Why do so many Raiders behave like psychopaths?

In Fallout 3+ a considerable amount of the population of the wasteland are Raiders. Their bases are full of disfigured corpses, severed heads on sticks and in general, all they seem to do all day is raid settlements and torture people.

Even if you accept that with the absence of law enforcement, all latent psychopaths could roam free, I don’t believe that their numbers would be so great.

We know that e.g. super mutants…

…resulted from experiments with the Forced Evolutionary Virus which made them super strong, but also very aggressive and dumb.

Is there an in-game explanation why a major part of the surviving population behaves like psychopaths, i.e. Raiders? Maybe a Vault experiment?

I know that there is in-game information on how some Raiders capture and torture “normal” people until the “recruit” joins them. This is reminiscent of child soldiers in the real world. Still, I feel like their numbers are too great and they all seem to be enjoying it too much.

Answer

While Virusbomb’s answer is correct that the underlying reason is due to gameplay mechanics, I think there’s also an in-game explanation given–albeit, not one as explicitly spelled-out as some of Fallout’s other worldbuilding pieces.

Psycho is a chem in the Fallout-verse that’s very commonly found in Raider camps. It’s often associated with Raiders even more than other chems–Cait, a Fallout 4 ex-Raider companion, uses Psycho as her chem of choice.

She’s become so addicted to it that normal methods of recovering from addiction are no longer possible for her.

In Fallout 3’s Operation Anchorage DLC, you see how this drug was initially designed: its initial purpose was to increase soldiers’ effectiveness and aggression in battle, and it is described as having long-term side effects once taken. Doctor Adami, the physician administering the drug, says in her holotape:

I’ve read the early clinical trials, and there are certainly some possible side effects — dementia, psychotic aggression. And of course addiction.

Additionally, while Tactics is no longer considered canon, the fact that Fallout Tactics contains the perk Psychotic with the flavor text:

Your body has mutated to adapt to psycho stimulants. Effects of Psycho are doubled and the effects of withdrawal are halved.

Additionally suggests that Psycho is, in-universe, meant to cause long-term irreversible aggression and psychosis if overused. The game’s suggested intent seems to be that Raiders, with their culture of using and abusing chems in general and Psycho in particular, tend towards psychosis and violent aggression more than the rest of the wasteland’s population, and that this damage doesn’t reverse itself even for Raiders who aren’t actively using.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : problemofficer , Answer Author : Lamprey

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