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Tywyll

Swimming...how does it work

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Swimming and holding your breath are two different things. Swimming is like running; it's the movement of how far you can swim on top or under the water. To my knowledge, nothing in the rules suggests preventing you from taking a Post-12 recovery when swimming on the water so yes, you can swim a long time. However, when you swim underwater, unless you have some form of life support/can breathe water, you have to hold your breath or drown.

 

When you hold your breath, you must expend (minimum) 1 End per Phase with no Post-12 Recoveries. You will run out of END eventually. If you assume a SPD of 6 with END 40, that's 6 End used for holding your breath alone per turn (not even considering combat but let's ignore combat for now). In 6 Turns (a total of 72 segments or 1 minute 12 seconds), you will have used 36 END - you are almost out of END! The average normal person with a SPD 2 and END 20 will last 10 turns (120 segments/seconds or about 2 minutes), the time varying with a persons' physical condition/training. I don't consider this a ridiculous length of time.

 

If I missed something, let us know.

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The International Association for the Development of Apnea, which records all freediving world records, does not allow the use of pure oxygen before a static apnea attempt. The current non-oxygen aided records stand at 11 minutes, 35 seconds for men (Stéphane Mifsud, 2009) and 8 minutes, 23 seconds for women (Natalia Molchanova, 2011).

https://www.outsideonline.com/1784106/how-long-can-humans-hold-their-breath

 

I reckon 2 minutes in a cinematic game looks reasonable, if not slightly stingy.

 

Doc

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3 minutes ago, Doc Democracy said:

https://www.outsideonline.com/1784106/how-long-can-humans-hold-their-breath

 

I reckon 2 minutes in a cinematic game looks reasonable, if not slightly stingy.

 

Doc

That's clearly someone who spent points on END!

 

"Most untrained people can comfortably hold their breath for 30 seconds before gasping. That threshold has little to do with oxygen—your body has plenty of that in reserve. The more dangerous problem is the buildup of carbon dioxide, which acidifies the blood."

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So...I'm not an expert by any means but I do happen to have some actual experience in this area. I grew up in southern Florida on the water, learned to swim before I could walk, and spent a lot of time swimming in my youth. While in the Marines, I easily passed swim qual one (which is the top standard qual level) with no effort at all and was invited to an advanced course. So, take this with a grain of salt, but this is what I remember...

 

It isn't the lack of oxygen that is your initial problem, it's carbon dioxide build up. Most people with a sedentary life style have a surprisingly low tolerance for it and will suffer from this before running out of oxygen. So, if an average non-athletic person with "meh" cardio gets in the water and tries to hold their breath even without swimming...just go under and hold...they might have trouble holding their breath for even a full minute. There is also a psychological aspect...people who haven't made a habit of pushing their body to its limits often think they are capable of less than they are...so our example average breath holder might come up for air before they strictly speaking need to because holding your breath is both uncomfortable and because they are worried they are going to drown...which would tend to push the time lower.

 

But personally I would expect a healthy athletic person with good cardio...a runner, jogger, athlete, etc...to last between a minute and a half to two minutes while swimming underwater, and I would expect an active swimmer who has made a practice of extending their ability to stay under to last longer. 

 

YMMV

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Those divers are just plain superhuman! I'm a pretty fit guy for my age - whenever I go swimming (which most recently has been in the Balearic, Adriatic, and Aegean seas) I have found that in recent years, the increased salinity of the Med in general has meant that in order to dive maybe only 10-15 feet of water to the ocean floor (I swim close to the shore) is a herculean effort. What hurts the most is that in order to go lower, you have to exhale excessively in order to sink down (the buoyancy of the salt is staggering), almost to the point of emptying your lungs. This is self defeating as you then have no spare oxygen to be able to swim and explore whilst down there. In other words, holding your breath is one thing. Holding it whilst exerting yourself is ridiculously hard (and not recommended generally,  but I always like to think of those times when these sort of things might come in useful - and as a firefighter conservation of air is something I practice).

Back to the case in (game) point. Yeah, I agree with Doc that 2 minutes in a *cinematic* game is not unreasonable. There are a good number of films where normals get up to all sorts of shenanigans underwater (rescuing people from sunken vehicles etc), hell, even *seeing* underwater (without goggles), is pretty impossible, but that doesn't make for a good movie.  😉

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Yeah a well-trained, oxygenated person can hold their breath about 2-3 minutes at rest maximum, and that's about what you get with swimming in Hero.  It seems longer mostly because you rarely see anything last longer than a few turns (much less than a minute) when you're keeping close track of time.

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3 hours ago, Tywyll said:

I think its the 'normal' person lasting 2 minutes holding their breath that throws me. That seems super unreasonable!

 

If it helps, when swimming, 1.5 min is right about my limit, but then, I have ridiculously high BP and a bad heart.  The wife and kids exceed the 2 minute mark regularly, often surpassing 3 minutes, and I have to be painfully honest: we're pretty normal.   :lol:

 

Granted, we swim a _lot_, as we live five minutes from the river, and "swimming season" means "not February or March" in these parts. 

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Same here. In my teen years in south Texas, we'd take every chance to go to the pool or to a friend's whose apartment complex had one. Being teens competitions like speed and holding our breaths were common. At my best, I could go just over 3 minutes at rest and do a 100 meters on the bottom in one breath. Hero has this part pretty accurate to real life.

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Yeah I was concerned like the OP when I read how drowning was handled until I sat down with some math and did some research.  Is it strictly realistic for someone doing strenuous activity underwater?  No, but it is at the ragged edge of plausibility, where heroes ought to dwell.

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Well, I just have hold my breath sitting in front of the monitor and could do it for two minutes on the first try. The last 30 seconds were not really comfortable and I was really looking forward to catch my breath again but I have felt that I could last maybe some 10 seconds more if I really had to.

And no - I am not sporty or hero material.

 

And of course, I wasn't exerting myself - just holding my breath and watching the clock hand turning.

So, two minutes seems all right to me and in now way out of the way.

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As a swimmer myself, I can't stay underwater for anywhere near that length of time. Albeit, I'm not a particularly good swimmer nor someone who's had lots of underwater experience. Otherwise I am fit for my age (gym 3 times a week, etc). I couldn't make 2 minutes if my life literally depended on it.

 

And again, all these anecdotes to me don't sound like people who are 'normal'. They all reference people who spend time in and around water, so I would argue on a character sheet they'd have points in swimming/END for swimming only. To me a 'normal' would be someone who doesn't have any particular great experience with or in water. Maybe go to the pool in the summer or whatever. Though I suppose that's a regional thing, isn't it?

 

Also I wouldn't think that 'normal' would be where we would look for the cinematic logic? I mean, most HERO games aren't set playing pure normals, are they? 

 

Okay, that aside...now how does carrying things underwater work? 

 

My players have killed a dragon and are trying to get its treasure. The treasure is down a watery shaft about 31 hexes long. They will need to make several trips to carry the goods out. The question is, can they make the swim carrying the weight? So its 1 END just to move at all. Fair enough. But how do I figure out the encumbrance? Should I use 1 END per 5 STR they exert carrying/wearing their gear, or use the Encumbrance table, or use the Encumbrance Table but base the percentages on the amount of STR they are using to carry the weight?  In other words should they spend 1 END per 5 STR they want to use, and also add the Encumbrance penalties? That seems to match the idea of the difficulty swimming while laden down. 

 

I'm playing Heroic, 5th Edition, but using the Heroic Campaign Str tables from the APG. 

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First off, the only 'gear' they should be carrying/wearing whilst swimming is maybe their loin cloths and a dagger in their teeth. Anything else worn underwater isn't practical. Are there any respites via air pockets or is it fully submerged?

 

If these are 'standard' adventurers there should be at least four of them with 50' rope, right? :) I'd be looking at utilising that (along with good knot-tying skills) and/or seeking out an alchemist for a potion of water breathing!

 

Mechanics wise, yeah add the amount of STR used to the encumbrance if they want to go fishing things out in dribs and drabs. Are they certain that there are no more threats down there?!

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That two minute "normal" is a "fit normal".  The "average normal" has 8's in primary characteristics and 16 END, so assuming he just holds his breath and sits quietly underwater, he spends 2 END per turn, and lasts a bit over a minute and a half. 

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Okay, that aside...now how does carrying things underwater work? 

 

However you want it to.  Its worth considering the encumbrance rules; while water will help the stuff not "weigh" as much by adding buoyancy to many objects, the mass is still constant, and moving that around takes energy.  Enough weight and you're spending extra END every phase just to carry it around, reducing how long you can stay down.

 

Remember, this is a game about heroic figures, not Joe Average.  As Hugh points out, PCs are not Joe Average normal person.

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Just from a dungeon crawl perspective, they shouldn't have to swim while carrying that weight.  31 hexes is like 200 feet.  They should be able to tie some ropes together, run it down the shaft, and tie it to a bag/chest/whatever.  Just stand on one end and pull the stuff through.

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I'm with Massey:  tow it. 

 

As far as weight and encumbrance, etc-  well, those are almost negligible next to the actual _drag_ of the item.  The presenting surfaces will turn any chest into a wall of resistance.  I mean, even an unbuttoned shirt becomes a damned parachute while trying to swim. 

 

 

Going back to arguments about what is or isn't normal, well more than rules or charts or recoveries, it all depends on who gets to decide what normal is, doesn't it?   Live in Nevada?  Nope, normal people probably don't have a lot of experience swimming.  Live in the subtropical regions of the coastal south eastern US?  "normal" people are likely to be swimmers. 

 

You can't average "yes" es and "no" es across the entire population and decide everyone gets a "maybe.". This is just one of those cases where the rules are close enough. 

 

If you want to weight it for a specific region, that's fine, but overall, there's just not enough wrong with it to not use it as-is. 

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Yeah, the rules in general (and End rules specifically) are fairly optimistic on what the "average" person can do.  But I figure you can have a Disadvantage to cover that.  Physical Limitation: Out of Shape.  Maybe certain activities cost extra end, or you can't move as fast, or you only get a recovery every other turn.  Now you're really normal.

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On ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 6:28 AM, Tywyll said:

How does swimming work exactly?

 

Well, usually you kick your legs and paddle your arms to...  Oh, sorry.  Not what you were looking for.  :winkgrin:

 

On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 4:24 AM, Tywyll said:

As a swimmer myself, I can't stay underwater for anywhere near that length of time. Albeit, I'm not a particularly good swimmer nor someone who's had lots of underwater experience. Otherwise I am fit for my age (gym 3 times a week, etc). I couldn't make 2 minutes if my life literally depended on it.

 

And again, all these anecdotes to me don't sound like people who are 'normal'. They all reference people who spend time in and around water, so I would argue on a character sheet they'd have points in swimming/END for swimming only. To me a 'normal' would be someone who doesn't have any particular great experience with or in water. Maybe go to the pool in the summer or whatever. Though I suppose that's a regional thing, isn't it?

 

Also I wouldn't think that 'normal' would be where we would look for the cinematic logic? I mean, most HERO games aren't set playing pure normals, are they? 

 

Okay, that aside...now how does carrying things underwater work? 

 

My players have killed a dragon and are trying to get its treasure. The treasure is down a watery shaft about 31 hexes long. They will need to make several trips to carry the goods out. The question is, can they make the swim carrying the weight? So its 1 END just to move at all. Fair enough. But how do I figure out the encumbrance? Should I use 1 END per 5 STR they exert carrying/wearing their gear, or use the Encumbrance table, or use the Encumbrance Table but base the percentages on the amount of STR they are using to carry the weight?  In other words should they spend 1 END per 5 STR they want to use, and also add the Encumbrance penalties? That seems to match the idea of the difficulty swimming while laden down. 

 

I'm playing Heroic, 5th Edition, but using the Heroic Campaign Str tables from the APG. 

 

On a serious note, as to the "holding breath for 2 minutes" being potentially too long, you should factor in that this assumes that 1 END / phase is the *only* END you're spending.  Keep in mind that a swimmer is typically also spending 1 END per Phase on his Swimming, in addition to the 1 END per Phase for holding his breath.  So even if you go with a 2 SPD, 20 END "normal", that person burns through his entire END in 5 Turns, or 1 Minute, swimming underwater.

 

On the flip side of that, the person can spend STUN as END once he has used up all his END, taking 1d6 per Phase (burning 2 END that he doesn't have).  Assuming that "normal" has 20 STUN, on average he'd be unconscious in 7 Phases, or a bit over another half a minute. 

 

In your example with the heroes trying to cart out treasure underwater, I'd expect each would be spending 3-4 END per Phase (1 for holding his breath, 1 for Swimming, and 1-2 for STR spent carrying stuff), assuming they haven't bought Swimming or STR down to 0 END.

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Google to the rescue: 

https://slate.com/technology/2013/11/nicholas-mevoli-freediving-death-what-happens-to-people-who-practice-holding-their-breath.html

https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/science/how-long-can-a-person-hold-their-breath?page=1

 

BTW: just sitting in my chair doing nothing but surfing the web I get about 45 seconds.  I am a standard overweight geek with almost no exercise.

 

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Guest Usagi
On 11/12/2019 at 6:49 AM, Tywyll said:

I think its the 'normal' person lasting 2 minutes holding their breath that throws me. That seems super unreasonable!

2 minutes is a figure that a lot of people give as an "average."  Most people have trouble holding their breath above water for more than 30 seconds, but there's this thing called the Mammalian Diving Reflex where if your head is submerged in water (it doesn't work if your just stand in water with your head above the water) your brain automatically adjust how it distributes oxygen and greatly expands how long you can hold your breath.

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