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Old 11-08-2014, 01:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: South Dakota, USA
Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#18): Breath-Holding; Doesn't Breathe; Filter Lungs

Last Week: Brachiator; Clinging; Super Climbing
Next Week: Catfall; Super Jump

Breath-Holding [2/level] (p. B41) is an Exotic, Physical Advantage that doubles the length of time that a character with it can hold its breath (see p. B351). For "normal" humans, a player should just take the Breath Control Skill (p. B182), a HT/Hard skill that (with a successful roll) allows you to regain one FP in only two minutes (doesn't stack with spells that restore FP) or what is pertinent to this discussion, allows the character to hold its breath for 50% longer than normal. Those that can take this Advantage and can learn Skills can combine Breath Holding with Breath Control. In 3e, GURPS Compendium I p. 21 lists Breath-Holding as a Mundane Advantage; one that might not be common place or realistic but which didn't automatically make the possessor supernatural, superhuman or require they be a non-human. It was priced and functioned the same in 3e, other than being available for normal humans, but flat out states that it is inappropriate to allow a normal human more than a level or two unless the campaign is "very cinematic". This Kromm quote suggests that a "half-level" (increasing breath-holding time by 50%) might be an appropriate Unusual Training Perk (in context, for representing Yoga as a Martial Art).

Doesn't Breathe [20] (p.49) is also a Physical, Exotic Advantage that might be thought of as the ultimate extension of Breath Holding as it actually eliminates a target's need breathe or requirement for oxygen. Benefits of this are that you won't be harmed by attempted strangulation or inhaled toxins (well, at least the parts relevant to breathing). A parenthetical note indicates strangulation won't silence you, which I take it means you don't technically "speak" the way a normal person does. What Doesn't Breathe doesn't protect against are the effects of contact poisons, pressure and vacuum, though other Advantages exist to handle those and can be combined with Doesn't Breathe.

Filter Lungs [5] (p.55) is our third Physical, Exotic Advantage today and it indicates a respiratory system capable of handling ordinary contaminants without ill effect like dust, pollen or smoke. It even offers protection from tear gas but not nerve gas or other contact agents.

Doesn't Breathe has several specific Limitations, some of which reflect old 3e Advantages that (as someone that is more familiar with 3e than 4e) I believe make more sense being handled this way than as separate traits. Gills allows you to extract oxygen from water and renders you immune to "the bends" and strangulation, but you still suffocate if the water you are in contains no dissolved oxygen. The price for this varies; if you can't breathe any other way (and so would suffocate in air the way a normal human would underwater) then it is a 0-point feature; if you can breathe air as well then it is worth -50%. With no other Modifiers, that results in a 10 point cost, the same as it was priced in Compendium I on p. 56.

Oxygen Absorption (-25%) is an improved form of Gills: you still need oxygen but absorb it through the surface of your body whatever state said oxygen is in; your body won't absorb poisonous gases (it doesn't state about liquids or other mediums) but you once again will suffocate if there is no oxygen present. The Advantage assumes you still have working lungs and thus you can use breathing equipment, though you cannot have the Sealed Advantage. Yet a third variant is Oxygen Combustion (-50%): you can't breathe where fire can't burn but otherwise function as if you had Oxygen Absorption.

The final variant is Oxygen Storage (varies), which was a separate "Racial and Super" Advantage in 3e (found on Compendium I p.62) where it was worth 14 points. In 4e it can represent actual Oxygen Storage (like a whale) or some other exotic (for humans) trait, like superior blood oxygenation and unlike the Breath-Holding Advantage, you are again completely immune to "the bends" but only for the duration for which the Advantage applies. The percentage of the discount depends upon how long the character can hold out: 25 times as long is worth -50%, while 50 times as long is worth -40%, 100 times as long is worth -30%, 200 times as long is worth -20% and 300 times as long is worth -10%. 100 times as long without any other Modifiers results in the same 14 point value as the 3e version.

Related Traits and Skills
Power-Ups 2: Perks contains Pressure-Tolerant Lungs in the Exotic section; this nifty trait allows your lungs to function with either a thinner or thicker atmosphere. Power-Ups 3: Talents has multiple options that might apply assuming Breath-Holding, Doesn't Breathe or Filter Lungs are a Power based on an appropriate source the Talent affects, but that can vary both from setting to setting and character to character. There is one Talent with an Alternate Benefit that is actually relevant: Natural Diver adds HT for determining how long you can hold your Breathe and to avoid the bends.
1) Have you or someone you've gamed with used any of these traits, and if so how did they work out? Did they seem appropriate priced for what they did?
2) Are there any areas of these traits you find confusing? I personally felt like I was missing some sentences somewhere that would make things flow a little more smoothly.
3) Anything I missed, like a trait that should have been included or some piece of RAW or anything else closely related to the discussed traits?
My GURPS Fourth Edition library consists of Basic Set: Characters, Basic Set: Campaigns, Martial Arts, Powers, Powers: Enhanced Senses, Power-Ups 1: Imbuements, Power-Ups 2: Perks, Power-Ups 3: Talents, Power-Ups 4: Enhancements, Power-Ups 6: Quirks, Power-Ups 8: Limitations, Powers, Social Engineering, Supers, Template Toolkit 1: Characters, Template Toolkit 2: Races, one issue of Pyramid (3/83) a.k.a. Alternate GURPS IV, GURPS Classic Rogues, and GURPS Classic Warriors. Most of which was provided through the generosity of others. Thanks! :)

Last edited by Otaku; 11-22-2014 at 09:17 AM.
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advantage, advantage of the week, breath-holding, doesn't breathe, filter lungs, [basic]

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