The wasteland of Fallout 4 is full of daunting enemies, lurking around every corner. There's nothing quite as terrifying and common as the ghoul, a zombie-like creature inhabiting the wilds when feral and seen in their separate sanctuaries and communities when still relatively functional.
These decomposing beasts are dangerous when encountered in groups, but their background story is surprisingly tragic. We might be quick to judge them like many humans surviving in the wasteland, but there's much we're not aware of when it comes to ghouls. Here are 10 facts for you to keep in mind in your next encounter, whether normal or feral.
10 Once Human
It might be hard to believe, but ghouls were once human just like the Sole Survivor. In fact, it's safe to assume that many of them even lived during the same time period as the Sole Survivor, which makes their tale particularly harrowing. The people you see run away to the shelter in Sanctuary Hills, and who don't end up making it either turn into nothing but skeletons or are mutated by radiation into these decomposing creatures. It sure makes you look at them differently, even if they want you dead.
9 Immortal, But Feral
Because they've undergone such massive amounts of radiation, their bodies are quite resistant and have survived for a long time. Remember, these are pre-war humans for the most part, which means they're at least as old as the Sole Survivor. They would probably continue living for centuries if they weren't killed by wasteland survivors due to the sheer resistance of their biology. That being said, they've lost most of their humanity due to brain decay and are unable to comprehend what they're attacking when encountering humans.
8 Healed By Radiation
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that ghouls don't really care about radiation. It was radiation that allowed them to continue living after losing their humanity, and what has kept them alive for such a long time, mutating their biology so they can survive their new surroundings. What you may have not expected however, is that they are healed by radiation overtime, which can make them a bit of a pain to fight when encountered in a group, especially they're with a Glowing One.
7 Surprisingly Intelligent
We did state that ghouls have lost their humanity, however, they're still surprisingly intelligent in an feral way. They move in packs, understanding that safety is better in numbers. They can set up somewhat elaborate ambushes in the wild by pretending to be dead, and appear from the cracks of buildings when indoors if you approach their location. Moreover, they can even sometimes be heard communicating with each other on a very primitive level, from singular words to grunting.
6 Still Decaying
Despite being extremely resistant, ghouls have been in a constant state of decay since they've become the way they are. In fact, it's believed that the older ones are more likely to be feral simply because of the way their brains have rotted and their bodies have become less and less humanoid.
Moreover, due to their appearance and the radiation in them, they're the subject of a lot of bias and fear, which in turn can drive ghouls to isolate themselves and eventually go completely crazy.
5 Some Are Not Feral
All of that being said about ghouls, everyone knows that not all ghouls have gone feral. There's still a lot of uncertainty about why some turn feral and why others are able to maintain their humanity for such a long time. The Children of Atom for instance believe that the ghouls who have turned feral became that way because they gave up their worship of radiation. Some theories suggest it might be aging or loneliness that drives ghouls to their madness. Whatever the case might be, never judge a non-feral ghoul, as you might be surprised how human they are and many live in their own peaceful sanctuaries and communities.
4 Glowing Ones
As already mentioned, radiation is a big part in becoming a ghoul. While ghouls are immune to it and actually get healed from the exposure, other ghouls can actually cause radiation damage to their victims. If you happen to encounter a Glowing One in the wild, be particularly careful. These brightly green glowing ghouls will emit radiation just by being in your vicinity and if they come in contact with you, they'll cause radiation damage to you. They're also able to heal any ghouls around them with an area of effect radiation effect.
3 Kiddie Kingdom Kind
Ghouls can be found absolutely everywhere, included in Kiddie Kingdom, an area which can be accessed in Fallout 4's Nuka World DLC. This atmospheric, rundown amusement park is home to the Painted Ghoul, which isn't much different from the rest of its kind in nature.
However, it has a particularly creepy look as it seems to have face paint splattered all over its face and body to give it an almost carnival and clown-like look.
2 The Pink Kind
A third, somewhat special type of ghoul is the Pink Ghoul found in Suffolk County charter school west of Quincy and south of Hyde Park. Before the war broke out, the school's principal agreed to implement a special nutrition program of Vault-Tec which only allowed a nutritional paste to be consumed as food. The students and staff weren't exactly happy about this decision, but had no choice as the principal confiscated any outside food. The nutritional paste, pink in color, actually began to give those consuming it a pink complexion, which is probably why the ghouls around here also have that color.
1 Incredibly Strong
Ghouls might be your typical undead enemy in Fallout 4, but it's important to understand just how incredibly powerful they are. In fact, even after the top of their head is shot off in V.A.T.S, on rare occasions they might still be able to continue running towards you, as though unaware. It's not clear whether this is actually a feature or simply a bug in the game that has yet to be fixed. Either way, it's a pretty creepy detail!