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Author Topic: Underwater Breathing  (Read 3220 times)
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Sparkle
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« on: 21 August 2010, 21:03:14 »

Ok, so do we have underwater breathing in Caelereth? Because if we don't, we still act like we have it. I mean, how could we ever be able to observe underwater animals without it? Really, any bestiary entry is too detailed to be written by a medieval scientist, but it would be impossible to tell anything at all about the underwater world without underwater breathing. So, therefore, I suggest that we add it to the world if it doesn't already exist somewhere where I haven't looked.

The source of underwater breathing could be a spell, an alchemical creation, a herb extract or a special ability some rare people possess. I'd vote for an alchemical thingie, if you ask me, as it seems like something suitably semi-magical that could come from that way. Anyhow, I'd like to know what you think. Because I think it's necessary.
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Bard Judith
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« Reply #1 on: 21 August 2010, 22:18:03 »

*cough* gillyweed *cough*


(runs off giggling)
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Valan Nonesuch
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« Reply #2 on: 22 August 2010, 00:16:35 »

This isn't true. Fish can be caught. People can go underneath the water without the need to breathe. I believe pearl divers were supposed to have prodigious lung capacity so they could... what do they call it... oh yes; hold their breath underwater. Yes, the site can be anachronistic (we know, we try to avoid it) but it isn't supposed a painfully accurate medieval reproduction, now is it? I don't remember elves living in the dark ages, for one.

I remember something about water-proofed bags that people could carry supplies of air in, however things alchemical and obscure fall under Misc so you'd have to work with Seeker and I (and probably any resident gnomish folk if they can be dug up.) It would need more thought than a way to hang a lampshade on this "problem", I think.
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« Reply #3 on: 22 August 2010, 00:19:24 »

Don't some Avennorians have 'slit'/gill-like ears, which allows them to be excellent divers and pearl-collectors? I remember reading something about that :)
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Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin
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« Reply #4 on: 22 August 2010, 01:36:48 »

I know my water beast entries, I worked hard to put in a lot of "scholars think", "it's assumed" etc.  But, my entries are from the far north.

Down south, don't we have Merfolk?  An enterprising researcher could gather as much information through conventional means, then subsidize this with information gleaned from Merfolk. No?

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Valan Nonesuch
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« Reply #5 on: 22 August 2010, 01:54:17 »

Merfolk aren't terribly clever, but that is true.

As for Coren's suspicions:
Quote
...the Glandorians, had exceptionally large ear slits reaching until the cheek and only fragmentary earlaps as a typical characteristic. While only a minority of today's Avennorians still look that way .... Those with the mentioned exceptionally large slits instead of regular ears primarily work as pearl divers as they can manage to close the ears when going under  water, resisting the pressure of the depths more efficiently.
From the appearance section of the Avennorians entry.
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #6 on: 22 August 2010, 02:00:29 »

Merfolk are unreliable informants, but what Altario suggests is exactly what I tried to do in the Ugling entry.

Necessary or no, a substance or plant that allows underwater breathing or extends the period a person can hold their breath - that's a good idea, I think! I encourage you to write about it, Sparkle. I like the name 'gillyweed'. And a story or report about a researcher who uses gillyweed to find out what's going on below the surface of the sea would be fascinating.


It's true that there are plenty of entries about underwater creatures that contain more information than a Santharian researcher is likely to be able to obtain. The same is also true of some land creatures (for example, the entries about the woolly boar and the Mitharim dwarves talk of hormones and hormonal levels). This site is not perfect, and never will be, and doesn't need to be. Myself, though, I'd always be more interested in a good story or superstition about (for example) a sea urchin than in a scientific exploration of its diet or life cycle, whether gained by use of gillyweed or otherwise.

An excellent report about the methods used by a Santharian researcher of water creatures is contained in Seth's library entry "Philosophie of the Molluske Race".
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Azhira Styralias
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« Reply #7 on: 22 August 2010, 02:14:20 »

I vote for an invention of some kind of water apparatus gear that enables short periods of underwater breathing. Maybe a snorkel and helmet. It wouldn't be possible to dive too deep, but perhaps surface water areas enough to watch a fish or two. Surely an enterprising gnome could come up with something.
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« Reply #8 on: 22 August 2010, 02:52:21 »

Definitely not gillyweed, though. That's Harry Potter, folks!
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #9 on: 22 August 2010, 02:53:48 »

Oh, I see. I've never read that stuff. I thought the weed was Judy's invention.
« Last Edit: 22 August 2010, 02:57:35 by Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: 22 August 2010, 04:32:58 »

Sorry, Shab, thought everyone would get the joke, and I just checked back in here or I would've said something sooner!

Yes, 'gillyweed' is from the HP universe - a type of seaweed that when chewed transforms the user, giving him webbed feet and gills.

  I'd obviously prefer us to avoid such indiscreet and comprehensive use of magic - as mentioned before, quite ordinary people can develop their lung capacity to allow them to become excellent divers.  Goggles can be fashioned (and since we have superior glass technology, fashioned better than medieval/primitive types) to allow clearer eyesight and observation underwater.    There's the 'glass-bottomed boat', or boats with glass portholes set into them.  One can observe in shallow water quite well with the old 'glass-bottomed bucket' trick.  And a simple diving bell should not be beyond our capability, either - nothing too steampunky and no outside air supply, but you see what I mean. 
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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #11 on: 22 August 2010, 06:15:53 »

No worries, Judith. I always enjoy learning something new, even about Harry Potter.
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Valan Nonesuch
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« Reply #12 on: 22 August 2010, 06:35:53 »

So by diving bell here, you would mean a simple application of the "rowboat trick" from the first Pirates of the Caribean movie, correct? (Turn a rowboat upside down and somehow hold it underwater. The air stays in the boat, as long as the boat stays relatively flat) You could do that with bags of sand I think, and simply carry yourself back up by either cutting loose the bags of sand (thus wasting perfectly good bags) or more likely, by emptying the sand from the bags. The bell (since it would be filled with a gas that is lighter than water, and assuming it isn't waterlogged by this point) should rise to the surface, and the scholar with it. I'm sure somewhere a gnomish alchemist has figured out the trick you can do with air pressure, a glass of water and some paper. Same idea, just flip the water and the air, right?
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Sparkle
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« Reply #13 on: 22 August 2010, 20:04:01 »

Isn't the diving bell quite an old invention? Like, a metal cylinder with a glass window. And instead of having to stay in it, you can dive down a lot and just use it to breathe. It could be nice.
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« Reply #14 on: 23 August 2010, 06:29:45 »

How about something a bit more mystical?  cool

- One legend among those who know the Merfolk could be that if you are fortunate enough to befriend a Merfolk, or entice it somehow, that if it were to accompany you underwater, you would gain the ability to breathe underwater - as long as you remained in the Merfolks' presence (within a ped or so). It would be a kind of power that the Merfolk could bestow upon a non-Mer if the price was right.

- Another belief could perhaps be that breathing underwater is a gift bestowed upon followers of Baveras as a means to grow "closer" to the goddess in her own domain. A clerical spell so to speak, or Baveran clerics have a divine means to do so using herbs (like the gillyweed) or charms.
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