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Intelligent deathclaws are a variety of deathclaws in New California that were experimented on by the Enclave, which gave them higher intelligence and the ability to speak.


Fo2 Vault 13 Ending

Considered a failure for their peaceful ways, the Enclave eradicated their own creations.

In 2235, the Enclave captured deathclaws and exposed them to FEV. This boosted their intelligence and gave them the ability to talk with varying degrees of articulation.[1]

While the Enclave hoped that the deathclaws would be intelligent enough to obey orders without question, the Enclave's deathclaws doubted the morality of their masters.[2][3] Although they stormed Vault 13 in 2242 and kidnapped the population with the Enclave, they later abandoned them and adopted the now-empty Vault as their new home under the leadership of Gruthar.[4]

Several humans from the surrounding area moved into the Vault to live under the protection of the deathclaws, but not all were pleased with these new neighbors.[5] One human, Matt, struck against the deathclaws and bombed the mother deathclaw and her hatchlings; the deathclaw mother survived, but security was tightened from then on.[6] They faced other problems while adapting to life in the Vault as well: after the overthrow of the paranoid overseer, the dwellers of Vault 13 had turned day-to-day operations over to a Brotherhood-technology based computer. However, the deathclaws could only interact with it by voice commands, and it became a severe problem when the computer's voice module malfunctioned. Fortunately, a tribal known as the Chosen One had a replacement voice module and was willing to install his in exchange for Gruthar's help in finding a GECK, one of which Gruthar had within the Vault's storage area.

The deathclaws paid a high price for their rebellion, however: an Enclave team, led by Frank Horrigan, attacked Vault 13 and massacred the deathclaws (and presumably those humans under their protection). Of Vault 13's inhabitants, only Goris, who had accompanied the Chosen One on adventures outside Vault 13, survived.

Goris, as well as Xarn, a deathclaw kept in Navarro under the custody of Dr. Schreber, are the only known intelligent deathclaws to survive the end of Fallout 2, depending on certain actions of the Chosen One.

The species appears to have survived, as decades later a female wise deathclaw named Kura is known to live in the Commonwealth.[7]


This subspecies is intelligent for deathclaws, about the equivalent of an eight-year-old, with some individuals on par with average adult humans. Their learning capacity is very high, and they are capable of abstract thought and reasoning. Although they do not have vocal cords, the deathclaws seemed to mimic human speech similar to a parrot. Socially, they have rigidly hierarchical, peaceful, and pack-based ethical code.

They are extremely loyal to the pack as a whole, treating it as a family unit rather than having individual families. Fights within a pack are unheard of, and the pack's leader controls many aspects of life, such as choosing and matching female and male deathclaws for reproduction. Deathclaws are not subject to sterility from FEV exposure; this trait is not explained.

Known intelligent deathclaws[]



  • It is known that there was a bugged "good ending" present in the game files as well as being restored by the Fallout 2 Restoration Mod. Whether this has any bearing on future games and the intelligent deathclaws' existence is unknown; further complicated by entries in the Fallout Bible. In this ending, the deathclaw pack residing in Vault 13 survived, and peacefully expanded into the surrounding region, possibly leaving the confines of the Vault as the Enclave threat was ended by the Chosen One.
  • The Fallout Bible is mixed as to whether Xarn and Goris could reproduce and save the intelligent deathclaw breed. In a March 11, 2002 update, John Deiley (the creator and designer of much of the talking deathclaw content) wrote: "In any case, there is a chance that two intelligent deathclaws survived to continue on the species. I realize that they are both males, but that is fine. When they were engineered by the Enclave, the intelligence gene was made male specific and dominant. What this means is: Any intelligent male that mated with a non-intelligent female would (most likely) produce intelligent offspring."
  • However, in a later (July 10, 2002) update of the Fallout Bible, its principal author Chris Avellone denied that the intelligent deathclaws lived, writing:
    "BTW, the talking deathclaws were destroyed at the end of Fallout 2. Xarn and Goris did not go on to create a new species. They are gone. Kaput. In-game spelling, punctuation and/or grammar Goodbye. In fact, any mutant animal that talks can safely be assumed to have died at the end at the exact minute that Fallout 2 was over.
    Any last words, talking animals?
    I thought not."


Intelligent deathclaws appear in Fallout 2,, Fallout Shelter Online, and in the Fallout: The Board Game expansion New California.

Fallout Tactics features a separate species of intelligent deathclaws.

Behind the scenes[]

  • Chris Avellone disapproved of the inclusion of talking intelligent deathclaws, finding them too silly for the Fallout universe. He also dislikes the idea of the player sympathizing with enemy monsters.[8] Timothy Cain and Leonard Boyarsky have also criticized them in retrospect. At the 25th anniversary roundtable, Tim expressed that deathclaws were supposed to be scary monsters, not librarians.[9]
  • John Deiley, the original designer of the intelligent deathclaws disagrees: "“I mean, you’ve got super mutants, you’ve got ghouls, why not have something that can stand up to the super mutants?". According to Deiley, Fallout 2 lead designer Feargus Urquhart also supported the idea.[10] Frank Horrigan killing most of them was added to the game without Deiley's knowledge, as he wanted them to leave the vault and venture into the world in future games.[11] "In later games, the players could meet up with them and they could be a source of support. Depending on what the player did, they could say, ‘You’re not the type of individual we want to associate with, leave or we’ll kill you, period.’ I mean, that was their mindset. They were intelligent, but still aggressive. There was going to be an internal conflict with them, the devil within. They were planning, once they were more secure, on altering power armour to fit their physique. And then they were going to pay the Enclave a visit and get as many vials of the FEV virus as they could, kidnap a scientist or two, and make some improvements."[12]

See also[]


  1. Goris: "{217}{}{So, the Enclave started messing with a virus, or some such thing, and injected the deathclaws with it. This virus was known to mutate humans into some sort of super beings, so the Enclave wanted to see what it would do to deathclaws. Well, the result was a breed of deathclaws so smart that they could see they were destined for slavery. So, they played dumb until they could gain their freedom. And here they are!}'"
  2. Goris: "{147}{}{These aren't your average deathclaws, as I'm sure you noticed. They've had their intelligence enhanced by some means not understood by them. It was done by a group of humans known as 'The Enclave.' It seems this Enclave needed an army and they chose deathclaws because of their ferocity, physical prowess, and... well, you get the picture. Anyway, the only thing lacking in deathclaws was their intelligence. They needed to be smart enough to understand complex commands, but not so smart that they'd be a threat to 'those in charge.'}"
  3. Schreber: "{143}{}{The Enclave has been looking for cheap, expendable soldiers. We are interested in deathclaws because they have built in armor and weapons, and they're mean as hell. They just need to be smarter so they can understand commands but not too smart or they could develop a will of their own. With me so far?}"
  4. Goris: "{151}{}{::sigh::) They were captured by The Enclave. Gruthar and the pack were forced to aid in their capture. They had no choice since they were slaves at the time. The fate of the humans has weighed heavily on Gruthar's mind. He's never really forgiven himself for his complicity in the affair. The humans were taken alive, but who knows what has happened to them since?}"
  5. Joseph (Fallout 2): "{159}{}{I traveled to another town and stayed there a week or so before returning. When I got back, I was warmly welcomed. Gruthar, the pack leader, came to me privately and personally thanked me for coming back. No, I am definitely here because I want to be.}"
  6. Kerith: "{126}{}{That is a painful memory. A treacherous human sneaked in here and planted a bomb among the eggs while I was asleep. Fortunately he was not as stealthy leaving and I awoke to find the bomb. There was not enough time to deal with the device properly, so I threw it at the door and placed myself between it and the eggs. The eggs and I survived. The door did not.}"
  7. Fallout Shelter Online quests "Stupid Thief: Shouldn't Have Stolen This" and "Return to the Glowing Sea"
  8. Fallout Apocrypha
  9. Fallout at 25 Fallout Wiki roundtable
  10. "Upon reading Deiley’s idea for an evolved subgroup who could communicate, “He said, ‘Wow, this is great. This is exactly what we needed’”. Avellone wasn’t the only one who was unsure, with Fallout creator Tim Cain also having reservations about the idea, but Urquhart insisted that it be included."
    (The Gamer's 2024 interview with John Deiley)
  11. "One day I was walking down the hallway and I saw Fergus in one of the programmer’s offices and I saw the screen over the programmer’s shoulder and it was [Vault 13],” Deiley says. “I went in there and I said, ‘What’s going on?’ [They said,] ‘Oh, well, we’ve decided to eliminate this area from the game. But we don’t want to just not include it. So, the Enclave is going to kill them all off.’ And that was that. They didn’t come to me and let me know. They didn’t ask me about it. They just [did it] behind my back."
    (The Gamer's 2024 interview with John Deiley)
  12. Fallout Designer On Talking Deathclaws And Working With Chris Avellone - The Gamer, May 11, 2024