Mutations and effects in Fallout 76

Learn all about mutations in Fallout 76, where to get them, how to cure them, and their positive and negative effects.


The world of Fallout 76 is awash with radiation, which means mutations are bound to occur. These mutations can be seen in all the creatures that inhabit Appalachia, with players also being susceptible to the DNA-altering green goop. Mutations come with positive and negative effects, so it’s worth knowing whether you should hunt them down or cure them.

What are mutations

Mutations are a naturally occurring status effect that change some attribute of the player’s character. Though the process of getting a mutation is well-documented, the type of mutation that the player receives is entirely random. What’s more, the mutation is a permanent status effect that can only be cured through a few methods.

How to get a mutation

Mutations are simple enough to get, but a little more difficult to predict. Mutations are a direct result of high doses of radiation. The more radiation the player receives, the more likely they are to receive a random mutation. Therefore, anything that produces rads has a chance of giving the player a mutation:

  • Drinking dirty water
  • Swimming in irradiated water
  • Touching petrified corpses
  • Standing near chemical waste
  • Being near nuclear fallout
  • Being attacked by toxic monsters

How to cure a mutation

Though mutations are technically permanent, they can be cured or removed if the player so chooses. Each mutation has a positive and negative effect, but sometimes the positive effect outweighs the negative if it helps the playstyle, though this is entirely up to personal preference.

There are only a couple of ways to cure mutation:

  • Use RadAway
  • Use a decontamination arch

How to avoid mutations

Because mutations are tied to radiation, the only way to avoid them is to avoid radiation. The easiest way to do this is to avoid bodies of water, only eat and drink clean foodstuffs, and don’t get hit by monsters. It’s also a good idea to keep radiation to a minimum, as the more radiation that eats into your health, the more likely a mutation will occur. Probably the best way to avoid radiation is to find one of the hazmat suits, as these offer great radiation protection.

Finally, the only way to guarantee that you will not receive a mutation is to use the Rank 2 Starched Genes perk card. When equipped, this card will prevent all mutations, no matter how much radiation poisoning you receive.

How to keep a mutation

It might seem odd, but keeping a mutation can be a good idea. Sometimes the positives a mutation offers far outweigh the negatives, the only problem is that no one wants to have their health halved by radiation and using RadAway will likely cure it.

The one way to keep the mutation while still being able to use RadAway is by equipping the Starched Genes perk card. At Rank 2, Starched Genes ensures that you will not receive a mutation from radiation and that RadAway will not cure a mutation. If you have a mutation you want, put on Starched Genes.

All mutations and effects

Mutation Positive Effect Negative Effect
Adrenal Reaction Deal more damage when health is low -50 health
Bird Bones +4 Agility, fall slowly, less damage from falling -4 Strength
Carnivore Eating meat has twice the effect and no diseases Eating vegetables does nothing
Chameleon Invisible in combat Must be unarmored and still to be invisible
Eagle Eyes +4 Perception and 25% more crit from VATS -4 Strength
Egg Head +6 Intelligence -3 Strength, -3 Endurance
Electrically Charged Release an electric shock when you get hit Shock damages you too
Empath Teammates take 25% less damage You take 33% more damage
Grounded +100 Energy Resistance Reduced Energy Weapon damage
Healing Factor Health regeneration Healing item effects reduced by 55%
Herbivore Eating vegetables has twice the effect and no diseases Eating meat does nothing
Herd Mentality +2 to all stats while in a team -2 to all stats when alone
Marsupial +20 carry weight and increased jump height -4 Intelligence
Plague Walker Gain an aura of poison, increases power with each disease You have diseases
Scaly Skin +50 Damage and Energy resistance -50 Action Points
Speed Demon Reload and move 20% faster Hunger and thirst drain faster
Talons Fist attacks deal 25% more damage and adds bleed effect -4 Agility
Twisted Muscles Melee attacks deal 25% more damage, cripple chance Guns are less accurate
Unstable Isotope Release a radiation blast when hit Blast damages you too

Information courtesy of Fallout wiki

Getting a mutation in Fallout 76 can be a blessing in disguise or it can totally mess up a good build. Before you go about curing the mutation because of a bothersome negative effect, consider whether its positive effect makes up for it. In the event you want to avoid mutations all together (or if you want to lock in the one you’ve got), remember to be on the lookout for the Starched Genes perk card!

Swing by the Shacknews Fallout 76 guide and walkthrough for more handy articles to help you survive the nuclear apocalypse.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

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