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Humans will prevail.— President Dick Richardson, Fallout 2

Humans are the dominant species of the post–apocalyptic age. The word is specifically used to denote those unaffected by radiation as opposed to mutants like ghouls and super mutants. Non–mutated humans are sometimes called normals, smoothskins, or bleeders by their mutant counterparts.[1][2][3][4]


Post-nuclear humans, as a direct result of the radiation and exposition to the F.E.V. of the West Tek research facility[5] and some other biochemical agents[6] released into the environment during and after the Great War, exhibit more diversity, primarily in genetic structure. The aforementioned factors have resulted in an increased rate of mutations in humans, although very few of these result in phenotypical changes. Most of these changes are non-lethal, non-damaging variations in the human DNA that simply increase the gene pool variety. Also, humans with minor mutations, like additional toes, skin lesions due to TDC infection, permanent red eyes, permanent varicose veins, or complete lack of hair are still considered to be humans.

Pure and prime humans

Cryopod abduction scene.jpg

"Pure" humans, or "prime normals" are theoretically humans that have not been mutated unnaturally by radiation or other post-War pollutants. They can be said to be original humans, no different than those from before the War. However, because of the widespread and pervasive fallout in the wasteland, these represent a very small minority of all sentient species on Earth. They exist only in isolated factions, such as in remote areas untouched by radiation, an example being underground vaults.[7] Some vaults, opening after the radiation has faded, can produce tribes which can be said to be pure, such as the Boomers. Used in a broader sense to term those humans with a low to relatively radiation-free state, being a pure human is more properly attributed to those who are affected by the FEV in the way intended from before the Great War.[8][9]

All of these variations have been uniquely interpreted by the Enclave leadership as the basis for claiming that the humans living outside the Enclave and isolated vaults are no longer pure; rather, that they are, in fact, "near-humans" that pose a threat to the supposedly "pure" humanity living in the aforementioned locations.[10][11][12] This theory, based in the claims of Dick Richardson and John Henry Eden is relatively vague in fact: debate remains whether these genetic variations are considerable enough to substantiate a new species of human, or even if the differences exist at all. It is also claimed by the super mutants that humans not exposed to radiation (those located in vaults) will transform into superior mutants when exposed to FEV, as opposed to wasteland humans.[13]


Minor deviations

Marie, a newborn with radiation immunity

Z1-14, a typical Gen 3 Synth

These mutants have identical or near-identical phenotypes compared to normal humans, and most of their differences are distinctly positive, if still unnatural, evolutions. These forms of mutants are more drastically different both physically and in usual personality from normal humans compared to the above, lesser deviations. They are often thought of and treated as altogether separate species from humanity by some.

  • Radiation immunity: an adaptation of the human species from several centuries worth of radiation exposure. Most radiation immune humans do not realize they are immune to ionization (no radiation sickness or ghoulification) as they had been taught by others to avoid it at all costs, but those that have sometimes ascribe it to a divine blessing, such as the Church of the Children of Atom who revere it as "Atom's blessing".[14] Others are scientifically studied in order to cure or vaccinate against certain environmental conditions.[15] Alongside the radiation immune humans, radiation-resistant humans were born, such as Lumpy of Gecko.
  • Cyborgs: humans who have been modified with robotic components to gain enhanced abilities.
    • Lobotomites: humans who were surgically-altered with the Big MT medical experiments which turned them into mindless savages. Their brains have been replaced with advanced Tesla coils, allowing them to perform simple tasks such as using doors, walking, fighting hand-to-hand, and using firearms. Their head cannot be crippled, they have a better chem addiction resistance, and receive less shock from bodily damage, but they possess only rudimentary speech (the only noises that they make are short grunts, such as "stop you" or "kill") and lack a normal conscience. It also appears that their surgery allowed them to have a relatively long life, since the first lobotomite is still alive in 2281. Old World Blues (add-on)
  • Dwarves: Born with dwarfism, the only difference from normal humans is their reduced stature.
  • Psychics: People born with paranormal phenomena, such as clairvoyance and future seeing. People possessing such genetic mutation are often extremely rare.
  • Slags: humans whose physiology adapted to prolonged seclusion underground, possessing, for example, perfect dark-light vision but their eyes are sensitive to bright light.[16][17]
  • Swampfolk: humans around the Point Lookout region who have developed extreme deformities from a combination of radiation and genetic birth defects following the Great War. As such, Swampfolk are extremely territorial and hostile to all outsiders. Point Lookout (add-on)
  • Generation 3 synths (or Synths): synthetic humans created by the Institute. Physiologically, Gen 3 synths are virtually indistinguishable from natural-born humans right down to the cellular level. Each Gen 3 synth is built from lab-grown bones, muscles and other tissues that are assembled and brought to life at the Institute's Robotics lab, and are "born" with the bodies and mental faculties of full-grown adult humans (special procedures must be made to replicate a child). Though entirely biological, each Gen 3 synth contains a neurological implant inside their brain allowing them to be "programmed" and manipulated via voice commands. This implant cannot be detected or removed without killing the synth. Gen 3 synths also innately immune to all diseases, do not require food, water, or to sleep (but can do all of these to appear human), and do not age.

Ghoul deviations

John Hancock, a ghoul

Feral ghouls

  • Ghouls: humans that have been subjected to heavy radiation poisoning which is lethal in most cases, but for these dubiously "lucky" individuals have instead given them a degenerated, zombie-like appearance as well as seemingly indefinite lifespans. They are immune to the lethal effects of radiation but not to its degenerative effects and are in-fact healed by radiation, but as a result are sterile. "Normal" ghouls retain more–or–less standard human personalities and cognitive abilities, while feral ghouls, who do not, are considered variant-humans and covered below.
    • Feral ghouls: ghouls whose physical deterioration has also extended to their neurological systems, causing them to lose their ability to reason and become hostile towards all non-ghouls. Their body is also more skeletal than normal ghouls and their eyes are completely white.
    • Glowing ones: ghouls who have absorbed an unusually high amount of radiation into their bloodstream and muscle tissue without their neurological systems filtering these particles from the blood and tissue, becoming a luminescent yellow-green ghoul, living conduits of radiation, which can even persist for a short time after death. Generally mindless and thus considered a subtype to feral ghouls, at least two "normal" ghouls with the features of glowing ones have been encountered, Jason Bright and Oswald the Outrageous.
    • Marked men: former soldiers that were mutated by the detonation of underground nuclear missiles and skinned by the storms of the Divide. This horrific process turned them into a unique form of feral ghoul, kept alive only by the area's background radiation. Despite this, they seem to retain some level of intelligence, using weapons, crafting armor, and building houses. Despite past allegiances, they are hostile only towards all non-marked men. Lonesome Road (add-on)

Major deviations

Purveyor Murmrgh, a Mole Miner

  • Ghost people: humans twisted by constant, long–term exposure to the Cloud of the Sierra Madre, which would normally have killed them, but has been filtered through their hazmat suits. The resulting vicious creatures boast heightened perception, agility, extreme longevity, fire immunity, virtual immortality, and death with limb amputation caused by a universal mutation from which everything is connected. The suits of the ghost people have become permanently bonded to their bodies. Dead Money
  • Scorched: humans who have been infested with the Scorched Plague, which has erased their individual consciousnesses and linked them to a primitive hive mind.
  • Spore carriers: humans who have entered the terminal stage of Beauveria Mordicana infection. Once the entomopathogenic fungus has fully colonized a host body, the host dies, but the body continues to move by means of the fungal colonies within it. In this manner the fungus moves amongst more of its prey, occasionally spraying spores in a radius around the host body, infecting all who come near it.
  • Trogs: humans who have entered the terminal stage of the Troglodyte Degeneration Contagion. They are completely mindless monsters that dwell in darkness and fear the light. The Pitt (add-on)
  • Mole miners: humans that mutated within their miner suits leading to shorter stature and aggression towards humans, with exceptions such as Purveyor Murmrgh.
  • Wendigos: humans that mutated into violent, cannibalistic monsters.
  • Wendigo colossus: wendigos that have been further mutated by radiation.

FEV mutants

Super mutant behemoth

  • Super mutants: former humans subjected to forced evolution via FEV-II from the Mariposa Military Base in California.[18]
    • Nightkin: super mutants that have become blue-ish in coloration and developed further eccentricity, including schizophrenia, from overuse of Stealth Boys.[19][20][21]
    • Vault 87 super mutants and super mutant behemoths: Only two of them by the time in 2277, Fawkes and Uncle Leo, are known to have kept their human sanity and intelligence.[22]
    • Institute super mutants: beings created by the Institute's own FEV program and released into the Commonwealth. There are quite a large number of them in 2287, such as Strong, and Erickson in the Far Harbor add-on. These two are known to have kept their human sanity and intelligence. Brian Virgil became a mutant of his own accord, and the change can be reverted depending on the actions of the Sole Survivor.
    • Huntersville super mutants: These Super Mutants were created shortly before the Great War, when the local West Tek facility contaminated the river water that ran through Huntersville with a unique strain of FEV as part of an experiment.[23] The super mutants of Huntersville are similar to those of the Institute: they have green skin, highly developed musculature, and they are smart enough to build improvised armor from waste or scrap. Although they do not use large fortifications like the Vault 87 or the Institute strain super mutants, they can occasionally build small fortresses or take entire buildings. Like Vault 87 and Institute super mutants, Huntersville super mutants can develop into behemoths, which can be seen guarding their main bases.
  • Grafton Monsters: humans that were test subjects during FEV experimentation and have transformed into large, gray creatures with non-distinct heads.
  • Psykers: humans in Fallout who possess a certain psychic power.
  • Snallygasters: FEV human test subjects have been transformed into serpentine creatures with acidic spit.

Gameplay relevance

In Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, and Fallout 76, the player character can only embody a human. Fallout Tactics allowed one to control other races (see Fallout Tactics race), even though the player could only start as a human and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel is the only Fallout game allowing players to choose a ghoul as the principal player character.

Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4

Human non-player characters suffer extra damage from headshots both in V.A.T.S. and in free-fire mode.

Fallout 76

All the human residents of Appalachia were killed or had left the region before 2102; the only humans that were alive were the inhabitants of vaults including the player character. Since the Wastelanders update, living humans from outside Appalachia have returned to the region. With the introduction of the Steel Dawn update, Brotherhood members from the West coast have traveled to the region as well.

Fallout: The Board Game

Human players will start with either a weapon or a piece of armor at the beginning of the game. Humans do not gain any bonus or advantage during gameplay. Human enemies in the game are weakest to leg attacks and body attacks, and almost always drop loot.



  1. The Lone Wanderer: "Smoothskin? What does that mean?"
    Winthrop: "Smoothskin? You know, because your skin is so smooth... and tasty... Relax! I'm just kidding! But I had you going, didn't I?"
    (Winthrop's dialogue)
  2. Tulip: "Can I help you, smoothskin?"
    (Tulip's dialogue)
  3. Lumpy: "{120}{}{Hello there. My name’s Lumpy.}"
    The Chosen One: "{121}{}{That’s sort of an unusual name. How did you come by it?}"
    Lumpy: "{180}{}{Well, it’s sort of a joke. You see, they usually call people like you and me smoothskins. But I was treated so poorly by other Smoothskins down in Vault City that everyone here figured that I must be more lumpy than they are.}"
    (Lumpy's dialogue)
  4. Raul Tejada: "Hey, I'm one of you! Don't eat me, eat the smoothskin! Oh, uh, sorry boss."
    (Raul Tejada's dialogue)
  5. The Vault Dweller:"Why am I a prime human ?"
    Lieutenant: "The FEV was mutated by the war radiation. Those living in this desolate wasteland have been exposed to this mutant FEV, essentially inoculating them from the full effects."
    The Vault Dweller: "So?"
    Lieutenant: "So, you're from a Vault and have limited exposure to this mutated virus. The original FEV in the Vats should work quite well on you."
    (Lieutenant's dialogue)
  6. Vree's autopsy report
  7. Fallout 2 Official Strategies & Secrets p. 36: Strangers
    "Some characters were once human, but have been changed into something else in the years since the bombs scorched the land. Both Ghouls and Super-Mutants were changed by man—one accidentally, one intentionally."
  8. FEV research
  9. FEV experiment disk
  10. Charles Curling: "The F.E.V. was initially designed as a virus that was supposed to turn humans into super-soldiers. That experiment seems to have been an utter failure, although I did try a modification of the virus on one of our Secret Service agents with some success."
    (Curling's dialogue)
  11. Charles Curling: "Why the information that you and your tribe are no longer human, of course. Since your tribe has only been out of a vault (let's see Vault 13 wasn't it?) for some eighty-odd years, anyone out longer is certain to have been even more compromised. Yes, I'm afraid that the conclusion is unavoidable."
    Chosen One: "Conclusion? What conclusion?"
    Charles Curling: "Why, I thought that I had made myself perfectly clear. The conclusion that you, and all your kind, are no longer human. In order to retake the earth and to maintain the integrity of the human race, all you mutants will have to be destroyed."
    (Curling's dialogue)
  12. "The F.E.V. toxin will only attack humans, leaving everything else alive, better still, within a month all the mutants will be dead and the F.E.V. toxin will die out as soon as it runs out of hosts. "
    (Curling's dialogue)
  13. Tell Me About: "Normals"
    Lieutenant: "They are humans who have not been exposed to radiation. They tend to fare better in the Vats than others. You are a perfect example of this."
    (Lieutenant's dialogue)
  14. Sole Survivor: "I mean, it's his choice, right? Who are we to stop him?"
    Ware: "That's easy to say, but... Look, me and Devin, we weren't born with Atom's blessing like everyone else around here. Rads, they hurt us."
    (Zealot Ware's dialogue)
  15. Haven terminal entries; Cure Research
  16. The Chosen One: "{177}{}{Why don’t you send one of your own people to deliver the message?}"
    Vegeir: "{194}{}{Since the Sealing, we, as a people, have changed. Few can bear to be on the surface because they are not used to having a black sea of nothingness above them. The sensation of falling upward is so great for them that they lie frozen, clutching the ground. But that is not the main reason. All of us cannot stand the bright light of that which you call the sun; living underground for so long has made our eyes too sensitive to light. We cannot travel far from the safety of our homes beneath the ground.}"
  17. Slag guard's character description: "{150}{}{Besides the pale skin and enlarged pupils, he looks to be an ordinary person.}"
  18. Alpha experiment disk
  20. Richard Grey's audio diary
  22. Lone Wanderer: "Where did this plan of yours come from?"
    John Henry Eden: "A great many years ago, the remnants of the government had a similar idea. I can only assume the plan failed, as I never heard word of its success. But the plan itself was sound. I've made a few modifications, and with your help, I do believe it can work. There's a bright future ahead of us, my young friend."
    (John Henry Eden's dialogue)
  23. Fallout 76 loading screens: "The first Super Mutants in Appalachia were created right before the Great War, when West Tek poisoned the drinking water of Huntersville with the FEV Virus, in a sinister, secret experiment gone horribly wrong."