Synth, Protectron, and Children of Atom Player Characters in Fallout

By Samantha Webb


One of the things itching away at players of the Fallout series is that once you’ve played through as a vault dweller, you often want a different option to replay the game as a ghoul, or a regular settler, or even a Mister Handy or a super mutant! With the core rulebook the Fallout tabletop roleplaying game we opened up those options for players, but there are so many fun origins and perspectives to play as, we knew we had to include some new options in Winter of Atom.

The Winter of Atom quest book unlocks 3 new origins for character creation: the Gen-3 synth, protectrons, and children of the Church of Atom.

New Origin: Generation  3 Synth

In Fallout 4 synths are one of the most interesting people to come across, with their complex story of emerging self-awareness, the paranoia that they are replacing real people on the surface of the Commonwealth, and the brutality with which the Institute retrieves its runaway androids.

The new origin in the Winter of Atom quest book gives you the scope to explore all these themes and leaves the options open to decide whether you escaped the Institute, or whether you are knowingly an Institute agent, sent above ground as one strand of their web of intrigue.

Trait: More Than Human

The generation 3 synths get a trait that reflects their bioengineered bodies, and enhanced abilities. They get an additional tag skill, and don’t suffer from starvation or dehydration and don’t need sleep—much like their robotic cousins. They don’t gain the benefit from consuming food or drink though, so healing through consumables isn’t available to them and makes you have to figure out if you eat and drink anyway if you want to maintain your cover as a human. They are also immune to Poison and Radiation damage and disease, don’t age, and don’t gain or lose any weight. So there are some huge upsides.

To balance the big upsides of playing as a synth, there are some huge downsides. Many in the Commonwealth Wasteland are distrusting, even hostile, to synths and so they have a big effect on Charisma tests to those who know your true identity, and even outright violence with some factions like the Brotherhood of Steel.

You also have a unique recall code that, if spoken, can incapacitate you until you are retrieved and restored by the Institute. With such bolstering features to the origin, we felt it only right to bring the weight of being an Institute synth to the character as well, with guidance on how to handle the potential loss of your character at the table.

New Origin: Protectrons

Protectrons have been a feature of Fallout since we explored the Capital Wasteland in Fallout 3, and are a beloved omage to the 1950s futurist vision of what automation might look like. We find protectrons policing ruined streets, surveying scenes of fires from hundreds of years ago, walking around construction sites lost for decades, or even demanding tickets from you in metro stations. But there are also some great examples in the franchise of protectrons with unique personalities: Deputy Weld, Button Gwinnett, Primm Slim, and even Fisto. So if you’re down for playing a robot with hints of a personality—or the programming faults to pass as one—you’re in luck.

Trait: Protect or Destroy

Much like their robotic counterparts, they are immune to disease and Radiation and Poison damage, but can’t use consumables and can’t recover health points like their living companions can—needing a mechanic to repair them.

Built to withstand harsh environments, protectrons can also reroll a test to overcome an environmental hazard, once per scene. However, their design was quite narrow, and so they can’t have more than two robot mods installed at a time, but they can add a d20 for free to skill tests related to their model’s purpose (like law enforcement, firefighting, etc.)

New Origin: Child of Atom

One of the more dogmatic groups in the Fallout series, the Church of the Children of Atom first showed up in Megaton in Fallout 3 but really came into their own in the Commonwealth Wasteland and particularly the Far Harbor DLC. With such mythology, internal politics, and strange relationship to the post-atomic world, they were a great candidate for another origin.

Trait: Rad Sponge

Atom’s gift by way of long-term radiation exposure is utilized in the Fallout RPG as a strange but powerful ability to resist, store, and even channel radiation with obvious social consequences.

Children of Atom get a base DR of 1 to Radiation damage, and once per scene they can choose to take radiation damage instead of a nearby ally. They can store up to 5 radiation points, and when they hit with a melee attack they can spend stored points to deal extra damage.

Too much radiation can still be bad for them though, as the damage reduction doesn’t provide immunity to its effects, and their maximum health can still be reduced. And if NPCs see this ability at work, or encounter you in general, they may become hostile or revile you as most settlers in the wastes think nothing more of the church as a fanatic cult or even just crackpots.

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