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Nightkin were an elite warrior caste in the Master's super mutant army and the apex of his creation of super mutants. When the Master's super mutant army was defeated in 2162, many began wandering the wasteland or banded together into groups of varying sizes and with varying ends. In 2281, many are now either with Tabitha, Marcus or Davison, with the last group desperately searching for more Stealth Boys to feed their addictions to it.
Nightkin can be found in the upper levels of the Cathedral, as well as inside the Mariposa Military Base, and in random patrol encounters in the cells around the base. After the Master's fall, many surviving Unity super mutants had become a chaotic wasteland-wandering force, set on destroying everything it encountered. They are superior to other super mutants in skill, equipment, and weaponry. Many of the nightkin are equipped with cloaking devices, such as Stealth Boys. The only gaming effect of this is to give them a slightly ethereal look, as it does not affect the player character's chance of hitting them.
Fallout: New Vegas
Some of the nightkin appear in the Mojave Wasteland, very often suffering from severe psychological damage, caused by prolonged Stealth Boy use. They wear the same clothes as regular super mutants, but many of them also wear hoods and stop signs strapped to their forearms as makeshift shields. They are often found wielding rebar clubs, miniguns, incinerators, super sledges or, in the case of nightkin masters, bumper swords. They are slightly more articulate in their speech and are believed to be a stronger and more intelligent version of first-generation super mutants, according to Black Mountain Radio. They are weaker than standard super mutants, however, as a result of their use of Stealth Boys. There are some scattered in the wasteland, in places such as Black Rock cave.
The nightkin under the banner of Tabitha harbor an "isolationist" ideology, openly warning humans to stay away from Black Mountain, and even commenting on the dangers of "the dreaded battle cattle" and "two-headed bear people," a reference to the animal mascots on the flags of Caesar's Legion and the New California Republic, respectively. A nightkin camping on the outskirts of Novac kills one of Dusty McBride's brahmin every night around midnight. He can be found during the day, cloaked behind a boulder across the road and to the west of town. Here, he can be heard complaining about his constant insomnia and trying to silence noises in his head that he believes come from the brahmin. Despite their phobia, some nightkin have become Antlerists, and take orders from their god, Antler, an inanimate brahmin skull located in the basement of the REPCONN test site.
Nightkin play an important part in the quest Come Fly With Me. The Courier is sent by Jason Bright, the founder of the Bright Brotherhood, to take care of "demons" that are infesting the basement level of the REPCONN rocket testing facility.
At Brooks tumbleweed ranch a nightkin will appear next to the Courier and start a chat. He will offer to sell them wind-brahmin for all their caps. If the offer is declined, he will turn hostile and proceed to attack. Originally, if the Courier accepts the offer without asking about the price, no caps will be removed, and the nightkin will give a free Stealth Boy instead. Another Stealth Boy will be in his inventory available for pick-pocketing. However, with the game patch as of July 7–8, 2011, the nightkin will no longer give a Stealth Boy upon agreeing without question and will take all caps. The nightkin will only have one Stealth Boy that can be pickpocketed or looted from his body.
- Tabitha, supreme commander of the State of Utobitha.
- Davison, leader of a rogue group of nightkin who attacked REPCONN test site and the Bright Brotherhood, and is the focal point of Come Fly With Me.
- Keene, leader of the Jacobstown nightkin looking for a cure for their condition.
- Lily Bowen, a former assassin working as a herder in the mountain refuge.
- Dog and God, a split personality nightkin and key to Elijah's plans.
- Chupacabra nightkin, a rogue mutant attacking Dusty McBride's brahmin.
- Brooks tumbleweed ranch nightkin, selling wind brahmin (tumbleweeds).
- Black Rock cave nightkin, with seemingly precognitive powers.
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
|The following is based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and is not canon.|
After the death of the Master, parts of the super mutant army gathered and formed a new faction, led by Attis. Many years after their regrouping, these mutants captured the Secret Vault in order to use the FEV reserves stored inside. Attis' goal was to continue the Master's plan. His army had an elite unit of nightkin, much improved in skill, and equipped with high-tech stealth suits to enhance their abilities. These suits served the same function as Stealth Boys. These suits probably originated from or were made in the Secret Vault.
|End of information based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.|
In humans, phenotypical changes brought upon by the Mariposa strain are substantial, accomplished by recursive growth patterns integrated in FEV. In order for the mutation to succeed, the subject needs to have a low level of radiation-induced damage and should not have been exposed to the mutated FEV in the wasteland.[non-canon 1] Subjects that do not meet these criteria will suffer a massive overhaul of the body's systems, leading to organ failure and extremely painful death.[non-canon 2]
A super mutant autopsied by Vree was 3.2 meters tall and weighed 363.21 kg. The subject's muscle mass accounted for 77.41% , bone mass measured 10.23%, tissue was 9.34%, and fat mass was 3.02%. The increased muscle and body mass lead to a change in posture: FEV super mutants have a characteristic, hunched posture. The skin tone changes substantially and becomes gray with tints of light green, though as the mutant ages, it may become more green or even olive. The skin becomes much thicker and resistant to trauma, including cuts, bruises and damage from fire, acid or even gunfire. Despite this resistance to trauma, completely destroyed tissues cannot regenerate and will result in permanent scarring or organ loss. However, super mutants are sterile,
Increased size of neural transmitters and synaptic receivers in the body give super mutants acute reflexes and heightened senses. These changes are usually not accompanied by a similar rise in intellect. The FEV strain in Mariposa has a chance of modifying intelligence: while most people retain their pre-dipping intellect,[non-canon 3] a majority of the remaining group experiences a loss (typically by 30%), while the remaining minority of exceptional individuals may even experience an increase.[non-canon 3] The loss is the result of damage caused by recursive growth and increase in brain mass, which may be accompanied by disfigurement and damage to existing neural patterns, causing loss of memory.
Vree would also theorize that super mutants are immune to common diseases and radiation and that the mutation approximate increased life expectancy by 10%. Vree was correct about common diseases and radiation, however, most super mutants can live far longer than Vree theorized.
The nightkin share all of these characteristics with their brothers. They differ in that they are the perfect fulfillment of the mutation, with the highest level of strength, resiliency, and their intelligence retained or even enhanced by the process. Subsequent alterations to their biology were caused by prolonged use of Stealth Boy technology. The stealth field caused permanent recoloration of their skin pigment, to a gray-blue color. More importantly, it has caused neuro-chemical changes to occur in their brains, leading to mental instability and disorders, including schizophrenia, delusions, and even split personalities.
Their superiority resulted in the development of an arrogant, borderline chauvinist personality in many nightkin, not helped by the preferential treatment they received. As nightkin developed their mental disorders, however, their personality slowly changed. They slowly started to lose tolerance for being seen, relying increasingly on their Stealth Boy to remain invisible to the naked eye, fueling a vicious cycle of cumulative mental damage.
- The mutant commando advanced character class from the canceled Fallout Pen and Paper d20 was based on the nightkin.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, the nightkin are suffering from schizophrenia, partially due to the fact that overuse of Stealth Boys over a prolonged amount of time has been proven to cause mental problems in nightkin. This theory was tested and proven by Doctor Henry. Also, because they are so used to being invisible, they hate being looked at.
- Nightkin seem to have a strange fascination with brahmin; Davison worships a brahmin skull, a nightkin kills Dusty McBride's brahmin under the impression that the brahmin are keeping him awake, the heads of a brahmin are mounted on the wall in Black Mountain Radio station and another nightkin attempt to sell travelers wind-brahmin.
- Boone's Spotter perk does not work with cloaked nightkin.
- ED-E's Enhanced Sensors perk can detect cloaked nightkin.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, nightkin have the perks Toughness and Ninja.
- V.A.T.S. can target nightkin even while they are cloaked but this is not a bug. There will be no chance to hit the Nightkin and so it will not permit queuing of attacks.
The nightkin appear in Fallout in the Cathedral and the Mariposa Military Base, in Fallout 2 as a hostile encounter on the world map, in the Secret Vault in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, and make a comeback in Fallout: New Vegas and the add-on Dead Money.
Behind the scenes
- In Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, the nightkin are voiced by Michael Bell.
- In Fallout 3, the word "nightkin" occasionally appears in the password list when hacking a terminal.
- The mutant commando advanced character class from Fallout Pen and Paper d20 was based on the nightkin role in the Master's Army.
- Nightkin have an obsession with the brahmin, manifesting as worshiping a skull (Davison), killing them to stop their mooing (the Chupacabra), and one nightkin attempting to sell "wind brahmin" (tumbleweeds) near a tumbleweed ranch.
- Joshua Sawyer conceived of the nightkin becoming schizophrenic from Stealth Boys and was directly inspired by the novel The Invisible Man and his progression into insanity by taking an invisibility drug.
- Fallout, some nightkin that fight unarmed disappear (become "invisible") during the player's turn in combat and can not be targeted. The only way to end a battle with them is to either flee the area or have them be killed by an accidental fire, e.g. by other enemies that miss and hit them or using a burst mode of a weapon targeting any other available target with the intent to hit the supposed "invisible" nightkin. [verified] In the original
- Fallout: New Vegas, the shaders that make nightkin invisible are sometimes bugged, causing them to remain invisible after deactivating their Stealth Boys (although they will be treated as visible for the purpose of calculating V.A.T.S. percentages). This has been observed in the REPCONN test site basement and during the encounter near McBride house in Novac, and appears to be linked to reloading a previous save during, or immediately after, an encounter with a nightkin (possibly after being killed). [verified] In
- Highway 95 Viper's encampment, and rarely can even spawn inside the McBrides' house. This nightkin master will be neutral unless attacked by the player character but could be encountered fighting Vipers. If killed, this nightkin will have a minigun in very poor condition and possess The Screams of Brahmin note. [verified] After the nightkin that has been attacking Dusty McBride's cattle is killed, a nightkin master can appear near the tent in the middle of Novac; it can be encountered as far away as the
Fallout and Fallout 2
|The following is based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and is not canon.|
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
|End of information based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.|
Fallout: New Vegas
- Fallout Bible 0: "6. According to Chris A., the ghouls in V12 were exposed to radiation and FEV. I know Harold said the Vault door opened early or something, so the radiation bit makes sense. My question is, how were the ghouls of Vault 12 exposed to FEV? Harold was a special case, since he went to the Vats with... er... someone, whose shall remain nameless... and got dipped. How do you account for the others? - Richard Grey"
"When the West Tek research facility was hit, it shattered the FEV storage tanks on levels four and five and released the FEV into the atmosphere. Through some means, perhaps propelled by the explosion, the virus was able to reach the ghouls quickly and the mutation process began even as the radiation was rotting away their bodies. How the virus was able to survive the blast without being sterilized is unknown... it would depend on what type of warhead cracked the West Tek facility like an egg.
Actually, Harold never said he got dipped (although it's possible). He was exposed, however - being in close proximity to FEV is enough to cause mutations, as the Enclave slaves mining Mariposa discovered. I imagine the shield between the vats and the control room in Mariposa was meant to keep the virus contained."
Note: The West Tek Research Facility is an underground bunker, which although was directly hit by a nuclear weapon did not release the Forced Evolutionary Virus. The FEV was moved to the Mariposa Military Base (a bunker under a mountain) before the Great War.
- Fallout Bible 8: "Peter Hopkins asks:
I was reading version 5 of the Bible, and found a bit of a conflict with current knowledge... In one of your anwers, it was said that it was random whether the FEV increased intelligence or not. However, as far as I know, FEV increases the growth and integrity of ALL cells consistently, by doubling the amount of genetic material in the cells. In this case, an increase in brain size (assuming a healthy brain to begin with) and intelligence should be regular. Another theory could be that, as the mutant's brain grows, the mass of the mutant's body increases exponentionally and the brain would not be big enough to control the whole body and sustain the throught process of a human body. Also, it is possible that while intelligence does increase initially, the brain does not gain the resistance to radiation that the body does, and the mutant develops brain damage and shows reduced intelligence. Are any of the above true? PS There is a very good report documenting the effects of FEV and how it was developed on the No Mutants Allowed message board (www.nma-fallout.com). PPS I don't know about any so called 'purists', but i am hugely interested in the fallout world and would love to FOT background in the Bible.
That might be why some of the super mutants (such as the Lieutenant) are smart (or remain smart) - but generally, for some reason (I don't know off the top of my head, nor do I know if it's spelled out anywhere), they're about 30% dumber than a normal human being, if Vree's research disk in the Brotherhood of Steel is accurate. I wouldn't be surprised if the dipping process caused brain damage in dipped subjects - it's a hell of a shock to the system.
Furthermore, everyone's favorite introspective machine intelligence, Zax, has the following to say about it:
- When inoculated into an individual with significant genetic damage, such as through radiation, it [FEV] will cause the body's systems to suffer massive overhauling, leading to organ failure and death. In a genetically viable individual, it re-writes portions of DNA, causing accelerated mutation, usually leading to recursive growth due to the FEV's own patterns. This recursive growth leads to an increase in muscle and brain mass, but is often accompanied by disfigurement and damage to existing neural patterns, causing loss of memory.
- Most mutants have some degree of radiation poisoning, which may cause problems and brain damage, as mentioned above.
- The process is unsafe - the mortality rate on "dippees" is pretty high. This is likely due to radiation poisoning.
- Memory functions are "sometimes" impaired by the dipping, and intelligence loss may occur as well. Harold's memory wasn't in the best of shape after exposure.
From the Pre-War experiment tapes, it looks like some mammals did display consistent increased intelligence (raccoons), while others didn't (the dogs) or even suffered brain damage (the chimps and the seizures). However, in an old Scott Campbell doc, there was a note that later subjects injected with the FEV (especially the chimps) hid their enhanced intelligence from their captors (or in the case of the raccoons, made a break for it).
Furthermore, the FEV tests at West-Tek were done through injection, not dipping, so it's possible the dipping process itself that causes the brain damage. Possibly with the increased brain mass in the skull, the brain is "squeezed," and all that tasty juice runs out the ears.
Still, on the other hand, a lot of the animals Grey talks about in his experiment tapes that were running around the Military Base were getting smarter from the FEV, and he himself became supra-intelligent.
So there's a long-winded series of random answers. Moving on!"
- Fallout Bible 5:
"5. In F1 the Lieutenant said that the FEV raises intelligence. There are, however, very many dumb mutants. What can you say about it? And what do you think of my theory, which i've been using in my Fallout PnP campaign?
Sorry, Pawel, for two things: I wasn't able to personally respond to your email because I kept getting bounced, and two, I wasn't able to comment on your FEV theory (as a reminder, I can't read fan-created material, so just send questions, comments, or facts if you can).
As for the FEV enhancing intelligence, the original Pre-War FEV at West Tek did, and more consistently than the Fallout-era virus.
The current Fallout-era FEV does enhance intelligence - in some people. Just not many. The Lieutenant was one of the lucky ones who didn't become a knuckle-dragging, butt-scratching moron after being dipped (and it may not have raised his intelligence, he may have been that smart before his dipping, but no records of his past exist to verify this).
The FEV that was released out in the wasteland was mutated by radiation, so its effects changed. As for the FEV at Mariposa, the Lieutenant says the super mutants are smarter than humans ("We are highly intelligent and immune to disease"), which is only half-right, and he also says that the virus can also interfere with a person's memory, causing them to forget things. Obviously, the Lieutenant keeps forgetting that most of his super mutant forces can barely form complete sentences.
Basically, the FEV in the vats only has a small chance of raising a being's intelligence (or even keeping it intact). The Master was one of the lucky ones. More often than not, it causes brain damage. It's also possible that the crude dipping procedure in Mariposa also caused imperfect mutations as well, reducing the chance of heightened intelligence.
But to answer your question: the FEV at West Tek before the war caused increased intelligence in its subjects, but the FEV at Mariposa after the war rarely enhanced the intelligence of humans who were dipped. The reason for this is unknown.
Chris Taylor says:
- Chris Taylor: Actually, a dip in FEV has a chance of modifying Intelligence, but it doesn't always increase it. Some people do gain increased intelligence, a larger majority lose intelligence and most people remain the same. It also depends if people have enough radiation damage to be turned into ghouls or super mutants."