|| 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
DRAGON MAGAZINE ARTICLES, INTRO
-- 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.
GOING UP AND GETTING WET
-- 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
GETTING IN OVER YOUR HEAD
-- 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
FOR A FULLER BACKGROUND
-- 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 -
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
Roll Lesser Noble Greater Noble.
1-5 Knight (Sir/ Marques
6-8 Baron (-ess) Duke (Duchess)
9-10 Count (-ess) Prince (-ss)
### End of DragonQuest Newsletter v8/n04 -- 2003