Deathclaw (Fallout 3)
|For an overview of deathclaw variants in the Fallout series of games, see deathclaw.|
Deathclaws are creatures living in the Capital Wasteland in 2277. They are a large, agile, and strong species of mutant Jackson's Chameleon and are far more common in the Capital Wasteland than the west coast despite the more desolate, barren and desert-like characteristics of the wasteland.
The deathclaws were originally created before the Great War by the United States Military in order to replace humans during high risk, close combat, and search-and-destroy missions. Later on, when the Master was building his army, the Master had sought to improve upon their design to make them more lethal; however, before he could use his experiments to his own ends, the Master's experimental deathclaws escaped in the California wasteland to propagate through the continent.
Around 2161, deathclaws were still mysterious and legendary creatures to many inhabitants of southern California. They could only be found in the Boneyard at the Warehouse, with a mother living here, one in a former deathclaw's nest and around the Hub, some times attacking caravans or travelers. Later, as the deathclaw population grew and really spread across the continent, the deathclaws stopped being perceived as legendary beasts, and started to be seen just as another dangerous creature.
Deathclaws have a hunchbacked, humanoid build and stand roughly nine to ten feet tall, with a thick and resilient hide, powerful muscles, and twelve-inch-long, razor-sharp claws that can kill most any other creature with only a few swipes; hence their name. They have an excellent sense of smell and hearing, though their eyesight is poor. Their build gives them incredible speed, resilience and strength in close combat, making them an extreme threat at all times. Though they were originally mutated chameleons, they have lost the ability to camouflage themselves.
Deathclaws are very aggressive, territorial, carnivorous, and highly intelligent. They typically live in small packs of around eight to twenty members led by an alpha male, who is the only one allowed to mate with the females. However, deathclaws in the Capital Wasteland are for the most part solitary, sometimes encountered in pairs.
Deathclaws are oviparous, with the eggs typically laid in dark, sheltered locations and fiercely guarded by their mother. Young deathclaws reach maturity under the care of their parents, following them closely until they are old enough to fend for themselves.
Although they do not have vocal cords, they can growl and shout, and seem to be able to mimic human speech much the same as a parrot does. However, normal deathclaws aren't intelligent enough to be capable of real speech.
 Gameplay attributes
Deathclaws are arguably the most powerful and frightening creatures in the game. Unless the player is at a high level, they will have a hard time fighting one. Fortunately, deathclaws are not found in many areas around the Capital Wasteland, so their influence on where and when you travel is limited. Despite having tough armor according to game lore, the deathclaws in the game are simply given a lot of hit points rather than damage resistance.
A regular deathclaw, with all characteristics and attributes described above.
|Name (Base ID)||Statistics||Behavior||Abilities||Items|
 Enclave deathclaw
Enclave deathclaws only make appearances as Enclave camps begin to appear. Many of these camps are likely to house mind-controlled deathclaws in cages, which are just the same as regular ones with the exception that they will not attack Enclave forces. The Domestication Units on their heads can be targeted and shot, which can frenzy them. Enclave deathclaws may also be dropped off from Enclave Vertibirds along with Enclave soldiers and sentry bots.
During the quest The American Dream, a deathclaw can be seen in a cage in Raven Rock. This deathclaw has not yet undergone mind-control and can be released from captivity with a Lockpick skill of 50. When released, it will attempt to kill anything in sight, excluding you, until it runs out of other enemies to fight. It will then proceed to attack you.
During add-on Broken Steel quest Shock Value, if you receive Scribe Vallincourt's device, the Enclave deathclaws will act as temporary followers, but if you go too far from the Enclave base where they are stationed, their heads will explode.
|Name (Base ID)||Statistics||Behavior||Abilities||Items|
- Random encounter locations.
- The Deathclaw Sanctuary.
- Old Olney.
- The F. Scott Key Trail & Campground area.
- West of Canterbury Commons.
- Outside, inside, and surrounding Raven Rock.
- Around the west side of Mason Dixon Salvage.
- Inside a hangar and the mobile base crawler at Adams Air Force Base.
- Outside the Regulator Headquarters (through the use of an accidental glitch.)
- Deathclaws do not spawn inside the DC Metro area, although the Enclave may bring them in after The Waters of Life.
- An Enclave deathclaw spawns near Dukov's Place, in the open area to the left of the building.
- Where ever there are Enclave camps, deathclaws are commonly found there.
- An Enclave deathclaw spawns outside the Capitol Building.
- An Enclave base near Girdershade, two deathclaws have killed their captors and roam freely.
- Deathclaw corpses contain a deathclaw hand, a component which can be used in creating a deathclaw gauntlet. However, when the hand is taken, the deathclaw still has both hands.
- Deathclaws are classified as abominations, and are therefore not affected by the Animal Friend perk.
- With Broken Steel installed, random encounters with deathclaws occur far more often. At higher levels, deathclaws can be commonly seen traveling in pairs.
- Crippling a deathclaw's leg slows it down and also prevents it from using its high damage leaping attack, thus decreasing its combat effectiveness. Crippling a leg also slows a deathclaw down more than it does most other Wasteland creatures, because they are bipeds rather than quadrupeds.
- A dart gun can greatly reduce a deathclaw's ability to fight by crippling its legs with a single shot.
- This may be a former bug however, if you use something to make yourself invisible (i.e. Stealth Boy or Chinese stealth armor) at the Enclave outpost near Dukov's Place, the Enclave deathclaw will usually go berserk and attack the Enclave soldiers, even without the jammer.
- A caged deathclaw can be found inside Raven Rock. When leaving after speaking with President Eden, the player will probably come across the cage containing the deathclaw. When it is opened the deathclaw will not immediately attack the player, but rather any other enemies. If President Eden commands the robots to become hostile to the other Enclave, setting the deathclaw free will have only a minor effect as it will easily be killed by the sentry bots.
 Behind the scenes
Was it always a big scaly lizard thing? Nope. My initial design for this terrible creature was a the apex predator of the wasteland, a mix of wolverine and brown bear, mutated by the FEV. It could survive any environment and feared nothing; a legendary force of nature that struck terror into the hearts of men! Unfortunately, the artists took one look at my concept sketch and said, 'Dude, that's way too much hair.' It was true. The Wolverine-bear was very furry, and there was just no way around it.
So here's what happened: the newly formed Black Isle started work on what would be Planescape: Torment. One of the first art pieces was a monstrous creature called a Terrasque. It was sculpted in clay and was then point-by-painstaking-point digitized into a 3D model. As Planescape moved forward, it turned out that the Terrasque wouldn't actually be featured in its design, leaving that tasty model in disuse. Thus, the furry wolverine-bear became a hairless reptilian biped. (Take a look at page 339 of the D&D second edition Monster Manual. Holy cats! It's a Deathclaw!)”
- Source for the above quote: Scott Campbell, Origins of Fallout
- The deathclaws are a reference to the Shadowclaws in Wasteland.
- In Scott Campbell's original concept art, deathclaws were mammals covered with fur and were meant to be a mix of wolverine and brown bear, created by FEV. The reason it lost the hair from concept to production was a technical limitation of the rendering software, which couldn't get all the hair to move properly. The hairy deathclaw in Fallout Tactics was inspired by the original concept.
- According to the Fallout Bible and Scott Campbell, deathclaws were modelled visually on the Tarrasque of Dungeons & Dragons after a D&D computer game made by Interplay was cancelled (according to Fallout Bible) or after the creature was cut from Planescape: Torment (according to Scott Campbell), as a Tarrasque clay model was already made and this way the work would not go to waste. However, according to Chris Taylor, while they do look Tarrasque-like, it was not intentional and the clay model was supposed to be a deathclaw from the start.
- V.A.T.S. which will result in their dead body flying across a large amount of land. Deathclaws occasionally fly off into the sky in a physics engine glitch. They can still be targeted and killed in
- Regulator HQ and attack everyone. It will continue to spawn in this manner after the first time this happens. A deathclaw may spawn inside
- V.A.T.S. on a deathclaw (especially with Sydney's 10mm "Ultra" SMG) the game may freeze after the first burst of shots. It will either unfreeze after a few minutes or it will stay frozen. Sometimes when using
- When using the deathclaw control device its possible for them to not follow the player, but die automatically.
Concept art from The Art of Fallout 3.
- Joseph (Ocjoseph.msg) in Fallout 2 says:
- "Well, let's see... Deathclaws appear to be mutated Jackson's Iguanas , the horned variety. There are a lot of similarities still present, but an even greater number of differences. The mutation factor is quite high. This species is highly intelligent, about the equivalent of an eight-year-old, with some individuals reaching human normal level. Their learning capacity is very high and they are capable of abstract thought and reasoning."
- Fallout 2 Official Strategies & Secrets p.27: "Deathclaws were originally created to replace humans during close-combat search-and-destroy missions. They were derived from mixed animal stock and then refined by the Master, using genetic manipulation. The resulting creature is almost unbelievably fast and powerful. Deathclaws are well named—they are the toughest animals that you will encounter in the Wastes."
"Unless you have Combat Armor, extremely heavy weaponry, and a lot of Stimpacks , running for the exit hexes at the first sign of a Deathclaw is your best chance of survival. If you're well equipped and want to stick it out, though, get in at least one shot at long range, because Deathclaws move so fast that you're unlikely to get another long-range attack as they charge you. They'll always close rapidly so they can use their powerful claws to tear and rend you. For maximum damage, use a Called Shot to the eyes when you shoot them. However, even with Called Shots, you'll need several good hits to put a Deathclaw down—use extreme caution (and save often) when fighting them."
Deathclaws being genetically engineered before the Great War and later refined by the Master is mentioned in the Fallout 2 Official Strategies & Secrets strategy guide, written by Fallout 2 lead designer, Matt Norton, as well as in Fallout Tactics. It is unknown why the Master would genetically manipulate the deathclaws and then not use them at all for his purposes.
- "The Origins of Fallout", part 3 by Scott Campbell
- Chris Taylor at No Mutants Allowed forum
- Fallout Bible 8