A Path to Steam
This is the skill of swimming (whether on purpose or to keep afloat in emergencies) and lifesaving. Roll against the higher of Swimming or HT to avoid fatigue while swimming or
injury due to aquatic misfortunes. When racing someone of equal water Move, roll a Quick Contest of Swimming to determine the winner. See Swimming (p. 354).
Note that Swimming does not cover high diving – that’s Sports (Diving).
Unless you are Amphibious (p. 40) or Aquatic (p. 145), you must roll against Swimming skill (p. 224) any time you enter water over your head. Swimming defaults to HT-4. Roll
when you first enter the water, and again every five minutes.
Modifiers: +3 if you entered the water intentionally; a penalty equal to twice your encumbrance level (e.g., Heavy encumbrance gives -6); +1 if you are Overweight, +3 if Fat, or +5 if Very Fat (see Build, p. 18).
On a failure, you inhale water! Lose 1 FP and roll again in five seconds – and so on, until you drown, are rescued (see Lifesaving, below), or make a successful Swimming roll and get your head above water. If you successfully recover, roll again in one minute; if you succeed, go back to making rolls five minutes apart. Yes, you can shout for help!
You may try to get rid of armor, etc. after making your first successful Swimming roll. Roll vs. DX for each item you try to remove; roll at -4 to remove shields, helmets, or torso armor. A failed roll means you inhale water, with penalties as above.
Once you reach 0 FP, you must make a Will roll every second or fall unconscious, and are likely to die unless you are rescued. See Suffocation (p. 436) for details.
Land-dwellers such as humans have water Move equal to Basic Move/5 (round down), although it is possible to modify this slightly; see Move in Other Environments (p. 18).
Minimum water Move for such characters is 1 yard/second.
Amphibious and Aquatic beings have water Move equal to their full Basic Move.
When swimming long distances, use a 10-second time scale. The number of yards you can swim in 10 seconds is equal to 10 times your water Move, modified downward for
encumbrance (see Encumbrance and Move, p.17). For instance, water Move 1 and Heavy encumbrance would let you swim four yards in 10 seconds.
After every minute of top-speed swimming, roll against the higher of HT or Swimming skill. On a failure, you lose 1 FP. Once you are reduced to less than 1/3 your FP, halve your water Move; see Fatigue (p. 426).
If you are swimming slowly, or just staying afloat, make this roll every 30 minutes.
You can use the Swimming skill to rescue a drowning person. Make a Swimming roll at -5, plus or minus the difference in ST between you and the person you are rescuing. If the players think of good lifesaving techniques, the GM may give them a bonus to this roll.
On a failure, you inhale water and lose 1 FP, but may try again after one minute. On a critical failure, the victim nearly drowned you! This costs 6 FP, and you must break off the rescue attempt.