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Bottom Line Up Front
Supermutants are a common enemy found throughout the Fallout franchise. This enemy was created through countless experiments aimed at forcing human evolution in order to make us immune to disease and capable of surviving in the irradiated wasteland.
Throughout the vast expanses of the North American wasteland, there are plenty of amazing sights, sounds, and harrowing events to keep the average gamer occupied. Of course, the developers have also ensured to include a couple of enemies to keep everything interesting throughout our journeys.
These enemies often come in the form of human beings who, much like ourselves, will do anything to get their hands on some good gear and those precious bottle caps. However, the real creativity of this series shines through when we are forced to deal with the other occupants of the wastes. These irradiated creatures are not only difficult to deal with and sometimes hard to even look at, but they are also the product of a great deal of lore.
This lore deals with how particular creatures of the wasteland came to be and how they have spent their time since the bombs fell. One such creature wherein a lot of time has been spent in order to situate them in the world of Fallout properly is the Supermutant population.
These hulking beasts have been a part of the Fallout franchise from the very start and have, therefore, been a constant thorn in the side of every player character for over two decades.
So, if we are to understand these mutants for our next meeting properly, we should probably delve into their past and detail just how they came into being. With this being said, why don’t we jump into our Fallout Supermutants guide? Let’s go!
So, What Exactly Is a Supermutant?
To be defined as a Supermutant within the world of Fallout, you must adhere to several characteristics. Firstly, all Supermutants began life as normal human beings; however, these people were exposed at some stage to the Forced Evolutionary Virus, also known as F.E.V. (something we will cover in greater detail later). Because of this exposure, they have mutated into beings much larger than their former selves, resistant to radiation and your typical diseases.
These mutants are also gifted with enhanced strength, speed, and endurance. However, as with all good things, these virus-born gifts also have their drawbacks, including rage issues, severe reductions in intelligence, and limited speech, to name but a few.
This process, however, is not always foolproof, and some mutants can resist the adverse effects of the virus, resulting in abnormal Supermutants who keep ahold of their humanity. These cases are, however, extremely rare.
Creating a Supermutant
Before there were any Supermutants in the world, the West-Tek research facility in sunny California began experimenting on a group of fifteen chimpanzees. This group of subjects was subjected to a variant of the F.E.V. compound, known as batch 11-1-11.
As a result of this exposure, the chimpanzees within the study began to show signs of immunity to certain diseases. This breakthrough was, of course, marveled over by the scientists involved. Therefore, they decided that this perfectly ethical trial should continue and that they should try to see just how far their immunity would go by attempting to expose them to certain cancers.
To do this, the scientists not only exposed the chimps to certain bands of radiation but also injected them with various chemicals in the hopes that these same test subjects would also prove immune. As you may have guessed, the chimps did prove to be immune to these acts, developing no signs of any cancer or disease throughout the trial.
However, soon after these findings were recorded, the subjects proved to be increasingly angry and prone to bouts of physical displays of violence. I would, too, if somebody in a lab coat tried to give me and my friends cancer, but we move on.
Observing this excessive increase in aggression, the scientists decided that the experiment and the test subjects had run their course and outlived their usefulness, so the subjects were terminated, and the project was sent on to three sites, the Mariposa Military Base, Vault 87, and the West-Tek research center based in Appalachia.
It is from these three sites that Supermutants originated; however, it is common knowledge that it was the Mariposa Military Base that hit the ground running in terms of their research into this F.E.V., creating most of the Supermutants that players of the series have had the good fortune to run into over the years.
The Finer Details
All Supermutants are created sterile by the F.E.V. mutation process. The theory behind this is that the virus identifies the reproductive organs of the human subject as damaged D.N.A. and, therefore, does what it does best, rendering the final product infertile.
This inability to procreate causes a great deal of concern within the Supermutant ranks and often results in them abducting humans, forcing them to undergo F.E.V. treatment to replenish their ranks.
It was also found that for the genetic mutations of the F.E.V. to work, the humans exposed to the virus must have little to no prior radiation exposure/damage and no exposure to previous F.E.V. variants.
- In order to create a Supermutant, a human must be exposed to a variant of the F.E.V. This virus was first by West-Tek in Southern California.
- A human exposed to too much radiation before F.E.V. exposure will die during their mutation.
- Supermutants are rendered infertile by the mutation process.
Mariposa Military Base – The Epicentre
The reason we gamers come up against countless Supermutants and variants of these creatures throughout the North American wasteland can all be boiled down and pinned on one man, Dr. Richard Moreau, also known as Doctor Grey (no, not that one).
Dr. Moreau began life before the Great War but survived this apocalypse by taking shelter within Vault 8. He lived underground for the majority of his early life and probably would have died there if it weren’t for the small fact that he was evil and just could not resist doing a little murder in his spare time. Because of this, he was exiled from the vault and forced to walk a staggering four hundred miles to the Hub, where he situated himself as a medical doctor for some time.
Moreau, now going by Grey, lived here until reports began flooding in from traders about attacks emanating from Mariposa Military Base by previously unseen and frightening creatures. Of course, as a man of science with a penchant for the horrible, Grey could not pass up the opportunity to investigate, so he and a couple of others from the Hub went to scout the base.
When Grey arrived here, he discovered the F.E.V. compound and began experimenting on small animals. It wasn’t long, however, before he grew bored of torturing little defenseless animals like the scientists before him, and he moved on to human beings.
At this point, the good doctor stumbled upon a rather lazy and ill-thought-out philosophy, concluding that the only way humans could unite after the Great War was to remove their differences. From this spawned Grey’s cult, Unity, wherein he went by the title of ‘The Master.’
In a short space of time, The Master would establish Unity as a force to be reckoned with throughout the wasteland, forcing potential recruits to subject themselves to the F.E.V. compound, turning themselves into Supermutants in order to join their ranks.
However, if you decided that turning yourself into some hulking mutant wasn’t for you, The Master would leave you with two choices: sterilized or face execution. It was this forced sterilization and murder of unwilling humans that would spell The Master’s downfall, though, as unbeknownst to him, his mutant creations were also sterile and therefore could not continue the cult of Unity into the future, dooming the organization from the start.
The Master would continue his reign of terror up until the Vault Dweller thwarted him during the events of Fallout 1.
- The Master is the arch antagonist of Fallout 1. He leads the Unity organization, which strode to turn all humans into mutants.
- The Fallout Enclave created the second generation of Supermutants by forcing miners to work in the old military base without protective equipment, resulting in them being exposed to the virus.
- The Master is also known as the Holy Flame and Father Hope.
Vault 87 and Fallout 3
As mentioned previously, one of the other two sites that received the F.E.V. variant 11-1-11 was Vault 87. From here, most of the Supermutants and Centaurs found throughout the Capital Wasteland originate.
When Vault 87 received the information needed to continue experimenting with the F.E.V. from West-Tek, they got right to work. It wasn’t long before they mutated the virus even further, creating the Evolutionary Experimentation Programme strain (E.E.P.).
As you would expect from Vault-Tech, their scientists began experimenting on human subjects almost immediately, trying to produce a strain that would manipulate the subject’s D.N.A. effectively enough to increase their chances of survival in a post-apocalyptic world. However, as with most of these experiments, things did not go according to plan; their new strain did give the common benefits; however, it also provoked many mental health issues.
This increased strength and rage resulted in the Supermutants breaking free of their cages and taking over the vault one year after the bombs fell, killing all the scientists that tortured them.
The Capital Wasteland
These mutants then left the confines of Vault 87 and ventured out into the Capital Wasteland, wreaking havoc for everyone who just so happens to cross paths with them.
These mutants, different from others throughout the North American wasteland, are obsessed with their own prosperity and continuance, knowing that they cannot have their children; therefore, they are incredibly violent to anyone who may cross their path and are known to kidnap humans instead of killing them, taking them to Vault 87 and forcing them into the E.E.P. dipping chamber in the hopes of creating more of their number.
The Institute and Fallout 4
In keeping with the rest of the Institute’s practices, they somehow managed to get a hold of an F.E.V. variant in the hopes of forcing mutations in the interest of scientific discovery, hoping that someday a helpful and replicable mutation would come.
With this goal, the Institute recorded every mutation until a subject became useless. These subjects then being released into the Commonwealth.
A Different Kind of Mutant
Due to the constant tinkering and modification of the virus, the mutants that are released from the Institute are strikingly different from those found throughout the Capital Wasteland and Southern California.
These Supermutants are more intelligent than their previous iterations, capable of forming into tribes with leadership structures, forging and wearing armor, and taming attack dogs. These mutants also tend to capture humans and use them as lures to draw out more targets from the heavily built-up areas such as Diamond City.
The Huntersville Strain and Fallout 76
Once again, this branch based in Appalachia decided to continue experimenting with the F.E.V. compound to create a strain devoid of F.E.V.’s unpredictability. Therefore they jumped headfirst into human testing. However, their scientific method differed from observing the effects of long-term F.E.V. exposure.
To do this, the facility decided that it would be completely okay to infect the water of Huntersville with a literally watered-down dose of the virus to study its effects. As you may imagine, not long after this virus’s release, adverse side effects began circulating throughout the town, with many residents blaming their symptoms on some weird flu.
Eventually, the virus mutated the inhabitants of Huntersville into Supermutants. These people, therefore, became the Supermutants found across Appalachia.
The Enclave, Again
As in Fallout 2, the Enclave would eventually find this facility in their quest for more F.E.V. variants. They would then take over the facility and begin their experiments, releasing failed test subjects into the wild.
- Supermutants in the Capital Wasteland are very concerned with the continuation of their species and, therefore, capture humans in order to expose them to the virus.
- In Fallout 4, the mutants are more intelligent than in previous iterations and are therefore prone to wearing armor, forming into groups, and training attack dogs.
- The Appalachian Supermutants originate from Huntersville. West-Tek exposed this town to F.E.V. over an extended period, resulting in the residents mutating.
While the Supermutant population of Fallout New Vegas does not originate from here, this location, found at the northwest corner of the New Vegas map, is a Supermutant settlement run by Marcus of Fallout 2 fame.
This resort is home to many interesting characters, including Marcus who serves as the mayor, and Lily, a schizophrenic Nightkin who constantly mistakes you for her grandchildren. Whilst this settlement was built for and by Supermutants, Marcus also allows several humans to live within its walls including Dr. Henry, his assistant, and the player character should they play nice.
During the events prior to FNV, Jacobstown lives peacefully, however, shortly after the player character’s arrival, a plot by the N.C.R to blame the mutants of Jacobstown for recent Brahmin attacks. In retaliation, the N.C.R send troops to the town that must be dealt with by the player.
The town is also plagued by Nightkin and their Stealth Boy addiction, causing rage and bouts of anger. The player is, therefore, also brought in to help with this situation by Marcus.
Due to the number of strains of F.E.V. floating about the North American Wasteland, it is only natural that the Supermutants throughout the land differ slightly from one another. These differences may be minor, such as the ability to keep one’s intelligence, creating mutants such as Lily from Fallout New Vegas. However, other differences can be much more striking.
These mutants can be found throughout the Capital Wasteland and sometimes in the Commonwealth as well. It would seem that these massive beasts are simply the result of the side effects of Vault 87’s particular strain.
It would seem that the E.E.P. strain found in Vault 87 results in some mutants continuing to grow throughout their lifespans. This, therefore, results in the older Supermutants goring into massive Behemoths. These huge variants are challenging and rare, as many who have reached this size have continued to grow until their bodies simply cannot support them anymore, forcing them to collapse and die.
Therefore, the Behemoths in Fallout 4 are most likely from the Capital Wasteland, or some similar error in the Institute’s strain is also present; however, we simply do not know the correct answer.
These enemies are one of the stranger subsets of Supermutant to be found throughout the franchise’s history. As they only occur in Fallout 4, one can assume they are products of the Institute’s strain of the virus; therefore, they are more likely to be intelligent and thoughtful when compared with other mutants from areas such as the Capital Wasteland.
However, this marked improvement in intelligence is seemingly countered by the fact that instead of throwing the mini-nuke that they clutch at the player, they sacrifice their own lives in a suicide bombing run. This is something that I would not associate with increased intelligence.
The only real explanation for this behavior is that, like the other strains, the Institute’s strain is still capable of producing mutants with severely diminished mental capacity; therefore, the other mutants encourage them to become suicide runners to make them somehow useful.
These special Supermutants can be seen in Fallout 1, guarding the upper levels of Mariposa Military Base. They serve as the elite members of The Master’s army and are therefore given the job of protecting him.
This variant of Supermutant gives off a purple hue due to increased experimentation, making them far stronger, more agile, and more resilient. For this reason, they are also usually better equipped and tend to carry Stealth Boys to increase combat effectiveness.
However, nearly all of the Nightkin we meet in Fallout New Vegas become addicted to these Stealth Boys due to the overuse of this technology. This addiction causes a change in their brains over time, resulting in several Nightkin becoming more unstable and prone to violence.
In many Fallout games, the Supermutants come with titles instead of names when we click into VATS. These titles speak to a hierarchy within their community, and to us gamers, they often represent the difficulty of said Supermutant.
These titles often increase along with the general size of the mutant. Therefore, the bigger the mutant, the higher the title. This ranges from Brute to Overlord and then maxes out at Behemoth. From this, you could argue that mutants often select their leader due to size and inherent combat ability. However, it is most likely selected through the survival of the fittest type system wherein these bigger mutants are more likely to win due to their increased size and strength.
Key Supermutants in the Franchise
We have already talked about the Master at great length; however, we cannot talk about the key Supermutant figures in Fallout without mentioning this creature.
Unlike other Supermutants, the Master was able to tinker with his own mutations, exposing himself to compounds that enabled him to link with computers neurologically. He also managed to maintain his own intelligence during this process.
The Master is also known as the Holy Flame or Father Hope throughout Fallout 1. The vault dweller eventually kills him.
This mutant served as second in command to the Master during Fallout 1, serving as the secondary antagonist of the game. Not only is this mutant tough and battle savvy, but he is probably the most intelligent Supermutant to be found throughout the Fallout franchise.
Due to this superior intelligence, the Lieutenant sees humans as an inferior species to himself and his kin. Therefore, he is willing to pursue his Master’s goals in order to further his species. Not only is he more intelligent than most humans, but he is also much stronger, faster, and quicker to react.
In a major change for the Supermutant population of the Fallout franchise, Fawkes is not only friendly to the main character of Fallout 3, but he is also a potential companion that one would be lucky to have.
Originating from Vault 87, Fawkes managed to survive the pain of his mutation process, holding onto his intelligence throughout the process. Due to this, he is not only smarter than most other mutants, but he is also civil and capable of suppressing his anger.
After his creation, he was immediately capable of speech, and this led the other mutants within Vault 87 to brand him as a failure and to seek his execution. However, Fawkes was deemed too different and abnormal to simply kill, so his mutant brethren simply kept him in isolation, locking him in room 5 of the medical ward for over 200 years.
Fawkes is also critical to the main storyline, helping the player find the Garden of Eden creation kit and helping the player escape from Raven Rock after their capture.
Marcus is the only recurring Supermutant character in the Fallout franchise, being present in both Fallout 2 and Fallout New Vegas. In the former, Marcus serves as sheriff of Broken HIlls in 2241. Forty years later, he has moved up in the world, serving as Mayor of Jacobstown in the Mojave.
Marcus initially worked with the Chosen One in order to thwart an anti-mutant conspiracy working to destroy Broken Hills. After fighting and winning safety for his home, he decided that he was not ready to settle down just yet, so he headed east into the Rocky Mountains. Once here, he and his allies set up shop in Black Mountain, staying here until the Nightkin grew mad from Stealth Boy addiction.
This addiction and the rage it induced created a rift between the Nightkin and Marcus’ allies, culminating in battle. Eventually, Marcus decided the fight was not worth the cost, and so he left in search of a new home. When he eventually found Mount Charleston resort, he helped establish the old holiday destination as the Supermutant capital of the Mojave.
Throughout both Fallout 2 and New Vegas, Marcus will constantly give quests to the player, always to somehow help the mutants in his care.
This mutant was born one year after the Great War, living in Vault 17 for her entire life, a life that seemed happy by all accounts. When she was 75, her vault was finally raided by
the Master’s Unity henchman, who forcibly brought her back to the Master and put her through the F.E.V. mutation process.
As she emerged, she was a Nightkin and so served as an elite operative for Unity under the command of Tabitha. Shortly after this, Lily would develop schizophrenia, resulting in her constantly mistaking the player character for one of her beloved grandchildren.
Soon after her condition developed, she somehow found her way to Marcus and the community of Jaccobstown. She can meet the Courier and help them with their Nightstalker experiments here. These experiments ended with Lily receiving help for her condition from Dr. Henry. This help came in the form of antipsychotic drugs, which did help with her illness; however, it also affected her memory greatly.
Due to this, Lily takes half of her recommended dosage in order to remember her grandchildren still.
This former Institute scientist was turned into a Supermutant via exposure to the virus during the copious amounts of testing he conducted on other humans during his time with the Institute.
Due to his mutation, he was forced out of the Institute, relocating to the Glowing Sea. Here, he is found by the Sole Survivor in the hopes that he can somehow get the player into the Institute H.Q.
While he can do this, he refuses unless the player also helps him in turn by retrieving a vile of experimental serum for him. According to Virgil, this serum can reverse the effects of the F.E.V. mutations. After he gets this serum, the player can further help Virgil to cure himself, setting him on a path to cure all Supermutants across the 13 Commonwealths.
This possible companion from Fallout 4 can be found in a cell atop Trinity Tower alongside Rex Goodman.
Rex seems to serve as Strong’s teacher, reading Shakespeare to him and the other mutants before being placed in the cell. It would appear that Strong may have taken the bard’s words a bit too literally as he will constantly speak about finding the “milk of human kindness,” a line from Macbeth.
Strong thinks there is a “milk of human kindness” somewhere in the Commonwealth; therefore, he wants to find it to drink it and become successful like the humans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can Supermutants reproduce?
Answer: Due to the effects of the virus, Supermutants cannot reproduce; all are made sterile by the virus.
Question: Are there female Supermutants?
Answer: While the Supermutants mostly appear male, some of them were or are still female. The F.E.V. has, however, made distinguishing genders in mutants very difficult. Some notable female Supermutants include Tabitha and Lily.
Question: Are Supermutants immortal?
Answer: Yes, they are immortal. This is because the mutated cells within their bodies replicate faster than cell death, which means they cannot die through the aging process.
Question: Who is The Master in Fallout?
Answer: The Master was formerly known as Richard Moreau and then Richard Grey. Before being exiled, he was a member of Vault 8 and a Hub citizen before he uncovered Mariposa Military Base.
So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to one of the coolest enemies you will possibly find in any action RPG. The Supermutants of the Fallout franchise is truly unique in terms of the lore and depth of characterization they get throughout the series. For this reason, they are a favorite of many Fallout gamers out there.
I truly hope you enjoyed your time here and learned something about our hulking friends. Hopefully, the next time you face off against one or have the good fortune of meeting one of the friendly ones, you will remember this guide. Either way, good luck out there!