At the end of the sidequest "Hard Luck Blues," you have choice between plugging the radiation leaking from Vault 34-which saves the NCR Sharecropper Farms but dooms a group of trapped Vault dwellers-or allowing the trapped Vault dwellers to escape, which releases a massive burst of radiation that destroys the farms, ruining the sharecroppers livelihood.
The main quest can be this to good-aligned players. You will likely have to destroy the Brotherhood of Steel. Maybe you already have joined them and gained their sympathy? You will likely screw over the NCR if aligned with Mr. House or Yes Man in the last minute and ect. Betrayal is a deadly sin, huh? You might want to throw your principles out of the window. Fortunately, if the player has good enough standing with the Brotherhood, they can create a peace treaty between them and the NCR, at the expense of some NCR infamy.
Samus Is a Girl: Nightkin, like other Super Mutants, have no secondary sexual characteristics, so the ladies sound just like the men chewing gravel. This is used as a point of humor a few times with some plot-relevant Nightkin such as Lily, a Nightkin and former member of the Master's army... who has the mind of an elderly grandmother and joins the Courier, seemingly believing them to be her grandchild.
Mr. House, more specifically the Mr. House that is the half-brother to the one in the Lucky 38, during his reign at H&H Tools.
Due to the effects of near-constant Stealth Boy use, all Nightkin begin suffering this at some point. If you see one, it's generally not a question of if they are crazy, but how much.
Sarcastic Confession: If you ask Arcade Gannon about his past, he will originally be evasive. If you ask him why he is dodging the question, he will jokingly reply "Only to obfuscate my previous association with a fascist paramilitary organization." You can later find out that he descends from members of the Enclave.
Save Scumming: Quicksave/quickoad plus a Slots Machine equals easy but boring money-making... until the casino kicks you out. When doing this, trying to use the slot machines (or the Black Jack or Roulette tables) within 60 seconds of reloading produces a message stating that it seems to be resetting itself as an anti-cheating measure. This also applies to most merchants. Talk to the Gun Runner's Protectron within 60 seconds of reloading your game, and he'll inform you that a transaction is already in place, and to wait for it to end.
Sawed-Off Shotgun: Both a bog-standard 12 gauge double-barrel, and 20 gauge lever-action with a cut down barrel and stock. In addition, there is also the laser version (Tri Beam Laser Rifle).
Scary Black Man: Jean-Baptiste Cutting. The Van Graff family as a whole appear to be a scary Black Family as all but one of the random Mooks are Black.
Scavenger World: Per series tradition. In the Mojave, actual scavengers tend to go by "prospectors" since it has fewer of the negative connotations.
Schizo Tech: All over the place, given that the game combines the franchise's traditional Atom Punk aesthetic with a Space Western vibe and a storyline about the clash between three major factions that all operate at wildly different technology levels.
Vault 11 is deliberately designed like this. Really, when there's an option to open the sacrificial chamber on a terminal, you just know the end result will be bad. But you'll do it, because you've come this far and you need to know (and have to in order to complete the unmarked quest). Curiosity demands it!
The radio which starts the Dead Money DLC. "Oh look, a radio, let's go touch—*choke*"
You can find the Thump-Thump, a variant of the regular Grenade Rifle during the quest Ant Misbehavin'. Said Ants have been eating gunpowder, and you were told in advance of fighting them that they'll pretty much explode if you look at them the wrong way. The chances that this is a coincidence are extremely small.
Scratch Damage: Your defensive stat subtracts damage, but can never make attacks do less than 1/5 the damage they would against a completely unarmored target. Sufficient BBs will take down a Paladin. If you manage to stack the maximum damage reduction from both the defensive stats (threshold and resistance, which requires forcing your DR value to 85, or wearing equipment from mods that provide DR instead of DT), the minimum damage you take drops to 3%.
Screens Are Cameras: The members of the Think Tank in Old World Blues each have three mounted screens displaying their eyes and mouth separately, and are capable of seeing through their "eye screens".
Screw Yourself: It's possible to flirt with your own brain in Old World Blues. Your brain does not take it very well.
Vulpes claims the lottery in Nipton was this. He relates how no one fought back when their loved ones were killed or crucified with each drawing, and he mentions that he was amazed that the twenty or so townsfolk were so cowardly as to not fight back against the half-dozen Frumentarii under his command. It seems that the people of Nipton had several opportunities to impress Vulpes, at least one of which would have saved them, and they failed every time. However, it is shown that at least a few fought back, with some success at that. Unless Vulpes dismissed a large portion of his invading army then held the lottery, it's unlikely they ever really stood a chance.
Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Hidden Valley bunker has one, which can be triggered either by pickpocketing three Brotherhood leaders or hacking a Very Hard terminal. Doing so is either an optional or mandatory part of the storyline, depending on which faction you back.
Self-Imposed Challenge: The in-game challenges. They range from normal things (heal 10,000 damage with Stimpacks or do 10,000 unarmed damage, for example) to more specific ones (cripple right arms, blow off limbs). Gun Runners' Arsenal adds some truly absurd challenges, most of which involve killing specific things with specific weapons. The three-star challenges are the worst, like having to kill Deathclaws with (among other, slightly more reasonable things) switchblades and boxing tape.
Sequel Escalation: Item crafting is a huge thing in this game, whereas it was only sparingly used in Fallout 3. All your skills do more than just their base function, as they impact what stuff you can craft or have additional effects. Most of the perks in this game tend to be game-changers rather than Fallout 3's "this perk increases your skills a bit" perks. There's a whole faction system in place for numerous different groups throughout the wasteland. All in all, Fallout New Vegas is a much more complicated game than its predecessor.
Sequel Difficulty Drop: The DLC have done this so far—Dead Money is Nintendo Hard, not least because you can't bring your stuff, but also even if you are able to deal with the enemies there is poisen gas and your exploding collar to contend with. Honest Hearts lets you bring some items based on weight (the good stuff is generally heavy), but hands you quite a lot of good equipment along the course of the story. Old World Blues doesn't restrict what you can carry at all, and even hands you three free perks near the beginning (with different versions available to replace them at the end). Old World Blues does not have companions at all and there are a great many level scaled enemies, but there are some massive perks you can pick up along the way bolstering your power more than enough to deal with them. In Lonesome Road there are some very difficult enemies, however unlike all the other DLC, if it ever gets to be too much, you can always go back to the Mojave and resupply on caps, stimpacks, missiles, mines, gauss rifle ammo... provided only you don't mind the long walk back...
There's a Beef Gate north of Goodsprings, namely cazadors and deathclaws, that keep you from heading to Vegas the direct way, so you need to go south and around to the east and back up the highway there. Or, if you know what you're doing, you can charge through the cazadors and/or deathclaws at a comparatively low level and get to the Strip a much faster way.note There's a multitude of strategies that allow a low-level player to take on cazadors and deathclaws and come out on top. It just takes knowledge of right weapons and/or perks, a lot of Stimpacks and Antivemon, save scumming, and patience.
If Benny escapes you with the Chip, Mr. House will send you after him to get it. When you track Benny to the Fort, Caesar gives you the chip and sends you into the vault underneath the base. There House awaits you on a monitor, and tells you he didn't expect you to get there yet. But, you're here now, so let's take care of things ahead of schedule. You then receive his second main story quest while the first is still active.
The questlines for the three major factions all involve interacting with a lesser faction, which usually will involve a questline for them, like what's happening with the Omertas being so quiet, or destroying the Brotherhood of Steel. If the player completes these questions before the main questline gets to them, when it does the quest-giver will acknowledge the matter has already been settled and moves on to the next quest. This is only averted in the Wild Card path because you can take on the objectives in most any order, so there's no sequence to break, but you can still meet all the relevant lesser factions before you meet Yes Man and thus decide immediately what to do about them.
Serious Business: To many, choosing what factions to side with in this game is serious business. People have written entire essays about this. See the Headscratchers page for some examples.
Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: You can talk to Canyon Runner at Cottonwood Cove into releasing the three captures in exchange for some caps. With a high enough speech skill, you can lie to him and say that the young girl- the only one of the three worth any value- has "Pustular Hypomyalgia". He hopes it isn't contagious. You just convinced him to drop the price down to 150 caps by saying that the poor girl has chronic pain caused by zits.
The Sawed-off Shotgun returns to affirm this trope, but every other shotgun in the game has a tighter spread, making them actually useful for medium range combat. Ballsy players may choose to use a modified Hunting Shotgun to snipe. In addition, there are also Slug shells, which makes the shotgun otherwise behave like rifles. Higher tier shotguns are also superior weapons to submachine guns and most handguns in medium range combat even with just buckshot shells.
As of patch 1.3.0/1.5, all shotguns are now decent weapons at medium range due to vastly reduced spread, including the sawed-off.
The Shotgun Surgeon perk, along with other things (see Short Range Shotgun), allow shotguns to become viable all-situation weapons.
The Multiplas Rifle is topped only by the Gauss Rifle, Big Boomer (the unique sawed-off shotgun) and Anti-Materiel Rifle in damage per shot. Granted, the damage is split up between three sub-projectiles, but it's still a lot of damage for a mid-tier weapon. Its main disadvantage is its ammo consumption.
"Caesar" (at least by those within the Legion) is pronounced "kye-zar" and "ave" is pronounced "a-weh", reflecting prevailing academic opinion of ancient Roman pronunciation as opposed to the medieval "Church Latin" pronunciations used today.
The fluff about the Legion fits both in-universe and in the meta. The Legion features far too many accurate reflections of the Roman Empire's nature to be coincidental. Most notably the Frumentarii, who play an important role in the plot. They were rather obscure group, virtually nonexistent in any popular media (and even many historical textbooks).
As mentioned above, the vast number of towns and landmarks that appear in this game (even the starting town) that are closely based off those in real life, if a bit space-compressed. For instance, the Goodsprings General Store and the Prospector Saloon do exist and look exactly as they do in-game (except that it's the Pioneer Saloon). Not exactly general tourist knowledge.
On the AER14 Prototype Laser Rifle (a unique variant of the basic laser rifle), there is a sticky note on the back: "Focus: 1064nm, 532 nm (SHG), 8.18 pm!!!". It means that it has a primary wavelength of 1064nm (infra-red range), a "second harmonic generation" (SHG) that doubles the frequency to a green-wavelength 532 nm., and the 8.18 pm is beam divergence, or how wide the beam gets as it leaves the laser (usually measured in picometers per meter).
When asked about the .45 Auto pistol (based on the Colt M1911), Joshua Graham claims that "This type of .45 Automatic pistol was designed by one of my tribe almost four hundred years ago". John Browning, the inventor of the M1911, was a Mormon from Ogden, Utah. Graham is from New Canaan, a Mormon community built on the ruins of Ogden.
The game's crafting system allows you to craft gun cartridges by combining lead (for the bullets) along with the proper types of primer, powder, and cases. The only cartridge type you can't craft this way is .22LR, and for this reason it's also the only type that doesn't leave shell casings. This is because .22LR is rimfire cartridge while the rest are all centerfire: in real life, reloading rimfire cartridges is almost impossible because the pin deforms the case instead of the primer.
The minigame "Caravan", which you can play with other travelers and some merchants. Sure, it may not look like much at first, but in no time you'll be buying every card you see (it's dirt cheap to do so) and swindling people out of absurd amounts of money before you even get to the meat of the main quest. It may look difficult at first, but it's actually fairly easy to win every single game on almost any hand, provided you have a decent-sized deck or a lot of high-number cards.
And, of course, you can go to any of the casinos of New Vegas and blow all your money trying to "get lucky" at the slots, the roulette wheel, or the blackjack table - just like in Real Life. Or you could jack up your Luck stat and clean them out, and get thrown out of all four casinos in twenty minutes, whatever works.
Sighted Guns Are Low Tech: All of the laser weapons lack gunsights, save for the Laser RCW, which is modeled on the Thompson SMG, and (perhaps unintentionally) the recharger pistol. Gun Runner's Arsenal allows the player to attach sights to the laser pistol and a scope to the laser rifle. Oddly, when aiming laser weapons in third-person, the Courier will still assume the aim-down-sights stance.
Signs of Disrepair: The town of Novac seems to take its name from the "NO VACANCY" sign on the motel which is missing the last several letters.
Silliness Switch: The Wild Wasteland trait, available when you're making up your character, changes some dialogue and adds in some extra bits to the game to make it... weirder.
Idealistic, but less so than previous Fallout games. On the grand scale, civilization is mostly rebuilt. However, the two largest nations are the corrupt and inefficient if progressive New California Republic and the brutal and repressive, yet efficient, Caesar's Legion. Within the city, the Kings and Followers of the Apocalypse are working to help Freeside, while all those with real power are ignoring or exploiting the horrific conditions. The Brotherhood of Steel, present in every Fallout game thus far, are finally dying out as a result of their xenophobia, a stark contrast to the stretched-but-altruistic Brotherhood of Fallout 3. Or not, as indicated by a Non-Standard Game Over in Dead Money.
Most of the DLC takes a hard right-wheel into cynicism. Dead Money is about how people's sins corrupt them and lead the world to ruin, and has the most omnicidal potential ending in the game. Honest Hearts makes the point that paradise can't last forever without being ruined by war, one way or another. And Lonesome Road is a fight against a small-minded man with a personal grudge against the Courier, a grudge that might wreck the fragile civilization of the West, and even a complete victory merely reverts everything to the status quo ante, though your Courier is stronger for the experience. Old World Blues, by contrast, is perhaps the most idealistic portion of New Vegas, and it's the one DLC where you really can make the world a better place through the power of Science!
Smart People Know Latin: Your character can use Latin phrases in certain trees provided their intelligence is 8 out of 10. The lower ranks of Caesar's Legion seem only to know "vale" and "ave", while a centurion POW you meet seems to be fluent. Arcade also speaks it fluently, and bemoans the fact that most people only associate the language with the Legion.
Sniper Pistol: The Hunting Revolver comes with a scope attached and is accurate to boot. The .44 magnum and 9mm can also be modded to have a scope.
Snuff Film: Clanden, one of the members of the Omerta faction does these, though they're audio tapes rather than video.
A companion exiting the party takes the gear with them. In case of the ED-E retrofit, the gear is lost forever (except if you've installed any of the DLC, apparently). The only exception is if you complete Arcade Gannon's quest, where he gives you all the gear he was carrying... plus, depending on the way you played the quest, up to two sets of very bulky armour. So, Be Careful What You Wish For.
All of the companions in Honest Hearts give you everything they were carrying on them when they leave you. Like above, this can potentially include the extremely bulky .45 Auto SMG.
Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: This is complicated by RPG elements as well as weapon modifications and unique variants, but played fairly straight by conventional guns in particular. Keep in mind they don't necessarily have to be found in order:
Space Compression: The Real Life area covered by the Mojave Wasteland is about 10,000 square miles. The in-game version is much smaller. This is most noticeable around Hoover Dam and the Colorado, which look alright in-game, but grow by several orders of magnitude when overlaid over the real area.
The Speechless: Christine from the Dead Money DLC, due an Auto-Doc malfunctioning and cutting her vocal chords out. She gets better near the end, though. Not so much voiceless and not so much a malfunction. Which only makes it worse.
Can be done with some melee weapons, though they require sufficient melee weapons skill to do it in VATS.
The Ranger Takedown. When used in third-person view, it's a leg sweep.
Squee: Veronica has this reaction when you give her a formal dress.
The Starscream: It seems this happens a lot in the Mojave Wasteland. Cachino wants your help to take over the Omertas, Head Paladin Hardin wants you to help him overthrow Elder McNamara, and while Pacer doesn't particularly want to lead The Kings, he does try to overthrow The King if you succeed in negotiating a peace treaty between The King and NCR. And of course, there's Benny and his plot to overthrow Mr. House and take over New Vegas. Heck, YOU can be The Starscream if you work for Mr. House and then starting following the Yes Man questline.
STD Immunity: Averted. Benny remarks at one point that he "doesn't need another 'social disease'."
Stepford Smiler: Jeannie May Crawford, the mayor and kind old lady of Novac sold Boone's pregnant wife into slavery because she had an unpleasant attitude that was ruining her perfect town.
Arcade Gannon, Veronica and Christine, and the Courier if the player so desires.
For male Couriers, the number of women that you can use the Black Widow perk on can be counted on one hand. There are a lot more male NPCs you can "flirt" with.
Straight for the Commander: Vulpes Inculta's backstory has him winning a victory for Caesar's Legion against a hostile tribe by charging through a hole in their defences and capturing their chieftain. Caesar is so impressed by Vulpes' cunning and tactical knowledge that he spares him from execution (the standard punishment for legion soldiers who disobey orders) and instead has him transferred to the Frumentarii, Caesar's network of spies.
Strange Bedfellows: The Courier's actions can lead to NCR troopers fighting the Second Battle of Hoover Dam alongside Great Khan warriors, Brotherhood of Steel Paladins, and the Enclave remnants, all of whom were their sworn enemies just weeks before.
Stupid Crooks: The Freeside Thugs, they seemingly do not understand the stupidity of luring someone in Power Armor and carrying a Machine Gun into a 'trap' they set, when all they have is just pool cues and meat cleavers.
Tying in with the above, some people are just too self-confident for their own good. Special mention goes to Caleb McCaffery, who you have to find for the "Debt Collector" quest. He is easily the most unjustifiably arrogant man in the entire Mojave Wasteland. Yeah buddy, you're really such a bad-ass that you can take the Power Armor-wearing, Plasma Caster-packing celebrity who people publicly know killed Caesar himself armed with only a low-level shotgun. Even pacifist players will have a hard time fighting the urge to paint the sidewalk with this guy's brains.
The Fiends, Powder Gangers, Vipers, and Jackals, just like the raiders of Fallout 3, seemingly do not understand that the One-Man Army with the Power Armor and Minigun is not the best person to mug. Justified with the Fiends, who are all insane drug addicts, and NCR military police (provided you massacred one of the casinos) due to, er, having some pull with the NCR, but the Powder Gangers, who continue attacking you even after they label you their personal "grim fucking reaper", have no excuse.
This is actually built into New Vegas and Fallout 3's game engine; every enemy has a "confidence" attribute as part of their programming - the highest level means an enemy will never avoid a fight, with the ones right below that not offering them much better chances. At higher levels, you will notice that certain low level animals like coyotes and Bark Scorpions (only Bark Scorpions) will be extremely hesitant at attacking you.. at least until more of them show up.
Suicide Pact: How the last surviving inhabitants of Vault 11 decided to go out after discovering the very uncomfortable truth about their vault. However, the security recording of the suicide has five voices speaking, only four skeletons are found near the entrance and the closed caption specifically notes four gunshots, making it clear the shooter couldn't go through killing himself.
Super Prototype: The Q-35 Matter Modulator has several superior qualities in comparison to its more production-rate plasma rifle brethren: a higher crit chance, higher crit damage, faster rate of fire, less ammo used per shot, and faster projectiles.
The White Gloves chef, who has recipes for some of the best food in the game, such as Brahmin Wellington. He even has the recipe for a substitute for human meat.
A high-survival Courier counts as well, being able to take the everything from rat remains to insect insides and make them not just edible, but tasty. The fact that at 75 Survival he can JURY-RIG a recipe SUBSTITUTING FOR HUMAN MEAT only cements this.
Survival Horror: The Dead Money DLC in spades. You go around traveling with companions solving puzzles and fighting abominations in hazmat suits and gas masks that wield knives, spears and bombs. Ammo is limited, you have to search hard to find the best weapons, and medical supplies are very scarce, so you have to not lose a lot of health. The "climax" of the first portion of the DLC is this - you must fight your way, badly wounded, through hordes of Ghost People, to the Casino. That being said, take the 'Them's Good Eatin' perk from the DLC pack and magically watch your medical shortage disappear as you harvest blood sausages and thin red paste from everything you kill. Which just happen to be some of the best healing items in the game.
After Arcade gives you his opinion on where to direct the power from Helios One, you can agree with him straight off. He evidently doesn't expect it.
Arcade: Great. Glad we're on the same page. I mean, I didn't expect that you'd want to... activate the super weapon or anything. Heh.
If you approach Marjorie and confront her about Ted Gunderson's disappearance, she will immediately deny the rumors about the White Glove Society being cannibals... before you even mention cannibalism. Subverted in that Marjorie has no idea that Mortimer wants to return the White Gloves to their cannibalistic traditions. She's just heard the accusations so much that she assumes that must be what the Courier is trying to say.
Don't like NCR or the Legion? Go to work for Mr. House, or anyone not those three! Or, if you don't like them either, take over yourself!
In Honest Hearts, you are faced with the choice of either evacuating Zion or brutally eradicating the White Legs. Both options lead to Bittersweet Endings. However, if you choose to eradicate the White Legs and convince Joshua to spare Salt-Upon-Wounds, you get a slightly happier (albeit still quite bittersweet) ending.
No matter how urgent the quest giver's language, you can leave and circle the map a few times and pick up where you left off. The only exception is the President's visit, which will run according to scripted schedule.
Diplomacy (and judicious use of seductive perks like Black Widow or Confirmed Bachelor) can open as many doors for you as a lock pick or a hacked computer terminal. The speech stat still reigns king, however - if you're lucky, you can pass a speech check that doesn't require speech or barter, such as using your intelligence, explosives, et cetera rating instead. Passing speech checks is no longer percentive, either.
New Vegas continues the Fallout tradition of giving a high Speech character the opportunity to win the inevitable endgame confrontation with diplomacy rather than firepower. It then turns this option into the ultimate Infinity+1 Sword in story terms. Killing Caesar and Lanius simply sends Caesar's Legion into mayhem, fracturing the group and pretty much ensuring that their methods get adopted by dozens of Caesar-wannabes. If Caesar dies or is allowed to die, and Lanius is defeated but talked into leaving, a much different ending occurs. Lanius has been foreshadowed to be a brutal warrior and capable general, but no politician, and without Caesar's charisma backing him, his plan to retake Hoover leaves him oblivious to the fact he lacks Caesar's leadership ability. The Legion still causes problems in the short term, but gradually dissolves as individual outposts realize it never could have lasted without Caesar or someone like him at its head.
A Taste Of Their Own Medicine: In one quest, you can flood a Legion camp with toxic waste, in retaliation for the Legion's attack on Searchlight (which left the town a radioactive wasteland). The quest-giver compliments you on your sense of irony.
O'Hanrahan, one of the misfits. His squadmates think he is a coward, though if you did follow his advice on squad improvements, he has no problem kicking legionaries' asses in the final battle. According to him, the behavior is because of his upbringing: he was always very physically strong, and his mother told him something to the extent of "with great power comes great responsibility," which he readily took to heart.
Daniel in 'Honest Hearts', though he is close to being an Actual Pacifist. He has no desire to attack the White Legs (nor does he), but is fully capable and willing to kill any that try and sneak into the Sorrows encampment.
Teleporting Keycard Squad: Used in some areas, most notably Vault 34. All of the DLC use this a lot - reaching an objective site or picking up supplies will often spawn a formidable ambush behind you.
One too-proud-for-his-own-good NPC just doesn't know how to take the hint.
General Oliver: If our situations were reversed, I'd see you hang. Courier: I see. Yes Man, would you please throw the General off of the Hoover Dam?
A dead Brotherhood of Steel Paladin patrol is found near the Boomer's territory, presumably shelled to death by the Boomer's artillery. The holotape with their mission instructions states '...but it's highly unlikely they have any weapons that can seriously threaten someone in full Power Armor. The threat level is considered minimal.'
Terror Hero: A Good Karma Courier with the Terrifying Presence perk.
Terse Talker: At first, this seems to be a particular trait of Boone's, and quite fitting for both his personality and the settingnote If he ends up dying, he also drops a note for his late wife written in the same style. About halfway through the game (many, many Hemingway-esque NPCs later), one gets the impression that some of the writers really don't like personal pronouns.
Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Female Nightkin lack standard sexual characteristics and rely on props. Lily wears a gardening hat and shawl, while Tabitha sports a pair of heart-shaped pink eyeglasses and an adorable blonde wig to look feminine. The result is... interesting.
Anti-Cheating at casinos via Save Scumming. Still possible, but now very annoying.
Curiously, Fortification Hill is located in the main worldspace rather than its own separate worldspace, making it an "Open City" This means that for any player with Certain User Modifications that allow players to pilot or command aircraft it is possible to wreak some pretty nasty havok. The same cannot be said for the Strip, Freeside, or Camp Mc Carran however.
Gold bars in the Sierra Madre's vault cannot be dragged by the player, which prevents one from using the stack'n'drag trick to score the jackpot.
The Dog Bites Back: in the history of Vault 11, the election of the last Overseer contains this. The Justice Bloc, a textbook case of Tyranny of The Majority, orchestrates the election for the yearly Overseer/Sacrifice in their favor (a position that no one wants but the vault laws dictate has to happen). To get back at one person who beat them at cards (petty, no?), they coerce his wife into performing sexual favors for them in exchange for not putting her husband on the ballot. They put him on the ballot anyway. So in response, the wife murders one of them, ensuring that she'll be elected Overseer as "punishment". She then abolishes the election in favor of a random number generator in the vault computer. The Justice Bloc didn't take kindly to their power base being yanked out from under them, and incited a revolt, which led to the eventual demise of the Vault.
Thoroughly averted. Standard medical training seems to include psychiatry in the Mojave — Doc Mitchell gives you a mental health examination, the Followers of the Apocalypse help with the mental health of the people they care for (one of their biggest jobs in Freeside is helping addicts), Lt. Markland at Bitter Springs asks you to find psychology textbooks to help him help the refugees, and your character's own medical skill allows some dialogue options in which you diagnose mental trauma or disease. The Auto-Doc in Old World Blues can also give you a one time psych exam (read: A second chance to pick your traits).
During "Beyond the Beef", you can psychoanalyse Philippe, the Ultraluxe's master chef in order to get access to the kitchen. It only takes a few suggestions to make him recall a ludicrous amount of over-the-top childhood abuse (from his entire family, too) he's been repressing, causing him to flee the kitchen and hide in his room.
In fact, given the very high amount of whacked-out lunatics in the Fallout universe, the intro at the start of the game where Doc Mitchell specifically wants to find out out if you're all there make perfect in universe sense, especially given the paranoia that led to the post-apocalyptic war and all the crazy people who tried to make the lives of the post-apocalypse population suck in the previous games. That said, it makes good sense for him to want to make sure you're not batshit insane. Doc Mitchell comes from Vault 21, but Vault 19 isn't too far away from Goodsprings. If Mitchell knew what happened in that vault (which is to say, the final outcome isn't explained, but it certainly didn't end with people dying horrific deaths, if at all) then his psych test is damn well justified.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One of the GRA challenges takes this to its logical conclusion. You are tasked with killing twenty non-mutated animals (dogs, coyotes) with mini-nukes. This is the only challenge where killing yourself by mistake is more of a concern than the threat your enemy poses (which is to say, none whatsoever).
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Divide acts as this for the DLC. It's an uninhabitable (even by wasteland standards) stretch of ruin, filled with radiation, windstorms, and scattered nuclear warheads. It's populated by Deathclaws, Tunnelers (innumerable subterranean creatures that can kill Deathclaws), and crazed skinless Marked Men armed with the various military weapons scattered all over the place (often in ruined high-end fortifications). And worst of all, it is a long road to a temple filled with ICBMs that are still live and about to be launched.
"Animal Friend" is by no means a necessary perk but it makes cave exploration easier and comes in handy during Old World Blues because it makes nightstalkers non-hostile (and boy are there a lot of nightstalkers in Old World Blues!)
"Light Step" makes you immune to setting off traps. Most traps are avoidable, but if you don't have a good eye for them (or just slow reflexes when trying to disarm a frag mine) it'll save you from blowing your legs off and having to waste a bunch of stimpacks. It also comes in handy in Lonesome Road, which features the much more damaging and much more faster-triggered Satchel Charges. It is almost necessary to survive Dead Money, which has traps laid out everywhere in an environment that is already hazardous to your health just by being there. At least you get this perk as long as you're with one of your companions.
"Strong Back" lets you carry an extra 50 pounds. Alternatively, recruit two companions and carry an extra 400 pounds of loot and use that perk slot for something else. However, you can't take your regular companions to the DLC missions and local companions are not always available, so that extra 50 pounds suddenly becomes useful.
Through the Eyes of Madness: A side-quest in Honest Hearts forces you to drink drugged tea before going off to fight a Yao Guai. How much of the ensuing battle can be considered real rests firmly in this trope.
Downplayed. There are throwing knives, hatchets, and spears to give Melee-specced players some ranged attacks. However, they're all Painfully Slow Projectiles, the worst offender being the throwing spear, which takes nearly two whole secondsnote (See side-table, re: 'attacks/sec') between clicking the button and leaving the Courier's hand. Add to that the fact that they're prohibitively expensive, have noticeable weight (even on Casual Mode) and can't be retrieved once used, and they become rather frustrating when fired 'from the hip'. However, they do work relatively well with the Bullet Time effects of VATS, where throws are more certain to make contact. And, as with all thrown weapons in video games, The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In.
And then to play this trope straight, thrown weapons are amazingly useful in Dead Money. Plenty of enemies have them, and a sneak attack with a throwing spear (easy with VATS) can instantly rip a limb off a Ghost Person. While other melee weapons are also plentiful, throwing spears are a great choice for Sneak based Couriers, since Ghost People have very good Perception and range is about the only way to get the jump on one. Plus, they're silent!
Time Skip: Occurs in one of Old World Blues' endings, and, like everything in the Big MT, it's taken into comedic absurdity; with time jump to over 700 YEARS into the future.
The Fatman, which has less than 20 mini nukes to use in the ENTIRE game, at least until GRA came out and added more to purchase and new variants. The three Holy Frag Grenades which are even more powerful than the Fatman can only be obtained in a special encounter. And the Alien Blaster, a ridiculously powerful energy pistol that comes with a limited supply of ammo that you only get once.
Early on, any weapon that uses the devastating yet rare .44 Magnum rounds. With the addition of ammo crafting at sufficiently high levels, however, you can make your own .44 rounds by breaking down your less useful but much more common 10mm or .45 bullets, and after talking to the right NPC or taking the Hand Loader perk, you can even upgrade them to more powerful SWC rounds. Not so with the alien energy ammo or the mini nukes, though.
Turbo. It puts everything around you into Bullet Time, causing enemies to move and attack ridiculously slowly while you continue to fight at normal speed, rendering even the Legendary Deathclaw a sitting duck for its duration. Unfortunately, there's only a handful that can be found or bought right off the bat, and to get any more than that you have to learn an extremely rare crafting recipe that requires you to hunt Cazadores (one of the hardest enemies in the game) for ingredients. The only other option is the Implant GRX perk in Old World Blues.
Nuka-Cola Quartz and Nuka-Cola Victory; they're about as close to Infinity Plus One Food as you can get (The former gives you night vision and a DT boost, the latter gives you extra action points, and neither have a chance of addiction), but there are only a handful of each scattered about. However, the Nuka Chemist perk lets you craft them both using regular Nuka-Cola, which is plentiful. Drinking the Quartz would also be extremely foolish, since you can instead use it to craft Nuka grenades, which are only second in destructive potential to the Holy Frag Grenade. If you save all the Nuka-Colas you find and brew your own homemade recipe, you can wind up with hundreds of Nuka grenades.
The Proton Inversal Throwing Axes in Old World Blues. There are, at best, around thirty total with random spawning on corpses. You're lucky if you find ten. They are the single most-damaging thrown melee weapon in the game, but there's no way to get more.
Mister RADical, who found himself a radiation suit and assumed it made him totally immune to radiation because he couldn't "feel" any radiation in a highly radioactive area. Just in case you don't know how radiation works, you don't feel it, only its after-effects. Radiation poisoning takes time to develop fully, which incidentally it did for Mister Radical, who passed it off as food poisoning. You find the idiot dead near a radioactive dump site, probably either been killed by his radiation poisoning or by the Golden Geckos inhabiting the place, and according to a log he had on him, he was preparing to drench himself in a fluid that was so horribly radioactive that, had he done so, it would have killed him and turned everything within a hundred feet of him nightmarishly radioactive in seconds.
General Oliver in the Independent/House endings. He ambushes you, with only five Elite Mooks for backup... and then he turns around to find about fifty Securitrons as your backup. He then says that if the situations of himself and the Courier were reversed, he'd see you hang. One dialogue option involves attacking him and his backup with your Securitrons; a second, in the Independent ending, involves Yes Man throwing the General off Hoover Dam. Judging by the subsequent reaction of subordinates, they probably thought that he deserved it.
Then there's Trash, a girl who decided that life as a human sucks, so she'd become a ghoul. How? By exposing herself to excessive amounts of radiation, naturally. She lives in a shack on the southern edge of the map, in an old nuclear test site. How she even got there is a mystery considering it's surrounded by tough-as-nails feral ghouls. Of course, the odds of ghoulification are roughly one in one million, but she assumes it's a sure thing, and when you reach the shack where she's staying, she's usually dead (she may spawn alive as a bug). Basically, mixing radiation and idiots are a fatal combination, at least for the idiot.
Freeside Thugs. They're armed with knives and lead pipes, maybe a sledgehammer at best. They aren't even a threat to you when you enter the city, much less later when you're walking along in Powered Armor with a sniper rifle that can punch a hole in a tank. To wit, they will attack you and your companions despite the fact that said selection can include a robot attack dog and a Nightkin with a BFS, among other friends who may not look as threatening but are every bit as dangerous. Not to mention the fact that the entire freaking city is hostile to them on sight.
Any of a number of female characters in the game who openly support Caesar's Legion. It's not as if it's a secret what they do to women. Though at least one of said characters was lied to.
At Goodsprings Source you can find a man named Barton Thorn who claims that his girlfriend is nearby just beyond a nest of Geckos. After you get done massacring them for him it turns out that there is no girlfriend, just corpses and a cache of food and supplies. Thorn then approaches, apologizes for tricking you into clearing the way to the cache, and then tries to kill you because you're of no use anymore. It is a severe case of Darwinitis on his part since you have not only just survived being shot - point blank - in the head, you have also just killed the bunch of Geckos that he couldn't kill himself. Vicious mutated lizards that swarm prey in large numbers. Granted, he might have thought that you would have died thinning out some of the Geckos, or at least be in such a rough shape that he could finish the job either way. Becomes more hilarious if you manage to have the Animal Friend perk. After watching you saunter to the cache unmolested, he'll try to do the same, and promptly get eaten by geckos.
Sometimes entire factions qualify as this based upon irrational reactions to you (given your in-game actions). It's entirely possible to enter Cottonwood Cove and only get a mild "don't mess with anything or else!" response from a non-hostile Legion — after coming out of the Divide, where you fired a NUCLEAR WARHEAD at a Legion camp. And this was after already being vilified by the Legion.
The Courier takes several levels of badass over the course of the game, both game levels and in-story levels.
Do you remember those poor Deathclaws in Fallout 3 and how easily you could slaughter them after a few levels? Try it with a Deathclaw in this game and see how that works out for you. Lampshaded in a player dialog response to someone warning you of the problem. "I'm not afraid of Deathclaws."
Raiders to a lesser degree. In Fallout 3 Raiders used low-grade melee weapons and small fire rifles like hunting rifles, sawed-off shotguns, very rarely you'd find one with an assault rifle or a flamer, and their armor was constructed of random scrap. In the Mojave, Raiders are packing SMGs, energy weapons, chainsaws, and it is not uncommon to find them wearing leather armor or metal armor. They're still not a threat, but their equipment is much more impressive.
Numerous weapons are far more useful from Fallout 3 with the addition of weapon mods. Remember the humble laser rifle? It gets two mods that greatly boost its damage output, and a zoom-in scope. Enjoy your laser sniper rifle. A fully modified Laser Rifle is incredibly efficient as they have really good aim, can zoom like hell and have a lot of firepower. You can even singlehandedly take down a Deathclaw with less than one magazine if you're good enough. Ammo is relatively easy to access.
The Luck stat. In Fallout 3 Luck just gave you a minor boost to all skills of maybe a few points and affected critical chance. Now it still does those things, but at higher levels it noticeably tips the odds of the casinos in your favor, even letting you know when Luck has influenced the cards in Blackjack. With an implant, Intense Training and two equipment pieces you can get 10 Luck from a base stat of only 6 (and can get 10 from 5 with Lonesome Road). Eventually the casinos will ban you from gaming because you win too much, but by the time they do you'll be walking out the door with several thousand caps, and can just head next door into the next casino. Breaking the bank like this can take as little as an hour.
Torture Always Works: An interrogator constrained by NCR regulations asks the player to rough up a captive for her. The man allowed himself to be captured rather than dying because he was confident that he could withstand any torture, a pride he could only take if he believed Torture Always Works in the first place. Of course, he cracks under sufficient brutality. Averted, however, if you opt for psychology rather than punching.
Training the Peaceful Villagers: One of the options at the end of the Honest Hearts DLC. It's Deconstructed; having learned to fight, they're not peaceful anymore, so they spend the next couple decades warring with former allies. However, sparing Salt-Upon-Wounds leads to them being more merciful.
Trespassing to Talk: Certain NPCs will seek out the Courier, like Malcom Holmes after you pick up a star bottle cap or the NCR Ranger if you achieve "Accepted" reputation with the NCR, and they will find you just about anywhere. This leads to hilarity when the Courier wakes up to find one of these people standing in their hotel room waiting to talk to you.
Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Dead Money includes a number of sequences having the player advance through an area before nearby radio signals set off the explosive collar that they are forced to wear for the duration of the expansion. These segments can be made easier by destroying the signal emitters (radios, PA systems), but the emitters are often hard to see in the dark and hazy environments of Dead Money, and at times simply cannot be destroyed at all, often making the player resort to a disorienting charge, often resulting in repeated deaths and frustration.
Tribal Face Paint: In the Honest Hearts DLC, one of the two tribes of Zion Canyon, known as the Dead Horses, has a custom where members earn a facial or body tattoo for every major achievement they accomplish.
Two Lines, No Waiting: The Myth Arc of the DLC has very little to do with the buildup to the battle at Hoover Dam. Even firing nukes at either or both sides will not even significantly alter the force balance.
MeanSonofabitch, on account of having his tongue cut out. Even his voice actor doesn't know what he's saying. One line has him mention "Wesibe" (Westside), and he pronounces it "wes-see-bay".
Dr. 8 from Old World Blues can only speak in static and scrambled audio, though if you ask him his name, you may notice an "8" buried in the center of his garbled symbols. With the right stats and skills, the Courier can even realise that Dr. 8's "static" is a type of in-universe computer code, and gain some basic understanding of him.
The Courier, of course. When you confront Benny again in the Tops, this can even be your response to him. With appropriate perk, you can also scare him into running by saying that you came back from the graveto put him in his.
Also when you confront Jessup. He'll be surprised, scared even maybe, and say "You're supposed to be dead." One of your responses can be exactly, word for word, the line, "I got better."
Unique Items: The game has at least one unique variant of each weapon which have better stats or a unique ability.
Universal Ammunition: Downplayed, but still trope-relevant: Energy Weapons run off of only four types of ammo (as opposed to the zillions of types that Guns do) and three of those can be easily converted into any other of those three types at a workbench.
Played straight in the main game, as the generic item "antivenom" will cure you instantly, whether it be a simple radscorpion sting or a nasty Cazador attack. Averted in the Honest Hearts DLC, where the local poisonous plants and the White Legs' poisoned weapons have their own type of antivenom.
On the other hand, the poison effects themselves differ wildly by toxin source.
Unreliable Expositor: Major Knight of the Mojave Outpost and Jimmy from Westside are both this in terms of the Legion's policies concerning homosexuality. Jimmy says that Caesar punishes homosexuality by death, (Experience from being a former slave) but Knight says the Legion is tolerant of Same-sex relationships than the NCR is. (Though the player has to activate a Confirmed Bachelor check with Knight to even hear that) Companion Cass's dialogue implies it to be a common practice, directly contradicting Jimmy's story.
Of course, neither Knight nor Cass have the firsthand knowledge that Jimmy has, so it is somewhat likely that the information they give out is based on NCR propaganda.
Much of the Misc Item category is this. None are immediately useful like ammo, weapons, apparel, or aid items. Many can be used as crafting items. You can even make your own vendor trash in the form of tanned hides, which makes them much more valuable (especially the tanned golden gecko hide).
The Old World Blues DLC does its level best to subvert this. The personality constructs in the Sink can break down completely worthless items and turn them into incredibly useful crafting material. The Book Chute can turn pencils and clipboards into scrap metal and duct tape weighing twice as much as the materials you recycled, Muggy turns worthless dishes into valuable gun materials, and the Biological Research Station turns plants you don't use into a generic slop which can be converted into the kinds of plants you do. The whole place is a hoarder's wet dream.
...But if you want to kill him, there's always a nice cross you can strap him to. You can also smuggle a pistol into Caesar's tent and shoot him in the head for Poetic Justice, but it takes around 15 shots and he keeps yelling "Damn!" while all the guards become antsy at your having produced a gun.
Those Deathclaws mentioned earlier, and how terrible they are? They can't figure out how to jump and climb. The quarry you find them in has cranes and conveyer inclines you can climb on, and the deathclaws will literally run around like headless chickens. You will feel terrible killing the babies... maybe.
If you'd like to blast at your comrades' kneecaps so they have to limp on broken legs across the Wasteland, sell them to cannibals, sell them to slavers, or bring them along and make them watch as you usher those they hate to new heights of power and influence over the helpless people of the wastes, New Vegas has you covered. There is plenty of opportunity for depravity, if that's your thing...
Villain with Good Publicity: The Courier can be one if you decide to work for Caesar's Legion while simultaneously keeping the NCR (and most of the other neutral and good factions) happy and unaware of your plans to stab them in the back when the time comes. In fact, it's probably for the best to play the game this way if you decide to work for Caesar since a good chunk of the quests in this game come from the NCR.
Viva New Vegas: Most of the game takes place in and around Las Vegas (now called New Vegas), which still offers many of the same attractions to tourists and thrill-seekers as it always has.
Veronica also makes a comment along these lines about the Pulse Gun, though it is specifically meant to screw up tech-based stuff.
War Memorial: West of Goodsprings is the Yangtze Memorial, which commemorates US soldiers who gave their lives during the Yangtze Campaign against the Communist Chinese during the Great War, and Boulder City has a stone monument listing the NCR soldiers who died during the First Battle of Hoover Dam. If you shoot at it, the nearby soldiers will call you out for disrespecting the dead.
The Securitron robots, while tough and powerful, have a major weakness in the wheels.
The Pulse Gun and 'Paladin Toaster' fist weapon will One-Hit Kill almost any robots or anyone in power armor. This aspect of the Pulse Gun being a Weaksauce Weakness is used as an attempt by Veronica to attempt to convince the Elder of the folly of the Brotherhood's slowly self-destructive dogma. It doesn't work...
Cazadores and Deathclaws, the deadliest monsters in the game, can be easily circle-strafed to death after crippling one of their wings/legs, respectively.
Abominations (including deathclaws and tunnelers) are scared for 10 seconds and run away from you if you shoot them with a Flare Gun.
Holograms in Dead Money are invincible, powerful, and reasonably perceptive. However, even one hit to their sensitive emitters turns them off completely.
The 'And Stay Back' shotgun perk unlocked with the Dead Money DLC gives you a 10% chance per pellet to knock down and stun an enemy. As the standard buckshot has 7 pellets, a full blast has a good chance of rendering a major threat into a sitting duck.
Weirdness Magnet: The effect of the "Wild Wasteland" trait. Chris Avellone outright used the title of this trope to describe it.
"MURDERER!!!": Shouted by an NPC if you kill another NPC of the same faction nearby. Which in most cases is perfectly appropriate, but in the case of the Powder Gangers, it just sounds ironic.
Speaking of Powder Gangers, helping them fight off authorities makes it silly too. Even if you've never attacked the NCR, they'll all gun for you. And if you defend yourself and kill ONE: prepare for an endless "MURDERER! MURDERER! MURDERER!" chorus until you get the last one.
"Patrolling the Mojave almost makes you wish for a Nuclear Winter." "When I got this assignment, I thought there'd be more gambling..." "If you were enlisted, you'd be halfway to General by now." "Patrolling the Mojave almost makes you wish for a Nuclear Winter." "Ave, true to Caesar." "RETRIBUTION!" "Patrolling the Mojave almost makes you wish for a Nuclear Winter."
"I heard the NCR took back Nelson..." which is a little ridiculous when it is being said by the aforementioned Powder Gangers who were locked up by the NCR in the first place.
If counting the number of times the Fiends ask "do you like the sight of your own blood?!" were a drinking game, you would drop dead of alcohol poisoning inside of ten minutes.
The fact that NCR NPC's keep on saying "Our boys got the Monorail back up and running!" after the Monorail has been blown up is particularly confusing. Especially if they follow it up with "No Monorail access on the Strip? Where'm I gonna take my leave, Freeside?"
After you help Primm get a new sheriff, the decision you made is added to the list of NPC dialogue options. However, due to a glitch, the dialogue for the two main options (annexation into the NCR, or independent protection under Cowboy Cop Meyers) is switched around. Plus, the people of Primm are more likely to talk about their town than other settlements, but the lines are written in a way that makes Primm sound like a distant settlement. The result is that after helping Meyers become sheriff, half of Primm ends up saying "Primm wimped out and accepted NCR rule. Some people will do anything to feel safe." Including Sheriff Meyers.
What Happened To The Abominations: Lonesome Road features the Tunnelers, mutated humanoids that can tear apart Deathclaws. Ulysses mentions that they're slowly tunneling their way towards the Mojave, which would be utterly screwed when packs of super-strong abominations pop out of the ground without warning. And yet you can do absolutely nothing about this, and it's never mentioned again.
The final ending to Joshua Graham's path in Honest Hearts depends solely on how you treat the White Legs captured leader, Salt-Upon-Wounds. If Joshua Graham spares him, then Joshua will become much more merciful and pleasant. Apparently the dozens of White Legs he slaughtered to get to that point don't matter.
The dozens of mooks he slaughtered to get to that point doesn't matter that much - there wasn't much of an alternative to killing them once one had embarked on smashing the White Legs so the Sorrows could stay in Zion. The two White Legs at Graham's mercy that are killed just before Salt-Upon-Wounds appeals to you to stay Graham's hand, on the other hand...
You will get a small one from the narrator if you get the Legion ending with good karma, or the NCR ending with evil karma.
The Great Khans will not shy away to tell the player that you're traveling with a murderer if Boone is your companion.
Mr. House certainly tries this on you when you kill him, and the obituary he leaves in your notes just rubs it in further. Whether or not you agree or not depends on your personal beliefs, of course — and whether or not you finish reading the obituary to the very end.
If you go through the pains and labors of convincing Boone to reconcile with his past only to bail on him at the last second, he will give you one of these.
As part of the "Come Fly With Me" quest, you descend into a basement filled with Nightkin and have the option of negotiating with the only sane one of them to leave peacefully. Kill too many of the insane ones, however, and he will attack you.
"Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: As per the tradition of the original Fallout games, you get an epilogue informing you what happened to all the settlements you visited and the companions that you had depending on your actions. Some are nice, some are bittersweet, and some are just nasty.
Wicked Cultured: Caesar, the Legion's intelligent and charismatic leader. He is a talented anthropologist, linguist, and historian that speaks fluent Latin and knows all about both pre-war and post-war history. In his free time he likes to read and debate about political science and philosophy with other educated people. He is also the founder and leader of a faction of imperialistic slavers that kills the weak, enslaves women and children, and engages in war crimes.
Wild Card: You. Potentially you could side with the Legion, NCR, Mr. House or with nobody but yourself. The game lampshades this by labeling a specific set of quests "Wild Card."
Divide!ED-E makes "Sneaky beeping". As opposed to being absolutely quiet when sneaking.
In fact, everyone says something amusing when you sneak with a companion. Except, appropriately, Boone. Lily, the stealthiest of the companions (due to her Stealth Boy) always tell you in her booming voice that grandma knows how to be quiet when sneaking.
Wolverine Publicity: The Ranger Combat Armor, which is featured on promotional art, trailers, the cover, title screen, and intro, and can otherwise hardly be found anywhere in-game until near the end. Recent patches, however, have alleviated this somewhat and made it available earlier and more easily.
The Powder Gangers are a major enemy in the area of the Mojave where you start. At Nipton, you learn that they are no match for the Legion. Heck, they're not even a match for a few townsfolk you rounded up in one afternoon.
In Lonesome Road, the first Tunneler you see kills a deathclaw. (Admittedly, with the Living Anatomy perk and a quick hand in V.A.T.S., you can see it only has 35 HP... but it's the thought that counts.)
Unlike the Capital Wasteland, the Mojave Wasteland has very few abandoned or destroyed buildings in it, with most of them being just outside the New Vegas strip. Even then, most of them are boarded up and inaccessible. Civilization is firmly in control at this point and most peoples' lives don't revolve around struggling to survive. The Mojave feels more like it has returned to the wild west and less like a hopeless irrecoverable hellhole. Played even straighter if you manage the entire game with good karma and helping everybody.
Though the further away you get from Legion or NCR areas the more violence and despair there really is. Most of Utah is considered a horrible place to live, and Raul even says how before the Legion took over Arizona that the the whole state was overrun by raiders and warring towns.
World of Ham: Old World Blues. By Oppenheimer, Old World Blues.
Inverted: Bottlecaps, once worthless, are now the currency of the wasteland, so when you find a cache full of them, it's an unexpected good reward.
The most valuable (currency-wise) item in the game are gold bars from the Dead Money DLC. However, they weigh 35 pounds and most vendors don't have over 10000 caps on them at a time. On the plus side, if you can manage to drag out the entire set, you could purchase the entire inventories of the Gun Runners and Van Graffs and still have leftover change.
This is the reason NCR used to back their money with gold (rather than water, as they did back in Fallout 1 and during New Vegas). It has very little use post-apocalypse, unlike water, which everybody always needs.
Played with in Dead Money. The gold bars and stacks of pre-War currency in the Sierra Madre's vault still have a monetary value even in the post-War economy, but it pales in comparison to that of the true treasure: the schematics on the vault computer, which would enable their possessor to duplicate the casino's Matter Replicator vending machines, Hard Light security holograms, and Universal Poison Cloud.
You and What Army?: Two of the four endings (Mr. House and Wild Card) play out in this manner. One of the quests even has it in the title.
You Bastard: Cass is one of the few who calls the Courier out for consistent enough bastardry to earn bad karma. Arcade Gannon calls the courier out on some events in opposition to the Follower's ideals, but it is sometimes possible to avoid distrust in these actions.
Some of the campfire recipes seem like this. You need a whopping 50 survival skill to learn how to make a Coyote Steak (recipe: one piece of Coyote Meat + fire); apparently they're much harder to cook than Gecko Steaks (25 survival skill, same recipe but with Gecko Meat).
Barton Thorn in Goodsprings Source. He should have known better.
Caesar's Legion is really fond of this trope, to the point that with a high enough Speech skill you can convince some of the Legion's allies to abandon them by pointing out the faulty logic of working for someone who's obviously going to kill or enslave you as soon as they win.
Logan and his group of prospectors. They enlist you to help them acquire some radiation suits and scavenge Camp Searchlight. Once everything of value has been found, they try to kill you and fail.
Elijah in Dead Money. Though he leaves the decision of whether your former comrades live or not up to you, he encourages you to kill them once they become of no further use (ironic given that he also encourages you to actually work with them or else you'll all die). And then he tries to lock you in the underground vault forever.
'Splosions happen quite often if you always aim for the head. Subverted in one quest where you are instructed to score no headshots on the bounties since their heads are required as a proof. The First Recon squad that are sent to help you kill Driver Nephi is apparently unaware of this and occasionally headshot him.
In Dead Money, if you hear a beeping coming from your collar, move it.
Old World Blues reverses this at the Little Yangtze camp, where its inhabitants were given similar collars to keep them within the camp - when you find them as Ghouls, they immediately try to run to attack you with their fists, which will almost always result in their heads popping when they reach the gate.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Well done! You've finally tracked down Benny and recovered the Platinum Chip! Now all that's left is to deliver it to House and...wait, is that an NCR Trooper? Huh? The NCR Ambassador wants to talk to you? Well, ok, but...Oh Crap, Vulpes Inculta?! Wait, he's not hostile, but he says Caesar wants to talk to you. And what's with the Securitron with the goofy face in Benny's suite who seems to want to talk to you...?
Vault 22: turns out, they were using a fungus that infected vermin and pests and forced it to kill its own before dying, as pest control. Unfortunately, it spread to the human population.
And Vault 34, a vault that, only a short time ago, experienced a critical reactor leak, turning more than half the residents into feral ghouls and promptly killed anyone who wasn't killed by the radiation or haven't already left to the Nellis Air Force Base.