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Fallout super-mutant

Generic super-mutant in Fallout 1


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Fallout video games series (1997-present) takes place in an over-the-top post-apocalyptic setting. It mixes a Mad Max aspect, 1950s atomic horror conventions and various “after the Bomb” influences.

For a primer, see our sample Vault Dweller (the Player Character  in the first Fallout game). DC Heroes players can also refer to the generic deathclaw entry for scale explanations.


  • This only covers the very first Fallout game.
  • This is especially important since later games feature a different sort of super-mutants.
  • This profile features tabletop RPG mechanics about the video game’s gameplay – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile features non-canon hypotheses about in-game events and mechanics – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.

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Powers & Abilities

Super-mutants are enhanced humans, mutated through exposure to the Forced Evolution Virus. They are huge — some are close to three metres tall, albeit super-mutants are usually hunched forward — and their constitution is amazing.

One piece of dialogue implies that it is possible to save the life of a human by dipping them in FEV. It is unrevealed whether that person’s life was imperilled by wounds or sickness.

A super-mutant is as strong as their size implies, and they enjoy perfect health. Their immune system is incredible and their body will quickly repair damage to their DNA. This makes them highly resilient to disease, toxins, ageing and radiation poisoning.

In some ways, super-mutants are perfect, especially in a milieu with radioactivity problems.

Downsides

However, the process is still in beta, and has a lot of undesirable side effects. Most such downsides stem from most humans in the Fallout world having some level of radiation damage that throws the procedure off-kilter.

Super-mutants have a distorted appearance and altered skin pigmentation, most being grey-green. They are also all sterile as a side effect of their enhanced immune system and self-repairing abilities. This is a rather important issue even for a near-unageing species.


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On paper, the process should increase intelligence as the brain becomes larger and denser. At this stage and on radiation-damaged human, this almost never works out right. The vast majority of super-mutants is left much dumber after the treatment.

They can still perform in simple occupations, such as the very basics of a military grunt’s work. But the more technical and complex tasks required of a fully-trained soldier in a modern military will generally be beyond their ken.

Ordnance

Super-mutants tend to either have very crude weapons (such as artisanal brass knuckles, which seem to be a favourite) or state-of-the-art military firepower issues by their master. One imagines that this is because their hands are too large to easily handle ordinary firearms, whereas military weaponry from the War was built to be useable by a soldier wearing power armour .

Armed mutants will have such heavy firepower as rocket launchers, infantry miniguns, flamers or laser rifles. With their vast strength they can wield those with ease. Thus, a group of armed super-mutants is sufficient force to stomp almost anything into the ground. They’re not sharpshooters, but they’re good enough and they can carry a lot of ammunition.

See our Fallout weapons locker article for more.

Nightkin

Nightkin are an elite unit of super-mutants. It is made up of those who suffered the least intellectual damage after the FEV dip. They can function as trained soldiers and scouts rather than as low-skill grunts.

Nightkin always use a Stealth-Boy cloaking field. It doesn’t make them genuinely invisible, and their hazy silhouette that can be spotted by an attentive observer.

For unclear reasons, constant Stealth-Boy use makes their skin bluer and darker. It also has many deleterious effects on their sanity – making them paranoid and borderline. Paranoia means in turn that they keep using their Stealth-Boy to evade real or imagined surveillance.


History

Super-mutants are the result of experiments to use the accidentally-discovered Forced Evolution Virus as super-soldier serum. This was developed during the War at the Mariposa military base , a research centre in Southern California.

The research was a grotesque horror show consuming many human test subjects. When the soldiers at the base discovered what was going there was a mutiny to put an end to the stomach-churning atrocities. Though the research facilities and their large vats of bubbling, greenish FEV liquids weren’t thoroughly destroyed, the research was over.

The Master comes

However, decades after the War, a deranged traveller who would call himself the Master reactivated the facilities. Then, he resumed dipping hapless test subjects into the FEV vats. The idea was to complete the research, and eventually replace humans with a superior species that wouldn’t reproduce the mistakes of humanity.

However, this didn’t pan out. That was in large part due to pre-existing radiation damage in human subjects. This difficulty would eventually result in the Master directing his attention toward finding an intact Vault, where the denizens would be free of radiation damage.

Whether this approach would have succeeded is unknown. By this point, the grotesquely mutated Master was increasingly incoherent.

In the year 2161

By 2161, super-mutant presence as seen in the game is :

  • A six-person squad in Bakersfield, to keep the unstable ghoul leader Set in line and keep watch on the deserted but valuable Vault 12.
  • At least one team had been sent to attack caravans from the Hub’s merchant companies. Presumably this was the major source of test subjects procurement. This team ran into an unclear number of deathclaws and was killed.
  • The bulk of super-mutant presence is at the Mariposa base in the desert, which they staff more or less like soldiers. They guard the base, run comprehensive patrols and live in underground barracks.
    The base is run by an exceptional super-mutant, for whom the treatment apparently worked as well as it can at this stage. This lieutenant is highly intelligent even by human standards.
  • A security force defends the Master in his base in the Los Angeles Boneyard. This is where most Nightkin super-mutants seem to operate.


Description

Using the Fallout sprites for an illustration would be problematic. Therefore the illustration for this entry is a super-mutant from a later Fallout game that closely resembles what can be seen in the first Fallout.

This image is from the Fallout wiki .


Misc. Universes History

Flawed super-soldiers can be inserted pretty much anywhere in super-heroes world. Like with many other Fallout elements, super-mutants are fairly generic in their role and look like what you’d expect. Yet, they do have some story potential beyond serving as giant orcs with a machinegun.

In a Marvel Universe setting the creation of super-mutants would almost undoubtedly involve gamma radiation and/or cellular samples from the Hulk.

The FEV might have even been developed from the latter. A robust humanoid who was actually strengthened in high-radiation environments would prove an ideal basis for build post-nuclear apocalypse warriors.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Generic super-mutant

Dex: 04 Str: 06 Bod: 05 Motivation: Obey the Master
Int: 01 Wil: 01 Min: 02 Occupation: Militia
Inf: 02 Aur: 01 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: N.A.
Init: 007 HP: 005

Powers:
Damage Capacity (Physical): 02, Growth: 02, Regeneration: 01, Sealed systems: 04, Systemic antidote: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers are Form Function.
  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • Sealed systems only protects against radiation damage.

Skills:
Weaponry (Firearms, Heavy (both incl. energy weapons)): 04

Advantages
Familiarity (Arid environment survival), Iron Nerves, Near-Immortal, Misc.: operations to enhance super-mutants through cybernetics have their OV/RV reduced by one CS.

Connections:
Other super-mutants (usually Low)

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Minor Rage, Misc.: super-mutants are sterile.

Equipment:
See the Fallout Weapons Locker article.


Nightkin

Nightkin generally have a INT and WIL of 02, and might have an additional AP in MIN and/or SPI. They also have the Familiarity (Military equipment and protocols) Advantage, and are usually armed with energy weaponry. They also have a SIA toward Paranoia.

They almost always use a Stealth-Boy cloaking field, giving them Thief (Stealth): 04. These APs are never subjected to penalties based on visual conditions.

For instance a person using a Stealth-Boy could stand on brightly-lit, clean basketball court and still have 4 APs of stealth as the cloaking field distort light around them and makes the lack of shadows and visual concealment irrelevant.

However, this excessive Stealth-Boy uses has deleterious effects on them.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Fallout (1997 video game).

Helper(s): Darci, Roy Cowan, Tom Eilers, Peter Piispanen.

Writeup completed on the 11th of February, 2013.

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