Abandoned Mine: Quite a few. There's the Coyote Mines, Lucky Jim Mine, Ruby Hill Mine, Searchlight Mines, Silver Peak Mine... Many have been taken over by creatures as dens. One, the Techatticup Mine, has been converted into a makeshift Legion camp.
The Gun Runners Arsenal add-on kicks this up a notch with pulse slugs that do bonus damage to robots, flechette shells to shred armoured targets, and dragon's breath rounds, that create bursts of flames.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Cosmic Knife. Log files left behind by the chefs in the Sierra Madre Casino state that the chefs are almost always nearly cutting off their fingers with them, and that they effortlessly cut through the cutting boards so often that they're going through at least one per day.
Hardcore Mode averts several of these. Ammo is no longer weightless, you need to eat and drink and sleep regularly to survive, companions can die permanently, and wounds are not instantly healed.
One exception is that the ED-E of Lonesome Road is still flagged as "essential" and therefore unkillable even in Hardcore Mode, primarily because his survival is required for the player to actually complete Lonesome Road.
J. E. Sawyer himself released his own personal mod to avert this even more. In particular, Stimpaks are less potent, they have weight, the majority you find are expired (and thus even less powerful), and the ones you make yourself are slightly weaker and come with a minor stat penalty. Base carry weight and health are decreased, primary needs increase faster, and food/water loot is dramatically less common. As Sawyer said, "Being shot three times in the gut and slowly bleeding out over five hours before dying permanently isn't very fun."
An Aesop: The DLC, together, all pretty much end with the lesson, "Let go of the past." All the primary characters of the DLC are, in some way, unable to move on after a point in their life note Elijah's defeat at Helios One, Graham's "execution" by Caesar and his own past, the Think Tank's refusal to cease their experiments, and Ulysses' witnessing the unwitting destruction of the Divide by the Courier, to say nothing of the huge emphasis on old-world technology.
The nice old lady that runs the motel in Novac? She sold a woman and her unborn baby as slaves to the Legion.
Benny seems genuinely affable most of the time — but hey, business is business (nothing personal). His evil is pretty debatable though, seeing as his endgame is an independent New Vegas and he seems mostly heartfelt to a Black Widow Courier who spares him.
Caesar is a polite, well-educated man who used to be a member of the Followers of the Apocalypse, and still believes in some of their ideals. He's actually not that bad a guy — if you don't mind all the slavery, rape and mass murder.
Motor-Runner, provided you pass the Vault 3 speech check that allows you to sell drugs to him, is extremely nice, especially for a fiend. He treats you with a measure of respect, is willing to bargain for drug prices, genuinely cares about the Fiends under him (referring to them as "my people" and leading them to Vault 3 to help protect them), and will even graciously accept the player's challenge to a fight... despite having butchered the Vault's defenceless inhabitants, who welcomed them with open arms.
A.K.A.-47: There are a lot more familiar looking firearms, most are given generic names:
The "Cowboy Repeater" is an old Winchester 1886 Lever-Action rifle; The "Trail Carbine" is a Marlin Model 336, and the "Brush Gun" while not a direct representation of any single real gun, is primarily based on the Marlin Model 1895.
The "9mm pistol" is the Browning Hi-Power, and the "9mm Submachine gun" is a slightly-smaller WW2 M3A1 "Greasegun."
The "Hunting Shotgun" is the Remington Model 870, the player even pumps it one handed after reloading just like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Speaking of Terminator, the lever-action Winchester 1887/1901 shotgun that Arnold uses appears as the "Lever-Action Shotgun" as wellnote —sort of. The gun in the game is a 20-gauge, whereas the Winchest 1887/1901 was only chambered for 12 gauge (black powder) and 10 gauge (smokeless) respectively.
The "Silenced .22LR SMG" is an American 180, complete with optional drum magazines.
The Silenced .22 Pistol is the Ruger 22/45.
The "Service Rifle" is an AR-15/M16 with wood furniture, the Assault Carbine is an M16-based Colt Commandonote Model 733, and the "Marksman Carbine" is another M16-esque weaponnote Model 933 with a variety of real-life modern features.
Strangely, the Assault Carbine and the Service Rifle/Marksman Carbine don't use the same ammo.
The unique service rifle found in Honest Hearts, the 12.7mm-chambered "Survivalist's Rifle", is a send-out of the Beowulf .50-cal conversion of the AR platform.
The "All-American" is a unique Marksman Carbine that prominently bears the logo of the real-life 82nd Airborne Division.
The "Light Machine Gun" is a mishmash of the FN Minimi and M60.
Two of the weapons that come with the Dead Money DLC are the M1918 BAR and Colt New Service revolver, appearing as the "Automatic Rifle" and "Police Pistol," respectively.
The ".45 Auto Pistol" in Honest Hearts is the Colt M1911. This one merits special attention because Joshua Graham goes out of his way to tell you about the gun's history without actually naming it:
Joshua Graham: "This weapon was designed by a member of our tribe almost four hundred years ago. Mastering it is a New Canaanite rite of passage."
The Thompson Sub Machine-Gun appears in Honest Hearts DLC as the ".45 Auto Submachine Gun," and has a laser variant in the base game in the form of the "Laser RCW."
The "Grenade Rifle" is an M79 grenade launcher.
The "Grenade Launcher" (a different weapon) is a China Lake NATIC. Same for the Holorifle from Dead Money, though this one fires Hard Light projectiles rather than grenades.
The S&W Model 29 returns from Fallout 3 as the ".44 Magnum."
The ".357 Magnum" is a mishmash of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver and the Ruger Vaquero.
The "Hunting Revolver" is a Magnum Research Big Frame Revolvernote Although the Hunting Revolver is a double-action gun with a swing-out cylinder, where the actual BFR is single-action and has a loading gate.
The "Single Shotgun" is the New England Pardner.
The "Anti-Materiel Rifle" is a PGM Hécate II.
"This Machine," as well as its non-unique "Battle Rifle" version from the Gun Runner's Arsenal, is an M1 Garand. The unique version's name is a reference to the motto carved into Woody Guthrie's guitar, "This Machine Kills Fascists." Hilariously, the gun has a carving of its own stating "Well This Machine Kills Communists."
A ton of Fallout-only weapons have their own in-universe brand names, obviously not being real guns but some having real companies behind them.
The 12.7mm Pistol is a rechambered Sig Sauer 14mm pistol.
The "Plasma Caster" is a Winchester P94 Plasma Rifle.
The "Plasma Defender" is a Glock 86 Plasma Pistol.
It should be noted that several mods rename all of the above guns to their inspirations.
The Alcoholic: given the state of things, it's no surprise that drunks and junkies can be found everywhere — even the player can become one!
Fiends are violent tribes of druggies who are so completely and constantly off their heads that they're basically rabid animals
Cass, or "Whiskey Rose". She really likes her whiskey.
One task involves cleaning up two former Followers of the Apocalypse
All Amazons Want Hercules: Red Lucy, who was probably named after Red Sonja. You can sleep with her, but only after you've brought back eggs from the most dangerous creatures in the Mojave, which typically means raiding their nests.
Lampshaded in one of the loading screens, which mentions that NCR military aren't happy with their role as Mojave's police force, which is why they've made most crime punishable by instant execution.
The King has two places in which he sits when you enter the King's School of Impersonation. One of them is next to a Jukebox. Apparently turning a jukebox on or off is a crime worthy of being shot at, punched, hacked, or stabbed by everybody in the building. This could be a reference to Wasteland, where in the Quartz Bar several punks turn hostile for coming close to a jukebox playing Ratt.
Actually well justified in post-holocaust economy. In Real Life third-world countries theft is sometimes punishable by death as depriving someone of even negligible (from our standpoint) amounts of resources may lead to death of the victim. On the other hand, the wish to attack with the bare hands a well-armed and dangerous raider type who took few of your caps counts definitely as Artificial Stupidity.
Another example of this is during an unmarked sidequest to figure out who or what is killing some brahmin in Novac. If you are using any kind of weapon with spread, and you miss the Nightkin who is shooting the cows, the entire town will turn against you, including a potential companion. That's right, the town will side with a giant blue mutant toting a minigun who has been killing their cows because you accidentaly nicked one.
The Alleged Everything: Virtually all of the prewar technology left in the wastes is either no longer functioning or teetering on the very edge of breaking down permanently and irreparably. Some of the guns you can pick up are quite literally held together with electrical tape. Technology that was produced postwar, or which has been continuously maintained, generally averts this, though — the NCR and the Gun Runners employ some very skilled engineers.
The Alleged Expert: Fantastic, the technician hired to fix the Helios One power grid, has no idea what he's doing.
If you play the side quest that involves fixing the grid, expect Fantastic to get full credit for your work.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: You can invoke the trope while trying to seduce Benny, via Black Widow or charisma options. He is understandably disturbed by the offer... at least, at first.
All Hail the Great God Mickey!: The Kings became a gang of ElvisImpersonators. After finding a school filled with memorabilia, instructions on how to act like him, and a metric ton of hair gel, they figured it must be a place of worship, and that they'd keep his memory alive. They're not wrong, per se, but they still do this without even knowing the name "Elvis Presley"... the only documentation of their deity lists him as "The King".
Alliance Meter: Used to measure your standing with the various factions. In the case of Mr. House though, he'll consider you his employee until the moment you act against him. The Alliance Meter is actually much more important than the Karma Meter in many ways. People don't care if you're good or evil out in the wasteland, they care if you've been killing their friends.
One unusual wrinkle to this trope is that fame and infamy do not subtract from one another. If you've been very good to a faction, then do something brutal to that faction, you'll get a "mixed" reputation that is not quite the same as a "neutral" reaction. People belonging to that faction will comment to you that they have no idea whose side you're on or what you're up to.
Another wrinkle is that your reputation among factions is reset to neutral while you wear armor of another faction, allowing you to infiltrate a faction that hates you normally by wearing the armor of another faction they like. In turn, wearing the armor of a faction they hate can make people normally friendly attack you.
All That Glitters: Dead Money deals with this. There's a huge pile of gold in the Sierra Madre vault. It's real, but it's also a trap, and barring trickery, nearly all the gold will remain in the vault forever. The inverted version of the trope is also brought up. The greatest treasure in the Sierra Madre is not the gold in its vault, but the fact that it's an almost-intact Pre-War facility with technology unavailable anywhere else in the Wasteland, with the exception of the Big MT. Side with Elijah and gain control of the facility, and you become an unstoppable force capable of trivially annihilating all the warring factions of the Wasteland.
All There in the Manual: Some bits of backstory, like what happened to the NCR in between Fallout 2 and New Vegas and what the Legion's territory is like, are only available to people who bought the Collector's Edition Strategy Guide.
Altum Videtur: Caesar's Legion uses a lot of Latin. Latin names, ranks, currency, uniforms, punishments, etc. You can even use it for a small side-quest against a captured Legion Centurion POW that the NCR captured, provided your Intelligence is high enough. They're also pronounced correctly (Caesar is pronounced Kajsar).
Part of the job description for raider gangs like the Jackals, Vipers, Scorpions, and especially the Fiends.
The Powder Gangers do trade with at least one town (which happens to be full of degenerate lowlifes), but they're escaped convicts and it shows
The White Legs in Honest Hearts have had a Rape, Pillage, and Burn mentality for so long that they've never bothered to develop any skills they'd need to be self-sufficient, such as agriculture or foraging. Harassing caravans and settlements to steal supplies is the only way they know to survive.
Always Check Behind the Chair: Sometimes, supplies and other things are pretty well hidden behind something. You can easily miss the unique weapons Ratslayer, All-American, Compliance Regulator, Thump-Thump, and even Annabelle (if you think that the Nightkin on top of the radio tower is nothing special) if you don't bother to check unless you are reading a guide.
The Legion also tends to hide their traps very well, mostly by way of land mines underneath corpses.
Americans Hate Tingle: In-universe. While Sunset Sarsaparilla was popular in what became the Mojave Wasteland, where it was first produced commercially, it sold very poorly in the Northeast. This is also a Hand Wave as to why it didn't appear in Fallout 3.
Anachronism Stew: Let's see here. You wake up in a town with an old western theme, and move outward to find old-west convict chains, "prospectors" and sarsaparilla, plasma weapons next to old-school rifles and TNT, crime families, Elvis impersonators and swanky casinos; a billionaire who's literally from Before The End, many vaults each sporting different threats from ghouls to plant people, a faction of high-tech hoarding xenophobists, another faction that instead hoards explosives, many varieties of raider groups, and a Roman Empire-inspired army, clad in armour made mostly from football equipment, fighting a war against American soldiers dressed like British Tommies and Texan Rangers. Also featuring robots of all shapes and sizes; such a cowboy and dominatrix. And that's before you get into the DLCs which, among other things, feature what amounts to a forced casino heist with ghosts and zombies, a tribal war involving automatic firearms, an interplay of mad science and psychiatry, and finally, an (ongoing) apocalyptic wasteland.
Both subverted and played straight. In the Wild Card (Independent anarchy) ending, assuming you solve every town's problems and know when to use diplomacy and when to answer with force, it's actually one of the better endings. If you don't, the Mojave collapses into mayhem and is overrun with raider tribes.
This also shows in the ideology of NCR and, to some extent, also Caesar's Legion. Both factions consider autarchical communities and tribes as unruly and chaotic and they consider uniting them into one big entity an only way to maintain any kind of order. Given the Raiders' activity they are at least partially right.
An Axe to Grind: A few of them, especially the fire axe. Throw in some Rule of Cool and technobabble, and you get the Protonic Inversal Axe.
A possible fate for Mr. House if you chose to bring him out of the chamber but spare him. He will be unable to control anything or have contact with the outside world. But his medical equipment will keep him alive for at least a year. He will be totally cut off from the outside world as he dies a slow death.
Possibly Father Elijah as well, if you sneak out of the vault as opposed to fighting him. This results in him accessing a computer and triggering a trap which locks him in the vault. However, he does have access to several guns, so it's more a question of how long it'll take before he's Driven to Suicide.
You can do to yourself as well...if you choose to read the computer and activate the trap yourself.
All of the personality constructs in the Sink of Old World Blues are stuck in the same three rooms together, unable to move or meaningfully interact with their environment in any way. Except Muggy, who is pitiable for a different reason.
They don't seem to mind it though, probably because that's what they are designed for. And some of the endings involve the constructs transferring to other facilities.
The Y-17 Trauma Override Harness was designed to bring a soldier automatically back to camp. However, several bugs in the software of the suit included malfunctions in the IFF and the inability to sense if the wearer is even alive, resulting in an "unpredictable wandering state." It left anyone who wore the suit to watch helplessly as it gunned down friends and loved ones and wander aimlessly and ceaselessly before slowly dying of starvation or dehydration. Many of the suits continued to wander after the occupants died.
And Now For Something Completely Different: All four DLC packs do a Genre Shift or shift in tone. Dead Money turns the game into a Survival Horror-type level with item management, and focuses on how the events from the Pre-War period affects the citizens of the Mojave, with optimistic endings and solemn looks at the past. Honest Hearts is a complete story-guided history lesson and adventure game rolled into one, with an Aesop on how the factions affect the entire society outside of New Vegas, and has several Player Punch style endings with varying levels of Downer Ending outcomes. Old World Blues is a comedic open-world sandbox with overpowered weapons and armor perfect for fighting the powerful enemies of the Big MT, and generally explains any mysteries in the main game, while setting up how the actions of the people of the Big MT affected previous DLCs and the game, and has happy and wacky endings. Lonesome Road is an uber-hard linear gauntlet that tests all the player's skills, and how the actions of you, the Courier, helped cause the events of the game, with Bittersweet Endings that are a subversion of Dead Money's, with a solemn look at the present, and an ambiguous take on the future.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: Completing the Lonesome Road DLC awards, among other decent loot, two unique armors: the Courier duster and Ulysses' duster. The former has a different symbol on the back and different stats depending on your positive or negative standing with the two main factions, as well as whether or not you killed House.
Completing Honest Hearts gives you, in addition to some unique weapons, several outfits previously worn by your allies, such as Joshua's SWAT vest and Follows-Chalk's hat. Exactly why they thought you wanted their clothesnote although Joshua's SWAT vest is some of the best light armor in the game, or how they're dressed now, is not mentioned.
Animal Motifs: The bear for NCR and the bull for the Legion. Some characters even refer to the factions by their animal symbols instead of the faction's name, such as Ulysses.
Anyone Can Die: All but two characters in the game can die (a third exists for part of the game), even companions if it's set to Hardcore mode. Even quest important NPCs can die. Doesn't help when they somehow get themselves killed and fail a quest for you. The two invincible characters (excluding children without mods) are Yes Man (so you always have one ending option available to you no matter who you kill or piss off) and the Gun Runners' Vendortron. Yes Man will simply download his software to a new robot body, and the Vendortron had an indestructible shed built around it to dissuade theft and burglary. Until the player reaches the Lucky 38 casino, Victor has the same form of immortality as Yes Man; afterward, you can kill him for good (especially if you're sick of using his dialogue tree to run the Lucky 38's elevator). All other characters, no matter how important they are to the story, can die. Mr. House, Caesar himself, the president of the NCR, you name it, they're mortal, and their deaths will not break the game.
Anything That Moves: An option, since the player can take the perks for both homosexuality and heterosexuality, as well as sleeping with ghouls and FISTO. A lot of the prostitutes are this.
Apocalyptic Log: The terminal entries at Black Mountain, recorded when the bombs fell. A particularly disturbing variation happens in Dead Money with the holograms. In the upper levels of the casino, holograms fashioned in the likeness of a guest have recorded their last words, which they repeat while they're trying to kill you.
The Survivalist's data entries in Honest Hearts are quite poignant, particularly when the vault dwellers enter the picture. Especially gruesome is the story about the old couple that happened to be looking in the direction of the bomb when it went off, and they were instantly blinded. The narrator mentions that he can do nothing for them except ease their pain. Another one tells of the narrators attempts to kill all of the members of a cannibal group, messily and in great detail.
Ulysses leaves behind a string of logs with him reflecting on his experiences that helped shape him into who he is. Finding them all - and realizing what he himself had failed to understand - opens up one way of talking him down at the end.
Trash in the Nuclear Test Site left a log of her attempts to turn into a ghoul by intentionally exposing herself to radiation. The process failed, and the logs reflect her steadily deteriorating mental state.
Also the logs of the vault dwellers generally. The vaults turned out to be not such a great idea... though 3 vaults did avoid horrible fates by themselves:
Vault 21 actually prospered for 200 years without any major incident, since it was established that gambling would be the answer and solution to any and all problems. Turns out, this actually worked, with the vault prospering. The ultimate fate of that vault is that Mr. House (with a Luck Stat of 10) came to them, won the entire vault in a game of blackjack and used the structural resources of the lower portion to build New Vegas, before filling it with concrete. They, for their part, convinced him to allow the top portion to be transformed into a hotel instead.
Vault 19 wasn't as fortunate, as the citizens were split up into "Red" and "Blue" sections of the vault, each with it's own Overseer, and both sides convinced that the other side was secretly making them go insane. It isn't revealed what the ultimate fate of the vault really is, as by the time you find it, the Powder Gangers who escaped from prison are using it as a hideout. The vault is dilapidated and rusted out, but functioning without any problems. There aren't any signs of corpses or skeletons anywhere, even with the cave of fire geckos living directly beneath it. Just no indication at all of what happened to them.
Vault 3 was a shining example of a democratic society, living prosperously with no problems that couldn't be solved though a voting process and regular elections. Much like Vault 21, things actually worked out great for them... but then the day came when they opened up the vault and were greeted by the Fiends...
This leads to a rather unfortunate clash with the Guide Dang It aspects of the game. Every companion has a sidequest, which require specific in-world triggers to initialize. Your non-humanoid companions get their quests at the start, but everyone else has to visit certain locations or talk with certain people while with you. Some triggers are location-based and can be repeated, but they'll be in places you'll likely never feel the need to go back to, thereby missing the quests entirely. Most others are based on one-time actions. Boone is hit pretty hard with thisnote you need five "history points" with him before his quest will start, but there's a maximum of about eleven points spread across seven areas; it's possible to screw yourself out of more than half of them before you even meet Boone, and even some of them won't count anyway unless you do the action during a specific quest, but Raul is the worst of the bunch, as it is almost a certainty that any player who does not know about him beforehand will exhaust all three of his triggers before ever meeting him (he's surrounded by Super Mutants, and you would usually not doing that quest until a very high level). Veronica is also rather buggy.
There are mods which serves to allow you to hire more than one humanoid and one robot.
Arc Number: 21. Your first jumpsuit and the doctor who saved you from death and gives it to you is from Vault 21, when captured in the Dead Money DLC you are actually Collar 21, Festus calls it the "magic number", although that's more about his variant of Blackjack than anything else, and lastly should you be supporting an Independent Vegas, Ulysses will give you a duster emblazoned with a 21 at the end of Lonesome Road. Considering where the game takes place, this isn't exactly unwarranted.
Refreshingly, Averted. Due to the way armor is implemented in this game, if you don't match or exceed an enemy's Damage Threshold, you only do 20% of the weapon's damage. This makes armor piercing rounds, overcharged energy ammo, or high damage, long-ranged weapons like a sniper rifle (or a combination of the above) a necessity when fighting deathclaws, Brotherhood of Steel paladins, and the like. For melee specialists, a very big weapon like a super sledge will usually beat the resistance out of just about anything. There are DT-ignoring unarmed weapons, as well.
Deathclaws play this straight like they did in the last game, as they do a crapton of damage per hit. Since DT is additive instead of multiplicative, far less of the monstrous damage they inflict is negated by armor than in Fallout 3. Played even straighter with the level-scaled DC's in Lonesome Road, which will kill practically any character in one hit at high levels.
The game also has some truly devastating perks that allow you to do the same. The Piercing Strike perk (which is annoyingly governed by Unarmed) makes both unarmed and melee attacks ignore 15 points of DT. For reference, almost everything in the Mojave has an armor rating at that level, which means you always do full damage except to the strongest enemies. The Shotgun Surgeon perk ignores 10 points for shotguns.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Literally, see above. Get your Unarmed Skill high enough and you can eventually take a perk that allows you to negate an enormous amount of an enemy's armor with your melee weapon or punch attacks. Combine this with the Bloody Mess perk that turns enemies into chunky salsa when they die, and congratulations! You are now the Fist of the North Star.
Some of the "alleged" negative effects of Sunset Sarsaparilla are: Kidney damage, bronchitis, sore throat, organ rupture... and halitosis. Halitosis, for the uninformed, is the absolutely devastating medical condition of bad breath.
The computer terminal at the entrance to the H&H Tools building in North Vegas details new rules laid out by Human Resources.
3. Any employee seen to be cohabilitating, colluding, or cogitating with any of the following groups will be terminated immediately: foreigners, Masons, carpenters, Tragic players, illegal aliens, extraterrestrials or the Flemish.
The Artifact: The trope is invoked in some of the gameplay mechanics due to several traits and perks from Fallout and Fallout 2 being left in the game. These have gone from being anywhere from decent to some of the best options to being to being nearly useless due to the changes in the game engine.
Tag! is one of the more obvious examples. A tagged skill in Fallout and Fallout 2 leveled up twice as fast as a normal skill. This skill also became available around the same point in the game where Energy Weapons and Big Guns started to legitimately be useful weapons. Instead of the ignorable +15 skill points, the old version was +20 skill points and it now progressed twice as fast as normal like the other tagged skills. On top of that, it worked retroactively with skill points already spent in the skill. Taking this skill could basically turn a skill too low to be useful to being essentially mastered.
Swift Learner used to make at least some sense to take. You didn't normally hit the level cap in the old games unless you intentionally farmed random encounters for experience for a long time. In the newer games, hitting the level cap is easy, which makes taking this perk useless unless you're playing through the core game quickly and want to level up fast.
Life Giver was a much better perk in the older games. Even enemy mooks could potentially one hit kill you, so extra health was a legitimately useful thing to have. Even with enemies in Fallout New Vegas being more dangerous than Fallout 3, extra health just isn't that useful. Any enemy capable of killing you usually has no trouble going through the extra 30 health given by the perk.
The Pyromaniac Perk increases damage with fire weapons and was initially nigh-worthless, as the only real fire-based weapon (the flamer) was grouped with much more potent miniguns and rocket launchers. The Perk's requirements were based on Big Guns, the skill that governed said Flamer. In Fallout 3, this was moved to Explosives, but when combined with the Melee Weapon, Shishkebab, produced the highest melee DPS in the game. It gains The Artifact status in New Vegas, where it is still dependent on Explosives, despite Explosives having almost no weapons that use fire damage (and those that do are grenades that are used up quickly), as opposed to literally every other combat skill having more reliable, fire based damage (the existing flamethrower weapons were moved to Energy Weapons, Gun Runner's Arsenal re-includes the Shishkebab again for Melee, Old World Blues adds the Superheated Saturnite Fist for Unarmed, and Guns gets both incendiary ammo and Lonesome Road's Flare Gun).
Fast Shot used to be an amazing trait. By giving up the Aimed Shot skill (precursor to V.A.T.S.) you reduce the AP needed per shot by 1. This usually translated into getting at least one extra shot per round. Depending on your weapon and Agility, this could very well mean you were shooting twice per round rather than once, meaning it doubled your damage output. The new version (due to the lack of the Aimed Shot skill) reduces accuracy for a minor AP reduction. For anyone who didn't want to cripple limbs at range it was great; for characters who used heavy weapons, which couldn't make aimed shots anyway, it was even better.
Skilled, a Trait formerly treated as something to avoid like the plague (it granted extra skill points, which most characters were swimming in by halfway through the game, in exchange for fewer Perks, which a character could never have enough of) is now a powerhouse that a character has to have a legitimate reason to not take (the most common reason probably being "not owning Old World Blues"; it now grants +5 to all skills in exchange for a permanent -10% XP debuff. Since enemies' levels are based on your level, this means the game just takes slightly longer). The fact that there's a bug that lets you get the bonus multiple times and/or lose the experience penalty helps, too.
Unfortunately for its inhabitants, the Divide is practically built on top of an Artifact of Doom, in the form of a massive nuclear missile silo complex. Similarly, ED-E can qualify as one, because something as minor as the audio logs in his memory banks were able to set off quite a few of the dormant nukes.
The Platinum Chip also qualifies, as it seems to be just plain bad luck to anyone who possesses it. It's lost before Mr. House gets to use it, and it's implied that he spends millions of caps over several years to have scavengers locate it. The courier he hires to deliver it is robbed and left for dead by House's own second-in-command who is betraying him. Once you get the chip back, you get to find out what it does, which is to upgrade and activate a massive army of powerful robots.
Veronica, why are you running across a minefield to punch a Bark Scorpion?
The game itself lampshades this with the loading screen tip concerning a certain perk: "Do companions annoy you by constantly running into the path of your lasers and missiles? Take the Spray and Pray perk to significantly reduce all damage you do to your companions."
The AI of enemies are still somewhat smarter though, that they will attempt to take cover if they are outmatched and some creatures won't attack you even if they appear red unless you get too close. However, they played deliberately straight Attack! Attack! Attack! on some enemies, Deathclaws won't retreat while fiends are generally too drugged up to realize that they are outmatched.
A particularly nasty case of this occurs with First Recon Alpha Team, Camp McCarran's elite snipers (Gorobets, Sterling, 10 of Spades, Bitter-Root, and Betsy). Upon wiping out the leaders of the Fiends, the entire squad will make the transfer to Camp Forlorn Hope, but the route they take going there — by foot — leads them past a Cazador nest. Typically, they will lose at least one or more members to giant wasp abominations of death, though only Gorobets' death is remarked on. Of course, this will only happen if you pay attention to them. Advance the clock a few hours and they'll bounce right to the camp no worse for wear.
There's also a problem if you ask them to help you take down Driver Nephi. In order to get full pay for this bounty, you need to have an intact head (so they can prove to anyone that Nephi really is dead, as opposed to using some other head and possibly pulling a fast one) so no headshots. The snipers know this - they hate Nephi and they know the guy who delivers the quest. They are perfectly well informed of the whole "we need the head intact" concept. Does not stop them from headshotting him anyway. (That said, the money they give you for letting them have the shot at Nephi makes up for the loss of the full bounty.)
If you wear armor that disguises you as a member of the faction while switching on the Self-Destruct Mechanism in the Brotherhood of Steel's underground bunker, not only will the inhabitants not turn hostile, they also won't take any notice of the loud warning klaxons announcing their imminent doom.
Artistic License - Economics: The NCR dollar is in a recession as they had to switch from a gold backed dollar to a water backed dollar... However as the NCR is made up entirely of a Arid environment. Water would be more valuable then gold as you can't drink gold...
To the entire Nightkin sub-species. In the original Fallout, they were little more than an Underground Monkey variant of regular Super Mutants (being translucent). Now they actually have plot relevance.
Doctor Henry goes from being a random thievery target in a Fallout 2 side-quest and a way to get a cyber-dog if you do a bit of field-testing for him to being an important character in several of New Vegas' subplots.
Marcus the Super-Mutant was the town mayor of Broken Hills, his first attempt at making a mixed species community. No matter what choices you made, Broken Hills would always end up being deserted. His next attempt in Jacobstown features super mutants and nightkin only. And one human and a ghoul. The best part is he is voiced by Michael Dorn in all versions.
Ascended Meme: One of the inkblot tests that Doc Mitchell gives you resembles something that isn't available as an option: "Two bears high-fiving." A PC mod rectifies that, and it also elicited a response from several devs that that's what they thought it looks like too. Lo and behold in Honest Hearts, there is a Dead Horse tribesman NPC armed with a Yao Guai gauntlet named "Two-Bears-High-Fiving." However he only appears with Wild Wasteland, so don't go wasting time looking for him if you didn't pick the trait.
Assassin Outclassin': Piss off the NCR or Caesar's Legion enough and they'll start sending hit squads after the player. From this point on, any progress naturally requires surviving repeated assassination attempts.
An interesting example is Boone's wife Carla. Talking to the people of Novac makes it clear that she hated living there so much that she was prickly, rude, and aloof to pretty much everyone in town to the point that almost no one liked her. But even after all that, she didn't deserve to be enslaved by the Legion along with her unborn child.
Another case is what happened to Nipton. Sure, it was cruel, over the top, and an incredibly dick thing for the Legion to do at best, but they (specifically Vulpes Inculta) invoke this trope to explain themselves, and if you look around for evidence to support those claims, you find they did have something of a point in hindsight.
According to Sergeant Bitter-Root, many of the Great Khans killed by the NCR at Bitter Springs had it coming.
On the edge of Searchlight is a church with a sign with Revelation 9:6 on it. In case you've forgotten, the town is filled with feral ghouls you've been sent in to euthanize, but then again, Revelation is rarely ever quoted when things are swell and dandy.
Revelation 9:6: "During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them."
This is also prominent in Honest Hearts. The achievements are all taken from Bible quotes, and Joshua Graham quotes it frequently (the most memorable being the unpleasant parts of Psalm 137).note He uses part 1,7,8 and 9 wich focus entirely on anger and pointless vengance, including the Words "Happy shall he be, that taketh thy little ones and dasheth them against the stones." You even get an (unfortunately) unreadable Bible at the end of the last quest.
Also played with the inscription on the unique gun you get as a gift after finishing 'Honest Hearts'. It is engraved with the passage from John 1:5 that reads 'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it' in original Greek. The name of the gun? A Light Shining In Darkness.
Attack of the Political Ad: One vault was an experiment about how far people would go to keep on living, with the inhabitants being told that they had to regularly sacrifice one person so that the rest could live. The inhabitants promptly decided that the Overseer was to be the first sacrifice, leading to a system of electing Overseers that then are sacrificed at the end of their terms. As such, the walls are littered with attack ads from candidates smearing their opponents but with the twist that this is supposed to be encouragement to vote for the candidate's opponent.
Jones is an adulterer and a communist! Vote for Jones!
Author Appeal: Zion National Park from Honest Hearts is a favorite vacation destination of J.E. Sawyer.
Legate Lanius is a solid iron murder machine and serves as the game's "final boss" for every non-Legion ending path. Averted with the NCR President Kimball and General Oliver, and even Caesar himself, who are all bog standard humans that go down after a couple decent headshots. Also a case of Asskicking Equals Authority, as Lanius got the job as Caesar's right hand man by singlehandedly killing off his entire former tribe in combat. Lanius being a sheer freak is acknowledged in the setting, with characters like Lucius indicating that he only has significance because of his freakish, protagonist-like toughness.
Marcus!. He has as much health as a deathclaw alpha, and his punches do as much damage as one too!
Joshua Graham, the legendary Burned Man, is equipped with a powerful customized Colt .45 pistol and, despite only wearing a light kevlar vest for armor, has a DT of 50! For comparison, a full suit of the best Powered Armor in the game grants a total DT of 36. He pretty much laughs off anything short of direct headshots from the best firearms in the game.
Salt-Upon-Wounds, the leader of the White Legs and "final boss" of the DLC, is no slouch himself. He has more health and armor than a Deathclaw Alpha, and is armed with a custom Power Fist. Graham still curbstomps him, though.
Autodoc: Appears as a plot device or for specialized procedures, but rarely used to heal the player. For example, the Autodoc owned by Caesar has had its diagnostic module burned out.
Autodocs appear in three of the four DLCs, many of which can be used by the player. The reason why they're here but not in the Wasteland proper is they were an experimental tech from Big Mountain from not long before the nukes fell. They made it to the Divide because there was a military facility there, and they made it to the Sierra Madre because Sinclair had agreed to let the Think Tank test their new inventions there.
The Alien Blaster, though very strong, has the problem that there are no sources of alien ammo outside of where you get the Blaster. Because the encounter it's found in only happens with Wild Wasteland, it's mutually exclusive with the YCS/186note Even if you use Sink in Old World Blues to change the trait, picking up one makes getting the other impossible., the unique Gauss Rifle, which is one of the hardest hitting and accurate weapons in the game and, unlike the Alien Blaster, has readily available ammo.
The Fat Man. As in Fallout 3, using it without getting caught in your own blasts is quite difficult, and they will hurt a lot.
Euclid's C-Finder. Not only will you probably screw up your chances of getting it on a normal playthrough, but if you want to get it you have to sacrifice quite a few caps. But, assuming you do, the weapon causes a contained orbital strike to completely destroy anything it hits. Unfortunately, you only get one charge per 24 hour period, it can only be used outdoors, and it takes a couple seconds to actually fire while the satellite links up. Try to use it during the epic final battle, and it'll more than likely glitch your save. Also you can hit yourself with it if you're not careful.But MAN it looks cool! Veronica explains this trope to Elder McNamara at the end of her companion quest. Citing the long recharge time and the fact it can only be used outdoors, she explains that, far from being a game-changing doomsday weapon, the ARCHIMEDES system the Brotherhood sacrificed most of its members trying to obtain turned out to be essentially glorified artillery.
The Giant Robo-Scorpion from Old World Blues is an in-story example, suffering from the same issues as Liberty Prime from Fallout 3. Sure, it's a nearly unstoppable walking tank, but the power requirements for it are so massive that it has to be powered by a direct connection to a building-sized power generator, meaning it can't leave the facility where it was built.
The Holy Frag Grenade, of which you get only three ("Five is right out!"), causes an explosion on par with the Fat Man. Sounds great, until you try throwing it far enough that you won't be caught in the blast radius yourself.
The Meltdown perk. Shoot an enemy with an energy weapon, and they explode, possibly causing chain reactions. The downside? Friendly fire possible, including SELF Friendly fire. You can shoot an enemy point blank with a laser pistol, and you take damage like a grenade went off in your face.
The K-9000 Cyberdog gun is made of awesome. It is a more than decent machine gun with added enemy detection beyond your normal capabilities and a night vision telescope to boot. It also has a dog's brain which makes it growl (to show detected enemies), bark happily (when equipped) or yelp tearjerkingly (when disappointed at being unequipped). But like all machine guns, it eats ammo, and a rare one at that (especially if you upgrade it to FIDO), so after some fun you just can't use it anymore - or spend a lifetime crafting .357 magnum from collected other ammunition.
On the more hilarious side, the Terrifying Presence perk is basically useless. It doesn't convey any significant benefit and uses up a perk spot you could have spent on something more useful. But it's also the single most awesome perk in the game, because you can send the biggest badasses in the wasteland running (momentarily) with a Badass Boast.
The end of Dead Money features 37 gold bars valued at about 10,000 caps. They each weigh 35 pounds, though, and the next part of the quest is a timed escape, so your only hope of getting more than two or three out is to strip down and drop tons of sweet loot. Not only that, but finding a vendor who has enough money to buy ONE of them is very difficult.
By the time you have managed to eat Mr House, Caesar, President Kimball and the King to acquire the Meat of Champions perk you will be so strong that you simply won't need it. Not to mention that in the process you probably irreparably pissed off every major faction in the wasteland and forced yourself into a Wild Card ending.
The LAER from Old World Blues is one of the most powerful energy weapons in the game, and the unique variant created by Elijah is ever stronger. The problem is they are Glass Cannon weapons with pathetic HP, to the point that every two or three reloads you'll need to use a Weapon Repair Kit to keep them in peak condition because they degrade very quickly, especially if using modified ammo that accelerates wear on the gun.
Awesomeness Induced Amnesia: A Courier with poor skill in Medicine but a sufficient Luck stat can pull this off with brain surgery on Caesar.
Vulpes Inculta: That was incredible. How did you do that? Courier: ...I have no idea whatsoever.
Back-Alley Doctor: the medic at Novac, Dr. Ada Strauss, has dirty tools, sells addictive chems on the side, and implicitly doesn't have any sort of training whatsoever — her Medicine skill rests at a measly 12. (For comparison, the default Medicine at the start is 15 — after being shot in the head.)
Lampshaded by her paid guards:
Guard: You must be desperate.
Guard: I wouldn't let her work on me!
Her services, however, are just as effective as those of any other doctor in the game and most of them are a fair bit cheaper.
Back Stab: In sneak mode, when you attack a target who has not spotted you yet, you deal an automatic Critical Hit and double your damage. Unless it's a melee weapon, then it's a Critical Hit and quintuple damage.
Badass: This is Fallout. There's... quite a few. Aside from the main characters, the main factions' top-tier NPCs get a special mention:
NCR Veteran Rangers wear dusters over riot gear, and are armed with either a revolver that shoots rifle rounds, the best lever-rifle in the game, or a .50 sniper rifle.
A single MK II Securitron essentially has more firepower than an entire platoon of NCR troopers. Armed to the teeth with an SMG, Gatling Laser, missiles, Grenade Machine Gun, self-repair, AND the kitchen sink.
Legate Lanius. In the G.E.C.K he even has the unique class "Legionary Bad Ass."
Ulysses braved the entirety of the Divide, on foot, alone, just to lay an elaborate trap. To be fair, he was accompanied by 2 versions of ED-E, one of which is tasked to heal his wounds.
Colonel Royez and Gaius Magnus. The first is a NCR officer who pacified the whole Long 15 (and still does today) and wears the Scorched Sierra Armor, a pristine Power Armor almost custom-made for him; the second is a calmer clone of Lanius who assimilated his whole tribe in the Legion by force and received the Armor of the 87th tribe (his own version of the Legate armor) as a token of bravery from Caesar. Both survive (at the cost of becoming Marked Men) a nuke on the face if you nuke Dry Wells and/or the Long 15 and, alone, WILL wipe the floor with anything in the game, including the Courier if he goes to the Long 15 or Dry Wells after Lonesome Road and the nuking of said zones. Makes you wonder why nobody sent those guys to Hoover Dam.
Joshua Graham can and will kill every White Leg tribal you encounter with a 0% possibility of defeat. He's just that badass.
The Irradiated Deathclaws in the Couriers Mile have 10 Perception and are much stronger than their cousins. That means they can see you easily, and will take you apart. Add in the Marked Men that are constantly being healed in the intense radiation (that is bathing you in it's neutrino-y glow), and you have an entire Badass Section.
Badass Adorable: Stripe, a knee-high deathclaw with dark coloring featured in Old World Blues if you have selected the Wild Wasteland trait. An Expy of the main villian from Gremlins. So cute, so able to claw you to ribbons.
Badass Boast: The Terrifying Presence perk gives you a few of these. Sometimes they're just something cool to say before you kill someone, other times they're vivid descriptions of what you're going to do to your enemies. But they're all so invariably badass that you can say them unarmed in your underwear, and they'll make fully equipped Brotherhood Of Steel Paladins run screaming from you.
From Old World Blues comes this awesome quote: "Come on brain, it's stomping time!"
Badass Bystander: the entire town of Nipton fell easily to the Legion — according to Vulpes Inculta, whose force is somewhat... smaller than it should be. Then there's:
the lovesick nerd with an artillery and a hostile robot (because he programmed it that way);
a dead resident with a laser pistol, next to a pile of dust that was once a Legionnaire;
the paranoid-schizophrenic with a house full of mines, rigged shotguns, man-eating scorpions — and, hey, corpses
Badass Grandpa: "Cannibal" Johnson got his nickname from an incident where, outnumbered by Raiders and with his back to the wall, he tore out a Raider's heart and took a bite out of it, hoping to scare the others off. It worked. Incidentally, the Raiders in question were half his age.
The NCR Ranger combat armor; it's the armor shown on the cover, also worn by the sniper at the wall around the Strip in the intro. Later DLCs add the Desert Ranger Combat Armor and the Elite Riot Gear, each Longcoat more Badass than the last.
The Lonesome Road graces us with the Courier Duster, which can have one of four symbols (Vault 21 for Yes Man, NCR bear, Legion bull, or USA flag for House) on the back, and Ulysses' unique variant, which also uses the USA flag, both of which you naturally receive after the big finish. The latter goes quite nicely with Old Glory, a wooden staff capped with a golden metal eagle.
Can be done of course, but many traders and shopkeepers are usually heavily armed themselves as well as having guards and the risk of making the whole town hostile. The Silver Rush is the epitome of this, as they have half-a-dozen guards and one boss character guarding the shopkeeper. Keep in mind that the merchants' inventory and money gets replenished every few days, so killing may be a bad idea for a different reason.
The Gun Runners take particular precautions in this regard - they built their reinforced, permanent sales booth around the Protectron who serves as their sales clerk.
Bastard Understudy: Benny tries to be this to Mr. House. You can be one to House as well, and succeed where Benny failed
Bathos: The Naughty Nightwear gives a +10 Speech bonus, so it's generally a good idea to put it on before a dialogue that might include a Speech check. This can create situations where you come out of a deadly serious conversation about the fate of the Wasteland to reveal you've been wearing leopard-print pyjamas throughout the whole thing.
Beam Spam: Gatling Laser (again), and the smaller Laser RCW, which is basically a World War 2 Thompson submachine gun that shoots Frickin' Laser Beams. The Tri-Beam Laser Rifle isn't a full-auto deal like the previous two, but it does fire three beams at a time and fires just as fast as its single beam predecessor.
The Beastmaster: The Animal Friend perk is upgraded again from Fallout 3; this time it will also cause domesticated animals to fight with you, or even turn against their masters to help you.
Beef Gate: Used liberally in the beginning. The two north roads to Vegas lead you right into Cazadores and Deathclaws, the latter of which has twice as much health as a standard Deathclaw. To the south, straying from the road is a good way to get giant Radscorpions on your tail, and those things are hard to kill in the early game. It's a good sign that if something manages to kill you in two hits while anything you currently have can't inflict a single scratch in return, you should probably not be in that area yet. On the plus side, limiting specific monsters to specific ecological regions avoids the "anything can pop up anywhere" problem seen in Fallout3, where you'd have Deathclaws showing up just outside the walls of major settlements once your character reached a high-enough level.
In another ending, if Followers support the NCR and you choose to end the game by siding with the NCR, Old Mormon Fort expanded its services and is able to aid more people, becoming a refuge for the less fortunate citizens of New Vegas. It is not as bad as the other endings for the Followers.
Subverted with the Courier; even though Evil Is Easy, so much good karma is rewarded for winning unavoidable fights with evil enemies that no matter how much you kill and steal, you'll almost always be seen as a saint.
Also played straight in the Honest Hearts DLC. No matter which ending you choose, Daniel will still get the short end of the stick. Sure, sometimes it's only as bad as missing the paradise-that-could-have-been Zion, but it's very easy to make "good" decisions that cause him trouble.
Berserk Button: Boonehates the Legion, and for very good reason. It's impossible to get the Legion ending with him as a companion because he murders every single Legionnaire you come across.
Technically, you CAN get the Legion ending if you have him as a companion... As long as you only kill legionaries before entering the Tops casino and getting the Mark of Caesar. As to this, it is perfectly possible to get him as a companion, complete his companion quest (which itself involves killing legionaries and is obtained similarily) and then dump him afterward to support Caesar right after getting the Mark from Vulpes. Boone has specific legion endings programmed into the game for a reason.
Bestiality Is Depraved: It's heavily implied, but never said outright, that Cook-Cook (one of the fiends leaders) screws his brahmin, Queenee.
Best Served Cold: Dean Domino of Dead Money is a firm believer in this. If you try to get the better of him in your first meeting (by beating him in a Barter check,) he'll patiently wait until the circumstances favour him again before stabbing you in the back.
Betting Mini-Game: As expected of a game with Vegas in the title; the game has a grand total of five casinos you can play in (and a few more you can't), each with their own theme and win limit. You can also play the Mojave's very own card game, "Caravan," if you're willing to learn the rules.
Betty and Veronica: Sarah Weintraub and Red Lucy respectively. Sarah is a sunny, cheerful blonde who manages a themed hotel from her old Vault and takes a fancy to you if you bring her enough Vault Suits. Lucy is a bloodthirsty redhead who runs a bloodsports arena and whose pants you can get into by going out and killing dangerous creatures.
The game's most powerful NPC is none other than Primm Slim, the Protectron sheriff robot in the Vikki and Vance Casino, who has more than 2,000 HP at level 30. That's just health, of course. It may take you a while, but he's a dolled-up Protectron and couldn't kill you if he wanted to.
Yes Man. Oh, how nice and helpful is he. He also has a sadistic streak that comes out in a few lines.
Of course, there's you. Particularly if you're a good karma character capable of tearing down entire armies.
BFG: The Heavy Incinerator, Tesla Cannon, Grenade Machinegun, Minigun, Gatling Laser, Plasma Caster, Gauss Rifle, Light Machine Gun (note that 'Light' is a strictly relative term), and Anti-Materiel Rifle. All of them leave nice, chunky messes.
Lily carries a BFS made from a Vertibird propeller blade.
Legate Lanius' BFS, the Blade of the East. It hurts. A lot.
Marked Men in the Lonesome Road DLC may carry imitations of the above weapon called Blades of the West. They hurt. A lot.
Big Bad: Caesar, as the leader of Legion, who are basically Roman Nazi slavers hellbent on assimilating Mojave and bringing their genocidal reign of terror on the inhabitants. While you never actually have to deal with him (unlike The Dragon, Legate Lanius), he's clearly the most villainous of the main faction leaders and drives the main conflict of the game. Although, unique among Fallout Big Bads, it's possible to kill him far before the final battle actually happens. If you do, then Lanius steps into the position of Big Bad.
For Dead Money, it's Father Elijah, former head of Mojave chapter of Brotherhood of Steel
For Honest Hearts, it's Salt-Upon-Wounds, chief of White Legs, with Caesar as the Bigger Bad who gave the White Legs machine guns and ordered them to commit genocide due to a personal grudge on Caesar's part.
For Old World Blues, it's Dr. Klein, leader of the Think Tank, rather than Dr. Mobius. However, none of them are truly villainous. Just really, really deranged and delusional.
For Lonesome Road, it's Ulysses, former courier and Legion agent, who has personal grudge against Courier. He has a plan to nuke all of the major factions, which would kill thousands and doom thousands of others to poverty, anarchy, and radiation sickness.
Big Damn Gunship: You can see up to two of them in the final battle, provided you do their prerequisites. First one is the Boomers in their B-29 Bomber, the other is the EnclaveRemnants arriving in a Vertibird to kick the ass of your choosing. It's even stated that the second one reminded everyone in the Mojave why they had feared the Enclave.
Bilingual Bonus: "Cazador" is spanish for "Hunter". Raul will speak the word with a spanish pronounciation too. It's also why it's pluralized as "Cazadores".
Doubles as a Stealth Pun. A scientist named "Brazos" is the one who worked on the Stealth suit gauntlets.
Bi the Way: In one of her lines of dialogue, Cass says that once she is drunk enough, she doesn't care who she ends up in bed with whether they be male or female. If you try to invite her into your party when it's occupied by someone else, male or female, she says, "I'm not in the mood for a threesome... today."
The "best case scenarios" for Veronica and Lily qualify big time. For Veronica, she either stays with the Brotherhood and reluctantly keeps her mouth shut about her disagreements with their methods, or she leaves, willingly or they banish her, and she wanders the wastelands as a lone tinkerer fearful of getting close to people in case the Brotherhood is monitoring her. As for Lily, her "good" endings either have her go off to find her grandchildren, who are almost assuredly dead by now, or finally having her mental state stabilized at the cost of the memories of her past.
The best ending you can hope for in Honest Hearts is helping Graham crush the White Legs. If you convince him to spare Salt-Upon-Wounds, or at the very least make it a fair fight, then the only "good" character who gets a sad ending is Daniel who, as mentioned above, is so idealistic that he's screwed no matter what happens.
Every faction ending in the main game is this, with (excluding Caesars's Legion, who are undoubtedly evil any way you look) The NCR ruling as a democracy, but every town suffers their overbearing presence, leading to exoduses and thriving towns dying out. Mr. House establishing a benevolent dictatorship that prospers, but it is heavily implied he has been playing the PC to establish a Big Brother type scenario. The independent is possibly the worst AND best, with New Vegas being an independent city free from control, but anarchy spreading to the main wasteland outside of it's walls, with (depending on the player's choices) every big town being a safe haven, but the rest an anarchic land controlled by several factions
Lesser of Two Evils: On the other hand, while the NCR is Grey, the Legion is definitely Black. The radio stories about the Legion include stories of Lanius ordering his men to kill each other while the NCR stories include troop redeployment reports. At the same time, actual accounts of life in Legion territory from characters like Raul, Cass and Dale Barton imply that living as a profligate in Legion territory is safer than life under the Republic. Others, like Stella, confirm that the Republic taxes communities into the ground without providing any protection against raiders.
The Biological Station in Old World Blues threatens to seed the shit out of you, and has seeded Muggy before.
In the cut audio files for Cook-Cook (who could be approached as friendly), he will constantly hit on you and make veiled threats at rape. Talking to Driver Nephi as a female will have him repeatedly warn you not to talk to him.
Blatant Item Placement: You'll find stashes of useful items all over the place, despite the fact that a lot of them should have been looted a long time ago. Particularly jarring when it comes to medical supplies, which several Followers of the Apocalypse even say are some of the biggest targets of looting there are. Lampshaded by one NPC when talking about how the Sunset Sarsaparilla machines should seemingly have been emptied out years ago and that maybe Ol' Festus is going around refilling them.
Those radioactive barrels you see both here and in Fallout 3? In the REPCONN headquarters, they're "safety barrels," and being buried in the ground is supposed to be totally safe! Some extremist hippy whackos are just lying to you about their radioactivity!
Quite a few with the Think Tank in Old World Blues.
Dr. Klein: How dare you! Branial beam ocilation was solely my discovery! I expressly told you that and deleted all evidence to the contrary!
There's an example of this if Arcade gives you his father's Enclave armor. He's really proud of it and brags that it will stop almost anything short of a plasma bolt. But due to its associations, wearing it could get you hunted down and killed, or if you're lucky, just thrown in an NCR jail for a long, long, long time. (Which is what happens if Arcade wears it during some of his endings.) Uh ... thanks, man? What a blessing. Luckily, Story And Gameplay Segregation is in full effect if you decide to wear it.
Although, you don't have any Enclave ties, so if anyone asks you about the armor, you could feasibly say "I found it off a dead scavenger" or something. Arcade's are there, it's just that nobody's bothered to look hard enough. This is also why in every ending where Arcade does not keep a low profile, his Enclave past is found out.
Blind Without 'Em: The Four Eyes trait, which gives a bonus to Perception so long as you're wearing glasses. Without them, it's a decrease to Perception. Will become useless later on, since power armor helmets, for obvious reasons, require you to take off your glasses. Again, this is assuming a character is even capable of / willing to wearing power armor helmets. ** Of course, this also poses serious problems; mechanically it reduces your base Perception by 1 and makes every pair of glasses give +2 Perception. Fairly nifty, except that certain perks require moderately high Perception to get, which this perk will more or less lock you out of—and that it by far the most useful thing about the Perception stat.
There is a mod ("Realistic Four Eyes") which alters the camera by blurring the screen if a Courier with this trait doesn't wear glasses. Depending on the version installed (there are three versions, depending on the level of blurring), the game becomes unplayable without glasses.
Bling Bling Bang: All of the unique handguns, especially Maria, Lucky and the Ranger Sequoia.
The Gauss Rifle often send the opponent flying for considerable distance.
Averted, however, with Armor Piercing rounds...which do a little LESS damage on unarmored opponents than regular rounds BECAUSE of their overpenetration, which is actually Truth in Television.
The Anti-Materiel Rifle can send Deathclaws flying back with a chest shot. It is not a gun that messes around.
Pushy. If your killing blow is an uppercut, you could easily send them 20 feet up and 30 feet away. If your unarmed is high enough, you can punch them with the force a football player punts a ball.
Or combine it with the ranger takedown (which knocks people down), and an activation of super slam (which knocks people away), and the total force is the sum of the 3 components. Which can send even still-living targets far.
Dead Money perk "And Stay Back" grants 10% chance per shotgun shot of throwing the target back. The sawed-off fires 14 buckshot per blast, practically guaranteeing an airborne ragdoll if fired at close range.
The Fire Axe's special has a knockback effect; chaining the special lets you juggle an opponent in the air.
Averted by the Followers of the Apocalypse who, despite being derided as anarchists by some, arguably are the only "truly good" faction in the game, next to the Kings.
Played straight by Samuel Cooke, the founder of the Powder Gangers, who was imprisoned by the NCR for being a literal example. The other Powder Gangers are aversions, however, as they are little more than another gang of raiders.
'Honest Hearts' introduces the perk 'Fight the Power!' which gives a combat bonus against members of 'lawful' factions. It is accompanied by the picture of stereotypical rioter with a scarf on his face and holding Molotov cocktail.
Bonus Boss: The four Legendary monsters. The toughest of them, the Legendary Deathclaw, is by far the most powerful thing in the entire game, with more health than the final boss. Like all deathclaws, it is also very, very fast. He also one hit kills pretty much all but the toughest and most heavily armored of characters. Nice knowing you.
If even the Legendary Deathclaw isn't a challenge, you can look for a tougher foe in the Dummied Out content. Open up the console and type player.placeatme ["0011324a"] 1. It spawns a giant gecko named Gojira.
Old World Blues has the Legendary Bloatfly. It's harder to kill than the Legendary Deathclaw and fires insanely powerful plasma bolts at you. When it dies it drops over 50 bloatfly meat and 20+ buffout.
Colonel Royez and Gaius Magnus from post-Lonesome Road, which appear when you nuke NCR or Legion territory respetively. They are two ghouls with utterly insane amounts of health (Capable of withstanding about five Holorifle shots to the face on Normal difficulty without dying), and constantly regenerate health as well. To make it worse, they both have high-end unique armor, one of which adds even more health regeneration.
Bonus Dungeon: Up to three are added by Lonesome Road— the Courier's Mile, the NCR Long 15, and the Legion Dry Wells. The latter two are only accessible if you decided to nuke them. None of these are particularly long, but they're overflowing with radiation and irradiated ghoul soldiers (causing them to hyper-regenerate) with some chests of high-grade equipment hidden in back.
Bonus Feature Failure: The various pre-order packs, individually or collectively as the Courier's Stash DLC. While they do provide a decent advantage in the early game, limitations in the game's engine prevents DLC from interacting with other DLC, meaning the pre-order items don't work with DLC perks at all. This leads to strange, counter-intuitive and anti-synergistic scenarios, such as the pre-order shotgun being the only shotgun not affected by the otherwise outstanding "And Stay Back" Perk. Similarly, the Vault 13 canteen, a bottomless water source which your character periodically drinks from to regain a little health, is only truly useful in Hardcore more (since only hardcore mode measures dehydration), and the period between drinks and the amount of dehydration reduced/health restored per drink isn't significant enough to have much if any effect on gameplay.
Boomerang Bigot: One line used by Boomers if you have ED-E with you states that they can take care of that robot problem for you. The same line is used by the robots on the base.
There are quite a few common "rifle" type weapons which are available from the start of the game and remain useful deep into it. The best example is the bog standard Varmint rifle. You'll find just about everybody and their brother carrying it at low levels, it uses extremely plentiful 5x56 ammo, and it has an easy-to-find scope mod which turns it into a light sniper rifle. Even better, there is no skill requirement that must be met to use it, so even a player who is not investing in the "Guns" skill has it as an option for sniping enemies outside of their aggro range. (It also has a unique variant, the "Ratslayer," which falls into another category altogether.)
Slightly less boring but still practical for the same reasons are the Hunting Rifle, Marksman Carbine, and Cowboy Repeater.
The weapons added by the Courier's Stash DLC, available from the very start of the game, fit the bill. In particular, the Broad Machete, Weathered 10mm Pistol, and Sturdy Caravan Shotgun are more than enough to get the player through the early stages of the game, at least to New Vegas, before they start becoming outclassed.
The Recharger Rifle. You're most likely to find this weapon at the beginning of the game, and it does lower damage than many other energy rifles. However, it makes up for this by being rechargeable, rather than using energy ammo. That's right, it's an energy weapon that has infinite ammo. Kinda makes up for the slight shortage of energy ammo in the game, huh? It falls behind the other energy weapons when you're able to more easily find ammo later in the game, however. The humble Laser Rifle is one of those better weapons but still qualifies. It can see you through right to the end of the game if you train well in Energy Weapons and keep an eye out for its weapon mods that increase it's damage output to ridiculous levels.
The Recharger Pistol veers surprisingly close to Disc One Nuke status, with the same recharging capabilities as it's larger counterpart, but for a slightly lower damage. In exchange it's just less than half the weight and at max charge has almost twice the shots. It also fires significantly faster.
Several Perks which don't do anything flashy but pay off in the long run qualify. In particular:
Strong Back: +50 to your carrying capacity. Helps immensely when hauling loot, but really stands out in Hardcore mode where everything (including ammo and healing items) has weight.
Educated: Grants +2 skill points per level. Best taken as soon as it is available to maximize the skill points you can get before hitting the level cap.
Grunt: +25% damage with any weapon even remotely military, and many quality weapons qualify.
Rapid Reload: -25% to your reload time. Can be an absolutely lifesaver, especially if you prefer using slow-to-reload weapons like revolvers and lever-action rifles.
Jury Rigging: Allows you to use any weapon of a certain class to repair any other weapon in that class, rather than needing an exact copy. Need to repair your precious (and expensive) anti-materiel rifle? Use a varmint rifle since they're both in the "bolt rifle" family.
Light Step: In Hardcore mode at least. It allows you to walk over traps without setting them off and will save you a fortune in Doctor's Bags.
The simpler crafting recipes. Cooking meat into steaks and converting ammo into the type you need is always useful and worthwhile.
From Dead Money, the Cosmic Knives. Not only are they easy to find, but you can clean one and superheat it later to give it a massive stat boost and the power to set things on fire. Helps out in the first few quests, when you have almost no ammo or items. The Knife Spear (a stick with knifes taped on it) can actually carry you through the entire DLC, barring a few instances where shooting things is necessary.
The Knife Spear also comes in Throwing Varieties, meaning shooting is only required for things that they simply can't destroy, such as speakers.
The Police Pistol in Dead Money as well. All the other weapons are exotic and powerful, and this is just a bog-standard revolver. However, it hits hard enough to easily dismember Ghosts, and the ammo is everywhere.
From the Lonesome Road DLC comes the flare gun. Doesn't have the greatest damage, but uses a fairly common ammo type only used by a few other weapons in the entire game, and has the distinct power to scare deathclaws.
The humble throwing spear is an excellent choice of weapon for a melee character looking to stealthily take down opponents from a distance, and supplies are easily replenished by killing Legion Mooks.
A high Luck skill. It doesn't seem like much, but the extra critical hits could save your life, and with 9 Luck it becomes nearly impossible to lose at the blackjack table.
Why on earth would anyone want to hoard Scrap Metal, Scrap Electronics, wrenches, wonderglue, and duct tape? Because them's the ingredients to craft Weapon Repair Kits, and they are almost everywhere. Using them instead of paying for repairs can save you thousands of caps per weapon.
Bottomless Magazines: Companions have a form of this, where their default guns use "magical companion ammo" which never runs out. However, it only works with their normal gun - if you want them to use something stronger, you have to supply ammo for it too.
The Recharger Pistol and Rifle use a "microfusion breeder" that constantly recharges itself for ammo; the tradeoff is that they're some of the weakest energy weapons in the game. Euclid's C-Finder works much the same, though since it calls in a laser strike from space, it only holds one charge and takes a full day to recharge that.
Brain in a Jar: The Robobrains. There's also the Think Tanks of Old World Blues, who come with monitors for eyes and a mouth. Amazingly enough, there's YOUR brain, which you can actually talk to (and come onto).
Bribing Your Way to Victory: The Courier's Stash and Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC, the former moreso than the latter. Courier's Stash is a compilation of several pre-order bonus packs which gives the player four full item sets at the start of the game, including a bottomless water canteen which reduces the amount of water you need to drink. No matter which set of armor you choose, you're a lot better off than in the vanilla game. Gun Runners' Arsenal adds a ton of new weapons to be purchased from shops, as well as weapon mods for them. At least these you actually have to buy in-game, and they are friggin' EXPENSIVE! That said, once you've paid for some of the better ones, they are every bit as dangerous as advertised.
The overall theme of the DLC Dead Money is how greed can make people unable to let go of their own vices. To illustrate this point, the casino vault is filled with dozens of gold bars that are far too heavy for you to carry to escape alive, proving that even the player must set aside their greed in order to move on... Except that with a stealthboy and some very precise timing, it's fully possible to make off with all the gold without a scratch. So in the end the moral is "you need to let go of your greed, unless you're clever enough to get away scot-free."
Obsidian realized this and patched a few of the easier exploits out; while it's still possible to get all the gold, you really need to go out of your way to break this Aesop.
And even then, it's easy enough to just scrounge around the Sierra Madre Villa and Casino to grab everything that isn't nailed down, and go back to the Mojave with a ton of loot. Letting go of the gold bars is a lot easier when you would be insanely rich even without them, making the Aesop "You can get away with greed as long as you carefully pick your battles and have a strong enough obsessive compulsive disorder."
Experienced players will dump EVERYTHING not essential for their survival or weightless into a handy trashcan near the entrance and then finish assaulting the casino. So, maybe the Aesop is "Greed is good, as long as you properly prepare and dump your loot somewhere you can get back to it later."
The Sunset Sarsaparilla star cap quest. It's supposed to be a little parable about allowing greed to override your common sense (and, in Marks' case, basic human decency), but the "treasure" vault contains thousands of bottle caps (which would be worthless to a modern person, but amount to a considerable amount of money in the Fallout games) and a unique, very powerful laser pistol, so it's hard to argue that your quest for the star caps was a waste of time and effort.
Broken Bird: Veronica is screwed no matter how you finish her personal quest.
Do nothing? She gets exiled anyway.
Convince her to stay? She ends up alienating herself from her fellows and hides in libraries, just reading.
Convince her to leave? The Brotherhood butchers innocent Followers on the mere possibility of them receiving Brotherhood knowledge and she spends the rest of her life as a lonely wanderer.
Bullet Time: VATS of course. Turbo and the Implant GRX perk will also produce this effect.
Keith, a hustler at the Aerotech business park, gets cornered by Captain Parker after you provide Parker with evidence of Keith's misdeeds. Parker tries to arrest Keith, who resists. Keith then starts taunting Parker about how his wife left him. Which prompts Parker to let fly with his service rifle. Taunting a man armed with a military rifle about his estranged wife... smooth.
No matter how high-level you are, how much gear or how many companions you have, thugs, thieves and animals will attack you. Yes, even mutated insects seem to think they have a chance (but then again, operating on base instinct means they can't know better).
Chris Haversham is a paranoid hypochondriac who somehow convinced himself that he was turning into a ghoul because he was going bald, but has the technical skills to get three pre-War spacecraft up and running.
Lily may only be connected to reality by the most slender of threads, but can either sneak past or slaughter pretty much anything that's put in front of her.
Cook-Cook is a very dark example, being a pyromaniac, drug addict, sadist, implicit zoophile and explicit serial rapist who also happens to be a legitimately excellent chef (his signature recipe, which you can learn, is one of the most nourishing meals around despite being made from completely everyday ingredients).
All of the Think Tank are utterly insane (and, it is made very clear, had plenty of personal issues even before centuries of having their brains slosh around in drug-infused amniotic fluid) but also cutting-edge experts in their specialist fields.
Butch Lesbian: Corporal Betsy from Camp McCarran. Just One of the Boys, though she's been hitting on every woman in the Camp after having been raped by Cook-Cook. One side-quest is getting her to see a psychologist.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In the Lonesome Road DLC, a single ordinary package the Courier delivered prior to the start of the game is revealed to have accidentally caused the destruction of the Divide, robbed Ulysses of his home, taught him the power certain individuals hold to radically reshape the world, and sparked off some rather dangerous obsessions. When Ulysses tells you what that package did, you can respond that the package was so unremarkable to you, you can't even recall it clearly.
But Thou Must: The courier could have claimed it was a flubbed job, but the Mojave Express has a very strict delivery policy and enforces it with freelancer teams sent to hunt down and kill non cooperative couriers.