These super mutants were created in the "Evolutionary Experimentation Program," an experiment assigned to Vault 87. This modified strain of FEV was used to create these mutants and resulted in a new strain of super mutant which, in addition to becoming sterile, grow larger and stronger as they age.[Non-game 1]
The first super mutants of this variety were created in 2078, becoming a permanent feature of the Capital Wasteland - not intelligent enough to overrun it, but too powerful to die off.[Non-game 1] Their routine behavior included raiding to kidnap people for conversion with the EEP mutagen.
Their inability to reproduce (possibly bolstered by the FEV batch and/or human procreation instincts) led to an obsession with preserving their species. They attempt to capture live humans as often as possible, to infect them with FEV, or "green stuff," at Vault 87.[Non-game 1] However, by 2277, the mutants are running out of FEV and are looking in desperation for a new source of the virus.
The inferior FEV strain used at Vault 87 retains the recursive growth patterns characteristic to FEV but has a different effect, which may be also linked to how the infection was performed in the labs. Test subjects were exposed a single time to FEV in isolated chambers, where the virus was deployed as airborne particulate. When exposed, phenotypical changes occur within three days and include increased muscle mass, changes in skeletal structure and atrophy of all visible sexual characteristics, creating a uniform body shape devoid of genitalia or another sexual dimorphism.[Non-game 1] At ten days, skin pigmentation becomes a mixture of yellow and green, while its thickness and resistance to radiation and other environmental hazards rapidly increases.
However, a key problem with this batch is that the mutation does not stop. Within fourteen days of initial exposure, subjects regress to an almost feral state, exhibiting extreme aggression at every non-mutant. While some semblance of cognition is retained, exhibited by the ability to speak, operate machines and use basic tactics in combat, super mutants of this type are typically characterized by significant mental retardation. Another unforeseen side effect is that the unfinished virus strain codes the body for continued growth. If a super mutant of this type eludes death for prolonged periods of time, they may become a considerable threat, reaching the size of a small building.[Non-game 1]
Like all super mutants, the specimens of the Vault 87 variant appear to be powerfully-built, hairless humanoids standing approximately eight feet tall (2.44 m) and clad in heavy armor made from car parts and scrap metal. They differ from their western counterparts in that they possess a yellow-green skin color, as opposed to the green or blue colors of their western cousins, as well as thick, bulging veins. They are also generally less intelligent and more aggressive, however, they appear more healthy and genetically stable, as they are never seen with any cybernetic implants or fleshy body deformations. However, unlike their distant cousins, they retain less of their humanity after transformation and do not appear to display any distinguishing features from their former lives. Every super mutant speaks in a deep, guttural voice that emphasizes each syllable due to their mouths being permanently stuck in a tight, angry sneer. Also, as Fawkes demonstrates when retrieving the G.E.C.K. in Vault 87, they are highly resistant to radiation.
During the exploration of Vault 87, information from terminal entries reveals more about the process that humans go through to become super mutants. When exposed to the specific strain of FEV found there, muscular and skeletal systems develop rapidly while mental faculties diminish. Like other super mutants, despite having a build similar to a muscular human male, they completely lack functioning genitals, relying on FEV vats to create more super mutants. Another unique trait of the super mutants is that they grow larger as they grow older, and can range from eight (2.44 m) to at least twenty feet (6 m) in height; the largest are known as "behemoths." These behemoths seem to be even less intelligent than their smaller brethren, talking only in echoing roars and blindly destroying everything in their path, acting more like an unfettered beast than a warrior.
Despite their apparent lack of intelligence, the mutants are somehow able to organize themselves into a coordinated army (as evident from numerous raids). It seems likely that "might makes right" and those older and larger mutants who can still think somewhat coherently are in charge. They have also procured large amounts of advanced weapons, ammunition, equipment and maintain the FEV infrastructure necessary to transform humans to increase their numbers. No central leadership is ever shown, and aside from unnamed masters and overlords, the player never meets a named mutant leader or governing body in the game, unlike on the west coast.
In the ruins of D.C., the super mutants are primarily looking for human captives to expand their army, as well as a new source of FEV, as a conversation between two super mutants in Vault 87 reveals that they are running out of "green stuff." They also appear to eat humans, as evidenced by the gore bags often found in their camps, as well as their threats of eating the Lone Wanderer's corpse often shouted during combat.
Despite their seemingly low intelligence, super mutants can sometimes employ effective military tactics. Melee-armed mutants will move in to engage their victims while those behind them take pot-shots with ranged weapons. Super mutants armed with grenades will often use them without regard for any fellow mutants that might be caught in the blast radius.
When encountered at lower levels, super mutants are usually in groups of two or three, accompanied by one or two centaurs, often employed as a sort of attack dog. At higher levels, they can be found in groups of three to five, with a few centaurs acting as their watchdogs.
Super mutant society is loosely hierarchical, with the weaker (most recently transformed) super mutants generally giving way to the stronger. The super mutant hierarchy can be roughly defined as such: grunt, brute, master, overlord and behemoth. The behemoths are so strong and savage that they are the only thing feared by other super mutants.[Non-game 1] Super mutants occasionally fraternize with one another and joke about puny humans or tell legends of other impressive mutants, like the rare behemoths, though their exchanges are limited in scope and a far cry from anything resembling a proper human language.
These are the youngest and weakest of the Capital Wasteland super mutants. They are usually encountered in groups of two or three, led by the strongest one. Regular super mutants have almost twice as much health as most standard human non-player characters, but this is somewhat offset by their lack of body armor, thus they are a fairly easy opponent for mid-level player characters. Some of their prime locations are the GNR building plaza, the Mall, The Capitol Building, the Statesman Hotel, the National Archives and Falls Church. They can also be found aboard Mothership Zeta in stasis chambers. Freeing them will prompt their hostility.
Super mutant brutes are stronger and tougher opponents than regular super mutants, as they are better armed and armored. They are most commonly seen once the player reaches a higher level. Brutes are easily distinguished by their Galea-like metal helmets and crudely stylized metal armor.
Until Broken Steel is installed, super mutant masters are considered to be the group leaders of the mutant bands which plague the Capital Wasteland. They have more Hit Points than most "common" super mutants. They are discernible by their armor, which appears to consist of what resembles black tubing that wraps around their lower and upper body and something like a fighter pilot helmet. A gas mask is strapped to their left shoulder, possibly acting as a makeshift pauldron. They are generally never alone and are usually accompanied by one or two brutes.
The super mutant overlords are variants added to the game in Broken Steel. They are aged, even more powerful than super mutant masters, and much harder to bring down. Super mutant overlords appear to be evolving into behemoths. Their intelligence (in comparison with other types of super mutants) is questionable, but they are smart enough to wield Energy Weapons with some degree of skill. Sometimes, they are seen leading groups of other super mutants, although they are more frequently seen in pairs, if not completely alone. Overlords also have a 40 unblockable damage bonus when attacking with a tri-beam laser rifle and a +25 damage bonus when attacking with a special version of a super sledge. When carrying an assault rifle or a Chinese assault rifle, they use a one-handed pistol animation. They have a good chance of dropping above-average loot such as stimpaks, mini nukes and purified water.
Towering above any player character, at about 20 feet tall, the behemoths are the greatest threat found among the super mutants. There are only five behemoths to be found in the game, although reports of their sightings continue through dialogue amongst the Brotherhood of Steel.
These super mutants are the oldest and strongest of their kind, and as well as being many times larger than any other humanoid creature, they are no longer capable of intelligent speech, due to brain degradation. Instead, the only form of communication they are capable of are monstrous roars. They are usually armed with an oversized fire hydrant mounted on a large water pipe. Other than that, they use their enormous fists in a fight. Either way, both weapons are heavy-hitters and will cause major damage against any enemy smaller than them.
They carry a cage made from shopping carts on their backs, used to carry off captured humans to be mutated or devoured later. Behemoths use a mix match of scrap metal and car parts to form their armor, such as a shield that is created from a car door. They also adorn their bodies with the heads of their victims. The Evergreen Mills behemoth has a unique appearance not shared with any others. Unlike its "brothers", it lacks any of its armor or weaponry and uses its fists for combat instead.
Super mutant territory tends to be marked with spiked scrap metal structures and spires, along with mutilated human corpses and the bagged-up remains of their limbs and organs. The super mutants have almost entirely conquered the entire downtown region, and hold small pockets of territory in the midwest and northwest areas of the Capital Wasteland. They also hold a small number of locations dotted throughout the other regions of the wasteland.
If a super mutant picks up a pistol, it will use the same attack animation as an assault rifle, which is a two-handed grip (the front hand is floating in front of the pistol). When shooting the pistol, their hands will shake from the "recoil," as if the pistol were automatic.
There is a conversation between two super mutants inside Vault 87 in which they discuss "the green stuff" (FEV) and that Fawkes thinks that men will come to take it away, while his companion says that they will turn the intruders into mutants.
Informing Elder Lyons that the super mutants originated from Vault 87 grants some positive karma and XP.
After Broken Steel is installed, super mutants become rarer, and finding them will take some effort outside of spawning areas. Some super mutants can be heard talking that the "bucket heads" have been killing too many of them, this being their nickname for the Brotherhood of Steel and/or Enclave.
According to concept art, there were originally three classes: grunt, spinebreaker, and behemoth.
Super mutants are never seen sleeping, despite makeshift bedding often being seen in their encampments.
Super mutant behemoths come in varying sizes, which are simply scaled-up versions of the original model. In every instance, the various parts of its weapons and armor (the fire hydrant club, the car door shield, and the severed head trophies) are unrealistically larger than normal.
The pauldron on the shoulder of the super mutant overlords is actually the right arm armor from a behemoth but resized.
Unlike other enemies, the head of the behemoths and overlords cannot be destroyed. Instead, their skullcap will explode, revealing their brain.
Occasionally, super mutant brutes, masters and overlords may appear merely labeled as a "super mutant," but still have the same health and equipment of brutes/masters/overlords.[verified]
Super mutants may not acknowledge the player no matter how close he/she gets to it.[verified]
Occasionally, when battling a super mutant master who's equipped with a minigun the game controls will momentarily freeze while the player character continues to take damage. This has the potential to lead to character death.[verified]
Super mutant brutes are notorious for using heavier weapons
↑The Lone Wanderer: "Why did they build the walls?" Manya Vargas: "Well, the Raiders, for one. Once the town got big enough, they'd wait until the traders and their guards were away, then come in and clean us out! Now the Super Mutants... They were a whole other breed of problem. They'd kill us if they had to, but mostly they tried to drag people away! Alive! So, eventually, my father did something about it. Him and a few others organized the traders and the citizens and built the walls. So we're pretty safe now. Still, I wish those Brotherhood of Steel fellers hadn't hit on such hard times. They really helped keep the wolves at bay." (Manya's dialogue)
↑Super mutant: "Have you found green stuff? I haven't found any. Ever. Maybe it's a lie. Maybe we're wasting our time. We could be out killing..." (AudioTemplateSuperMutant.txt)
↑ 1.01.11.21.31.41.5Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p. 42: "Super Mutants" "The Super Mutants that infest the urban ruin of Washington D.C. originated in Vault 87. Those unlucky enough to have reserved space in Vault 87 soon found themselves forcefully taken to a secure part of the vault, where they were locked in airtight chambers and exposed to a concentrated form of the F.E.V. The Overseer and his security force had no real idea what to expect; they were simply following the "plan." When the exposed vault dwellers started transforming into Super Mutants, nearly the entire vault population had been exposed. Those who hadn't yet metamorphosed knew what was coming, and, well...it didn't end well for humanity. The dwellers of Vault 87 were turned into Super Mutants in 2078, and have been a presence in the Capital Wasteland ever since. Most of those original Super Mutants have long since been killed. But whether it's because of the nature of the F.E.V. they were exposed to, or a simple underlying human instinct, the Super Mutants of the Capital Wasteland are obsessed with the preservation of their species. Super Mutants are asexual and incapable of procreation, so their only way of reproducing is to kidnap other humans, drag them back to the Vault 87 chambers, and infect them with F.E.V. And so they have done, for nearly 200 years. Super Mutant society is loosely hierarchical, with the weaker (most recently transformed) Super Mutants generally giving way to the stronger. The Super Mutant hierarchy, as defined by the Capital Wasteland contingent of the Brotherhood of Steel, is as follows: Grunt, Brute, Master, and Behemoth. Generally speaking, the Super Mutants of the Capital Wasteland get bigger, stronger, and dumber as they age. The Behemoths are so strong and savage that they’re the only thing feared by the other Super Mutants." (Fallout 3 Official Game Guide faction profiles)