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    The Deathclaw

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    The Deathclaw

    Post  Admin on Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:12 pm

    The deathclaws were originally created before the Great War by the United States military, in order to replace humans during high-risk close-combat search-and-destroy missions. They were Jackson's Chameleons genetically modified with DNA of various other species.

    The Master also experimented on the deathclaws early on, but his experiments were not very successful, and eventually they were not used in his army. However, some of the modifications he made to their genome refined them into even more dangerous beasts.

    Around 2161, deathclaws were still a mystery, a legendary creature, to many inhabitants of Southern California. In Fallout, a deathclaw first appeared in a mission to find missing caravans: while the deathclaw was not responsible for the caravan disappearances, as some had believed, evidence in its lair did lead to the correct solution. Deathclaws had also established a nest in the abandoned warehouse district of the Boneyard, obstructing traffic between the Gun Runners and potential trading partners and making any scavenging in the area very hazardous. As the deathclaw population grew, the deathclaws stopped being perceived as legendary beasts, and started to be seen as simply yet another dangerous animal.

    Varieties

    Besides the two versions described below, there are at least two variations of the 'regular' deathclaw. One has a spiked back and long, forward horns, while the other has no spikes on the back and has smaller, backward horns. It is possible that the former deathclaws are male while the latter are female or the other way around.


    Talking deathclaws

    In 2235, the Enclave captured many deathclaws and exposed them to FEV. This boosted their intelligence, giving them the ability to talk with varying degrees of erudition and articulation. This subspecies was highly intelligent, about the equivalent of an eight-year-old, with some individuals on par with average adult humans. Their learning capacity was very high and they were capable of abstract thought and reasoning. Although they did not have vocal cords, the deathclaws seemed to mimic human speech the same as a parrot does. Socially, they had rigidly hierarchical, peaceful, pack-based ethical code. They were extremely loyal to the pack as a whole, treating it as a family unit rather than having individual families. Fights within a pack are unheard of, and the pack's leader controls many aspects of life, such as choosing and matching female and male deathclaws for reproduction. Oddly enough, Deathclaws are not subject to sterility from FEV exposure; this trait is not explained.


    Hairy deathclaws

    The following is based on Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel. This information may be considered semi-canon as long as it does not contradict canonical sources.

    A deathclaw subspecies living in the area of the former states of Illinois, Missouri and Kansas developed patches of fur to better cope with the colder climate. Furthermore, some of them were noted to be capable of speech as early as in 2197, which means that they either developed speech through spontaneous mutation, or were experimented on by someone other than the Enclave. They were also more matriarchal than their Western counterparts, with packs being led by Matriarchs.

    One such Matriarch was captured by the psychic tribe known as the Beastlords. While the tribals were able to use their psychic powers to control lesser animals, the deathclaws were intelligent enough to resist them. However, they cooperated with the Beastlords in order to protect their Mother. After the Matriarch was freed by the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel, that pack decided to join the Brotherhood, and the Elders surprisingly agreed.

    One theory suggests that the furry deathclaws were not Jackson's Chameleons, but of mammalian species that underwent genetic modification, likely in the same process as the reptillian deathclaws, and possibly even for the same goal (though obviously not in the same facility, as goes their regional differences). This would account for the differences in their appearances and physique, as well as the hairy deathclaws' advanced intelligence at such an early age; mammals tend to exhibit more intelligence than reptiles. That they would be called Deathclaws, nevertheless, might be attributed to their similarities in size, strength, appearance and viciousness, to the Jackson's Chameleon Deathclaw.

    Quotes

    * "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." - Beth
    * "The Deathclaws are all over in the Boneyard. I'd rather not even think about them. Huge and aptly named." - Katja
    * "Okay. Well, it's like a damn big man, is what it is. Got spikes and claws that can cut through the heaviest armor. But don't let the size fool ya, it's quick." - Harold
    * "You can't look at 'em! It is said the Death Claw can hypnotize just by lookin'. Then it walks up and "boom", you're et!" - Harold
    * "Heard some tales about something faster, bigger, and meaner than any living creature has a right to be. Not too many, though, which means that it doesn't leave many survivors. Big claws, ferocious disposition." - Tycho (Tycho's dialogue file)
    * "The Death Claw? Oh, that's a bedtime story. Drinks blood and howls at the full moon." - Killian Darkwater (Killian's dialogue file)
    * "I heard a tale from a traveller up from the south. He said the Death Claw was a creature that killed people at night. He said no one can catch it, because it can disappear like smoke. Not that I believe it, of course." - Tandi

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