Thursday, August 28, 2014

Drowning Rules for 5e D&D

What, no drowning rules for 5e? Well, okay, here's a first pass at falling into the water unexpectedly with armor on:

Heavy Armor

Immediately start sinking. Lose any carried shields and weapons. Out of action or sight for 1d4 minutes as you struggle not to drown: Make 3 successful (your choice) Strength or Dexterity Saving Throws (DC 15) before 3 failed ones to remove armor and swim back to the surface before running out of breath.*

Medium Armor

Roll a d10 to see how many pieces of armor need to be removed before you can stay afloat. Make a Strength Saving Throw (DC 10) each round to stay on the surface. On a success, you can take no other actions besides shouting and stowing a weapon or removing a piece of armor. Failed save means you go under for 2d6 rounds, lose any still-carried shields or weapons, and must make a single successful Strength or Dexterity Saving Throw (DC 15) before 3 failed ones to remove the rest of your armor and make it back to the surface in 1 minute.

Light Armor

Make a single Strength Saving Throw (DC 10) to get your bearings and stay afloat. Failure means you go under for 1d6 rounds, losing any carried shields or weapons and must make a single Strength or Dexterity Saving Throw (DC 15) before 3 failed ones to avoid drowning. Complicated actions or damage taken may require further Saving Throws.

Rough water adds 5 to all DCs. Flotsam or other floating items (like a wooden shield) grant advantage to saves to stay afloat.

Prepared Swimming is significantly more lenient.

Lava Rules apply (you fall in lava, you die, no save).

*Per Suffocation Rules (p. 183) character can hold breath 1+(con bonus) minutes and it takes 5 minutes to take Heavy Armor off. These are a loose melding of these two rules.