One day a shotgun-toting man in a leather jacket walked into Junktown with his dog. The man was killed by thugs and the dog was left all alone. When another traveler walked into town a month later and befriended him, Dogmeat decided to follow the traveler to the ends of the Earth — it so happens this second traveler was the Player Character of the first Fallout game. According to the manual for Fallout 2 where the Vault Dweller recounts his adventures, Dogmeat died running into a force field in the Mariposa Military Base, but returned in Fallout 2 in an optional random encounter to aid the Chosen One. In Fallout 3 the Lone Wanderer finds Dogmeat in a junkyard, and Word of God is that somehow this is a descendant of the original Dogmeat.
Dead Guy Junior / Someone to Remember Him By: In Fallout 3 there's the Puppies! perk, added in Broken Steel. Should Dogmeat get killed in the line of duty, one of his puppies/reincarnation will appear by the Vault 101 entrance a short time later. The puppy is treated as if he were the original and is thus subject to the perk as well.
Everything's Precious with Puppies: Awww, did Dogmeat die heroically in combat in the DC Wasteland? Well now your beloved companion is gone forever... or is he? With the Puppies! perk you'll never have to worry about his safety again! Whenever he bites it you'll just have to wait for a new doggie buddy to show up at vault 101. Truly, puppies make everything better.
Fragile Speedster: Dogmeat has tons of action points per turn and a nasty bite. Too bad he can't wear armor. Subverted in 3 thanks to the next trope.
Infinity–1 Sword: Like Fawkes and RL-3, he levels up with the player with the Broken Steel DLC added for Fallout 3, and can end up with insane health by time you reach level 30. The only thing keeping him from being Plus One is his lack of a long range attack.
Killed Off for Real: The Vault Dweller's memoirs state that it's canon that the original Dogmeat died running into a force field.
Legacy Character: There's a Dogmeat in all three main games. He's not to be found in New Vegas, but the player can find Rex the cyberdog as a replacement.
Self-Imposed Challenge: In the original Fallout, keeping Dogmeat alive can be a bit frustrating, especially in the last few levels where he's constantly in harm's way. To make matters worse, you can't give him any kind of instructions or tell him to stay put, meaning that he'll be the first to run into a fight. It is possible to make him survive the entire game, but it's tricky. Then again, by that point he is more trouble than he's worth and there isn't any other tangible reward other than a warm fluffy feeling.
Timey-Wimey Ball: How Dogmeat survived the first game in spite of dying in it. The way you get him in Fallout 2 is a random encounter where cut characters and dummied out incarnations of existing characters can be found, and Dogmeat is among them and follows you out. Considering some of the other random encounters in Fallout 2, it's possible that some sort of time or dimensional travel is actually taking place here.
Video Game Caring Potential: You can pet him, treat his injuries, feed him yummy food and prevent him from dying horribly while he tries to defend your life. *Sniff*
A person horribly mutated by FEV, he resembles ghouls pretty strongly - aside from having a plant growing from his head. The plant's name is Bob, but he calls it Herbert... Which is pretty sophisticated humor coming from a man with a root system entrenched in his brain. In the first game, he's a beggar in the Hub who provides information to the player for a price. In the second game he becomes maor of Gecko, a city of ghouls. By the third game he's migrated to the Capital Wasteland, but Bob has grown too much and he literally puts down permanent roots, Bob growing into a massive forest with Harold as the central hub of the network.
Action Survivor: He's survived more than a hundred years and has been around some pretty dangerous places and people, but he still endures.
A God I Am Not: In Fallout 3, the Treeminders who care for him think that, as a living tree at the heart of a lush forest in the middle of a wasteland, he's a god. Harold has tried over and over to get them to believe that he is not a god, but they assume he's "testing their faith."
Beat Still, My Heart: Bob growing through him in Fallout 3 has removed his heart some ten or twelve feet below his head and brain, yet he lives and it beats.
Body Horror: Getting worse as the years go by, although Bob seems to have saved him from the fate of fellow FEV-sufferer Richard Grey...
Companion Cube: He talks to and about Bob as if they were the best of friends. Again, Bob is a tree growing from his head.
Cool Old Guy: Some NPCs remark that he has a lot of interesting stories to tell. They're not lying.
Shadow Archetype: It's not apparent (because of the different rates of their mutated), but Harold has integrated with nature in the same way that the Master integrated with technology. And while both have suffered Sanity Slippage from the experience, Harold has become more benevolent (toward the residents of Gecko, the Treeminders, etc.) while Richard Grey plummeted into monstrous behavior.
When the bombs fell, a faction of US army soldiers survived in the Mariposa Military Base. Under the command of Captain Roger Maxson, they came to the surface and reconnected with other survivors, then headed to the Lost Hills bunker to start anew. Thus began the Brotherhood of Steel, a pseudo-religious, pseudo-medieval society of humans that believe in the power of technology and the fallibility of man.
Anti-Hero: With the exception of some of their more zealous members, the Brotherhood universally does what they believe is best for humanity; it varies if they're right or not. They also tend to be xenophobic isolationists who may or may not look down on outsiders.
Cult: The Brotherhood is very much a borderline religion. They zealously distrust outsiders, believe in the superiority of technology to aid humanity, have a rigid caste system, live isolated from the outside world, and follow the "Codex" and its teachings. They use the phrase "Steel be with you" as a greeting and farewell in the manner of a religious blessing, and some of the passages we hear quoted from the Codex sound like religious scripture.
Divergent Character Evolution: As of New Vegas, there are four branches of the Brotherhood in the main series, and all of them have turned out quite different from the Brotherhood of the first game.
The West Coast Mojave chapter follows the Codex so rigidly they will not deviate even though their Elder knows that doing so is leading to their destruction. Their membership is closed to all outsiders, and they violently seize technology they deem the rest of the world not worthy of using.
The East Coast DC chapter follows what they see as the spirit of the Codex, which was meant to protect humanity. Instead of just collecting and hoarding technology, they use it to make a difference protecting civilization from raiders and mutants, and open their ranks to outsiders. While this makes them more sympathetic than other factions, they have suffered for those decisions.
The East Coast "Outcasts" that left the DC Chapter follow the Codex, but not as strictly as the West Coast. They hoard technology but do not confiscate it, refuse to let outsiders join but will accept aid from them, and fight raiders and mutants but only in self-defense.
The Mid-West Chapter believes that technology should be shared with the rest of the wasteland, but believe themselves to be superior to those not in their ranks. They are the most open about recruitment as they allow anyone of any race, background, or species to join them.
Elaborate Underground Base: The Brotherhood's bases are often underground bunkers or tunnel complexes. Averted in Fallout 3 where they make their base in the ruins of the Pentagon.
Elite Army: In addition to their advanced equipment, they train rigorously. The result is that Brotherhood members are individually some of the most badass beings in the wastes.
Fantastic Racism: They take an oath to destroy all super mutants and ghouls, even the ones who are intelligent and benign. Sometimes subverted, however — in New Vegas they left Marcus' mutants alone out of respect for Marcus' previous actions on their behalf.
Hidden Elf Village: The Brotherhood often are not seen frequently outside their bases and are very secretive about their operations, and usually do not get involved in matters that do not concern them unless there's technology to be acquired. Getting into their super-secret base to talk to their leaders and get access to their gear is often a late-game quest.
Their belief is understandable, considering A) the world is in the state it is because of the misuse of technology, B) some of this tech - such as FEV - simply has no wise, safe utility, and C) the majority of Wastelanders - raiders, Mafioso, various cannibal/gangster/slaver factions - are proudly amoral.
Machine Worship: Though they don't outright worship technology, they do hold it in high regard and operate in a way similar to religious knighthoods of the Middle Ages. Again, their greeting and farewell "Steel be with you" comes to mind.
Technology Marches On: invoked This trope is occurring in-universe, and it's why their organization is fading from power. In the first game the Brotherhood had the best equipment, bar none, in the entire wasteland. Eighty years later in the sequel, the arrival of the Enclave and advance of civilization has reduced their power, but they remain strong. Forty years later in New Vegas, the wasteland has advanced so far that even raiders have access to laser weapons, and air travel has been re-established by NCR. The Brotherhood's only remaining technological advantage is their power armor, but NCR has salvaged suits from them and is likely in the process of reverse-engineering them, so even that probably won't last much longer.
Before the Great War, the United States government knew that one way or the other, nuclear annihilation was inevitable. When the bombs fell, the leaders of the nation, a large faction of the military, and other persons of importance, were sequestered in bunkers and survived. They emerged to form the Enclave, proudly declaring themselves the last bastion of pure humanity and the heirs to the legacy of America.
Anti-Villain: Aside from Frank Horrigan in 2, most of the Enclave officers you can talk to are relatively reasonable and rational people who want to restore America to glory.
Blue and Orange Morality: They want to restore America and humanity, but due to the latent radiation of the wasteland thanks to the nuclear war, they see all mainland humans as mutants, save for those safe in the vaults. So their plans to rebuild the country demand that you and most of the other wasteland inhabitants be killed. To them, shooting a human Wastelander is no more "immoral" than it is to shoot a Super Mutant or ghoul.
Broken Pedestal: The remnants of the United States government see their own people as mutants needing to be wiped out so they can rebuild properly.
Eagleland: They think they're a Type 1 — proud, stalwart defenders of freedom and liberty who want to restore America's glory. They're actually a Type 2 — violent war-mongers who kill anyone who stands in their way to take over the country.
Evil Counterpart: Like the Brotherhood of Steel, they're an isolated army with technologically advanced equipment descended from the remnants of the US government and military. Unlike the Brotherhood, they see outsiders as enemies to be eradicated and use their technology to try and conquer the wasteland.
A Million Is a Statistic: Yes, in theory they could go from village to village, conducting genetic testing to seperate the worthy from the doomed, but that would require more resources than they have. 'Death to all,' on the other hand, is within their budget, so...
Obviously Evil: Did the black power armor not tip you off the first time you saw them?
Outside-Context Villain: While they're a very well-established part of the world lore now, the in-universe characters never saw them coming in 2 or 3. In 2, no one beyond San Francisco had ever heard of the Enclave, and with 3 they were thought a rumor or a hoax: some characters even assumed Enclave Radio was 'old recordings on a loop somewhere' because President Eden sounded so out-of-touch with the postapocalypse.
Powered Armor: The Enclave has a monopoly on Advanced Power Armor and its variants such as the Hellfire and Tesla armor. They're even better than the Brotherhood of Steel's T-51b and T-45d standard power armor, and in most games where the Enclave appears a variant of the armor is usually the Armor of Invincibility.
President Evil: Played with, while the faction is evil and is lead by the President, both Presidents you meet are pleasant, friendly guys who will engage you in conversation as if you just dropped by for a friendly chat, and both take no pleasure in their plans, they just believe they are Necessarily Evil.
Putting on the Reich: They see themselves as the last pure strain of humanity, and all other "humans" are lesser beings that must be killed so a glorious new America can be built on their ashes.
The Remnant: Of the United States government and military.
Vestigial Empire: They're this to start with and get smaller and smaller each game, since they make the mistake of making the Player Character their enemy. With the destruction of their East Coast bases it's unknown if they even exist beyond scattered survivors or cells.
Once, these creatures were Jackson's chameleons, but the radiation from the Great War mutated them into one of the most dangerous beings to ever walk the wasteland. Towering over humans with claws as long as your hand and jaws large enough to bite that hand off, deathclaws are some of the most powerful creatures you'll ever have the misfortune to come across. The Enclave occasionally tries to make use of deathclaws as shock troopers.
Achilles' Heel: In the Bethesda-era games, they are very vulnerable to crippled legs. With one of their legs crippled even the mighty deathclaw can do nothing but hobble towards you slowly while you wheel back and take potshots at it from a safe distance.
The Dreaded: Everyone in the Fallout universe is afraid of deathclaws. It's right there in the name even.
Elite Mooks: Deathclaws are universally among the toughest enemies you'll face in any given Fallout game. Even more dangerous variants sometimes appear: there are Deathclaw Mothers in some games, and New Vegas introduces the Deathclaw Alpha Male.
The Juggernaut: They used to be chameleons, but now are just hulking masses of muscle and claw that rip apart anything in their path.
The Worf Effect: Deathclaws are one of the most dangerous things you'll encounter in the Wasteland, so the series occasionally demonstrates just how badass something is by having them kill a deathclaw. Frank Horrigan punches one into pieces in Fallout 2, and the New Vegas expansion Lonesome Road has a tunneler tear a deathclaw's head off.
Before the Great War, the United States feared chemical or biological attacks from the Chinese, and began engineering a universal antivirus to protect their troops. When it was discovered this antivirus altered subjects on a genetic level and drastically increased their muscle mass, it was renamed the Forced Evolutionary Virus. In the post-apocalyptic world, the humans exposed to it become super mutants, hulking brutes with incredibly physical strength, but generally low intelligence. They and their leader are the villains of the first game: since then they've become just another faction in the massive Fallout universe.There are two types of Super Mutants, because two (known) sources of FEV were used and the virus expressed itself a little differently. 'Mariposa Super Mutants' range from southern Oregon through California and Nevada, and are so named because the vats of FEV culture that they're dipped in for transformation exist(ed) at Mariposa Military Base. 'Vault 87 Super Mutants' range Virgina, Maryland and Washington DC, and get their name from the particular Vault where they are exposed to FEV in some sort of aerosol exposure chamber.
The Ageless: They claim that they are immortal. While there's no hard evidence to prove it, there is little reason to deny it when some super mutants show no signs of aging even after a few centuries. Senility does appear in some Western mutants in Fallout 2 but does not seem to reduce their physical prowess.
BFG: Due to their massive size, super mutants have no problem using and prefer the likes of plasma rifles, miniguns, rocket launchers, etc.
Body Horror: Not counting the fact that the transformation process causes the subject to nearly double in size, and lose most or all of their features and their reproductive systems (depending on which type of super mutant), the failures tend to look... unpleasant.
The Dreaded: Opinions on super mutants tend to vary depending on when, where, and who you ask (though very few places welcome them with open arms). Everyone agrees however that an angry super mutant is a nightmare.
Dumb Muscle: While not all super mutant subjects become mumbling idiots, most do. The Lieutenant and Marcus are pretty much the only super mutants you meet that could be considered intelligent by normal standards. Even other mutant commanders are pretty dumb, just not as dumb as their underlings.
Elite Mook: Often among the toughest enemies of the series. They also have their own Elite Mooks among them. The West Coast mutants have the Nightkin, the East Coast have the Overlords and Behemoths.
Painful Transformation: The transformation into a super mutant apparently hurts. A lot. Fawkes hints in 3 that this is the reason, at least with the Vault 87 strain, why super mutants lose their minds.
Post-Apunkalyptic Armor: There's not really anything that will fit them. As such they tend to improvise with random junk.
Stronger with Age: East Coast Super Mutants, created from a different strand of FEV than their West Coast counterparts, get bigger and stronger as they get older, with some reaching heights of twenty feet and strength capable of ripping apart a Vertibird single-handedly.
Super Soldier: Once the effects of FEV were made apparent, they were chosen to be elite soldiers to fight the Chinese. And later, they form the lynchpin of The Master's army.
The Virus: They increase their ranks by dipping other humans in FEV.
Was Once a Man: Every one of them used to be human. As noted above most take it in stride.
Sometimes, being exposed to massive amounts of radiation doesn't kill you, it just mutates you heavily. Ghouls were all once human, but mutated into zombie-like masses of rotting flesh. On the upside, this makes them immortal by stopping their aging, and most ghouls retain their mental faculties. For a time, anyway; ghouls can devolve into feral ghouls, losing all their humanity and intelligence and becoming ferocious monsters.
The Ageless: It's been over two centuries since the first ghouls were made and we've yet to hear of one dying of old age. Everyone in-universe (and many out-of) assumes that ghoulification makes you immortal, and so far little contradicts that.
Age Without Youth: That said, in at least one case (Raul), he states that his physical abilities and eyesight have deteriorated over the years and attributes this to getting older, possibly making it this trope instead. How correct Raul might be is never resolved in New Vegas.
Deceased and Diseased: Ghouls love radiation, which is fatal to humans. But to a ghoul, radiation can range from harmless to pleasant, and in the Bethesda-era games, ghoul-type enemies are healed by it.
Depending on the Writer: How ghouls become feral ghouls. Sometimes it's part of the process, sometimes prolonged exposure to radiation does it, and sometimes all ghouls go feral after enough time has passed.
Elite Mooks: The Glowing Ones, ghouls which have a bright luminous glow as a result of radiation exposure.
Evil Sounds Raspy: Though not evil, most ghouls acquire a deep rasp to their voice as a result of ghoulification. Feral ghouls just let out raspy shrieks and groans.
Fragile Speedster: Ghouls tend to be pretty speedy, but having a lot of their flesh and muscle decay away doesn't do much to increase their durability in combat.
Like Goes with Like: Played With. According to Harland (a ghoul mercenary in New Vegas), ghouls can find other ghouls attractive. Though, this might might not be true. The majority of ghouls encountered consider ghoulish appearance to be horrendously ugly. That said, at least one paying human customer at the Atomic Wrangler likes ghoul prostitutes and there are also ghoul dancers at Gamorrah, but whether for ghoul or human patrons is never made clear.
No Sell: Due to their modified biology, ghouls are usually immune to chems, alcohol, and other intoxicants. It's not an absolute however, as in Fallout 3 a ghoul chemist is defining a more potent version of the drug jet that ghouls can use.
Our Zombies Are Different: In-universe people treat ghouls like zombies, but they aren't, they were never dead in the first place, they usually maintain their intelligence and personalities, and some even form towns and live peaceful lives. But thanks to the ferals, which basically are zombies in practicality, the stereotype endures. This is the focus of a Fallout 3 quest, where the questgiver expresses disgust over ghoul-hating humans who believe the only way to kill a ghoul is to shoot them in the head like a traditional zombie.
Really 700 Years Old: Since they no longer age, ghouls can live for decades or centuries. Some of the ones you meet were even alive before the Great War, making them almost 300 years old. How much of that they remember though varies, since ghouls again, may lose some of their mental faculties, and they can still go senile.
The mascot of Vault-Tec and of the Fallout franchise. With a Vault Suit on his back and a smile on his face, Vault Boy is plastered all over merchandise, menu icons, and posters in-universe, beckoning civilians to a new life in the safety of a Vault-Tec bunker.
Covered with Scars: According to one character you look like you "Lit your face on fire and tried to put it out with an ice pick." He then says he read that in a joke book, but considering how often you get shot at...
Worthy Opponent: By the end even the Calculator has come to admire your tenacity.
Utopia Justifies the Means: If the Warrior merges with the Calculator with bad karma, then s/he murders the Brotherhood Elders, dissidents, and prepares for a potential war with the rest of the Brotherhood back west all in the name of creating a safe wasteland.
The Warrior's initial commanding officer, General Barnaky gives the player his missions and objectives. He's a gruff Drill Sergeant Nasty and will be quite harsh on the Warrior until they earn his respect with several successful mission completions.
Brainwashed and Crazy/Face-Heel Turn: After being defeated by the Calculator's robots, his brain is extracted from his body and placed in a unique humanoid brain-bot to serve as the Calculator's The Dragon. He retains his original personality and memories, but has been indoctrinated into believing in the Calculator's goals.
Brain in a Jar: What the Calculator does to him. You can potentially do it to him again, uploading his brain into the Calculator itself.
Cyborg: His fate at the hands of the Calculator.
The Dragon: The Calculator turns him into its Cyborg General, due to his extensive knowledge of the B.O.S.'s capabilities and tactics.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: He's full of this in the earlier missions, although he does drop it quite a bit once you earn his respect by completing several missions successfully. Helps that he's voiced by the Patron Saint of this Trope.
Fantastic Racism: He's shown to have a very strong disdain for Super Mutants and Ghouls, and if he's allowed to merge with the Calculator he ends up enslaving those populations to serve humanity. He's not a huge fan of Tribals, either, as he makes perfectly clear to you (a Tribal) in the first few missions.
Morality Pet: His wife, Maria, is this to him. To the point that even when robotized and working for the Calculator if he detects his locket or letter to his wife on you when you fight him, he realizes what he's doing is wrong and gives up.
Not Quite The Right Thing: Allowing Barnacky to merge with the Calculator, instead of doing the Heroic Sacrifice yourself or simply destroying it and letting its technology and power go to waste, seems like a very clever way to Take a Third Option. This quickly turns out to not be the case, as the racist Barnacky ends up enslaving the native population of the Wasteland, as well as the Super Mutants and Ghouls, to serve the Brotherhood.
The leader of the Super Mutant army and the initial major foe the Brotherhood of Steel faces.
Authority Equals Asskicking/Anticlimax Boss: On the one hand, Gammorin has fairly high stats and is a pretty good fighter. On the other hand, he's fought almost alone with only a couple Super Mutants helping him, while you have your entire 6 person squad.
Disc One Final Boss: Defeating him is the main objective of the first 1/3rd of the game, before the Calculator's forces reveal themselves.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: His main goal is to strengthen the Super Mutant army in order for them to fight the Calculator's forces and stop it from exterminating all organic life in the Wasteland. Unfortunately, the way he goes about doing this is fairly destructive for the surrounding population, which is not helped by the fact he's at least partially insane.
You Kill It, You Bought It: Gammorin turns out to be Paladin Latham, a high-ranking Brotherhood of Steel commander, who was lost during the original crash of the expedition's ships, and ended up being captured by the Super Mutant army. He killed the real General Gammorin in combat, an act which earned him the Super Mutants' respect and caused him to end up becoming their leader, taking Gammorin's name in the process. Due to a head injury he sustained during the fight, though, he's slowly going insane and now partially believes himself to be the original Gammorin.
A computer overseer of Vault 0 and the leader of the robot army.
Blue and Orange Morality: It's actually doing what it was programmed to do. Problem is a few cut corners in safety protocol, a century without maintenance, and being plugged into a bunch of brains of questionable quality has corrupted its programming.