5e Fallout: Monstrous Amounts of Monsters

When it comes to blog posts, I normally like to write enough to stay at least a few weeks ahead. For various reasons, that hasn’t happened recently. Last week got busy. I had a family trip planned already, and then the funeral of a family friend cropped up. The end result is that I don’t actually have a proper blog post to share this week.

What I do have is a spreadsheet.

See, it’s become increasingly clear just how mammoth a project Fifth Edition Fallout really is. Largely, it’s because of the monsters! See, I’m not just making one statblock per type of creature. Since the beginning of the Fallout franchise enemies have come in multiple, increasingly more powerful variants. I think including those variants is useful, because it keeps the creature type relevant across a much larger span of levels, and it also ensures a Fifth Edition Fallout has plenty of level-appropriate options to choose from when planning an adventure. But including them isn’t necessarily easy, especially as the number of variants of each creature have gone up with time.

I was conscious that there were already a lot of statblocks in the Fifth Edition Fallout sourcebook. There had to be: after all, I counted the ones in the most recent Bugs update and that accounted for 63 all on its own. And I knew there were still plenty of creatures left, many of which I had forgotten until recently (it was only while browsing through the Fallout wikia at random that I stumbled across Spore Carriers and remembered about their existence). It seemed sensible to me to trawl through the wiki to generate a comprehensive master list, so that I wouldn’t miss out on anything important. With that in mind I created the aforementioned spreadsheet which would track two things:

  1. All statblocks already added
  2. All statblocks that need to be added, broken down by category (providing the secondary benefit of a count of creatures belonging to each category). To derive this list I went through the creatures and robots pages on the Fallout wikia for each Fallout game, and listed out each variant of each creature. I made a few exceptions, as noted below:
    • Creatures from Fallout Tactics were not necessarily included, as that game is considered non-canon. However, I did include the game’s version of the radroach as the Midwestern radroach, as it helped fill out the otherwise sparse list of radroach variants. I considered also including giant wasps, but they fill the same role as the stingwing (if you want to use them, simply reskin a stingwing statblock).
    • Similarly, creatures that were to be included in the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios, codenamed Van Buren, have not been considered. Which is not to say that they couldn’t be added later, but non-canonical creatures without much to go on about their abilities aren’t exactly a priority.
    • A few variants were so specific that they didn’t seem that essential: included in this list are the Zion Mantis, as well as Automatron junk robot variants created by the Mechanist or the Rust Devil Raider gang. Again, I’m not ruling out ever adding these creatures, but for now I consider them nonessential – not to mention easily homebrewed by the GM.
    • Finally, there were some creatures for which I couldn’t see much design room to separate them from other creatures. The giant wasp already mentioned was one such. Another group were the Lobotomites from the New Vegas add-on Old World Blues. The only difference between them and regular raiders is their near-mindlessness. There’s no reason not to use Raider statblocks and simply reduce their Intelligence and Wisdom scores accordingly.
    • A few creatures on the list I want to add are a little more speculative: the Ghoul Whale, based on bones found in Far Harbor, the Rad-Dolphin, based on the corpses of sea creatures found on shores in Fallout 4, and the Horned Kangaroo, remains of which appear in both Fallout and Fallout 2. Clearly these creatures exist, but I’ll be designing them without any reference points. I could have excluded them, but I think each of these creatures would be a fun and worthwhile addition. I particularly like the idea of having a few more aquatic enemies. Admittedly, survivors don’t often want to go in the irradiated water, but power armour and diving suits could lead to those exact situations, and it would be nice if there were a few things in the water with them other than mirelurks.

Note that for the purposes of these lists I’ve also counted templates as though they were statblocks.

If you’re interested in these lists, find them here. You can use them to check out what’s still in the pipeline, and see if your favourite Fallout monster is definitely coming (and if not, absolutely reach out to me on twitter about it!)

So what have I learned? Firstly, that there are 259 statblocks still to add (considering I’ve actively excluded some for now but may later change my mind, maybe more). That’s an intimidating number! The fact that a large portion of these statblocks will be variants of the same creature helps, of course, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a big, time-consuming task. Furthermore, I can tell you from my experience so far that working on multiple similar statblocks over and over can be on the tedious side.

On the other hand, 153 have already been added to the game! If I do say so myself, that’s a pretty big achievement. And it proves that the remaining number is in fact possible, even if it will take quite some time to reach the finish line.

I also now have a count of the number of creatures in each of the categories I’ve broken things down into, which is useful for planning. For instance, fully 86 of the 259 remaining belong to the Beasts category, which is the next one I’m working on. And that’s not even accounting for aquatic creatures, which I opted to break out into a category of their own: they account for another 24 statblocks. I already suspected I’d likely be breaking Beasts up and doing them in more than one sitting, and now it’s looking likely that it might take up the next three or four updates, let alone two.

And yet, the fact that the Beasts category is so large is strangely comforting. It feels like once that is complete, the end will be in sight. Sure, there’ll still be around 150 to do, but those are broken up into much smaller groupings and will hopefully feel more manageable.

Combing through the Fallout wikia proved to be a useful exercise in a handful of other ways, too. I’ve thought of a few possible templates I might want to add; and I have two new subspecies to add in under Human as playable options: Dwarf, and Slag. I’m planning to treat these as essentially templates you can add-on to the Wastelander Subrace. The Dwarf’s speed will be reduced to 25 feet but will gain a slight benefit in exchange. Slags will gain Darkvision at the expense of Sunlight Sensitivity, similar to the base game’s Drow.