A character can hold his/her breath provided he/she succeeds in a dice roll against his/her ST + Swimming (including Holding breath specialism), every five seconds that he/she holds his/her breath.
The difficulty value for the dice roll depends on how long he/she has been holding his/her breath, how active he/she has been while doing so. The basic difficulty is zero, but this increases by:
The character gains a modifier to his/her basic value based on how much preparation he/she had before starting holding his/her breath, as follows:
|No preparation - no time to catch extra breath||+0|
|Able to take a breath before starting to hold breath||+2|
|Hyperventilating for a minute before holding breath||+4|
|Hyperventilating for 10 minutes before holding breath||+6|
|Hyperventilating for 30 minutes before holding breath||+8|
For example, Roger is an expert swimmer with a Swimming score of 5 and a ST of +1/2. He does not specialise in holding his breath. He wants to make a dive and so takes a deep breath and then dives. His basic value of holding his breath is 5+1/2+2 = 7 1/2, which gives him a certain dice roll result of 7. While swimming, the difficulty of the dice roll increases by one per five seconds, so he will automatically be able to hold his breath for 80 seconds. After that, the difficulty will be 8 (and get progressively higher), and so he will have a chance of failing to hold his breath.
A character who is underwater and fails to hold his/her breath (assuming that he/she cannot breathe water) will take drowning damage. This drowning damage starts as a Scratch, but then gets one wound level worse every five seconds, until the character is rescued or dies. Armour and magical protections will not help against this drowning damage.