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:

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
July 16, 2008 - 2:35pm
Aramis - all that may be so, but those add-ons were not necessary to play the game, per se.

My point was that I think TSR's strategy was module-based, rather than rule re-write based.

The new covers were just cosmetic.  Wizards of the Coast is making major rules changes.  Looks like a book-buy scam to me.

Although don't get me wrong:  TSR was far from perfect.  But I think, overall, their module-based strategy was the right one to pursue.  Now everything is fragmented, and in PDFs, where, instead of buying a module for 20 bucks, it costs you 65 bucks in toner to print it out - in black and white.

Unless, of course, you can scam it off of your bosses' printer.  Lots of us, myself included, don't have that luxury.

Will's picture
Will
July 17, 2008 - 3:13pm
Not all the new RPGs are crap, tho...Green Ronin's True20 is excellent, simple, and you can run(almost) any sort of game with just the core rules(not bad for thirty-something bucks).

Course, I got the PDF free on Free RPG Day last year, still....

Twilight 2000, first edition had some of the best role-playing mechanics I've seen in any game...too bad that: a)they didn't carry the system over to 2300AD, and b)they f*ked it all up with that mismash they call 2d edition....

"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

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
July 17, 2008 - 7:36pm
Funny how these new editions do more harm than good...?

I welcomed AD&D 2nd Ed but got quickly turned off with 3rd Ed.  And now it's just spiralling...

umungus's picture
umungus
July 18, 2008 - 11:35am
hijacked

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


Will's picture
Will
July 20, 2008 - 1:16pm
Sorry 'bout that, Chris. 

"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

umungus's picture
umungus
July 21, 2008 - 8:18am
No problem.

Maybe converting the Twilight 2000 rules to Star Frintiers mechanics would keep it realistic enough for game purposes?

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


Fu-Man_Chu's picture
Fu-Man_Chu
September 15, 2008 - 7:27pm
Late comer to the discussion as I've been busy with work (radiating people in fact), but I've been scanning the site in preparation to start a SF campaign as my 5 year old D&D 3e game coming to an end with 4e out...

There is currently one effective medication out right now in real life that lessens radiation damage to a degree. It's called amifostine (Ethoyl) or WR-1065 as it was developed at Walter Reed as a radioprotectant for the military. It works by scavanging free radicals which are created when cellular matter is irradiated and water is broken up.

So the principle is there for radiation prevention with a drug. We can simply say there are ones that work even better in the future. Likewise for suits that shield against radiation. We have some that work well now, we can assume there can be an albedo screen like suit that's "tuned" to the higher frequency level for photon radiation and a guass screen for the charged particle radiation. Neutron radiation is always going to be harder to shield against, but we can come up with some "nuclear dense" suit or something 8-)
 
In terms of healing the damage, it's simply an advancement of medicine. The 3 main toxicities that occur after radiation exposure that lead to death are 1) hematologic after around a single 400 centigray (or rad) total body exposure, 2) gastrointestinal after about 800 cGy, and 3) neurologic after about 1200 cGy.

The first one is easily managed with modern medicine, the second with difficulty, and the third almost impossible to manage. That is, most of those patients die.

It's pretty likely that the third of those we'll be able to control some short time in the future. As such, I probably wouldn't create a new skill, just a general medical skill check with penalties for the exposure level should work fine.

-Andrew
http://www.AndrewLChang.com/RPG


umungus's picture
umungus
September 17, 2008 - 11:41am
Hey Andrew,
Thanks for the input. I have come up with some house rules since I first started this discussion. Not sure if I like them enough to post them though. I will be hammering something out soon. I'll keep your ideas in mind. Smile

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


Fu-Man_Chu's picture
Fu-Man_Chu
September 18, 2008 - 8:20pm
I'm glad I could help!

-Andrew
http://www.AndrewLChang.com/RPG


Bilygote's picture
Bilygote
September 26, 2008 - 9:12pm
You could check out the Gamma Dawn Rules, page 39, for the SF version of the Gamma World Radiation Rules

Fu-Man_Chu's picture
Fu-Man_Chu
April 3, 2009 - 1:00am

This topic came up at alternityrpg.net, so I put up another post there, but expanded on it and thought I would repost it here.



Rarely is radiation clean enough that we can categorize it so easily into alpha, beta, and gamma. What I mean is that although the types of radiation that exist are discrete and fall into those types, in nature, radiation is usually found in a mixed state - that is, alpha, beta, and gamma are all emitted to some degree.

Furthermore, the energy as well as the quantity and rate (summarized as fluence) of all these types of radiation all contribute to the effect of the radiation. The latter is measured as exposure in the units Sievert (Sv) or Rem. (The unit rad, or Gray [Gy] is amount of radiation absorbed with 1 Gy = 1 Joule / kilogram).

For example, a Sv of beta particles of low energy (say, 0.3 Mega Electron Volt [MeV]) might not even pentrate the very outer layer of skin, whereas a higher engery (6 MeV) will penetrate 3 cm deep. Even high energy (15 MeV) will go 8 cm deep, plus, will start to generate gamma rays themselves from the Bremsstrahlung effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bremsstrahlung

However, those 15 MeV beta particles will not do much acute actual tissue damage if their rate is so slow (ie. 1 Gy every 24 hours) that tissue repair occurs as the damage is occuring, and the total exposure time is less than a week. On the other hand, a very high rate of 6 MeV beta particles (say, 10 Gray a minute over 5 minutes) will damage the skin so badly, that in 2 or 3 days, all the exposed skin will suddenly slough off extremely painfully and perhaps without the person even realizing that they'd been exposed to radiation at all!

As for how radiation "medicine" works, once the person is no longer exposed to the radiation, the main thing to do is reverse the symptoms of the damage. There are 3 main ways that an [B]instantaneous[/B] radiation exposure acutely injures people. That is, high dose of radiation exposure over a period of a few minutes to an hour.

1) After about 4 Gy of absorbed gamma rays, this is sufficient to wipe out the immune system in a few days such that 50% off people will die of infection - fortunately, this is very easy to cure with contemporary medicine. Basically, isolate them long enough that the body can replace its immune cells, or perform a bone marrow transplant.

2) After about 8 Gy of total body irradiation in a short time period, sloughing off (similar to the skin example above) of the mucosal throughout the gastro-intestinal tract occurs within a few days. The subject then has severe fluid and blood loss through the GI system and die - ie. severe bloody diarrhea leading to death. This is much harder to fix with contemporary medicine.

3) After about 12 Gy immediate total body irradiation, brain swelling occurs within a few hours. A subject will get back headaches, then lose conciousness and die. Currently, there's really no cure for this.

If radiation exposure is of a lower level over a period of several days or weeks however, the side effects can be very different - ie. Sunburn to the skin (bad enough to peel or burn and blister), sunburn to the lungs causing them to completely fail over a period of a few days, sunburn to the spinal cord causing it to stop working, etc.

Assuming there's not enough radiation to cause any of these, the main concern about radiation is the small chance that it'll cause a cancer 5, 10, 20, or even more years later (an increase of about 2% of the population per 0.1 Sv of exposure).

In advanced societies however, these shouldn't be too hard to fix. What's more difficult is if the radiation exposure is continuous (ie. radioactive substance that's eaten or injected). Currently, the only real anti-radiation medicine we have is called Ethoyl (amifostine) that works by "scavenging" or taking up the free radicals that radiation causes within cells. This works because typically - at least with gamma and beta radiation - the radiation doesn't usually interact with the DNA - it reacts with water, causing it to produce free radicals, when then go on to cause the DNA damage. In essence, Ethoyl is a super "anti-oxidant" which takes up the free radical before it can cause the DNA damage. I guess in the future, there could be Rad-Protect injected into an adventurer before deployment
into a radioactive field (as oppsed to Rad-away from the old Fallout game 8-).

Suffice it to say, radiation is complicated enough that rather than coming up with a system of rules, it may be simpler to approach it as a plot point instead. Ie. the PC's were exposed to a high amount of radioactivity during a mission. They must now race to find the bad guy before he releases it on an unsuspecting population all the while knowing that if they take too long, they will perish before he can even do that!
I figure, one day, I'll give a talk about radiation and its effects on biological systems some day at Gencon or Origins...

-Andrew
http://www.AndrewLChang.com/RPG


pineappleleader's picture
pineappleleader
April 3, 2009 - 10:43pm
Fascinating scientific discussion. Knowledge is good, but I do not want to role play dying of radiation poisoning.

Back on the role playing front:

IIRC there are simple Radiation Exposure Rules in the Twilight 2000 rpg and (maybe) Gamma World.

EDIT: Forgot about Gamma Dawn. Embarassed   

Ascent's picture
Ascent
April 3, 2009 - 5:47pm
I thought that roleplaying to protect the larger population while dying of radiation poisoning was an interesting concept. That's true heroism.
View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 3, 2009 - 9:57pm
Ascent wrote:
I thought that roleplaying to protect the larger population while dying of radiation poisoning was an interesting concept. That's true heroism.


Well it has the virtue of bringing the campaign to a deffinet conculsion.Wink
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

pineappleleader's picture
pineappleleader
April 3, 2009 - 10:48pm
jedion357 wrote:
Ascent wrote:
I thought that roleplaying to protect the larger population while dying of radiation poisoning was an interesting concept. That's true heroism.


Well it has the virtue of bringing the campaign to a definite conclusion.Wink


Good for a One Shot, but rather hard to continue the story for those characters. I played in a Post-apocalyptic Hero one shot like that. It was fun, but frustrating because everyone died.

Ascent's picture
Ascent
April 4, 2009 - 8:06am
pineappleleader wrote:
jedion357 wrote:
Ascent wrote:
I thought that roleplaying to protect the larger population while dying of radiation poisoning was an interesting concept. That's true heroism.


Well it has the virtue of bringing the campaign to a definite conclusion.Wink


Good for a One Shot, but rather hard to continue the story for those characters. I played in a Post-apocalyptic Hero one shot like that. It was fun, but frustrating because everyone died.
Just because a character dies does not mean you can't reincarnate it.
View my profile for a list of articles I have written, am writing, will write.
"It's yo' mama!" —Wicket W. Warrick, Star Wars Ep. VI: Return of the Jedi
"That guy's wise." —Logray, Star Wars Ep.VI: Return of the Jedi
Do You Wanna Date My Avatar? - Felicia Day (The Guild)

Fu-Man_Chu's picture
Fu-Man_Chu
April 4, 2009 - 7:22pm
Heheh - sorry, I should have expanded it more - the idea being that, should the PC's be able to find appropriate medical care, they will survive the radiation damage - its just that the amount of time they will need to be treated will lead to the bad guy to succeed. So, should they stop him in time, they can then go get treatment.

I guess the idea is that they get to be true heroes, risking their own health to save many others, and THEN getting help for themselves. This gives them the impetus to hurry.

-Andrew
http://www.AndrewLChang.com/RPG


jedion357's picture
jedion357
April 6, 2009 - 8:20am
Fu-Man_Chu wrote:
Heheh - sorry, I should have expanded it more - the idea being that, should the PC's be able to find appropriate medical care, they will survive the radiation damage - its just that the amount of time they will need to be treated will lead to the bad guy to succeed. So, should they stop him in time, they can then go get treatment.

I guess the idea is that they get to be true heroes, risking their own health to save many others, and THEN getting help for themselves. This gives them the impetus to hurry.


In that case I like the idea more as it presents a moral dilema to the PCs, though I can think of at least 2 players that will say screw the world I'm for medical treatment!

Though you could tweek this with the PCs ending up in suspended animation for 20 or more years when theyt get revived and healed by new advances in medicine. Only to discover that Taco Bell has won the fast food wars and while they were sleeping they were reprogramed to take up knitting instead of their violent ways. Kind of reminds me of a movie....

PS I suddenly like this idea as a modern campaign where the PCs at the end of the campaign are dying and are put into suspended animation for 50 years and wake up to a dark future with star frontiers level of tech. the authority that wakes them knows that there is a cure for their ailment but only suplies a drug that is a temporary fix and will only continue to suply the drug if they agree to do a little job for them....
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
April 6, 2009 - 5:39pm
pineappleleader wrote:
IIRC there are simple Radiation Exposure Rules in the Twilight 2000 rpg
These rules (Twilight 2K) are posted earlier in the thread.  I posted them when the discussion first started.
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pineappleleader's picture
pineappleleader
April 6, 2009 - 7:54pm
TerlObar wrote:
pineappleleader wrote:
IIRC there are simple Radiation Exposure Rules in the Twilight 2000 rpg
These rules (Twilight 2K) are posted earlier in the thread.  I posted them when the discussion first started.

OOPS! I missed them. The thread is rather long. mea culpa. Embarassed