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This queastion has been pestering my mind for quite sometime. The elaboration of the effects of radiation on alien species has always seemed to elluded GW novels. I've read some stories where radiation in space, or to plasma reactors have killed or mutated some humans in the novels, but I've never seen this in alien species. Did GW just go "well, it dosent hurt them, they're ALIENS!!! WOOO" or is thier something else? What happens when a eldar gets too close to his wraithbone reactor, or a orky boy falls outta his ROK and get too close to da sun? Or when a Tyranid is struck with a melta gun, but survives (somehow) but gets radiation poisoning?
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A Tyranid that got radiation poisoning would just be melted down in a reclamation pool like any other damaged 'Nid. The Tyranids must encounter a lot of radiation in space and when they terraform planets.
Cancer is immediate, but mutations usually show up in offspring, and most Tyranids can't reproduce themselves. A mutation is just a reordering of a creature's DNA anyway, and the Hive already has total control over all the genetic material it has encountered, so a Tyranid wouldn't mutate into something the Hive couldn't intentionally create.
But at a guess, radiation would balls up any of the non-tyrannic aliens out there. Possible exception of the necrons, who would need enough radiation to melt them before they noticed it.
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Thinking about it, seems like Warp creatures might have some immunity since they're not "all there". But I could see strong radiation, like an X-Ray laser, would hurt or kill them.
As far as mutagenic or cancerous effects, I can't imagine a Champion of Nurgle being too bothered by a couple of extra tumors.
Thinking about it some more, the Necrons could really get a lot of mileage out of radioactive weapons. They could use nukes left and right and just walk through the aftermath with no discomfort. Ground troops could possibly even use weapons like x-ray or gamma lasers without poisoning themselves. As if the Imperium didn't have enough problems, the Necrons could render an area or planet uninhabitable for other races for millenia without harming themselves. The Tyranids might have evolved or be able to evolve lifeforms that can reduce radioactivity to a level that they can tolerate, but they don't generally hold territory, so they need it the least. The Eldar or Tau or even the Imperium might all have tech to do it. It's the distant future, after all. In our present day, if the same amount of money was put into figuring out how to reduce radioactivity as is put into generating nuclear energy and bombs, humans might be able to do it now.
Last edited by Rev. Engineer; November 13th, 2007 at 02:42.
The Tau definitely have health problems, but their tech. is so advanced that they can fix it up pretty easy and incurable cases are few and far between. Probably the same for the Eldar. Orks too, maybe, but if they get sick they get killed by other Orks.
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Enough radiation kills everything, guys. Cancer is the one thing you can't totally cure.
I suppose Necrons would be the only ones immune, and Tyranids would simply not care.
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The tyranids would eat or carve out the tumor, dissolve it, and remake the lost material, maybe with a resistance to the radiation.
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I don't have the Necron Codex...do they already have Orbital Strike - Neutron Shell?
The effects of radiation on a biological entity are entirely dependant upon the durability of the cellular blueprint.
In Human's this is DNA and is actually quite fragile. This means that it is easy to damage (causing mutations/cancer). The Eldar genetic structure might be 10 times (or more) more durable than human DNA; Orks could be even more durable.
Yes, Radiation will adversely affect any and all living, biological entities, but the amounts required to cause catastrophic effects will vary.
In one of the Star Trek movies (2?), Spock walked into a reactor to pull a safety lever (or something), Kirk or Scotty would have been dead within second, but because the Vulcan genetic structure was tougher, he survived longer.
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Nuclear power is not very common in 40k. I suppose there might be some worlds which are still at the tech level of using it (I'd love to see a nuclear warfare themed guard army with nuclear tanks and radiation-suits) but generally radiation only gets used to kill things. The standard reactor for humans (and I think most species) is a plasma reactor, which I think is kind of analogous to a fusion reactor. A while back, i made up an army of humans enslaved by an alien species who used neutron shells in their artillery, but in general, radiation is kinda skipped over except in odd cases like Krieg.
A meltagun doesn't produce radiation. The energy is chemical (two chemicals fuse together and superheat.)
It's not just cancer.. If exposed to enough radiation, you will die long before you get the chance to get cancer (generally, cancer only happens if you're exposed to low level radiation over a prolonged period.) Radiation poisoning kills you within a few days, as gamma rays universally penetrate the entire interior of the body. There's also skin burning caused by beta rays and such.. Basically, the effects are similar to decomposition, only you're still alive. Not very pleasant.
The best way to survive radiation poisoning would probably be to have some kind of high tech chemical which bonds with and flushes out the radioactivity (like 'rad-away' in fallout.) Orks I can sort of see surviving too, on account of their regenerative abilities.