Why has nobody tried to repair the pre-war cars, when other Pre-War technology like Power Armor, Robots, and Energy Weapons have been? Ask any african and they'll tell you that a car isn't just a way to get from A and B, it's a tool for survival when living in a place with dangerous animals, as not only does it surrond you with protective armor, it also makes you bigger, and faster then animals that might do you harm, which is why they tell you never to get out of the car when you see a lion. Now picture the world of Fallout, with it's Deathclaws, Yao Guai, Rad Scorpions, Cazadors, Giant Ants, etc. Having a car could mean the difference between life and death. Not only that, the NCR is described as being "Like a real old time country" by the time of New Vegas. If they really are that far along in the process of rebuilding, then why aren't there any new car being made?
Power Armor, robots, and energy weapons are relatively self-contained, and somewhat limited to technophile groups. Cars require considerable infrastructure which may not be worthwhile given the relatively small, spread out populations involved. And, as awesome as cars can be as defense against wild animals, an alternative tactic, used with success by human populations the world over, has been to not go where wild animals are known to habitate. Most of the population of the Fallout universe are relative homebodies, with soldiers, New Vegas tourists, and designated heroes as the main exceptions.
Also, some people HAVE actually repaired pre-war cars for use. There's the Chryslus Highwayman in Fallout 2, a few more vehicles in Fallout Tactics, and there are what appear to be working trucks seen parked in Fallout 3 and New Vegas.
Why is it that the player characters can use as many stealth boys as they want without becoming a paranoid, schizophrenic wreck?
The PC uses them for twenty minutes at a time while the nightkin used them constantly for over a hundred and twenty years. It is distinctly possible that you simply haven't been using them long enough to make a difference. It's also possible that humans aren't susceptible to the mind-altering effects of stealth boys. Given that no human has worn them as long as any nightkin it's impossible to say either way.
Realistically, you can't get that many of them. Even if you used all of them (excluding FO 3), you aren't using them anywhere near the 24/7 usage Nightkins used.
Fallout 1 has five.
Fallout 2 has none.
Fallout New Vegas has about twenty (ignoring farming a randomly appearing NPC in one of the safe houses).
Fallout 3 has tons since every random container and some enemy drops could have them, plus you had infinite through Stealth armor.
Maybe human brains and nightkins' aren't the same, they get affected differently?
judging from what the doctor in Jacobstown said, you're probably right.
Yes. Dr. Henry (who is in both Fallout 2, working for the Enclave, and then in Jacobstown in New Vegas) says as much. Stealth Boy side effects are more pronounced in Nightkin than humans.
Just out of curiousity, has Australia been hit badly? Unless it was invaded by the chinese, I don't see much incentive for it to be attacked. Sorry if this is explained in supplementary material or in terminals.
Australia probably wasn't hit with nukes, but expanded universe material suggests that the nuclear war caused such widespread and devastating ecological damage (to say nothing of the economic impact of two powerful nations obliterating each other) that the rest of the world, even those not hit with nukes, couldn't have fared very well. Australia is probably back on its feet for the most part by the time of New Vegas.
You say that, but I don't even want to BEGIN to consider the sorts of horrifying creatures that have evolved and mutated there. The worst thing America got mutated from a chameleon of all things. Can you even imagine what the nasty stuff in present-day Australia might have mutated into???
Okay so let's go with "Australia is probably back on its feet for the most part by the time of New Vegas". The mutated hyper intelligent Sydney Funnelweb Spiders are lovely folks in happy towns doing a splendid job of living after killing all the humans on the continent.
Lack of protective eyewear
One thing has been stalking me for a while: Why the hell the Vault Dweller wasn't given the Protective Eyewear when he had left the vault?
Or did he? There is no way to tell if he actually wear something. Maybe it's just an unsellable souvenir like his pajamas.
I think they just lost them. Vault 13 and Vault 8 had mixed up deliveries, maybe the goggles were delivered somewhere else?
Hey, the Lone Wanderer also didn't have a pair.
The Lone Wanderer didn't exactly leave the Vault in an orderly and proper manner.
A revolver using .32 caliber ammo not even scratching your targets, that's fine. The same bullet in a hunting rifle taking off limbs with ease = what?
That's not too surprising; the power of a given unit of ammunition is based not just on how much gunpowder and lead is involved, but how much powder can burn before the bullet leaves the barrel. .223 is physically similar to several military rounds and is a good if borderline deer hunting round in a long rifle, while it's drastically less impressive in a shorter handgun barrel. You can typically see a doubling or even tripling of velocity going from a short revolver to a long rifle. This doesn't excuse the horrible game design choice, but that's a different issue.
This one is Truth in Television: in the Old West, the two most popular weapons were the Colt Peacemaker Single Action Army revolver and the Winchester 1873 Repeater. Why? Because BOTH USED THE SAME AMMO. The revolver allowed for faster drawing and shooting, but the rifle, with its longer barrel, allowed for more precise shooting and harder impact because of its rifling. Rifling is to cut spiraling grooves into the inside of a barrel (hence the term itself, rifle). These grooves cause the bullet to spin as it leaves the barrel, making the bullet more aerodynamic by gyroscopic motion. This results in a faster, more accurate, harder-hitting projectile.
Rifling has nothing to do with making a projectile hit harder, it just spins the bullet so it remains more stable the flight path, just like spiraling a football. Also, most pistols have rifled barrels as well, at least most modern ones.
That would mean something if a point-blank range shot to the face with each gun did the same damage, yet they don't.
Bullets fired from rifled barrels are more accurate and more ballistically stable over long ranges thanks to spin stabilization of the projectile. They are not faster, nor harder hitting at short range; the rifling effectively converts some of the projectile's forward velocity into angular momentum. However, longer barrels do generally mean higher velocity from the same ammo (there are a few caveats, however, and it's not so much of an issue with fast-burning powder).
The fallout series seems only differentiate by projectile size, not case size, since there are no case length dimensions (5.56mm is just 5.56mm, not 5.56X45mm). The hunting rifle looks like a M98 mauser, which is 7.92MM, which is .32 caliber. So, when you shoot the .32 ammo in the Hunting rifle, you're shooting 7.92mm Mauser ammo.
That's absolutely not possible. Regardless of whether Fallout ammo has dimensional differences, you're still able to load the exact same ammo into the Hunting Rifle and .32 Pistol. If you've got a revolver, you can load it exclusively with ammo picked up from rifles, and vice versa. There's no doubt that the guns are meant to be shooting the exact same round, and the discrepancy in power is ridiculously large.
Fallout calibers are not necessarily the same as real world calibers, they are just probably very close since there's not much reason to reinvent the wheel. IIRC both Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics do have use of historical guns from our Post-Divergence timeline (Fallout 2 sticking mostly to guns that never had real production runs), but this has been declared somewhat non-canon by Bethesda. Remember, the current NATO calibers are all post-Divergence. The .32 can just be treated as a caliber invented for Fallout that's a pastiche of real-world .32 pistol and rifle rounds and was designed to be used for either.
At any rate, the FN P90 and the FN Five-Seven as well as the other weapons in the family were all designed to use the 5.7mm round, mainly for logistical reasons. Other than that, it's probably best to just call it gameplay reasoning as it's not exactly enjoyable to juggle 15 different ammos types just for your handguns and rifles alone.
Among reasons already listed, you have to consider that a revolver dumps a surprising amount of the generated pressure through the gap between the cylinder and the barrel.
All of these explanations are fine and dandy, but the power gap between the revolver and rifle is too immense to be explainable as anything except for Gameplay and Story Segregation. While a longer barrel gives more power and range, there's a finite limit to just how much power any cartridge can provide. A .32 round that works in a small, cheap revolver with little recoil and is easily survivable several times over by an unarmored citizen simply cannot be granted enough power to blow heads off or take down mutated predators in one shot by increasing the barrel length because there's just not enough powder to push the bullet. Having too long of a barrel could even result in less power than the optimum, as the bullet reaches its maximum velocity in the barrel and is slowed by friction. The .357 Magnum hits hard both in a pistol and a rifle; the rifle will hit harder and reach a longer range, but the pistol can still make a one-shot stop even on a deer. If it worked the way Fallout guns did, the rifle would turn anyone it hit into a fine red mist. It's Gameplay and Story Segregation, no way to explain it otherwise.
Chinese in the War
How were the Chinese fighting this war? This troper started the series with 3, and all the articles in that game suggested that the nuclear war was triggered by China invading Alaska. But here we are all the way at the opposite end of North America and there are dead Chinese infantry, wrecked Chinese jets, and an automated Chinese propaganda radio station broadcasting essentially across the street from the Pentagon.
It has been hinted in earlier games that the Chinese invaded Alaska first, and the US both expelled that invasion and made a landing of their own on the Chinese mainland ("Our boys fought from the Yukon to the Yangtze, and we were winning too...until those damned Reds launched everything they had at us."). The soldiers in the D.C. area can be explained as infiltrators/saboteurs, but jets are another matter entirely.
It's presumable that the China attempted to coordinate the nuclear strikes with an invasion to the enemy capital; presumably the idea was to conquer the remaining areas in the after-blast confusion. They got there, all right, but unfortunately for them, China had been decimated as well, and they got no new orders or support; under such conditions they either died in radiation, hunger and the remaining American resistance, or became integrated to the forming Wasteland community, as they had nowhere to return to, and nothing left to fight for.
The broadcast can be explained. It come from Mama's Dolce factory. Go in there to meet...Chinese troops. Well, ghoulified, but still half-alive Chinese troops. They apparently keep on following some 200 years old orders. I think this is a reference to a story about some forgotten Japanese troops that fought WW2... until the seventies.
If the design of the bomb in Megaton is any indication, the Chinese didn't have/weren't using ICBMs to nuke cities, they were dropping them from planes. Clearly, the jets and infantry were support units to the bombers.
Nukes can be deployed from more than one platform at a time. US strategy in event of nuclear war was to strike with sub launched ballistic missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers and conventional forces simultaneously. The Chinese likely employed a simultaneous bomber and ICBM attack.
Purpose of the Vaults
Perhaps this troper didn't explore enough, but what exactly is Vault Tec's angle? Pretty much all vaults you found included cruel social experiments, some of which were literally designed to drive inhabitants into murderous frenzy. But why? The knowledge from these experiments wouldn't be terribly useful under normal circumstances. What use would it be after society is gone (since no-one would enter the Vaults before WWIII), even if you still have the means to collect and analyze the data. Did they have any plausible goal, or is Braun simply the only stockholder of Vault Tec and has ordered then to 'just be dicks'?
It was all testing for space exploration, to examine every possible contingency of what could happen to a crew, and what the psychological response would be, so they would be adequately prepared when they actually sent colony ships out.
(Different Troper) That's all well and good, but Vault Tec wouldn't be able to actually perform its experiments until the apocalypse, and they wouldn't get the data for centuries afterwards. That's...awfully speculative on their part to assume that there would * be* a space program to benefit from their knowledge.
They had a deal with the Enclave who were planning to outlive the nuclear war, and at least some plans on how to build spaceships after the war, as well. Ultimately they still weren't quite prepared enough, however.
(Original Troper) Ok, so there is an explanation given (where exactly? In game or All In The Manual ?), it's just not a very good one "Okay guys, for our spaceship design, lets not place speakers that send frequencies that drive you insane, lets not pack it with twice the number of people its supposed to carry and hand out guns. Our research shows this is bad." Plus, some of these are implied (or explicitly mentioned in the logs) to have required the help of certain people living IN these vaults, who must have been a few really loyal company men. Especially in case of vault 101, which required consecutive generations of Overseers to cooperate. But it's the Fallout universe, heartless and stupid acts by authority figures are what got them into the post-apocalyptic mess.
Where's the explanation given? Fallout 2 for starters. If that doesn't float your boat there's always the Fallout Bible. Kids these days, never taking time for the classics...
The maddening speakers were presumably to test what would happen if the PA system on the ship malfunctioned, the population tests were to see what would happen if there was an accident that either wiped out most people of one gender, damaged cryosleep stuff, there was a population explosion via breeding, or one ship was damaged and another took on its population, etc. Everything has a logical explanation if you think about it, except the vault with the panther.
Obviously the panther vault was to check the realistic effects of putting albino radscorpians in the same ship as where they keep several dozen unarmed civilians. on a more serious note it was probably about a dangerous livestock escape.
Vault 77 was a psychological experiment to see how a person would fare for long periods of time with only inanimate objects as company. The experiment failed miserably.
That looked like a successful experiment. They found out the answer was "not very well at all". A failure is when the vault dies out because of something completely unrelated to what they were testing for, so they still have no idea what would tend to happen.
To be honest I think some of them were for said purpose, and some were just involved in general scientific testing for the Enclave. The speaker vault was specifically stated to be involved in testing the viability of sonic brainwashing techniques, and the Supermutant vault was involved in FEV research into creating a super solider. Both would be very useful for taking over the planet and beyond after the bombs had fell.
Fallout 3 — only troper here. My impression was that Vault-Tec (and by extension the US Government and/or the Enclave) never actually expected a full-scale nuclear war to break out. Most of the Vaults were actually filled before the bombs started falling, a few days or weeks before the apocalypse. It wouldn't be hard for Vault-Tec to make up some lie like "they all signed on for five-year contracts and the Vaults have been sealed for that length of time, they won't be coming out until then" giving them plenty of time to conduct their "experiments."
You're partly right. Vault-Tec and the Government really did not expect Nuclear war to happen, neither did many of the people who signed up. But then war did happen, and the Vaults were used for their expressed purpose. Call it convenient timing, but if your theory is correct, the Vaults could only get the signal out within a day, at most, otherwise all sorts of issues would have happened. In Fallout 1, you can find recordings that say that many of the Vault's intended population ignored the warning calls, thinking it a false alarm. The details of going into the Vault include an emergency siren and lots of phone calls, which would probably alert quite a few people if it were to be a few days ahead of the Apocalypse. But all indications are that all was well in the general public the morning of the day the bombs fell - the school field trip that creates the Little Lamplight community, for instance. In Fallout 3, you find letters delivered to prospective Vault Dwellers explaining when and how they'll be contacted when the Apocalypse arrives (many of the letters are still in the mailbox, meaning they weren't received). It shows that the people going in had been screened well before-hand and had signed on expressly for shelter in the event of nuclear annihilation:
Vault-Tec Acceptance Letter: In the event of a Vault activation, whether actual or drill, Vault-Tec will sound a siren audible in the immediate vicinity of the Vault facility entrance, and residents will be contacted via holotape message at the phone number provided in their resident profile records. Please report promptly to Vault 101 to await admittance and processing upon such a notification.
Vault-Tec Rejection Letter: We are writing to inform you that your family was not selected for inclusion in your chosen Vault-Tec facility. Your deposit has been retained, and your application added to a waiting list for your preferred Vault. In the interest of your family's security in the event of a minor nuclear event, please consider relocating to one of these areas, where Vault-Tec facilities are available without a waiting list...
Another possible answer from Fallout 3 comes with the reveal of Dr. Stanislaus Braun, the Director of Vault-Tec's "Societal Preservation Program." Dr. Braun's quickly revealed to be an utter psychopath who enjoys torturing and murdering the Vault residents in his virtual reality program, bringing them back to life, then tormenting them over and over again. So, in other words, one of the key masterminds behind the entire Vault Project was a sadistic monster who liked hurting people For the Evulz. Kind of explains a lot in regards to why so many of the Vault experiments were so pointlessly cruel.
Legitamacy of Fallout Bible
What bugs me is people treating the Fallout Bible as the Word of God, which seems to include Bethesda to an extent, and some people on this page. Despite the name, it isn't that. For one, Chris Avellone, who put it together, wasn't even involved with the first Fallout. For the second game, he was just one of several designers, and not in the lead. Another thing is, the design for a game changes throughout the development progress. The Fallout Bible has bits and pieces here and there from the design documents. Some ideas were changed by the time they made it to the finished game, and some were left out completely. Whether it was due to limiting the scope to fit the resources or because the developers just decides the idea was too silly or stupid or just ill-fitting, we don't know. After all, does anyone think the first Fallout would be better if it included a settlement of intelligent raccoons?
True enough, most of the Fallout Bible was What Could Have Been (and we're glad it wasn't) but much of it could also be considered Word of Dante. Avellone at least rates that much, as he was almost God at one point being lead designer on Van Buren, when most of the Bible was compiled.
It's really just Avellone showing you What Could Have Been rather than saying, "This stuff definitely is canon!"
It's not really intended to be "this is exactly what Fallout is supposed to be," so interpreting it in that manner is more Fan Dumb than anything else. Black Isle had a habit of putting very outlandish things into their games as jokes, so just because it might have appeared in a future Fallout game doesn't necessarily mean it was supposed to be a major plot point or very much beyond an Easter Egg.
Also considering Bethesda has ignored canon elements, I doubt they treat the Fallout Bible as though everything in it is supposed to be canon. Case and point, everything in Fallout 3 has a nuclear reactor and Washington DC still exists in a very recognizable form. As opposed to electric cars, which existed prior to the nuclear bombs falling, and Vertibirds using oil based fuel (which is a plot point in Fallout 2, since one of their bases is partially devoted to making fuel and the other serves as a refueling point).
Considering that the said fuel-making base was destroyed in a nuclear explosion at the end of Fallout 2, isn't it pretty logical that the Enclave would start powering them with different means? Also, Bethesda didn't "ignore" that there were electric cars; rather, they simply added nuclear ones. Both types of vehicle exist in the Fallout world now.
The Oil Rig was powered by a nuclear engine because it also served as a post-war facility. Logically, it's efficiency is expanded by using a nuclear power source to power the drill to siphon the oil, which is used for the vertibirds. It wouldn't make sense to use oil to power the facility that's meant to produce oil. The problem is that Nuclear power is treated as a dangerous and unstable in the other games (Fallout 2 demonstrates the problems with the Gecko power plant), and treated with fear and respect for that power. As for electric cars, Bethesda did forget, as there are zero references to electric powered cars in the game. As it's noted on the Fallout 3 Headscratchers page, with such a plethora of nuclear cars in DC, it's a wonder why there aren't more craters at the scene of major accidents. Adding to this is that FO 3 Vertibirds explode with much more violence than cars or buses (and certainly more than a comparable fuel-driven vehicle), and they're certainly built to be quite robust. If it were only some vertibirds which are armed with nuclear weapons or missiles, this would be understandable, but in Fallout 3, even the unarmed troop carriers will explode rather impressively.
"Dangerous and unstable"? The Gecko plant's radiation leak is solved simply by replacing a single part. And the ghouls seem to view it like a big old hot tub in addition to a power source— the workers will tell you that the background radiation feels good to them. Respect it, possibly. Fear it, no. As for the cars, it's evident that nuclear cars are quite popular in DC, so maybe an explanation is that there are just very few electric cars around that don't get mentioned and aren't seen in-game. The reason that the nuclear cars are so volatile is because their reactors have degraded after being left exposed without maintenance for 200 years. They could not explode like that in pre-war days. Vertibird reactors are significantly more durable— they take a lot of damage before they explode (unless you use the Tesla Cannon, which instantly destroys the reactor's systems).
Please remember that anytime you use the word "Maybe" it's entering Wild Mass Guessing because of all the misinformation. Maybe nuclear cars are so volatile because they are simply there for more explosions, rather than any rational or sensible existence. Yes, nuclear power in Fallout 1 and 2 is considered unstable. Gecko's power plant is not stable and is under the constant and watchful eye of the Ghouls there. They simply happen to be comfortable in there. To wit, what is one way the Chosen One can destroy the Oil Rig? Tom Murray can be talked into simply turning off the control system for the power plant, which causes the destruction of the Oil Rig in a giant nuclear fireball. What you're saying instead is that these cars can just vent off two hundred years of intense heat without any sort of proper maintenance, while armed supermutants have been fighting in the streets for over a hundred years (let alone the past twenty when the Brotherhood came along), and none of these "destabilizing cars" explode or are pulled apart or used as improvised explosives.
Vault 13 Dweller's Pip-Boy
Didn't see this, so here we go: In Fallout 1 you save Vault 13 and are exiled for all your trouble. So in Fallout 2, why doesn't Pip Boy know the location of Vault 13? Or even have basic maps? I can understand why wouldn't have the whole map (maybe the Vault Dweller headed straight to the tribe) but how come it doesn't have the route to Vault 13, the place it came from? Seeing as it automatically records your travels this is bizarre.
That's because it hasn't been maintained properly for almost 50 years. You can service it in Vault 8 by inserting it into a slot in one of the computers near the Overseer control room (through dialogue). You get a message saying how many maintenance cycles were missed that says that most of the memory blocks are corrupted, and then you're asked whether you'd like to update your Pipboy. If you do it adds the location of Vault 15 and a couple other places (NCR, New Reno and some more I can't remember now) to your map. You need PE of at least 7 to notice the slot. Granted, it's no Vault 13, but there's your explanation as to why there's no maps or anything of the sort on the Pipboy.
It bugs me that in Fallout 2, it's mentioned that Vault City was built by the Vault 8 dwellers who were lucky enough to be part of the "control" group for the experiment. Yeah, they had a G.E.C.K to terraform the nearby area, but otherwise they used supplies and technology from the Vault to build and maintain Vault City, one of the most high tech settlements in that game. And, also in Fallout 2, it's mentioned that no one wants to leave Vault 15 alone because it has valuable high-tech pre war goodies in it. So why, at least in Fallout 3, can't you go to some of the other Vaults and find advanced technology in them? I realize Vault 112 didn't exactly need much except something to power the Tranquility pods, and the rest of the Vaults, except 101 of course, have Gone Horribly Wrong (all according to plan) not long after sealing so I can understand that a lot of things have been damaged in those 200 years, but some things have to still be functional and able to use outside of the Vaults. Namely the Vault power generators, which are still keeping computer terminals and those eerie red lights on. Learning what makes said generators tick may at least help the settlements in finding better power sources of their own, and, at best, recreate smaller versions of the generators for themselves.
And with Vault 101, should you convince the Overseer to hand the title over to Amata, I hate how there's not even any implications that they'll trade some of the Vault's technology in exchange for supplies. It just seems like all Amata and the rebels thought were "Woohoo! We can live in the Vault but still travel to the outside!" And nothing beyond that, when they don't seem to realize settlements in the Wasteland would be doing quite a bit for some of the Vault's advanced technology. If they're nervous about being attacked, why can't I at least tell them that certain settlements like Megaton and Rivet City are sociable. Instead it's just "Well, you may have learned a useful thing or two while out in the Wasteland, but some of the residents blame you for this mess so you can't ever come back again, even if it's just a few quick short visits with nice tidbits for survival and/or equipment for us."
It bugs me that The Master does himself in when present with the evidence of supermutant sterility. He's an immortal supergenius who apparently has the means to create more immortal geniuses, he should be able to at least take a shot at curing the sterility or developing another means of reproduction before the mutant population drops too low, which could take centuries if ever if they avoid overharvesting the human population.
The short answer: the Master was quite insane. The long answer: the Master was deluded Social Darwinist and thought that he had solved the sterility problem and that "nature would find a way" or something like that. In his mindset super mutants were just logically superior to humans since — like him — they were immune to disease and radiation and — due to stupidity or insanity — not self-serving pricks like the rest of the humanity, therefore laws of evolution would be on his side. He was right so he WOULD triumph! When Vault Dweller gives him solid proof that super mutants have not and will likely never become fertile, the Master (being an intelligent man of science under all of his madness) realized in a moment of clarity that he had not been breeding a master race but turned hundreds of people into stupid, hideous abominations and, as a correlation, he is one as well. Cue freakout and suicidal depression.
Opening Vault Doors
Neither design of vault door (FO1/FO2 or FO3/NV) entirely makes sense. In the originals there's an arm that pulls the door to the side, but nothing to push it out of the doorway. It just pops out by itself. In the later models there's an arm to pull it out of the doorway, but nothing to push it to the side. It just rolls away by itself.
Super Mutant Fashion
This is just out of curiosity, but what's the deal with those leather straps on their heads that stretch up their upper lips?
Their lips are huge. If they didn't wear braces, they wouldn't be able to talk or eat. It's not as obvious by the time of New Vegas, but just look at the Lieutenant◊, or Harry◊, and the need becomes obvious.
Here's what's bugged me throughout the entirety of Fallout 2 and 3. The Enclave are remnants of the pre war U.S. government. They have the best technology and most members of any organization in the Fallout universe (well, close to the most numbers, though that's obviously not the case now). They have top of the line military training and weapons that will disintegrate Brotherhood Paladins in one hit. So why is it that time and again, they keep getting foiled by untrained civilians and factions they clearly should be curbstomping? The NCR in Fallout 2 didn't even have anything special about them, they were just a bunch of Vault dwellers who united some tribes and made a nation, the Enclave does not even have a plan for stopping post-war nations that don't even have power armor or plasma weapons in a straight up fight? And in Fallout 3, they get their asses kicked by the Brotherhood, which is especially odd since not only are they more numerous, better trained, and have better tech than this branch, but the Brotherhood was already stretching itself thin dealing with the super mutants! Seriously, it's a wonder these guys even got to their positions in the U.S. government.
Well the Enclave never actually had to fight any of the major factions in Fallout 2. The NCR, even at that point, had a huge reserve of manpower to draw from and the Brotherhood technology isn't as far behind Enclave as reputation makes it out to be. The Enclave probably could have won that fight, but the cost would have been substantial and their Final Solution would have simply made the whole fight pointless. As for Fallout 3, it would seem that the Brotherhood simply withdrew and fortified, not presenting a viable target for the early assaults. It was a stalemate until Liberty Prime was deployed, and by the time it was destroyed the Enclave was in full retreat.
You are misinterpreting the capabilities of the factions significantly.
The only point in the series the Enclave was only the largest faction when the bombs actually dropped and that was solely because none of the other factions existed. Even that is disputable because the Brotherhood of Steel was made up of the survivors from the military vault and very quickly became about the same numbers.
Enclave also has a much, much higher percentage of non-combat civilians compared to the Brotherhood of Steel.
Enclave numbers do not and have never compared anywhere near the same level as the NCR reached by Fallout 2.
Superior technology isn't an "I Win" button in the Fallout universe. Yes, power armor does stop small arms fire very effectively. It does not stop heavy weapons or armor piercing bullets very well, and, while there isn't a huge amount of it around, there is more than enough considering the numbers differences. Besides, running around with weapons capable of disintegrating power armor is one of the most bone headed things they could possibly have done because the NCR and Brotherhood, with there superior numbers are going to win fights and scavenge those weapons. Once they have those weapons, they took away one of your main advantages (power armor), while still keeping superior numbers.
The price of drugs
In the original Fallout 1 and 2, drugs are a commodity worth it's weight in caps. A single bottle of buffout or Mentats can cost almost as much as a stimpack. But after new vegas, they got the selling price of Jet while Stimpacks are as pricy. Also addictions are simply worth 2-5 doses of the drug you gotten high on and the doctors are more than willing to combat your addiction instead of telling you are constantly getting addicted and need to learn the hard way of going cold turkey. So why is there more "liberal" reactions to drug use and drug price.
Supply and Demand versus the time period. In Fallout 1, Stimpacks were in a greater demand simply because of the Crapsack World nature of the game. Other drugs, like Buffout and Mentats were something of a luxury, and really, there wasn't many suppliers for those drugs (most of them were apparently pre-war items). In Fallout 2, there still was a great demand for stimpacks, and less for 'performance enhancing' drugs, with recreational drugs like Jet becoming more popular (though it's performance enhancing properties less manageable, but useful). By this time, there still weren't many suppliers, but they were starting to have some manufacturing capabilities. By New Vegas, simply put, that's because it's New Vegas. A few hundred miles away from the relatively safe and conservative NCR, and you're in a Den of Vice and Villainy with a greater need for medical supplies because of the nearby conflict between armies. Drug use is quite a bit more liberal, by both locals and visitors, and since there's a steady flow of supplies coming in from the West, there's more of the other kinds of drugs readily available. There is a thriving drug trade, which is amply supplied by the Khans (see: Jack and Diane), the Atomic Wrangler, street dealers (Dixon even sells a 'low-quality' version of jet), the NCR (black market dealings), and so forth, compared to the limited number of suppliers from 40 and 120 years before. And why wouldn't a 'quick fix' to rid a person of their addiction be appreciated in such a town for the low cost of 5-6 doses of your preferred drug of choice? "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," afterall.
It also applies to Fallout3 which started the whole "Med-x is cheaper" thing, and the Capital Wasteland isn't what you call a civilized place.
How did that gas station cover keep Navarro hidden for so long? The distance from the small station to the huge military base/oil refinery is maybe 40 feet at most, with only a thin line of trees between them. A wastelander would be able to spot the base simply because they approached the area from an angle.
Essentially, they are not actually hiding the base (it's too big to be a 'hidden base'), but they are also not advertising that it is there. There's a little bit of Gameplay and Story Segregation that comes into play with the isometric view and limited graphics capability of those older games, but there's plenty of reality to something like that as well. Navarro military base is based on Fort Bragg (the real Navarro has no military base and is far away from where Navarro would appear in game). This Troper has lived near major military bases all his life, and a thin line of trees (particularly evergreens) obscures major structures awfully well to the point that if it weren't for the big signs that pointed out that it was a base, one would not realize there was anything of importance back there at all - particularly to people travelling on foot. That said, there's also the one gate guard there at Navarro who deters uninvited guests, as well as a chain-link fence to prevent anyone from entering the base itself.
Chosen One's Age
I don't think we can be sure about the PC from the original Fallout, but does anyone know if the canonical Chosen One from Fallout 2 has a canonical age? I always thought it was weird that you could make the PC a teenager; since the PC's mother (the village elder) appears to be a very old woman, that really can't be possible. I think the Chosen One should canonically be at least in his thirties at the start of Fallout 2.
The Village Elder is only 53 at the start of Fallout 2 (born in 2188, and the game starts in 2241). She is not aging very well, probably due to the rustic conditions and hard life in a dry community like Arroyo. The Fallout Bible states the Chosen One's birthday is March 23, 2221, which would make the Chosen One 20 years old when Fallout 2 begins.
Isn't the Elder the Chosen One's grandmother?
Nope, the Elder is the Chosen One's mother. The Vault Dweller is the canonical Grandfather.
Who Dropped The Bomb
Why is there any ambiguity about who dropped the first bomb? All sources point to the US waging a wildly successful campaign across mainland China after pushing the communists out of Alaska. Just given the information that can be gleaned about the war (such as US troops fighting as deep into China as the Gobi Desert), it's almost impossible to conceive that anyone but the Chinese could have dropped the first nuclear bomb out of desperation (Why would the US drop any nukes when we were winning conventionally?). Yet any discussion about the incident IRL always maintains an ambiguity about who exactly started the nuclear phase.
Not necessarily that simple. If the US thought the war would turn nuclear (and they had T-51b's square dancing in the territory of a nuclear power), they may have wanted to use a first strike to shut down Chinese nuclear capability and failed horribly. In addition, don't forget that all the reports of the US Army's great success in the Chinese campaign were from unreliable news sources under government control. They could well have been under a counter offensive, being spread thin and fighting against people who knew the area (see also: every guerilla war, ever).
Possibly, but information that can be inferred tends to suggest that the war was well in the US' favor. We know that there was a campaign in the Gobi Desert, well beyond Beijing and the Chinese heartland (possibly a move to encircle Chinese forces). The Yangtze Campaign was apparently successful and it otherwise makes sense that the US was winning. After all, the loss of the military forces required to invade and wage a campaign in Alaska would be a major blow to any military. The idea that the US launched a preemptive nuclear strike is possible, but not exactly in keeping with the apparent suddenness of the nuclear attacks on the US. It would also explain the presence of crashed Chinese aircraft on the east coast of the US since any bombers and their escorts would have been well under way in advance of the first actual nuclear detonation. Possible counterattack and guerrilla warfare are poor justifications for a nuclear strike (though the pre-war US was hardly rational) and again goes against the image of near-at-hand victory that completely neutral sources imply.
I refer you to Mac Arthur and his sacking for his coup de president during the Korean War. The Fallout universe seems to be filled with American Mac Arthurs and Pattons who will make disasterous political choices to gain a military advantage.
Mac Arthur wasn't sacked just for wanting to make a dangerous political decision; he wanted to use nuclear weapons because the Chinese were flooding the Korean peninsula and UN troops were rapidly losing the ground they had just taken from the North Koreans. Mac Arthur faced a complete reversal of the situation the US military faced in China - China, in this case, would be the ones contemplating nuclear warfare to stop the American advance.
To avoid assigning blame to any particular country. It's not relevant to gameplay, and would just offend citizens of whatever country they point the finger at. Also, to illustrate the futility of nuclear war: it doesn't matter who starts the war, everyone loses. The Matrix is another example. No One Knows Who Fired First could be a Cold War trope.
I, for one, think it was the French.
Arroyo's primitive state, lack of GECK
Just how did the inhabitants of Vault 13, all of them well-educated and intelligent, with modern technology available, degenerate into a bunch of near-stone-age primitives in the eighty years after they followed the Vault Dweller to the wastes and founded Arroyo? And more to the point, why didn't any of them decide to take GECK along with them, even though a lot of them probably knew it was kind of an important thing?
Part of this is literally All There in the Manual for Fallout 2, as the Vault Dweller tells the story about the small group who left Vault 13. The inferred story is that the group left after hearing the Vault Dweller's exploits, but were not able to convince the Overseer to give them a GECK as the Vault remained sealed afterwards until the events of Fallout 2. What knowledge this small group had was not applicable to the Wasteland, and the Vault Dweller had to teach them how to survive using the skills he picked up. As for why their technology wasn't kept up, time simply wore away at their tools and equipment, as the Pipboy had demonstrated in the above entry.
Availability Of Goods
The selection of goods available in the Fallout universe strains credulity. 200 years after nuclear war, society doesn't have indoor plumbing and barely has electricity, but fantastic biotechnology (stimpaks, Rad-X, Rad Away) is lying around everywhere. Post-war consumer goods don't exist, but ammo presses and a massive arsenal of guns do. I'm sure this is a social commentary on the twisted priorities of a warlike people, but come on, shouldn't the year 2277 at least have toilet paper?
Considering how many pre-war books are lying around, could anybody make any caps selling toilet paper?
Also consider the postwar social structure. With a very few, lowly populated exceptions seen in the games, the overwhelming majority of the population is almost certainly nomadic, for the simple reason that in a lot of places, the ground isn't too productive again yet (particularly on the East Coast), and so finding food enough to settle down is rare outside of, again, a few lowly populated exceptions (although that's increasingly changing on the West Coast). If you can't settle down and live in one place, you can't really begin rebuilding industry. Its worth noting that, as of New Vegas, the West Coast seems to be well on the way to rebuilding basic infrastructure and settled-in-one-place non-migratory civilization; we just spend all our time in the hinterlands where, aside from the prewar ruins, things are largely still tribal and dotted with "towns" just barely big enough to feed themselves, let alone start large-scale crafting.
Why is the GECK so necessary?
In Fallout 3, after you get your house, your Mr. Gutsy robot can provide you with 5 bottles of purified water every week. Purified, radiation-free water. Now, even though that isn't a large amount, doesn't that mean that Mr. Gutsys are basically equipped with technology that does the same thing the GECK does? Couldn't someone with some scientific proficiency create a water purifier using a few of these guys?
Five bottles a week is impressive, but its not enough for an entire settlement. Combined with repair costs to keep them running being presumably high and being more for combat, it's likely that it's a modification added by Moira/one of Burke's contacts.
"X is an OK place to live" Running Gag
Where'd it come from? I've been looking for a while but no luck.