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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
You are catching your breath, and are unable to use your innate breath ability until the status expires.

Breath is a status effect which prevents the use of breath- or spit- based attacks for its duration, effectively acting as a cooldown. It does not impact spells or any other type of ability.

The following player abilities cause and are affected by Breath:

Monsters may also gain the Breath status; any spell with the breath flag is subject to a Breath cooldown. Examples of monsters with breath spells include dragons and ironbound convokers. For monsters, Breath always lasts for 1-5 turns.[3]