DOC, I DON’T FEEL SO GOOD – Pathfinder’s Radiation Damage rules for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

RADIATION SICKNESS IN 5E DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

Hell on Earth Doomsayer

One hazard that shows up in the Iron Gods adventure path that I need to convert to 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons is the harmful radiation that certain Numerian artefacts emit. The following are my draft rules for converting Pathfinder’s Radiation Damage to 5E.

Radiation affects a spherical area, radiating out from a source point. Radiation can extend into solid objects. The closer one gets to the center of an area of radiation, the stronger the radiation effect becomes. Radiation entries list the maximum level of radiation in an area, as well as the radius out to which this radiation level applies. Each increment up to an equal length beyond that radius degrades the radiation strength by one level. For example, a source of high radiation with a radius of 20 feet creates a zone of medium radiation 21 feet to 40 feet from the center in all directions, and a similar zone of low radiation from 41 to 60 feet.

Radiation damage is poison damage and any ability or spell that affects poison will, likewise, affect radiation damage. Creatures that are immune to poison damage take no damage from radiation, and creatures resistant to poison damage suffer half the normal levels of exhaustion on a failed saving throw, rounding down.

Creatures that are exposed to radiation must make a saving throw each round or suffer levels of exhaustion, as set out in the Radiation Damage table. If the saving throw fails by 5 or more, the creature suffers more levels of exhaustion, as set out in the Radiation Damage table.

RADIATION DAMAGE
Radiation Level Constitution Saving Throw DC Failed Saving Throw Failed Saving Throw by more than 5
Low 10 One level of exhaustion Two levels of exhaustion
Medium 15 Two levels of exhaustion Three levels of exhaustion
High 20 Three levels of exhaustion Four levels of exhaustion
Severe 25 Four levels of exhaustion Five levels of exhaustion

DUNGEON MUSERS’ NOTES

Since 5E does not use ability loss as a mechanic, I decided to use 5E’s terrific exhaustion mechanic to simulate the deleterious effect that radiation has on living beings. 5E’s exhaustion is a bit harder to recover from than ability damage in PF, but I’m ok with radiation being a hazard that leaves you dealing with its effects for a long time. I also like that exhaustion incorporates 5E’s bounded accuracy concept, by affecting all levels of characters in a meaningful way.

RESOURCEFUL RESKINNING

For campaigns that don’t feature high tech elements, these rules could be used to represent fields of necrotic energy or similar life-threatening magical energy.

Alternatively, these rules could be used to simulate a slumber or sleep spell effect (like the enchanted poppy glade in The Wizard of Oz), though DMs who do so may wish to have affected characters become unconscious at six levels of exhaustion, rather than die.

GEIGER COUNTERS ARE TICKING LIKE CRAZY!

With rules for hostile radiation converted, now I can turn my mind to some of the items in the Iron Gods adventure path that relate to radiation damage (including some of the serums introduced in Fires of Creation), which will be up next.

Until next time, I remain;

  • THE DUNGEON MUSER
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DOC, I DON’T FEEL SO GOOD – Pathfinder’s Radiation Damage rules for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

One thought on “DOC, I DON’T FEEL SO GOOD – Pathfinder’s Radiation Damage rules for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

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