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I have been away a long time. It appears that much has changed during my absence. I have such sights to see. Perhaps you can recommend a local peculiarity?

The Smiling Man, also known as Indrid Cold, is a mysterious person randomly encountered in Appalachia in Fallout 76, introduced in the Mutation Invasion update.


The Smiling Man's face rests in an exaggerated, unsettling smile, which appears to be wider than should be possible.[1] He wears an antiquated dark gray suit. He claims he is either "seeking a seeker who cannot be found" or teases he may simply be lost. His comments suggest he is returning to Appalachia, possibly from before the Great War, as he says much has changed during his absence.

He wants only happiness for you.[2]

At some point, he came across Steven Scarberry, who felt the Smiling Man had a cold personality. Steven, a pilgrim of the Cult of the Mothman, later speculated that they may be looking for similar things.[3]

The Smiling Man also bought a beer from Clyde at the Middle Mountain Pitstop and proceeded to sit by the fire without consuming it, laughing under his breath.[1]

Interactions with the player character[]

Interactions overview[]

FO76 ui roleplay team
This character is involved in random encounters.

The Smiling Man
(scene-type encounter)

Other interactions[]

If the Smiling Man is attacked, he will disappear in a burst of shadow identical to a fleeing Mothman.


Apparel Weapon Other items On death
Jack gourdon black outfit


  • A cartoon depiction of the Smiling Man appears on the scoreboard for Rip Daring and the Cryptid Hunt, the twelfth in-game season, which also features several other cryptids.
  • The Smiling Man seems to identify himself as the historical figure Indrid Cold. He introduces himself as "Indrid," and states "I am Cold" when his coat is commented upon. He never says that his full name is "Indrid Cold," though his delivery and the capitalization of Cold imply it is his surname.
  • His comment "Ever dance with a devil under a blue moon?" foreshadows the Blue Devil, a cryptid added in the Once in a Blue Moon update.
  • One terminal at the Whitespring Refuge, added in the Expeditions: The Pitt update, may have been foreshadowing the Smiling Man. Purportedly, a catatonic patient was left with the Responders by a passing figure only identified as "Bob." People repeatedly mentioned feeling cold around this unmoving patient, until the night he suddenly disappeared. Nobody saw the patient depart or formally discharged him. A second commentator immediately criticized the report as a "ghost story."[4]

Notable quotes[]


The Smiling Man appears only in Fallout 76, introduced in the Mutation Invasion update.

Behind the scenes[]

User Anachorite Image Comics Indrid Cold

As depicted by Image Comics[Ext 1]

  • The Smiling Man, better known by his given name Indrid Cold, is an Appalachian urban legend associated with the Mothman. Cold himself is sometimes described as a cryptid.
    • In November 1966, a West Virginia resident named Woodrow Derenberger reported seeing a light on the road ahead of him. Supposedly, when he approached it, Woodrow met a man whose unnerving smile did not ever fade. The man spoke telepathically to Woodrow and asked for his name. The man introduced himself as Cold, and assured Woodrow that he meant no harm and wished him only happiness.[Ext 2]
      • This is why the Smiling Man in Fallout 76 says "I want only happiness for you."[2]
    • He was described as standing with his arms crossed over his chest and his hands tucked under his armpits (as if to keep them warm), gesturing with his elbows. This aspect is not reflected in the animations or text of the game.
    • The same month, the Mothman was first spotted in Point Pleasant. Ufologist John A. Keel first connected the two in his 1970 book Strange Creatures from Time and Space, which was later used as the basis for his 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies.
    • Fortean researchers and ufologists generally hold Indrid Cold to be a non-human or illusory entity.
      • In the film adaptation of The Mothman Prophecies, Indrid is depicted only in silhouette. He is briefly seen with the wings of a moth.
      • As discussed in the book, Derenberger later reported being visited by Men in Black, which are similarly understood in UFO lore to be deeply uncanny pseudo-humans. The Emissary appears to be based on the legend of the Men in Black.
    • Skeptics claim that the encounters were embellished significantly by John Keel and Gray Barker compared to the initial details of Derenberger's reports.
  • One of the Smiling Man's idle lines is "Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn't there. He wasn't there again today. Oh, how I wish he'd go away." This is a direct quote from the 1899 poem "Antigonish" by William Hughes Mearns. The poem is about a ghost in a haunted house.
  • Another one of the Smiling Man's idle lines is "Ah, but this is wondrous strange." This is a quote from William Shakespeare's Hamlet, act 1 scene 5, in which the eponymous main character says, "O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!"
  • One of the Smiling Man's greetings is "I've heard the moon can be belewe and I trust that to be true." "Belewe" is an unusual term; it is actually an Old English spelling for "blue," and is associated in astronomy with blue moons. The first written usage of the term "blue moon" in English contained this "belewe" spelling.
  • Another one of the Smiling Man's greetings is "Ever dance with a devil under a blue moon?" This is a reference to a similar line from the 1989 film Batman, said by the Joker: "Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?"
  • The Smiling Man's appearance changed slightly from the Public Test Server to the live release of Mutation Invasion. In testing, he had warm black hair and blue "hazy" eyes; this was changed to dark brown hair and blue "pale" eyes for the live release.
  • Steven Scarberry alludes to having met the Smiling Man.[3] Steven and the Smiling Man share the same voice actor, Robbie Daymond.
  • Several details in Fallout 76 allude to the works of the McElroy Brothers, comedians and prominent West Virginians.[5] Season 2 of The Adventure Zone (titled Amnesty) takes place in West Virginia, and Indrid Cold is a central character, as noted on the mythical figure's brief Wikipedia page. The depictions could be called similar in their affectations and manner of speaking. In the lore of TAZ: Amnesty, Indrid Cold is the human guise of the Mothman.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Middle Mountain Pitstop terminal entries; Boozin Brahmin terminal, Bad Juju:
    Some freak came into the bar last night.
    Didn't even see him come through the door - just looked up from cleaning the counter and there he was. Grinning from ear to ear, wider than should be possible.
    He didn't greet me, in fact he said nothing at all the whole time he was here. He put exactly 10 caps on the counter, one at a time. Well, that's how much a drink costs, so, I handed him a beer.
    He took the bottle and sat by the fire. For hours. Didn't speak, didn't move, didn't even drink the beer the ungrateful bastard. Only sound I heard him make was a faint chuckle under his breath. Freaked me the fuck out.
    Gonna keep my shotgun real close from now on...
  2. 2.0 2.1 Vault 76 dweller: "What do you want from me?"
    Smiling Man: "Not from you. For you. I want only happiness for you."
    (Smiling Man's dialogue)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Steven Scarberry: "A very friendly man. While his personality was cold, he could not shake his smile. I feel as though we were looking for similar things."
    (Steven Scarberry's dialogue)
  4. The Whitespring Resort terminal entries; clinic terminal, #5473162:
    "[PATIENT ID# 5473162]
    Admitted to clinic unconscious and with no visible external trauma, signs of internal injury, or evidence of illness beyond their unconscious state. Patient was brought in by an individual who only gave their name as "Bob", and who departed suddenly before more information could be taken. Patient was breathing steadily and heartrate was normal.
    Intravenous fluids were administered along with vitamin injections. Resources for feeding a comatose patient were unavailable and attempts to manually feed them were unsuccessful, but the patient showed no signs of starvation despite this lack of nutrition. During two weeks of observation, no change in the patient's state was noticed.
    Clinic staff reported feeling oddly cold when near the patient, and several accused the patient of somehow being responsible for the sudden failure of a number of pieces of electrical equipment in the vicinity. Two weeks after admission, the patient's bed was found empty during the night shift attendant's rounds. A search of the Refuge and its grounds found no sign of the patient, nor could any witness to their departure be located.
    [ADMINISTRATOR NOTE: Can we please keep the ghost stories out of our medical records? We're in a big drafty building with a bunch of salvaged equipment, and people come and go all the time without any of us noticing. We're supposed to be doctors, damn it.]"
  5. See Riverside cottage for more information.

External links