In this answer, it is suggested that the spell Life Bubble would allow a shark to survive out of water, and that the 'tolerable living conditions' would include being underwater.

Given that the spell does in fact create a field of water encompassing the shark, is the shark capable of swimming outside of an ocean?

If the shark is incapable of swimming outside of an ocean while in the bubble, can it swim while in the ocean while in the bubble? What determines when it can and cannot swim, and why?

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    \$\begingroup\$ "is the shark capable of swimming outside of the water?" - Point of order: the water from Life Bubble perpetually surrounds the shark. The shark won't ever swim outside of Life Bubble's water because it moves with the shark. Do you mean outside of any other body of water? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 15 '17 at 10:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener :P yeah \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 15 '17 at 18:11

The description on the website linked in the question says explicitly that Life Bubble doesn't allow to ignore movement impediments:

Life bubble does not provide [...] the ability to move or act normally in conditions that impede movement.

A shark only has a swim speed. That means it can not move outside of water. So being outside of water would be a condition which impedes its movement which Life Bubble doesn't fix. You need to find some other way to grant your shark a movement speed when out of water. The Fly spell would be an option.

If your GM allows you to make both Life Bubble and Fly permanent (they aren't on the list of allowed spells for Permanency, but "The GM may allow other spells to be made permanent"), you can have your hovering pet shark.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd also add Sky Swim as a spell to add (it's generally better for things that have swim speeds because 60' is normalish, and it isn't impeded by heavy armor or such). Witches and Shamans have both spells on their list, but clerics/oracles/druids don't have Fly, and wizards/alchemists/bloodragers/magi/summoners don't have Sky Swim \$\endgroup\$ – Delioth Mar 15 '17 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Given that the spell in fact creates a field of water encompassing the shark" \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 15 '17 at 18:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Sorry, but the rules are pretty clear in this regard: Life Bubble explicitly does not allow the target to move through an environment any better than it would be able to move without it. If you want a logical explanation: The 1 inch shell of water sticks to the shark's fins. In order to propel itself through water, it must push water away from itself. But it can't do that, so it can not generate any hydrodynamic propulsion. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Mar 15 '17 at 18:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp I do want a logical explanation-- from the rules. That's not an explanation that comes from the rules. I don't find your analysis of life bubble compelling because 'outside of water' isn't a condition it seems like the shark would have. Furthermore, it's not clear what would be required for a swim speed to function from your answer and thus unclear how this does or does not meet that. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Mar 15 '17 at 18:29


The spell Life Bubble says that the creature obtains a moveable shell, which means that it can be moved, but then says you cannot move on conditions that impede movement (such as being underwater...):

You surround the touched creatures with a constant and moveable 1-inch shell of tolerable living conditions. (...)

Life bubble does not provide (...) ability to move or act normally in conditions that impede movement (such as underwater).

However, neither the rules for Swim or the rules for Aquatic Terrain say that a character cannot move underwater. The only exception being if they fail their Swim check, otherwise they can move 1/2 or 1/4 their land speed.

Characters need a way to breathe if they’re underwater; failing that, they risk drowning. When underwater, characters can move in any direction.

The exception on the spell's text should still apply, but that example was terrible and (in my opinion) poorly written. What it actually means is that it does not grant you a movement speed on that enviroment.

For underwater movement, that being a swim speed.

Can a fish move out of water?

This is a question that treads on murky waters. But long story short: The rules are unclear.

There are no rule saying that you cannot move on a surface where you do not have a listed speed, there are rules saying you cannot take certain movement actions if your movement is hampered, or that you cannot take 5-foot steps on speeds you do not have, or that you cannot take certain movement actions on speeds you do not have.

However, there is a rule saying that you can move at least 5 feet in any direction regarless of movement penalties you have using a full-round action.

Minimum Movement

Despite whatever penalties to movement you might have, you can take a full-round action to move 5 feet (1 square) in any direction, even diagonally. This rule doesn't allow you to move through impassable terrain or to move when all movement is prohibited. Such movement provokes attacks of opportunity as normal (despite the distance covered, this move isn't a 5-foot step).

The part that says "to move when all movement is prohibited" is the key here. And there is nothing saying that a creature with only swim speed or without legs cannot move on land. So this exception only applies if the creature has any condition that says that they cannot move.

But the opposite is also true, a listed speed is what allows you to move on certain enviroments. If you do not have a listed speed, your speed is 0. But how this interacts with the rule i quoted above is left at GM's discretion.

This rule is normally applied on difficult terrain and conditions that reduce your speed. But it is also applied even if a condition should reduce your speed to 0 due to penalties, since certain conditions reduce your speed by a fixed amount instead of a fraction of the base value.

Since the rule for moving on an unlisted terrain is missing, we also do not know the proper behavior of Expeditious Retreat or Animal Aspect (Raptor) on a Shark.

How to walk on land?

One thing is certain, the spell Fins to Feet (1 hour/level duration) should definitely fix this problem, as it replaces your swim speed with a land speed of 30 feet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd add Sky Swim to your last section- fly equal to your swim speed, though it is 1 minute/level. \$\endgroup\$ – Delioth Mar 15 '17 at 15:23

I would say that it largely depends on the species of shark. The spell dictates 'tolerable living conditions', for sharks that have evolved to obligate ram ventilation, movement is required to survive. http://www.livescience.com/34777-sharks-keep-swimming-or-die.html That group of sharks that have evolved to obligate ram ventilation include the great white... Which is honestly the species most of us picture when we say 'shark'. So unless the player specifically said that it was a Nurse shark... I would generally default to movement. Maybe not very coordinated or graceful... But moving.



Looking at the rules for Swim and the wording of Life Bubble, a strict reading of the RAW says that your shark can't swim in a Life Bubble. It can still swim in any other body of water as normal, just not through the water provided by Life Bubble.

The description of the Swim Speed section of the Swim skill says:

A creature with a swim speed can move through water at its indicated speed without making Swim checks.

An important distinction there is that you have to move through water in order to swim. The description for Life Bubble says:

You surround the touched creatures with a constant and moveable 1-inch shell of tolerable living conditions.

Emphasis mine. The bubble given by Life Bubble is a constant effect that moves with your shark. It doesn't create water in front of the shark and destroy it behind, it just moves the "livable conditions" to wherever you happen to be. Since this bubble is moving with the shark, it can't swim "through" the water.

This doesn't inhibit your shark's ability to swim in any other body of water, though. Since you can "move through" non-Life Bubble water normally, your shark's swim speed works just fine in the ocean.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm... It doesn't say you have to move through water in order to swim, though. It says that if you can swim you can move through water. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 12 '17 at 7:23

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