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Old 10-04-2014, 06:11 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

Breath Control is the HT/Hard athletic ability to breathe very efficiently. With a successful roll, you can increase the time you can hold your breath by 50% - breath-holding rules are on B351-2 - or recover a fatigue point in two minutes (presumably of rest). The later use can't be combined with magic for restoring fatigue, which would seem to include Recover Energy. Breath Control is a prerequisite for Body Control, and a possible supporting skill for Invisibility Art. While it isn't an esoteric martial arts skill, it's mostly found on characters that have those skills.

I don't usually dig into Pyramid for these posts, but it seemed worth checking "The Last Gasp" from Pyramid #3/44, since that has lots of detail on fatigue points. It reckons Breath Control is a cinematic super-skill, and it certainly is by far the best way of recovering fatigue, if you have high HT and can afford 4 or 8 points for the skill. However, other GURPS books regard it as at least somewhat realistic: GMs may want to slow the fatigue recovery it provides.

Breath Control is found on templates in Dungeon Fantasy, Horror, Madness Dossier, Monster Hunters, SEALS in Vietnam and Supers, and in styles in Gun-Fu, Martial Arts, Gladiators, Yrth Fighting Styles, Power-Ups 1: Imbuements, and Tactical Shooting. Power-Ups 3: Talents has several Talents that include Breath Control.

Bio-Tech allows fatigue losses from mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to be offset entirely with a successful Breath Control roll for each point. Technical Grappling allows Breath Control to be used to halve fatigue damage from choking holds. Chinese Elemental Powers gives +2 to Meditation with successful use of Breath Control, lets it reduce damage from drowning attacks in the same way as Technical Grappling and lets it reduce the time to recover from ability crippling. Gun-Fu and Tactical Shooting make it a supporting skill for Precision Aiming and Underground Adventures makes it a supporting skill for an Escape technique.

What has Breath Control done in your games? Has it been seen as realistic, semi-realistic or cinematic? Should it be merged with Body Control?
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Old 10-04-2014, 06:22 AM   #2
Mailanka
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

Breath Control was actually the reason I adopted the Last Gasp for Cherry Blossom Rain. I felt that Breath Control is very important to the concept of Martial Arts, as breathing is an often ignored element in Eastern martial arts, including Japanese martial arts. So, I wanted to bring Breath Control front and center since I started the campaign, and the Last Gasp finally gave me a way to make it important.

The net effect was very pleasing. Warriors would battle, pause and center their breathing and return to battle again. Masters of breathing and internal martial arts would brim with fatigue and mystical possibilities, while masters of weapon skills and external martial arts would tire quickly and were forced to adopt alternate strategies for victory.

10/10, would use again for a cinematic martial arts game.
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Old 10-04-2014, 06:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
breathing is an often ignored element in Eastern martial arts, including Japanese martial arts.
I rather thought you would have used Breath Control a lot. I've seen characters in other game systems emphasise breathing, even when the game didn't support it.
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Old 10-04-2014, 07:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I rather thought you would have used Breath Control a lot. I've seen characters in other game systems emphasise breathing, even when the game didn't support it.
Ah, I meant "often ignored by game systems" not often ignored by Eastern martial arts.

And yeah, I used Breath Control in CBR even before Last Gasp, but I felt like it didn't have much mechanical punch to it. Last Gasp fixed that element nicely.
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

I think the use of Breath Control to aid Meditation was in LTC1 before CEP.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:36 AM   #6
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

It's been a very long time since I saw it in use. But I'm planning on taking it on my next character, who is very outdoorsy. A 50% chance to recover a FP in a single minute (Very Fit)? Yeah, that does a lot to improve overland hiking speed.
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Old 10-04-2014, 11:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

I used it for a sniper in 3E and just gave +1 to Aiming with it.
I also played a modern day magician type (no magic) who had a high level and used it as background for water traps/ In game its come up mostly for swimming/diving, Insubstantial exploring walls and Stealth.
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Old 10-05-2014, 04:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

Apart from the Madness Dossier templates, the only occurrences on character sheets in my archives are on a pair of snipers (both SF, as it happens, but from different campaigns).

I don't tend to run games in which athleticism is at a premium, but that FP thing is worth thinking about.
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Old 10-08-2014, 02:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I think the use of Breath Control to aid Meditation was in LTC1 before CEP.

Bill Stoddard
If anything, the problem is the other way around: Meditation is generally a point sink unless your character uses it to power supernatural abilities. Maybe Meditation should aid pragmatic rolls against Breath Control?
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Old 10-08-2014, 12:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Breath Control

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
If anything, the problem is the other way around: Meditation is generally a point sink unless your character uses it to power supernatural abilities. Maybe Meditation should aid pragmatic rolls against Breath Control?
I consider the only realistic applications of meditation to BE breath control; relaxation and focus. Breathing more efficiently is silly. It's not a skill any more than digestion is.
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