee, you're going to encounter a character whose background gives 
you considerable pause: a halfling member of the greater nobility, 
perhaps, or an elf whose family are peasants -- or maybe a fire giant 
descended from pirates. 

To be sure, in the Heritage section of the rules (Section 8), it 
states that for nonhumans, the social status role will give the 
equivalent ranking in human society, and that the referee and the 
player should work out the details of the character's standing in his 
or her own society. Not to put too fine a point on it, poppycock. The 
player typically doesn't know enough about the campaign background to 
boldly make statements concerning the society of the nonhuman races, 
and the referee -- particularly if confronted by a large and/or 
changing cast of players -- very likely doesn't have the time to give 
lectures on culture to individual players. 

A faster, more efficient way to preclude some of the odder 
combinations of race and heritage is to revise the Social Status 
Table (8.1) to key it by race. Incidentally, this provides a chance to 
add a couple of common-in-fiction backgrounds that got left off. The 
result is Table 8. lb, which accompanies this article. This also calls 
for some minor modifications to the Order of Birth Table (8.2), as 
well as the Money Multiplier. And as long as I've got everyone's 
attention, we'll add something new: an Experience Modifier. (This 
should not be confused with the Experience Multiple from 6.3.) When 
the player is consulting Table 8.5 to determine the character's 
initial allotment of experience points, that allotment should be 
multiplied by the Experience Modifier listed in Table 8.2b (also 
contained herein). This reflects the fact that people growing up in 
different backgrounds will tend to learn more or less the ways of the 
world because of those backgrounds. 

One last thing: I've always been troubled by the image of, say, the 
triumphant entry of the Prince into his realm, accompanied by the 
throng madly screaming, "Long live the Greater Nobility.!" It seems 
like there should be some titles to go along with Greater and Lesser 
Noble social classes. And so, if your character is of those social 
classes, consult Table 8.9 (Noble Ranks) and roll 1D10 to determine 
the exact title you come with. The title is assumed to be inactive, 
for whatever reason: plague, war, exile, poor prospects, and so forth. 
If both the player and the referee are agreeable, adventures might be 
built around an attempt to regain the lands and status of the title. 

The upshot of all these changes should be that your DRAGONQUEST game 
characters will be more clearly positioned with respect to the society 
they'll probably be outcasts from anyway. . . . 

TABLE 8.1b                                                     Shape 
Social Class     Human  Halfling  Elf   Dwarf   Orc    Giant   Changer 
Barbarian        01-10     -       -      -    01-20   01-20    01-15 
Slave            11-18   01-05     -    01-05  21-30     -      16-25 
Woods Dweller      -       -     01-45    -      -       -        - 
Miner              -       -       -    06-35    -       -        - 
Peasant          19-25   06-15     -      -    31-40   21-30    26-35 
Farmer           26-31   16-35     -      -      -     31-50    36-45 
Townsman         32-38   36-55     -    36-40    -       -        - 
Soldier          39-46     -       -    41-50  41-50     -        - 
Craftsman        47-53   56-75   46-65  51-65    -     51-65      - 
Adventurer       54-63   76-85   66-85  66-75  51-60   66-75    46-65 
Bandit           64-70     -       -    76-80  61-75   76-90    66-80 
Pirate           71-77     -       -      -    76-85     -      81-85 
Merchant         78-84   86-95     -    81-85  86-95     -      86-95 
Merchant Prince  85-88     -       -      -      -       -        - 
Lesser Nobility  89-97   96-00   86-95  86-95  96-00   91-95    96-00 
Greater Nobility 98-00     -     96-00  96-00    -     96-00      - 

TABLE 8.2b 
Social Class    Money   Experience   Bastard   Legitimate   First 
Barbarian         2        1.2        01-10      11-85      86-00 
Slave             1        0.9        01-25      26-95      96-00 
Woods Dweller     4        1.0        01-10      11-80      81-00 
Miner             7        1.0        01-05      06-85      86-00 
Peasant           2        0.8        01-30      31-85      86-00 
Farmer            4        0.9        01-17      18-81      82-00 
Townsman          5        1.0        01-13      14-92      93-00 
Soldier           5        1.1        01-13      14-92      93-00 
Craftsman         5        1.0        01-13      14-92      93-00 
Adventurer        5        1.2        01-13      14-92      93-00 
Bandit            8        1.2        01-15      16-90      91-00 
Pirate            8        1.2        01-15      16-90      91-00 
Merchant          6        1.0        01-20      21-89      90-00 
Merchant Prince   10       0.9        01-24      25-87      88-00 
Lesser Nobility   5        0.8        01-27      28-96      97-00 
Greater Nobility  10       0.7        01-35      36-98      99-00 

TABLE 8.9 

Noble Titles 

Roll  Lesser Noble            Greater Noble. 

1-5   Knight (Sir/            Marques 
      Lady)                   (Marchioness) 
6-8   Baron (-ess)            Duke (Duchess) 
9-10  Count (-ess)            Prince (-ss) 

### End of DragonQuest Newsletter v8/n04 -- 2003