Eagle Land: The NCR has evolved into a nice blend of Type 1 and 2. It certainly is safer in their territory, and their soldiers are generally well-meaning, but their high command is so bogged down with bureaucracy and carrying out the NCR government's aggressive expansion policies that the rest of the army suffers from being low on supplies and reinforcements. Also, the guys at the top tend to work their own agendas at the expense of those they command. Oh, and the state taxes heavily.
And it doesn't help that they dashed into the Southwest with their fully-exposed assault-rifle shaped erections blazing at anything that opposed them, forgetting that overextension only gets worse when the Legion and the Brotherhood of Steel hate you.
According to the guidebook, a series of events after Tandi's death led to the hawkish Kimball getting into power, and also resulting in a wave of chauvanism against women in the ranks. Which makes the fact that Cassandra Moore is the colonel in charge of the Hoover Dam garrison makes her even more of a Colonel Badass since she also had to overcome inherent sexism that's crept into the system. Unfortunately, she's a jingo like Oliver and Kimball as well.
What's left of the Enclave remains this way. They'd like to be left alone, but Arcade Gannon's a Type 1.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Regardless of who ultimately gains control of the Mojave Wasteland, typically the ending has some communities prospering, while others suffer (with much more suffering and less prospering if you sided with the Legion). However, it actually is possible to get a positive outcome for almost every community and character on the NCR and (to a marginally lesser extent) Independent routes. Doing so is difficult, however, as the conditions to bring about a community or character's positive outcome are not always obvious (and in some cases are even counter-intuitive), and often involve difficult speech checks or extensive exploration.
If you want to save all your allies in Dead Money (which unlocks a special epilogue) you have to refrain from attempting a Barter skill check against Dean. Most players will assume all skill checks help you, but pulling this one in partiucular will earn his enmity and ultimately forcing you to kill him when he turns hostile.
Your companions (except for Rex and ED-E) all have unmarked sidequests. Not completing them earns them a bad or bittersweet ending. However, should you be lucky (or internet searchy) enough to complete them, choosing the right options leads to a mostly sweet or even a Golden Ending for them.
All the DLC have the best endings for all characters involved only gained through either extremely high skill check options and/or by thoroughly exploring the area and finding pickups. Dead Money and Honest Hearts needs the former, Old World Blues needs both while Lonesome Road needs either one.
Earworm: Just about every song on the radio. Big Iron, Ain't That A Kick In The Head, Jingle Jangle Jingle, the list goes on...
Egopolis: Black Mountain is a borderline version; Tabitha renamed it as the "State of Utobitha."
Elevator Action Sequence: In a first for the series, Lonesome Road has you descending a lift platform to a nuke silo, with explosions and Tunnelers popping in and out spontaneously.
Elite Mooks: Each major faction has a couple different types of these guys. Typically, they have high-end weapons and armor, as well as Companion-level health that also scales up with the player's level.
Caesar's best Elite Mooks are his Praetorian Guard; hand-to-hand masters armed with the best punching weapon in the game. Next are his Centurions, who aren't quite as tough as most of the game's Elite Mooks, but come equipped with the best armor and weapons available to the Legion. Finally, if you really piss the Legion off they'll send a squad of crack assassins to end you.
NCR has the Veteran Rangers (the guys on the front cover of the game), who have excellent armor, high-caliber weapons, and an innate 30% reduction to any damage they take, making them some of the toughest human characters in the entire game. There's also the NCR Heavy Troopers, clad in salvaged Power Armor and wielding heavy weapons like miniguns or light machine guns. And don't forget 1st Recon, the NCR Army's elite sniper squad.
The fighting ranks of the Brotherhood of Steel are composed entirely of Elite Mooks, considering their standard equipment is Power Armor and some of the best energy weapons in the game. The drawback is they lack the numerical advantage of the other factions, who have enough normal Mooks to just swarm them into submission.
You will fight a large amount of these guys in the final battle depending on the side you choose. Thankfully, you will be helped by Securitrons or Elite Mooks on your side.
Elvis Impersonator: A whole gang of them, using the surviving premises and supplies of a School of Impersonation. In an interesting twist, they don't really know who Elvis was - only that he was incredibly cool and widely revered - and their leader, The King, admits he'd have taken on the name no matter what the building was originally for, but the image works well for keeping Freesiders' spirits up.
Old World Blues introduces the Stealth Suit Mk II, which has an on-board A.I. that makes idle chatter, lets you know when enemies have spotted you, and injects you with Med-X and Stimpacks if you take too much damage.
Also, the K9000 Cyberdog Gun and its upgrade, FIDO. It's a dog's brain housed inside a machine gun. It growls when it smells enemies, even at extreme ranges, and whines sadly when you holster it.
If you're working for Mr. House or for Yes Man, have saved the NCR president and/or done some good for the NCR, their troopers will actively help you out in fighting the Legion. However, this is because they genuinely don't know that you're no longer working for them.
Also, it's possible to get the Khans, the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave to fight for the NCR despite historically being some of their greatest and most hated enemies (especially the Khans, who have been the NCR's enemies since the very beginning).
This trope is most prevalent specifically with Orion Moreno, who hates the NCR with a burning passion, and won't forgive them for the events of Fallout 2. You have to really convince him to go along with it. The other four Remnants know that they can do their job without him, but wouldn't be as effective since he's the muscle of the group. It comes down to having him put aside his hatred in order to focus on the fact that he'll be once again using his beloved heavy weapons and bloodlust to kill bad guys again like he loved to do in his glory days.
Epic Tracking Shot: One right in the beginning, from a poster of old Las Vegas, to the current New Vegas, to the less-than-friendly NCR sniper guarding it, to the raider he's sniping, to the Legion spies on the hills nearby, to the graveyard where you get shot at by the mysterious checker-suited gangster.
Equippable Ally: The aforementioned Cyberdog guns, and the Stealth Suit from Old World Blues. A slavishly loyal Robot Girl who reminds you to turn off your Pip Boy lamp when sneaking, feeds you medicine when you get hurt (50% HP), and bitterly complains when you take her off.
Even Evil Has Standards: The slave traders encountered during the quest The Coyotes are freaked out by Cook-Cook's psychotic tendencies.
Everything Trying to Kill You: The Mojave is a pretty harsh place, what with raiders, irradiated animals, and the like, but the Dead Money DLC makes all that seem like a cakewalk by comparison.
Evil Counterpart: Ulysses—if the player character is good and supporting the NCR, down to him being a Legion scout who was the original Courier for the Platinum Chip, a role he passed to you because of his hatred for you.
Evil Is Easy: It's very easy to simply steal owned items for supplies rather than buying or looking for free ones, especially if those supplies belong to a faction you just butchered. Of course, doing so will bring your Karma down pretty fast, but earning it back isn't too difficult. You can gain positive karma for killing feral ghouls and Fiends.
It's heavily implied through the investigation that the whole reason Jeannie sold Boone's wife to the Legion was because she critiqued her hotel.
Dean Domino planned the heist of the Sierre Madre that doomed his rival Sinclair and his lover-turned-stooge Vera, because Sinclair was "happy" and Dean wasn't.
If Colonel Moore doesn't get her way (i.e. the extermination of the Kings and the Brotherhood of Steel) she'll not only get Ambassador Crocker fired but also start a smear campaign against you that lowers your NCR rep.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Lucky 38, if you consider House as evil. Unless there's a large hill or mountain in the way, it can be seen from most anywhere in the Mojave.
Evil Versus Oblivion: Arguably, the entire Dead Money DLC if your character is evil. Evil!Courier is a horrible person, no doubt, but Elijah is an Omnicidal Maniac out to wipe out the population of the Mojave and the NCR. You can side with him, but it results in a Non-Standard Game Over. Not even going ahead with Ulysses' plan to nuke the two major powers does that.
Evil Versus Evil: The entire Lonesome Road DLC, if the player character is evil.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The reward for the quest The Legend of the Star is just Festus retelling you why the Sunset Sarsaparilla logo exists to begin with. It does lead to another quest with a better reward though.
Explosive Leash: Bomb collars make surprisingly frequent appearances throughout the game.
If one manages to find and enter the Brotherhood of Steel's secret bunker without being accompanied by a certain companion, they'll strip you down and force you to wear a bomb collar until you convince an NCR Ranger stationed nearby to leave (through speech or otherwise).
As mentioned above, in the Dead Money DLC, you and your companions are forced to wear these collars to ensure that you will aid Father Elijah in his quest to rob the Sierra Madre casino. Unfortunately, the casino is littered with speakers that interfere with the collar's operation and will cause it to detonate prematurely unless you get out of range or destroy the speaker.
In Old World Blues, one can find Little Yangtze, a concentration camp for Chinese prisoners from before the War. The ghoulified prisoners there are still wearing working bomb collars, which will detonate if they try to follow you out of the camp. In addition, you can find a few of Father Elijah's encampments, at least one of which is littered with disabled or otherwise broken bomb collars and a detonator.
Exposition of Immortality: Mr. House, once you finally get to meet him, reveals himself to be quite a bit older than you might have been expecting. He's got quite the collection of pre-war artifacts, and he's more than happy to pay you to increase them, too. He's also reduced to living in a life support system and communicating entirely through electronic screens and his robot minions, but given that he was born 260 years ago, that's not bad going.
Caesar's Legion is as conservative as all hell. Harm their subjects and they will crucify you. Not Hyperbole. Cass outright states that while she refuses to deal with slavers like the Legion, a lot of traders work with the Legion because they're ensured safety. Even the Fiends are too scared of the Legion to attack caravans under their protection. His methods are harsh, brutal, and more than a little evil, but they've unified Arizona and made it a safe place to live. Even Raul admits that Caesar transformed Arizona into a much better place than it was before. The common people in the Legion's territories might not have any influence or say whatsoever in Caesar's politics, but it is really not that different from life before the Legion, and in exchange for their servitude, they are given a modest supply of food, water, and electricity, and are left pretty much to their own devices. Should they, however, in any way disturb the operation of the Legion or disobey requests and orders given its men, no matter how harsh or outlandish, they will be punished severely. The Legion will only ask once, and they won't take "no" for an answer. On top of all that, he bans all technology save guns, but keeps an autodoc for his own personal use. As per Conservative economic policy, their currency is the strongest in the Mojave: a single Legion gold coin is worth 100 bottle caps.
The NCR is high-grade liberal. They are the only (known) functional post-war democratic government, and in many cases, they greatly improve the standards of living for the common people living in their territory though building infrastructure and introducing social welfare programs using tax payer money. However, they have elements of Liberal strawmen. Their foreign policy is a good example of Liberal Idealism in that they believe in 'spreading democracy' to foreign lands. Political corruption is high, as organizations with political connections such as the Van Graffs and the Crimson Caravan are running (sometimes even gunning) smaller competitors out of business. This (and the Brotherhood of Steel destroying their gold mines) results in their currency being the weakest in the Mojave: five NCR dollars equals only two bottle caps.
Mr. House, a (ironically) Chinese-style Authoritarian Capitalist, is unquestioningly a hard-core statist. He provides stability, security, and wealth and generally doesn't demand personal worship. As long as you play by all his rules and pay his taxes on time, he will offer you a relatively comfortable and safe life surrounded by pre-war glory. However, he will not hesitate or show any mercy in eliminating any potential political opposition against his rule.
As for libertarians, they get the Wild Card ending. You can waltz into New Vegas, talk to Yes Man, and decide that all the jerks fighting over the place desperately need to be taken down a peg. Then you can depose Mr. House, brutalize Caesar's Legion, and sucker the NCR. Then you can unleash an army of Securitrons upon the Mojave, turning it into a paradise of freedom and wealth, rule in House's place, or turn the Mojave into a lawless hellhole, depending on your actions up to the ending.
Expy: Mick and Ralph are similar to Flak and Shrapnel from Fallout 3. Both duos co-own a store together with one being in charge a weapons and the other being in charge of consumables.
Faction-Specific Endings: The game has several endings depending on which faction you side with, as well as your morality and certain other choices (including individual "where are they now" segments for each recruitable character) as well as a "Wildcard" ending where the player hijacks Benny's plan to take over the region which leaves all the factions sent packing.
Failed a Spot Check: Due to how SPECIAL stats work, you can sneak by NPCs in broad daylight provided that the their perception is low and your sneak skill is high enough. Compounded with what the game considers "dark area," you could potentially stand next to a high-perception NPC against a brightened backdrop, provided you're in the shadows.
This can be averted when the developers don't want you to sneak past some enemies and give them incredible perception, so they can find you when invisible.
Fake Difficulty: Cazadores have an ever-present bug (no pun intended) that makes targeting their heads in VATS impossible unless it's already targeted when you go into VATS.
Fan Disservice: Beatrix Russell, a cowboy-type with a taste for whips and domination. When you recruit her to work as a dominatrix at the Atomic Wrangler, she dons a Stripperiffic outfit consisting of a Black Bra and(leather)Panties, a Corset, cowboy hat, and chains. Only problem? She's a ghoul, so she looks like this◊. You can sleep with her as well. The screen fades to black out and you don't see anything but you can hear...sounds...
Little Buster the bounty hunter isn't afraid of dying in the course of his work, but he is afraid of being raped by Cook-Cook.
While Ghoulification isn't necessarily all bad (it does makes you ugly), losing your mind and becoming a slavering, carnivorous zombie is pretty bad. Which is presumably why you get Good Karmafor killing Feral Ghouls.
Having your brain, spine and heart removed and becoming a blood-thirsty 'Lobotomite.'
According to Ulysses, the residents of the Mojave, if the Tunnelers beneath the Divide expand their territory...
The "inhabitants" of Y17a Trauma Harnesses. Walking suits created to pick up wounded on the battlefield and walk them out. Somehow they forgot to walk them out, so these wounded are kept within a walking suit which does whatever it wants without any chance of getting out.
The Marked Men found in Lonesome Road are unfortunates caught in the blast radius when nukes went off in First Battle of Hoover Dam four years ago who had their skin torn off by the force, then survived the intense radiation to become flash-ghoulified. Even though they were from opposite sides, they now work together against all others because their constant, intense pain is the only identity they have left.
Fighting for Survival: You can convince Goodsprings citizens to fight with Ringo against the Powder Gangers.
Firing One-Handed: Unless you're actively aiming down the sight, most handguns are held with just one hand. There's even a perk for one-handed weapons.
Fission Mailed: Collecting all 50 Star Bottle Caps grants you the reward of a story about how the owner of Sunset Sarsaparilla killed a guy for his recipe was left a recipe by a stranger who was killed by bandits, told to you by a mechanical toy sheriff, followed by the "Quest FAILED" message. You then complain to Festus, who triggers a brief second quest to collect your real reward. It's particularly effective since there is an achievement/trophy for completing the original quest, though it's the follow-up that gives you credit.
(Sixth Ranger: Arcade Gannon, if you convince him to join them)
Flaming Sword: The Shishkebab from Fallout 3 comes back in New Vegas.
Flare Gun: aka 'Sword Of Demonic Spider's Bane' - You can find them in The Divide during Lonesome Road, though they do relatively little damage. However, they only use ten units of Flamer fuel (a pittance, really) and they have the distinction of being the only weapon in the whole of New Vegas capable of terrifying a Deathclaw. So long as they're on fire as a result of the flare gun, 'abomination'-type enemies (which includes deathclaws, nightstalkers, centaurs, and the Tunnelers) will go into 'Fleeing' mode, rendering them incapable of attacking, and running from the player in the nearest convenient straight line.
Flat "What.": With high enough Intelligence in Old World Blues,, you can inform Doctor O that he could simply draw a vertical slash through his name to specify "Zero" and not "O." He reacts this way.
Fluffy the Terrible: Super Mutants, eight foot tall muscular green monsters, have names like Neil, and Tabitha (and in one case, Cuddles). Though most of them are fairly friendly unless provoked these days. Emphasis on 'most'.
Deathbringer the Adorable: Mean Sonofabitch is just there to scare away any wannabe criminals and to bash in the heads of Fiends. He's a pretty nice guy if you get past his inability to talk coherently, actually. (His tongue was cut out.)
Flunky Boss: Pretty much every boss in one way or another.
All the legendary creatures (including the Legendary Deathclaw) are accompanied by other, non-legendary (but by no means weak) normal creatures.
Legate Lanius is accompanied both by his Praetorian Guards and the various Legion soldiers around the camp that will come to attack you (though you can convince him to fight you alone with 80 speech).
Tabitha is in a building that's guarded by about half a dozen Nightkin, and you have to fight your way through a whole village of Super Mutant Masters just to get to her.
Jean-Baptiste is supported by no less than five heavily armed thugs with full body armor and plasma rifles.
Elijah in the Dead Money add-on tries to kill you by turning on a bunch of laser turrets while he hides behind a forcefield. Though, once they're dead, he comes after you with a Gauss Rifle.
The ghoulifed Vault 34 overseer is in his office with a pair of machine gun turrets on his desk, and a few ghoulified security guards helping him.
Caesar himself is probably the strongest example. He's just a normal human and only about as tough as a member of his Praetorian Guard. However, he's surrounded by several of those Praetorian Guards, extremely tough Elite Mooks armed with the best unarmed weapons in the game, all in a relatively enclosed space with no room to dodge or retreat. Attacking him head-on, even with a high-level character, will almost certainly result in you being dogpiled into a corner and beaten to death, especially in Hardcore mode where you can't instant-heal using stimpaks. Most people just opt for walking in, immediately retreating from the tent, and dealing with him using guns by strafing around the Fort.
General Lee Oliver is also a very straight example, as the Veteran NCR Rangers he's guarded by are quite a bit more threatening than he is. Arguably a straighter example than Caesar because Legion players must fight Oliver, while killing Caesar is always optional.
Oliver can be optional. Be polite, have good speech skills and/or point out that your allies the Boomers can bomb the hell out of the NCR and he backs down.
Each of the Fiend leaders (although they're really only bosses at lower levels) come supported by a gang of four to six fiends. Except Violet, who has around 8 dogs instead.
F Minus Minus: Or, why Doctor Borous should never be a high school principal. Even if it is only a simulated high school.
Midterm Grade Report: Richie "Ball-Lover" Marcus
Science: F- -
To clarify, Doctor-Principal Borous really despises Richie Marcus.
Footnote Fever: The REPCONN museum plaques.note This statement not admissible in court.
Right from the start, there's tons of mysterious foreshadowing regarding Victor, the cowboy-bot who apparently dug you up in the beginning after you were left for dead. What exactly is up with him remains mysterious, but it's clear there's more to him than meets the eye.
When Benny tells you that "the game was rigged from the start" it seems to just be a Bond One-Liner. But when you meet Mr. House, it turns out the game was rigged after all, in Mr. House's favor. And depending on which end path you take (and how), you get to rig the game in yours.
Doc Mitchell's medical examination on the courier at the start does offer one piece of foreshadowing...if you have the motivation to see it. To some patients, the last Rorschach card he shows you looks a little bit like a large needle-like tower shining in the darkness... a lot like the Lucky 38 Hotel.
Dead Money heaps a HUGE amount of it in the final act and the end, even lampshaded by the achievement: "Hear all the stories of your future travels...".
In Honest Hearts, the Burned Man mentions Ulysses. Apparently he's a Legion scout and spy.
Johnston Nash on Ulysses: "Hope a storm from The Divide skins him alive!" Guess what you can do to him at the end.
The Canyon Wreckage, located west of Primm, oozes this.
At first, the Canyon Wreckage just looks like a pile of rusted vehicles with some coyotes denning near them... until you see the graffiti, which mentions "Lonesome Road" (now the confirmed name of the last DLC), the Divide, and the cryptic message, "You can go home now, Courier." And, if you look on the map, you'll see that the canyon the wreckage is blocking is the only path through the western mountains.
The Northern Passage, though it lacks the graffiti and ominous location of the Canyon Wreckage, is the launch point for the DLC Honest Hearts.
The Mojave Drive-In seems like the last place to expect a DLC to launch, but nevertheless shows up in the trailer for Old World Blues, the third DLC. It's just a regular ruined drive-in movie theater... with a rather cryptic train tunnel to the south, that also shows up in the trailer, only from the other side.
The setting of Old World Blues is also alluded by Christine as she was trapped and experimented on within the Big Empty. She also mentions the aforementioned Ulysses as the courier who rescued her. Sound familiar?
Before Dead Money came out, Veronica had this little bit of dialogue regarding Elijah.
He said he'd be back with one of the greatest treasures of the Old World. Said he'd make the Mojave how it was meant to be... "wipe the slate clean."
Old World Blues is literally dripping with Foreshadowing for the last add-on, Lonesome Road, not only with the omnipresent symbol of the Old World America's flag left by Ulysses on several buildings and the holotapes of him but in the X-17 Meteorological Station, mentioned repeatedly to have been visited by Ulysses, is a map of what could very well be the Divide,◊ the location of Lonesome Road.
During Cass's companion quest (Heartache By The Number) one of the sacked caravans can be found near a billboard for The Silver Rush, a weapons distributor specializing in energy weapons. Turns out the owners (The VanGraffs) were paid by Alice McLafferty (of the Crimson Caravan) to sack competing caravan companies so McLafferty could buy them out, Cassidy Caravans included.
Frickin' Laser Beams: Following Fallout 3. Unlike earlier Fallout games, averted here as lasers are THE most accurate weapon in the game, especially outside VATS as the beams hit the target instantly. Still played straight with plasmas, but again, those are not laser weapons.
Friendly Sniper: Pretty much any member of 1st Recon, current or former, that isn't Boone.
The Survivalist in Honest Hearts. Some sickly Vault 22 survivors wander into the Valley and proceed to slaughter and ...dispose of a group of Mexican survivors he was observing and occasionally secretly helping. Still possessing human dignity, he wages a one-man guerrilla war after observing their atrocity and cuts the majority of the group down. The "Vaulters" (as Survivalist called them in his logs) considered him to be no mere man but an evil spirit, since they never could catch him.
The NCR is also this after a fashion, having gone a long way from its origins as a fledging village called Shady Sands in the first Fallout.
Future Imperfect: Averted. Pre-war books are far less rare here than they were on the East Coast, civilization is far more organized, and the Followers of the Apocalypse, Brotherhood of Steel and New California Republic have done a pretty good job accurately preserving the knowledge of the past — Caesar and his officers, for example, know more about the Roman Empire than most people in Real Life do. Of course, this has the added benefit of Las Vegas only being nuked 11 times — compare that to everywhere else.
Heartwarmingly, Wasteland Survival Guides, carried all the way from the Capital Wasteland, litter the Mojave, helping so much that they increase your survival skill.
Gambit Pileup: The NCR, Caesar's Legion, and Mr. House are competing in a high-stakes tournament with New Vegas as the prize, and they're all trying to stack the deck in their favor — and you're the Wild Card. You can even take advantage of the fact that everyone's plans rely on you for success to set yourself up to steal the whole pot.
To elaborate; the core conflict is NCR and the Legion both fighting for control of the Dam and New Vegas. Beyond this basic plot, House has an army of robots waiting to swoop in and steal the land literally right from under the Legion. The NCR and Legion both know this, and potentially have him assassinated. On top of that, Benny is planning to take over New Vegas by overthrowing House, as are the Omertas, except they plan on allying with the Legion first. You, the Courier, can at the same time also be planning to take over New Vegas by overthrowing House and stealing his army with the help of Yes Man, while either aiding or foiling the Omertas. Then the DLC just adds more gambits; Father Elijah of Dead Money manipulates the Think Tank, Courier, Dean Domino, and Dog/God into helping him obtain experimental pre-war technology in his attempt to conquer the Mojave by killing most of post-apocalyptic America's remaining population, and can potentially succeed in bringing what's left of the world under his control (though unlike other options, this gives a Non-Standard Game Over). The Think Tank of Old World Blues manipulates the Courier and Mobius in hopes that they'll be able to break out of Big MT and cause trouble in the Mojave. And on top of all of this, Ulysses from Lonesome Road is planning on nuking both the Legion and the NCR while leaving the Mojave to die. That's about nine gambits, all trying to top one another. You decide which one (or combination of them) comes out on top.
The Sierra Madre opening was a giant gambit pileup. The maintenance crews embezzling money away from the construction; Vera and Domino planning to rob the casino; Sinclair's attempts to foil them, as well as him forcing employees and visitors to visit the vending machines for food and drugs, creating black markets; Big MT testing out incredibly sharp knives, faulty haz-mat suits and auto-docs, and deadly gas. All this resulted in the guests getting trapped inside the casino, and subsequently massacred by the holograms, Ghost People, or the Cloud.
Game-Breaking Bug: Though it doesn't break the rest of the game, a glitch can completely screw over the town of Novac — Chris Haversam randomly runs away and/or vanishes, preventing the player from finishing "Come Fly With Me" and thus getting anything other than a negative ending for the town.
Game Mod: As usual, there's an abundance of mods to change the game in minor to significant ways. Extending the game past the final mission is one of the big ones. It's recommended to grab some of the ones that fix obvious bugs, namely the fact that the Followers can't ally with the NCR properly. There's also the one that keeps ED-E from setting off mines, which no flying robot should do. A less important but still useful one is the mod that restores the option to spare the Brotherhood in House's questline.
Looting some body parts from corpses actually causes the body parts to be ripped off the corpse. It isn't just treated as a random item in the inventory of the corpse.
Also, having too few skill points in a skill check during dialogue will display an option not as suave/competent as the one with the player having the proper amount of skill points in a given check. Unlike Fallout 3, where the check is a matter of chance and gives the same sentence whether or not the player passed a speech check, passing or failing a speech check is directly tied to skill. Insufficient skill gives the option a different sentence (Hulk Speak or some overly emotional or annoying words when failing speech check for that option). Failing may also open up other options in some cases.
If you're wearing an NCR uniform, Lt. Haggerty at Helios One will figure out from the amount of blood on it that you looted it off a dead NCR soldier and will attack if you fail a speech check to convince her otherwise.
In Dead Money, Honest Hearts, and Old World Blues, once you arrive at the site of the DLC's events you can't leave until you finish the DLC. In Lonesome Road however you're free to turn back at any time and retrace your steps back to the Mojave. This ties into Ulysses's Hannibal Lecture at the end of the DLC, you've been his Unwitting Pawn but you could have turned back at any time, yet you kept going because you just had to find out what his story was, and thus have only yourself to blame for what he's about to do.
There's a Ranger outpost where you can find a Legion raid camp nearby, as well as Legion raiding parties spying on it from a nearby ridge. However, even if you're an NCR man, you can't warn the Rangers of the Legion presence or the raiding parties, even if you go up to and chat with the Legion raiders spying on the outpost, and when you come back later as part of a side quest, you'll find... well, suffice to say, it isn't pretty.
You can only use Empty Soda Bottles to make Cactus Water; you can't fill them with water from a tap to make a bottle of plain water, and you can't make Cactus Water from an empty bottle of any other drink (including soda bottles of specific brands). Even in Old World Blues, the sink you have in... The Sink home base needs to be upgraded to fill bottles.
A wrench, which is used to craft a weapon repair kit, mysteriously disappears when the repair kit is used.
The Gold Bars added by Dead Money are supposedly twenty ounces of .9999 pure gold, they weigh 35 pounds each.
Nuking the NCR or Legion home territories has no effect on the final battle at Hoover Dam, aside from royally pissing off the factions in question (and both factions will forgive you no-questions asked if you do this before you get their Get Out Of Jail Free Cards.
Energy Weapons are discussed as if they were fantastically rare, cutting-edge things few Wastelanders have ever seen... but Fiends and raiders throw them around like party favours. At one point, Veronica wonders how the Fiends manage to cause more trouble than the Brotherhood despite their lack of energy weapons, in the middle of wiping out a bunker-full of Fiends armed to the teeth with energy weapons.
People throughout the Wasteland are awed to discover that the Courier survived getting shot twice in the head by Benny. Meanwhile, in actual gameplay, if the Courier only gets shot twice in the head each day, it was a light day.
Gender Is No Object: This of course isn't the case with the Legion, and the Three Families on the Strip don't seem to have female goons, but everyone else plays it straight, including the horrible Fiends, the Khans, the White Legs, the NCR and the Brotherhood.
Genius Ditz: The Think Tank in Old World Blues are a spectacular example. One of them is named Dr. 0 (the number), but since they can't differentiate, he gets called Dr. O (the letter). Point out that he could draw a line through it, and you'll be hailed as a visionary.
Klein repeatedly mistakes fingers and toes for penises. Dala can't quite understand why lobotomites occasionally attempt to wrassle each other and deposit fluids into each other, or why they are reluctant to do so while she's watching. All of them keep forgetting that you're sapient and talk around you like you're a pet.
Genius Loci: In Old World Blues, the epilogue for the Big Empty mentions some of the facilities as well, which are apparently sentient in their own way (not that you get much indication of this in the game itself).
Genre Blindness: Dr. Hildern, director of the eastern NCR Office of Science and Industry exhibits this: when telling him about the potential dangers (meaning here a disease that would make feral ghouls look harmless) of data you recovered, he puts you off saying that they are the government, not some insane vault alchemists. Seeing how the world of Fallout follows the rules of 50's B-Movies (radiation turns scorpions giant,and genetic engineering turns venus flytraps into semi-animal hunters) you can pretty much expect that some experiment based on that data will soon wreak havoc in an NCR-facility near you!
Dead Money strips you of all your equipment and money, and throws you into a hostile, poisonous environment full of deadly gas clouds, enemies that need to be dismembered to be killed, loads of booby traps, untouchable laser-firing holograms that must be outwitted rather than fought, and all with very limited resources. The "limited resources" part especially makes this add-on seem like the game has become a Survival Horror title.
Honest Hearts dumps you into a canyon full of greenery and wildlife, which is just plain shocking compared to most of the rest of the series. The primary conflict is between tribal natives, something that's been out of focus since Fallout 2.
Old World Blues is a decidedly silly adventure that plops you in the center of a Wide Open Sandbox full of Mad Science gone awry, presided by goofy brains in jars (when the quest called it a midnight science fiction feature, they weren't kidding). There is an objective to fulfill, but it's completely secondary to just running around, discovering stuff to upgrade your home with.
Lonesome Road takes place in one of the most devastated areas ever seen in the series, but the Genre Shift comes from the fact that your path through most of it is entirely linear, with only a few side-areas to explore.
Marcus and Neil, both of them also super mutants hailing from Jacobstown, are also pretty friendly. The latter can even help you get safely to Black Mountain if you pass a Speech check.
"Get out of Jail Free" Card: Both the Legion and the NCR will for one time only grant you amnesty for all previous aggressions against them if you go to work for them. This is mostly so that the player cannot too easily lock themselves out of one or two of the possible endings in the first half of the game.
GIS Syndrome: The very first result for "happy face" is used for Yes Man's avatar.
Except that the page it's used on is a blog post that was made a full year after the game came out. While the face certainly came from some kind of stock image archive, it's pretty unlikely that they found the face on Google.
Gladiator Games: A male Courier can fight slaves or prisoners in the Legion arena. Also, while you can just bet for the outcome of the fight in The Thorn, you can get better rewards if you come down and fight the monsters alone in the arena.
Dead Money plays this hard, because you can't get any caps. Instead, you use Sierra Madre chips (for vending machines) and Pre-War Money (for holographic vendors, who are still programmed to accept it). Justified in that the Sierra Madre runs on old world equipment, and that the chips themselves are actually transmuted by the vending machine into the goods that you purchase.
God Emperor: Doctor Borous in Old World Blues proclaims himself as the immortal god-principle of the high school mock-up testing facility
God Guise: Randall Clark, a survivalist living in Zion area helps a group of kids living nearby trying not to be noticed (he drops medicines, food and tools near their camp at night). When he notices that the kids see his help as the gift from God or angels, he doesn't want to break this illusion and show himself as a dying old man. Shortly before his death he leaves the notes stating that he has to depart deep into the mountains, but he will always be watching over them. The kids were ancestors of the Sorrows tribe and Clark is "The Father in the Cave" from their legends; as mentioned by WakingCloud.
Golden Path: Depending on who you care about, the NCR, Yes Man and Mr. House paths could be this. Though the implications of Mr. House's iron-fisted methods of government may make the last one a bit questionable.
Finishing every companion sidequest (all seven), with reasonably good endings, is also a part of it.
Gondor Calls for Aid: The Courier can invoke this at the end battle by doing enough favors for the smaller factions along the way. It's possible to, for example, fight alongside the NCR against the Legion with the Boomers, Great Khans, Brotherhood of Steel, and even the leftovers of the Enclave backing you up and still betray the NCR with your secret army of securitrons.
Good All Along: At least, "Morally responsible" all along... Doctor Mobius knows all too well that if left unchecked, the Think Tank would expand into the outside world and continue to do science experiments on everything just for that very reason. He erected "The Fence" to keep them from learning that the outside world exists, reprogrammed them to loop their daily activities over and over again, and programmed his roboscorpions to broadcast his "evil threats" to keep them occupied. He admits he was hopped up on Psycho when he did that last one. The presence of a Lobotomite who can still think for himself and reacquire his own transplanted brain would break that loop, with them them figuring out a way to escape from Big MT by transplanting their own brains into lobotomites.
Good Is Not Nice: The player, if played as a strictly good character, still kills his share of characters and is generally a badass.
Gorn: Bloody Mess; you don't have to have the perk but it makes it happen more often.
In-universe, even. People are willing to kill for more Sunset Sarsaparilla Star Bottlecaps. Just rumor there's treasure out there, and Gold Fever (or 100% Completion fever) will take hold of people.
Hilarious in that the in-universe prize for the Star Caps is absolutely worthless. You do get a powerful unique laser pistol for finishing, courtesy of your rival collector's suffocated corpse, thus kind of ruining the moral. It's Fridge Brilliance, actually; it's After the End and people automatically associate treasure with things that are valuable to them, but it's a pre-war treasure and Values Dissonance is in full swing. The treasure is something of value... to the people who should be playing the game.
Gray and Grey Morality: NCR and Mr. House both plan to drive each other out of New Vegas. Neither of them are any more villainous or altruistic than the other.
Greed: The main theme of Dead Money. All of the characters involved have been consumed by greed of one sort or another, and the mythical treasure of the Sierra Madre drives prospectors insane with it.
You can also prank the prankster at Mc Carran. He thinks the idea of pulling the pin out of a grenade someone's carrying is hilarious and "would love to see the look on their face" when it happens. He doesn't even realize he's the target before he's blown into chunks.
The Guards Must Be Crazy: Some of the things you can do with a high enough sneak skill qualify as this. You can, for example, massacre an entire Legion camp without them ever making the connection between the large number of corpses with bullet holes in the back of their skulls and the 'profligate' with the silenced sniper rifle.
The companion quests. Let's run down the list, shall we?
Arcade's quest, "For Auld Lang Syne," requires you to find certain locations in the game and visit them, at which point he'll speak to you briefly. This one is actually fairly lenient, since the triggers are always there and fairly numerous. You also only need two "points" for it to count, and there are about twenty total based on location and dialogue choices.
Boone's is similar, but both easier and more difficult. His dialogue isn't automatic most of the time, so you don't really know you're doing it right. The only ones which you can really be sure of are Legion outposts, which are automatic triggers. A plus is that if you take him to Cottonwood Cove and that the Fort (before or after killing Caesar, it still counts), you'll get four of the five points at once. But unlike the other companions whose quest you have to coax out over time, there's a finite limit on opportunities to earn points with him, so if you've missed them all you're out of luck.
Raul's is hands down the worst of the bunch. Unlike the other companions where you have several possibilities to get them to open us, you have to talk to three specific old people in the wastes with him as your companion. This is really inexcusable because one of the three simply won't talk to you if you don't follow a very specific path of dialogue with him, and he's sometimes bugged so even if you do it right it may not be counted. But it could be worse... at least if you've met these characters before, you can revisit their conversations to prompt a response from Raul. Apparently it was originally impossible for the quest to proceed if you talked to any of these people before storming the mutant-infested mountain where he is being held.
Cass takes a while to even unlock as a companion due to her tie-in quest that requires you to trek all the way to Vegas, but after that she has the easiest one since it's available from the start. However, it will ruin another quest if you complete it.
Veronica's quest is similar to the first two, except buggy as hell. There are nine places in the wastes where you can bring her in order to trigger dialogue. Of these nine, only four are permanent (the remaining five are lines of dialogue from the first time you meet the NPC). Assuming you even know where to look, Veronica may take days to finally remember she's supposed to say something, so you can't trigger the quest until she finally decides to do it. It seems to work better if you meet her request for a dress first, but that in itself is Guide Dang It because the type of dress she wants is the kind worn by the White Glove Society, and you have to kill or reverse-pickpocket a member to get one if you don't follow a specific line in the quest. Not to mention that obtaining either one of the two weapons in the quest will force start the quest, but in a way that they can't be completed even when completed, since you still have unfinished business earlier in the quest.
Lily's quest is fairly simple. It's not even a quest, really. You just have to stick with her long enough to get to the bottom of her psychosis (it only takes about an in-game day if you get into a fight where she goes berserk), then decide how much medicine she should take.
ED-E's quest doesn't require you to do anything, but is still annoying. After the first trigger goes off, which conveniently has a waypoint, you have to wait nine days for the second to work. Then you have to find someone who can activate the trigger, and you don't get any clues. The third takes another three days, but is automatic. If you're not playing in hardcore mode (and therefore have no need to sleep 8 hours a day) you could easily finish the game without getting to the final part.
The final one is Rex, and he's the easiest since his quest is given to you before you even recruit him.
For something simpler and earlier, there's the quest "I Fought the Law," which most good-inclined players will miss because they're likely to side against the Powder Gangers from the start, and because the inhabitants of the NCRCF will be hostile to them, making them likely to kill Eddie and immediately fail the quest. Or one might kill him because he's got a plasma pistol. Then again, the quest is bugged and leads to a bad ending even when it should be a good one, so that's for the better, really.
Are you feeling a little sympathy for Dean and want him to live? Let's just hope you never, ever once questioned him in any of your talks. Insult his fragile ego a single time? You lose.
Dean's case is arguably the worst of the lot. Why? In the very first conversation with him, you come to a choice between a Barter skill check and a normal dialogue choice. Almost any player will obviously pick the Barter choice if at all possible because skill-requiring answers are (and should be) superior to the ones available to all characters. However, in this case picking this choice will make it impossible to get him to side with you inside the Sierra Madre. Made even more egregious by the fact that the Barter dialogue choice is simply informing Dean that he isn't bargaining from a position of power because your collars (and thus lives) are linked and he basically doesn't have a choice but to work with you... which is precisely the truth!
The quest "I Put a Spell on You" is almost legendary for its unintuitive nature, aside from a plethora of bugs. Long story short, there's a spy somewhere in Camp McCarran , and you've been tasked to single him out. After finding out there have been late-night sightings at the comm tower, you have two mission arrows: one to the comm tower, and another to the man you're working with, Captain Curtis. Since Curtis is the spy, talking to Curtis and telling him your lead makes the mission practically unwinnable, since he will attack you in the tower instead of radioing his contact, thus you won't know if he will bomb the monorail. There is no hint that doing this was wrong, and there is no way other than using the console to set the winning value back to 0. Ergo, by following the directions you have failed the quest. You could still side with the Legion, in which case you do the same quest, but instead are helping Curtis out in his plot to bomb the monorail. This is arguably the better path, as not only is it relatively easy, if done right it gets you an exploit for infinite caps. But if you start along that path, you're committed to bombing the monorail as soon as you collect the bomb.
Guile Hero: A viable option for the player character.
Gun Accessories: Unlike the previous game, this alone will make you think twice before using the unique versions of some weapons which have better stats but cannot be modded.
Then again, some like the Ratslayer are more or less fully-modded versions of the base weapon along with a bonus or two tacked on.
Inverted. In the main game, your male companions are a Cold Sniper, The Gunslinger, and a Badass Bookworm who, like all fictional smart people (and former members of the Enclave), prefers a high-tech Plasma Defender pistol over the ballistics, blades, and blunt force of the common rabble. Your female companions are a Nightkin with a BFS and a Brotherhood Scribe who wields a Power Fist. Everybody has a ranged and a melee weapon that you can order them to use, so you are welcome to have everyone play the trope straight, even if they won't be that good at it.
Hair Trigger Sound Effect: The Mysterious Stranger is ALWAYS accompanied by his mysterious guitar riff. The Mysterious Magnum gets the same riff when unholstered.
Half Truth: Elijah says that if you help him break into the Sierra Madre he'll let you go, along with all of your partners. He's planning to kill you all, of course, but he is letting you go from his control that way, nonetheless.
The .44 Magnum Revolver, 12.7mm Pistol, the Hunting Revolver and its unique version, the Ranger Sequoia. There are also the energy weapons Plasma Defender and "Pew Pew." (Yes.) Then there's the handauto-cannon, the 12.7mm sub-machine gun.
In the vanilla game, there is That Gun, an Expy of Rick Deckard's gun—a five-shot speed-loaded revolver firing full-size rifle rounds, the same as those fired by the varmint rifle, service rifle, and light machine gun. Before its damage was Nerfed, it was a go-to gun in spite of its weight, especially since it was easy to acquire, ammo was plentiful, and it was the only handgun that could explicitly load armor-piercing rounds.
The Ballistic Fist plays with this trope in a more literal manner: It's a gun grafted to a Power Fist that goes off when you punch someone.
Hand Wave: The makers of Dead Money must have wristlash. Any element not contrived was explicitly described as "unknown" or "unexplained" in Loading Screen tips and in-game materials, although the Old World Blues add-on does explain a few things. In particular, how the Sierra Madre casino transports people around in it is totally unexplained (teleportation? robot hands popping out of the ceiling? Who knows?).
Played for laughs in Old World Blues: the Think Tank explain that the Courier is able to move, think, and act consciously without a brain because "tesla coils" were inserted into his/her skull. Trying to further the line of questioning just exasperates them.
Hard-Coded Hostility: Some gangs such as the Jackals, Scorpions, Fiends, Vipers and other wasteland raider groups are not affected by reputation and will attack you on sight no matter what. Other "criminal" groups, such as the Powder Gangers and Great Khans, are not permanently hostile factions (siding with them is often unsavory, but it is possible).
Hard Light: The Hologram Rifle in Dead Money is essentially a hard light gun. There is a hidden value in the GECK called "Kill Impulse", which is the physics force exerted on a freshly killed target as ragdoll effects take over the decedent's animation rig. Lasers have a kill impulse of 0. The Holo-rifle has a kill impulse of 15.
Healing Factor: Several perks. Solar Powered makes you heal gradually, but only outdoors during daytime, and not at a rate useful for combat. Monocyte Breeder implants heal all the time, but again not at any rate useful in combat, and at the price tag of 12,000 caps and taking up a spot that you could have used to buy an implant with actual value. Rad Child heals with varying rates dependent on your radiation poisoning level. Highest level heals at an astounding 8 HP/S, but at the cost of pretty hefty hits to your SPECIAL stats.
Hero with Bad Publicity: It's possible to end the game with good karma and ridiculously low reputation with pretty much every faction, including the one you're working for.
Hey, It's That Place!: Yes, Primm is a real place, and it does have a rollercoaster (attached to the Buffalo Bill hotel — all three hotels in Primm are much larger, but no one really cares), and does have Bonnie and Clyde's death car (not his gun, though, but it does have his jacket, and the car is in a mall attached to the hotels). Hoover Dam, Goodsprings, Black Mountains, Nipton, Nellis Air Force Base, and a lot of other real-world locations are snuck in as well (mostly things only native Nevadans would recognize, like camping sites).
This is also played for a joke with "Repconn" which is a very slightly veiled joke to "PEPCON" an actual factory for rocket fuel that was formerly centered in Henderson Nevada... before it blew up on May 4th, 1988.
Hide Your Children: Averted in the main game, where some some (albeit unkillable) children do appear. Invoked in all four DLCs, though this is addressed in the only add-on where their absence is noteworthy. (The Dead Horse and Sorrows tribes of Honest Hearts have already begun to evacuate, sending the children and elderly first. The other three DLCs take place in dangerous hellholes that don't have an actual community of humans living in them, thus the lack of children makes sense).
High-Tech Hexagons: The game has an area in the futuristic Old World Blues DLC called the X-66 Hexcrete Archipelago, consisting of massive hexagonal structures made of concrete. Appropriately, they do nothing in the game other than look cool.
The poster I Hate Nate in Vault 11 is a pun on the I Like Ike slogan from 1952 presidential campaign.
Arcade's ending for a Legion victory if you leave Arcade as Caesar's personal physician references the death of Cato the Younger, who also disemboweled himself rather than submit to Caesar.
The challenge "Historical Propriety" requires you to reenact the Ides of March by killing Caesar with a knife. If you bring Arcade to the Fort and tell him this is your plan, he will likewise "commend you on your sense of historical propriety".
Historical Villain Upgrade: In-universe example. One of the first casinos you find, in Primm, is home to a historical gallery of a couple of Bonnie and Clyde knockoffs who were more prone to cashing bad checks than holding up banks and whose greatest claim to fame was being killed accidentally by cops shooting at bank robbers.
Hollywood Silencer: Guns equipped with silencers make the "fwip" noise and the silencers themselves are, for all intents and purposes, a metal tube stuck onto the end of the gun. Averted in that silencers are specific to different firearms and that none are available for shotguns or revolvers, are all permanent attachments (meaning they cannot be removed once attached), and aren't completely silent (shooting and missing someone may get you noticed). In addition, there are guns in-game that come with integral silencers, like the .22 silenced pistol and SMG.
Honor Before Reason: With high enough karma and speech skill you can convince Legate Lanius to call off the other legionnaires and fight you by himself. However, whichever allies and companions you have with you will keep shooting anyway.
Also at the end of Veronica's personal quest, when you show McNamara proof that the Brotherhood is dying/a method of self-sufficiency, etc., he won't change anything. Why? Because the codex says he can't. Judging from his speech and sighing he knows it's stupid, but he has his orders.
Hot-Blooded: A trait in Old World Blues makes you this, increasing your damage but reducing Perception and Agility while at low health.
How We Got Here: Expect to spend most of the first leg of the story missions just figuring out what the hell led up to you delivering a platinum chip that was worth being ambushed and shot over.
Hulk Speak: Much to the delight of old-school fans, this is back in, if you set your intelligence REALLY low.
Humiliation Conga: A particularly brutal one happens to the White Legs, should you choose to exterminate them in the final quest of Honest Hearts. Whatever's left of them, still blind with devotion to Caesar, attempt to crush the remaining New Canaanites. The New Canaanites ambushed and destroyed them with ease, now that they were prepared. What's left of the White Legs after that were promptly hunted down by the Dead Horses, and whatever was left of them after that were exterminated by a rival tribe, the 80s with ease. And then shortly afterward? Thanks to the Sorrows and Dead Horses, the 80's raiders were wiped out as well.
100% Heroism Rating: The karma meter is the same from 3 but is nearly useless. What really matters is your reputation with each faction. Since you can't lose popularity or infamy, people could end up singing your praises for all the Fetch Questing while grudging you over blowing up their outpost last week.