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Version 0.23: 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 temporary status effect which prevents your character from using any of a variety of oral attacks. It essentially functions as a cool-down timer, preventing you from abusing certain powerful abilities. This includes the following:

This condition occurs immediately after successfully using of any of these abilities. There is no way to cure it; it simply goes away after a few turns. A failed attempt to use one of these abilities does not cause the breath status effect.

While monsters are also subject to breath timers after using these abilities, be aware that they recover much faster than player characters.