|“||I don't have to tell you that Bright's group has got some fine-looking ghoulettes in it! Eh...or maybe I would have to tell you...||”|
—Harland, Fallout: New Vegas
长期受到大量辐射影响的人类会产生变异成為尸鬼，但这种变异充满了不确定性，这种“偶然性”的另一个间接证据就是探照灯营地，那里发生变异的NCR士兵说明短时间的，甚至是瞬间爆发的辐射同样可以“制造”出僵尸。Exposure to radiation typically results in sickness followed by death for the average human being; however, the genetic x-factor that will lead to mutation into a ghoul upon exposure, instead of the typical deadly outcome, remains unknown.
起源于其他地区的尸鬼们很可能是原本藏身于一些简易避难所或家庭防空洞的居民。那种防护措施能够帮助他们从最初的核爆中生存下来，但又无法将辐射完全隔离在外。恰到好处的剂量和时间（使他们受到足够的影响而又不至于杀死他们）造就了另一批尸鬼。中西部地区也有很多的尸鬼生活在堪萨斯市一帶，主要聚居在昆西镇和春田镇。在德克萨斯的秘密避难所也造就了不少尸鬼，known as Los after the Great War,有一部分还建造了一座教堂。
在首都废土，由于当初华盛顿是核弹轰炸的重灾区，因此那里的尸鬼们重见天日也要比其他地区晚一些。The majority of intelligent ghouls in the Capital Wasteland have chosen to settle in Underworld, a settlement established in the Museum of History in the ruins of The Mall. The settlement got its name from the exhibit on mythological representations of the afterlife in which the ghouls established their town.
战后，正常人类和尸鬼们之间发生的冲突越来越多，无论是和比较文明的尸鬼还是和那些充满野性的尸鬼。由于他们与常人审美相差甚远的外表，以及部分尸鬼们在变异中失去心智成为凶狠的野兽，导致了废土居民们对整个尸鬼群体的排斥与敌视。首都废土的特佩尼大楼就拒绝尸鬼进入，再有钱也不能。那里的保安队长古斯塔沃坚信，所有的尸鬼们早晚都会变的野蛮狂暴。很多废土居民都抱有这样的观点，并因此歧视尸鬼。Terms like "zombie," "shuffler," or "brain eater" are common insults. 由于这种显而易见的态度，不少尸鬼,such as Roy Phillips and Mister Crowley, 也对这些“皮肤光滑”的人持有敌意，甚至产生仇恨。
Confusion over origins编辑
实际上，对于僵尸的起源，辐射系列的开发者中也存在不同的声音，Tim Cain认为这就是辐射导致的变异， consistent with an understanding of the science of radiation as it stood during the 1950s, Chris Taylor坚信除了辐射外，FEV病毒也在当中起到不可忽略的作用。Chris Avellone一開始在輻射聖經支持後者的觀點，但後來轉向支持前者只有輻射的觀點。 Some people believe that ghouls were formed when the bombs fell, people who were not fortunate enough to be in a vault or die were exposed to the radiation and became ghouls.
Ghouls created in the Great War of 2077 are still alive during Fallout (2161), Fallout 2 (2241), Fallout 3 (2277), and Fallout: New Vegas (2281). All ghouls live considerably longer than normal humans, though they are sterile. The reason for this longevity has to do with differences on the cellular level, and the ability of ghoul DNA to regenerate at a rate unmatched by normal human nucleic acids. Occasionally, in a ghoul, additional genetic material is added as a result of the mutation. The unnaturally long lifespan of a ghoul is also due to a mutation within the autonomic nervous system of certain individuals following exposure to specific combinations of ionizing radiation with wavelengths below ten picometers. Radiation that has such a short wavelength, less than ten picometers, is known as gamma radiation and is normally lethal to healthy humans in even moderate doses. The mutation in response to gamma radiation that produces ghouls disrupts the normal process of decay in the neurotransmitters along the spinal cord.
Ghouls were not created immediately after the Great War in 2077; the process took months or years for some. After a few weeks, their skin slowly started to flake off and crack, as well as partial or complete hair loss. In Fallout 3, Carol explains that even after the War it took a while for the ghouls to start looking like they do now. However, there have been occasions when ghouls are made instantly by large doses of radiation. For example, Camp Searchlight, where an entire base of NCR soldiers were transformed into feral ghouls except for Private Edwards by a radioactive device used by Caesar's Legion, and the ghoulification of Moira Brown after the warhead in Megaton was detonated by the Lone Wanderer (if the player chooses to do so).
Although lacking strength due to decayed tissue, ghouls have heightened senses making them more perceptive and lucky than other wasteland humanoids. As a result, chems like jet barely affect them. Doctor Barrows, when healing the player, bemoans the fact that "You humans are so fragile."
Specifically, the neurotransmitters affected in a ghoul's mutation are those responsible for cardiac and respiratory function in a healthy human being. These transmitters are continually regenerated at a greatly accelerated rate after the mutation sets in, carrying sufficient oxygen to sustain the life of the subject while being insufficient to retain dermal elasticity and avoid the resulting necrosis (much like the disease leprosy), the result of which is the decaying, corpse-like appearance of post-mutation humans. Old ghouls may also still suffer from some of the debilitating effects of old age however as some of the two centuries old ghouls like Raul Tejada and Dean Domino complain of knee problems when made to crouch, and both of them were far from elderly when they became ghouls. Raul also mentions how he's no longer as swift and agile as he used to be in his youth, though this might be psychosomatic and caused by Raul's continuous doubts about his age and place in the world. Still these may indicate that their regenerative abilities' problems with skin could extend to other soft tissues of their joints.
In physical appearance, a ghoul's flesh is constantly rotting off, appearing very raw and discolored from necrosis. Lips and eyelids are sometimes absent, and noses are in almost every case completely rotted off. Feral ghouls are typically heavily emaciated and hunched over (possibly due to malnutrition and lack of sunlight), while non-ferals typically have a heavier, more human-like build and posture. Another major difference between ferals and non-ferals is dress: while non-ferals dress like normal humans, feral ghouls wear little clothing other than tattered pants or sections of old armor, having lost the mental capacity to mend or replace their clothes long ago.
Ghouls, at least the non-feral ones, are generally as intelligent as normal humans. However, their physical repulsiveness makes the life of a ghoul difficult at best - only the most tolerant human communities accept them as anything more than monsters. Some ghouls eventually go mad and it remains unclear exactly what precipitates this change in neurobiology and psychology, but anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that non-social ghouls, or those in isolation, are more prone to the condition. It is also quite possible that this is a gradual process, meaning that eventually all ghouls would succumb to this condition. However, considering the number of ghouls who have lived for more than two centuries, it is quite possible that this is not so, or that the rate of degeneration is dependent on the individual affected and surrounding environmental factors. Ghouls that succumb to insanity are called "feral ghouls:" they are mindlessly aggressive and, having lost their ability to reason, driven entirely by their instincts. These feral ghouls strongly resemble zombies like those depicted in old horror films, and this misconception succeeds in alienating non-feral ghouls even more from humans. The term "zombie" has become an offensive racial slur to ghouls and "smoothskin" is a derogatory term for humans often used by ghouls.
Ghouls are immune to most forms of radiation that still remain in the Wasteland. Radiation poisoning cannot get worse for the ghouls, though it can hasten the process of decay and lead to their decline into the feral state as described above. However, many ghouls report feeling healthier when exposed to low-level radiation, and thus make their homes near locations with acute background radiation. The ghouls known as "glowing ones" actually enjoy large amounts of radiation, which they describe as being "comfortably warm." They are even healed by it.
As one of the more common consequences of ghoulification seems to be sporadic or even complete hair loss and loss of their normal voice: few ghouls retain enough hair on their heads to actually maintain a haircut, and ghouls with facial hair seems to be even more rare. Also, ghouls with a clear voices are very uncommon. Desmond Lockheart from the Point Lookout and Raul Tejada from Fallout: New Vegas are two of the few examples of ghouls with facial hair, and Plik from Point Lookout and Jason Bright from Fallout: New Vegas are two examples of ghouls with a clear voice.
Feral ghouls are among the more unfortunate mutants whose minds have deteriorated from prolonged radiation poisoning, becoming instinct-driven savages, attacking anyone and anything relentlessly, save for other ghouls. Wearing the ghoul mask in Fallout 3 makes all feral ghouls ignore the player unless directly assaulted. Despite what Roy Phillips says, no matter how close you get to a feral ghoul when wearing the ghoul mask, they will not "Sniff you out," and become hostile.
Roamers are less common feral ghouls dressed in worn-out sections of old combat armor, giving them greater damage resistance. The armor does not, however, slow them down; in fact, they are slightly faster than regular ferals. They typically can be found alongside two or three ferals, and attack in groups. Alone they are still weak and easily brought down with most weaponry, but they can easily flank the player during a group attack.
These ghouls have absorbed so much radiation they glow a ghastly green color in the dark. They are known as "glowing ones," and are often considered outsiders even by other ghouls. The glowing ones can sustain a lot more damage than other ghouls, second only to reavers (see below). They also emit radiation from their whole body, and can even release a devastating blast of energy from their bodies at will, healing nearby ghouls and harming unlucky attackers caught in the blast radius.
People have seen on more than one occasion a feral glowing one fighting or being chased by "normal" feral ghouls. Although very rare, it is possible for a glowing one to retain their intelligence and cognitive functions, such as Jason Bright.
This rare flavor of ghoul, dressed in the rusty remnants of metal armor, appears in both Mojave Wasteland and the Capital Wasteland through the Fallout 3 add-on Broken Steel. They also appear frequently in the swamps of Point Lookout. A greenish smoke issues from their scars, and their flesh appears to be melted and even bubbling in some areas, as if being "cooked" by the radiation they have absorbed. In Fallout 3 they are among the toughest enemies in the game, able to take a direct hit from a Fat Man and survive. Besides being incredibly fast and having a deadly swipe, they can pull chunks of radioactive gore from their guts and hurl it at the player with deadly accuracy. In Fallout: New Vegas, reavers are much weaker and lack the ability to throw gore, making them much easier to handle.
Intelligent ghouls have suffered far less mental degradation from their condition and retain their full faculties from before their transformation. These ghouls possess the ability to talk, and they normally wear clothing, as well as carrying and using weapons. Some may have hair on their head, but not a lot. Some male ghouls, such as Raul Tejada, may even be lucky enough to retain some semblance of facial hair, similar to Desmond in the Fallout 3 add-on Point Lookout, with hair on both his head and face. They normally have a low, gravely and rather raspy voice, most likely due to damage to their vocal chords from a combination of radiation and necrosis. Jason Bright, an intelligent glowing one, from Fallout: New Vegas has a normal voice, although it has an odd echoing quality to it, as do Dean Domino and Raul Tejada. If Megaton is destroyed in Fallout 3, Moira Brown has a similar, but notably different voice effect. Regular ghouls walk normally, unlike ferals, which hunch over. The majority of them are not hostile and will not attack without provocation. Ghouls often refer to humans as "smoothskins." These ghouls also find terms such as "shuffler" and "zombie" to be offensive.
Skinned alive when the warheads of the Divide went off, and turned into ghouls by the resulting radiation of the warheads, marked men suffer from a unique form of ghoulification only seen in the Divide. The injuries they suffer from would mean the death of an ordinary ghoul, and the radiation of the Divide is believed to be the only thing keeping them alive.
- "There ain't any ghouls but old ghouls. We're all sterile, see, but we're incredibly long-lived. We're the first and last generation of ghouls." - Typhon
- "Without medical technology, all of us ghouls are going to die off in the next 20 years, anyway." - Gordon
- [Say, how do you make a ghoul?] "With silver-bells and cockleshells and… Boy, you are dumb, aren’t you? Severe radiation. That’s how. How do you think? You know, many bombs go boom, flash of light and heat, flesh burns off, but you don’t-quite-die-type severe radiation?" - Wooz
- [How's it going?] "Not bad, still in one piece... well except for that one that got away, but I'll find it, no worries." -Patchwork
- "I don't have to tell you that Bright's group has got some fine-looking ghoulettes in it! Eh... or maybe I would have to tell you..." - Harland
- "Well, now that's a surprise! I'm used to every asshole smoothskin in this town giving me shit 'cause I look like a corpse." - Gob
Ghouls appear in every Fallout game.
Behind the scenes编辑
A ghoul is described as "Bloodman" in an old Fallout concept art.