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At that time, the year 2227, the Institute had made great strides in synth production. But it was never enough.Father

Synth is a term used to refer to the bio-synthetic characters manufactured within the Institute. Synths appear in the Capital Wasteland in Fallout 3 and in the Commonwealth and the Island in Fallout 4.


Synths are synthetic humans, ranging in appearance from robotic to indistinguishable from a human. They are used by the Institute for several purposes, including maintenance, labor, combat, requisitions, and experimentation. Synths are issued a Synth Designation number which is used to identify them.[1] The first synths were created to work on the surface, but stopped due to conflict with wastelanders.[2]

In August 2178, Doctor Frederick started work on making organic synths, using his own F.E.V. samples, with the permission of the Directorate. His coworker in Bioscience, Doctor Elliott, objected.[3] Both women and men were abducted from the Commonwealth and submerged in the Institute's modified FEV, their mutations carefully tracked and extensively investigated. Successful mutations would be monitored, tagged, and discarded.[4] By March of 2224 however, the research had stalled, as while they perfected two strains of FEV, all samples of human DNA were too badly damaged by radiation. In addition, multiple other BioScience doctors had joined Doctor Elliot in objecting to the FEV research. Elliot himself came up with a plan to obtain pure DNA, but felt very uncomfortable about it as well.[5]

In 2227, the organic synth project was spun off from the FEV research initiative due to the acquisition of Shaun and his undamaged pre-War genetic code. He was recovered by Conrad Kellogg,[6][7] and his DNA became the basis of the third generation of synths in a project led by Dr. Walter.[8] The infant Shaun became Father to a whole family of engineered synthetic beings. Of course, tests were not without setbacks; in 2229, a defective 3rd generation infiltrator caused the Broken Mask incident, vilifying the Institute in the eyes of the Commonwealth.[9] The synth, which called itself Mr. Carter, was a prototype that was field tested without the Institute director's approval.[10] After an apparent malfunction, Carter went on a shooting spree, murdering at least four people before being brought down by Diamond City Security and revealed to be a synth. Though the Institute did not actually intend to massacre the people of Diamond City, the people of Diamond City have feared and resented the Institute ever since. Synths are constructed with advanced CPUs and streamlined power systems, although they are incompatible with pre-War robot hardware,[11] nor can synthetic limbs be installed onto a robot chassis.[12]


First Generation

Fo4 1st Gen Synths.png

First generation synths are used for maintenance inside the Institute and combat on the surface. The synths are directed by human members of the Institute, given instructions on how to manage their power consumption and when to patch their navigation software.[13] Enrico Thompson reported pathfinding issues caused by software upgrades, requiring a patch for all Gen 1 units.[14] Conrad Kellogg noted that the first generation synths were not impressive, but the Institute created more and they improved each time.[15]

Alan Binet coordinates the first generation phase out, noting that the synths "served admirably and exceeded their design specifications in virtually every category" but would be replaced due to breakthroughs in synth design and production.[16] Over the following years, all Gen 1 units were planned to be replaced by Gen 3 synths and all remaining models would be relegated to surface duties.[16]

Second Generation

Fo4 2ndGen Synths.png

Gen 2 models have been witnessed stripping entire settlements down for parts and killing the inhabitants.[17][18] University Point was recently destroyed by Gen 2 synths.[19] Deacon comments that members of the Railroad debate whether or not it is worthwhile to rescue Gen 1 and 2 synths.[20]

Early model synths will comment that their systems may be in need of recalibration if they lose track of a target.[21][22][23] Inside the Institute, scientists comment that they look forward to the older models being phased out due to breakdowns, commenting that most of them have lasted long past their projected lifespans.[24] Following the Gen 1 phase out process, the Gen 2 units were planned to be replaced entirely with Gen 3 synths.[16]

Third Generation


Third generation or Gen-3 synths are derived from Shaun's DNA using the Institute's research into the Forced Evolutionary Virus.[5] They are the result of nearly five decades of research, beginning in 2178.[6][25][26] A living synth is indistinguishable from a human by any medical test, and can only be confirmed with an autopsy.[27][28] Once Gen 3 synths entered production, synths as a whole were no longer referred to as androids.[29]

They are created piece by piece inside the Institute's Robotics division.[30] Each Gen 3 synth contains a Synth Component inside their brain allowing them to be programmed and manipulated via voice commands known as Recall Codes. This implant cannot be detected or removed without killing the synth. Synths also have additional components such as neuro-servos.[31] Projects to enhance synths include the implementation of new optic nerve tissue and replacement of synthetic blood type to improve infection resistance and clotting time.[32] The child synth created in Father's likeness has every capability of a real child but cannot age.[33]

Alan Binet's research notes that synths have taste buds and can taste due to having the requisite receptor cells.[34] He also notes synths have digestive patterns, but cannot gain weight or succumb to obesity.[34] Institute Advanced Systems scientist Max Loken describes synths as superior to human beings due to their ability to "live without fear of hunger or disease" in addition to not necessitating sleep.[35]

Piper Wright's describes Mayor McDonough eating noodles in The Synthetic Truth and Harkness refutes evidence against his humanity, stating "I’m a human being. I breathe, I eat."[36][37] Curie comments on her new bodily functions as a Generation 3 synth, stating that she is both sleepy and hungry.[38]


A synth's limbs will be destroyed when crippled, which will affect a synth in different ways based on its armament. If a synth's legs are destroyed, it will sit in place and fire upon the player character. A synth armed with a pistol can continue to fire while down after having its left arm destroyed, a synth armed with a rifle must have both arms intact in order to attack.


Image Name Location HP Health Points (HP) FormID Game
X6-88.jpg | Courser | The Institute
The Commonwealth
The Island
Nuka-World |
1250 | 001628EF | Fallout 4


FO4 Synth.png | Synth | Capital Wasteland
The Commonwealth
The Island |
50 | 00066644 | Fallout 3
Fallout 4


FO4 Synth Assaulter.png | Synth Assaulter | The Commonwealth
The Island |
500 | 001A03F6 | Fallout 4


FO4 Synth Eradicator.jpg | Synth Eradicator | The Commonwealth
The Island |
760+ | 001A03F9 | Fallout 4


FO4 Synth Leader.png | Synth Leader | The Commonwealth
The Island |
140 | 00075342 | Fallout 4


FO4 Synth Patroller.png | Synth Patroller | The Commonwealth
The Island |
265 | 001A03F4 | Fallout 4


FO4 Synth Seeker.jpg | Synth Seeker | The Commonwealth
The Island |
300 | 001A03F5 | Fallout 4


FO4 Synth Stormer.jpg | Synth Stormer | The Commonwealth
The Island |
635 | 001A03F8 | Fallout 4


FO4 Synth Strider.png | Synth Strider | The Commonwealth
The Island |
140 | 00246977 | Fallout 4


FO4 Synth Trooper.jpg | Synth Trooper | The Commonwealth
The Island |
425 | 001A03F6 | Fallout 4




Fallout 3

Fallout 4

Far Harbor


Gen 1 and 2 synths are affected by the Troubleshooter's legendary prefix, but Gen 3 synths are affected by the Assassin's prefix.


Synths appear in Fallout 3 and Fallout 4.

Behind the scenes

In The Art of Fallout 4, concepts were described as taking "vintage artificial prosthetic limbs" as inspiration for a "fresh take on the classic android endoskeleton."[Pub 1]


Fallout 3

Fallout 4


  1. The Institute terminal entries; SRB terminal, Infiltrator Unit: McDonough
  2. Fallout 4 loading screens: "Long ago, when the Institute created their first synths, they attempted to work peacefully with the people of the Commonwealth. Mutual mistrust ended that relationship quickly."
  3. FEV Research Notes (2178)
  4. The Institute terminal entries; Terminal, Subject CM-153
  5. 5.0 5.1 FEV Research Notes (2224)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sole Survivor: "Human synths? Really?"
    Shaun: "Human-like synths. A great distinction. The Institute endeavored to create synthetic organics. The most logical starting point, of course, was human DNA. Plenty of that was available, of course, but it had all become corrupted. In this... wasteland... radiation affected everyone. Even in their attempts to shield themselves from the world above, members of the Institute had been exposed. Another source was necessary. But then the Institute found me, after discovering records from Vault 111. An infant, frozen in time, protected from the radiation-induced mutations that had crept into every other human cell in the Commonwealth. I was exactly what they needed. And so it was my DNA that became the basis of the synthetic organics used to create every human-like synth you see today. I am their Father. Through Science, we are family. The synths, me... and you."
    (Shaun's dialogue)
  7. Out of Time
  8. Implant update session No. 7‎
  9. Fear the Future?
  10. Director's recording 108
  11. Ada: "Advanced CPUs, streamlined power systems... I often wish their hardware was compatible with my own."
    (Ada's dialogue)
  12. Ada: "It's a shame you can't fit one or two of their limbs onto my chassis. It would make a wonderful upgrade."
    (Ada's dialogue)
  13. Enrico Thompson: "Remember to keep unnecessary power consumption to a minimum. Don't recharge unless your primary levels are below two percent. Also, if you haven't patched your navigation software, do so after this meeting. The last thing we need is more synths bumping into walls. Alright, that's all for now. You can resume your duties."
    (Enrico Thompson's dialogue)
  14. The Institute terminal entries; Maintenance Requests
  15. Conrad Kellogg: "The first synths weren't all that impressive. I'm good, but I'm not that good. But the Institute could always make more, and kept making them better each time."
    (Kellogg's dialogue)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 The Institute terminal entries; Departmental Notices
  17. Sole Survivor: "So you think this Institute is responsible?"
    Nick Valentine: "Well, they're the boogeyman of the Commonwealth. Something goes wrong, everyone blames them.Easy to see why. Those early model synths of theirs strip whole towns for parts, killing everything in their way. Then you got the newer models, good as human, that infiltrate cities and pull strings from the shadows. Worst of all, no one knows why they do it, what their plan is, or where they are. Not even me, and I'm a synth myself. A discarded prototype, anyway."
    (Nick Valentine's dialogue)
  18. Sole Survivor: "What's the Institute do that's got everyone so scared?"
    Nat Wright: "The Institute has been making them for years. The old ones are sort of human-looking, but you can tell they're robots. You see a bunch of them out there in the Commonwealth. I heard they murder whole towns and carry what's left to who knows where. But the real danger is in the newer models. Synths with real flesh and blood and guts and everything."
    (Nat Wright's dialogue)
  19. Sole Survivor: "You're afraid of the Institute? Who are they?"
    Moe Cronin:"Hell if I know. One day someone's human, next day they're a synth. And no one can tell the difference. Not until they kill someone for no reason. It was bad enough when the older, robot-looking Synths would occasionally grind a town down to pulp and haul off what was left. University Point was the last loser in that game. Nothing there but Synths now."
    (Moe Cronin's dialogue)
  20. Sole Survivor: "What can you tell me about the Gen 1s and 2s?"
    Deacon: "Everyone wants to liberate the Gen 3s. The human looking synths. Some of the synths in the Railroad, like Glory, think we should help earlier models, too. But Gen 1s are basically the same as, well, a Protectron. So the line gets muddy. Do we defend AI rights? Terminals? Hell, turrets? Any time it gets brought up: fireworks. All the old arguments flare up. The upshot is Glory and some others won't run missions like this."
    (Deacon's dialogue)
  21. Synth: "Appears to be nothing. Perhaps my sensors need calibration."
    (Generic synths' dialogue)
  22. Synth: "The sensitivity of my sensors clearly needs adjustment."
    (Generic synths' dialogue)
  23. Synth: "Odd. My scanners must be malfunctioning."
    (Generic synths' dialogue)
  24. Institute scientist: "Almost done. Just need to tighten up this primary drive servo."
    Allie Filmore: "That's the third primary drive breakdown this month. As far as I'm concerned, the phase-out on these older models can't come soon enough."
    Institute scientist: "Oh, I don't know. Most of them have lasted long past their projected lifespans."
    Allie Filmore: "I can't argue with that. Even so, I'm ready to see the full gen-3 rollout."
    (Allie Filmore's dialogue)
  25. The Institute terminal entries; Terminal, 2287.2.10
  26. The Institute terminal entries; Terminal, 2277.7.10
  27. Fallout 4 loading screen hints: "Institute synths come in a variety of models, from the skeletal Gen 1 to the advanced Gen 3, which is indistinguishable from a human."
  28. Roslyn Chambers: "A living synth is indistinguishable from a human by any medical test yet devised. I'd have to perform an autopsy to be sure."
    (Roslyn Chambers/Dialogue)
  29. The Institute terminal entries; Robotics terminal, Synth vs.Android
  30. Sole Survivor: "How do they make synths?"
    Glory: "Damned if I know. The machines are... massive. Complicated. Not like anything I've seen out here. No matter what Dez and others say, synths ain't human. We're assembled bone by bone. Muscle by muscle. I've seen it."
    (Glory's dialogue)
  31. Lone Wanderer: "The android is dead. See, here's an internal component."
    Zimmer: "What? Let me see that! This is a Neuro-Servo... Unique to the A3-21... I... And you say you got this from his corpse? I suppose there's no other way you could have obtained it. Well... damn it. I was afraid this would happen, out here in this, this... Wasteland. Well. Here's 50 caps for your troubles. Try to buy yourself an education out here in this hell. Good day."
    (Zimmer's dialogue)
  32. The Institute terminal entries; Robotics terminal, Planned System Upgrades
  33. Enrico Thompson: "What's wrong? You look upset."
    Janet Thompson: "Nothing... I saw the synth Shaun today. There's something about him that just makes me sad."
    Enrico Thompson: "Why? He's not perfect, but he's a remarkable step forward for the program. You all did an amazing job."
    Janet Thompson "No I know, but I can't stop thinking about him. He's supposed to be an exact replica of a child but that's all he'll ever be. It feels wrong."
    Enrico Thompson: "I don't understand what the issue is. He is as real as any child I've ever seen."
    Janet Thompson: "That! We gave him every capability of a real child, except a future. He'll never age, he'll never be allowed to grow up or have a family of his own."
    Enrico Thompson: "So you're worried about what will happen to him?"
    Janet Thompson: "He'll be a child forever...Sometimes I feel we have no right to do the things we do, just because we can is not a reason. I think we made a mistake."
    Enrico Thompson: "Janet, don't say things like that. Someone might not understand, and take it the wrong way."
    (Enrico Thompson and Janet Thompson's dialogue)
  34. 34.0 34.1 The Institute terminal entries; Binet quarters terminal
  35. Sole Survivor: "What makes them superior?"
    Max Loken: "The list of improvements is exhaustive. I can talk for an hour and still not cover all of it. Imagine what you could accomplish if you could live without fear of hunger or disease. Imagine what you could create if you could use every waking moment of your life as you saw fit, with no need of sleep? Like I said, a momentous time."
    (Max Loken's dialogue)
  36. The Synthetic Truth: "I was struck by this very question as I sat at the counter of Power Noodles last Wednesday night, just after 5:00 pm, enjoying a dinner I had so many times before. That's when I noticed our very own Mayor McDonough sidle up to a stool, and engage in the very same ritual. Right hand extending. Mouth opening. Teeth chewing. Yes, eating noodles. The shared experience of almost every Diamond City resident."
  37. Harkness: "But this is impossible. I can’t be a robot! I’m a human being. I breathe, I eat. Hell, I cut myself shaving this morning. I was bleeding! Robots don’t bleed!"
  38. Curie: "All of these bodily functions. How do you keep track of them all? I am hungry, I am sleepy. The list goes on."
    (Curie's dialogue)