Why irradiate is a joke


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

Spoilered for sizing.

Irradiate:
This spell floods the area of effect with dangerous radiation. The strength of the radiation you create depends on your caster level, as detailed below. The central irradiated area is always a 10-foot-radius spread that expands normally per the rules for radiation areas of effect. Creatures within the area are exposed to the radiation only once; the radiation does not linger in the area. The saving throw to resist the radiation effects is set by the spell rather than the standard save DC for radiation.

Caster Level Radiation Level
6th or lower Low
7th–9th Medium
10th–16th High
17th or higher Severe

This spell has a duration of instantaneous.
The DC is set by the caster, not the level of radiation.
Stronger levels of radiation do not advance along the constitution poison track faster than weaker levels. Because of this, the actual effect of the spell will always be the same, if the save is failed. Which is:

Constitution Track:
Weakened: The victim takes a –2 penalty to Fortitude saves, Constitution checks, and Constitution-based DCs. Every time the victim attempts a Fortitude save against the poison—whether he succeeds or fails—he loses Hit Points as per on initial exposure.

If they save, they take ~8 damage. If they fail, they also take a -2 on fort saves, con checks, and con-based DCs.
Higher radiation levels by caster level really only make the spell bigger, so the size can be summarized as:
Cl 6 or less 10 ft.
Cl 7-9 20 ft.
Cl 10-16 30 ft.
Cl 17+ 40 ft.

I suppose if you can hit a group of bad guys 4 times, you can knock them all unconscious?


The higher radiation levels do have an additional effect relevant to the spell.

Armor protects you from low level radiation and gives you a +4 circumstance bonus to saves vs. higher levels of radiation. Armor of level 7 or above protects from Low and Medium radiation, and gives you +6 to saves against higher levels. The increasing radiation levels both enlarge the spell, and allow you to affect people whose armor might otherwise protect them.

It's also handy that the party will almost certainly all have armor, and thus may be immune to the effects of irradiation, while the enemy might be 'space monsters' without suits of armor that do so, so the caster might be able to drop a 'rad bomb' safely on his own team-mates!.

Dark Archive

The effect remains the same. The effect is still bad without multiple applications.
You're more likely to land the effect on targets that are unarmored.


It seems like more of an ability useful planetside vs wildlife or people who are not wearing full environmental armor.

Vs most modern combatants irradiate is probably not a great choice simply because most modern armors are pretty effective at blocking radiation.

I can see why they added it but due to the limit on spells known I am not sure how many would bother picking it up.


In Pathfinder, its a pretty good spell because it does Constitution damage, but in Starfinder it really isn't a good 3rd level spell unless the the targets who fail their saves must continue making saving throws each round until cured (which seems not to be the case).

That being said, if you cast it enough times in a row, you could knock out a bunch of creatures. Casting it a second time on a creature (who now has -2 on his save) would make them impaired, and casting it a third time (targets now have -4 on their saves) would make targets that fail their save debilitated, and might give them radiation sickness. The forth casting could knock the targets out.


Ectar wrote:

The effect remains the same. The effect is still bad without multiple applications.

You're more likely to land the effect on targets that are unarmored.

Be careful expecting immunity to radiation though. Armor doesn't automatically protect against it; the environmentals have to be activated first. Unless you're already in a hazardous environment those won't normally be on.


Considering that environmental protection lasts for a day on the even the lowest level armors, its conceivable that unless you're expecting to be away from home too long that you can't recharge, that you wont be stingy with the environmental protection.

Even then, there are items that would allow you to recharge the armor, making it pretty null and void.

The Exchange

Claxon wrote:
Considering that environmental protection lasts for a day on the even the lowest level armors, its conceivable that unless you're expecting to be away from home too long that you can't recharge, that you wont be stingy with the environmental protection.

This gets into the whole "why wouldn't I have it on?" vs. "why would you always have it on?" debate. Or as many a Pathfinder GM has said, "so you're saying you walk around town all day, every day, with your shield out and wielded?" Sure, any exploration or planned combat situation you're going to have your protections up. But in social situations sealed armor could be a provocation in its own right. So you are unlikely to have it sealed in a surprise attack in a social setting. (Yes, the debate will continue.)

As for the spell, fear my party of 4 technomancers. Everyone in a fireball area takes 32 points of damage no matter what and if you fail any of the saves, things are going downhill for you fast...

Seriously, that's a tactic I expect to see some GMs use. I doubt anyone is actually going to build a party that way, though. Overall the spell feels more like an "NPC spell" than one many PC technomancers will learn. Definitely has some thematic uses for various groups of NPCs, and can be a nasty "set-up" spell to weaken some of the party for later encounters in the adventure.


Even without the environmental protections I'm reading through three different parts of the book and it seems to not do anything.


You're right that the argument will continue Belafon, but as you say when you're expecting combat or in a "dangerous area" it would make sense to have it up.

So yeah, you could be surprised in a social situation by it. But that's about the only time I see it being relevant.


Even without environmental protections, irradiate doesn't give you radiation sickness right? So what are the effects of being hit by it except the hit point damage? You get better from the radiation poison effect as soon as you leave the area, which is instantaneous with the spell.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Even without environmental protections, irradiate doesn't give you radiation sickness right? So what are the effects of being hit by it except the hit point damage? You get better from the radiation poison effect as soon as you leave the area, which is instantaneous with the spell.

The first effect of radiation (which irradiate causes you to suffer) is you move down the Constitution track if you fail the save. Which stacks with anything else that might have or will move you down the Constitution track. It takes a full day of bed rest (or two normal nights) to move one step back up the track. If you get moved down the track 4 times you are unconscious and one more time beyond that kills you. Per the poison section, while you are no longer making saves every round when you leave a radiation area, you are still down the Constitution track.

Secondly, the effect of the Radiation beyond moving you down the Constitution track is to force a DC 18 fortitude save or contract radiation sickness (page 404 of the core rulebook). So it definitely can cause you to get radiation sickness if you fail the first save, and then the DC 18 save. Radiation sickness will then stay with you until you cure it through saving throws or other means.


This feels like a debuff in most RPGs. It's devastating to a player, but don't bother using on most enemies. The tough ones maybe, but if RPG logic holds they'll probably be "immune" with a high Fort save.

On a related note, I have a Radiation Buffer installed and my clothes have radiation protection. I really do not want to fail that save.

The Exchange

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Even without environmental protections, irradiate doesn't give you radiation sickness right? So what are the effects of being hit by it except the hit point damage? You get better from the radiation poison effect as soon as you leave the area, which is instantaneous with the spell.

I think you missed one key sentence. Check out page 404 of the CRB.

Quote:
As usual for poison effects, an affected creature requires rest to recover from radiation poisoning.

The spell is instantaneous, so you don’t have to continue to make saves against the poison. But as with all poisons you stay at your current stage on the Constitution poison track until you rest up.

You can get radiation sickness from the spell irradiate, just not from one casting. Say you’ve already failed a save vs. radiation poison and are weakened. If you get hit with irradiate and fail the save you move to impaired and have to make a save vs. the disease.

There is a radiation hazard in a low-level SFS scenario and almost no-one was running it correctly. As you said earlier, you have to read through three or four parts of the book to put it all together.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is needlessly complicated, and annoyingly so. I'm not surprised it breaks considering all the rules bouncing off each other it has to do.

the spell:
This spell floods the area of effect with dangerous radiation. The strength of the radiation you create depends on your caster level, as detailed below. The central irradiated area is always a 10-foot-radius spread that expands normally per the rules for radiation areas of effect. Creatures within the area are exposed to the radiation only once; the radiation does not linger in the area. The saving throw to resist the radiation effects is set by the spell rather than the standard save DC for radiation.

Okay, but whats radiation do? You have to look under Game mastery to find that

Spoiler:
Radiation

Radiation is a very real threat to adventurers, whether it’s the radiation emitted from stars or the radiation generated by various technological wonders of the universe. Radiation is a poison effect that weakens an affected creature’s Constitution and can also inflict an affected creature with a disease called radiation sickness. Radiation dangers are organized into four categories: low, medium, high, and severe. The effects of these categories of radiation are described on Table 11–8: Radiation Levels.

Curing Radiation Effects

A creature that leaves an area suffused with radiation is essentially cured of the poison effect ( bnw which is what happens with an instantaneous spell )

Radiation

Type poison, emanation (see above); Save Fortitude (see chart)

Track Constitution; Frequency 1/round

Effect At each state of impaired and beyond, the victim must succeed at a DC 18 Fortitude saving throw or contract the radiation sickness disease (see below).

Cure none

Okay so now I go fetch the poison track

Constitution Poison Track

Healthy—Weakened—Impaired—Debilitated—Unconscious—Dead

Weakened The victim takes a –2 penalty to Fortitude saves, Constitution checks, and Constitution-based DCs. Every time the victim attempts a Fortitude save against the poison—whether he succeeds or fails—he loses Hit Points as per on initial exposure.
Impaired The victim takes an additional –2 penalty to the affected checks, and the DCs of his spells and special abilities decrease by 2.
Debilitated Strenuous actions cause the victim pain. If he takes a standard action, he immediately loses 1 Hit Point.
Unconscious The victim is unconscious and can’t be woken by any means.
Dead The victim dies.

So I cast irradiate on some drow playing poker. Some of them fail the save, they all take damage. The ones that fail the save are weakened.

Okay, now i go over to afflictions

fulfilling the cure condition (or reaching the end of a poison’s duration) removes a poison from the victim’s system, but she remains at the same step on the track and recovers gradually.

Okay, so thats how you can hurt someone with an irradiate spam and give them the sickness.

The Exchange

I figured out a fairly understandable way of explaining it to experienced D&D/Pathfinder players:

"Think of radiation like a slightly more complicated cloudkill. If you get hit with cloudkill you take con damage. Each round you are in the cloudkill you take more con damage. If you leave the cloud you cease taking damage, but the con damage you have taken stays until you rest or get it healed with magic.

Radiation is kinda like that except instead of 'con damage' you take some normal damage every round and each time you fail the save you move along the 'constitution poison track.' If you get out of the radiation source you cease going further down the track but you don't recover until you rest or get it healed with magic."

"There's also radiation sickness, but that's something else. Does the poison part make sense now? Great, let's play."


They interact. Since the penalties stack once someones been irradiated to the point that they have the sicknesss theyre looking at a minus 6 to their saves i think...sf conditions get called a death sporal for a reason

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

yeah, but the radiation doesn't stick around. so really, you get to blast everyone with a few HP damage, and then give them the first stage of CON poison.

since the radiation doesn't stick around, unless the spell is cast again, it's not going to advance them down the track. and radiation poison, as a disease, while terrible for PCs who are going to stick around for awhile, only checks off 1/day, so it's kinda useless as a battle advantage.

in sum: you can hurt the constitution of your enemies. shoot it off 4 times, and you're basically unstoppable. otherwise... eh.


They also need to fail twice

But IF they fail twice that death spiral takes a nose dive.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

They also need to fail twice

But IF they fail twice that death spiral takes a nose dive.

even then though, it's just radiation poison, not radiation sickness disease.

so there's no spiral. it's a blast of radiation. goes away. the most you can do is get them impaired on the constitution poison track.


If they fail twice they contract the sickness: Its a poison effect so you don't spring back to healthy once it leaves.

Acquisitives

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
If they fail twice they contract the sickness: Its a poison effect so you don't spring back to healthy once it leaves.

but the first step on the physical disease track is LATENT.

which has no effect. to advance down the radiation disease track is a check 1/day.

sure there's a poison effect from the radiation itself - but you only get to deliver that the number of times you cast the spell, since the radiation doesn't stick around.

maybe i'm missing something. but in a combat, this spell seems like you can throw some CON related penalties around, but little else.

i think we are agreeing past each other.

it seems like a spell of limited utility, which might be helpful vs. space monsters. but that's about it.


It's a useful debuff spell for NPCs. It's not great for PCs.


Quote:
but the first step on the physical disease track is LATENT.

Any step on any disease track in Starfinder is a place you don't want to be. I guarantee you.

Community / Forums / Starfinder / Rules Questions / Why irradiate is a joke All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Rules Questions