I Die Free: In Arcade's Legion ending, as long as Caesar lives through the end he becomes Caesar's personal physician. In a moment that he is unguarded he guts himself with a scalpel. Though he was well loved by Caesar, and thus probably lived quite nicely, he considered having to serve the Legion (even in comfort) a Fate Worse than Death.
Idiot Ball: Caesar is holding one. He knows that his camp at Fortification Hill is sitting on top of a bunker protected by doors that can't be drilled or blasted open. He knows said doors bear the logo of the Lucky 38 and thus must be relevant to Mr. House's interests in some way. He knows the Platinum Chip he just confiscated from Benny fits the disc-shaped console near the doors and suspects it will open them. What does he do? Why, he waits for the Courier to finally decide to make his way to Fortification Hill, hands the Platinum Chip to the Courier when the man might very well have single-handedly destroyed all of his operations west of the Dam by this point (if you want some really funny dialogue, do this), and trust him to deal with whatever is inside the bunker completely unmolested, confident that the Courier will do as asked and destroy it. You even get to keep the chip. Brilliant! The best part is, the Courier doesn't even have to report to Caesar after he is done inside the bunker, and can just walk out of the fortress completely unmolested by the guards! Caesar might be an extremely intelligent person lore-wise, but he sure displays a complete lack of common sense here.]]
It's actually acknowledged and explained if you discuss it via dialogue choices, though it does display an extreme amount of arrogance when it comes to you and your motivations. Caesar has a worldview where advanced technology in the hands of the masses is actively harmful to their cultural development. Thus, he cannot send Legionaries down to examine the structure without teaching them about technology and disrupting his carefully-constructed culture... but he can send you, a Profligate. His argument relies on you to see the light of his wisdom, but if that doesn't work he's happy to intimidate you into doing his bidding. He won't let you leave the camp with the Chip without trying to kill you, and if you fight back, you're Vilified by the Legion forever.
You can grab it too if you so choose. Special mention goes to blowing up the Securiton army underneath the Legion Fort is you are going for the House or Wild Card ending, essentially throwing away your trump card for no good reason.
Lampshaded by Yes Man:
Yes-Man:"And if you had, you know, a huge killer robot army at your command, yeah, that would just clutter things up; and a lesser person might want that kind of overwhelming force on their side, but you know - where's the challenge in that?"
Idiot Savant: You can also play as a 1-Int wasteland wanderer and eventually acquire maximum skillpoints in at least one of the Science, Medicine, Repair or Speech skills, making you a complete idiot with genius-level skills in a specific area.
Could apply to Ghouls, with the medical advantages that radiation provides to them.
I'm a Humanitarian: The White Glove Society used to be this. Mortimer however, still is and wants to serve the rest of the White Glove Society human flesh so they have no choice but to go back to the "old ways." And, of course, the Courier can be this as well if the player so wishes. A later perk even expands it to super mutants and ghouls.There is even a special perk you can get as a reward for having Caesar, the King, Mr. House, and President Kimball for dinner.
The "Them's Good Eating!" perk gives you a chance of finding "Thin Red Paste" or "Blood Sausage" on every living enemy you kill. It is implied you are eating salvageable body parts off the critters you blew away (since it doesn't work on robots) and this could include sapient humans. The two healing items' names are also a reference to Wasteland.
It's heavily implied that, due to excessive drug abuse, the Fiends are this. If you manage to hide after you get spotted by them, they will sometimes even say, "When I find you, I'm gonna eat your skin."
In the ruined town portion early on in Lonesome Road, you can find a basement that has been fashioned into a butchering shop with human remains and "Strange Meat" everywhere, spelling it out that the Marked Men are cannibals.
Immodest Orgasm: Red Lucy in The Thorn, Sarah Weintraub in Vault 21, and any prostitute you sleep with. Also, you can hear a few while walking around Gomorrah and Casa Madrid. Dr. Dala in Old World Blues takes this Up to Eleven, despite (or because of) being essentially a brain in a jar.
Dr. 8 has a hilarious example of this when he "sonijaculates" into the Sonic Emitter. The player dialogue reflects this.
The Courier: "Did you clean this off before you gave it back to me?"
Important Haircut: Invoked. The only place to get a haircut in the game (without requiring the player to sacrifice valuable rewards for it) is in the Big MT, which, if played chronologically and to be properly leveled, takes place after you deal with Benny and starting the lead up to the Hoover Dam Battle, survive the trials of Sierra Madre, fight back against the tribes of Zion, and have your major organs taken out of your body.
Improbable Power Discrepancy: As a result of being one of the few enemies that use Level Scaling (in term of skill, HP, and equipment), The White Legs in Honest Hearts are basically VeteranRangers disguised as tribals if your level is high. In addition to having as much health as the Veteran Rangers, they also carry as good or better weapons (like automatic shotguns, anti-tank rifles, Tommy guns, and 12.7 submachine guns) and are the most commonly found enemies in the DLC. The only break in your favor is that White Legs have poor armor and lack the 30% damage resistance that Veteran Rangers have.
In the vanilla game, Veteran Rangers and Legion Praetorians were originally noticeably more powerful than Brotherhood of Steel Paladins. However, this got corrected after the most recent patch, where all non-named BOS NPCs have had their hit points doubled or more, putting them on par with the game's other Elite Mooks (and, with their power armor, giving them the higher edge).
In Lonesome Road, the Deathclaws also level scale, and at their highest level, they deal 350 melee damage, which is more than the Legendary and Alpha Male DC's from the main game, enough to smite nearly any character in a single swipe.
Incredibly Lame Pun: Private Sexton in Camp Forlorn Hope runs a collection quest where you bring him the ear of any Legionaire you kill. Get it? Legionear? You can then call him out on how awful the pun is.
When you return the Platinum Chip to Mr. House, you can make this happen by trying to Barter him for more money but not having enough skill points.
The Courier: Better raise the price or... or you're "chip outta luck". Mr. House: ... Was that an attempt at humor?
Though this is averted in Honest Hearts, where a wrecked bus is full of the skeletons of very small people.... The amount of toys and lunchboxes laying around gives clues as to whose these small people were...
Vault 22 has a Spore Carrier that attacks you when you investigate a crib, as well.
Infinity+1 Sword: Whatever weapon you find north of Westside, whether it be the Alien Blaster or the YCS/186. They're both incredibly devastating weapons, capable of one or two-shotting all but the toughest enemies.
There's a suit of Infinity Plus One Armor out there, as well. The Remnants Power Armor, the complete suit having a DT 6 points higher than the T-51b and no faction affiliation. However, like all great ultimate items, you have to work for it: it's on the wrong side of the Colorado river and guarded by a nest of Deathclaws. Good luck getting there! (Or you could do Arcade's loyalty quest. You simply have to talk to 6 people around the Mojave Wasteland.)
Arm your humanoid companion with the highest weapons in his/her specialty and they become a walking Infinity+1 Sword.
Give Boone the Anti-Materiel Rifle or the Gobi Campaign Sniper Rifle.
Give Lily a Thermic Lance or the "Oh Baby!" Super Sledge.note Bonus: 'Oh Baby!' isn't even that far from where you first meet Lily.
Give Veronica the Ballistic Fist or the unique displacer glove, Pushy.
Joshua Graham is the Infinity+1 Sword of companions. He's ridiculously accurate, carries a default pistol that does more damage (both per shot and per second) than about 90 % of the guns in the game, and has such a large damage threshold (50) that he's practically invincible. Unfortunately, he's only available as a companion during the final battle of Honest Hearts.
Infinity–1 Sword: Several. The regular Gauss Rifle, the Holorifle, the 12.7mm pistol and submachine gun, the hunting revolver, possibly the Anti-Materiel Rifle, the Super Sledge, and the Displacer Glove, just to name a few.
Ink-Suit Actor: Doc Mitchell looks like Michael Hogan with a country doctor mustache. Other notable examples include Benny(Matthew Perry), Chief Hanlon(Kris Kristofferson), Colonel Moore(Kirsten Potter), Sunny Smiles(Katherine Pawlak), Trudy(Lora Cain), Bruce Isaac(Gregory Allen Williams), Cass(Rachel Roswell), The King(James Horan), Julie Farkas(Laura Bailey), Arcade Gannon(Zachary Levi), Mr. House(Rene Aubejonois), Michael Angelo(Jesse Burch), Caesar(John Doman), Vulpes Inculta(Jason Spisek), Aurelius of Phoenix(Yuri Lowenthal), and Father Elijah(Richard Herd).
Jackson: I said you might accidentally get supplied, and I meant it.
Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Example is northwest of Brooks Tumbleweed ranch, where a pileup prevents further movement northwest. Even though you could jump on one of the blockading vehicles, you're blocked from going further.
In Lonesome Road, one of the more blatant ones occurs when a collapsing building falls across your immediate path through the Divide, forcing a detour despite the climbable-looking rocks and rubble.
Lampshaded in Old World Blues, if you tell the Think Tank you're leaving and want nothing to do with their plans.
Dr Klein: "WELL THEN. WE'LL JUST KEEP YOU HERE WITH OUR MOST POWERFUL OF TECHNOLOGIES. THE FENCE."
The otherwise pushover Bark Scorpions have this as a really nasty surprise. If they sting you, the poison completely distorts your screen. Not the "crippled head" kind of distortion, but completely warping your entire field of view such that you can't even see the scorpion if it's in your face. They are deadly if you give them the chance.
The Mushroom Samba noted below. You're drugged up and sent off to fight a flaming Yao Guai with a Doppleganger Spin. It's delightfully trippy and chaotic as hell.
Internal Affairs / The Inquisitor General: The Special Ops. group known as The Circle of Steel is this to the Brotherhood of Steel proper, made up of Brotherhood 'hardliners'. Their acts of 'policing' the Brotherhood include marking Elijah for death (and sending Christine out to pull the trigger) after sacrificing a large number of his men trying to hold Helios One. You can later succeed where he failed, and crispy the NCR with Archimedes I.
Invisible Wall: As a definitive response to players notoriously finding ways to scale terrain intended to be unclimbable in Gamebryo engine games, invisible clip brushes have been added. No clever shortcuts for you.
If only the players hadn't discovered new ways to scale their own inventories with "armor hopping" and coupon stairs. The Legate Camp is a popular destination.
Ironic Echo: When Benny and the player character first speak, the latter is on his/her knees and Benny's about to kill him/her. Guess what happens in Caesar's camp?
Irony: Benny notes that the game was rigged from the start... too bad it wasn't rigged in his favor, as House knew about his scheme all along.
Doctor Henry in Jacobstown was once a member of the Enclave, a group that considered any outsider to be a subhuman fit for execution due to their exposure to radiation (no matter how minute). And what is his current line of work? Researching a cure to help Super Mutants with mental disabilities. Because they asked him.
Even more special is the fact that he's working for the Mutant that helped kill Horrigan and bring about the fall of the Enclave.
As a female character, if you either kill Caesar or help him, there's a delicious lump of irony involved given the status of, well, every other woman even remotely connected to the Legion.
Is This Thing Still On??: Though it doesn't have the payoff the trope normally promises, President Kimball does this after his speech, announcing his desire to leave the stage before he gets shot. Given it was a PA system, however, maybe he just didn't care.
Thank you, thank you. [Beat] All right, let's get the fuck out of here. What the hell are you waiting for – do you think I want to get shot? Let's go!
It Can Think: You are given this treatment in Old World Blues. The Think Tank treat you like an alien being and are unable to comprehend the fact that you are speaking at first. Never mind that you are speaking the same language they are...
Item Crafting: Of three varieties! You can use workbenches to create weapons from spare parts, use reloading benches to make or customize gun ammunition, and use campfires to cook up food or medicine.
In fact, how a character pronounces Caesar is a pretty good indication of how much respect they have for him. Joshua Graham calls him See-ser when you meet him in the Honest Hearts DLC, though J.E. Sawyer states that this has more to do with him being educated enough to have known of the actual Caesar before meeting Edward unlike the other Legionnaires.
Strangely enough though, Marcus uses the Latin pronunciation.
I Was Quite a Looker: Pearl, you can see her younger days depicted as nose art on the B-29 Bomber you recovered once the restoration is well underway. Possibly Old Lady Gibson as well.
Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Lieutenant Boyd will be more satisfied if you make Silus talk by repeatedly punching him in the face rather than using speech or intelligence skills. So will Boone, for that matter, but he'd rather Silus just die.
Silus: You're getting nothing from me.
Boyd: I'm getting entertainment. That's something. So what it's gonna be?
Jerkass Victim: Private Crenshaw considers himself a happy prankster... who thinks a prank consisting of secretly pulling the pin from someone's grenade while they're carrying it is hilarious, rather than cold-blooded murder. So when you pull that prank on him (as part of a Legion quest), you don't have to feel too bad.
Quite a few if not all of Nipton's population were criminals, whores, murderers and otherwise quite degenerate people. Whether they deserved what the Legion did to them is arguable, though.
Jump Scare: Like its predecessor, there are plenty of opportunities for these. In particular, there are the Tunnelers from Lonesome Road. You can sometimes catch them out of the corner of your eye, but they will disappear below ground before you can get a bead on them. Take a few more steps and suddenly 6-10 will pop out of the ground surrounding you. And in case you couldn't tell by their name, they especially like to pop up in tight, dark areas with little room to operate...
At one point, you can ask him if he should really have just explained the details of Benny's master plan to you; his response is that he was programmed to be helpful and to answer questions, and whoever had reprogrammed him must have forgotten to add in restrictions on whose questions he was supposed to answer.
Yes Man: That was probably pretty dumb, huh?
Kaizo Trap: In the House and Independent ending pathes, you end up picking a fight with NCR's General Oliver after you defeat Legate Lanius. Your Securitron allies will gun him down easily, but they often fail to do so before his 5 Veteran Ranger Elite Mooks armed with the best guns in the game mow down your own character.
Karma Houdini: After destroying the lives of two innocent people and sealing their fates to die alone, miserable and in extreme pain, Dean Domino can just walk right out of the Sierre Madre two hundred years later to start over in the Mojave if you choose to let him live.
Then again, considering how easy it is to tick him off and make him plan to murder you (for example, by not constantly acting as his snivelling lackey) which results in his own death, you would really have to go out of your way to placate him - how to let him live isn't listed under Guide Dang It for nothing.
Karma Meter: Along with the karma meter, the reputation meter for each faction from Fallout 2 makes a return. Karma only seems to dictate perks and some dialogue choices, whereas the reputation meter is the main focus of the gameplay.
This is a good thing, because karma can behave odd at times. For example, killing Powder Gangers nets you positive karma, whereas taking their stuff strangely counts as stealing and gets you a bit of negative karma. The amount of it is negligible, but it's confusing nonetheless.
Also confusing: killing one of the few characters with "Very Evil" karma gives far less positive karma (+2) than any of the large number of characters and even whole factions (like the Powder Gangers and Fiends) that are just considered "Evil" (+100).
Lonesome Road finally makes good use of the Karma Meter in addition to the Reputation Meter. Depending on your Karma Level and who you're supporting at the time, will radically change how Ulysses views you and your actions. At level 50 there's even a karma-based perk.
The mod Karma Perks adds passive perks that are automatically granted/removed depending on your Karma gain/loss. All alignments receive bonus resistance to damages and inflict more damages in combat. In addition, a good Courier benefits from automatic discounts from shops, and has more Action Points. An evil Courier attacks faster and is less likely to become addicted to Chems. A neutral Courier moves faster and gains more experience.
Depending on how you deal with him, Benny can eventually ends up in the same position the player was at the beginning of the game: tied up and completely at the mercy of his captors and yourself. At this point, you can choose to execute him yourself, using either the machete handed to you - or the gun you may have concealed on your person.
Gun Runner's Arsenal adds a challenge for killing him with his own gun, Maria. You know, the gun he shot you with?
Allen Marks, the supposed Big Bad in the quest to collect the star bottlecaps, is found dead in the prize room. A holotape reveals he was trapped inside, and all the people he killed to get the caps only got him a worthless badge and a slow death by asphyxiation.
If you commit corporate espionage for Alice McLafferty and finish Cass' quest peacefully, then Alice, along with the Van Graffs she hired to put down competing caravaners, will be killed by raiders using "advanced weaponry and military tactics." The Gunrunners, whom she tried to steal from, will deny having any "public motivation behind the attack."
In Dead Money, Elijah can be trapped forever in the vault. Simply sneak out to the left exit corridor as he's coming down to meet you. He really wants to get in the Sierra Madre casino vault THAT badly? You can give him all the time in the world.
One of the challenges for Gun Runners' Arsenal is "Historical Propriety", where you re-enact the Ides of March and stab Caesar to death with a knife.
Katanas Are Just Better: If you get the Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC, you can have a Katana as a melee weapon. It's got decent attack power, but it also attacks ludicrously fast, has a high crit multiplier, and a limb damage multiplier, effectively turning you into an honourable Japanese meat grinder. Add in the Authentic Blade and Balanced Grip weapon mods and you'll be decapitating everything in less than 5 seconds. Its VATS special is "UnlaboredFlawlessness", dealing 250% damage and usually aims at the head.
Kick the Dog: In the Independent Vegas ending, every response to General Oliver is a sarcastic and hostile remark, ending with either you forcing him to back down and run away a humiliated man, slaughter him and his troops without another thought, or throw him off the dam while his Rangers are forced to watch helplessly. Due to this being basically the de facto "Good Karma" ending, this is jarring to see the next Messiah become an ultimate bastard in just a few moments.
Kill Them All: This is the easiest way to complete some of the main quests. Doesn't work so well when dealing with the Powder Gangers and Legions, but really, who wants to have anything to do with those jerks?
Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Hoover Dam is the only genuine power source in the Wastelands (unless you get Helios One working) that could recharge energy weapons, thus it's be far easier to use or manufacture bullets. Most notably, the Laser RCW, essentially a tommy gun that shoots lasers, is less damaging than the real tommy gun, the .45 Auto SMG. This is justified in-story as there being many laser and plasma weapons before the war, but they were only just starting to come into their own as a technology and as a result most lacked the durability to weather a nuclear apocalypse and the subsequent two centuries. Mundane lead spewing firearms did not share this frailty.
Kingmaker Scenario: The situation at the start of the game, with neither Caesar's Legion, the NCR or Mr. House being able to defeat one faction without falling to the other. It's up to the Courier to decide which to side with. Or kill Mr. House, eliminate the other two factions, and take over yourself.
King Mook: In Old World Blues, each enemy type encountered has a unique, named, "boss" version of it somewhere in the Big MT. Each mini-boss is set at level 50, with matching health.
The Legendary Bloatfly takes this to an insane (and probably parodic) degree. Regular Bloatflies are perhaps the least threatening thing in the Mojave, second to Giant Mantis Nymphs or Radroaches and easy prey for even a low-level Courier. The Legendary Bloatfy is the second strongest enemy in the game (no, not Old World Blues. The game. Period). The thing is somehow more dangerous than every single Deathclaw you will come across, outclassed only by the Giant Roboscorpion, which at least appears in a room containing a few defences to turn against it and lots of things to hide behind. The Legendary Bloatfly appears in a small cave surrounded by regular Bloatflies and will likely notice you before you notice it. Generally, the player will round the last corner of its cave, oblivious, and be reduced to glowing goo with a single shot before they have any idea what the hell just happened. Unless they're at the absolute peak of damage resistance, in which case it might take two shots.
There are also the "legendary" versions of other creatures scattered across the Mojave Wasteland.
Kitschy Local Commercial: Load screens are almost entirely poster ads, billboards, and paper paraphernalia of pre-war Nevada. The ads are generally of mediocre quality at best; one shows a 50's style Strongman lifting weights with the caption, "Build Mass With Sass! Sunset Sarsaparilla".
Kleptomaniac Hero: You can help yourself to anything that isn't nailed down. The game does dock a few karma points for outright stealing, but the penalty is negligible and karma isn't that important in this game anyway (thanks to the new reputation system). This can lead to the amusing irony of the "Scourge of the Wastes" being one of the most beloved residents of the wasteland.
Klingon Promotion: You can convince Swank to let you bring in your weapons to kill Benny, and in Gomorrah you can help Cachino to kill Big Sal and Nero. They will take over their respective casinos once you have done that. Benny himself is also head of his casino due to this, having knocked off his boss when Mr. House first set up the Strip.
Furthermore, you can knock off Mr. House and take over New Vegas yourself.
Lab Pet: Inverted in the Old World Blues add-on. Doctor Borous gave his dog Gabe, the closest thing in the world he had to a friend, as a subject for cyberdog enhancement research. If you complete a certain side-quest and present him with Gabe's dogbowl, he will have a My God, What Have I Done? moment over this.
The standard "neutral" response to a quest offer(that is, keeping it open for you to do later without failing it) is usually something like "I'll think about it". When Vulpes asks you to do a very simple quest(go to Vault 21 and get the Omertas away from an informant), he'll say "I don't see what there is to think about" if you give him that answer.
Lesser of Three Evils: House is an arrogant out-of-touch jerkass who sees the Mojave as a business to be run, and NCR are corrupt, oppressive and expansionist regardless of if the Mojave settlements want to join them. However, they are far preferable to the Legion. The endings for House and NCR taking power vary but there's always an option for a town or faction to prosper under one or both of them. The Legion endings almost universally have the towns and factions being enslaved or exterminated, and in a few cases people flee to escape them.
Boxing gloves, or the unique Golden Gloves. Very low damage indeed, but you will find out that even a character with low Unarmed skill can KO a deathclaw with it, allowing you to take your time dismembering it with a chainsaw.
Euclid's C-Finder, which looks like a child's toy, is actually used as a target painter for ARCHIMEDES II.
Deathclaws can run faster than you can, do a lot of damage, and have very long melee reach. Thankfully, a couple of bullets to the legs willl gimp them. Better (or worse) are the Alpha and Mother versions, which run even faster, can leap large distances and One-Hit Kill most characters.
Literal Metaphor: The Bloody Mess perk, which causes bloodier and more gory deaths if you have it, living a literal bloody mess of organs whenever you kill somebody.
The Load: Waking Cloud, a companion from Honest Hearts. Her only combat skill is Unarmed, the only combat skill in the game with no ranged attacks whatsoever (Melee Weapons has a handful of thrown weapons), but her hit points are so low she literally loses fights to plants with distressing regularity. Giving her a ranged weapon means she'll live an extra 2 seconds because now the monster she's fighting has to walk to her without her charging right up to it.
Loads and Loads of Loading: Probably one of this game's biggest flaws. The load times themselves aren't that long, but there's lots of them.
The load redundancy makes this especially eg— For example, fast traveling places the player outside a location, without preloading the interior, which is the primary reason for traveling there in the first place. There's rarely a fast travel mark directly to commonly visited characters, some of which are instead two to four maps deep from arrival. It's almost as if they were relying on design shortsightedness to inflate the playing time.
One of the worst examples would probably be wanting to buy stuff from Sergeant Contreras. Fast travel to Camp Mc Carran (load), enter it (load), run a minute or two, to reach the terminal building (load) and now you can either go through the airfield (load, run a minute, load) or the terminal hallways (load, run a minute, load) to get to his shack. At least, after buying you can just exit the shack and fast travel away, since the airfield counts as an outside location.
The Strip is this. A good example is the mission to confront Benny if you lack speech stats or the Black Widow perk. Go to Freeside, itself two loading areas just to get to the gate to New Vegas. Get to The Strip. Go through another gate. Go to the Tops and say hi to Benny. Go up the elevator to the Presidential Suite and get ambushed. Go back down to the lobby. Go up to the 13th floor and say hi to Yes Man. Go back down again to the lobby and get ready to go on a long trip to a place you likely can't fast travel to at this point. All this does not include meeting Mr. House in the Lucky 38, which adds another three loading screens if you don't make a mistake about which floor you want to go to. This also applies to just about every other mission on The Strip.
This is somewhat mitigated on the PC version by numerous mods that add fast travel markers to several tedious to reach locations. There's even one that will let you travel straight to Contreras!
Loophole Abuse: Katherine Stone, the Overseer in Vault 11. Since the Justice Bloc in the Vault used their majority to control who became Overseer and thus was sacrificed, she was forced to perform sexual favors to save her husband from that fate. When they nominated him anyway, she murdered several of them, because she knew she would be elected Overseer due to her crimes. Upon her nomination, she changed the voting process to selection by random number generation, effectively destroying the Justice Bloc's power. There wasn't any rule preventing her from changing the rules. This backfired in a sense, as the Justice Bloc totally lost it and started a civil war, culminating in all but five of the population dying.
Lost Forever: While it has improved a lot since launch, the game is still quite unstable, and odd glitches may still manifest that will prevent even the most able player from obtaining unique items and party members.
Averted when it comes to the guns, especially the unique Gun Runner's Arsenal DLC guns. If you kill the Van Graafs, for example, their inventory will appear in the menu for the un-killable Vendortron at the Gun Runners.
Anything the player doesn't take out with them from the Sierra Madre in Dead Money is lost forever once the player leaves, as there's no way to get back (as pointed out by the game itself just before you try to use the exit gate). The other DLC areas are exempt from this, as the player can return whenever they want to grab what they missed the first time around. Honest Hearts in particular they took care to avoid this with - since the people you can trade with are gone if you ever return to Zion Valley, the new stuff added in the expansion is added to the inventories of most merchants in the Mojave from the second you finish it.
There are a few "safehouse" locations around the Wasteland that you can get access to. They universally have some of that faction's signature armor and equipment, but nothing invaluable. With one exception — the Lucky Shades, which raise Luck by 1, await you in the Legion Safehouse. If you kill the person who gives you the key, you can never get them without console commands on the PC.
Love Dodecahedron: The employees of H&H Tools spent nine minutes out of ten planning romantic trysts. You can use terminals and read personal e-mails between them planning some horizontal mambo after-hours. In fact, one married couple make up excuses to be away from each other so they can have a tryst with the same guy.
Noodle Implements: They were also very... interesting in their choice of love toys. Amongst those mentioned in the e-mails are an accordion, a riding crop, a stovepipe, souvenir moon rocks, rubber sheets and a souvenir elephant-foot trashcan.
Luck Stat: A Fallout trope in general, but Deconstructed in this game. It's actually an ability to calculate probabilities and know how to nudge them in your favor. The luckiest individual in the Wasteland, Mr. House, who has a Luck state of 10, can in fact predict the future with his ability. Not that it helps him to any extent should the player decide to cross him - and you can't see the NPC stats directly without console commands either. A better example of Doing in the Wizard on the matter of luck is that one of the implants you may obtain - a probability processing unit of sorts - actually increases your luck.
Vault 21's hat was that everyone was equal and conflicts were solved with games of chance, essentially an in-game deconstruction of luck. Unlike most of the other Vaults, 21 did pretty well for itself...until House showed up and won the whole place in a game of blackjack.
For the player, with a Luck stat of 10 the random odds of slots and roulette are a bit better. Blackjack on the other hand will be insanely easy. The dealer will regularly deal you out 20s and 11s (read: double down and snag a face card for 21 and double your bet), and if you're insane enough to hit on say, 18 or 19, there's still a decent chance of getting dealt a 2 or 3. With 10 Luck and fifteen minutes or so, you can win several thousand chips and will eventually get banned from the casino for winning too much.
In some cases, it still works as straight-up luck though; such as being able to guess a random password right on the first try.
Or when you use a weapon that flings projectiles at several times the speed of sound with magnets?
Don't forget about the Bloody Mess perk, which lets you make a splatter house on anyone or anything by coughing at them (just so long as it's the killing hit).
What's truly amusing about this is that it's not just showy, but practical. Is there a body hanging just out of reach? Gib it, and you can loot it through whatever pieces of it happened to fall in your direction.
Another unique gibbing is the Tarantula sonic emitter (The one that sets people on fire on a crit). If it kills anything on a crit, the creature will burst into flames, its will explode launching all sever able limbs off, then those limbs will explode. Sometimes this will happen regardless of weather the crit was fatal, causing an instant kill.
MacGuffin: The platinum chip for the first third of the game. However it's only important in the House and Wild Card questlines, if you go to work for NCR or Caesar they have no use for it.
MacGuffin Location: Hoover Dam, the largest source of clean water and free power in the region as well as a massive fortress that controls travel across the Colorado River. While the Legion sends raiding parties and spies over, they will not attempt a full-scale invasion of the Mojave without the dam, and Mr. House plans to take the dam from NCR and use it to expand his influence out of the Strip. The final battle of the game puts the player on one of three potential sides during a seige of the dam, and the outcome determines ultimately which faction takes over the Mojave. Alternatively, join the battle... on YOUR side.
The Sierra Madre casino counts as well, especially after Father Elijah explains exactly WHY he wants it...
The first, in Dead Money, has you nearly giving the Casino over to Elijah. Justified because you were forced to do so under pain of death, and you can even take it a step further by joining him.
In Old World Blues, it turns out that the three schematics you delivered to the Think Tank will NOT save Science, but allow them to experiment on the entire Mojave.
Lastly, in Lonesome Road, Ulysses snatches up your Robot Buddy ED-E right before you reach his temple because he can activate the Divide Nukes. Even more painfully, he lampshades this, saying that all this could've been avoided if you just went back.
Machete Mayhem: One of the more powerful and reliable melee weapons in the game is the humble machete. This is a staple weapon of low-level Legionnaires in Caesar's Legion, and there's an advanced version called a Machete Gladius, plus the unique Liberator. The Tribal pack DLC gives us an even better Broad Machete.
Macross Missile Massacre: Gun Runner's Arsenal gives us hive missiles and Tiny Tots mini-nukes, which let you fire 9 projectiles from your missile launcher or Fat Man. Cue memories of the ExperimentalMIRV. An honorable mention must also be given to Lonesome Road and the Red Glare, a fully automatic rocket launcher that can be upgraded to have one of the highest rates of fire of any weapon in the game. While it doesn't fire rockets (NOT missiles; it uses its own ammunition) simultaneously, it puts them out at an almost comical rate.
Made of Explodium: Due to graphical limitations, the Marked Men that swarm the base at the end of Lonesome Road explode as if they've been critically hit by a plasma weapon when killed. This is done because there are a lot of them, and leaving the corpses to pile up is extremely taxing. By comparison, the smoking green goo is much easier on the engine.
Made of Iron: Most notably there's Legate Lanius. A lesser example would be Jean-Baptiste Cutting, The Dragon to Gloria Van Graff, and of course high-level monsters such as deathclaws and sentry bots.
A character can be specced to become this. If you have Remnants power armor, both ranks of the Toughness perk, the big brained and reinforced spine perks from the Old World Blues DLC, and the sub-dermal plating implant, you can have a DT of 53! If you have Cass as a active companion and drink Whiskey, you'll have a DT of 57! Also, if you have Endurance 10 and Life Giver at level 30 (45 if you have the three DLCs), your HP will be a whopping 620 (770)!
The Courier being Made of Iron is pretty much required. Over the course of the game, the Courier is shot in the head (twice, at point blank range, before the game even starts), knocked unconscious and dragged for miles (Dead Money), survives having his heart, spine, and brain removed, eventually swapping them and their prosthesis out at will (Old World Blues), and can optionally waltz through three separate ground zeroes within hours of their creation. And that's without all the decision-dependent beatings he/she takes and survives. Two of the three highest-level Perks lampshade the fact that the Courier shouldn't be alive (they're called "I'm Lucky to Be Alive," and "I Thought You Died").
The backstory of the game also has Joshua Graham. In fact, a few Legion characters will mention that while Legate Lanius is a more intelligent tactician and strategist, Legate Graham was an even more powerful warrior than Lanius. It's worth noting that the seven foot tall heavily armored killing machine that fights by swinging a huge blade around was the brains relative to Joshua Graham.
They're not kidding. Joshua Graham was covered in pitch, set on fire, and thrown over the edge of the Grand freakin' Canyon. Not only did he live, he climbed out again and walked all the way back to his home in Utah. And not only that, Graham didn't even scream when he got thrown off, further emphasizing the fact that he's one tough cookie.
Pretty much everyone in the game is made of iron, due to weapons doing an unrealistically low amount of damage. Even perfectly normal bystanders can oftentimes take a .357 magnum round to the head and survive.
Marcus. He survived the events of Fallout, that is the complete destruction of the Master's Army. Then, he survived a three day fight with a Brotherhood Paladin and became friends with the man. A group of refugees joins him and the Paladin to form the town Broken Hills, which later becomes deserted. Canonically, Marcus joined the Chosen One on the assault on the Enclave's offshore oil-rig, going toe-to-toe with the infamous Frank Horrigan. During the events of Fallout 2, you can take him to a clinic in Vault City, where the doctor will remove "20 7.62mm, 40 .44 magnum JHP, 40 .44 magnum FMJ, 50 5mm JHP, 10 .45 caliber, 24 10mm JHP, 50 .223 FMJ, and 20 9mm ball" rounds from his body. Careful count will reveal over 254 seperate rounds removed. He then lives through a coup at Black Mountain against his leadership, very good considering Tabitha's murderous tendencies. 40 years later, he is leading a group of super mutants in Jacobstown, and seems to be more powerful then ever. You just can't kill Marcus. Oh, and he's voiced by Worf.
Magikarp Skill: Explosives. It's a near-useless skill on a normal playthough, as even a number less than 10 is sufficient to disarm proximity mines, i.e. the only mines that matter. However, get it high enough and take the right perks (Demolition Expert and Splash Damage), and the blast radius and damage of any explosive is significantly increased. This turns weapons like the missile launcher, grenade machinegun, and the Fat Man into THE MOST damaging weapons in the game. The only problem is ammo, about which this game is not kind.
This trope is taken Up to Eleven with the new Gun Runner's DLC. Mini nukes and missiles that fragment into 9 cluster bombs, plasma and pulse grenades for grenade launchers, the return of the Nuka Grenade, and extremely easy-to-craft explosives made from microfusion cells and pistol powder.
Lonesome Road ends the ammo problem by giving us the Divide, a horrifying badland. Rockets and rocket canisters, as well as the new Red Glare rocket launcher, await. If you let Ulysses live at the end of the game, he'll give you 50 rockets every few days, making the ammo problem moot.
Energy Weapons. It starts out much less useful than Guns, since energy weapons are rare and the ones you get towards the beginning of the game are weak. But then you get your mitts on the Q-35 matter modulator, the Gauss rifle, the fully modified Holorifle, or the YCS/186 and all of a sudden you're one-shotting Deathclaws.
In a hilariously awful subversion, this actually causes them to frenzy, which can only make thing easier for you and result in her killing her own, other babies.
To a lesser extent, Lily. Having adopted the courier as a pseudo-grandchild, she will charge headlong into a nest of Cazadores to protect you.
Man in the Machine: Mr. House, and potentially the player, if the Mr. House ending is chosen.
Manipulative Bastard: The Courier, potentially. It's amazing how many dangling strings there are in the Mojave, just waiting to be pulled.
Matter Replicator: The Sierra Madre vending machines, which uses Sierra Madre chips as both a form of currency and base matter.
The Man Behind the Curtain: Mr. House, the perpetually sequestered leader, face of New Vegas, and leader of a vast army of killbots, is really nothing more a shriveled, 261-year-old Howard Hughes Expy whose immune system is so weak, he'll die from numerous viral infections in a matter of months if you so much as open his stasis tank.
Match Maker Quest: Jack and Janet, another way to increase your reputation with the Boomers.
Meaningful Name: Jason Bright, leader of a religious cult for ghouls, is a Glowing One - a ghoul so dosed up on radiation that he emits a radioactive glow. Lampshaded if you ask him about his name.
The name Lanius means "butcher," a word that certainly describes the Legate's approach to battle.
The man in charge of New Vegas, playing the NCR and the Legion against one another for his own gain? Robert House, as in "the House." Lends itself to the name of a quest dealing with his downfall, "The House Has Gone Bust", and his main questline to help him take over the Mojave, "The House Always Wins".
In the cases of Bright and House, those were the names they were born with a good 200 years previously. Foreshadowing indeed.
Each of the scientists in the Big MT has a name referring to an endless loop. Dr. Klein refers to the Klein bottle, Dr. Borous refers to the Ouroboros (and with a high enough INT, you can point out it's spelled wrong), Dr. Dala comes from "Mandala", a Sanskrit word meaning circle, Dr. 0 is obviously a loop, Dr. 8 is an infinity symbol turned on its side, and Dr. Mobius is named for the Mobius strip.
Benny, much like the Courier, is a Joker in the card deck. A Joker is necessary for the highest trump in a game of Euchre.
The Fiends is the most evil faction in the game, maybe in the entire series, as The Enclave at least wanted to rebuild the world.
Medieval Stasis: A higher-tech version than usual, but consider, it's been 200 years since the bombs fell and the Brotherhood of Steel (in particular, the Nevada chapter you deal with) is falling into a serious rut. It's stated that the Mojave Brotherhood chapter is trying to get in touch with the Brotherhood of Steel headquarters far to the west, but isn't getting responses. Given that the Brotherhood of Steel and the NCR have just been at war, it's possible that all other Brotherhood chapters in NCR territory have been wiped out and the Mojave chapter may be one of the few Brotherhood chapters left.
Meet the New Boss: Caesar's manifesto will seem pretty familiar to those who've played the original Fallout and faced down The Master. In many ways the Legion is simply the Unity all over again. You can even talk to Marcus about Caesar, and while he doesn't make an obvious direct comparison you definitely get the vibe that he's seen it before and knows it can never lead to anything good.
Megaton Punch: The Two-Step Goodbye takes this trope Up to Eleven (and fits in quite nicely with the nuclear theme of the series). It's a Power Fist that has an increased chance to score criticals, though the critical damage is reduced. The kicker is, a critical hit will send your enemy flying, and then they explode. You hear the sound of a frag mine going off followed by the explosion.
Mega Corp.: The Crimson Caravan Company is the closest thing to a Mega Corp that you can get in a post-apocalyptic world. They dominate most of the commercial activities on the west coast, have offices and trading outpost all the way from California to Utah, and have lot of influence in the NCR government.
The Gun Runners, while very specialized, excel in that specialization. They have access to every firearm in the Wasteland due to their ability to factory-make their own firearms, which in this post-apocalyptic wasteland is a huge deal. They are also the sole provider of weapons to the entire NCR. Their only real competition is the aforementioned Crimson Caravan and the Van Graffs, who provide energy weapons and caused the Gun Runners to drop their energy weapon lines. However, in comparison to the Gun Runners, the Van Graff's operation in the Mojave is pitifully small.
Mega Manning: The super-secret hidden perk Meat of Champions If you use the Cannibal perk to eat President Kimball, Caesar, Mr. House, and The King, you temporarily gain their abilities (Kimball's strength, Caesar's intelligence, House's luck, and The King's charisma) whenever you feed from a human corpse.
You can also give one to mutilated NCR troops while exploring a minefield. It's a good thing.
Boone repeatedly voices his distaste towards mercy kills and often stresses that you should only be done as a last resort. Of course, there are only two situations (and a few scattered ones if you're on the side of NCR, notably before assaulting a Legion stronghold) where it isn't, so it's a moot point. It turns out he hates them because he gave one to his wife when he found her about to be auctioned off in a Legion camp.
You get an option to inflict a Mercy Kill upon Benny when you find him captured in Caesar's camp — otherwise he'll meet a far more gruesome death at the hands of the Legion.
At Nipton, you can give these to the crucified Powder Gangers. It has absolutely no other consequences than wasting ammos and increasing your weapon’s wear.
The Decrucifixion mod allows this in a more interesting way. The mod allows to either give mercy kill to crucified NPCs with Med-X, or to try to save them (which results in their death in case of failure). Mercy kill and successful decrucifixion grants positive karma (the latter also grants positive faction reputation with the faction of the victim).
Mighty Whitey: Played with a lot in Honest Hearts; both Daniel and Joshua are Mormons who have become leaders of tribal societies. Neither is terribly happy that they're interfering to such a massive degree, but they don't have/know any other way to help. Daniel in particular is incredibly indecisive, worrying about whether he's doing the right thing, and both of them put major decisions at your feet because they're uncomfortable with their level of involvement in everyone's lives. Joshua even says this to you outright about Follows-Chalk (paraphrased).
Courier: Why don't you talk to him? You know I'm just going to tell him to leave, right? Joshua: Perhaps, but I think he's learned too much from me already.
The Courier may complicate this even further depending on the skin tone you chose for him/her at character creation. Amusingly, the hidden quest to talk to Follows-Chalk about his desire to leave the tribe is called "Civilized Man's Burden."
Mind Screw: The Lonesome Drifter's father may very well be the Mysterious Stranger. Made even screwier (with a certain perk as a male character) by the fact that "Lonesome" and "Drifter" are synonyms of "Lone" and "Wanderer", which is grounds for speculation that the Lonesome Drifter and the Lone Wanderer might be the same person lying about his origins in case the Enclave is still after him for bringing them down one peg.. Make of that what you will.
The Ultra-Luxe, which caters to a more refined clientele, run by the White Glove Society, which is made up of former cannibals.
A Million Is a Statistic: A strange meta-example with the Mr. House quest to wipe out the Brotherhood bunker. Of the available optionsnote A peaceful solution existed, but was Dummied Out. are going in, guns blazing, and killing them all, or sneaking in, and blowing the whole place up. Of the two options, both give negative Karma, but the latter significantly less-so, because it's one large karma hit, instead of many smaller (but still reasonably large) hits.
Miracle Food: In the Dead Money DLC, you can find 'vending machines' which are actually matter conversion devices. These can be used to convert casino chips into food, medicine, tools or ammo.
Missing Secret: Players may go nuts trying to figure out just what the "Lucky 38 Executive Override" does after they activate it at the H&H Tools Factory or Camp Golf. The answer is...nothing. At one point, it was intended to play a part in the "The Moon Comes Over The Tower" quest, but they cut that part out since the results for the quest were already underwhelming.
Mission Pack Sequel: Differences between this game and Fallout 3 extend beyond the setting, but if you've played Fallout 3, then you can go a long way in New Vegas without looking at the manual.
Modular Epilogue: The ending has a "where are they now" segment for each recruitable character (each one has their own sidequest which upgrades them in some way when it's complete) and a segment that reflects your Karma Meter and which faction you sided with in the battle for Hoover Dam. The DLCs all have a similar, self contained, ending for each of them.
Some of the DLC's (I'm looking at you, Old World Blues) suffer from Ending Fatigue.
Molotov Cocktail: The firebomb from Honest Hearts gives off this vibe, as it is made from a beer bottle and uses a lit rag as a fuse. In gameplay, it's more of a weaker, craftable Incendiary Grenade.
Money for Nothing: It's very easy to acquire more money than you could reasonably spend. A few prime examples:
By investing in the Barter and Repair skills, a player can purchase nearly broken items, fix them up, and then sell them back for potentially thousands of caps in profit. Made even better if you have the Jury Rigging perk, which allows you to repair any similarly classed items with items from that same class, rather than copies of the exact same item. This means you could repair a near-broken Anti-Material Rifle with an ultra-common Varmint Rifle or an expensive Super Sledge with a Baseball Bat.
Playing blackjack at the casinos with a high Luck skill. You can get banned from every casino in the game in less than hour, making around 40,000 caps in the process. Add in the casino from Dead Money and your total will end up at over 100,000 caps.
Speaking of Dead Money, there are various exploits which allow the player to steal all 37 of the Gold Bars at the end for a nice profit of ~370k caps. No traders will have the caps to buy even a single bar from you, but you can balance it out by throwing in a few items as well. (Either to use, or re-sell later once the vendor stocks reset with more caps.)
The Gun Runner's Arsenal DLC tries to help avert this by giving vendors some expensive and powerful weapons for the player spend caps on. Many of these weapons are truly unique, rather than boosted versions of normal weapons (for example, Sleepytime is the only 10mm submachine gun with a silencer, Two-Step Goodbye is a Ballistic Fist with a rocket launcher instead of a shotgun on it, and the Bozar is the only Light Machine Gun with magnifying optics), and all of them are expensive, typically costing upwards of 20,000 caps (for comparison, that's five times what the implants that give you a permanent stat increase cost).
Of course, the perennial favorite "Bottlecap Mine" (an IED made with caps, the region's popular currency, as shrapnel) makes a return in this game. The head of Crimson Caravan even lampshades the deflationary effect of nutcases blowing up perfectly good currency.
Monster Closet: Vault 34 has an interesting take on monster closets. Because the player effectively has radar, just hiding monsters in secret wall panels wouldn't do, so instead the vault features several feral ghouls (universes version of zombies) trapped in various temporarily inaccessible rooms, which convenient glass picture windows so that you very much know they are there. The power doors pop open when ever you pick up certain items or perform certain tasks required for opening the Vault's armory. However normally the opened door will be on the other side of the vault, so the ghouls often spread out when they are released and you can seldom be sure that you've eliminated all the free ghouls.
Monty Haul: The Dead Money DLC is named quite appropriately. After the very frustrating and aggravating campaign, you are rewarded with Gold Bars which are worth 10000 caps each, the very high tier weapons and armor from the campaign, and over 10000 Sierra Madre chips if you gambled at the casino. Also, every three days, you get 1100 Sierra Madre chips at the Abandoned Bunker. Think they're useless now? There's a vending machine in Elijah's room. That means a practically infinite supplies of chems, stimpacks, and weapon repair kits!
The ending of Dead Money may be a Monty Haul especially if you win as many chips as possible and use them for free gear or trade them for pre-war cash to sell (and even if you miraculously manage to haul out all 37 bars of solid gold), but the campaign sure as shitmakes you work for it.
Mood Lighting: Camp Forelorn Hope gets a brown color wash. If you play on a low detail setting, the color is instead much more desaturated than normal. Also found around the area of Camp Searchlight, which is tinted green due to Legion troops irradiating the area using canisters of nuclear waste.
Moral Dissonance: The entire point of the game is that NCR and Legion are neither objectively good or evil, so while some named characters will be, most rank and file troops of either faction are of neutral karma. Thus, you can head into a camp of friendly legionnaires and pump them full of buckshot for no provacation. But when you try to loot the camp after, their goods that are marked as owned are still counted as such, so you get a karma penalty for stealing. Killing them in cold blood, no problem, taking their healing power, that's amoral.
Morality Pet: Tabitha (the Black Mountain super-mutant radio personality) apparently relied on her robot, Rhonda, to make decisions for her. After Rhonda broke down, Tabitha became significantly worse, as her schizophrenia manifested as an imaginary Rhonda supporting her darker thoughts. (The Rhonda you can hear on the radio is just Tabitha distorting her voice.)
More Dakka: The iconic minigun, of course, but also the light machine gun, the assault carbine (which can burn through its 24-round magazine in less than three seconds), and the many variations on the theme of submachine gun. Old World Blues includes the K9000, a Cyberdog Gatling Gun that fires magnum rounds.
The game also has the potential for a user-induced one, in that if you take multiple substances together, the visuals change. If you take every mind-altering chem and drink at once, you can make yourself temporarily go blind. Bonus points for taking enough antivenin to poison yourself and add health damage and even more visual distortion
My Country, Right or Wrong: Cass believes this about the NCR. While she loves her country, she just wishes that the leadership of the NCR would get their heads out of their asses. Boone has hints of it as well.
Elder MacNamara also has this attitude.
My Greatest Failure: This attitude is commonly held of The Bitter Springs Massacre by those who were there.
Mysterious Protector: Two of them, Mysterious Stranger and Miss Fortune, the latter simply knocking people out instead of killing them. You can get both.
The Lonesome Drifter is an NPC you can find along the road to Vegas. If you ask for his story it's heavily implied that he is the Mysterious Stranger's son.
And a step further, you can get his Mysterious Magnum. It even plays the Stranger's theme when you draw and holster it.