I think in most cases, it’s obvious what happens when you fall in the water: You drown in your chainmail, or you tread water for thirty seconds until fished out, or you’re a Tongan surf hero and you leap out looking like a badass, or whatever.

The problem is, how do you decide who are the surf heroes and who are the guys who drown because they’ve never seen water before?

Whether or not it’s useful depends very much on the campaign you’re running. Ours is on an archipelago, with frequent boat trips, and the question of “can she swim from one boat to the other” has come up a few times.

Also, it’s interesting to note that the armor table has penalties listed for swimming in certain kinds of armor, which suggests the question, penalties to what? Speed or Forte seem like good choices, using a training skill as a basis for whether they even known how.

Was there anything trying to stop her from swimming? Was there any real conflict in her being able to swim between the boats?

This sounds like exactly the same kind of situation that “Roll the dice or say yes” is meant to address.

It was a boat chase scene, with the adventurer in question using the elf invisibility spell and swimming between boats to board it and set up a black powder explosion in the hull. She then wanted to swim away fast enough to not get caught in the resulting explosion.

Would you always say “yes” to that sort of thing? If not, do we then use “Speed” as the right attribute to roll and just assume people know how to swim if it makes sense for them to swim?

I would possibly do the scenes above as

  • Stealthy vs Observation for the infiltration
  • Speed test to get away

and presume the character knows how to swim. If they don’t know how to swim, neither would really be an appropriate test.

That is pretty much what we did.

Now the new book says “+xOB” for swimming wearing armor, though… does that mean, all such tests are at a higher difficulty because of armor?

Also, how would one judge getting tired and drowning if you’re swimming to a distant location or waiting for a boat? Forte checks every so often, with 0 successes meaning drowning?

You can see why, even if swimming isn’t a skill per se, it would still be useful to have a few remarks about it in the book.

My guess would be just one Forte check. Let It Ride and all that.

For me it pretty much falls into the general scope - what is the intent and task, then set an obstacle. The swimming is pretty incidental, really.

It would depend on the situation at hand. Is there any deeper intent besides getting from point A to point B or hanging out for the boat? If not, say yes. If there is, then an obstacle could be set.