A while ago I posted a compilation of methods and tools for underwater adventuring. In this post, I’ll add a few items and artifacts that further help with that or that make sense as possessions for underwater people. This is a grab-bag article without much direction, but I hope it will be useful nonetheless.
Any drinkable concoction (including magic potions) might be made as a solid pill instead. Pills tend to be round, thumbnail sized, hard, and meant to be swallowed whole. Pills are popular with alchemists and herbalists who don’t have a line to a crystal vial supplier, and with underwater civilizations since liquid potions don’t really work there.
A pill costs the same as the equivalent liquid potion. It’s waterproof and not at risk of breaking from falls and the like, but it also can’t be put into bandoliers for easy access during combat. Dry-swallowing a pill during a fight requires either two Ready maneuvers or a single maneuver and a HT roll.
You can put each of your pills into a separately-purchased crystal vial (DF1 p. 111) in order to have them in your potion belt, but that does add an extra Ready maneuver to the process of ingesting it since you have to open the vial first.
Elixir of Water Breathing
This alchemical elixir can be found on GURPS Magic, and is “reprinted” here with additional options. It’s a drinkable potion that lets you breathe underwater as if you had Gills for 1d hours.
The GM rolls the die in secret when you drink it, and you remain unaware of how long you have… until 5 minutes before that time expires, when you get an instinctive mental warning that you only have 5 minutes left.
GMs who dislike the randomness can set a fixed duration based on how much they want their PCs to spend on these potions. I suggest from 1 to 3 hours.
Purely aquatic people can instead get Elixirs of Air Breathing for the same price and with the equivalent effect for air. Both variants are very likely to be found in pill form (see above).
In all cases, the potion is $600, 0.25kg (0.5 lbs).
Coral Items (+4 CF)
Coral is a new implausible material: items made from it have a somewhat porous texture but are covered in intricate natural patterns of bright colors. Coral comes in rough or polished varieties, though both cost the same. Surfacers value it because it’s pretty, underwater civilizations value it for its incidental properties.
Coral items can be made without fire, though they do require special magic and techniques known to underwater armorers. They also have neutral buoyancy: their weight does not count towards Encumbrance when determining the user’s penalty to Swimming. Anything that’s usually made of metal or wood can be made of coral instead. Being made of coral adds +4 CF to the item’s total cost.
Artifact: Atlantean Armbands
This is a pair of gilded orichalcum armbands decorated with reliefs of sharks and other marine creatures. The Atlantean Armbands were said to be a gift of the gods to a human hero destined to become the queen of a great underwater nation. That did indeed happen, and since all of the queen’s descendants were born with the ability to live underwater the armbands became honored museum pieces.
That ancient empire has long since fallen to the tides of history, so who knows where these artifacts might surface next?
- Sell Price: $50.000.
- Weight: 0.5kg (1 lb) for the pair.
- Power Item Capacity: 20 FP.
When worn (one in each arm), they allow the wielder to freely breathe and move underwater as if they had the Gills and Amphibious traits.
If used as power items, any FP from the armbands that’s spent on the Swim and Breathe Water spells is worth double the energy.
Some legends tell of another pair of armbands, of silver-plated orichalcum and decorated with land-animal motifs, that would allow an aquatic wearer to breathe air and walk on land, assuming a humanoid form if necessary. These were created by an evil but powerful witch for a mermaid that wanted to walk among humans, and are Druidic in origin.
Instead of armbands, you could have rings, piercings, or amulets with the same enchantments.