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The party I was DMing for was fighting in a sewer passage with small water ways running through the passage, and some questions came up about movement and water. The DM's guide 1 explains some aspects of swimming but it's not very lengthy.

When a creature is swimming can that creature shift?

Is there any keywords or types of movement that allow shifting while swimming?

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Per the rules compendium page 249, you can't shift over any terrain that requires a skill check. So unless you have a swim speed, you can't shift while in water.

Here's the excerpt from the Rules Compendium - see the Special Movement Modes section:


Action: Move action.

Movement: The creature moves 1 square. (Some powers and effects allow creatures to move farther than 1 square with a shift.)

No Opportunity Actions Triggered: Unless the description of an effect says otherwise, shifting doesn't trigger opportunity actions such as opportunity attacks.

Special Movement Modes: A creature can't shift when using a movement mode that requires it to make a skill check. For instance, if it is climbing, it can't shift if it has to make an Athletics check to climb. (A creature that has a climb speed can shift while climbing.)

I normally invert this and say that you can shift over any terrain for which you have movement speed.

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