"Man's best friend my ass!"
Years of radiation exposure and savagery can eliminate any mentally ingrained domestication, and most of these canines now prowl the Wastes as scavengers in packs. Alone, you can scare one away with a solid kick to the jaw, but if they strike in groups (as they normally do) you may be in the crapper.
Offensive armament: Claws, teeth, powerful muscles
Defensive armament: Speed, nothing else.
"The Deathclaw is the most evil thing to rise out of the ashes after the War. Some say it's a powerful ghost from the war that haunts the land. It's no ghost, it's as real as you and me. It's 20 feet tall with teeth as big as your arm. It's some kind of demon that found it's way here when the world was engulfed in fire."
Deathclaws. Huge, ferocious beasts possessed of a mean temper and a voracious appetite. And aptly named. Claws so big and sharp they'll shred anything short of Power Armour. Stronger than the finest Brahmin and fast to boot. To kill a Deathclaw is one of the most dangerous and impressive feats a Wastelander can accomplish, and is sometimes a rite of passage among certain Tribals if one wishes to become Chieftain. Needless to say, such Tribes are always led by the strongest, smartest, most ferocious and most cunning among them.
Deathclaws either rove alone or in Matriarchal packs of up to a dozen. A Deathclaw Mother or Queen is truly a sight to behold, larger, stronger and tougher than her male spawn and ferocious in the defence of her eggs.
Offensive Armament: Fearsome disposition, strong, fast, and with claws that can cut steel.
Defensive Armament: Tougher than any living creature has a right to be.
"Jolene! Get the shotgun! Itsem dayum dog-mouses in our patch again!"
A rare incident in which radiation exposure has made a creature less scary. Small, Pre-War mole rats were actually horrifying. These ones aren't quite as frightening but are quite a bit more dangerous, obliging by the scavenger pack mentally that most dogs now follow. They use the same tactics and are roughly equivilant in terms of speed and strength, making the two species natural enemies.
Offensive armament: Claws, teeth, burrowing skills (?)
Defensive armament: Speed
"Is this for real? I mean, seriously? What the hell is that meant to do to me? Buzz me to death? Wha-- oh, christ! It's launching maggots at me!"
How radiation facilitated the growth of tiny flies into these beasties is unknown. Flying insects the size of footballs are a common plague in the Wasteland - trust me, you do not want this fella landing on your food. Their most frightening ability (and this really is quite frightening) is the fact that they can produce live larva, covered in spikes like the parent organism, and launch them at you. If they get imbedded into your skin, they proceed to chow down. So pull them out quickly - or better yet, don't get hit at all.
Offensive armament: Disease, ability to launch babies at you.
Defensive armament: Covered in spines.
"How did these things get HARDER to kill?"
They were pesky enough before the war, but mutation has hardened their exoskeletons, increased their muscle mass and expanded each one to the size of a shoebox. What a boot could once solve now requires a gun.
Offensive armament: Powerful pincer-like mandibles, six clawed feet, surprising jumping ability
Defensive armament: Hardened exoskeleton
Apparently, nukes cause scorpion exoskeletons to become bulletproof and make them grow the size of a decently sized table. With huge pincers, a nasty set of mandibles and a powerful tail that administers a paralytic venom, you're likely to encounter these on a really, really bad day.
Offensive armament: Pincers, mandibles, tail w/ venomous stinger
Defensive armament: Tough exoskeleton
"... Dude, weren't they giant already?"
Imagine a radscorpion the size of a car and you have one of these. Now increase its strength, resilience to damage and the potency of their venom there you have it. It's impossible to tell whether these are a separate species or just old Radscorpions, but that's the least of your interests when you're up against them, isn't it?
Offensive armament: Pincers, mandibles, tail w/ venomous stinger, increased strength
Defensive armament: Even tougher exoskeleton
"Oh my god! They can walk forwards now! The end is nigh!"
Mutant crustaceans that rose to two legs, these giant enemy crabs are extremely dangerous in and out of water. With their ridiculously tough shell and unnerving speed, they can take heaps of punishment. As with most animals, the head is a weak point, but this one's head so happens to be really awkwardly positioned.
Offensive armament: Pincers, strength, nasty tendency to headbutt
Defensive armament: Speed, tough exoskeleton
As Mirelurks grow older, their shell becomes a brownish-red colour and they become a lot more dangerous. These beasties gather food for the younglings (hence 'hunter') and serve as brood leaders.
Offensive armament: Pincers, increased strength, nasty tendency to headbutt
Defensive armament: Even faster and even tougher exoskeleton. Dear god.
"... how the hell is that a Mirelurk? What? Oh, crap!"
These things are not even Mirelurks and whoever decided to call them that is stupid as hell. More accurately, they're the bipedal mutant descendants of snapping turtles that traded their shells for toughened scales all over. Something happened to their vocal cords as well...
Offensive armament: Teeth, claws, formidable strength, sonic screech OR venomous spit
Defensive armament: Tough scales
"Don't feed the bears"
Descended from bears, Yao Guai are twisted parodies of their ancestors, and have either devovled from the South's native bears, or migrated in from other areas due to push factors (hunting, Deathclaws) in their original homes, or pull factors (temperate climate, abundance of prey, nightlife).
Though they may look cuddly (they don't, and if someone tells you otherwise, they are severely mentally disturbed), a Yao Guai is quite capable of mauling and killing a Brotherhood Paladin in full power armor if it can make it through the hail of lead and lasers the Paladin will send its way.
Yao Guai are much quicker than their size would suggest, capable of clearing large spans of ground rather speedily. This has been the undoing of many an unwary Big Game Hunter.
Claws, teeth, animal cunning, immense strength, grudge against all life
Thick hide, powerful muscle, apparent ability to ignore prodigious amounts of physical punishment
"Pantera Leo Maximus Invictus - the indominable giant lion"
Descended from Big Cats of various breeds, Hellcats are truly creatures of nightmare. Baleful red eyes, paws the size of a man's head with claws the length of a human thumb and teeth the size of combat knives are just the tip of the iceberg. Hellcats also possess a speed that belies their size (more or less that of a Pre-War Mule), and a strength that far exceeds that of most creatures of this speed.
While not as powerful as a Yao Guai, Hellcats are far more cunning, and quicker.
Astonishing Speed, animal cunning, massive strength, claws, teeth, angry at everything.
Fast, smart, tough. Like a flying boot.
Basic Feral Ghoul
Your average entry level Feral Ghoul. These things seem to have brain power comparable to the average short plank. They have numbers to make up for their blatant lack of mental capabilities. No one knows why, but Ferals, in spite of being non-sentient, seem to seek out each other's company, and gather in the darker corners of the Wastelands, huddling close to Glowing Ghouls or other sources of radiation, such as HazMat barrels or buses with leaking reactors.
Gear: Slime-coated teeth, cracked fingernails, blatant disregard for their own personal safety that makes them far more dangerous than initial observation would suggest.
Advanced Feral Ghoul
Feral Ghoul Roamers seem to fill in the part of larger individuals in animal packs. They seem to display far greater intelligence than their zombie compatriots, as well as far more initiative when faced with a problem. They are physically more imposing than simpler Ghouls, probably derived from more physically able humans. They also show certain intelligence and slight sense of self-preservation, wearing the likes of tactical vests and crude helmets.
Gear: As with Zombie Feral Ghouls, but with added armor protection
Advanced Feral Ghoul
Glowing Ghouls are sources of radiation, often filling an Alpha-Male/Female role in Feral Ghoul packs. They are on an intellectual par with less intriguing Feral Ghoul types, but they are above and beyond them in terms of physical resilience and ferocity. It can be said that while Feral Ghouls have an animal sense of survival instinct and will attempt to flee if severely injured, Glowing Ghouls are suicidally tenacious in their attack patterns. Feral Ghouls led by Glowing Ones also display this savage fearlessness. They can also produce a concentrated blast of Radiation. Reasons for this ability are unknown.
Gear: As with zombies
Highly Advanced Feral Ghoul
Degenerate Ghouls are a completely different breed from their Feral cousins. Either they are freshly Feral, or they retain some form of memory of their past life. While it can be said that a Feral Ghoul is as thick as two short planks, a Degenerate Ghoul is about smart enough to nail the planks together and beat the observer to death.
Many are able to, and do, use weapons of some kind. Some have been observed firing (but not reloading) hunting rifles. Others have been seen loading and firing primitive muskets (although badly). Others have shown startling intelligence, activating Rippers and tactically using cover. Many also have the brainpower to pick a high power weapon in preference of an inferior one.
They have not shown the ability to discern between weapons in good condition and those in poor condition. In the abscence of the soothing presence of Glowing Ghouls, Degenerate Ghouls are often the leader-figure in a pack.
Gear: As with Roamers. Also have Tier 1 or 2 weapons. Show much greater intelligence than other Ghouls.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. The mutant descendant of a Pre-War alligator (not a crocodile, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!), the Grator is known as the Scourge of the Riverside for a reason. With six limbs, tough scales, razor-sharp claws and a set of jaws that could break open Power Armor like a can, it's not a good idea to get into melee range with these thirty-foot-long nasties. They can swim as fast as an athletic man can sprint. Their hides, however, are extremely valuable.
Offensive Armament: Claws, teeth, jaws, brute strength, incredible speed in water.
Defensive Armament: Tough scales on the upper side of their body. The only part that isn't armoured is their lower jaw and their underbelly.
This thing's about the size of a Mole Rat with a tail as long as a man. A young or infantile Grator, it appears to have been separated from its mama for some reason or another. Maybe some asshole like you killed her. It still wants to kill you, though. Just be glad it's easier to defend yourself from it. Baby-killing bastard. Its jaws, limbs and tail aren't as developed, so it can't inflict the same amount of pain or move at the same speeds as its bigger brothers. Its scales aren't as hardened, either.
Offensive Armament: Claws, teeth.
Defensive Armament: Scales.
The ridiculous name couldn't be any more fitting, but you'll be forgiven if you refer to them as "GGs" or something. A Grator approaching the final stages of its life, this apparently has caused its front and back limbs to grow into arms and legs respectively. It appears to have turned into some sort of Deathclaw-esque biped, and they now serve as the amphibious equivilant to said reptilian predator. Its scales are much tougher than their younger counterparts, its claws have grown sharper and longer and its lengthy tail and legs allow it to swim and run much, much faster. Usage of minefields is well advised. However, the posture it stands at can expose its soft underbelly from the right angle...
Offensive Armament: Claws, teeth, jaws, brute strength, incredible speed.
Defensive Armament: Extremely tough scales on the upper side of their body.
"God only knows who named these things after a Celtic War Godess who could turn into a crow, but I think they hit the nail right on the head."
Morrigan Crows are filthy carrion eaters that fill the role of rubbish collector in the Wastelands. If you die an ingominious death out there and get left in the wastelands to rot, chances are you'll wind up inside one of these bastards. Chances are, you'll wind up scattered for miles around by these clumsy birds dropping bits of you as they eat. This is the principle behind the Tribal Sky Burial.
On the subject of physical capabilities, Morrigan Crows are the classic bully. Big, loud and powerful, but essentially cowardly. Fully reared up, with their head drawn back to strike, they are on average five feet tall. Average winspan is almost three metres. A single strike from their wing can shatter bones and crush organs, but they are quite easy to avoid on the ground. Their claws can easily pin and crush an armored man, and their beaks can punch through metal armor, through the fool wearing it, and right out the other side. The greatest danger they pose is from the air. A Morrigan Crow is more than strong enough to pick you up and carry you to quite a height before dropping you to a premature death. Splat!
They do however, suffer from the great weakness of many aerial creatures. They are physically very vulnerable to damage, in fact, a shotgun in good condition is quite capable of putting an end to a Morrigan Crow.
Offensive Capabilities: Claws, beak, wings, unbeleivable strength, aerial capabilities.
Defensive Capabilities: Not much other than aerial capabilities.
"Like a meteor, they speed down from the sky, bringing certain death to that which is below them. Unlike a meteor, they carry your sorry carcas off and eat it."
Howler Eagles are nightmarish predators of the skies, able to fly at amazing speed, with claws large enough to carry a couple of grown men at a time. This has led to the Tribal nursery rhyme: "Six little raiders, out in the sun. Down came an Eagle, and then there was one."
Physically, Howler Eagles are capable of dominating almost any foe, with a combination of speed, strength and animal cunning. As with all birds, they are immensely strong fo their frail appearance, and their wing strikes can quite easily kill a man, and cripple the next one, even through power armor. The crushing power of their claws puts a Morrigan Crow to shame, able to reduce a power-armored man to pulp without much effort. Their beak is so powerful it can split power armor and the man inside from head to solar plexus. Larger Howler Eagles stand roughly eight feet tall on the ground, in a relaxed stance. When reared up, they are larger than a Yao Guai. In fact, large Howler Eagles have been known to kill and carry off Yao Guai, Brahmin and groups of people.
All in all, it's a good thing that in spite of all this power, they have very little durability and are quite easily injured. A few blasts from a Shotgun in decent condition is usually enough to convince them to die.
Offensive Capabilities: Freakin' Huge claws, beak and wings, aerial speed and agility
Defensive Capabilities: Aerial agility, and nothing else, thank God.
"Why did it have to be snakes?!
It's names like these that make you lose your faith in humanity, isn't it? The raddlesnake (rattlesnake, rad... raddlesnake! Geddit?) is a large snake, averaging at five metres long with thick, slimey scales that allow for incredible resilience to damage while remaining maneuverable. To make things worse, it now has two "rattles" where its head and the tip of its tail would be - these are actually modified, more protective scales.
And both rattles have eyes and a mouth. That's right, a two-headed snake. The jagged edges of the rattles' scales allow them to double as flails, and it tends to swing around and club its opponent to submission with them before administering its neurotoxic venom through its fangs, which cause rapid dehydration, agonisingly random pangs of pain all over the body and vivid hallucinations before killing you around three hours later.
The slime they secrete to cover their scales is apparently a viable and effective aphrodesiac when ingested by humans. Not that you'd want to know that, right? Right...? Anyway, said slime is also highly flammable, so an excellent way to do away with these is to KILL IT WITH FIRE!
Offensive Armament: Powerful muscles, club-like heads, high speed, neurotoxic venom.
Defensive Armament: Thick scales.
"I have a cunning plan..."
Contrary to popular belief, the insidious creature known as a Bedlurker does not hide under your covers. Thankfully (or not), the prefix of its name refers to the bed of a river or other body of water. It appears to be some sort of mutant fish with a large, shell-like casing on its back. The shell is covered with small, poisonous barbs that deliver a powerful neurotoxin on contact. It also respires through small holes in its shell, which appears to function in a similar way to gills. It also has a pair of long, tentacle-like appendages at its sides, which can pass off as plants and then ensnare unsuspecting prey, several shorter ones on its underbelly which it uses to dig, and a pair of small legs which it uses in conjunction with the latter tentacles to move on land.
The Bedlurker is a very docile animal, and very rarely, if ever, moves of its own accord unless a meal presents itself. Its method of hunting is to partially bury itself in the sand at the bottom of shallow, murky pools of water, where it is hard to make out the shape of the barbs on its back. People or animals tend to percieve it as a rock and foolishly step on it. The barbs then release the neurotoxin into their foot, which usually kills them within minutes. If not, its tentacles can wrap around their leg and hold them until they starve to death or die of some unrelated illness, and once it is certain that its prey is dead of natural causes or otherwise, it digs itself out of the sand it is buried in and eats. It then either buries itself or moves on, cunningly disguising itself as a rock in the Wasteland which unfortunate people may or may not be tempted to sit on.
Some theorise that it is a mutant descendant of the similarly nefarious stonefish, but how so many of them ended up so far in-land in the USA is a mystery. It can go for weeks or even months without a meal, using small fish in the water and the water itself to sustain itself. A survivor of a particularly nasty Bedlurker attack described the sensation the neurotoxin produced as "the worst pain known to man".
If you can catch one, not only does nobody know what the hell you've got in your hands (they're that good at disguising themselves), they also taste goo once you've stripped the meat off the shell.
Offensive armament: Tentacles, poisonous barbs
Defensive Armament: Camouflage, protective/poisonous shell
And to think, before the war, people thought they where pests because they would get in our food. God really does appreciate Irony.
Giant ants are the effect of nuclear fallout mutating regular ants. What they lack in individual fortitude, they make up for with relentless attacks and swarm tactics. Their exoskeleton isn't particularly thick, but it can turn aside weak punches and dull knives. Their mandibles can cut through most leather and plastic with ease, even snapping bone on a lucky shot. Giant ants become particularly aggressive when their queen is threatened. Be even more careful and on the lookout for varieties with the genetic trait of ‘pyrosis’ or the ability to breath flame. While these subspecies are admittedly rarer, one must keep a wary eye out for such mutations, as they can lead to the death of a careless adventurer.
Offensive armaments- Giant mandibles
Defensive armaments- Medium tough exoskeleton
"When the Bayou Lurkers come for you, you had best run. Fighting is not an option."
Bayou Lurkers are a mercifully rare form of Mirelurk King found all along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and in the inland waterways of the Southern States. While Mirelurk Kings evolved from Common Snapping Turtles, Bayou Lurkers grew from the larger, but less aggressive Alligator Snapping Turtle. They stand almost 10 Feet tall, and are covered in thick slabs of heavy muscle.
Their long, powerful arms end in webbed hands tipped with razor-sharp claws, and their mouths are filled with fang-like keratin growths, presumably mutated from their ancestors' beaks. While unlike Mirelurk Kings, they cannot produce a sonic blast or spit acid, a Bayou Lurker is capable of spitting a high-pressure jet of water that can cut steel at close range. As such, it is advisable to keep at a distance if the Bayou Lurker is standing in or has just emerged from water.
Bayou Lurkers are surprisingly swift runners, though their mass limits their acceleration. Unlike common Mirelurk Kings, they also retained some of their shell in addition to their toughened scales, providing extremely effective armour around the neck and upper torso, shoulders, forearms, groin and lower legs. Bayou Lurkers are also incredibly strong and tough, able to compete on even ground with Greater Grators or wade through a hail of small arms fire without much effort.
Thankfully, Bayou Lurkers inherited their ancestors' less-aggressive nature. They will not attack another humanoid unless attacked first, or if they feel their space has been violated, such as coming too close, entering the Bayou Lurker's water or following it for too long a period of time. They are often seen leading Mirelurk and Swamplurk colonies in the place of Common Mirelurk Kings, as they will attack and kill Common Kings on sight (the only humanoid it will ever attack in such a manner). Bayou Lurkers compete for territory with Grators, and will frequently destroy Grator Nests when the opportunity arises. They avoid direct contact with adult Grators, and vice versa, as neither creature seems to want to face up to the only other creature in the South capable of fighting or killing them.
Offensive Abilities: Claws, teeth, brute force on a par with a Yao Guai, High Pressure Water Jet attack, decent top running speed
Defensive Abilities: Toughness, Armoured chest, neck, forearms, shoulders, groin and lower legs