Given that according to the rules,"Warforged do not need to eat, sleep or breathe", can a warforged just ignore quicksand, get submerged and walk through it as the warforged would in a pond?


2 Answers 2


Quicksand is a serious threat to a lone warforged who can't make Swim checks.

However, qucksand (DMG 88) initially isn't much of a threat to anyone:

Patches of quicksand present a deceptively solid appearance (appearing as undergrowth or open land) that may trap careless characters. A character approaching a patch of quicksand at a normal pace is entitled to a DC 8 Survival check to spot the danger before stepping in, but charging or running characters don’t have a chance to detect a hidden bog before blundering in. A typical patch of quicksand is 20 feet in diameter; the momentum of a charging or running character carries him or her 1d2×5 feet into the quicksand. [n.b. There is no mention of the typical depth of a quicksand patch.]

So if the warforged is traveling at a normal pace and has at least a half decent Wisdom score, he'll know the quicksand is present and go around it.1 But it's possible, for example, he charges the Valenar horseman who killed his adopted child and plops right in the middle of a big ol' patch of quicksand. That makes things... challenging.

Characters in quicksand must make a DC 10 Swim check every round to simply tread water in place, or a DC 15 Swim check to move 5 feet in whatever direction is desired. If a trapped character fails this check by 5 or more, he sinks below the surface and begins to drown whenever he can no longer hold his breath (see the Swim skill description).

Characters below the surface of a bog may swim back to the surface with a successful Swim check (DC 15, +1 per consecutive round of being under the surface).

Once in quicksand, a creature must make Swim skill checks to move. And, once a creature sinks, before the creature can move, the creature must make Swim skill checks to reach the surface. There's simply no option to walk across the bottom. Everyone--undead, oozes, constructs--must make Swim skill checks in quicksand. The DM can house rule this away, of course, but, technically, that potentially brutal Swim skill check (DC 15 +1 per round below the surface) can make it impossible for the warforged who sinks to escape the quicksand without outside assistance. (A most amusing "death" for the Lord of Blades.)

Pulling out a character trapped in quicksand can be difficult. A rescuer needs a branch, spear haft, rope, or similar tool that enables him to reach the victim with one end of it. Then he must make a DC 15 Strength check to successfully pull the victim, and the victim must make a DC 10 Strength check to hold onto the branch, pole, or rope. If the victim fails to hold on, he must make a DC 15 Swim check immediately to stay above the surface. If both checks succeed, the victim is pulled 5 feet closer to safety. [n.b. This totally ignores the victim's and rescuer's weights, but whatever.]

Obviously, Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 has fantasy quicksand not the real thing.

  1. If using the Rules Compendium detecting quicksand requires a Survival skill check (DC 15) instead of the DMG's listed Survival skill check (DC 8). The Rules Compendium presents this information without commentary.
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ According to the Wikipedia link, moving in quicksand requires a great deal of force as the sand re-solidifies around you, which might explain the inability to move along the bottom. Of course, that same fact is also why things don’t sink in quicksand all that readily, which we’ll have to ignore. (Also, that fantasy link probably should be indicated as dealing more with a fetishy subculture than with the use of quicksand in fantasy.) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 20:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, you shouldn’t answer questions that we don’t have a system for, particularly considering that you’re citing rules to back up your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 20:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Quicksand... the terrifying eternal tomb of magical robots everywhere. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I see why even a warforged would be trapped until rescued, but as OP implicitly points out, if you don't breathe you can't drown. 'Stuck till someone throws you a rope' isn't what I call a serious threat. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimLymington You're right that the answer assumes the warforged is alone. I was unclear. I hope that confusion's now eliminated. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 17:19

Rules as stated:

No. They cant just ignore it. Swim Chk needed which involves Str or Survival to spot and avoid. The rules give a general way quicksand is suppose to look and act based on movies and action films in general. But this is only for Letter of Law.

Rules of RP:

This is up to the DM/GM. However we all have the player who wants to throw a spirit of rule not letter of law in to overcome an obstacle (Also amazes me how those same ones will use letter of law when it helps them). Letter of the law is written on quicksand:

SFW http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Marsh_Terrain

I'll add to the "RP Challenge" when a player huffs out comment of spirit/rule to help keep your game moving.

  1. If you don't want them crossing:

    • Have it so when they sink they are entombed in muck which will outweigh the Str DC to move. I would give them a fighting chance but this allows them to view quicksand as a threat and not just another laughable annoyance. Living in a state that has muck and bogs I've seen very well built 4x4s get stuck unmovable without a crane to hoist them out. This could lead to awesome RP of getting the WF out or finding one long lost years before.
  2. If you want them to get out creatively:

    • Then have them muck across the bottom to safety using Str checks but not swim.
    • If you'd like to get the group involved tell them they better save the War Forge before it gets stuck and trapped forever in the quicksand. This will allow the party to help and add awesome RP.
    • Now if you want to be really mean add "Id save him...He was carrying the party funds" /evil DM laugh

To be honest quicksand is a Hollywood/action thing more then a real threat as its been made to be. Even the SRDs show this by the low DCs. I looked up real quick this link:



This is how my group has treated quicksand for 25 years and so far works like a charm and claimed the life of one gnome who had the key they needed badly.

Hope this helps.

Edit for clarity of meaning since got as many down votes as up votes. Figure people didnt like the flat out "No" since the question asked was "Can it ignore it"


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