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payl0ad - BabyBearington

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A radiation gameplay mechanic overhaul for survival mode.

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# A radiation game mechanic overhaul for survival mode #

### Features: ###

. radiation poisoning, ingestion of radioactive particles and mutations
. radiation plausibility tuning: better explosions, hazards and weather effects
. breakable protective equipment
. more challenges for survival enthusiasts
. new radiation medicine

$ public announcement

PIRAD is closing in on the first release that we consider feature complete. We want PIRAD to become the go-to radiation overhaul for survival mode, kind of like the Frostfall of FO4. As such, we need feedback from YOU: What do you like about it? What could be better? What features are you missing? Are there subsystems that feel awkward in gameplay? Is it too difficult for you, or too easy? Please head over to the forum. Balancing overhauls is hard and absolutely needs good feedback. A lot of features were actually requested by users - your opinion matters!

$ current version


$ description - functionality overview

I. Radiation comes twofold: Tissue damage caused by radiation exposure (which leads to radiation poisoning and eats up HP) and radioactive particulate entering the players body, causing exposure from the inside. Both are separate values with separate resistances and damage types.

II. Radiation poisoning comes in disease-like effects similar to those already found in survival mode. Mutations can kick in when the player recovers from life-threatening radiation doses (if Wild Wasteland is active - they aren't meant exactly serious...).

III. Radioactive particles can be ingested from food, drink, weather effects, attacks and cloaks of certain creatures and all sorts of hazards.

IV. Protective gear is more important: Gas masks protect from contaminated dusts and fogs, Hazmat Suits and Power Armor even protect from radioactive fallout. Protective gear can break (and then be repaired) and stops protecting when it does. 

V. Nuclear Technology plausibility overhaul: Fusion-powered machines like cars and sentries don't leave hazards. Other robots can have their fission battery pop upon death due to meltdown and cause heavy contamination. Nuclear explosions have different characteristics depending on their source (see below for details).

VI. Healing radiation is more complex: There is RadAway to purge the body of ingested rads and cure radiation poisoning, Rad-X to protect against rad ingestion and poisoning, as well as the all-new MutAway to heal tissue damage and Pb-Jelly to resist radiation exposure.

VII. Hazard overhaul: Unpleasant weather conditions cause additional radiation effects, more dynamically plazed hazards, radiation sticks to the player for a while after swimming.

VIII. Treasure Hunt: Find all of the Hot Rodder Hazmat Suits and a new set of magazines hidden away in vanilla locations!

$ compatibility notes

PIRAD is primarily script-based. It is self-contained where possible and overrides comparatively few vanilla records. It is designed to work well with other gameplay overhauls that typically overlook radiation as a gameplay element but also balance to survival mode. If using DLC with the Season Pass patch, all non-Workshop DLCs are required (Automatron, Far Harbor, Nuka World).

I do not test without survival mode active. If something doesn't work and you are not playing on survival mode I reserve the right to make fun of you.

You do not need to run any other Timescale mod, PIRAD can handle this for you.

PIRAD requires Armor and Weapon Keywords Community Resource (AWKCR) 3.2.0+. It includes standard VIS tags so there is no need for VIS patches.

PIRAD breaks Armorsmith Extended compatibility on purpose for all Gas Masks and the Hazmat Suit. This is required for the breakable equipment mechanic to work properly, and you actually don't want to mod the masks (or Hazmat Suits) anyway.
All items have the appropriate keywords and instance naming rules so sorting mods will not need patching.

The breakable equipment feature does not work with custom gas masks or biosuits without a patch. Custom gas masks or biosuits also don't protect you without a patch.
Instructions on patching can be found in the Forum tab.

The weather radiation system in PIRAD makes it compatible (as in "conflict-free") to all weather overhauls. It does need a tiny bit of patching to "listen" for custom weathers like in True Storms. This is strictly optional though. It does not interact with visual aspects or effects attached by their original author. I've made it stupid simple to integrate, go wild. Instructions are also in the Forum tab.

The system used to enable radiation ingestion from food and drink does not edit consumables in any way. In fact, the only consumables PIRAD overrides are Rad-X and RadAway.

Mods that change explosions might conflict with PIRAD on a few records. If you load the conflicting mod below PIRAD, nothing will break. Some hazards from PIRAD will not show up this way.

There is an optional package containing compatibility and integration patches for the following mods:

The mod is released as Creative Commons so you can change anything to your liking and create patches as you see fit, as long as they are also distributed under the same license.

Cell Conflicts:
PIRAD places single references in a certain amount of cells and thus might conflict with mods that change those cells. A list for reference:


  • GlowingSeaPOIDB01
  • ScrapPalaceExt04
  • ChestnutHillockReservoirExt04
  • RockyNarrowsParkExt
  • AtomatoysFactoryExt
  • FinancialPostalSquare
  • HestersRoboticsExt
  • NationalGuardTrainingYardExt
  • LynnWoodsExt02
  • Unnamed Wilderness (FormIDs 0000DCD2, 000D916)
  • GoodNeighborTheThirdRail
  • FortStrong02
  • QuincyPD01
  • SouthBostonPoliceDepartment01
  • GorskiCabin01

It's safe to load all those mods below PIRAD, the placed references will still be where we placed them. If the mod blocks access to the references it might become interesting though.

Recommended mods:

$ features explained

Ingested Rads:

  • Food and drink - the system will work independently of the effects that are displayed in the pipboy (which also apply of course). Food is classified by internal lists that sort all food items into "prewar", "raw" and "processed" quality grades. Drinks are also sorted onto these lists. When the player consumes a food item, the script does a lookup on these tables for the food item and applies additional effects to the player. Stay healthy by eating processed food when possible! Don't drink too much quantum or you'll start glowing too. Prewar food can be seriously problematic if used exclusively.
  • Weather and water - Water radiation is lowered by about 50%. The level of radiation was simply not plausible. Swimming when wounded below 75% HP will need a Hazmat Suit or Power Armor to not start soaking up rads. After swimming, the water radiation effect will stick to the player for a short while. Weather radiation has very low exposure rates for foggy and rainy weathers (it's mainly there to have an indication of an active effect) and both come in 2 different power levels. Ingestion rates are higher but without a HUDFramework widget this is impossible to display in real-time. Ingestion can be resisted with gas masks, hazmat suits or power armor for fog. Gas masks don't help against rain, however the player also needs to be below 75% HP to start ingesting particles. For settlements, there are buildable air filters that turn off weather hazards when the player is near them.
  • Hazards and other sources - Rad ingestion is also added to several effects that are already present in the game like explosions, melee hits or rad cloaks of glowing monsters. Most mods don't edit these except for balancing reasons. In general, if something would stir up some dust it might be dangerous but can be resisted with all kinds of protective gear. Melee hits need a Hazmat suit or Power Armor to resist ingestion.
  • A list of all supported gas masks (for masks added by other mods, check the compatibility section!): Gas Mask with Goggles, Gas Mask, Assault Gas Mask, Sack Hood with Hoses, Sack Hood with Straps, Marine Armor Helmet (Far Harbor)

Radiation poisoning:

  • Ingested rads - too much leads to periodically applied rad exposure that can not be resisted. There are two severity levels of this and the more powerful one will kill the player relatively quickly if not treated.
  • Radiation poisoning - A new set of disease-like effects with two severity levels. Kick in at certain configurable values of the HP bar being covered by Rads - there is a save roll modified by SPECIAL stats. It is also possible to gain a degree of immunity to rad poisoning by lowering the chance drastically (spoilers!).
  • Ex. Normal severity: Nuclear Diarrhea - -1 STR; -1 END; Increase Thirst; +10% sprint speed
  • Ex Lethal severity: Weak Muscles - -3 STR; -3 AGI; -20% movement speed; random stagger and knockdown if running or sprinting

Treating radiation effects:

  • To enforce the new approach, curing effects of radiation with medicine works differently.
  • RadAway - flushes the players body of ingested particles and cures both types of radiation poisoning
  • Rad-X - buffs the players rad ingestion resistance. Enables safely living on prewar food. Also lowers the chance of contracting rad poisoning.
  • MutAway - heals tissue damage (the red part of your HP bar). Replaces RadAway functionally.
  • Pb-Jelly - buffs radiation exposure resistance.
  • Doctors - still provide their services and can fix you up completely. Curing rads has become more expensive and also has 2 service cost levels like health now.
  • Regeneration - if in otherwise good shape (meaning: Not sick, well hydrated and fed), the player can regenerate tissue damage and ingested rads over time.
  • The Ghoulish perk - no longer provides rad regeneration. It's bad game design anyway. Instead, it does more interesting things.
Plausibility tuning:
  • Nuclear explosions - fission and fusion technology is separated from each other. Because fusion technology uses far less dangerous materials, it does not cause radiation hazards. Explosions behave mostly as normal, except exploding cars and Sentry bots don't leave a patch of radiation behind. Actual nuclear warheads (Mini Nukes, Nuka Grenades and similar) cause powerful gamma flashes and thermobaric bursts, making them far more powerful.
  • Robots - are powered by fission batteries, which can go supercritical when the robot breaks. They have a chance to cause a non-nuclear explosion that places a very powerful radiation hazard.
  • Protective Equipment / Gas masks and Hazmat suit - is more important to resist the many sources of radioactive particles. To make things more interesting, they can break and lose their protective value when the player is hit (gas masks only on head shots). Repair recipes are unlocked with the Blacksmith perk or a magazine.


  • Ghoulish - While rad regeneration generally made sense in the Fallout universe, it completely negates anything PIRAD does, so it had to go. It will now provide unique radiation-related bonuses to the player without invalidating the new gameplay mechanics.
  • Raider's Digest - A new set of magazines produced in the Commonwealth. They unlock crafting recipes of PIRAD and provide a little resistance bonus. There's also poster-sized settlement objects of the magazine covers that are unlocked. Placed in locations that are relatively uninteresting in the base game to reward thorough scavenging. For precise locations, look in the forum tab.
  • Hot Rodder Hazmat Suits - 3 new (retextured) Hazmat Suit armors. They are indestructible and can be used as general purpose traveling armor. Placed in hard to reach vanilla locations.
$ gameplay notes

  • Use the RadBoy to show your rad ingestion status! There is currently no HUD integration aside from periodic messages.
  • Gameplay is made to be plausible and punishing, but also fun and non-tedious: PIRAD will make the game much more difficult on a completely different angle. Not taking radiation seriously will absolutely put the player in hopeless situations.
  • Nuclear explosions from actual warheads (Mini Nukes most inportantly) are much more powerful; they cause a huge gamma flash, a thermobaric burst setting actors on fire and of course the physical explosion.
  • The Hot Rodder Hazmat Suits are endgame equipment hidden in endgame locations. They're meant as a day-to-day traveling armor to withstand the occasional radstorm but aren't strong enough for big battles. These suits do not break
  • If you happen to hear animal noises when walking through the fog on The Island, check if you're wearing protective gear - the fog does cause halucinations after all!

  • FROST users: The subway start is arguably too dangerous to survive if you're not extremely lucky with random loot. If you make it out alive, you are very likely to die of radiation poisoning regardless. Also, make sure to carry a backup gas mask for longer trips. You have been warned. Users who have gotten to a certain Island during the main quest should leave some feedback about survivability.
  • Horizon users: We decided, for now, that we will forward Horizons changes to gas masks (enabling filter upgrades that provide further rad resistance) in 1.2 in our patch. Be warned that these modifications will vanish when your mask breaks.

$ known issues

  • Radiation ingest values in the Pipboy are displayed as negatives. As of now there is no workaround for that. It's a display issue only though, so I don't care that much. Whenever the game shows you "- IRA" it actually means it's adding ingested rads.
  • The Lithium Lung disease does not prevent the use of Smooth Operator. This is because I refuse to edit vanilla consumables except radiation medicine and some ***** re-used the Smooth Operator effect on a Vim variant.
  • Broken Gas Masks can be scrapped but don't provide resources. This is not intended but I don't really care enough.

$ work in progress

  • Wild Wasteland mutations
  • HUDFramekwork integration
  • MCM integration

$ installation

Use your favorite mod manager. Select options from installer, hit finish. Yes, it's that simple. Load order suggestions can be found in the installer.

PIRAD will start immediately if loaded mid-playthrough or when the player wakes up from cryosleep if starting a new game. I recommend starting a new game as PIRAD, like any survival mod, will have its biggest effects in the early game, where the player is still struggling for resources.

People who want to perform a manual installation will probably know how to do that anyway. I currently ship loose files but will change to ba2 archives once there is less movement in the files. Probably coming with 1.0.

$ updating

Updating mid-playthrough could be problematic as you might replace some scripts that always run in the background but provide crucial functionality. If things break you have been warned.
For now, leaving your load order alone after setting it up once is recommended. Advice from more experienced scripters is very welcome!

If you are updating on an existing save, note the load order ID of PIRAD.esp. In the game, open the console and type in:

player.removeperk xx000f99
player.addperk xx000f99

where xx is the load order ID.

This will reset PIRADs main perk and restart the weather, food and equipment system

$ uninstallation

As removing a mod mid-playthrough has never been considered "safe" I simply don't think I need an uninstallation routine. It's not designed that way but I'm willing to accept advice on how to do this from more experienced authors.

If you uninstall the mod, make absolutely sure your mod manager removed Data\Scripts\GenericDoctorsScript.pex or doctors will behave funny.

$ in other news

Check out our other mod:
Inside Jobs - Commonwealth Interiors Add-On

$ credits

All content, if not otherwise mentioned, is created or altered by BabyBearington and payl0ad.

reddit user /u/worgenthal provided the sweet MutAway nif without even getting asked to make it. Kinda forced us to make this.

terzaerian for his seemingly abandoned Perishable Hazmat Suits mod, which inspired the breakable protective gear feature. It is licensed under Creative Commons after all and he/she did not respond to inquiries.

StuykGaming for the Poster Resource used to create the Raiders Digest posters.

Made with:
  • Creation Kit *shudders*
  • FO4Edit
  • Notepad++
  • GIMP 2.0
  • BAE
  • Material Editor
  • NifSkope
  • sacrificing part of my sanity to the horror that is the CK and Papyrus scripting

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.