Monday, February 25, 2013

Ancient Armory: Uncle Melvin's Home Atomic Energy Set

  • Want to learn more about harnessing the destructive power of the atom?
  • Want to prospect for radioactive isotopes in your own backyard?
  • Want to split the atom or create fissionable material?

One of the more ill-advised toys of the Bygone Days, “Uncle Melvin's Home Atomic Energy Set” was a science experiment kit marketed toward children. With the goal of teaching kids about nuclear energy through hands-on experimentation, the Atomic Energy Set came with the following materials and tools:
  • Small samples (5-10 grams) of very low grade uranium, plutonium, and radium ore
  • A spinthariscope (allows the viewing of nuclear material decay)
  • A cloud chamber (detects ionizing radiation)
  • An electroscope (detects the presence and magnitude of an electrical charge)
  • A Geiger counter (detects radioactive material)
  • And a thick volume of experiments a child can perform
The devices within the kit are flimsy children's toys at best, never designed for serious experimentation or longevity over the years. However, clever mutants may be able to salvage something from the devices. For example, the Geiger counter works well enough, though it only has a range of 25 feet at most. The spinthariscope runs on one Power Cell that could be salvaged. The electroscope's polarity could be reversed, converting it into a Shock Grenade or Stun Pistol. The ML is encouraged to reward the creativity of the players if they decide to start fiddling around with the contents of the box.

Also, at the time of release, the radioactive materials in the Atomic Energy Set were fairly benign, producing very little radioactivity -- just enough to be barely detectable. However, over the centuries and through constant exposure to the Mutant Future's constant low-level background radiation, these samples may have become "hot," producing a dangerous amount of energy. There is a 30% chance that one of the samples has become unstable, producing radioactivity of Class 1d6 (roll randomly and refer to the Radiation Class Table in the MF rulebook, page 51).

NOTE: Today's post is loosely based on the "Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Laboratory," a real toy available in the '50s!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! Just what I need for an upcoming game! Your stuff is a God sent! Thanks for this.