Before going any further, the player needs to choose a race. Most PCs will be human, but occasionally a GM will allow a non-human race if it adds to the flavor of the campaign. Because some races will not work in all stories, always check with the GM for approval before choosing a non-human race.
Note that races have minimum and maximum statistic numbers; this means that the statistics for any given race cannot go below a minimum number or exceed a maximum number. The player will want to make a note of these numbers for later, when he or she assigns his or her character statistics. Each race has a certain number of Character Points as well, distributed among the statistics in the next state of creation. In addition, each race gains perks at a different rate; this can combine with various traits that effect how fast a character gains perks (see Traits, below). The player will want to note the rate at which his or her character gains perks on the character sheet, in the appropriate section by the experience points box.
Some races have innate Radiation and Poison Resistances bonuses. When calculating these secondary statistics (see Secondary Statistics, below), add these numbers to the character’s base resistances.
Your basic human. Two arms, two legs, two eyes. You and me. Humans gain no bonuses or penalties to their secondary statistics, except a 10% resistance to electricity, and gain a perk every 3 levels. Humans weigh anywhere from 110 to 280 pounds, and stand around 1.5 to 2.5 meters tall. They get 40 Character Points to distribute among their statistics. Most people in the Fallout world can still be considered human, even though many of them have minor mutations, like additional toes, greenish skin or complete lack of hair. Still, they are nowhere near ghouls or super mutants.
When the bombs hit, some people were irrevocably changed (and not just the ones who were atomized at ground zero, either). Ghouls are humans who were alive when the bomb went off, and the radiation altered them at a cellular level. Ghouls enjoy an extremely slow cellular mitosis rate, rendering them essentially immune to the effects of old age. The radiation also changed their outward appearance, forever marking them as outsiders. Their skin hangs off their bones, sometimes in shreds, and sunken eyes peer out from skulls twisted and burned by radiation, giving these unfortunate people their name. Their skin can be anywhere from pale white to dirt brown in color, with green and yellow the most common. When they do have hair remaining, it usually does not grow. Some ghouls were inexplicably merged with plant species, and have shrubs and moss growing out of various parts of their bodies. It might have twisted their bodies, but the radiation did not affect their minds, and they are forced to live as misshapen outcasts, fully aware of the society they were once part of, but also aware they can never rejoin it. For this reason, many ghouls have formed settlements of their own, or live in settlements with humans and mutants who do not mind their appearance. Unlike their mythical namesakes, ghouls do not eat human flesh. They do, however, require a small amount of radiation to survive, and for this reason, one can often find a population of ghouls around a leaky nuclear reactor or an impact crater from the war.
Ghouls age very slowly, and their lifespan is a whopping 300 years past when they were exposed to the radiation. Their unnaturally long lifespan does not mean that they can't be killed by other means, however, and ghouls are just as vulnerable to disease, falls, and bullets as everyone else. Ghouls usually weigh anywhere from 80 to 160 pounds, and stand anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 meters tall. Whether or not ghouls can reproduce is a subject open to scientific debate. Ghouls have a natural 40% Radiation Resistance bonus along with a 10% Poison Resistance bonus. Ghouls gain a perk every 4 levels. Ghouls start with 5 fewer maximum hit points than normal; deduct this number after fully calculating HPs. For the remainder of the game, they gain HPs as normal. Luckily, Ghouls can wear any kind of armor that normal humans can wear. They get 42 Character Points to distribute among their statistics.
Super mutants (meta-humans,or just mutants, as they prefer to call themselves) are not the product of "natural" after effects from the war, but a race created by extensions of genetic and germ research from pre-war times. American scientists working deep inside a mountain created a biological agent called the Forced Evolutionary Virus, or FEV. The FEV was designed to drastically increase evolution, creating a kind of “super-soldier:” faster, smarter, and stronger. Most creatures exposed to FEV suffered only mild effects, but some were twisted beyond recognition. A member of an expedition into this base fell into the FEV vats and mutated into a super-intelligent, inhuman monster called “The Master,” who began creating a master race by exposing humans to FEV.
After "dipping" the person in a vat containing the FEV, the victim would emerge and undergo an intense physiological change. They grew much stronger and more intelligent, as well as growing in height and stature. Armies of Super-Mutants were once slaves to the Master and his dream to "dip" every human on the planet, but the Master was eventually killed and the mutants freed (although to hear them tell it, the Master was more of a Messiah than a madman). Like ghouls, mutants age very slowly, but not as slowly as their cousins.
There are two kinds of mutants on the West Coast. “Alpha” mutants, the leaders of the Master’s Army, were the result of dipping genetically pure humans. The “Beta” mutant footsoldiers – stronger, but dumber grunts whose brains were slightly damaged by the dipping process - are a result of dipping people with minor mutations caused by radiation or the airborne strain of FEV.
Alpha mutants are by far the less numerous of the two. Many of them were killed in the Master’s war, so in games set after this chain of events Alpha mutants are only allowed with GM's approval.
Mutants are huge, easily reaching 2.8 to 3 meters in height, weigh around 350 pounds, and come either male or female. Their skin is usually a greenish yellow color, and various bunions and growths cover their bodies. They have hair in all the usual places, but it usually grows slowly (a result of the slowed cellular mitosis from the FEV). The virus makes them completely sterile, although there are rumors of mutant scientists working on a cure for their sterility. Unfortunately, like ghouls, mutants are largely outcast from human society. Many of them prefer it this way, looking on human society as diseased or inferior because of the prejudice and corruption that still exist. Mutants were once part of what they see as an attempt to finally unite humanity and overcome humankind's weaknesses, and it is rumored that vats of the FEV still exist, and a mutant society is at work attempting to achieve this goal, even after the Master's death.
Mutants enjoy a 10% Radiation Resistance bonus, a 20% Poison Resistance bonus, a 0/35 initial Gas Resist, and gain a perk every 4 levels. Mutants get an extra 10 hit points to their starting total (this bonus applies only once, at the beginning of the game). Mutants cannot easily use small arms; when using a weapon that requires a roll on the small guns skill, mutants make the roll as if their Perception were two points lower. These giant humans have a form of built-in armor: they start with the following initial DT levels:
N:5 L:2 F:5 P:2 E:3
Note that a mutant’s DT/DR can never drop below those numbers. Mutants can easily live 200 years beyond when they were "dipped". Mutants cannot wear armor designed for humans; they just don't make it their size. Someone in that vast wasteland might, however. Alpha Mutants and Beta Mutants both get 40 Character Points to distribute among their statistics.