"Say, how do you make a Ghoul anyway?
"With silver-bells and cockleshells and… Boy, you are dumb, aren’t you? Severe radiation. That’s how. How do you think? You know, many bombs go boom, flash of light and heat, flesh burns off, but you don’t-quite-die-type severe radiation?" - The "Chosen One" and Woop
Ghouls or necrotic post-humans are decrepit, ragged, almost rotting, zombie-like mutants, victims of massive radiation poisoning. Ghouls speak with very raspy voices. Limited exposure to radiation for a longer period of time sometimes causes humans to transform into ghouls, although rare cases of faster transformations into ghouls are also not unheard of. Exposure to radiation typically result in sickness followed by death and the x-factor that will lead to mutation upon exposure in lieu of the typical outcome remains unknown
All ghouls are completely sterile. There is only one generation of ghouls in the world and it is the last. Some ghouls live longer than normal humans, while the majority do not. It has to do with cellular level, and the ability for some ghoul DNA to make more copies of themselves. Basically, cells only contain enough material to be duplicated X number of times--in biology, this is known as the Hayflick Limit. In a ghoul, sometimes, additional genetic material is added. The unnaturally long lifespan is also due to a mutation within the autonomic nervous system of certain individuals following exposure to specific combinations of ionizing radiation with wavelengths below 10 picometers. Radiation having such a short wavelength, less than 10 picometers, is known as Gamma radiation and is enormously dangerous to healthy humans. This mutation disrupts the normal process of decay in the neurotransmitters along the spinal cord.
Ghouls are generally as intelligent as normal humans. However, their repulsiveness makes the life of a ghoul difficult at best - only the most tolerant human communities accept them as anything more than monsters. Some ghouls eventually go mad and are called "feral ghouls", giving all ghouls a bad reputation. These feral ghouls create the misconception amongst regular people that they are Zombies, only alienating Ghouls further. Ghouls are, naturally, immune to radiation. Radiation poisoning can't really get worse for the ghouls. In fact, many ghouls now thrive in radiation, making their homes near locations with acute background radiation. The "Glowing Ones" actually enjoy large amounts of radiation, which they describe as being "comfortably warm". Relations between Ghouls and Super Mutants are actually civil, as the Super Mutants seem to view them as some sort of kin; this would assume that due to the radiated nature of the FEV that the two breeds of mutations are similar enough to instill companionship. It has also been suggested that the Super Mutants do not bother the ghouls as the mutants have realised that the FEV won't effect the ghouls and thus aren't worth their time.
Despite evidence otherwise, Ghouls are often classified as an Undead sub-race. While their close nature with The Swarm suggest this is possible, it is hotly debated whether or not they can technically be considered Undead.
The Uber WarsEdit
Ghouls were members of the Swarm during the attack on Willamette, and were extremley effective in eliminating both Church and Axis forces. A high ranking general amongst the Swarm, Roy Phillips, accidently leaked the Swarm's plans to the Church when he failed to disable the security camera, allowing the Church to listen in on his discussion with the Swarm's leader. After Austin destroyed Willamette, many of the Ghouls radiated into Glowing Ones, including General Phillips, and returned to Northrend.
The Swarm WarsEdit
Ghouls were still one of the main infantry units in the Swarm, participating both in the Invasion of the Church Lands and the Defense of Northrend.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Ghouls are one of the main races in the Fallout franchies. They first appeared in the original Fallout, and continued to be a major part of the world in Fallout 2, Fallout: Tactics, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, the D20 Fallout RPG and Fallout 3. They were likely to appear in Fallout: Tactics 2, Fallout: Extreme and Fallout: Van Buren before their cancelations. It was confirmed that Ghould would have been in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2, but it too was canned.