- New - A guide to making a Pistol/Gunslinger Build
- New - A guide to making a Melee Build
- New - Scav Magazine - All locations and details
- For New Players - Read the walkthrough.
- New - Open Season
- New - Power Play Quest
- New - Raider Outposts
- New - Nuka World Endings Guide - Options and Benefits
- The Grand Tour
- Faction Perks and New SPECIAL Ranks in Nuka World
- Gage (Companion)
Fallout 4: Radiation
Storms, Health Caps, and Rad Resistance
Radiation works differently in Fallout 4 and is more dangerous to your character. This Guide describes its effects, how you can expect to combat it, and what you should do to keep your character healthy. We'll look at how effective Rad-X is, getting through the Glowing Sea safely, and how radiation resistance works.
Radiation comes from toxic barrels, gas, enemy attacks, and the occasional radiation storms in Fallout 4 - particularly when there is a lightning strike, it spikes and deals more damage to your character. Having a gas mask to wear during these is recommended. Some areas, like the Glowing Sea, are highly irradiated and deadly without ample resistance well into the 100s - else you use loads of Rad-X and wear your best protection and prepare to use RadAway and Stimpaks to heal yourself.
What Radiation Does
Radiation in Fallout 4 reduces your character's maximum health. Your Pip-boy has a built-in Geiger counter and can tell you how much Radiation you're taking. It's either a steady amount - as with water/rad storm exposure, or single large doses in a moment's time, as with certain attacks from creatures.
When you see 10 Rads while in water, it means that you are taking 10 Radiation per second. Every character, regardless of their max life, can take 1000 rads before succumbing to its effects. Every 10 rads is 1% of your maximum health gone, so 2 health for a 200 health character. Eating foods with Radiation in them will give you exactly the amount stated, so overeating these foods is not good. I tend to use those to make extra caps. The denizens of the wasteland do not seem to mind the pork and beans, but I'd prefer to live off of purified water from excess at my Settlements. And, of course, Stimpaks.
Removing Radiation Effects
Certain foods, like Mutant Hound Chops show a negative Radiation upon eating them - only cooked! Most cooked foods and purified water are safe, but these and a few others are special. The main means of removing Radiation is RadAway, which will take off 300. More with the Medic Perk, which takes off -400, -600, -800 and then 100% of Radiation per use. Visiting a Doctor, you can also remove Rads. Going to Diamond City, you can find one, as well as a traveling Doctor who will show up at various Settlements throughout the Commonwealth. The implication of the health effects of Radiation is that once the Rads are removed, you need to heal up the missing health once the rads are cured.
So, we have Radiation damage being done to our character. The more radiation coming in, the more important radiation resistance gets - but large amounts of radiation resistance will still leave you taking a little bit You'll see < 1 (less than 1/second). Using a +100 Radiation Resistance Rad-X takes a 10 Rad/sec water exposure to 2, but a gas mask with only 15 Radiation Resistance will bring it to 4. Use both, and you're still at 2 - you've gone from 100 to 115, not a large jump. You'd probably need 200 to see 1 rad/sec. This is because the complex formula that determines the amount of damage you take of any kind results in smaller numbers being harder to diminish (weak attacks still hurt, a little), while big attacks can have lots of damage removed. I know not many readers will be math-savvy so this is a simple explanation.
Ways to Get Radiation Resistance in Fallout 4
Rad Resistance comes in a variety of forms in Fallout 4. Many of us choose not to walk about in Power Armor all the time, so having some source of rad protection is a good idea.
- A full suit of Power Armor gives over 1,000 Rad Resistance, minimum, but requires Fusion Cores to operate effectively. This doesn't mean you can't slowly march your way through a place like Glowing Sea should your battery run dry, and you can indeed fast travel with no Fusion Core. Just don't expect to escape from powerful opponents without one - you're fighting to the death.
- The aforementioned gas mask varieties give +15. Though you must sacrifice 5-10+ defense in order to use one (because you can't wear a helmet with it), you will not take that much more damage.
- Rad-X gives 100 for each dose, and can be stacked. Rad-X lasts 3 minutes, with each dose on its own timer. This means you can't take one at 2.5 minutes and expect to reset the duration with +200 rad resist.
- Lead lined armor, which can be modified at armor crafting stations, will add Radiation Resistance to your gear. This requires Rank 2 of Armorer and Rank 1 of Science, as well as some materials.
- Your Vault 111 Jumpsuit has 10 Rad Resistance from the start, but can be upgraded to 15 at the armor crafting station with some Perks in Armorer and Science. Certain other clothing can be worn with armor, like Brotherhood fatigues, which also give Radiation Resistance. With rank 4 of Science, it can go all the way to 25 Radiation and 25 Energy Resist.
- Hazmat Suits (wiki link) offer 0 protection against damage or energy resistance, however do offer 1000 Radiation Resistance - about as much as an unmodified suit of T45 Power Armor. These can be used in special situations, though they're heavy enough to carry around that I don't bother. I do not recommend this for crossing the Glowing Sea, due to the possibility of Deathclaws, Radscorpions and Stingwings. They're more for going into areas with loads of barrels which cause radiation damage quickly, should you wish to preserve Rad-X.
- The Rad Resistant Perk gives +10 per rank, up to +30. It's not really worth it, but is certainly helpful for higher level players to gradually whittle away the effect of Radiation on their character.
- The Aquaboy Perk eliminates the Radiation taken from swimming, which is rarely needed.
- The Lead Belly Perk will reduce or eliminate the effects of Radiation on eating uncooked/contaminated foods and drinking dirty water.
Using Radiation in your Favor
This makes your Radiation Damage gradually heal health. If you took 10 Rads at rank 1, you'd heal 1/2 a percent of health. At rank 3, 10 rads would heal 1.5%. This doesn't stop you from taking Radiation Damage entirely, it means you will need less healing items when you're in a fight and radiation is harming you along with enemies - or after one. Once you've got some healing, use a Rad-Away to recover more health.
Hancock's Isodoped Perk
Getting to maximum affinity with Hancock (a companion) will give your Character the Isodoped Perk permanently. This makes your Radiation work for you! It gives a whopping +20% faster Critical Meter fill when you're at 250 Rads or more (25% of your bar turned red). Since you're in control of this and can keep Rads around that level, it's a great Perk for characters with enough health to sacrifice some of it!
I hope you found this guide helpful. If you think I've missed something, please email [email protected] with a suggestion.
More Fallout 4 Guides
Share Tips and Strategies Below
- Raider Outposts in Nuka World
- Nuka World - Play as a Raider in this DLC
- Far Harbor - Learn about the DLC, its secrets, and read walkthroughs
- Automatron - Guides to building bots and quest walkthroughs
- Settlements - An in-depth guide to Settlements and managing them
- Melee Build - the best perks for a melee character
- Sneaking - Learn to be stealthy
- Critical Hits - Shots to Crit and Crit damage mechanics
- Tips for Making a Build - General advice for creating your own build
- Action Points - AP and all the things that affect it
- VATS - all about the V.A.T.S. and AP usage on weapons
- Gameplay Tips - pointers that will help new players
- Making a Sniper Rifle Weapon mod examples. Heavy hitter and fast-firing Comparison - two guns from the same base.