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.

Radscorpions are one of the emblematic Fallout monsters, especially when they pop up as a random encounter before you’re sufficiently well-armed and skilled.


  • This profile only covers the first Fallout games. In more recent games they can be considerably more dangerous than this due to scaling. And to subspecies with special abilities.
  • This profile features non-canon hypotheses about in-game events and mechanics. See our video games writeups FAQ for more.

Is there really no chance…

Radscorpions are descended from emperor scorpions (pandinus imperator). This is a large species of African scorpion that is popular as a decorative pet. Like their ancestor they are hardy hunters with a poisonous stinger, and sensitive hair picking up vibration along the ground or even in the air.

Radscorpions are enormous. The young can easily be the size of a Labrador dog, and a full adult (which has the game stats above) had a body the size of a pony (plus pincers, tail and legs). Such creatures cannot realistically exist – especially in a barren environment. But it is important to note that physics are subtly different in Fallout.


The game mentions that Shady Sands inhabitants do not find the radscorpions to be too dangerous against humans (cattle is another story) as long as there aren’t too many of them. However, when they appear as a random encounter in the game they can be deadly.


Our game stats address this by suggesting that locals can spot and avoid likely ambush sites as they know “their” desert and trails, but travellers are more likely to be surprised.

Radscorpions much prefer using their venomous stinger over their pincers. They apparently have an external digestion like ordinary scorpions. That is, they drool digestive juices over their food so they can ingest it in liquid form.

This explains the pile of bones found in radscorpion lairs, since these can’t be broken down by their digestive juices. Small, hard objects such as ammunition often remains mixed to these bones if the radscorpions have killed and eaten armed persons.

Like ordinary scorpions, radscorpions have sensitive specialised hair that can pick up vibration along the ground or even in the air.

…to start once again ?

Emperor scorpions aren’t native to North America, though a significant number were imported. This suggests that the starting population may have been small, perhaps laboratory test subjects in radiation research.

Radscorpion - Fallout 4 concept art and sculpt

Fallout 4 radscorpion concept art and 3D sculpt.

If so their population expansion for the 80 years that followed the War has been amazing. This suggests that radscorpions are extraordinarily well-adapted to the wasteland.

Razlo  in Shady Sands refers to the radscorpion as being derived from the “North American Emperor scorpion”. Whether this is a distinct species from the African Emperor is unclear. There is also a terminal entry in FO3 that describes Emperor scorpions as being in pet stores everywhere in the US prior to the war, which may explain their ubiquity across the nation.

“North American Emperor scorpion” might also be a zoologically incorrect designation in the Fallout world for Hadurur arizonensis, the giant desert hairy scorpion, or H. spadix, Northern desert hairy scorpion. Though if one were to weaponise scorpions, Androctonus australis might be the best candidate. Just sayin’.


Though the “1950s movie physics” of Fallout mean that radscorpions could have been the product of radiation since the War, there was another important factor contributing to their existence. They are among the mutant children of the Forced Evolution Virus, a super-science accidental discovery made during the war.

The FEV was released when research installations were nuked during the War. A number of giant insects and arthropods reached their post-apocalyptic state thanks to the FEV.

If they indeed come from a small initial population stock, the radscorpions might still be a local threat. However, they seem to be everywhere in the part of Southern California explored during the first game. And variant species will be discovered later on.

Like ordinary scorpions, radscorpions apparently prefer to hide in the dark to rest. They like caverns – though presumably they’ll dig themselves a hiding place if they don’t have these available. Radscorpions seem fully able to hunt in the day, though given the behaviour of ordinary scorpions one assumes that they atavistically prefer nighttime hunting.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Generic radscorpion

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Scorpid
Int: 01 Wil: 00 Min: 02 Occupation: Live, eat, reproduce
Inf: 02 Aur: 00 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}: N.A.
Init: 007 HP: N.A.

Claws: 05, Density increase: 02, Detect (vibration sense): 02, Poison touch: 06, Sealed systems: 06, Skin armour: 01, Systemic antidote: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Density Increase is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • On a man-sized target, Poison Touch attacks once every twenty minutes rather than once every Phase.
  • Skin Armour only vs. blunt and unarmed damage.
  • Technically, radscorpions have Growth – but since they’re low on the ground and do not seem particularly easy to hit, we used Density Increase instead. Exceptionally large specimen might have 1 or 2 APs of Growth, though, and there are rare monsters with even more Growth.

Military science (Camouflage): 04, Thief (Stealth): 03

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Military science (Camouflage) and Thief (Stealth) are both lowered by 2CS against persons with a sufficiently specific applicable Area Knowledge.
  • Military science (Camouflage) only in deserts where the ground is soft enough to dig.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: For now this entry only covers the first Fallout (1997 video game).

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

Writeup completed on the 11h of February, 2013.