When did we get rules for radiation poisoning?


General Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Last I heard, nobody really knew how to handle radiation, particularly how often you checked for it.

Was there an errata that I missed? It's clearly explained on AoN now.

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

Radiation Sickness
Type
disease; Save Fortitude (same DC as the level of radiation that caused the radiation sickness)
Track physical; Frequency 1/day
Effect Radiation sickness isn’t contagious.
Cure 3 consecutive saves


It's sitting on my GM screen as you quoted. I dunno about it being spelled out in the CRB, but I have to assume it's the same.

I actually had to use them recently because of PC stupidity.


Isn't what you quoted just on page 404 of the core rulebook?

CRB, page 404 wrote:

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

RADIATION SICKNESS
Type disease; Save Fortitude (same DC as the level of radiation
that caused the radiation sickness)
Track physical; Frequency 1/day
Effect Radiation sickness isn’t contagious.
Cure 3 consecutive saves

I remember there being a lot of arguments about the Solarian stellar revelation also called Radiation, but the above rules are just about the environmental hazard.


Yeah, those are the basic environmental radiation rules. There are corner cases (the irradiate spell, which just does one round of effect per casting and uses a different DC) and other related uses that use the word radiation (weapon special effects, monster powers, solarian power) that might work differently.

Shadow Lodge

Xenocrat wrote:
Yeah, those are the basic environmental radiation rules. There are corner cases (the irradiate spell, which just does one round of effect per casting and uses a different DC) and other related uses that use the word radiation (weapon special effects, monster powers, solarian power) that might work differently.

I was very disappointed with the irradiate spell when my star shaman cast it. Especially since it's the automatically learned spell.


thistledown wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Yeah, those are the basic environmental radiation rules. There are corner cases (the irradiate spell, which just does one round of effect per casting and uses a different DC) and other related uses that use the word radiation (weapon special effects, monster powers, solarian power) that might work differently.
I was very disappointed with the irradiate spell when my star shaman cast it. Especially since it's the automatically learned spell.

Yeah, it's a very weird spell. You have to cast it 2-3 times on a group to make it worth it, and slow debuffs and disease effects requiring multiple applications aren't exactly the most efficient way to victory in Starfinder combat. Great for a terrorist trying to make a bunch of people sick in a shopping market, pretty bad for an adventurer.


The level of nesting rules here is a little ridiculous. I keep finding more matuska dolls every time i try this.

But as written the irradiate spell needs some serious erratta. It functionally doesn't do anything unless you hit people with it 4 times.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

The level of nesting rules here is a little ridiculous. I keep finding more matuska dolls every time i try this.

But as written the irradiate spell needs some serious erratta. It functionally doesn't do anything unless you hit people with it 4 times.

Huh? Assuming they fail their saves every time:

1st Irradiate - targets are Weakened on the Constitution poison track, take DC-10 damage.

2nd Irradiate - Targets are Impaired on the Constitution poison track, take (DC-10)x2 damage, must save vs radiation sickness and (on our assumed fail) move to Latent on the physical disease track.

3rd Irradiate - Targets are Debilitated on the Constitution poison track, take (DC-10)x2 damage, move to Weakened on the physical disease track.

4th Irradiate - Targets are Unconscious on the Constitution poison track, take (DC-10)x2 damage, move to Impaired on the physical disease track.

You're here for the poison effects with repeated Irradiate applications, if you get them up to Weakened or beyond on the disease track with your 3rd+ Irradiate that's just bonus debuffs.

Of course, if you're casting two or more of the same spell and planning for failed saves there are probably better ways to win than casting Irradiate.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:

The level of nesting rules here is a little ridiculous. I keep finding more matuska dolls every time i try this.

But as written the irradiate spell needs some serious erratta. It functionally doesn't do anything unless you hit people with it 4 times.

I agree there's possibly too much rules nesting, but I disagree that it functionally doesn't do anything. Its a poison on the constitution track. Which means its doing small amounts of guaranteed damage at the same time, applying penalties to saving throws and abilities, and eventually is a win condition independent of hit points (that doesn't necessarily kill them if you stop when they drop).

Its admittedly a bit slow, but thats because we're talking about a single caster. If you only have a single character in a party doing damage, its going to be slow going as well. Imagine having a party of 4-6 characters capable of inflicting constitution track poison. Bosses better have good fortitude saves or be immune to poison in that case.


If your party has a couple of spell casters capable of throwing these out back to back, I see some situational uses for it. If you don't, I think I'd skip it if you have a choice. If only technomantic dabbler qualified you to attempt using spell gems.

Still seems like it should have been a one round duration spell. At least you could catch a handful more targets.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I could have sworn I saw several threads on these forums about how often one was to check for radiation exposure. After all, the power and effectiveness of radiation would vary widely on whether you needed to save once per round, once per minute, hour, or day.

Then I found these rules on AoN and am now totally confused as to what all the confusion was about in the first place. I just assumed the rules hadn't previously existed, and that I missed an errata release or something.


Ravingdork wrote:

I could have sworn I saw several threads on these forums about how often one was to check for radiation exposure. After all, the power and effectiveness of radiation would vary widely on whether you needed to save once per round, once per minute, hour, or day.

Then I found these rules on AoN and am now totally confused as to what all the confusion was about in the first place. I just assumed the rules hadn't previously existed, and that I missed an errata release or something.

You're probably remembering this thread. It seems some people interpreted 1/round as the ongoing effect of being exposed once (continuing until you save?), rather than meaning environmental radiation always and forever imposes a save every round until you leave the area or remove the source of radiation.


With a forum search, I think the question from way back when is: if you are standing in radiation and not moving, do you have to save again every round even after passing the initial save? Passing a save vs. radiation when you walk into a reactor and then setting up a cot to go to sleep without consequence seems pretty silly.

If yes, does failing the save mean you have to save twice the next round? once vs ongoing poison and once vs a second initial exposure? That seems even more deadly than it should be.


Ravingdork wrote:

I could have sworn I saw several threads on these forums about how often one was to check for radiation exposure. After all, the power and effectiveness of radiation would vary widely on whether you needed to save once per round, once per minute, hour, or day.

Then I found these rules on AoN and am now totally confused as to what all the confusion was about in the first place. I just assumed the rules hadn't previously existed, and that I missed an errata release or something.

You mean like: How frequently do you save against environmental radiation.

I think some people had some confusion of multiple exposures versus saving once versus initial application. Normally, when you get exposed to poison, and fail your save on initial exposure you are forced to continue making saving throws until you reach a cure state. There's a line on page 404 noting if you leave the area of radiation, you're cured of the poison effect, meaning you don't continue needing to make saving throws against radiation.

Developer intent was you roll once per round while in radiation to determine if you move down the track, not to become compounding multiple exposures where if you're in the area for 3 rounds, you're now making 3 saving throws per round because you failed your initial exposure saving throw 3 times.

Look at this way, a creature attacks you with a constitution track poison 3 times, and applies a dose each time. Now you're making 3 saving throws a turn (assuming a frequency of 1/round). Radiation doesn't do that. Although, maybe if you have overlapping fields of radiation you do?


Hiruma Kai wrote:
Although, maybe if you have overlapping fields of radiation you do?

Pretty sure that would just increase the strength/area of the radiation.


Hiruma Kai wrote:
Its a poison on the constitution track. Which means its doing small amounts of guaranteed damage at the same time

Your level in damage. Which is worse than a grenade. For a 4th level spell.

Quote:
applying penalties to saving throws and abilities, and eventually is a win condition independent of hit points (that doesn't necessarily kill them if you stop when they drop).

IF people keep missing their save.

Quote:
Its admittedly a bit slow, but thats because we're talking about a single caster. If you only have a single character in a party doing damage, its going to be slow going as well.

Most spell damage works perfectly fine with the Vesks bashy stick thingy damage. If i mind blast someone with a spell the vesk can do the more literal version with their sharp pointy object.

This requires everyone to have it to be functional.

Quote:
Imagine having a party of 4-6 characters capable of inflicting [quoteconstitution track poison. Bosses better have good fortitude saves or be immune to poison in that case.

If you need to be that ludicrously niche ... and that level of niche has gone to plaid, you're making my point.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Its a poison on the constitution track. Which means its doing small amounts of guaranteed damage at the same time

Your level in damage. Which is worse than a grenade. For a 4th level spell.

1. It's a third level spell.

2. It's not your level in damage, it's the DC minus 10 (x2 once they've failed a save and therefore have to save twice against subsequent applications). So 3 plus spell attribute bonus plus spell focus (if any) plus any other fringe bonuses.

You need four failed saves to go unconscious, the first failure imposes a -2 on subsequent saves (which stacks with all other debuffs, like move action demoralize checks and biohacker sickens and fort save debuffs) and the second failure increases that to a -4. It effects a 10', 20' (7th level plus), 30' (10th level plus), or 40' (17th level plus) spread. So if you've got 2-3 casters teaming up to spam a spell 2-3 times against a crowd, compare cumulative damage (probably pretty trivial) and probabilistic debuff/disability percentage for multiple castings of Irradiate vs the HP damage from multiple Explosive Blasts.

Explosive Blast is subject to resistance/immunity, Irradiate is subject to poison immunity and radiation immunity/resistance from armor with/without the environmental protections active.

A save on Explosive Blast results in an average of 15.75 points of fire damage, a save on Irradiate results in 3 (base DC 13 minus 10) + 1 (spell focus) + 5 (attribute assumption) or 8 points of poison damage, which will double to 16 once they fail a single Irradiate save.

A failed save on Explosive Blast results in an average of 31.5 points of fire damage, vs the same 8 or 16 poison damage from Irradiate, plus Irradiate is debuffing Fort saves, plus offensive spell/ability DCs after the second failed save.

Four consecutive failed saves against Explosive Blast average 126 points of fire damage. Four consecutive failed saves against Irradiate make you effectively dead or captured.

A CR8 combatant array monster has 125 HP and a fort and reflex save of +10. I assumed a DC 18 above, so they'll save 65% of the time against either spell.

That puts the expected average damage from four Explosive Blasts (assuming no fire resistance) at 85.05 points of damage.

The outcomes are tougher to calculate for Irradiate, because once they fail a save their odds of making the next go down to 55%, and once they fail a second their odds of making the next go down to 45%. But if I crunched my spreadsheet right the expected poison damage is 45.22 points of damage.

So Explosive Blast will do 88.1% more expected damage, with greater dispersion, while Irradiate will also include some Fortitude and eventually ability/spell DC debuffs.

The cumulative chance of going unconscious against four consecutive Irradiates is 4.76%. It takes 5.88 (so 6) Explosive Blasts doing average expected damage to kill a CR8 combantant. I'm not smart enough to calculate the probability of someone failing four out of six Irradiate saves given the changing odds after one or two failures, but it's probably pretty decent.

Pro-tip: Magic sucks for killing lots of tough things in Starfinder.


Garretmander wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Although, maybe if you have overlapping fields of radiation you do?
Pretty sure that would just increase the strength/area of the radiation.

It's up to the GM as there are no rules for what happens when you overlap areas of radiation. Perhaps only the strongest apply. Perhaps the severity increases. Or perhaps you roll saving throws for both. What happens when you cast Irradiate in an area where a Solarian is using the Radiation solar revelation while the entire planet is considered a low-level radiation area. I don't know without asking my GM.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Its a poison on the constitution track. Which means its doing small amounts of guaranteed damage at the same time
Your level in damage. Which is worse than a grenade. For a 4th level spell.

Given the damage isn't the primary point, I'm kinda okay with that. But as Xenocrat said, its a 3rd level spell and the damage is DC-10. A starting 16 Int Technomancer is looking at DC 10 + 3 + 1 (Spell Focus) + 6 (Int) = 20 at level 7. So 10 damage per application at 7th level.

On the low end, we have a 6th level cryo grenade does 1d8, save for half. Assuming a 50/50 save odds, that is 3.375 expected cold damage. On the high end, a 8th level frag grenade is 4d6, so again assuming 50/50 save odds, that is an expected 10.5 damage, for half a point higher.

So that looks like it'd be in the ballpark of 7th level grenades if they existed, at least at the level you get the spell.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
applying penalties to saving throws and abilities, and eventually is a win condition independent of hit points (that doesn't necessarily kill them if you stop when they drop).
IF people keep missing their save.

That is true. Just like needing to actually hit the enemy's KAC before dealing damage.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Its admittedly a bit slow, but thats because we're talking about a single caster. If you only have a single character in a party doing damage, its going to be slow going as well.
Most spell damage works perfectly fine with the Vesks bashy stick thingy damage. If I mind blast someone with a spell the vesk can do the more literal version with their sharp pointy object.

I agree its generally much easier to stack damage than constitution poisons. At least for PCs. Its easier to design an encounter that leverages NPCs using poison effects.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Imagine having a party of 4-6 characters capable of inflicting constitution track poison. Bosses better have good fortitude saves or be immune to poison in that case.
If you need to be that ludicrously niche ... and that level of niche has gone to plaid, you're making my point.

Sometimes at a table of 6, you might actually have 4 casters. Its not any crazier than some Pathfinder society party compositions I've seen. Even having 2 casters capable of casting it starting putting it in the realm of 3 rounds until down.

Anyways, I'm curious what level of strength would you like to see in the spell? Would you like to see enemies drop after 3 failed saves? Two? What errata were you asking for?

I'll also note, Irradiate has a couple tricks up its sleeve that many other spells lack.

1) Radiation is non-visible. You need a special technological device or a 1st level spell to detect it.
2) Radiation penetrates into solid objects (page 403).

Combined, this means you can cast irradiate at a typical building or ship's wall at up to medium range and affect people on the other side that you lack normal line of effect or sight to. Without them realizing what is exactly happening. Depending on circumstances, multiple casting might be possible before the targets (players or NPCs) realize what is happening.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Magical radiation snipers? Cool!

That's a plot hook for sure!


Hiruma Kai wrote:
Given the damage isn't the primary point, I'm kinda okay with that. But as Xenocrat said, its a 3rd level spell and the damage is DC-10. A starting 16 Int Technomancer is looking at DC 10 + 3 + 1 (Spell Focus) + 6 (Int) = 20 at level 7. So 10 damage per application at 7th level.

That is absolutely terrible damage at that level.

Quote:
applying penalties to saving throws and abilities, and eventually is a win condition independent of hit points (that doesn't necessarily kill them if you stop when they drop).

except that at least half of all critters are going to have armor providing a hefty fort save if not complete immunity to the level of radiation.

Quote:
That is true. Just like needing to actually hit the enemy's KAC before dealing damage.

Except if I keep missing my party can take the hit points i took off the first time and do something with it. 4

Quote:
I agree its generally much easier to stack damage than constitution poisons. At least for PCs. Its easier to design an encounter that leverages NPCs using poison effects.

Admit the spell is non functional as a PC option then.

Quote:
Sometimes at a table of 6, you might actually have 4 casters. Its not any crazier than some Pathfinder society party compositions I've seen. Even having 2 casters capable of casting it starting putting it in the realm of 3 rounds until down.

4 casters, all of whom have this spell known when it is terribad in any other setup.

There isn't a whole lot of daylight between needing such ridiculous circumstances to make the spell worthwhile and it doesn't work at all.

Quote:
Anyways, I'm curious what level of strength would you like to see in the spell? Would you like to see enemies drop after 3 failed saves? Two? What errata were you asking for?

For one thing, I'd like to be able to use the spell without setting up a conspiracy string board bouncing all of the rules off of each other.

a d8 per two levels or something and a save penalty if you miss the save seems about right.

Quote:
1) Radiation is non-visible. You need a special technological device or a 1st level spell to detect it.

Or OW OW OW OW it burns. Thats a dc.. what? 10? 15 life science/physical science check to figure out?

Quote:
2) Radiation penetrates into solid objects (page 403).

Without a whole lot of rules for doing so.

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Combined, this means you can cast irradiate at a typical building or ship's wall at up to medium range

You still need line of effect to the center of the spell you're casting and the irradiate might be able to spread from there. So at most you can cast the spell at the side of the building and have it penetrate 40 feet into the building at 17th level.

I don't know how much starship hull it takes to block what level of radiation, but since not every starfinder is a mutated freak i think the ships hulls are at least providing a bonus.

Not to mention the fact that if you blindly toss a spell into EvilCorps office you're also irradiating their secretary as well as the EvilCorp daycare.


Irradiate is a bad spell, but so are the blast spells. Slow and summons are the only generally good offensive spells.

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