The Cake Is a Lie: In Old World Blues, the Think Tank enlist your help in defeating their enemy, Dr. Mobius, on the promise that they'll let you go once you retrieve your brain and get it back in your skull. In truth, they plan on keeping your brain for themselves, because they need it for their own agenda.
Cane Fu: A favourite melee weapon for the White Gloves. While that doesn't sound too dangerous, remember that you have to go in bare-fisted unless you have a high enough sneak skill or can rob the cashier's room without getting caught. If your Unarmed skill is crap, you'll have a hell of a time doing the quest for their casino (the right way, at least).
Cannibalism Superpower: The player character can literally gain cannibalism superpowers through a hidden perk. If the player takes the Cannibal perk and then kills and eats Caesar, The King, Mr. House and President Kimball, your character absorbs their greatest strengths. Afterward, you receive a boost to four primary stats for a full minute after committing any act of cannibalism. Given that you have to kill and eat the four most powerful people in the Mojave Wasteland (which will naturally alienate their factions) and Kimball only appears in the second-final plot mission of the game this perk is somewhere in between a Bragging Rights Reward, Awesome but Impractical, and Eleventh Hour Superpower.
Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : If you attack any member of a major faction, the rest will know and you will lose reputation with them for it. They Handwave it with both sides having a "robust network of informants", but that's a shallow justification when you're killing Legion recruits in the middle of the desert.
Especially egregious with the faction hit squad spawning. Wipe out the Legion Raid Camp? Caesar will instantly know and teleport a hit squad to immediately retaliate.
Not quite as clear-cut as that, however, if you`re being cautious. If anyone of the faction SEES you committing a crime against them, they will immediately let the rest of faction know (presumably, through telepathic link). However, if you are NOT seen doing it, faction will be none the wiser. For instance, killing off Legionaries one by one with sneaky headshot will not give you any infamy with the legion, as long as all hits are one-shot kill - person being shot will immediately gain knowledge of your crime, but if they`re already dead, the rest of the faction stays none the wiser. Obviously, silenced rifle is the best tool for that. Ratslayer, in particular, allows to get away with indiscriminate murder early and often.
Catch Phrase: The Yes Man thinks this trope page is absolutely great! And he's not just saying that because he has to!
Cattle Baron: Brahmin Barons in NCR are still quite powerful. In the game, there's Heck Gunderson who at first seems like a likable enough character, but it's possible to meet a former rancher that he's stolen land from.
Cattle Punk: The closer you get to big cities, the more it becomes like a gangster flick, but the more rural areas have a definite old west feel to them. What do you expect, it's set in Nevada. Let us count the ways: Two cowboy robots (Victor and Primm Slim), prominent revolvers, cattle barons, extra-big bighorn sheep, moody guitar riffs, "prospectors" as a euphemism for "scavengers," a Cowboy perk that makes you better at all things Gunslingers ought to be, a chain gang on the run... and these are all just in the first few hours of the game.
Cavalry Betrayal: The goal of the House/Independent version of the Battle of Hoover Dam is to pull one off on the NCR with the Securitoron army.
Chainsaw Good: As well as the Ripper, a full-sized chainsaw can be found in Vault 3, wielded by Motor-Runner, or on high-level Legionaries. Thanks to its incredibly high-damage VATS attack (high enough to completely ignore a Ranger's DT and kill him in one hit), it is one of the best weapons for Sneak Attacks in the game. Despite whatever common sense may tell you about using a bulky, awkward and loud weapon for stealth work.
The Gun Runners' Arsenal adds new mod parts for the chainsaw, including carbide teeth (raising its base damage) and a carbon-fibre body to reduce its weight. From Chainsaw Good to Chainsaw Great.
Chaos Architecture: Invoked if not displayed. In Old World Blues, Dr. 0 says that they can't give you specific directions to the labs in Big MT because "sometimes they move around. Or disappear. Or blow up."
Chekhov's Gun: As you're poking around your would-be gravesite in Goodsprings, you'll likely come across a bunch of Distinctive Cigarette Butts, as well as a distinctive lighter off a named Great Khan you can kill in Boulder City. Keep these items, they become useful when convincing Swank to turn on Benny.
In the Old World Blues expansion, the injury you sustained at the very beginning of the game ends up as one of these. It creates a bit of a "wrinkle" in your brain that caused the Auto-Doc responsible for the brain-extraction process to alter its programming, and keep you sane and lucid after it was done.
The rocket toys you can buy in the Dinky Dino shop in Novac. They end up being extremely relevant to the local quest.
New Vegas itself is this. Clearly visible from the first area you start in. Trying to go there immediately leads to a squishy death, and most folks won't get there for weeks, unless on a speed-run.
Cherry Tapping: One of the challenges added by Gun Runner's Arsenal is to kill Deathclaws with the weakest weapons in the game. Of course, it only says kill. Nothing says you can't horribly maim them with your top shelf guns, first.
Christianity Is Catholic: In the vanilla game, the only references to Christianity are the use of Christian symbols by The Followers and a line where Cachino references the Pope. Averted in Honest Hearts, which prominently features a post-apocalyptic Mormon sect.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Benny has betrayed three people before the game even started, can betray you if you are gullible enough to believe him about talking to you in private at the Tops penthouse, and has the audacity to betray you yet again if you free him from the Fort by running away for good instead of helping you.
And those are just the major factions. You can also get in good with EVERY minor faction in the game, provided you're clever enough not to alienate them by accident, and then, before the final battle, go in and wipe out ALL OF THEM. I Can Rule Alone, indeed...
There are also plenty of quests that end with the option to slaughter the people you're helping. Help a group of ghouls get to the rockets, then set them to crash into each other. Help restore power to Helios One, then set the defense system to kill everyone unlucky enough to be standing outside. Promise to cut off access to the sulfur mines under the Vault, then set enough explosives to take down the mines and the Vault. And then there's that self-destruct button in the Brotherhood of Steel bunker...
Every deal that Caesar's Legion makes with other tribes and groups is in bad faith. There are no allies for Caesar, there are only prospective slaves and enemies. Nipton falls victim to this, Ulysses's tribe fell victim to this, the White Legs fall victim to this, the Great Khans can fall victim to this.
Interestingly, the Legion's tendency towards backstabbing pokes a huge hole (pun not intended) in Caesar's reasoning for founding the group, as a large part of why the original Roman Empire was so successful was because they made a policy of not doing that, and in general trying to respect conquered nations.
Church Militant: The Mormon Church it seems. According to Graham, learning how to handle a .45 auto is a rite of passage for New Canaanites. However, it's more that they're quite capable of defending themselves rather than being aggressively militant (Far from it actually). Also, one must remember that, After the End, you better damn well know how to kill or live around people that do.
Classy Cat-Burglar: The sneak skill magazine 'íLa Fantoma!' depicts one of these on its cover.
Clingy Suit: while the Stealth Armor MK II in the Old World Blues DLC isn't permanently attached, it sometimes begs you to continue wearing it and expresses sadness at being removed.
Clip Its Wings: Crippling a Cazador's wings is an excellent way to soften them up for the killshot. Of course, that assumes you can actually hit them in the first place, and not get stung to death by five or six of his buddies.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Played with; No-Bark Noonan is actually pretty perceptive about strange events that are happening around Novac, and good at looking through people with less-than honest intentions. Too bad he blames them on the Chupacabra and the mole people. Of course, the mole people are actually real, and he sometimes lays blame on exactly what the problem is but obfuscates it behind his choice of words. As for the communist ghosts, well...
The Think Tank and Doctor Mobius.
Many of the relatively sane nightkin, such as Lily and Tabitha, qualify as this.
Mentioned explicitly by the rough-voiced, slightly Mister Rogers-like radio personality Mr. New Vegas. He notes that ever since Tabitha took over the broadcast, Black Mountain's radio channel has become "less for outcasts, more for weirdos."
Cluster F-Bomb: Cass has a delightfully foul mouth, and can't help swearing repeatedly. The game plays with this during her side-quest, while taking revenge for her ruined caravan, she states that they'll settle accounts with one group, and then go to the leader of the other group and "make that bitch eat her own hair." When you look in the quest menu, that statement is recorded word for word as your goal for this quest. Some characters have a wonderful way of personalizing their own quests, you know?
Cold-Blooded Torture: One path available when interrogating Silus is to kill him for your personal pleasure. Of course doing so before he's said anything of importance just gets Lieutenant Boyd angry. Still, you can simply beat him around until he relents.
Cold Opening: While the first three DLCs start with a narrated slideshow, Lonesome Road skips this in favor of dropping you right into The Divide.
The longest mission in the game, by logical extension, involves collecting special "star" bottle caps from bottles of Sunset Sarsaparilla and handing them in to an animatronic cowboy named Festus.
There is a snow globe collection game which nets you caps.
The mod More Challenges adds several challenges which requires to collect specific items, like cameras, chessboards, gecko eggs, toy cars, teddy bears...
Colonel Badass: Colonel Cassandra Moore. She commands the garrison at Hoover Dam, within spitting distance of the massive Legion buildup at Fortification Hill. She's built up reputation as a hardass and a General Ripper (though justifiable due to the proximity to the Fort). She's had four tours against the Brotherhood of Steel during the NCR's war with them.
Company Town: Sierra Madre. The Sierra Madre chips you find laying around the villa are given as payment to the employees who live and work there. One computer log mentions that they barely get enough chips to make it to the next paycheck- provided they ration supplies carefully. Another computer log tells of how Sinclair set up the whole economy so that all the profits of his casino go directly to him, without him having to give anything back in return. He even spun up some excuse to claim that it benefits all the workers by not having to worry about money directly.
NPC characters can reload some slow reload weapons such as Cowboy Repeaters and .357 revolvers as though they are reloaded with magazines or speedloaders. Thankfully, this also applies to followers.
Good Bad Bugs: A glitch with the hot-swapping ammo system allows the player to do this as well.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the game's gambling. NPC card dealers will regularly deal themselves 20s and Blackjack several times in a row when your luck stat is below par. Maxing out your Luck stat allows for the game to cheat in your favour as well, elevating Luck from a level just above Dump Stat (only useful for critical hits, which several perks would cover) to Game Breaker (allowing a character to break the bank of every casino in Vegas in half an hour's playing time).
The Boomers. The artillery barrage you must run through upon approaching their base is a scripted event, and cannot be avoided in any way or gives any third options besides 'duck and cover'. Stealth won't work, even with Stealth Boys. You can't snipe the spotters, because there aren't any. You can't make them run out of ammo. You can't return fire with the Fat Man. All you can do is run and take cover and wait for the reloading breaks—which, given the number of shells they're shooting per barrage, implies they've got a 20-gun battery firing at you. (You can, however, use Turbo to run past them.)
Or with good enough armour and perks, survive getting explosion-launched repeatedly toward the Nellis AFB gate...
The Legionary Assassins that come after you if your reputation with the Legion is poor always come straight for you. Even if you're sneaking with a Sneak skill of 100, have all of the stealth related perks, and are invisible using a Stealth Boy, they will find and attack you. This makes playing a sneaking sniper character against them incredibly difficult unless you are able to see them coming from a good ways off, which isn't always possible.
One unusual bug that often comes from this is that many assassin squads will not be instantly agro to you. If your perception is enhanced enough that you spot them before they spot you, they will appear as blue blips on the compass radar. They have a tendency to approach you first, announce that you have been marked for death, and THEN attack you. This works in the player's advantage because the messenger will run a long distance away from the rest of the squad to approach you. You can easily kill the scout while it takes a few moments for the others to catch up and join in. However, if your Legion rep reaches "Vilified," they'll skip the "marked for death" dialogue and just attack you. It is possible to become Vilified to the Legion during your (likely) first encounter with them in the Nipton if you kill Vulpes Inculta.
There are quest triggers that are scripted for when you walk through a zone and trigger whether you're sneaking or not resulting in an NPC spotting you and walking up to you to either talk or attack no matter how good your stealth is.
This game takes place in the same area as the canon but canceled Van Buren, so plenty of characters and elements in New Vegas are references to events from that game.
Fans of Fallout will soon notice the large number of references to towns from Fallout 1 and 2, such as Modoc or the Hub; understandable, since those took place in northern California, not far from Nevada, which is where this game takes place. Some of the original music even creeps in here and there.
The reason the NCR can't torture POWs can be traced back to the administration of President Tandi.
A character makes mention of the mildly terrifying Mr. Bishop of New Reno, who seems more at home in the wasteland than the city. This, presumably, is the son a male Chosen One can have by either the wife or daughter (canonically the latter) of the head of the Bishop family at the time.
There are also a surprising amount of references to Fallout 3, both explicitly and thematically:
Veronica wishes the Brotherhood could help the ordinary people and look at changing the philosophy to fit the changing world they live in. This is basically what the Capital Wasteland BoS did. She even vaguely refers to this, mentioning that the BoS has had schisms and breakaway groups in the past (although that could refer to the Tactics BoS as well).
If you're low of intelligence, when asked about what you think about the Brotherhood of Steel, you can reply something along the lines of them being "giant monsters in power armour that shoot lasers from their eyes"... which is pretty much Liberty Prime in a nutshell, or Frank Horrigan.
The schism and breakaway part likely references both the Midwestern and Capital Wasteland Brotherhoods, but she continues by mentioning that one chapter even had a small civil war over it, which either references the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood/Outcast conflict or some other conflict we haven't heard about before or since.
ED-E is an Enclave eyebot from the airbase in the "Broken Steel" DLC. And was headed to Navarro. He was also the only prototype finished because funds were being pulled to create Hellfire Armor, also from Broken Steel. Colonel Augustus Autumn is explicitly mentioned in his backstory, specifically in Lonesome Road.
The aliens from the Mothership Zeta DLC show up if you have the Wild Wasteland perk.
Copies of Moira's "Wasteland Survival Guide" are skill books that increase your survival skill.
Remember Marcus, the friendly Super Mutant who helped Chosen One and wound up as mayor of Broken Hills in Fallout 2? He's back, mayor yet again, this time for a town full of Super Mutants.
The Classic Pack gives you the equipment of both the Vault Dweller and the Chosen One.
Emily Ortal, a Follower and a native of Arroyo, may reward you with medical supplies for completing a small side quest she gives you. She hopes that they are of no use to you... just like Hakunin, the shaman from when it was still a tribal village, from Fallout 2. Except a little less cryptically.
Dog from Dead Money seems to always need orders because he had a master as long as he remembers. Starting with The Master (the Big Bad from Fallout).
The Master is also mentioned by other Super mutants and Nightkin
You can get the recipe for the delicious Deathclaw omelet from the great niece of its creator, who somehow got a female Deathclaw to provide a steady supply of eggs in Modoc. Until some stranger came along and "shot it in the eye," anyway.
The Forecaster, a psychic kid who lives under the overpass at the 188 Trading Post, wears a peculiar headband as "headache medicine." It's a psychic nullifier, like the one the Vault Dweller could use when going to confront the Master.
Corrupt Quartermaster: Sgt Daniel Contreras is the New Californa Republic's quartermaster at their Camp Mc Carran outpost who exploits his position for personal gain smuggling guns and chems to clients in the Mojave Wasteland. If you complete his unmarked quest for him, he'll give you full access to his inventory and also gives you the This Machine rifle, one of the best weapons in the game.
Cowboy Cop: Meyers, one of the (better) options for Primm's new sheriff, was sent to the NCRCF for "taking the law into his own hands one too many times." If he becomes sheriff, the epilogue reveals he does his job well and Primm prospers under him, but occasionally a body of a suspected criminal is found lying in the gutter.
Crapsack World: A given for a game in a series set After the End, but the Mojave Wasteland is in several ways less of a crapsack than the Capital Wasteland was. Though there is a war going on, most areas are relatively more civilized with access to electricity and clean water. And though you may not agree with their methods, the NCR, Legion, and Mr. House have all brought some sense of order in the regions they control.
Mr. House. He not only calculated the exact time and day of the nuclear apocalypse (and was less than a day off), but he also managed to prepare himself that he survived for two hundred years afterwards, as well as being able to remotely disable or shoot down all but eleven of the missiles headed for Vegas. And if he'd had the Platinum Chip, none of them would have hit.
The Courier. Hey, the weapons and supplies in the Courier's Stash DLC had to come from somewhere.
Crazy Survivalist: Randall Clark, a soldier from the Great War and the former owner of the Desert Ranger Armor in Honest Hearts. He eventually became a god-like figure to the Sorrows, towards whom he developed a Papa Wolf-like mentality.
More like a subversion of this trope. He is pragmatic, usually behaves cowardly (which saves his life on more than one occasion), displays bouts of survivor guilt, plans to commit suicide and tries to help others without risking direct contact. Not your average Crazy Survivalist.
Credits Gag: If you've got the Wild Wasteland perk, the credits are full of humorous notes, in-jokes, and nicknames as an homage to the first two games, where similar gag credits were seen if you held shift while the credits loaded.
Crippling Overspecialization: The silenced .22 pistol is silent, so you can attack enemies without alerting them, can use hollow point ammo so it has a damage buff against lightly armored targets, is a basic holdout weapon so it can be snuck into places where you aren't allowed weapons, and has bonuses to critical hit chance and critical hit damage. Essentially, it exists so you can bring it into places where weapons are confiscated, and use a sneak attack critical to assassinate someone without being noticed. Outside of that circumstance, it has awful ammo variety and one of the lowest damages of any gun in the game, so if that One-Hit KO doesn't take with your first shot, you're only marginally better off than fighting the now-alert enemy with your bare hands.
Critical Hit Class: It's one of the possible ways to build your character, as critical rates are determined by the player's Luck stat, weapons, and a good number of the game's perks. A character with high luck will also be ridiculously good at cards, making him become both this trope and The Gambler.
One option in Cass's quest. If you spare the Van Graffs and Alice McLafferty , and give evidence of their crimes to the NCR, Cass decides that the NCR's bureaucracy and legal procedures will do them more harm than her bullets ever could.
You can also do the same to Mr. House, by disconnecting his body from the mainframe and putting him back in his capsule. His life support will keep him alive for at least one year before he dies from the contaminants you exposed him to.
In Honest Hearts, with high enough speech skill, you can convince Joshua Graham to do this to Salt-upon Wounds.
Crushing The Populace: Caesar's Legion if Legate Lanius comes to rule; he will murder anyone and everyone who he sees as an insult to the Legion, including the Followers of the Apocalypse as he claims they have "dishonored" Caesar's reputation. While Caesar treats profligates somewhat gently and enters the Strip as a conquering hero, Lanius is horrifically cruel.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The final battle at Hoover Dam can turn into this, especially if you got all factions to ally with the NCR including the remnants, have a powerful companion with you (like Boone with Power Armor and an Anti-Materiel Rifle), have maxed out energy weapons and have saved all your alien blaster ammo. You can just go around disintegrating squad after squad of the Legion's Elite Mooks with no difficulty at all, while your allies just keep coming in and curb stomping the shit out of them in one Big Damn Heroes moment after another, finally culminating in defeating the Final BossLegate Lanius in a few seconds.
Also, you can make an off-screen Curb-Stomp Battle happen if you upgrade the Securitron army under the Legion fort, for the Mr. House and Wild Card endings. Imagine an army of 7-foot-tall heavily-armoured killbots with gatling-lasers, grenade launchers and missile launchers, fighting against an army of squishy hockey-gear-wearing tribals with throwing spears, improvised machetes and a few rusty guns. And the robots have the element of surprise. Hardly surprising it ends in the Legion taking a monumental kicking.
Curse Cut Short: If you work with Cachino to take out the Omerta bosses, you'll get this exchange when you give the signal to Cachino:
Cute Machines: ED-E. That he communicates via little beeps and scratches helps.
Cutting the Knot: In the Old World Blues stealth lab, you get put through increasingly difficult tests to grab a "secret document". The first involves getting past Robobrains, the second adds laser tripwires, the third adds proximity sensors, and the final one requires you to shut down the Robobrains instead (you don't need any skill to do it, you just have to sneak up to them). The first three can be circumvented in numerous ways:
You can kill the Robobrains before the first test, and they will not respawn except for the last test, where they are necessary. You can always kill them again. Thus, the robots are not a problem. It also completely eliminates the need to sneak, except for the last test, because nothing can actually see you.
With 55 Science/Repair, you can either hack the tripwire IFF circuit or disable them outright. This is permanent.
You can scout out the location of the proximity sensors if you fail the third test at least once (they don't spawn until that point), making them easy to disarm before they activate. You don't need to sneak to approach them, since they can detect you either way. Unfortunately, they rearm for every test.
If you can get past the locked door and have the forcefield disabling mod for the Sonic Emitter, you can leave the test area, go to the forcefield ceiling of the final room, disable it, then jump down and grab the document, bypassing the test entirely.
Damage-Sponge Boss: Legate Lanius, the Legendary Deathclaw, the Legendary Bloatfly, the Giant Roboscorpion, Ulysses, and Colonel Royez(who has HP-regenerating armor in addition to radiation healing).
Dangerous Deserter: You encounter a few in Primm, attempting to start a protection racket and attacking you if try to turn them in. They're survivors from a outpost that was overrun by Caesar's Legion, and think the NCR will lose soon.
Days of Future Past: In addition to the "retro 50s" feel of all surviving pre-war culture typical to the Fallout franchise, Caesar's Legion is obviously inspired by the Roman Empire, in-universe and out.
Deadly Gas: The Cloud contaminating the Sierra Madre in Dead Money.
Dead Man's Hand: In the expansion "Dead Money", the player can get an achievement for getting the dead man's hand from the deadly, abandoned casino Sierra Madre.
Veronica: (on the Boomers) "A bunch of shut-ins who show disdain for outsiders and hold technology above them. Huh. Haven't heard that one before."
Raul: (if told to wait) "Sure, boss. I'll just wait here. Whilst my heavily armed companion wanders out of earshot. What could possibly go wrong."
Arcade (crouching down to sneak): Just so you know, my covert bandaging skills are a little rusty.
Rene Auberjonois brings a delightful snideness to Mr House. Especially if the Courier tries to get uppity with him.
Mr. House:Why is it so hard to find good help these days? (unleashes a dozen murder-bots on the Courier)
Death by Irony: The Legion camp at Cottonwood Cove is built right underneath a truck loaded with barrels of radioactive waste, perched perilously halfway over a cliff. It's possible to dump the barrels into the Legion camp, killing all the Legion forces there, resulting in an ironic payback for their dirty bomb attack on Camp Searchlight (the NCR survivors of Camp Searchlight will appreciate the irony if you tell them about it).
If you opt for traditional Townicide while playing a female character, Sergeant Astor will also comment on the delicious irony of the camp being wiped by a woman, who in the Legion are basically just used as baby factories.
Alternatively, reenact the Ides of March by stabbing Caesar to death with a knife or spear him in the head. There's a challenge for it in the Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC, and if you have Arcade Gannon (history buff and Legion hater) with you, he'll commend you on your "historical propriety".
Death City: The Sierra Madre Villa is an isolated town choked by a toxic gas, inhabited only by Ghost People and full of traps. It only gets worse when you find out that not only the Casino itself was intended as a death trap but that the town was a test lab for some Think Tank experiments. Ulysses even refers to it as a "special sort of hell".
Previous Fallout titles not only allow, but encourage, players to play all angles of questlines in order to maximize their rewards and experience. This game makes the player realize that trying to play all sides like that will have a person torn between them, because questlines in this game conflict and completing one may fail another. There's also the problem that when you try to play all sides like this, they find out, and they may not be happy, or may suffer for you helping their enemies. Additionally, unlike previous titles, diplomacy is not always an option. Stealth and guile will help you avoid direct conflict, but there's no path to the ending that doesn't get blood on your hands on way or the other. If you go the Wild Card route, deciding the fate of Vegas's factions by your own whim, you can make a lot of people happy, but there's still going to be factions dead or facing a bittersweet future, and the Legion and NCR leaders mock the idea that you thought you could make everyone happy on your own.
The Fallout tradition of doing this to the value system of the 50s also continues; there's a great example in the REPCONN Headquarters and its rather strict security.
Honest Hearts has some of Mighty Whitey; Both Daniel and Joshua are aware that them leading their respective tribes isn't healthy for anyone involved, but they don't know how else to handle it. Daniel's uncertainty is actually hinted as one reason for him listening to a complete stranger.
Dead Money deconstructs the companion system. None of the three companions in the add-on want anything to do with you and only work for you because they have to, and the story and gameplay, not to mention the Big Bad, encourage you to use their specific skills as needed to get to your objectives, then invoke You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on them. Further, the way you treat them will bite you in the ass once they find out they don't need you alive anymore either; if you treated them poorly before, they will respond in kind now that they have the chance.
Lonesome Road is one huge kick in the nuts to people who like to roleplay super virtuous characters, and to the broader concept of the Player Character in general. It turns out even your most minor and inocuous of actions have consequences.
Democracy Is Bad: Vault 11. The computer stated that unless people were sacrificed at regular intervals, everyone would be killed. The citizens decided to choose those sacrifices with elections.
Gus Olson, Ombudsman:...Choose a sacrifice democratically, in the way that we citizens are accustomed to washing our hands of terrible deeds...
Resulting in the rather darkly funny 1950s style campaign posters which say stuff like "Haley is a known adulterer & Communist sympathizer, vote for Haley!" in bold red, white, and blue.
In particular, the Justice Bloc embodies a tyranny of the majority: as a like-minded group that barely constitutes a majority of the population, they can decide the entire election, letting them threaten their way into whatever they want. Like blackmailing a woman to perform sexual favors for them so they won't have her husband killed for beating them at cards (then doing it anyway). She got them back, though. With her power as an elected official (gained by murdering one of the Justice Bloc in response and getting a guaranteed "win" in the election), she stole their majority out from under them.
Mr. House tells you to look outside if you want to know the fate of democracies when he's discussing how he plans to be the sole autocrat of New Vegas.
Caesar believes the New California Republic to have been at its strongest when it was akin to a hereditary monarchy under Presidents Aradesh and Tandi. In his opinion, the democratic NCR has deteriorated into a corrupt, overly bureaucratic plutocracy since then.
Democracy Is Flawed: The New California Republic is a democracy styled after pre-War America. Most characters in the game say it's flawed, but prefer it to the alternative of eking out a precarious living in small isolated settlements or subjugated under the rule of Caesar's Legion.
Department of Redundancy Department: All of the Think Tank doctors get into this, with Dr. Mobius's dome-shaped... dome in the FORBIDDEN ZONE (that is... YES!... forbidden! to you), and the the TESLA COILS... THE COILS OF NIKOLA TESLA.
Designated Bullet: You can kill Benny with the same gun he shot you with in the opening cutscene. There's even an achievement and XP bonus for doing so if you have the Gun Runner's Arsenal installed.
A mod takes this one step further by allowing you to retrieve the remnants of the bullets Benny shot you with from the operating table and recast them into A Bullet With Benny's Name On It.
Raul makes mention, during one of the conversations you unlock by talking to certain elderly people, about how he went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge when a girl who resembled his deceased sister was kidnapped by raiders. He tracked them for three straight days (they slept, he didn't), and she was dead by the time he got there. In response, he killed all seven of them by himself, soaking up bullets and staying alive on nothing but pure rage. After several days of lying near-dead on the ground, he pulled himself back up and went back home.
Also helps that, being a ghoul, he has a healing factor while near radiation, and this was taking place not long after the bombs felled.
Developing Doomed Characters: In Honest Hearts, you meet Stella, who used to be the Sheriff of a town in Reno, and Ricky, a compulsive liar with a psycho addiction.
Raul: Right. Got it. I'll just stop using this melee weapon and instead use a melee weapon. Good idea, Boss. Veronica: *Being told to stay close a second time* This is as close as I get until you turn into a leggy brunette.
Drop the barrels of radioactive waste on the Legion camp at Cottonwood Cove, and if you ever go there again to reach the Fort via the ferry, the ferryman will be wearing a radiation suit and mention how everyone else should have prepared for this like he did.
The player can enter the Securitron vault before House gives them the quest to activate the Securitrons inside, in which case when you activate the remote console to speak to him in the vault, he admits he wasn't prepared for you to get there yet, but since you've found it on your own you may as well do the task he had planned for you now, and you receive the quest from him then. You can even kill Benny, go meet Caesar, and enter the vault without ever meeting House, and he has different dialogue for this, including that he's annoyed you spurned his invitation to meet him at the Lucky 38.
If you complete "For Auld Lang Syne" and get Power Armor Training from the Enclave Remnants before completing "Still in the Dark" and being trained by the Brotherhood of Steel, the Elder will express surprise when he offers to teach you how to use Power Armor and you reply that you already know how. He questions how the heck you could learn that, but surmises someone as well-traveled and resourceful as you probably picked it up somewhere.
During "You'll Know When It Happens" where you have to protect Kimball from assassination, if you're on House's questline, you only receive the quest if your reputation with NCR is high — if you have too low reputation, then you don't have the influence with them needed to be allowed to take part in the ceremony, and House will move on to the next part of his questline.
There is another, unmarked quest near Goodsprings wherein you can be rescued by Victor yet again, this time from the various hostile wildlife off the main road. If he ends up trying to save you from something like a group of Cazadores, he will most likely be destroyed - and then he will inexplicably come back again, at which point you can ask him about it. He won't give a straight answer (you eventually find out Victor is a program that can jump between different Securitrons).
In fact, this happens if Victor is killed at any time (the most likely being if you follow him after meeting him in Boulder City instead of fast-traveling, as he'll most likely get killed by Lakelurks).
While confronting Benny at the Tops, he will sneeringly point out that he and his bodyguards are quite heavily armed, whereas you and your followers only possess whatever dinky hold-out weapons you could sneak past security. If you managed to break into the casino's bank and steal your weapons back, you will have the option to say so at that point.
You'll find an NCR Private admiring a memorial to the First Battle of Hoover Dam when you arrive in Boulder City. If you shoot at the memorial, he calls you out and says his brother fought in that battle. You'll then either have to pass a speech challenge or fight him.
Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: You can meet a bodyguard for hire who hires people to pose as thugs so he can pretend to shoot them and scam his customers out of money. The problem? He wears decent armor, is carrying a powerful Hunting Revolver, and most thugs he has to fight to protect his clients carry knives or lead pipes. It's much, much cheaper and less complicated for him to just do his job rather than hire four other people and split his earnings with them. Not played straight, though, as this is still a good way to increase the apparent need for his services and thus drum up business.
Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Mortimer, upon realizing that he's just admitted to still being a cannibal in front of a banquet of other (former) cannibals if they haven't fallen back to the old ways. Of course, if you pipe up too early, then it'll backfire on you.
Also Karl if the Courier taunts him into shouting that the Great Khans are nothing compared to the Legion. While the Khan leaders are most likely sitting right next to him.
When you first meet the Think Tank, after convincing them of being sapient and capable, Dr. Dala suggests to her fellow scientists that you'd probably be amenable to helping them with their problem, as long as they do not mention that they're responsible for your lobotomization. Yes, she says this while you're standing in front of them. Rather than being embarrassed about this, however, she will delightedly explain the whole deal if you bring it up.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Ulysses refers to the Think Tank as "the gods of the Big Empty," and remarks that not even he, or even "a hundred Elijahs" could defeat them. The Courier can.
Disc One Final Boss: Benny serves this role, being the main object of the player's pursuit for the 1st half of the main quest line.
Disc One Nuke: A thorough player can find some incredible equipment for any class within the first few hours of gameplay. A few notable examples:
Lucky, a unique and particularly powerful .357 revolver with a 2.5x crit multiplier (in Layman's Terms, it critically hits a lot). You can find it in Primm, likely the 2nd settlement the player will visit, if you can manage a buffed 75 lockpicking. (Not hard if you put a few points into the skill and collect a few +10 Lockpicking magazines.)
The Ratslayer, a unique Varmint Rifle with all the mods attached to it, deals more damage than the standard version, and uses the same extremely plentiful ammo. It can be obtained early if you know where to look. The catch? It's in a cave filled with Rodents of Unusual Size. (Literally if you have the Wild Wasteland perk.) Thankfully, you can get Boone nearby.
Speaking of Boone, he himself qualifies as a companion nuke. He can be recruited as a companion after his relatively easy quest and will make the trip to New Vegas absurdly easy if picked up during the player's first trip to Novac. His default Hunting Rifle is extremely powerful for early in the game and his Guns stat is maxed out, meaning that he'll kill many enemies with a headshot before you even realize you're under attack.
The Space Suit and Helmet you find at the REPCONN Test Facility is Disc One Nuke Armor. It has decent defense, is a Light-type armor, and has the added bonus of having as much Rad Resistance on it as an Advanced Radiation Suit. YMMV on whether it looks ridiculous or awesome, but either way, it's effective.
A short ways north from Goodsprings, (there are Cazadores about, so you'll have to find a way around,) you'll find Chance's grave. Bring a shovel, and you can loot it for Chance's Knife, which is the best melee weapon you can get for a long time.
"This Machine", an M1 Garand Rifle that deals incredible damage, has a semi automatic firing rate, has a larger clip size than any other rifle (save the Marksman's Carbine), and reloads very fast. With a decent Science skill, you can get it right before making it to Outer Vegas.
Bonnie Springs is host to a small group of Viper gang members, one of which has the unique spiked knuckles "Love and Hate." Pushy and the Ballistic Fist are the only vanilla unarmed weapons with a higher DPS.
The Q-35 Matter Modulator, one of the best energy weapons in the game, can be found at the REPCONN Headquarters not too far from Boulder City on your way through the first main quest. It's also found alongside a lot of ammo for it, there are no skill requirements to find it, and the building is so small you can be in and out in five minutes with weapon in hand.
The Lever-action shotgun can be a Boring Yet Practical version of this, if you get the Cowboy and Shotgun Surgeon perks (Cowboy in particular can be acquired relatively early). Reasonable reload for a shotgun, relatively easy-to-find ammo, fairly quick reload for a shotgun, and can one- or two-shot most enemies early on in the game. The first enemies you find in normal gameplay that this gun cannot handle are Cazadores and large groups of legionaries.
That Gun, the unique 5.56 mm revolver, can be found in Novac in the shop. Just wait until the owner is gone, pick the Very Easy lock of the backroom and grab it from the shelf where it's laying. By that point, everybody and their mother sells 5.56 ammo, so you have a powerful gun AND a nice stack of bullets. And if you took the Cowboy perk, it'll last for quite a while as your sidearm.
While it requires you to go out of your way a bit, it can be done immediately at the start of the game if you don't mind a bit of a hike. North of New Vegas, on the farms, a hunting shotgun can be found in the bed of a pickup truck outside a barn with 3-4 fiends in it. It is badly damaged, but it's one of the most powerful shotguns in the game, and normally won't start appearing in shops or as loot for quite a while.
Dead Money. It's extremely difficult to complete on any level below 25, but not impossible if you're patient/lucky enough. It's possible to haul out over 100,000 caps, tons of experience, several new and powerful perks, quality armor, and some great weapons with ammo for each. Old World Blues offers similar but still-difficult opportunities.
Honest Hearts might be the easiest of the expansions to complete for a low level player, but has no shortage of "nuke" class equipment to pick up. In particular are the .45 Auto handguns which are plentiful in the region. There is a (dirt cheap) Silencer mod for them which will be extremely useful to a sneaky player. It doesn't come with the bonus critical chance of the .22 Silenced pistol, but it packs a much bigger punch on it's own.
Lonesome Road. Obviously you won't be getting very far into it at a low level but, because you can leave and return whenever you feel like it, it is possible to acquire weapons and equipment in the bunker that are very impressive at this stage in the game including the Riot Armor, Arc Welder, H&H Nail Gun, and the first upgrade for ED-E.
Disproportionate Reward: Potentially, being inducted into the Brotherhood of Steel. You're required to install a doohickey on a Black Mountain transmitter. However, you could have already completed the Black Mountain quest, which means you can casually stroll there without firing a shot at the Super Mutants, plant the bug in plain sight, and stroll back down to receive a shiny set of Power Armor, Power Armor training, and a new safehouse. Even compared to the previous mission, one of the longest and most dangerous Fetch Quests of the game, this mission is a breeze.
Distaff Counterpart: Miss Fortune to the Mysterious Stranger. She's a Vegas Showgirl who, instead of doing a crapton of damage with her revolver like the Stranger, inflicts her victims with a host of maladies ranging from cooking off explosives, to flinging them backwards, to paralyzing them, to crippling limbs.
Courier: You sell plants here? Dr. Usanagi: Uh, no. Implants, not plants. They're little machines I can put inside you to make you faster, quicker, or smarter. I recommend the smarter implant. (She'll offer a discount on it out of pity.)
Of course, you can evolve your character into a Genius Ditz if you spend your skill points in the right categories like Science or Medicine, resulting in a character that has a very low IQ but is surprisingly talented in his/her fields of interest.
The Dog Was the Mastermind: An invoked realization from General Lee Oliver in the Wild Card ending. He's quite surprised to learn that some random "road jockie" not only completely fell an entire nation and sent the remains scattering into the wind, but completely undermined everything the NCR had spent years slowly building up to obtain.Both within moments of each other! Never saw it coming. Never thought such a possibility could even exist.
Doppleganger Attack: One of the side-quests in Honest Hearts pits you against a Yao Guai while under the influence of drugs. The result is having to fight a flaming Yao Guai that can produce two copies of itself.
Double Entendre: As a male with the Confirmed Bachelor perk, you can ask Major Knight in the Mojave Outpost if he wants to be "friends." He'll get really awkward and explain that he would like to have you as a "friend," and the NCR technically doesn't have rules against guys having "friends," but the outpost has a somewhat conservative climate and he can't afford to have a "friend" while having to get up and work with these people every day, but maybe you can be "friends" when he's transferred somewhere else.
If you side with the Legion. Especially if you leave Legate Lanius in power. Because Caesar is now dead, the Legion devolves from a evil empire into a band of raping and pillaging marauders, and every single settlement gets either enslaved or destroyed. Or enslaved then destroyed.
Even the Legion ending is absolutely nothing compared to siding with Elijah in Dead Money. The ending explains that Elijah proceeded to release the Cloud upon the Mojave, which brought horrible painful death to everything in its wake, before releasing his army of invincible laser shooting holograms to mop up. No living thing set foot in the Mojave for years after due to rumors of ghosts immune to gunfire and a red cloud that brought death in its wake. All that remained was Elijah and the Courier, waiting in the Sierra Madre for the world to begin again.
No matter what you do, not everyone will be able to have a happy ending at the end. For example, the only way to get a good ending for the Followers of the Apocalypse is by making them cooperate with the NCR and leave the Republic in control of New Vegas. However, doing so will also result in Arcade getting hunted down by the NCR as a war criminal due to his former connections with the Enclave.
Only if you tell him to join the Enclave Remnants for the battle, rather than going back to the Followers' camp. He gets a much better ending, only being mildly disappointed that Freeside is no longer independent.
Of course, Arcade has the worst individual ending in the entire game. At one point, you get the option to sell Arcade to Caesar. If you choose to do this, the ending reveals that Caesar liked having someone of equal intelligence around who didn't just agree with everything he said. Arcade hated it so much that the second he had the chance after years of servitude, he disemboweled himself. Did you think of that when you sold him?
Lily has nothing but downer endings. Either she dies, stops taking her medicine and goes insane, takes her medicine regularly and forgets her family, or takes it semi-regularly and tries to find her family, who are long-dead. Of course, one could take the "Forgetting Family" ending as a pretty mixed Bittersweet Ending, as while she lets go of her dead family, her entire personality gets erased, as that was all that she focused on.
Legate Lanius and Vulpes Inculta are Co-Dragons to Caesar.
Jean-Baptiste Cutting to Gloria Van Graff.
Yes-Man to Benny and possibly to the Courier, if you so choose.
Dragon Their Feet: Although it's possible to keep them alive, both Caesar and President Kimball can possibly be dead by the time the final battle rolls around. Regardless, Legate Lanius and General Oliver are still around to lead Caesar's Legion and NCR against each other for the endgame fight. Lanius even becomes the new Caesar if you side with the Legion, kill Caesar during his surgery, and help them win.
Dressing as the Enemy: Can be done with some factions. Take note that the faction's oppositions will also mistake you for one of their goons and will open fire without warning. So don't go around wearing Powder Ganger armor without good reason since both the NCR and the Legion will try to gun you down.
Also, security guards and Elite Mooks will recognize you as a fake, so the only people that won't shoot at you are the mooks of that faction. Every other faction will open fire on an apparent enemy, and the guards will open fire on a disguised enemy. Granted, Legion/NCR armour is good enough, and Khan armour is pleasantly tribal.
If given the chance, Benny tries to dress as a member of the Legion in an attempt to sneak in the bunker under their stronghold, however, because his well-groomed hair makes him stand out quite a bit amongst the shaggy and dusty legionaries, he is quickly detected and captured.
The Drifter: Just like the previous games, you can be this with Good Karma, coming in to save a town from its problems and then hitting the road again. One of the first missions in the game you can get, in fact, is you building up a small town militia to fight off a group of thugs, and this is right after you woke up from being double tapped in the head. Bonus points in that Goodsprings is the very picture of an old western town.
Driven to Suicide: The previous winner of the Star Cap "prize" did this due to being locked in a room with no food or water, thus avoiding a slow death. His gun is now the new prize.
Possibly Elijah, if you choose to lock him the casino vault in Dead Money. Vera did this when the vault's security systems trapped her during the nuclear war.
The final five inhabitants of Vault 11 decided that they had enough with the sacrifices and announced that they would stop sending any more people to die. The Vault's automated response which cheerfully informed them that the whole thing was a test and no one needed to die was enough to send four of the five into killing themselves.
The absolute worst possible ending for Arcade. If you sell him into Legion slavery as Caesar's personal doctor, he spends a long time as Caesar's intellectual conversation partner. Caesar himself is absolutely giddy to finally have someone in the Legion who understands science and technology (and a Follower of the Apocalypse, no less), but Arcade is absolutely miserable. Eventually, he disembowels himself with a scalpel.
If General Oliver survives the House/Wild Card ending, then House estimates that there is a 30% chance that he will kill himself in shame over his defeat.
Drone of Dread: Digital Nightmare overhauls the non-diegetic soundtrack by music intended to make battles sound more intense and exploration sounds more oppressive. The tracks for deserted areas make heavy use of the trope.
Drop the Hammer: The sledgehammer and Super Sledge. Strangely, the tool hammers cannot be used as a weapon. Perhaps the best melee weapon in the game is the unique Super Sledge, Oh, Baby!, which can just about two-shot deathclaws. Also, the X-2 Antenna from Old World Blues.
Drugs Are Bad: Played straight without heavily dropping the anvils, as is par for the course with the Fallout series. Most of the drugs in the game give you some sort of temporary boost, but with the possible risk of addiction, meaning you will be weaker if you go without the drug. Some more specific examples:
The Fiends are a group of drug addled raiders, and one of the most outright evil groups in the game. The only time you won't be kill on sight to them is when you enter Vault 3 and mention that you're delivering more drugs.
On the other hand is Caesar's Legion, a ruthless group of fascist slavers, but are very anti-drug.
A number of quests that help addicts kick their drug habits net good karma for the player. Quests where you deliver or administer drugs generally net you bad karma.
Med-X, a drug that increases damage resistance, appears once again in the series. It was originally slated to be called "Morphine" until Moral Guardians found out and got it changed.
This is the only real downside to wearing the Stealth Armor Mk. II. It will regularly inject stimpacks and med-x when you get below 50%, and you will become addicted before you even realize it. You have to actively go out of your way to avoid carrying any med-x in your inventory to avoid it.
One quest has the player helping a New Vegas prostitute escape her situation, but she reveals that her boss has gotten her hooked on drugs which he supplies in order to keep her around, adding additional difficulty to the situation. With a sufficient Medicine skill, you can point out the symptoms of her addiction. She wasn't aware that her condition had gotten that bad. Doing this removes any drug requirements out of the escape plan.
Drunken Master: Cass, by extension, you with her companion perk. Normally alcohol boosts your Str at the cost of Int, but with Cass the reduction is removed and addiction is no longer an issue. She also causes whiskey to boost your armor.
This is somewhat lampshaded with the Jury Rigging Perk. With it, you can repair any weapon with something of its class (Bolt action, Automatic, Melee etc...), rather then an actual copy, so repairing Anti-Tank Rifles with your humble Varmint-rifle is possible. The Perk picture has the Vaultboy duct-tape a gun back together. "How does it work? Nobody knows... except you."
One of the conversation options with Doctor 8 in Old World Blues about masturbation of all things has the Courier explaining the wonders of combining Cram (processed meat) and a roll of Duct Tape.
During the battle of Hoover Dam, in what is assumed to be a developer oversight, Colonel Moore will tell you about the NCR's victory and her promotion to Brigade General, and that NCR scouts are currently busy with pursuing and harassing the remains of the Legion's army that are hastily retreating back to Arizona, like the dialogue is supposed to be heard after the end of the game. This suggests that the game was at one point going to feature a Playable Epilogue. Word of God has stated however that there won't be any DLC to play after the game finishes due to it having so many endings.
A fully voiced dialogue option to convince House that the Brotherhood could be useful to him, by having you working as his man on the inside, thereby ultimately talking him out of killing them, has also been Dummied Out. Thank heaven for mods.
Quite a bit of post-endgame dialogue and radio commentary exists and will actually play properly if using a mod that continues the game after completion of one of the final quests.
Apparently, at one point in development, you were supposed to be able to speak to the three Fiends members you hunt for Dahtri. Quite frankly, their dialogue is hilarious.
The Welding Guns do nothing, although crafting functions were planned for them at one point.
Model and texture of the Chinese Pistol are present in the game files, but the weapon doesn't exist as an usable item. There are mods which make it functional.
There are more crucified men in the game files than those who actually appear ingame.
When picking S.P.E.C.I.A.L. scores, Perception is commonly regarded as worthless. It doesn't affect your aim, only your ability to detect threats. ED-E's companion perk eliminates that weakness. There are about four or so high Perception checks in the main game, and a few more in the DLC. From a minimum of 1 you can buff yourself to 9 with various drugs and alcohol (7 in Dead Money, since some of the drugs don't exist in that add-on), more than enough to pass any check in the game. Its one, true use is meeting the requirement for Better Criticals (+50% critical damage), which you don't really need to kill effectively.
As far as skills go, if you're not playing on Hardcore, Survival definitely qualifies. Survival's main benefit is that it makes food far more effective. Food is worthless outside of Hardcore, since you heal instantly and Stimpacks are abundant. It's not checked against very often, and it's usually low when it is. In Hardcore, however, it's a lifesaver.
Some perks require high scores in these. That is about it. If (and only if) you care about them, they either offset the worthlessness or make you begrudgingly waste points.
Charisma, if you're going solo. Its main effect besides boosting your Speech and Barter skills is making your companions much tougher and stronger. No companions = no reason to have it (Speech and Barter are still quite useful even if you're going solo, due to how many problems they can solve, but it's just 2 skill points per attribute point).
Dysfunction Junction: All of the Courier's companions have some sort of deep personal problem to be sorted out.
Rex has a brain that's over 200 years old and needs replacement or he'll die. Two of the three brains are fine for Rex, but the third will invoke more of this on him as he will develop a multiple personality disorder, psychotic rage and a hunger for human flesh.
In Lonesome Road, ED-E wants to find Navarro, fulfilling his creator's last wish.
The Courier has shades of this as well. He/She explicitly says in Lonesome Road the reason they left the NCR was because not even home felt like "home." Make of the that what you will. Add in the fact that gay couriers have to deal with the NCR's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy and the fact that the companion romance with Rose of Sharon Cassidy was dropped and replaced with an ending where she goes to make love him/her but he's already left, you get the feeling the Courier gets the short end of the stick despite being the Hero of Mojave.
200 years as brains in jars with access to a lot of drugs has not been good for the Think Tank's collective mental health, and by all accounts they were completely devoid of morals or ethics to begin with.