Etymology of pure and prime humans

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I will conquer it and turn all those pure strain humans into mutants. They will give me the army I need to bring peace to the entire wasteland.

— The Master

The terminology behind those regarded to as pure humans, first originated from the Master in the original Fallout. and has seen use throughout most future Fallout titles, as well. Being used in a broader sense to term those humans with a low level of radioactive damage, being a pure human is more properly attributed to those whom are affected by the FEV in the way intended from before the Great War.[1] Should a human undergo a unique mutation. such as seen with the Master or Lieutenant, or if one undergoes proper evolutionary stages into a super mutant by exhibiting an expanded intelligence, as well as strength and size, determines whether a human is truly pure or not.[2]

While radiation- and FEV-induced damage is a distinguishable trait, being a pure human does not imply any kind of superiority. It is simply a determinant whether a given person will undergo proper transformation by FEV or not.

Pure human etymology

Before the Great War

The following section is transcluded from Forced Evolutionary Virus. To modify, please edit the source page.


After an expedition gone wrong while searching for the source of hostile mutants attacking nearby settlements, a man by the name of Richard Grey found himself stuck in one of the FEV vats for an extended amount of time after the others in his group with the exception of Harold were killed, and due to his being born in a vault and being relatively radiation-free, Grey underwent the most unique of FEV mutations, turning into the antagonist of the Vault Dweller most popularly known and referred to as "the Master".[3] As the Master began experimenting with FEV and using other humans to expand his biomass, the Master soon came to the conclusion that FEV could be used to evolve and unify humanity in order to save themselves. However, the Master hit an obstacle in that most humans were coming out as either dead or mentally handicapped super mutants that were of little use to his vision.

But then, the Master came across another pure human, which after absorbing into himself, made him realize that humans with little or no radiation conformed better to the effects of FEV. After biologically linking himself[4] to the Mariposa Military Base's super computer detailing FEV, this fact was confirmed and the Master began looking for sanctuaries of still pure humans. This proved to be fruitful in his endeavors, as those that were pure humans began making up the backbone of the Master's Unity, such as Lou Tenant and the nightkin.[5]

Fallout 2

After the defeat of the Master, pure humans once again became a meaningless label, and was largely forgotten, even by the super mutants that had survived their annihilation after the destruction of the Cathedral. But after the events leading up to the Chosen One leaving Arroyo, a secretive political and military organization known as the Enclave began expanding their influence across the Core Region, and were seen experimenting upon the effects of FEV, as well as the pure humans needed to research the pre-War virus.[6][7]

Attempting and ultimately succeeding in the creation of an airborne strain of FEV that would wipe the world clean of most, if not all life, as a way for the Enclave to then take over and re-build America, pure humans were needed as test subjects to create the modified FEV, as well as being needed to inoculate the Enclave from this new strain that would kill even them if exposed to Curling's virus.[8] These experiments also led to another pure human by the name of Frank Horrigan undergoing unique mutations due to FEV compatibility.[9]

Fallout 3

While FEV played a lesser role in Fallout 3, pure humans are still referenced and play an integral part in the main quest-line. While most humans in the Capital Wasteland are too damaged by radiation to create anything but the dumbest variety of super mutants, President John Henry Eden was able to create an even further modified strain of FEV based off of Curling's research. This version of the virus was modified to kill any human with more than the most minor of radiation exposure, while keeping pure humans alive. If introduced into the Potomac River, the virus is seen living up to its purpose, killing any normal humans or mutants that drink the water.

With The Pitt, the baby Marie is shown to be a pure human and is entirely immune to any forms of radiation exposure. Whether this makes her immune to diseases or other forms of mutations is currently unknown. However, it is discovered later when determining her fate that her gift of radiation immunity can be passed on through others in the form of a booster shot.

Fallout: Tactics

Mini-FOT Logo.pngThe following is based on Fallout Tactics and some details might contradict canon.

Pure humans are mentioned briefly on a console in Buena Vista, detailing the possibility of setting the Calculator's parameters to target mutants while leaving pure humans alone, which would help ensure the survival of the human species.[10]

Mini-FOT Logo.pngEnd of information based on Fallout Tactics.

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel

FOBoSLogo.pngThe following is based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

A pure human turned super mutant by the name of Attis [11] began further experimentation into FEV after the death of the Master, and discovered the Secret Vault, which held a unique variation of FEV that further evolved super mutants. For most super mutants, this included rapid cell regeneration and increased mass. But for pure humans turned into super mutants such as Attis, this variant of FEV resulted in multi-cellular beings of surprising mental capacity and aggression.

FOBoSLogo.pngEnd of information based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.

Fallout (film)

Film.pngThe following is based on the canceled Fallout movie and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

Pure, or pristine humans, are referenced at multiple times throughout the Fallout film treatment. The first time is in Dekker's club when, in innuendo form, the film treatment describes how semi-mutated women want to get their hands on the protagonist's 'pristine bodily fluids'.[12]

Most importantly, the Master had been testing genetic combinations for years, but all his previous attempts had resulted in sterile mutants. He believes that the protagonist, preliminarily named Hero, and his female companion represent his last chance to create fertile mutants, unless he can capture the people of Vault 13.[13] This all stems from the perceived purity of Vault Dwellers, though this is not expanded on in the same way as in the games.

Film.pngEnd of information based on the canceled Fallout movie.

Prime normals

The Lou Tenant, while also seen using the pure human term, was more partial to using the "prime normal" label instead. This different terminology reflected the Lou Tenant's personal theory [14] that while radiation might have been a small factor in successful FEV evolution, that the real culprit behind lesser evolutions stemmed from the FEV vats leaking after the Chinese nuclear bombs hit the original West Tek research facility, which resulted in the region known as the Glow. The impact of the nuclear shock-waves cracked open a few nutrient solution tanks filled with FEV, with the subsequent radiation mutating the FEV into an airborne strain of the original virus, with the new airborne strain of the FEV inoculating any person infected with it against the original, mutational strain of the FEV, acting as a form of vaccine and giving exposed creatures some limited resistance to the FEV's mutational effects. As a result, the ideal subject for FEV mutation was someone who had not been exposed to the airborne form of the FEV following the Great War.[15] However, this theory has not been proven, and is directly contradicted by the Master's research notes, as well as by Joshua Sawyer.[16]

Unique mutations due to FEV


Fallout 2

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: Tactics

Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel


Canonical pure humans


See also



  1. FEV research
  2. FEV experiment disk
  3. Richard Grey's audio diary
  4. Alpha experiment disk
  6. FEV Curling-13
  7. Fallout 2 Official Strategies & Secrets p.36: Strangers "Some characters were once human, but have been changed into something else in the years since the bombs scorched the land. Both Ghouls and Super-Mutants were changed by man—one accidentally, one intentionally."
  9. Mariposa Military Base excavation
  10. Buena Vista terminal entries
  11. Attis
  12. Fallout film treatment, bullet-point #29
  13. Fallout film treatment, bullet-point #34
  14. LT.MSG
  15. Forced Evolutionary Virus
  16. Mutations and their causes