Feral ghouls are almost similar to the ghouls of previous Fallout games. However, their clothes are more recognizable (work clothes, police uniforms, holiday wear, etc. rather than indeterminate rags) and their appearance is much less decomposed than their previous appearances.
Unlike the Scorched, which have retained greater cerebral functions and motor skills, feral ghouls are unable to use weapons due to the loss of mental (and motor) functions associated with going feral.
Feral ghouls were formerly pre-War American citizens who suffered mutations due to radiation, including brain decay, resulting in complete loss of reason due to diminished mental functions.
Their skin is slightly decomposed and their hair has almost disappeared.
They live in groups wandering in nature or human infrastructures in search of future prey, whether human or animal, to feed on their flesh. It is rare to see ghouls wandering alone and the presence of a single ghoul is a sign of the presence of other ghouls in the vicinity.
Sometimes a group of ghouls can be accompanied by a wendigo. The ghouls are friendly to the wendigos and show no sign of aggression towards them. Feral ghouls are also attracted by the wendigo's howls.
Feral ghouls will attack most other creatures they encounter, with the exception of wendigos.
They will attack charging and striking their opponents. Their attacks are accompanied by radiation damage. Glowing ghouls inflict more radioactive damage (50 per hit without Rad-X) and diseased, rotting, withered, and gangrenous ghouls can inflict poison damage or transmit diseases to the player character.
Ghouls often prepare their attacks by advancing slowly towards their opponent before running very quickly (often faster than the player) and throwing themselves at their target in an exaggerated lunge.
A weaker variant of the feral ghoul officers, these carry a nuclear keycard. They usually can be found by themselves and rather easily, as the radio backpacks they carry have a bright red light on the back and emit a loud beeping sound.
Feral ghoul officers were once high-ranking officers in the United States Armed Forces, responsible for carrying one of eight launch code keys needed to launch a nuke from Appalachia's nuclear I.C.B.M. silos. They can be identified by unique radio packs on their back, emitting both a red light and a high pitched tone that sound off in a regular sequence.
One of the strongest variants of the feral ghoul. They are found as an end boss in ruins and also appear after a nuke lands in a ghoul infested area (i.e. Morgantown, the Whitespring, etc.). They give off a radiation aura and are usually in groups.
J47 is a named diseased feral ghoul summoned by interacting with the DMV number terminal at the Charleston Capitol Building and selecting "Boot up Department C." The loudspeaker will attract it and more feral ghouls into the DMV lobby upon activating.