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“You are not us!”
The Scorched are humans who have been infected with the Scorched Plague, which has erased their self-consciousnesses and linked them to a primitive hive mind. They are described as being halfway between feral and sane, able to speak and use weapons, but lacking in any social structure and exhibiting extreme hostility towards anything uninfected. They are found in Appalachia.
The Scorched mostly consists 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 certain kinds of feral ghouls, they retain enough fine motor skills and higher brain function to still use firearms and melee weapons, similar to mindless and crazy feral ghouls of New California. It appears many West Virginia National Guardsmen, police officers, firemen, Vault-Tec employees and other groups that have transformed into the Scorched. 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.
Humanoid 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, the uniforms they wore, or staying near places that held significance to them, such as workplaces. Also, 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. Certain Scorched even have the capacity to restrain themselves, fixating on singular details of past aspirations.
In addition to the shriveled, burned skin typical of ghouls, the humanoid 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 plague 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 to treat patients, and worked to help delay its spread across the region. They were working on a cure, but unfortunately for the people of Appalachia, the Responders were all wiped out before it was completed.
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.
Eventually, 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 stone-like bioforms before crumbling to dust. Some Scorched may even be found mid-petrification in some locations, such as the Helvetia church.
In 2103, following the eradication of the Scorchbeast Queen and the vaccination of mosthumans who have returned to Appalachia, the Scorched's influence on the region appears to be in decline. Dismembered Scorched corpses are not uncommonly found as fixtures on the walls of strongholds owned by factions such as the Blood Eagles or Cult of the Mothman. However, the long-term effects of the vaccine are yet to be seen.
The Scorched are former humans infected by the Scorched Plague. They are linked via a hive mind to scorchbeasts and other infected creatures. They have pink shredded skin with sores and small crystalline protrusions poking out. Their lungs are charred, forcing them to breathe heavily. 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.
Scorched use both guns and melee weapons, making it hard to get away if they spot the player character. They may be hidden among petrified corpses, 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). Getting too close to one of these scorched will cause them to violently shake off their stasis and become alert.
Note that variants are not distinguished visually and will instead wear tattered versions of outfits determined by the location's theme, eg. asylum outfits near Fort Defiance, skiing gear around Top of the World, or Responder gear around Morgantown Airport.
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 red light and a high-pitched tone that sound off in a regular sequence. All regular Scorched variants may be an officer variant with the same stats, abilities, and items.
A unique variant of Scorched encountered during the seasonal Holiday Scorched community event. They emit a jingling sound when nearby and wear a variety of Christmas-themed apparel, including Mr. Claus' suit, Mrs. Claus' dress, and the festive winter pant suit. They only use melee weapons and will always be legendary, with a 40% chance to be a 2-star and a 5% chance to be a 3-star. All regular Scorched variants may spawn as a holiday variant with the same stats and abilities, though the variant name may remain unchanged.