Chems are consumables found throughout the Fallout Series.
Chems are substances created both before and after the Great War, resulting in both positive and negative side effects. Negative side effects of chems include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Examples of chems include Mentats, a pre-War "party-drug" originally developed by Med-Tek for medical purposes, Buffout, a "sports-enhancement" drug popularized by athletes, Psycho, a combat-enhancement drug developed at the behest of General Chase, and Med-X, a painkiller found in many hospitals.[Pub 1][Pub 2][Pub 3]
Evidence of illegal drug trafficking can be found in the wasteland, such as within the wreckage of Skylanes Air Flight 1981. The airliner contained a hidden compartment with a manifest including multiple chems, weapons, and cash. After the war, new chems were invented alongside the pre-War variants, created and spread by post-War groups such as the Great Khans, based on chemistry lessons taught by the Followers of the Apocalypse.
Types of chems
Various chems exist in the wasteland, some more beneficial than others. Each chem has an individual profile, allowing users to "stack" chems to provide a larger bonus than either does individually¹. Chems may have several simultaneous positive effects, but usually carry negative effects: It might lower one stat while raising another. Abusing chems results in addiction. Addiction to a chem will cause withdrawal symptoms when the chem wears off, resulting in lowered stats unless the user continues to take the drug, or seeks a cure or treatments. Chems are divided into two groups: addictive, and non-addictive.
- After Burner gum
- Ant nectar
- Coyote Tobacco Chew
- Day Tripper
- Jet (metamphetamine)
- Alien Biogel
- Ant Queen Pheromones
- Berry Mentats
- Blood pack
- Blood Shield
- Cave fungus
- Datura hide
- Fire nectar
- Ghost Sight
- Glowing blood pack
- Grape Mentats
- Healing poultice
- Healing powder
- Healing salve
- Insect repellent
- Irradiated Blood Pack
- Jet antidote
- Monument chunk
- Mushroom Cloud
- Mutated toe
- Nightstalker Squeezin's
- Orange Mentats
- Rushing Water
- Sacred datura root
- Snakebite Tourniquet
- Stimpak diffuser
- Trauma pack
- Weapon Binding Ritual
- X-111 compound
- ¹ - chems do not stack; only one may be active at a time.
- Chems can be found lying about individually or inside containers.
- They can also be purchased from wasteland vendors. While nearly every vendor will have at least a few stimpaks for sale, some chems will need to be purchased from one of the vendors specializing in chems.
- In some cases, chems can be crafted.
Behind the scenes
In the release of Fallout 3 in Australia, the game was refused classification (which means it would be illegal to sell)[Ext 1] by the Australian Classification board for "depicting, expressing or otherwise dealing with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified.".[Ext 2] A modified version of Fallout 3 was subsequently applied for classification by Zenimax Europe,[Ext 3] in which Bethesda decided to rename Morphine to Med-X. Evidence of this last-minute change is the fact Med-X's editor ID is Morphine and Med-X addiction's editor ID is WithdrawalMorphine.
- Ada: "According to my files, potential side effects of that chem are: nausea, vomiting and diarrhea... or are you attempting the trifecta?"
- Skylanes Smuggling Manifest
- Rose of Sharon Cassidy: "Won't trade with Khans - they've poisoned most of the villages west of Vegas with chems."
(Rose of Sharon Cassidy's dialogue
- The Courier: "Anything else you can tell me about Great Khans?"
Chet: "They're tough sons of bitches, mean but not crazy - they'll leave you alone unless you've got something they want. The Great Khans deal in illegal chems. There's a good chance that most chems you come across were made by Great Khans."
- The Courier: "How'd you get into this business?"
Jack: "Guess I just had a natural talent for it. When I was a kid, these cats called the Followers of the Apocalypse came to our camp. They knew all kinds of kooky scientastical stuff, so I ate up all the chemistry they could teach. Diane had the head for business, so we teamed up."
- Fallout 2 Official Strategies & Secrets p. 74: "This party drug was once favored for the boost it gave to creativity—tune in, turn on, drop out. Mentats are just the ticket when you need to figure out something particularly perplexing or impress someone with your wits and charm. Mentats also sharpen your Perception, which greatly enhances long-range sniping attacks."
- Fallout 2 Official Strategies & Secrets, p. 66: "Originally made popular through clandestine use by professional athletes, Buffout is particularly helpful in mêlée or unarmed combat."
- Fallout 2 Official Strategies & Secrets, p. 75: "The drug was developed specifically for military use. It increases a soldier's damage resistance, and its dampening effect on higher brain functions makes for tough, but uncontrollable, troops. This drug was very popular for human-wave assaults. Take it just before a difficult combat, and then go someplace safe to sit out the aftereffects."