Swimming in the 17th century is a rare ability. Most characters able to swim will gain the ability through the character background generator, through their abilities or because their fathers were fishermen, sailors, boatmen, explorers, shipwrights or buccaneers. Some characters, particularly druids and fighter classes specializing in waterborne adventuring, will be able to swim through their sage abilities.
Swimming is not possible while more than more than 5% encumbered – clothing and magic armor (which still has weight) must be considered in all calculations. More than 5% encumbrance will drag creatures below the water surface, making it impossible to breathe.
The table on the right indicates the water speeds for medium-sized humanoids swimming with free hands and feet (see link). Sprinting indicates the speed that can sustained for a maximum distance of 3 hexes per point of constitution. Sustained indicates the speed that can be managed for a distance of 20 hexes per point of constitution. Exhausted shows the distance that can be covered thereafter.
Sustained swimming with a strength of 3 or less or exhausted swimming requires a constitution check once the character has covered the maximum distance indicated for six rounds (a 18 strength character would cover 10 hexes in six rounds). The time between constitution checks can be extended by swimming slower than this distance, but a speed of at least 2/3 hexes/round is the minimum forward speed. The distance between constitution checks cannot be extended. Failing this check will indicate that the humanoid’s lung capacity/heart/muscles have given out, whereupon the character will slip helplessly below the surface of the water, unable to continue swimming.
Humanoids that are naked and greased may increase their sprinting speeds and endurance (potential distance) by 10%. Transformations that provide fins, flippers or webbed-fingers can increase all speeds and endurance by 30%. Gills or water breathing can increase maximum distances by 100%.
Swimming distances should be adjusted where currents and river flow affect freedom of travel.
Travel speeds will also be affected by wind. Reduce speed and endurance by 33% during a gentle breeze, 50% during a moderate breeze and 75% during a fresh breeze. No meaningful speed may be travelled in a strong breeze, near gale or gale (the swimmer will move about in a helpless path, buffeted by waves).
Treading Water does not allow any travel but will increase endurance by 50%.