Is the Church of Children of the Atom actually dumb?

Discussion in 'Fallout 3 Discussion' started by Sublime, Apr 15, 2021.

  1. Kakaroow

    Kakaroow First time out of the vault

    Nov 22, 2017
    The children of the atom, like the baby in the Pitt gain their special skill through rare antibodies in their immune system, and they’re also idiots so they think that a god gave them this skill, perhaps if you ever had the ability to take their blood and put it in you then you’d be immune to gamma radiation, just a theory correct me if I’m wrong.
  2. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jun 7, 2015
    Antibodies can't counter the effects of radiation
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  3. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Kind of what I wanted to say but I did not know how.
    Radiation is not like bacteria.

    The reason Super Mutants do not suffer ill effects is because their tissue regenerates so fast, but I find it more difficult to explain why Ghouls are immune and even feel a bit better when exposed to more than just background radiation.
  4. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jun 7, 2015
    I don't think that the reason Super Mutants are immune to radiation only because of their healing ability - rather its the very structure of their DNA, forwhatever the quad-helix sheathed DNA structure that FEV imbues them with is not broken down by radiation. Granted most tissue is not DNA and while radiation's most acute effect is breaking down the structure of DNA, it also damages flesh. So either as you say this part is handled by their fast regeneration ability, or perhaps their cellular wall is somehow resistant to radaition.

    Ghouls of course are pure magic, and no half-way convincing pseudoscience explanation was ever given in the original games, nor to my knowledge has one been given in the 3D games.

    You can of course always take Avellone's tact and working with Harold as your baseline say "actually ghouls aren't the victims of radiation exposure, they're the victims of moderate FEV exposure perhaps combined with radaition." This feels more reasonable since we've already accepted FEV as the magic radiation resistant super juice, but has the noted downside that it was clearly not the original intention of Fallout 1, and takes away from the pseudoscience magic. Plus, the causal mechanism just always felt iffy to me. We're supposed to believe a large quantity of FEV is left at WestTek, even though most of it was confiscated and moved to Mariposa, and enough of it survives a nuclear blast to be blasted into the atmosphere instead of getting annihilated? I dunno man.

    The best answer is probably just magic, though I do think their is a half-reasonable one: radiation exposure annihlates DNA. Look at the case of Hisashi Ouchi, a Japanese nuclear worker who was exposed to an equivalent dose of radiation at the center of the Hiroshima blast. He lived for 83 days in absolute agony, and looked worse than any ghoul (if you haven't seen the pictures, and have a very strong stomach, take a look, one of the more horrific things out there.) His white blood cell count dropped to zero and his chromosomes were utterly shattered, unrecognizable and their proper order unidentifiable.

    Following this, what ghouls would be is an emergent property of radiation exposure. DNA reduced to a slurry, unrecognizable. However, we can postulate that once direct exposure to radiation has ended if it hasn't killed the victim, the DNA may reformulate. That is to say, the inherent structures of DNA allows it to partially come back together, execute basic functions but divorced from proper order. Think of it like a jury rigged engine - it has a doorknob for a cylinder, it's running on vodka instead of gasoline, and half of its rotational energy is devoted towards somewhere completely pointless, but it works well enough to sustain the most basic of life functions. Another way to look at it: you have a beautiful chocolate rabbit that you've melted and let settle out into a mostly formless lump.

    For a better articulated example of what I'm talking about, see Some of the underlying mechanisms are different (and make this concept more sensible than my ghouls) but the basic principle is similar.

    Of course, aside from being mostly handwave dressed up in jargon, it doesn't answer several important questions. For one, even if they've survived initial exposure and their DNA has partially reformulated, any further exposure to radiation should damage their DNA, if not their flesh. We are shown just the contrary, with ghouls able to easily survive highly irradiated areas. What's more, starting with the (in my opinion very cool) ability of Glowing Ones in Fallout 3 to revive fallen comrades, built upon in Fallout New Vegas with the Marked Men who's flesh is regenerated by radiation (both in lore and gameplay where Marked Men are strategically placed in irradiated areas to make them tougher), and reaching its sickening apotheosis in Fallout 4 with ghouls able to be sustained upon radiation and nothing else (not even water!), ghouls are actively helped by radiation rather than just surviving it.

    Perhaps for the resistance, we can speculate that the loose amorphous structure of ghoulish DNA is less susceptible to the effects of radation as opposed to the rigid, easily shattered double helix. Even taking this weak explanation, their flesh itself should still be susceptible to the effects of radiation. And there is absolutely no explanation I can muster for radiation's healing (or even sustentive!) abilities.

    The second problem is why do some people become ghouls and others do not? In Fallout 1 of course, every single ghoul we meet seems to be from Necropolis. The same is true in Fallout 2, every ghoul that has an origin story is from Necropolis. The question than becomes why did everyone in the Bakersfield Vault go ghouly, and why didn't anyone else in California? The "DNA Slurry" explanation utterly fails to explain this, though most ghoulification theories also fail and have to resort to handwaving some secret vault experiment and handwaving the lack of other ghouls as simply not depicted or elaborated upon but existing.
  5. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    May 12, 2020
    Didn’t Chris Taylor say that ghouls were created by FEV? I know that Tim Cain disagreed, but ZAX lays out pretty clearly that FEV mutates you, and radiation kills you. Later games did not stick to this rule, but I’d argue that this was the original intention of Fallout 1.
    Last edited: May 4, 2021 at 2:08 AM
  6. Risewild

    Risewild Carbon Dated and Proud
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    This is what Fallout 1 tells us about FEV:
    We get that information from ZAX and Vree's autopsy report.