|The Shattered Atom and You|
Radiation is bad for you, plain and simple. Irradiated matter has a half-life that’s usually in centuries or millennia, and can cause illness, DNA damage, and death. Radiation is the legacy of the bombs that fell upon the world during the big one, and it is an inescapable hazard that most adventurers have to deal with at some point. It used to be the case that radiation built up in a person’s bones and tissues and stayed there permanently… Each dose that a person got would add to the previous dose, and eventually weaken or kill them, with no real hope of recovery. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. With the sporadic-but-now-somewhat experienced treatments and nanotechnology of the 22nd century, radiation poisoning isn’t always a certain death sentence. Almost every living metahuman on the planet has either developed a tolerance for radiation, been genetically engineered to regenerate cellular radiation damage, or been exposed to symbiotic nanites that remove radiation damage over time. All this aside, radiation exposure is always risky, and NEVER to be taken lightly. Too much in too short a time will kill you. And it won’t be a painless death.
The Stages Of Radiation Exposure
There are five stages of radiation exposure. Each time you take body damage from a radiation effect, or are struck by an Irradiate, you progress from your current stage to the next. Until you reach stage 5, the effects of each stage are cumulative.
Stage 1 – Trace Count
This is your baseline radiation level as an average Wasteland inhabitant. It represents a few traces of radiation that you can never purge. It does you no harm, and has no game effects. GAME EFFECTS: You start at Stage 1, and can never go below this stage.
Stage 2 – Mild Exposure
After a brush with strong radiation, you find yourself sweating more easily, and constantly fatigued regardless of how much rest you have had. Your body is trying to purge the toxins, and your system is occupied.
Stage 3 – Nausea and Vertigo
Your exposure is reaching dangerous levels, and your skin may be burned at the point of exposure. Your inner ear has been damaged, as well as several nerves. This makes it difficult to do anything that requires coordination, or balance.
Stage 4 – Internal Bleeding
At this point, you have received a lethal dose. It will take a while to kill you, but without intervention you will die. Your internal organs are liquefying, painfully.
Stage 5 – Walking Ghost
You have received the maximum possible dosage of radiation. Your cells are boiling from the inside out, and death is coming for you. In a sort of mockery of mercy, your pain receptors have been quite thoroughly fried, so that you can somewhat function during the last few minutes that you have to live.