Water Breathing: This is a power concept that deals with environmental defense and to a certain extent movement since the primary function of this power is to enable a character to survive and even thrive in water. Water breathing is both immensely powerful and very limited in scope; a Las Vegas campaign may find the Water Breathing power challenging to make a high utility power in scope while in a costal or island based campaign (Florida or Hawaii) may find the power invaluable.
A: In cases where the character is at home and far more powerful in a water environment than in the air is a typical example of this becoming likened to an offense, if they get one or more opponents in the characters favored environment. If the character while under water instantly recovers all power then the character can go through insane amounts of power use limited only by Common sense and GM Fiat.
B: As a defensive concept this is the ability to normally breathe air or water though primarily considered an air breathing creature (or land dweller in most cases). The character does not drown or suffocate in standard liquid environments found on his home planet/location of origin. Typically, there is no differential between salt and fresh water as suitable environments (in part because this power is considered to be a touch under powered/utilized in most campaigns). A defensive option could be to give the character while submerged the Ice defense for free if it is merited and the opponent stays above the surface. Expanded effects could include if the character in question has no need to eat, breathe, excrete etc. in essence the person is a self-contained individual of some sort though there may be a minor, easily sustained need (such as sunlight or low levels of electricity, or just something to breathe without regards to composition).
C:Â Since the character has fairly unlimited underwater capacity, travel by or under water is a significant possibility. With 75% of Earth surface being water this is not an insignificant power, even if 99% of all encounters are on land. There is also the possibility that cold, high pressures, and even freezing temperatures may not have as large of an impact upon the character again increasing number of avenues a character can use over most humans.
D: The power may be expanded by viewing the ability as granting some solutions to the problems of an average human sensory effectiveness for operating in the depths of the ocean as an example. The character may gain some counters to the challenges of the variety of environments the deep sea provides, whether ability to operate in total darkness gained by such things as a limited form of sonar, sensitive eyes, enhanced sense of smell or neuro-electrical senses, nictating membranes and may even have technological counterparts like fish finders, sonar, limited illumination abilities etc.
Examples of Water Breathing Powers (1d10, pick on 10)
- Enhanced Breathing: The character can not only breathe water but can breathe any substance of a gaseous or liquid form. This character is basically immune then to any sort of inhalant gas attack, does not suffer from drowning or suffocation. In most cases the character rarely lacks the ability to gain power while resting and may be depending upon design, unable to be strangled.
- Fish Eyes: Granted this obvious physical power the character can see normally in any dim light except total lightlessness (i.e. darkness) and halving the characters’ penalties for being attacked from the sides yet the disturbing shape of the characters’ eyes causes him to suffer -1d3 Charisma. In land combat, the character gains +1 accuracy/+1d6 in HTH because of his combat effectiveness to counter the increased resistance to attacks under water.
- Gills, Lower: Lower gills are usually found on the back along the approximate lung area for bipedal creatures. When going from water to air the lungs automatically drain just by standing up in air, thus eliminating the need for the character to actively void their lungs; however, it makes it impossible for the character to keep water in his lungs thus if faced with a dangerous gas that does not cross aquatic barriers the lower lung creature would have difficulties an upper gill character could avoid simply by voiding his lungs after passing the barrier. Because of the location of the gills the character has difficulties with wearing any sort of back armor not specifically designed with this problem in mind.
- Gills, Upper: Upper gills are most often found on the neck of sub aquatic humanoids these fill the lungs easily while under water but in order to breathe air the character must void his lungs of water by expending half of his movement to do so while within an appropriate environment. The character may also find certain kinds of neck armor, covering or wear causing the character problems and unlike lower gill breathers this character can still be choked by having his or her neck wrung.
- Rock Claws: In this case, the water breather has some abilities in addition to the enhanced breathing ability. The character possesses strong and natural claws that are excellent for performing certain tasks (holding onto objects with a 50% higher carrying capacity) in addition to providing a combat bonus of +1d4 to hit/+1d8 to damage in Hth and finally the character will never need a nutcracker ever again. This may not be just a genetic modifications or differences but could include Bionical Creativity Engineering and even diving suits or spells of alteration.
- Secret Ocean City: One of the advantages of having a different breathing medium may be the ability to live in places other consider inhospitable for example the bottom of the ocean has a great deal of “ocean front” property for sale, cheap.
- Sonar Sensitive: In addition, the character having the ability to breathe water the character has -2 to be hit under water but takes +1d12 damage from sound based attacks and can operate above or below the water in total darkness with no penalty so long as he or she can hear reasonably well.
- Strong Swimmer: in addition to being able to breathe underwater and in the air with great ease, the Strong Swimmer has 3 Points of invulnerability at sea level and gains a point of Invulnerability for every 50 feet below the surface of the water to a maximum of 10 points of Invulnerability. The character is also much tougher and stronger gaining 2d6 to be split among his Strength and Endurance scores as desired.
- Webbed limbs: in addition to some water breathing abilities the character gains + 2d10x2″ to their swimming speed movement from their anatomical advantages from a human. This difference from the human norm may provide some challenges of its own like finding gloves that fit.
The photograph is one I took of a building on Federal here in Denver that I think I will be using as a Aquatic Research Center of some sort in my Supers Campaign….