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 Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    Antibodies can't counter the effects of radiation
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  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 Vault Senior Citizen

    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 Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    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
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  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.
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  7. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    I had intended to respond earlier but I was distracted by other stuff.

    Sadly I am not really that good at biology, only having an average understanding on the subject.
    It is already pointed out here why radiation alone should not have caused Ghoulism/Ghoulification, and even if it did why radiation should still eventually kill Ghouls, rather than keep them alive or even make them feel better.

    I think even in the Fallout universe radiation, at least initially, should not have some kind of "magical" effects other than tearing genetic structures apart.
    At least not in combination with other factors.

    I also think it would be better to go with the explanation that Ghouls are created by a "contaminated" or flawed version of FEV rather than just radiation.
    At this point it really would not just be such a retcon any more, and it would help get rid of a pseudo scientific explanation that never held up that well anyway.

    Question of course would remain why only the people in the Bakersfield Vault became Ghouls, instead of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the US as Fallout 3 and 4 implies.
    I am also not a proponent for the idea of it being part of some super secret Vault experiment as I am rather sick of that plotdevice. (would be easy to come up with the explanation that it is the result of some kind of experimental anti radiation drug that instead causes mutations on its own, but that feels like a Fallout 3/4 retcon)

    Also a good question on how there could still have been FEV at West Tek after the research was taken over by the military and all materials were transferred to Mariposa.

    I honestly am not recommending that there should have been another site where some FEV-1 was kept. We already got that nonsense in Fallout 3 and 4.
    But a better explanation how got spread into the atmosphere other than it somehow miraculously surviving when West Tek suffered a direct hit from Chinese ICBMs would have been welcome.

    Too bad it is all sadly moot as it is not as if future games will address this plot point. It might have led to an interesting plotline or sidequest.
    Bethesda's writers will probably write something again like West Tek releasing FEV to see what it does to plants, people, and humans.
    At what fucking point did West Tek turn into the Umbrella Corporation?
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  8. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    May 12, 2020
    My theory on this, running with the “ghouls are created through lethal radiation plus airborne FEV” explanation, is that Vault 12 was simply the only place with the medical technology available to keep ghouls alive indefinitely. Ghouls could have been created all over California once the bombs dropped, but without the resources of a Vault, none of them were able to survive for more than a few weeks after the war (or a few weeks after their ghoulification took hold). Acquiring food and water would be difficult enough for any survivors of the war, let alone a lumbering, zombie-like survivor that’s in constant pain. And Lenny tells us that ghouls can still get infections and diseases (somehow their latent radiation doesn’t sterilize them completely from microbes). Vault 12 was simply the only place available that could support the needs of a ghoul population. If you were turned elsewhere, you simply didn’t survive. Any ghouls that miraculously managed to survive probably made their way to the city of the dead eventually.
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  9. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    But the ambiguity and mystery of it is also part of the fun. While I really enjopy dissecting works of fiction in this manner, we must acknolwedge that going too far with it can ruin any enjoyment.

    Honestly though, as far as using the Vault experiments Necropolis is probably much more deservinbg of that as an explanation than Vault 15. As far as I can tell, the primary purpose that Vault experiments served in Fallout 2 was justifying why Vault City existed and the whole world hasn't been recolonized by Vault-Dwellers, and by extension why its so hard to find a GECK. The ancillary bonuses are justifying why two (or three or four if you take the cut content from 1) different people groups with vaguely ethnic themes/characteristics all emerged from the same Vault, and a little bit of comedy/irony that the entire plot of 1 searching for the water chips was the result of malevolence.

    Why an entire vault of people turned into zombies seems to make a lot of sense as an experiment, but is never addressed. Guess it goes to the fact that they were committed to these being SOCIAL experiments, rather than general experiments they became in Fallout 3.

    Also re:Ghoulification becoming more common post-Fallout 3 and 4, its worth noting that not everyone agreed even on the original team it seems. While of course in Fallout 2 all ghouls are from Necropolis (and that fact is actually kind of important), for Van Buren the Reservation would have had an independent Ghoulification event. Though whats interesting there is that only 12 out of a thousand personnel survived the ghoulification process, rather than almost a full thousand like in Bakersfield.

    Also, I seem to recall hearing that some original dev(Tim Cain?) had pitched a concept for a post-3 spinoff that was about fighting hordes of Ghouls in the Boneyard a few decades after the War, essentially a zombie game.

    My memory re:The Glow isn't the greatest as RiseWIld demonstrated upthread, but I do think that technically only human experimentation is specifically mentioned as being moved to Mariposa, so technically its possible that animal trials/general work may have continued at WestTek, especially since they left behind the supercomputer that existed purely to synthesize/study FEV. Still, it feels like a stretch on multiple levels.

    Isn't this sort of what was supposed to happen in Fallout Extreme?
  10. Eshanas

    Eshanas Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jul 6, 2016
    The Church is too...whats the word...theological for a Wasteland religion. What do they espouse for day-to-day living, ya know? They talk about too many big things, and feel like a suicide cult of superiority complexes. 'We will be gods once we divide our cells into new universes' or whatever. Okay. Imagine you're a wastelander, trying to just not keel over from drinking water. What do you care? There's some appeal of being a 'god' but you have to nuke yourself or be wasted or w/e.
  11. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    I honestly get your point, and normally I would not make such an issue about it, but in this regard I think an explanation or process that details what creates Ghouls would fix some of the damage that has been done since.
    An explanation why Ghouls could only have arisen in Bakersfield (and the Reservation), and why their numbers are limited and do not increase (other than perhaps "Born Ghouls").

    Anything to undo what Bethesda did by turning them into zombies.

    I do not object to the plotdevice of the experiments as I found and still find it a pretty neat plot twist. It is just that it has been so mishandled since Fallout 2 for the sake of "wackiness" or to show that Pre War scientists were amoral loons.

    I would not even object to if it was revealed that the Bakersfield Vault experiment resulted in the creation of Ghouls (as long as it is not part of some project to create super soldiers)

    And I had not considered the idea that it is also the vault experiments that prevented Vault-Dwellers and their descendants to perhaps taken control of a large part of the world or at least US continent.

    And I think it was a bad idea. Bethesda designers just wanted to have their own version of zombies to serve as low tier cannon fodder for the player, and probably because zombies were very big thing in video games.

    That could have worked. I personally don't object against it.
    Hmm, I think ZAX also managed the complex and other work at West Tek and not just FEV production and research, but it is not very important.

    I think that was Feargus, and that was after FNV was released. His pitch for a follow up.
  12. cruddas

    cruddas First time out of the vault

    Jul 5, 2013
    Think of Fallout 1, 2 and New Vegas as a separate timeline from 3 and 4, it would save you so much on headache medicine in the long run and depending on what games you are talking about, you can completely ignore the lore inconsistencies of the others.
  13. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    I pretty much already do, but that only makes me wish more for a sequel despite that being a stupid hope.
    I even fiddle around sometimes with trying to create my own Fallout campaign setting, but I feel it is a pointless endeavor.

    Perhaps the Sonora TC will be somewhat decent (I heard it feels unfinished), and the Van Buren recreation in fallout 2. But the last can never be as the original designers had intended it to be.

    Fallout is dead, and it is high time my stupid brain accepted that.
  14. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I keep it alive for me through tabletop. The games are done. Like a trilogy of books. Lord of the Rings is "dead" but do you become morose about there being no new sequels or disparage people playing tabletop campaigns in Middle Earth? Of course not.
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  15. Dayglow Drifter

    Dayglow Drifter Mildly Dipped

    Sep 25, 2018
    I am somewhat optimistic about certain sections of the New Vegas modding community, obviously that doesn't really get us a different game but there are still fun stories that can be told via that medium.

    I'm not one of those people who gets all bent out of shape over a franchise I like going in a shitty direction though, it's pretty easy for me to pretend that the last game/movie/book from it that I enjoyed was just the last one ever made and leave it at that.
  16. Eshanas

    Eshanas Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jul 6, 2016

    I can't get NV to work on my modern machine and the modding community seems to be on the way of shutting down.

    After Frontier flopped that was the last hurrah, unless there's something else out there in the works?

    But yea it seems like NV is on the way to join 3 as 'dead' while everyone focuses on 4.
  17. Risewild

    Risewild Carbon Dated and Proud
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    Not really. FNV moddig scene is actually getting revitalized lately.
    • Several great modders that had stopped modding years ago came back.
    • NVSE is finally getting updated again after being abandoned for several years (it's now called xNVSE).
    • Script Extender plugins are getting more and more complex and adding lots of new functions, fixing engine bugs and tons of customization (JIP LN, Johnny Guitar, lStewieAl's Tweaks).
    • JIP LN just got a great new function a couple of days ago that allow NPCs to get Perks (just like the main character can).
    • Just a few months ago, a modder managed to crack the engine's animation limit. Just check out kNVSE.
    • A new successor to NVSR was released a few years ago called New Vegas Tick Fix, that works on modern OS and it's still being updated.
    • New Vegas Heap Replacer was released a few years ago and it's still being updated.
    • Just last year a modder finally managed to fix an engine bug that prevented FNV from working properly when there would be more than 120-130 plugins and not only does his mod FNV Mod Limit Fix allows to use up to 255 plugins, it also improves game performance.
    • YUP (the unofficial patch for FNV) is still actively being worked on (we in the TTW team share any fix we make with Sandbox which maintains the mod, and they share their fixes with us).
    And that's only the tip of the iceberg. There's so many new stuff being worked on at the moment.

    FNV's modding scene was never so good. We now have tools and knowledge that allows us to do stuff that was totally impossible just 2 or 3 years ago. And all of this thanks to modders working tirelessly to innovate the tools for modding this game.

    I guess I have the advantage of being inside the modding scene and talk to and work with some of the best modders around, so I know what all the nice projects they are still working on.

    EDIT: I just checked the Nexus and there's been 45 new FNV mods uploaded in the last week (that's an average of 6-7 mods per day). This is not what a dying modding scene looks like.
    In comparison, there's only been 6 new mods uploaded in the last week, and 38 uploaded in the last month for FO3. :lol:

    Also, the Frontier launch might have contributed to a new influx of people in the FNV modding community. The Frontier team is now several times bigger than they ever been. Even their fans seemed to have gone up a lot, just their Discord server has more than 11k members (the largest they ever had).

    I think that the whole launch fiasco just made people want to make the Frontier better.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2021
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  18. Norzan

    Norzan Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Apr 7, 2017
    How? The three laptops i have bought in the last 10 years have ran the game just fine. And they ranged from being ass to pretty good (the current one).

    Then again, it seems i have some rather major luck with games that are apparently infamous for being hard to work with. Grim Dawn is another game that i heard horror stories about constant crashing and not being able to run the game, but i have been able to avoid that.
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  19. Eshanas

    Eshanas Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jul 6, 2016
    I wish I could tell. This thing can run cyberpunk but new vegas, unmodded, crashes after 30 minutes, with mods, a few minutes, or if I try to stream it, immediately.

    Well then. I proudly stand corrected. Here's to many more mods and years of FNV!
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  20. Eshanas

    Eshanas Water Chip? Been There, Done That

    Jul 6, 2016
    Update: I got NV to work.

    This guide helped a lot but mostly it was any landscape mod and stutter remover being absolute shit.

    I can even stream it on discord or twitch now.

    Woooo! But yea it's often a lot of left-over and outdated mods.