Radiation and toxin effects

umungus's picture
umungus
May 28, 2008 - 7:34am

Have you guys used radiated areas in your games? How do you handle the effects? I haven't found anything in the rules about it.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......

Comments:

Rum Rogue's picture
Rum Rogue
May 28, 2008 - 7:43am
Yes, I have.
My characters run like when encountering a radiated area.
My player-characters have learned to do the same thing.
Tongue out

I know, not the answer your looking for, but when I get home I will grab some info on radiation that I like and post it here. 
I have only used radiation in SF to keep players from an area or mild doses (with countermeasures) to keep them interested in an area.
Time flies when your having rum.

Im a government employee, I dont goof-off. I constructively abuse my time.

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
May 28, 2008 - 7:56am
Is this what your looking for? An example from Mission to Alcazzar
Quote:
As they approach or pass through the open door to this building, characters that look at their gauges notice that they are blinking blue, warning of radioactivity. The radiation level is less intense outside the building. Do not tell the players about the radiation unless they state that their characters are examining their toxyrad gauges!

Characters who enter the building immediately take 5 points of damage and begin to feel dizzy. If they leave the building immediately, they suffer no further damage. Characters who do not leave immediately take another 5 points of damage.

Characters still inside the building should notice a yellow glow coming from a crack in the reactor shell at the far end of the building. If they leave immediately, they take no further damage; but if they don't head for the door fight after seeing the glow (even if they pause just to look at their toxyrad gauges) they take another 5 points of damage before escaping from the building.

umungus's picture
umungus
May 28, 2008 - 8:09am
Thanks guys. I'll check out Mission to Alcazar.
I guess I was wondering about rules about radiation levels and effects. I wasn't sure if it was covered already in the rules. I would think it would be needed with atomic drives and space travel. The characters are bound to run across something irradiated eventually.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


Gergmaster's picture
Gergmaster
May 28, 2008 - 8:45am
I dont think they do. If you happen to have a copy of the D20 SRD or the D20 Future Campaign Book it gives you some ideas on how to use radition in your gaming. Just remember this is a different system and might require some creative "conversions".
Confucious Says:
     Man with one chopstick go hungry.
     Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.
     Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.

umungus's picture
umungus
May 28, 2008 - 1:15pm

Thanks Gerg' I'll take a look at the D20 rules..

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
May 28, 2008 - 1:39pm
You also might want to check out the documentary "The Battle of Chernobyl."  While it is not actually something from SF, it does discuss in great detail the deadliness of radiation exposure.  From that documentary I'm sure you could get tons of ideas on the grim consequences of prolonged or intense exposure to radiation.

umungus's picture
umungus
May 28, 2008 - 1:43pm
I found some description of poison on the forum : 

......When bitten, a character must succeed a current STA check or be affected by a S10/T5 poison.  Even with success, the character still takes 5 damage form the poison in addition to the bite damage.......

I don't know what the S10/T5 means. Is it in the rules somewhere?

If there is some sort of method I could incorporate it into radiation affects.

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
May 28, 2008 - 2:48pm
umungus wrote:
I found some description of poison on the forum :

......When bitten, a character must succeed a current STA check or be affected by a S10/T5 poison. Even with success, the character still takes 5 damage form the poison in addition to the bite damage.......

I don't know what the S10/T5 means. Is it in the rules somewhere?

If there is some sort of method I could incorporate it into radiation affects.

It's in the rules but I'm not sure where off the top of my head. It means 10 stamina point of damage for 5 turns. The number after the S is the damage take and the number after the T is for how many turns.

You could probably translate radiation poisoning into this type of mechanic fairly easily if you wanted to. Maybe based on exposure levels.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Sam's picture
Sam
May 29, 2008 - 9:20am
That's correct, Terl (on the poison).

Radiation effects could be done the same way, as you suggest.

GM's may want to consider long term effects, too. I'll see what games I have laying around that go over radiation exposure and boil them down for SF use.

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
May 29, 2008 - 9:57am
There are different types of radiation, each with its own method of causing damage to tissues, and each of the types may have varying strength or intensity.  Here is a little more basics of radiation if you want to work on the mechanic with a little more real science.

Gamma Radiation ( ? ) is photonic (ie like light) and includes UV (ultraviolet) exposure, X-ray, and higher energy (the true gamma radiation).  The various energy levels cause varying degrees of 'burn' damage and have variable penetrating power.  For instance UV has very low penetrating power (surface burns to skin tissues), X-ray travels readily through tissues, yet N-16 gamma radiation is severely damaging to tissues but has very short (7.1 seconds) halflife ( ? ).

Beta Radiation ( ? ) is free electrons that usually forms a field around certain materials or high power lines.  This ususually just causes surface burns to skin tissues because of low penetrating potential in tissues.

Neutron Radiation is caused by fast moving free neutrons.  It is very damaging to tissues because of of billiard ball type of action when it strikes hydrogen atoms within tissues (H2O primarily) breaking the water molecules into OH- and H+ causing various chemical and electrostatic changes at the lowest level of chemistry within the body.  When neutron radiation is present, it is usually present in great amounts (nuclear fission produces huge amounts).  Water shielding and Lead shielding is used to block much of this type, and halfnium readily absorbs free neutrons.

Alpha Radiation ( ? ) is also produced by fission and the decay of certain materials.  It is effectively fast moving particles of Helium sans their electrons.  It causes damage through electrostatic changes because it has a positive charge, and it also causes damage from striking other molecules within the body.

Most radiation damage is much like saying burn damage, yet some damage is caused by direct damage to molecular structures (like dna or essential protiens within a cell).  This sort of damage is more difficult to quantify and can be considered a secondary damage (longterm) effect.  In order to accomodate a more 'sci-fi' or gamma world style effect, one could simply create a cumulative radiation score that might allow for fantastical mutational effects, but in the real world the general effect is an increased occurance of various cancers or cell death of certain tissues.

FYI, I was involved in monitoring cumulative radiation exposure and managing exposure limits (Naval Submarine duty as an Engineering Laboratory Technician ELT) which is why I know much of this material.  More than the general layman but certainly I am no expert in these areas either.  In practice it is generally paperwork recording exposure figures and determining who can work where, and for how long, but you get some background info to help your understanding.
<insert witty comment here>

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
May 29, 2008 - 9:59am
all those ? question marks were greek letters used as abbreviations for the various terms but the site did not accept them.
<insert witty comment here>

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
May 29, 2008 - 10:16am
SmootRK wrote:
all those ? question marks were greek letters used as abbreviations for the various terms but the site did not accept them.


I thought those were radiation marks.
Foot in mouth

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
May 29, 2008 - 1:12pm

Just as an aside - I would NOT have anything beneficial come out of radiation exposure.

Radiation is PAIN.


Otherwise, I am on board with the poison analogy.  Although I would probably lengthen the time between damage AND the time that the damage is done.


Plus, I would also allow some high-tech doo-dad to cure radiation related effects.  This is Star Frontiers, after all.  If they can cheat death through a Staydose or Freeze Field, then they probably have a medicine or salve or treatment of some kind for radiation exposure.




SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
May 29, 2008 - 2:39pm
Imperial Lord wrote:
All that stuff you wrote above

I agree. Real radiation burns, damages at the cellular level and even molecular level, and otherwise simply kills. The gamma world style mutation effects is quite simply nonsensical and is complete fiction. The word mutation really just means damage and changes to DNA/RNA strands with the net effect being cancerous growths or simply cell death. Any change to a single cell genetic structure does not somehow spread to all tissues.

As far as a high-tech method of correcting this sort of sub-cellular damage, I would suggest some sort of nano-tech or nanites that analyze surrounding cells and either repair damage or simply kill the effected cells before a cancer-like growth pattern could start.
As far as blocking or shielding radiation, I would suggest the addition of more types of energy screens and/or modifications of the existing ones to include radiation protection - for instance a Gauss Screen could have wording added that extends protection to any beta radiation sources (up to a certain intensity); Albedo Screens (laser or light energy) could be extended to include any photonic (gamma) radiation sources. Neutron and Alpha radiation are more of a particulate nature (albeit atomic level), and is typically shielded by large volumes of dense materials (lead, water, and distance from source). A new type of shield that relies on some sort of fictional technology is the only avenue I can see without a viable alternative based on real-world science.

btw, any Atomic Drives or Engines would produce amounts of all of the types of radiation concurrently.

As a simplification of all this, I would give radiation a rating like a Poison (fast acting) and a Disease (slow acting) at the same time. The disease aspect would treatable by modern medicine, but if left untreated would develope into a 'cancer' that would be fatal (which would only happen in the event of being trapped somewhere without modern treatments).

Unfortunately there is really no real science in any of the fictional media that treats radiation realistically... it is always some sort of wierd voodoo that can be countered by a 'reverse tachyon beam' effect or a simple innoculation (wtf!!!).
<insert witty comment here>

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
May 29, 2008 - 3:21pm
I don't know if I'd extend Albedo screens to block gamma rays.  Compared to light, they have millions of times more energy per photon.  There are fewer of them but they are hard to stop.  I'd say you'd almost need a different technology.  As a point of reference, the satellite I'm working on is a gamma ray observatory (we launch on the 3rd!!!).  The main detector is 5' x 5' by 4' and weighs 3 tons (It's mostly Tungsten, Silicon and Cesium Iodide).  Even so, it can only stop 70% of the gamma rays that pass through it.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
May 29, 2008 - 3:56pm
It all depends on the exact energy level (or wavelength).  Different levels can have very different pentrating or damaging aspects... certain energy levels might pass through large volumes without reacting to anything, while other levels could react quite differently.  I think it would be a similar technology to Albedo, but built for a different purpose (to protect against these types of energy levels instead of the focused visible light (or near visible) spectrums).

And... if all that real science isn't enough, we haven't really touched on actual radioactively activated (or naturally radioactive) materials, their half-life, and specific mechanisms of damaging tissue.  For instance, water that passes through a reactor activates a portion of the Oxygen transforming it to Nitrogen-16 which has a very short half-life (on the order of 7 seconds) but the decay of which (back to Oxygen) produces a very damaging photon (to tissues).  Other activated metals have a very different method of damaging tissues based upon how the body might use the materials or how it is ingested into the body.  Metals such as magnesium and the like accumulate in bones and do not leave the body, as well as half-lives that can actually be on the order of thousands of years... therefore these can be damaging over a lifespan if someone ingests (eats/drinks) contaminated materials.  Then there are the gaseous materials that can be breathed in, then decay within the body because of relatively short half-lives (krypton/xenon isotopes)...  basically every element has radioactive counterparts which can interact with the body in various ways.

One might eat a slightly radioactive banana and show a measureable dosage years later because of slight traces of Iodine isotopes that the body has incorporated into cellular structures.

The whole topic of radioactivity is a very complex set of processes (not just one), and is typically just glossed over by fictional media because of this complexity.  Sometimes I hate the level of knowledge that I have in some areas because it really spoils a lot of good sci-fi.  The cures or explanations of protections are just too farciscal and without any realism.
<insert witty comment here>

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
May 29, 2008 - 8:37pm
SmootRK wrote:
The whole topic of radioactivity is a very complex set of processes (not just one), and is typically just glossed over by fictional media because of this complexity. Sometimes I hate the level of knowledge that I have in some areas because it really spoils a lot of good sci-fi. The cures or explanations of protections are just too farciscal and without any realism.

Amen.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Will's picture
Will
May 30, 2008 - 1:23am
TerlObar wrote:
I don't know if I'd extend Albedo screens to block gamma rays.  Compared to light, they have millions of times more energy per photon.  There are fewer of them but they are hard to stop.  I'd say you'd almost need a different technology.  As a point of reference, the satellite I'm working on is a gamma ray observatory (we launch on the 3rd!!!).  The main detector is 5' x 5' by 4' and weighs 3 tons (It's mostly Tungsten, Silicon and Cesium Iodide).  Even so, it can only stop 70% of the gamma rays that pass through it.


Zeb's makes reference to neutrad, in case anyone's curious.

My version of it is a series of artificially-engineered viruses which acts as a chelating agent and repair some cellular and genetic damage.

As for screens stopping radiation, I'd have to agree with Terl on this one.

But, wouldn't lead-lined suits(of the type KH fighter pilots and starship engineers use) and contemporary battlefield NBC protection technologies offer some sort of help against radiation, or am I missing something?  

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
May 30, 2008 - 5:04am
Lead is effective for shielding against radiation but primarily against neutron, alpha, or other types of 'particulate' radiation.  However, true shielding is thick; a small film of lead is really worthless.  Even for 'low power' X-ray the lead aprons that x-ray techs wear is very heavy and somewhat thick.  The Superman x-ray vision being blocked by a thin layer of lead is really a bit of exageration in the least, being only partially true.  In reality even with Lead (Pb), large volumes of physical shielding is necessary, generally in conjunction with water shields (tanks in various configurations), and strict controls on proximity (keeping the 'core' or source as far away from personel as possible).

Lead works because of the large nucleus and otherwise dense molecular structure physically blocks the very very very small pieces of 'radiation' (alpha is He, neutron is a (duh) neutron, beta is an electron, and gamma is really a photon of energy and is not really purely physical in the physics sense).  Lead suits would only protect against the lowest levels of radiation of any type, and even then serve to reduce the levels that the body is exposed to... unless one wears a suit that weighs about as much as a bus - that might help.
<insert witty comment here>

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
May 30, 2008 - 7:14am
I would imagine that the SF guys would develop a suit of light weight, thin material that stops radiation quite well.

Gergmaster's picture
Gergmaster
May 30, 2008 - 2:09pm
I dont know. Radition is pretty complex. I would say it would be more in the future of SF with a special suit that can stop radiation. But what about Cosmic and Gamma. They are two of the worst. Both can go through quite a bit of material. I know Cosmic radiation can go through the Earth without problem. Gamma can go near the speed of light and at the speed of light, which makes it tough to block. But, if you look at some of the more realistic sci-fi by Reynolds, Asimov, and a few others you might find some ideas to incorporate with this to at least combat the affects or completely stop them.
Confucious Says:
     Man with one chopstick go hungry.
     Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.
     Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.

Gilbert's picture
Gilbert
May 30, 2008 - 5:15pm
  How about the use of magnetics? Look at a collider, it is contained in a strong magnetic field. If I am not mistaken the target is in a magnetic container that reduces the radiation. And I have read somewhere about the use of cobalt in reactors. Can not rember exactly what it was but I will look through my books about it and see if I can find it. Meanwhile, I will also search the internet on it, but I can see this technology either buried or censored by yours truly Uncle Sam.

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
May 30, 2008 - 6:50pm
Well as SmootRK pointed out Gamma radiation (gamma rays) are light and so the do move at the speed of light.  They are just very energetic photons. 

Cosmic radiation (cosmic rays) are actually atomic nuclei (mostly Hydrogen and Helium with a smattering of the heavier elements) that have been stripped of their electrons and are moving at near light speed (read 99.9999% or higher, that is what I did my Ph.D. work on).  At the higher energies, they don't interact much with small targets like your body(you have about 100,000 cosmic rays passing through you every hour on the Earth's surface).  Cosmic rays do interact with the atmosphere.  That's how we study them.  The 100,000 an hour are actually secondary cosmic rays created by the interaction of the primary one with the atmosphere.  In theory you could deflect them with magnetic fields since they are charged particles but you would need very strong fields to do it.  Probably strong enough to mess up your electronics.

The particle that you are probably thinking of that pass right through the earth are neutrinos and you don't have to worry about them.  They basically don't interact with normal matter.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Gergmaster's picture
Gergmaster
May 30, 2008 - 9:23pm
Ok. Didnt really remember. Just sort of know the basics. Thanks. Learned something new.
Confucious Says:
     Man with one chopstick go hungry.
     Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.
     Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.

umungus's picture
umungus
June 1, 2008 - 8:53am
Smoot and Terl you shoul colaborate an dcome up with som erules for radiation in Star Frontiers...

At least I got to scare an alien rabbit thingy......


SmootRK's picture
SmootRK
June 1, 2008 - 9:19am
I was actually going to address a number of issues with an article on toxins, diseases, and other maladies, but my time became a little limited and I lost access to my laptop (laptop vs. tile floor - the floor won)... my ability to write disappeared in an instant. 

The article was intended to be a plug-in replacement set of mechanics to diversify and add a little more depth to various biological effects than the standard S#/T# mechanic that I thought was oversimplistic.  When I get a new laptop for use while at my graveyard shift work I will resume more writing.  My children kill any attempts for higher thinking while at home on my desktop pc.
<insert witty comment here>

Will's picture
Will
June 1, 2008 - 1:44pm
Gilbert wrote:
  How about the use of magnetics? Look at a collider, it is contained in a strong magnetic field. If I am not mistaken the target is in a magnetic container that reduces the radiation. And I have read somewhere about the use of cobalt in reactors. Can not rember exactly what it was but I will look through my books about it and see if I can find it. Meanwhile, I will also search the internet on it, but I can see this technology either buried or censored by yours truly Uncle Sam.


I've read about the use of cobalt in nuclear weapons production(for dirty bombs, I think) but not nuclear power generation.

If you get a hold of the reference, please let me know, thx, Gilbert.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

Gergmaster's picture
Gergmaster
June 2, 2008 - 8:20am
You can use gold or cobalt to salt the earth. These are used to hold the radiation in. This was adopted by the US military when it had MAD (mutually assured destruction) in affect. It was meant to make sure no one could ever populate the Earth again if nuclear war happen.
Confucious Says:
     Man with one chopstick go hungry.
     Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.
     Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
June 2, 2008 - 8:51am
"You can use gold or cobalt to salt the earth. These are used to hold the radiation in. This was adopted by the US military when it had MAD (mutually assured destruction) in affect. It was meant to make sure no one could ever populate the Earth again if nuclear war happen. "


Um...  What?

Gergmaster's picture
Gergmaster
June 2, 2008 - 9:30am
The heavy metals like gold and cobalt hold radition on the ground. With this nothing can grow. Humans can't survive. It was meant to say that if the US and it's allies cant have what they want Russia and it's allies couldnt either. This actually is also called Scortched Earth (dates back to the bible).
Confucious Says:
     Man with one chopstick go hungry.
     Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.
     Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.