Names to Trust Immediately: "Sunny Smiles" is a bit on-the-nose as the name of a good character. Indeed, she's one of the only "Very Good" karma NPC's in the game.
National Weapon: The tribes in the Honest Hearts DLC each have a signature weapon. The Whitelegs use Submachine Guns, the Dead Horses use War Clubs, the Sorrows use Yao Guai Gauntlets, and the New Canaanites use .45 pistols.
Many of the low-level energy weapons were practically useless before the 1.2.31X patch, doing far too little damage to be of any worth. Also, the Hunting Rifle in Fallout 3 had low damage mitigating its usefulness despite its plentiful ammunition; something that was rectified in New Vegas, that being both the damage and the ammo supply. Also, the Sniper Rifle, with its 5x crit chance multiplier all but guaranteeing crits outside of sneak attacks, was toned down in the same patch that de-nerfed the low-tier energy weapons.
On the flip side, the missile launcher now does hellacious damage since the patch, making it a true BFG.
On the recent patch, the minigun, service rifle, and assault carbine are de-nerfed as well, with the default armor piercing nature of the 5mm ammo and the Grunt perk in Honest Hearts. However, the Varmint Rifle got nerfed hard since it gets the damage decrease of the Service Rifle without the rate of fire boost, that it is almost impossible to kill anything with it in a single VATS round.
The Feral Ghoul Reavers got nerfed massively as well. In Broken Steel, they were one of the nastiest enemies in the game, with health to rival a Super Mutant Overlord and a deadly ranged attack. Now, their health got cut significantly and they lost the ranged attack. They're still extremely dangerous, but not as ridiculous as they were.
The Slayer perk was nerfed from previous Fallout games. "All hand-to-hand attacks become critical hits" was seen as a bit much even for an endgame perk, so instead it was changed into a perk that increased attack speed by a third.
Never Found the Body: Joshua Graham, the previous Legate of Caesar's Legion, whom Caesar ordered to be set on fire and cast into the Grand Canyon after losing the first battle of Hoover Dam. He is so widely speculated to be alive that Caesar has forbidden his name to be spoken, mostly due to his reputation as the ultimate Implacable Man who miraculously survived fatal wounds on an almost regular basis.
Several NCR troops, including the 1st Recon snipers, have reported confirmed kills on the gold club-wielding fiend Driver Nephi. Yet he always turns up again, alive and still killing. (Assuming the NCR uses the same definition for a "confirmed kill" as modern militaries, this means that witnesses confirmed seeing Nephi as he was shot.) Naturally, it's up the Courier to put him down for good (and to remove his head for verification, averting the trope.)
Never Live It Down: In-Universe example. Cannibal Johnson got his nickname because he once took a bite out of a raider's heart as psychological warfare, in order to scare his buddies into backing away/putting them in shock long enough to run.
The Blue Moon trailer features a gorgeous view of a fully illuminated New Vegas in the background. In the actual game, however, only the four casinos are actually lit up. The trailer, as well as some bits in the intro narration, suggest that Obsidian might have intended New Vegas to be a completely pristine pre-war city. In the actual game, it is revealed that the city had undergone centuries of dilapidation until Mr. House decided to repair the casinos as a means of welcoming the NCR.
A magazine ad◊ for the game depicts an NCR Ranger standing along an empty road leading straight into a gated off New Vegas, the "Welcome to New Vegas" standing next to it. In the actual game, this is incorrect: the "Welcome" sign is next to Camp McCarran, nowhere near the actual entrance to The Strip, and the only entrance to New Vegas (barring McCarran's monorail system) requires you to go through Freeside, looking nothing like the gate present in the ad.
New Meat: 10 of Spades. He's called that, because he's too green to earn Ace of Spades as his callsign.
If you kill or incapacitate Mr. House. You'll receive a message saying "A great tragedy has befallen mankind" and take a large karma hit. It's essentially some post-mortem ego-stroking. (Check the bottom of the note if you don't believe us). Caeser even says how House was 'full of himself' after reading through the note if the player chooses to return to him after killing House.
Also gets rather ham-fisted in Lonesome Road, where it's made clear, in no uncertain terms, that you are the reason the Divide, touted as humanity's best chance at recovery, is now nothing more than an irradiated crack in the ground, thanks to the Earth-Shattering Kaboom you set off. Thanks a lot, asshole. Though it should be noted that only person who considered it humanity's best chance at recovery was Ulysses and he's all kinds of crazy. And it's not as if you meant to do it.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Ulysses arranged for you to carry the Platinum Chip with the intent and purpose of your violent death at Benny's hands. But fate decided otherwise, and now it's you and not him who became the NCR/Legion's top field agent, Mr.House's second-in-command or even the sovereign ruler of all New Vegas.
Nigh Invulnerable - With the Stealth suit Mk II (A suit of sentient Powered Armor) you get in Old World Blues, when you hit relatively low (about 40%) health, you have a stimpak and Med-X administered. And the rate of it is insane - about 1 dose of Stim per second. This renders you almost invincible in Casual, as long as you're not being wailed upon by about eight enemies at once, or fighting the Giant Robo-Scorpion with it's near insta-kill laser.
The Ghost People of Dead Money. They can be beaten down, but unless you cripple a limb, within ten seconds they get right back up. This is demonstrated perfectly at the very beginning of the DLC, where, if you follow Elijah's advice and recruit Dog/God first, the very first one of them you find has a spear shoved through its body that it gives no shits about.
The game gives you the option of Hardcore Mode, which simulates the post-apocalyptic experience. What does this mean? You have to eat, drink, and sleep regularly to survive. Ammo has weight. Stimpacks heal over time instead of instantly. They also can't heal limbs any more; you need a doctor's bag or and actual doctor for that. That said, doing this is at best a minor annoyance for a decent player: there is more than enough food, water, and beds to cover your needs. The only thing in short supply is doctor's bags, which can be supplemented cheaply by actual doctors.
Then there's the DLC Dead Money, which was apparently written by a Killer Game Master: it's nothing but the Fallout universe's very own Tomb of Horrors. You lose all your gear at start and are given low-condition, barely protective junk in return. There's toxic gas clouds all over causing a constant HP drain. The puzzles are a tad harder. There are traps everywhere. The good supplies are hard to come by at first. The Ghost People within can't just be beaten to death without a huge health drain (because they level with you; they also get back up if you don't cripple one of their limbs), and the Security Holograms that replace them halfway through can't be killed unless you sneak past (or, 90% of the time, run right by) them and deactivate their emitter. The whole thing is in a dark, terrible tint that will make you want to punch the screen. It also helps with not seeing the freakin' bear traps. Which are everywhere. And to top it off, there are speakers and radios which set off your explosive collar; Save Scumming is the way to find and deactivate (or outrun) them. At least you're warned.
Don't forget to play it on Hardcore mode! Enjoy your stay.
Whereas Dead Money was Nintendo Hard in terms of dungeon exploration, all the DLC is Nintendo Hard in terms of straight-out combat. All the enemies level with you, which actually makes being at high levels a disadvantage, since every single normal enemy is tough enough that they'd be considered a major boss character in the vanilla game. And you'll often have to fight several at once. This is especially bad in Dead Money, though, because you don't get your high damage weapons and the Ghost People don't take extra damage from headshots.
The game's project director Joshua Sawyer made the JSawyer mod, essentially a Director's Cut that rebalances the game to how he originally envisioned it. Your base carrying weight is reduced by 100, your hit points, XP gain rate and max level take sharp drops, and most stimpaks have lost effectiveness while all start having weight. All the stuff you get from pre-order DLC you have to find hidden in-game. Hardcore is on by default and your survival values start dropping a lot faster than in the base game. Some of the more common weapons and armor have been buffed (and most armor also has some level of damage reduction), which helps you in the short-term but also means the high-class gear doesn't put you at as big an advantage. It also means you die a lot faster.
The game prides itself on making certain that none of the factions are straight out "good" or "evil," with reminders like NCR being ineffective at defending its interests in stark contrast to the Legion inspiring such strict order that even the Fiends won't attack their territory, but...of the companions for the Courier, nearly all fall under either pro-NCR or neutral, and two will even abandon you outright for supporting the Legion. Couple that with a lot of doors being closed to players for throwing their lot in with the Legion...yeah. There aren't a lot of incentives for siding with the Legion for anything but the different story missions.
Honest Hearts also plays this straight—despite your ability to side with the Legion in the main game, you can't side with the White Legs in Zion, who are attempting to join the Legion. There are numerous potential Justifications/Hand Waves available, but none are brought up - the best you can go for is just shooting everyone on sight and then stealing a map to get out, which locks you out of all the quests and potential rewards in the entire region.
Ulysses was originally designed as a Legion-affliated companion in the vanilla game. However, instead of being a plain Token Evil Teammate he would have acted as a sounding board to the Courier in regard to the different factions, and provided a Legion-sympathetic point of view.
Mr. New Vegas is Wayne Newton, famous announcer known as "Mr. Las Vegas". And literally so as the character is actually voiced by Newton.
No, Except Yes: The Super Mutants on Black Mountain Radio say that, contrary to popular opinion, they don't hate humans at all and they even broadcast a warning to avoid their security staff - because they're under orders to kill humans on sight. "And they say we don't care about them!"
Have the PC version and used the console? No achievements for you!Even if you do it to fix aGame-Breaking Bug. note Fortunately, achievements can re-enabled by saving and quitting, then going back to the game. Alternately, you can play the game through Steam, which records achievements from outside of the game. Thankfully, a few commands don't cause this, such as "TCL" which toggles clipping and is very useful if you get stuck glitching through an object.
If you are in a casino, saving the game also shuts down all the gambling options for a minute as an "anti-cheat" measure to prevent save-scumming.
Similarly, you cannot click through the type-up sequence for the hacking minigame if you just exited and re-entered the computer terminal, until the "SECURITY RESET" warning at the very top of the monitor goes away. All this means is you just have to wait 5-10 seconds before you can try again.
Which is strange compared to Fallout 3, where doing this to avoid getting locked out of terminals was actually recommended in one of the loading screens.
The idea behind the Good Natured trait. Your combat skills take a hit, but a whole bunch of non-combat skills get a boost, and since you have the option of getting a couple of party members to do the fighting for you, you can still survive when violence becomes necessary. That also does not prevent you from taking a level in badass later on by putting skill points appropriately.
What's funny is that this trait actually has the opposite intended effect. Since you can't max out skills like in Fallout 3, you have to decide which skills you want to build up. This trait takes points away from the combat skills you will never use (depending on how you like to play, you'll only ever use one or two combat skills, maybe three at most) and puts them into skills you will, almost certainly resulting in a net gain. By putting skill points into combat skills anyway, your character can deal with practically any situation.
Even better, the Old World Blues DLC has the Skilled trait, which gives you +5 to all skills at the cost of a -10% exp gain. Combined with the Good Natured Trait, this is a net gain of +10 to a lot of skills while also removing the -5 penalty to your combat skills. The experience loss can be almost fully negated by a perk which you can get at second level.note The 10% penalty is applied first, then the 10% bonus is applied to the intermediate calculation, giving a net loss of 1% XP (1*.9*1.1=.99).
Noob Cave: The immediate area surrounding Goodsprings, complete with easy to kill giant geckos and a few bloatflies. Just don't take the north road if you've barely started the game. You probably won't survive. The North road is passable eventually after you've leveled up a bit and gained some heavy weapons.
Noodle Incident: You can find a computer log in Old World Blues which says steps are being taken to avoid a repeat of Incident:PLAYTIME. There were cyberdogs involved (possibly in heat), and fixing/sanitizing it took up a good portion of the research budget.
Noodle Implements: Several computer logs in H&H Tools use Noodle Implements in a sexual context: one mentions a stovepipe and souvenir moon rocks, another mentions rubber sheets and "the souvenir elephant-foot trash can", and a third mentions an accordion and a riding crop.
No One Should Survive That: The response you will get when you catch up with the people who shot you in the head and buried you alive at the start of the game.
Standard for the course in the Fallout verse. Though the Bison Steve hotel gets kudos. Pre-War there was a platform that led directly to the tracks for the Roller Coaster. Not to the loading/unloading platform, just in the middle of the tracks.
Followed through in many other cases where toxic waste is dumped in places such as a fire station. The REPCONN headquarters' tour guide also lampshades this by constantly reassuring you that no safety measures are required for toxic waste dumps because "nothing bad will ever happen."
No Tell Motel: Bison Steve was this BEFORE the war. You find a ransom note. A skeleton on the bed next to a blood stain that's at chest level then another skeleton in the tub with a knife and surrounded by drugs. Murder-suicide, anyone? Might be a Stealth Pun, since the real-world equivalent is "Buffalo Bill's".
Caesar and Arcade Gannon are extremely similar. Both are or were members of the Followers of Apocalypse. Both lost their fathers at a young age. Both are well educated to the point of knowing Latin. Both believe in the greater good, even if it is at the expense of the individual good (although Arcade doesn't take it to the same extremes). Both prove to be remarkably effective military leaders as soon as they put their mind to do so. If you get a very specific ending, the trope is more apparent, as well, due to Caesar's interactions with Arcade.
Veronica also points out that both the Boomers and the Brotherhood of Steel are quite similar, both being aggressively xenophobic hoarders of technology.
Not Staying for Breakfast: If Benny survives his night with a black widow Courier, he leaves a note that manages to be infuriating and endearing at the same time.
Not Quite The Right Thing: The ending to Honest Hearts takes this bent no matter which side you support. It ultimately comes down to whether or not you believe preserving the natural beauty and sanctity of Zion is worth the human cost or not.
Not Using the Z Word: In Honest Hearts, Joshua and Daniel's tribe are only ever referred to as "New Canaanites," never as "Mormons" or "Latter-Day Saints."
No Woman's Land: The Legion. And boy, if you're a female Courier, will they let you know about it.
In the Lonesome Road addon, there are many instances where you will find a cache of goodies and opening it or merely approaching it will cause a group of angry NPCs to kill you. It helps immensely to lay frag mines down in the entrances to buildings before you go in.
Extremely obvious in Old World Blues, when you find an item titled "Take [X]" instead of the standard "name-weight-value" readout. Taking the object spawns another wave of baddies. Fortunately you can grab it without taking it and carry it to a safe location, as they only spawn once you put it in your inventory.
Obvious Beta: As one might expect of a game developed by Obsidian, the story is unique and lovingly crafted, but the bugs and glitches are plentiful and the game is prone to crashing even after several updates.
Offing the Mouth: You can sell companion Arcade Gannon into slavery as Caesar's personal physician and then arrange for him to die in the quest Et Tumor Brute. Should the Legion win at the Battle of Hoover Dam Legate Lanius Caesar's successor gets tired of Arcade's witty remarks and has him crucified.
Off Model: Strafing to the left as a female Courier causes your left arm to suddenly gain a new joint. Pre-patch, there were some that were unintentionally hilarious.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The description of Elijah's escape from the Big Empty and the aftermath of it paints a darn impressive picture of it, as does the holotapes and terminal entries left by him, Ulysses and Christine. But the description is somewhat vague and unreliable (it is given by members of the Think Tank), the holotapes and terminal entries only touch on the impressive things, and since it happened before the Courier got there, and Elijah doesn't tell us much of what happened when the Courier meets him, it remains mostly offscreen...
Offscreen Teleportation: Both of the Mysterious Protectors. Victor seems to always be one step ahead of you, but it turns out he's got a justification for that.
Off the Rails: Part of the big draw of the game is that there is no one true plotline. All the big names you learn about throughout the game are certainly killable, and the game actually evolves around the decisions you make, to come to drastically different endings that require a massive slide show depicting the consequences of your actions. You will eventually be railroaded onto the Independent questline if you kill or antagonize enough people, but it's hardly a game over by any means.
Off with His Head!: The Katana has a special attack in V.A.T.S. called "Unlabored Flawlessness". Holding the sword Reverse Grip style, you swing at your enemy's neck. Combined with the Authentic Blade mod to increase damage, it will instantly kill most non-boss characters, almost always by decapitation.
Benny's reaction when he sees how you got better after that little incident up near Goodsprings.
Probably the best Oh, Crap to come from Benny is if you go up to the penthouse at The Tops at his request. Of course, he betrays you and sends 4 of his bouncers to do you in. Kill them, and then go over to the intercom and interact with it.
It's also heavily implied in dialogue with The Tops members that after this exchange, Benny fled from the casino in pure unbridled terror.
If you tell the lone NCR Ranger attempting to use a bunker as a safehouse that the Brotherhood of Steel have you hostage — "Ha, ha, not a slaver collar... hey, what's that noise?" Three angry paladins in T-51b armor, that's what.
In the Wild Card ending, General Oliver shows up after blasting down the doors to congratulate you. Then you point out you had help. Cue the dust settling and a very unhealthy number of Securitrons suddenly holding him at gunpoint. He gets another one seconds later if you get tired of his posturing and order Yes Man to throw him off the dam.
Jessup gets one in Boulder City when he recognises the Courier, remarking that he saw you get shot in the head by Benny in Goodsprings and you're supposed to be dead.
If you successfully plant a grenade or landmine on someone while pickpocketing them, the person in question will realize just how screwed they are, patting themselves down and panicking like crazy... just before they get blasted sky high, usually in bloody chunks.
One-Hit-Point Wonder: The Cloud in Dead Money can turn you into this in Hardcore mode if you don't have the stims to keep your health up, especially in the early game. Half the time you'll be throwing your companions at enemies to avoid using your precious healing items.
The pro-NCR path more or less requires you to be this. Even if you aren't following that path, a high-level character with the right equipment can literally be this.
Ranger Stella, one of the possible opponents in the arena. She apparently refused to be given a machete in the arena, preferring to fight with just her bare hands, and she wasted just about anyone thrown at her, from slaves and recruit legionaries up to veteran legionaries and an elite centurion. When you fight her, she can cripple limbs with one hit.
Randall Clark, the Survivalist, wiped out most of the cannibalistic Vault 22 dwellers through guerrilla warfare after they killed the Hispanic refugees he was watching over. The Vault dwellers took to calling him the Evil Spirit.
One Nation Under Copyright: New Vegas itself. Mr. House describes himself as its "president, CEO, and sole proprietor," rather than its ruler.
One Riot, One Ranger: Played with in regards to NCR Rangers. They're some of the toughest human units in the game, and in-universe, are treated as being at the highest levels of badassery. The NCR will use individual Rangers in this fashion, sending them into situations that would normally require an entire squad of Troopers to deal with, but a few instances in the game where individual Rangers are sent to deal with a problem (such as Anders in Vault 3,) go poorly. (Anders survives but is wounded, and the commander that sent him there admits that sending just one Ranger was a mistake.)
The Courier also fits for the various powers-that-be in the Mojave region. S/he will be given assignments to do things that trained soldiers and mercenary groups have been unable or unwilling to do.
Like all Fallout games, Intelligence is the most important stat. Period. It determines how many skill points you get each level up and figures into several speech checks. Following close, but not strictly necessary, is Luck. Luck allows you to win the casino games, specifically blackjack. A minimum Luck of 7 (which is easy enough to get thanks to the Luck implant, Naughty Nightwear, and the Lucky Shades if you can manage the Legion rep) will ensure that you win almost every hand. You'll be able to clean out every casino on and off the Strip. The combined payout for every casino comes out to about 40000 caps, which means you're set for life.note And in the Sierra Madre Casino in Dead Money, the 10,000-chip jackpot limit can be cashed in for Pre-War Money, one-to-one, which can equate to over 100,000 caps with a good Barter skill. Luck also provides the most skill points, since it grants a +1 boost to every skill for every two points invested.
Repair and Barter are useful skills if you want to make a LOT of money. You can sell higher and buy lower with the Barter skill, and repairing items significantly increases the value of it. For example, having 90 repair and Jury Rigging will allow you to repair a near broken super sledge with a shovel, increasing its value by over 2000 caps. It's dozens of times more lucrative than Luck if you keep everything you loot and wait until you have the perk.
Speech and Science are unquestionably necessary to achieve the best endings in the game, and they need to be really high at that. You need to manage 90 in both to get the best endings, and a full 100 to talk down the bosses.
The Securitron Vault was intended to be such, with the player being unable to re-enter once it is completed, and the guard's dialogue not permitting you to leave until you complete the task. However, the actual implementation permits you to leave (using dialog or killing the guards) as long as you don't complete the section.
The Dead Money DLC cannot be visited after it is completed, unlike the Old World Blues and Honest Hearts add-ons. In said DLC, the vault of the Sierra Madre is also closed off after you leave.
One-Wheeled Wonder: The Securitron robots, which form the personal guard of Mr. House, look like this.
Only Six Faces: For no good reason. Face Gen isn't cheap to lease, and anyone who's created a character for Oblivion knows the breadth of customization possible. The same software was leased for this game, yet every character looks like one of a small handful of clones.
This is probably a shout out to a joke from the earlier Fallouts in which there were only 6 sprites and it got mercilessly lampshaded by the same developers as this game.
"The way I look at it, there must've been some cloning accident in the past."
Only six faces and seemingly only six voice actors for those unimportant people.
Sort of. One minor Frumentarius that you meet greets you for the first time with "Hail Caesar" (hard C) and the very next sentence says it again, this time with a soft C.
Cachino speaks with an Italian accent when he first meets you, but then drops it after you show him his journal. Justified because, like all Strip families, the accent and attitude is part of his family's "character" (mafia), which he doesn't need in personal conversation.
Santiago also loses his accent when you reveal that you were sent to settle his debts with the Garretts. He even admits its an act so he can charm his way out of this sort of thing.
Optional Party Member: Aside from the eight companions (who aren't needed to finish the game, anyway), there are mods which allow to recruit Sunny Smiles, Benny if you help him to escape the Legion Fort, of course, Ulysses, and a whole load of brand new characters.
Optional Sexual Encounter: Let's see. There are the hookers in New Vegas, Freeside, and Westside, Red Lucy in the Thorn, Sarah Weintraub in the Vault 21 hotel if you bring her enough Vault Suits, and Benny with the Black Widow perk. Finally, there's Fisto, who, as the name implies, is a robot that performs special services.
"Numbness will subside in several minutes."
Optional Stealth: People specializing in Stealth can play in this way, sneaking about and using a silenced pistol, but breaking out a BFG and Power Armor whenever things get hairy.
Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: The 12.7mm submachine gun is one of the few weapons in the Guns category with no real-world counterpart or inspiration. It looks like a brick. Add the silencer mod to it (which is far larger than the silencers other guns get), and it looks like a brick with a piece of pipe on the end. Also, the laser pistol and laser rifle retain their rectangular appearance from Fallout 3, but the rifle can be made to be even more boxy by attaching the scope to it. The result is a box with another box suspended several inches above it. A scoped laser rifle actually takes up so much of the screen in first person mode, it can make seeing things to your right difficult.
Outlaw Couple: Vikki and Vance, who, according to the claims of the robot that works as a tour guide in their museum, were not copycats of the former Trope Namers, as they began their own "crime spree" two days before Bonnie and Clyde began theirs. The pair's crimes were, however, pretty low key, and consisted mostly of shoplifting and con artistry. Their story still ends in a tragedy as they were unfortunate enough to caught in the massive crossfire between the police and a bunch of bank robbers, which resulted in them getting shot to pieces. A couple of idiots try to emulate them by stealing their clothes and gun, but it's pretty easy to convince them how badly this will go.
Outlaw Town: The NCR Correctional Facility run by the convicts who took it over. There is also Vault 3, occupied by the drug-crazed fiends.
This can work against Caesar's legion on one occasion. There's a quest where you can be hired by the NCR to help interrogate a Legion officer they've captured. If your character has a high enough intelligence or charisma, then the best solution is to convince him you're a Legion assassin sent to punish him for allowing himself to be captured. He's obviously more afraid of the Legion than the NCR, and in his panic and indignation he lists everything he'd done for the Legion lately, which is exactly what the NCR wanted to know.
With the Terrifying Presence perk, you can intimidate hardened badasses in cowering like children. Of note, you can scare the crap out of Caesar himself, turn Jean-Baptiste Cutting (a murderous psychopath who vaped a dude for fun) into whimpering wuss, and scare an entire team of Brotherhood soldiers into submission when they both outnumber and outgun you. It may be a largely useless perk, but it's easily the funniest.
Also of note is convincing some mercs to leave quaint, idyllic, Super Mutant owned Jacobstown alone, because if they don't, instead of dealing with a village of pissed off Super Mutants, they'll have to deal with you.
North Vegas has a similar instance with a Speech check. You need to scare off some squatters. After you ask nicely and they refuse, you can inform them that you only ask once. Later on in the same mission, squatters in the sewers can be made to fear a mob bearing down on them if they continue to make trouble.
Obsidian addressed complaints about Dead Money in regards to personal item whereabouts and the ability to return in the newest DLC, among others:
In-Game Warning: You get the premonition that while you'll be unable to return to the Mojave until you solve the mysteries of the Big Empty, you WILL be able to take anything you can carry with you, and you WILL be able to return to the Big Empty any time after completing this adventure.
Courier: If you stole my brain, then how the hell am I still functioning? Dr. Klein: WE HAVE NO IDEA! THIS LINE OF QUESTIONING ISN'T IMPORTANT TO US NOW! WHY MUST YOU ASK THESE TANGENTIAL QUESTIONS? STOP IT!
The Old World Blues epilogue actually calls the player out if they rush through the main quest, since several of the good endings rely on you reaching every location and finding every single upgrade for the Sink personalities.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Partially averted with the faction disguises. Coming near enough to interact with members will reveal you to any, even to the lowliest mooks if your infamy is high enough. But still, you're wearing the same hat, tailed by the same companions, and they don't seem to take notice of a female wearing legionnaire armor.
Paranoia Fuel: invoked Vault 19 was designed to induce paranoia in its citizens through purely psychological methods. The vault is split into Red and Blue sides with an Overseer for either side, and the actions they undertake to drive the residents insane include making the air vents turn up for five minutes at a precise time every night, making lights outside corridors blink in apparent Morse code, and assuring residents who notice these little anomalies that it's just their imagination and nothing is wrong. The vault being split into two sides naturally makes them suspicious of the other as well, and as the journal entries and computer logs will attest, it spirals into total insanity. One resident notices how another of the opposite color had found a Sunset Sarsaparilla Star bottlecap and immediately ran off with it. That resident didn't know what was so special about that cap, but he knew he had to have it for himself. The resident who found it, wracked his brain trying to figure out why this bottle cap had a star on it. It was special, but WHY?
Interestingly, unlike most other vaults, it isn't revealed just what the final outcome of the inhabitants was. There aren't any corpses found anywhere, and the vault itself is dilapidated and unkempt, but not trashed or ruined. Not even with the fire geckos inhabiting the caves below the vault. By the time you get there, the Powder Gangers are using it as a hideout from their recent prison break, and no mention is made of where the inhabitants went or what happened to them.
Every password you steal is always something very silly or at least words that can be found in a dictionary. Such as 123456789 for Raul's cell. All hackable terminals all have passwords in the form of words which can be found in most dictionaries.
Seemingly averted on the HELIOS ONE terminal passwords, where the two terminals have super long passwords with seemingly random letters and numbers, until you find out that the number sequences can be converted from hexadecimal into ASCII, producing the phrases "My voice is my passport" and "Too many secrets" — both encoded phrases from the movie Sneakers.
It is implied the reason the passwords are so simple is because of your own hacking skills essentially resetting the password into a guessing game.
In the latter case, it was Raul himself who programmed it, thinking that no one will ever bother reading the terminal where he writes down the password. He is Surrounded by Idiots up in Black Mountain, after all.
You can get past the REPPCON HQ security on the top floor by guessing the password, 'Ice Cream', by being lucky or stupid enough.
Many passwords set by technicians are good (even if they are common words they at least have non-standard capitalization or elements of 1337 sp34k) and common passwords are more than likely a reference to Real Life practices. The hacking minigame can be also considered a Story And Gameplay Segregation designed to convey the 'vintage' feeling of the hex editor.
In Vault 11, the password to a computer is kept in an unlocked footlocker in the same room. The note simply reads "This password was found shamefully close to its user's terminal."
Pay Evil unto Evil: The 'best' path for the 'Eye for an Eye' quest (which gives you the best NCR rep boost) involves showering Cottonwood Cove with radioactive waste, to give the unfortunate Legion personnel there the Karmic Death for what they did in Camp Searchlight. Before doing this though, hopefully you remembered to get the family in the slave pen out first. The strung-up Great Khan on the outskirts of town will live through it just fine.
If you chose the Causeless Rebel route for Veronica, one could consider destroying the Brotherhood as this. The Brotherhood chose to slowly die instead of adapt, and their death throes are harming others outside their group, as evidenced by the cold blooded murder of the Followers outpost (on top of general glorified banditry).
Percussive Maintenance: When a low-condition gun jams, the Courier smacks it once or twice during the reloading animation.
The quarry foreman at Sloan will also, if you ask him about the machinery he uses at Quarry Junction, note that since it's pre-War tech, "you need to thump it once in awhile to keep it running".
The Peter Principle: Chief Hanlon mentions that the NCR government repositioned a good number of their strongest rangers to Baja California after dealing with a very minor skirmish with locals, despite knowing that they would be better put to use at the Hoover Dam.
Pintsized Powerhouse: Stripe, a miniature Deathclaw that shows up in Old World Blues if you have Wild Wasteland. Despite only coming up to the Courier's knee, he's just as powerful as an alpha male Deathclaw.
Plasma Cannon: Plasma weapons come in a variety of small arms sizes. FO3-style plasma pistols are the entry level weapon, followed by the FO3-style Plasma Rifle, and then by the Multiplas Rifle and Plasma Defender heavy pistol, and then the classic Fallout-style Plasma Caster. Unique weapons include the Q-35 Matter Modulator plasma rifle and the Smitty Special plasma caster. As is typical, they do heavy damage per shot, but take a while to cycle shots and are not insta-hit/quick-traveling projectiles.
Poisoned Weapon: A Courier with a decent survival skill is able to concoct poisons of varying lethality, then apply them to melee weapons. It's more of Awesome, but Impractical as the poison is removed after one strike, but it's worth it to stealthily toss a throwing knife at a deathclaw and watch its health bar drain completely.
Once you choose to undertake the attack on the Hoover Dam mission there's no turning back, though the game does at least warn you about this, unlike the corresponding situation in Fallout 3. Strangely enough, it doesn't seem as if Obsidian took on-board the criticism of the fact that you couldn't play past the final level of Fallout 3 (at least not until the "Broken Steel" DLC was released), as the game ends once you defeat the final boss(es).
However unlike Fallout 3 there are four ending paths to New Vegas and each ending montage varies greatly depending on your actions throughout the game. Trying to program a Playable Epilogue that takes all of these factors into account would be an entire game in itself.
There's also a lesser Point of No Return in the form of which faction quest you choose to pursue. There's a lockout point in each questline which alienates you from the other three. The only two questlines that can be played concurrently are Yes Man and Mr. House, and you still have to choose one prior to the final mission.
Yes Man is the only one you can never alienate plus if killed he will just respawn in another Securitron. This is to make certain that the player cannot render the game unwinnable.
Once you complete the Dead Money DLC, you may stay as long as you like, but you can't return to the Sierra Madre casino once you do leave. Might be worth going back and getting everything you want.
Power Perversion Potential: A memo describing a shipment of Stealth Boys with some missing is followed by another memo alluding to regulations regarding sexual harassment and the unauthorized use of military hardware.
Benny: Don't do that, baby. Not crucifixion. I could be up there for days with those twisted creeps laughing and pointing. The Courier: Pass the time thinking over your mistakes. Benny: You sick, vindictive fuck!
Prepare to Die: Done as a joke by Caesar, of all people. After either recovering the Platinum Chip from Benny or being duped and having him run off with it, you will receive an invitation to meet Caesar in person. It's quite possible that you will have made his life difficult in any number of ways before this, from digging out his moles to slaughtering his garrisons. He will ask you why, despite all this, you still chose to accept the offer to meet him in person. The conversation proceeds like this:
Courier: You guaranteed my safety. Caesar: And you fell for that? Really? Because I'm going to have you killed now. beat Caesar:... relax, I'm fucking with you.
Promotion Not Punishment: Vulpes Inculta has this as part of his backstory. During a skirmish between Caesar's Legion and a hostile tribe, Vulpes broke ranks and led a charge through a hole in the tribe's defences, captured the tribe's chieftain and forced the rest of the tribe into surrender. Vulpes' Centurion petitioned Caesar for the right to execute him for disobeying orders, but Caesar recognised Vulpes' cunning and tactical knowledge and instead had him transferred into the Frumentarii, the Legion's network of spies.
Mr. House believes that it is only a matter of time before the NCR betrays him and use military force to annex New Vegas. The NCR on the other hand thinks that Mr. House will use his robot army to betray the Republic and drive them out of the region after they defeat the Legion at Hoover Dam. They were both correct.
In this case it was a self-fulfilling prophecy since both side's mutual paranoia is what led to the events that led to them betraying each other.
His half-brother Anthony was improperly paranoid about a lot of things (like germs, foreigners, and people trying to steal his "thought energy"), but he was bang on the money in thinking that RobCo was trying to drive him out of business. It was...because it was secretly controlled by Mr. House, who was looking for revenge for Anthony stealing their father's company from him.
One of the Vaults has its citizens sectioned off into "red" and "blue" factions and is filled with HAL-9000-looking security cameras. Most of their journal entries display paranoia towards the people on the other side, but one person believes that the entire Vault is part of a psychological experiment, and they've all been drugged to forget that they used to be patients in a mental institution. He seems to be right, but he can't trust himself, because he now knows that he's insane.
Punched Across the Room: If you have high enough Unarmed skill, this can be one of the death animations. Veronica frequently does it as well. If you're using the Power Fist or Ballistic Glove, this will happen to everything you punch to death. The Greased Lighting from the GRA DLC, with its boosted attack speed, will frequently uppercut enemies into the air.
Swap out for the Saturnite Fist added in Old World Blues and you don't punch people across the room so much as heads.
Punch Clock Villain: It seems every Vault Overseer loyally went ahead with their experiment protocols, despite knowing full well that the world had ended and they were on their own, even in cases where it should have been obvious to anyone with any common sense that the experiment would not only kill the Vault inhabitants, but likely result in the Overseer's own death as well.
For Vault 34 though this is the case of the inherent flaw (there were just too many guns around and the vault was overpopulated), and even when the Overseer has no interest in the vault experiments, not much could be done. The game was rigged from the start.
Funny enough the Vault was doing well, until the Overseer started taking away their gun rights.
Pyro Maniac: Cook-Cook, one of the Fiend Bosses, loves burning things. And brahmin. And people.
Subverted with the NCR, who actually uses both. Even if their troopers are mostly making use of their massive numbers and weapons, they have different elite groups, like the Rangers, who are renowned for their tactics, training and/or equipment.
An integral part of the Fallout universe, but the example that truly shines is the Lady. This universe's WW2-era engineers must have been remarkable, since a B-29 can sit on the bottom of Lake Mead for 300 years and not only be raised intact, but made to fly again by repairing her with spare parts from a museum piece.
There are numerous wrecks at the bottom of freshwater lakes and some rivers. Due to low corrosion and few animals living that deep, they do tend remain in fairly good shape.
Averted with most other Pre-War stuff left behind in the wasteland, which are either so decayed they're useless or on the verge of breaking down entirely. With the exception of those still being maintained, like the Las Vegas Monorail, most tech (including firearms) is by this point produced long after War ended. Even household appliances that are seemingly intact are no longer functional.
It is also lampshaded by the Enclave Remnants, who are a bit surprised to find that their bunker is still in more or less good condition and not caving in after years of neglect.
Railroading: The game is noticeably more plot-driven than Fallout 1, 2 or 3, and gameplay progression follows this. Getting to New Vegas from Goodsprings either requires you to brave a Beef Gate of Deathclaws or follow the counter-clockwise road through Prim, Nipton, Novac, and then Freeside before reaching The Strip. The questlines for Mr. House, NCR and Caesar, you're locked out of the other two questlines when you get to a certain point in one, forcing you to either jump ship to the Wild Card route or see your chosen faction through to victory. There are also many fewer optional areas compared to Fallout 3, and a lot of the locations in the game are either bases of the three major factions, locations relevant to their questlines such as a secondary faction, or a location relevant to a secondary faction's questline, so it's hard to just go off exploring without the plot jumping in again.
Corporal Betsy. Unlike usual for this trope, nobody tiptoes around what happened, except possibly Betsy herself, and she does it through pure macho bluster.
Cook-Cook is a notorious rapist, so much so that a male bounty hunter and even a lot of NCR soldiers are afraid of him. Killing him will earn you the thanks of some of his victims, some of which only regret that they weren't there to see him die.
Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The Greased Lightning power fist from the Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC has a ridiculous attack rate at the cost of reduced damage. With the right perks, you can hit roughly three times per second.
Rare Candy: Magazines now only temporarily increase your skills. In their place are Skill Books, which permanently increase a given stat by 3. Additionally, the Here and Now perk returns giving you an additional level-up automatically when taken.
Reality Ensues: Hardcore Mode, which requires you to eat, drink, and sleep regularly, and keep track of your ammo and money's weights. Crippled Limbs must be healed by either a trip to the doctor or using a Doctor's Bag or Hydra item, and companion deaths are permanent.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Old World Blues starts off with a conversation between the various different members of the Think Tank, but due to engine limitations you can only face and speak to Klein. All other characters are voiced through his model too, it is hand-waved as him using a "conference call" function.
At the end of the conversation, Dr O asks if they're allowed to move again since his biogel is starting to "crampagulate", pointing out how the engine makes everything except the person you talk to freeze up.
Real Is Brown: New Vegas plays around with this; there's a surprising amount of color in the Mojave Wasteland, especially New Vegas itself but as you approach Camp Forlorn Hope the color is leached out of the setting, making everything appear in shades of dull brown and grey. As you complete quests to restore hope to the place, the colors fade back in.
Reassigned to Antarctica: For her war crimes at Bitter Springs, Major Gilles was demoted to Captain and shunted off to a desk job in the middle of nowhere.
For the NCR, Colonels Cassandra Moore and James Hsu are red and blue, respectively. For example, Colonel Hsu prefers to resolve the problem with the Kings peacefully by providing them supplies, while Colonel Moore would rather kill them all.
Veronica calls attention to this between the Followers of the Apocalypse and the Brotherhood of Steel, though it can be difficult to tell which is red and which blue. The Followers have a good cause but a woeful lack of resources, while the Brotherhood is practically second only to the Enclave in resources, but lacks any legitimately good cause.
Refuge in Audacity: You, Boone, and ED-E storming Caesar's fort and killing everyone inside, Caesar included. Boone even comments on it. Lampshaded by Mr New Vegas later, though he was rather surprised on how the assassins evaded heavy security, even though the truth is you just storm your way in, killing anyone that gets in the way.
The Remnant: The remnants of the Master's Super Mutant army, which has split into the State of Utobitha and Jacobstown. In addition to them, there is the Enclave remnant, composed of the scattered handful of remaining members. Play your cards right, and you can get them back together and fighting with you. The Brotherhood of Steel chapter you find hiding in Nevada is also a Remnant and a shadow of their former power.
Many NPCs in the main game will make comments about how they'd heard you'd been shot in the head (which is, admittedly true) and assumed you'd died (which is not). In at least one case, you're given the option of quoting the trope namer as a response.
Retcon: Used to explain the significant departure from the plasma rifle as seen in previous games to Fallout 3. The classic Plasma Rifle is now the "Plasma Caster," while the new truly rifle-shaped plasma rifle is a format encouraged by a Colonel Moretti. You see the name turn up on the "Future Weapons Today" cover on a loading screen: "Colonel Moretti slams the venerable P-94!" And in several terminals in the Repconn HQ you find a weapons project that was authorized by the same Colonel Moretti and resulted in the Q-35 MatterModulator, which appears to be the first functional prototype iteration of the Plasma Rifle as seen in Fallout 3 and as a low-mid tier energy weapon in New Vegas. The explanation for why it shows up on the east coast is easy: The Enclave refined it to field-deployable status it and produced it over there. The reason for its appearance on the West Coast since Fallout 2 could be explained by the Van Graffs or other energy weapon manufacturers salvaging the field-ready plasma rifle design from ruined Enclave bases.
Retired Badass: You can recruit a squad of them to aid you in the final battle. They're ex-Enclave, so they're also RetiredEmployees of a Complete Monster.
It wouldn't be Fallout without it. Though it manages to not only have a 1950's vibe in it, but also combines that with a late 19th Century Western feeling in the more rural areas outside the Vegas Strip itself.
ED-E. Flies, allows you to spot enemies from really far away... And kick some ass with his laser while playing a bugle sound.
Invoked with the MkII Stealth Suit's AI from Old World Blues, a slavishly loyal and eager to please Robot Girl, who whines when you put her away and sadly asks "Will you love me if I help you hide?" when you put her on. She also feeds you Stimpaks and Med-X when you're hurt. From the same add-on is the K9000 Cyberdog gun, a dog's Brain in a Jar on a triple-barreled machine gun firing .357 Magnum, which growls when it detects enemies and whines when you put it away, and can be upgraded to the .44 Magnum "FIDO".
The appliances in the Big MT "Sink" facility can all speak and offer useful services, at least once you find their personality backups.
Rousseau Was Right: Vault 11. The mainframe requires one resident to sacrifice themselves each year, or all life support will be turned off, dooming the others. As it turns out, given the nature of vaults and their designers, it's almost certain Vault 11 was simply a social experiment. The designers added the option that once the residents refused to play along, they would be congratulated for their conscience and the vault would be opened. The population kept on sacrificing each other for years until (after the sacrifices were made random and a civil war between power blocs broke out) only a handful were left and they decided to just have the Vault kill them. Most committed suicide at the (now open) Vault door when they realized how evil they were... except one, who escaped into the wastelands.
Quest-givers give three tasks, with few exceptions.
Barring a Yes-Man supported Courier, there are three major power blocs in the Mojave — the NCR, the Legion, and Mr. House. Within House's sphere of influence, there are three families that run casinos on the strip (the Chairmen at The Tops, the Omertas of Gomorrah, and the White Glove Society at the Ultra-Luxe).