The Scorched are semi-intelligent ghouls in Appalachia who have been infected with the Scorched Plague, which has erased their individual consciousnesses and linked them to a primitive hive mind. They are described as being halfway between feral and sane and also have the ability to use weapons but they lack any social structure and exhibit extreme hostility towards any person or creature they encounter that is uninfected.
The Scorched mostly consist of former West Virginian residents and military personnel who, after becoming infected, banded together into small groups before succumbing to the effects of the infection and regressing physically and intellectually. Like the marked men of the Divide and unlike typical feral ghouls, they retain enough fine motor skills and higher brain function to still use firearms and melee weapons. It appears many West Virginia National Guardsmen, police officers, firemen, Vault-Tec employees and other groups have undergone the transformation into Scorched.
Scorched have been observed to retain vague memories of their life before infection, clinging to remnants of their past, such as the hand tools they used and the uniform they wore or staying near places that held significance to them such as workplaces. In addition, some may participate in events they organized as a human, such as the Scorched in the Protest Marchevent, who are seen carrying protest signs even though the workplaces have long since turned into ruins and the people they're protesting against died or joined their ranks.
In addition to the shriveled, burned skin typical of ghouls, the Scorched possess green crystalline growths throughout their body, piercing through their skin in irregular patterns; these are ultracite shards, formed as a byproduct of the fungus growing inside of them. According to preliminary field research done by the overseer of Vault 76, the Scorched are former humans that have contracted the Scorched Plague. The Responders tried to help those with the disease by setting up small clinics where the Responders would survey and try to treat the disease to help delay the disease while a cure was being worked on, though it was never finished.
Scorched often wear different clothes and armor from their pre-infection lives, such as tattered shirts and pants, mechanic jumpsuits, responder paramedic jumpsuits, and raider armor.
Scorched also possess a hive mind, sometimes saying phrases such as "we are one" and "never alone" when attacking, as detailed in the Overseer's Flatwoods log.
At times, the growth caused by the plague will overtake its host and root them where they stand or lay, causing them to slowly decay into human-shaped fungal bioforms before crumbling to dust. Some Scorched may even be found mid-petrification in some locations, such as the Helvetia church.
The Scorched are former humans infected by the Scorched Plague. They are linked via a hive mind born of a fungal infection. This hive mind links them to scorchbeasts and other infected creatures. They have pink shredded skin with sores and small crystalline protrusions poking out. The crystals are made of ultracite, which emits a weak radiation signature that allows scorched creatures to be tracked. The presence of ultracite in their tissues makes them particularly weak to the depleted form of the mineral. This weakness was leveraged by the Responders' elite unit, the Fire Breathers, by lacing their munitions with depleted ultracite crystals.
Though they often use guns, they also use melee weapons, making it hard to get away if they spot the player character. They may hide among petrified corpses or as one, mid-petrification. In this state, they can be identified by targeting, clothing (petrified corpses don't have clothing), and the pink color of their skin (vs. the corpse's black/gray color).
The weakest and most common variant of Scorched, equipped with a variety of weapons, melee and ranged alike. They can usually be killed with minimal effort. They are found most commonly around buildings and towns within The Forest but can be found all over Appalachia.
Scorched 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.
As evidenced by their name, they appear to be the leader of their small group. They are often the strongest Scorched in their group, and tend to stay back, attacking from afar with combat rifles or assault rifles.
The strongest variant of Scorched, these enemies have assault rifles and combat shotguns as main weapons, and some even carry grenade launchers. Along with guns, some use melee weapons such as sledgehammers and fire axes. Found mostly around the outskirts of Watoga and throughout the Cranberry Bog.
The Scorched will wear a variety of outfits depending on the environment they are encountered in, such as Responder uniforms, army fatigues and miner outfits at Responder outposts, army camps and mining operations respectively.