Video Game / Fallout 4

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"It's good to be back."
The Sole Survivor

Fallout 4 is an open-world Action RPG and the third Numbered Sequel in the Fallout franchise, following 2008's Fallout 3 and Obsidian Entertainment's 2010 Gaiden Game Fallout: New Vegas. Fallout 3's Bethesda Game Studios returns as the developer.

It's 2077, and Sanctuary Hills, Massachusetts is an okay place to live. You and your spouse have a beautiful baby son, a white picket fence, and even one of those fancy new Mister Handy robots to help out around the house. Times may be a bit tight, what with the food and medicine rationing, and the news says there's a lot of rioting about it in the cities, but surely that won't affect you out here. And sure, international relations between the U.S. and China are less than ideal, but who cares? Alaska's been liberated, American troops are marching towards Beijing, and with your reserved place in the nearby Vault-Tec fallout shelter, you can sleep comfortably knowing your family is prepared for the future.

Too bad nothing lasts forever. After the local newscaster announces that the United States and China have seemingly launched hundreds of nuclear warheads at each other, you and your family rush to Vault 111, praying that you'll make it inside in time. As the elevator to the Vault descends, you catch a glimpse of a nuclear detonation to the south, and hear the shockwave pass over the sealing entrance, eradicating the life you left behind on the surface. However, once you're inside, things start to deviate from what you expected — you're told by the Vault's staff to put on a strange jumpsuit and enter a "decontamination pod" before proceeding. Too shocked to question it, you do as you're told, and suddenly find yourself feeling very cold...

You lose track of time as your mind numbs. Everything goes dark, and you get the strangest sensation, as though years are passing by like seconds. For a moment, you swear things become clear again, your eyes making out the silhouettes of your spouse and your son struggling against someone... followed by a gunshot. Eventually, your pod opens and you awaken, the Vault littered with decaying skeletons and the frozen-solid remains of your neighbors... and your beloved. You clamber your way to the entrance, fighting off strange pests that have infested the metallic halls, and find yourself in the blasted ruin that was once your home.

This is the Commonwealth. The year is 2287. And somewhere out there, there's answers about what happened down below...

The game introduces multiple innovations to the series, including a fully voiced male or female protagonist, customizable weapons and armor, the ability to build entire wasteland communities and defenses out of scrounged parts, improved party member AI, Jet Packs, and more.

The game was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 10th, 2015.

On February 16, 2016, the first three pieces of DLC were announced. March saw the release of Automatron, bringing back The Mechanist and allowing you to build your very own custom robot companion. Wasteland Workshop was released in April, adding a wide range of settlement items to craft and allowing you to capture and tame any enemy, from the meekest human to the most ferocious Deathclaw. May will send you to Far Harbor, a section of the Maine coastline, having taken a job to look for a missing woman and investigating rumors about a hidden colony of Synths.

Previews: Trailer 1, Bethesda E3 Showcase, Microsoft E3 Showcase, Launch trailer.


Let's go, Tropey:

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  • Abandoned Mine: The Dunwich Borers location. Used by the Dunwich company pre-war, it's currently being used by raiders. As you get deeper into the mine however, you'll find feral ghouls, who scare the raiders so much they blocked access off to that portion of the mine. And then you get further into the mine, start having some weird visions/hallucinations, and discover that the executives of the Dunwich company were using it for rituals involving human sacrifice.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Much like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim , leveling continues on for as long as you want it to. If you do want to fill out every single perk and S.P.E.C.I.A.L. attribute, then you need to grind like hell to reach level 272, although finding the seven SPECIAL bobble-heads and the "You're SPECIAL" book reduces it to level 264. The effective "hard" level cap is 65,535, but it's near impossible to reach due to the combination of the sheer amount of grinding required to reach it and the fact that even if you do somehow reach it, the game will crash if you try to go any further.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Among many traditional series Hollywood Science moments: in the prologue, a nuclear bomb (presumably, the same dirty device that created the Glowing Sea) actually goes off within your field of vision, and you can actually see the rush of wind and heat... but you're not blinded if you're looking directly at it, even if you would be in real life. Rule of Drama applies here. Oddly enough, you can find a data log from a survivor of the blast that mentions being both blinded and deafened by the detonation, and they weren't that much closer to the bomb than the Sole Survivor was.
    • Along the same lines, Natick and the Broadmoor National Wildlife Sanctuary (the real-life location that corresponds to the Glowing Sea in-game) is a good twenty miles as the crow flies from Minute Man National Historical Park, where Sanctuary Hills is located. It's implausible that a shockwave could travel unimpeded over urban and heavily forested terrain for that distance to begin with.
    • In the game, cooking is the primary way to get rid of radiation in food and water. In real life, not even thorough cooking will suffice to protect you from the effects of irradiated food on your body, and animals, your primary means of getting this food, have their bones as the primary carriers of radiation. It's an Acceptable Break because there is no other way to produce non-irradiated food in the game. It's also an acceptable stand-in for making raw food safe to eat in a game system that (normally) does not account for diseased animal meat.
    • The Ridiculously Fast Construction and Easy Logistics that go with settlement-building and crafting. Painstakingly ripping apart a town for weeks for every little nut and bolt or manually watching your workers take breaks for food and water would not make for a fun game; this system is complicated enough as it is.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: The luck-based Idiot Savant perk lets you prove that it's better to be lucky than wise! It randomly gives you the ability to get three times the EXP for anything that would grant EXP, with a higher chance of kicking in if you have low INT. The upgraded version gives five times and the final version has a chance of giving triple kill xp for a time when it activates (but negates the quintuple bonus while in effect making it less good overall.)
  • Action Bomb:
    • Some Mole Rats can have mines strapped to them, blowing themselves up on you if they get near. One unmarked location seems to be the home of the crazy person who puts the mines on the Mole Rats; things get very messy in there.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with the Super Mutant Suicider that runs at you with a glowing, beeping mini-nuke.
    • Sentry Bots and Legendary robots will now explode in a mini nuke-sized explosion when killed, with Legendary Sentries exploding twice. Take caution when facing them.
  • Actionized Sequel:
    • The combat in 4 takes a lot of cues from other first and third person shooters: dynamic crosshairs and iron sights, V.A.T.S. works more like Bullet Time than Turn-Based Combat, quick melee, and grenades are now treated as secondary weapons to be used tactically rather than a primary weapon in their own right. These in turn build up on the changes introduced in 3 and New Vegas.
    • It is also a lot harder to make stealth / Pacifist Runs compared to Fallout 3 and New Vegas. While in those games a character could basically master stealth by level 5ish depending on builds, the new perk system in Fallout 4 makes mastering any skill — stealth included — impossible until your character is at level 38, the minimum level for "Sneaky"'s last rank. And even then that's just for the perks. True stealth mastery that'll let you sneak past enemies in close quarters requires one to find a lot of related skill magazines. Meaning that if a character wants to avoid combat, they'll have to scour the Wasteland and kill a lot of things to get there.
    • There's a much bigger focus on boss fights than previous games, where Talking the Monster to Death was a viable option. In 3 and New Vegas, you could talk down any human that you have to fight as part of the story, such as Col. Autumn or Legate Lanius. No such option exists for Kellogg, who has to die one way or another from your encounter with him. Similar such problems arise at the end of the main story, regardless of faction. This continues in the Automatron DLC; while you can talk the Mechanist down, it's only after a very long battle against numerous waves of the Mechanist's Mecha-Mooks, which can't be skipped even if you're a master diplomat. A master hacker able to figure out how to unlock a certain elevator at the start of the dungeon, on the other hand...
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The original Silver Shroud serials, which can be heard over the radio, are jam-packed with alliterations.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The threat of nuclear war looms, and its oppressive inevitability can be felt thanks to newscasters and door-to-door fallout shelter salesmen. And then it actually happens.
    • You get to experience firsthand having your baby stolen from you while you are powerless to stop it.
    • Your child grows up to be an incredibly amoral person who barely knows you, and in the endings where you oppose the Institute, hates you.
  • Adventurous Irish Violins: Being set in Boston, they were pretty much a given. The ambient music has a prominent track of calm but spirited violin that plays in peaceful places in the city.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Sentry Bot Sarge within the Minutemen Castle. Once a Minuteman-allied robot, the years spent abandoned have done bad things to its AI, and he immediately turns hostile upon activation.
    • The Synth responsible for the Broken Mask incident, who shot and killed a dozen Diamond City residents.
    • It is revealed that the Robobrains under the Mechanist were these, twisting their directive to save the people of the Commonwealth into killing them instead. That's what you get when you use the Wetware CPU of a criminal's brain.
    • Averted with Codsworth and Curie who should be as insane as all the other Mr Handy/Gutsy robots around the wastes but managed to keep their focus.
    • Also averted with Greygarden's Overseers Green, White, and Brown, all of whom are completely lucid (if a little quirky).
  • A.K.A.-47: As with previous entries, a number of the game's firearms are heavily based on real-life guns.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: If you didn't kill him before the final quest, in any scenario where the Sole Survivor does not support the Institute, Father ultimately dies knowing that his own mother/father is about to destroy his life's work, still convinced that the Institute was the only hope left in the world. His last interaction with the Sole Survivor is to bitterly tell them to leave. Even if you strongly oppose the Institute and his mindset, it's very easy to feel bad for him.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Thankfully averted. If you strike an enemy with a shot from long range while sneaking, they may not necessarily know where you are. Some will shoot in your general direction, and melee-based foes will attempt to head towards you in the hopes of flushing you out. But so long as you can drop them all fast enough, or are able to move to a different spot, they will never know what hit them.
  • All Up to You: So, you're the new general for the Minutemen huh? Well, we need you to go and resolve every single settlement's problems, and if there's a gang of raiders/ghouls/super mutants messing with them, or a settler's been kidnapped, only you can resolve it. Can get incredibly annoying as turning in a quest to Preston Garvey will often prompt him to immediately give you another quest that another settlement is having an issue that you have to take care of. Fortunately you can avoid this by running away from him fast enough once he starts mentioning another settlement needing help. This allows you to turn in the previous quest, and avoid automatically picking up the next one. However, if you're in the Castle with the radio up and running, or listening to their broadcast, they will also announce missions that then get added to your quest log in between the music.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • The Institute and the Brotherhood launch a major attack on The Castle in the "Defend the Castle" and "With Our Powers Combined" respectively, and it's up to you to defend them. In "End of the Line" and "Tactical Thinking", you do this to the Railroad.
    • A more low-key example is the original version of the game's treatment of settlements, specifically if one your settlements comes under attack. Though you're generally given sufficient time to reach it and fend off the attackers, if you fail to respond at all, your settlement can get sacked. It doesn't matter if you've made an impenetrable wall of turrets and fences with limited entry/exit points and given all the settlers good weapons and armor. If you didn't help defend it, almost everything that can be broken will be, and you'll have to spend a lot of time and resources repairing all the turrets, crops, and generators to get them all back to working order. Thankfully, this was patched in a later version, and you don't have to be at a settlement for it to successfully defend itself.
  • Alternate History: Scollay Square, an area in the Boston wasteland, no longer exists in real life Boston. But prior to being demolished, it was a major locale in the 1950s. Just one of those points of diversion in the timeline. Likewise, it's mentioned that the Boston Red Sox hasn't won the World Series since 1918 even in 2077, whereas in real life, the team did win in 2004.
  • Alien Sky: The sky gets weirdly yellow-greenish during a "radiation storm." It's almost always like this in the Glowing Sea.
  • Always a Bigger Fish:
    • In the West Everett Estates, you can find a computer terminal that includes logs from the families who walled themselves up there after the bombs fell. The final log entry is from the leader of a band of raiders who killed the families and took over the buildings as a base of operations. This is important because when you encounter the locale, it's occupied by a force of supermutants and includes the corpses of a few dead raiders. And of course you can kill all the supermutants and loot the place for yourself.
    • The raiders at Concord follow Gristle who himself follows a raider named Jared at the Corvega factory. Jared in turn is small potatoes compared to some of the other Raider leaders.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Critical Hits. They will hit that part of the enemy without fail and for increased damage, even if said enemy's body part moved behind cover.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Most things you run into outside of a city or settlement will often try to kill you.
    • All raiders you run into will shoot you on sight. There is a perk where you can intimidate them, but generally speaking, by the time you get that perk, you're better off just blasting any raiders you see.
    • Gunners in general are like this too. There may be rare exceptions where they're either acting as guards for a merchant, or in one pass way up north, where they try to extort you for money to pass. But like the raider example, it's safe to assume they will try to kill you on sight too, so don't feel bad blowing them away.
    • Super Mutants keep this trend from their Fallout3 counterparts, despite being seemingly a little more intelligent. Pretty much all of them save for a few namely Strong and Virgil will attack on sight.
    • Radstags are an exception, and will only fight if you or - as is more likely - your companion attack them first. Leave them to their own devices and they will leave you alone in turn.
  • American Accents: Some of the characters have accents that are native to Massachusetts and New England in general.
  • Anime Hair: The unlockable Megaton Hair is a hairstyle approximately a foot high and shaped like a mushroom cloud.
  • And I Must Scream: The reactions of almost all the human candidates for the Robobrain program after their brains were extracted but before their memories were wiped. One candidate was seen as the most ideal because instead of screaming, he calmly promised to kill every single person in the facility if they put him in a robot chassis instead of back in his original body.
  • Androids Are People, Too: While Synths are treated no better than tools by the Institute and are discriminated against as a whole by the Brotherhood, there are factions such as the Railroad who treat them as people, saving and protecting runaway ones.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Like in Skyrim, the credits never actually roll. Once you've determined the future of the Commonwealth, missions for your chosen faction continue.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: You can design settlements, including the insides of houses, in the game. So it's up to you to design the layout, power sources, features, comforts, crops, and defenses for the citizens who move in and inhabit them.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • On quests in which you have to fight your way through a large building or other structure, there is usually a door or passage at the final objective which will enable you to exit the structure from there or will lead you quickly back to the main entrance. This prevents the player from having to waste time backtracking through the entire area when they are ready to leave.
    • You have the ability to break out of conversations and perform other actions before selecting a dialog choice when talking with someone. This is especially helpful if you have clothing or aid items that increase your charisma. This feature enables you wear your normal armor and stock your items right up to the point when you need to use your charisma aiding items and clothing to pass a speech skill check.
    • Companions in general have several improvements to them. Firstly, as long as the companion in question is travelling with you, they cannot be targeted in V.A.T.S. (though friendly fire is still possible and can sour your relationship with them). Secondly, companions will always teleport to your side after a few seconds should you go to an area they cannot easily access, or load to a new area. Thirdly, companions are incapable of dying so long as they're in your party, with enemies ignoring them when they get too low on health- you have the option to dose animal and human companions with a Stimpak to get them back in the fight instantly, but they will recover on their own eventually.
    • Settlers in your towns, while not immortal, are much harder to kill, averting the Skyrim problem of a bandit/vampire/dragon attack wiping out a village. As long as you are not the one trying to kill them and are present to help defend a town under attack your settlers won't die.
    • Settlers also have infinite ammo as long as you give them some ammo for the guns you give them. This also applies to grenades and rockets. However, probably to prevent abuse, this is averted with the Fat Man, which still has finite ammo.
    • Several materials in crafting are hard to find, especially crystals for energy weapons, fiber optics for power armor upgrades, and certain chemicals used to craft various healing items and chems. Thankfully, you can tag crafting ingredients you don't currently have so that items containing the ingredients will be marked with a magnifying glass icon next to them.
    • Regardless of how far into the game you get, if it's necessary to hack a terminal or bypass a locked door to progress in a main story mission or a major quest line, one of two things will happen: the terminal/lock will be at Novice level (therefore not requiring any points in the Lockpick or Hacker perks), or a key/password for the item will be nearby. In addition, terminals only lock out for ten seconds after failing to hack them, as opposed to being permanently locked. This interval can also be eliminated with the right perk.
    • Weapons and armor no longer degrade as you use them, just like in Fallout 1, 2, and Tactics. The only armor set that still has durability and requires repairs is Power Armor.
    • Failing to hack computers no longer completely locks you out of them, you now get a 10 second cooldown after a failure so that you can keep trying.
    • Similar to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout 3 had an issue where NPCs traveling the world map (such as merchants or members of small settlements) would often be killed by random monster attacks. In Fallout 4, most named NPCs will only be knocked out for a minute or so if brought down to 0 health by monsters or Raiders, and will only be permanently killed if attacked by the player. Named NPCs also regain their health slowly (over the course of a couple in-game days).
    • Characters no longer automatically become hostile and start attacking you if they catch you stealing (at least not always). Instead, they will ask you to give the item back. This is helpful for when a click-happy player unintentionally steals something off of a table, or from a countertop in a shop.
    • A "Quicksave" feature was added, allowing the player to save their progress with a single button press. It's very useful before entering dangerous areas where the player risks being killed unexpectedly. It is especially helpful on the console versions, where saving takes a moment and might dissuade the player from wanting to interrupt the game.
    • Miscellaneous items have now been divided into two categories: "Misc" and "Junk." Most items that fall under the "Misc" category are quest items, keys, holotapes, all forms of readable notes, skill books, Bobbleheads, and the like—and most of them have zero weight. Items in the "Junk" category are all broken down into scrap items that can be used for building things at settlements. A handy "Store All Junk" option is available at workbenches, allowing the player to instantly relieve themselves of all the junk items they're carrying without having to manually store them all individually.
    • Up to twelve items can be hotkeyed now, three per direction on the D-pad (or the numbers, -, and = on the PC) compared to the nine in 3 and eight in New Vegas. This helps to cut down on having to constantly open up the Pip-Boy to switch weapons or use Stimpaks, RadAway, Rad-X's, chems, and the like.
    • When you play multiple characters, the save files for each character is in a different section of the loading screen. In previous Bethesda games you had to scroll through all the previous saves an all characters and find the most recent of the desired character.
    • Explosives are now equipped separately from other weapons, and they have their own dedicated button; players no longer have to unequip their current weapon in order to use them.
      • Also inverted with grenades, since they are bound to holding down the same key as gun bash (even on PC), which makes it easy to accidentally throw a grenade if you hold down the key for a little too long when trying to bash.
    • Inverted with healing items such as food, Stimpaks, and RadAways. In 3 and New Vegas (with the exception of Hardcore Mode), their effects were instantaneous; in 4, they take about five seconds to fully kick in. Also, when using a Stimpak, there's a brief animation showing the player character injecting themselves, further delaying the healing effect.
      • Another inversion are keys and notes, which now absolutely clutter the 'Misc' inventory tab. Notes now appear in the 'Misc' tab rather than having a dedicated 'Data' tab like in 3 and New Vegas, while keys are no longer "bound" to a sub-tab which was accessed by a generic keyring item. In addition, the notes can only be sorted by name or value, so there's no way to find the one that you just picked up without carefully checking its name before picking it up and then searching through the whole list for it.
    • The player-owned House in Diamond City, analogous to the house in Megaton or the Lucky 38, has its own fast travel point that takes you directly inside once purchased. Likewise, faction hubs such as the Railroad HQ have their own dedicated fast travel points. In previous games, important hubs, faction bases and homes with player storage were often several loading screens deep from the nearest fast travel location. Furthermore, all settlements can have their fast travel points altered with a welcome mat, moving it anywhere within the boundaries of the settlement.
    • Similar to Skyrim, the game saves between between fast travel (with your start point as the save) and records three files in case you need to go back one save to avoid an unwinnable situation or you encounter a serious bug.
      • Unlike Skyrim or the previous fallout games which only saved automatically by constantly overwriting an auto save slot, the game has a large number of autosave slots assigned to each character an typically saves upwards of an hour of content which you could revert back to. This makes it impossible for characters to overwrite each other's data or lose hours of playtime because an autosave was corrupted or the game crashed.
    • The previous two games in the series required you to have training in Power Armor, usually by spending a great deal of time advancing the storyline or completing certain side quests well away from the beginning of the game. Here, there is no requirement whatsoever once you find your first power armor suit; it is, however, counterbalanced by the fact that you need a steady supply of Fusion Cores to power your suit.
    • Unlike Fallout 3 it's usually possible to get where you need to go by pointing your compass at the destination and walking in at least a roughly straight line. Previously you had to use the DC metro to get around the city and it could be extremely hard to navigate at times.
    • While using Power Armor, the game will automatically load a fresh fusion core into your suit when the one you're using runs out. Most players probably won't wonder how the old one was ejected, and a new one was inserted while you were still wearing it.
    • Power Armor now requires rare and expensive fusion cores to function properly. While normal movement drains the fusion core, fast traveling does not.
    • If you don't have a Stimpak or a doctor handy, your limbs will eventually heal themselves automatically after about half a minute outside combat.
    • The player is able to see what job a settler is assigned to if selected in Workshop mode. This quickly lets a player find out who is idle and who is already assigned to a task.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • The prologue gives a brief one when a news program is interrupted by reports of nuclear detonations as the Great War begins.
    • In the game, there are logs like this scattered all over the place, the first of them being the security and Overseer's logs from Vault 111. A few of them may highlight a new area for you to find, but most are just there for ambience.
  • Apocalypse Not: Post-war Boston is relatively intact compared to the Capital Wasteland and even the less devastated Mojave. Complete with skyscrapers and running electricity. This has made the Commonwealth a bastion of civilization in the wasteland. Director Todd Howard mentioned at E3 2015 that only a single bomb was shot at Boston. Said bomb fell short of hitting Boston proper, landing somewhere southwest of Natick and leaving only an area called "The Glowing Sea", which is still filled with lethal radiation even 210 years later. The regional flora still did not take well to the Black Rain, however, as most regional flora in other games.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Unlike in 3 or New Vegas, guns do not have a hard maximum range: instead the "range" stat refers to distance within which they deal full damage. More distance past this decreases damage until reaching double the weapon's range, where it will do halved damage, and further distance doesn't penalize damage any more.
  • Arc Words: After realizing America and China were going into all-out war, despite it meaning nuclear Armageddon, a newscaster voiced by Ron Perlman says the series-wide arc words.
    Newscaster: We do, we do have... we do have coming in confirmed reports of nuclear detonations. My God, our soldiers were right... war, war never changes.
    • The (male version) of the Sole Survivor was to give a speech the day of the war, and was practicing it in the character creation mirror. You later find the building he was to go to, and can use the microphone to give the quote.
    Sole Survivor: War. War never changes.
  • Armored Coffins: Vertibirds are this to almost memetic levels, due to being deathtraps both for the occupants and for anyone on the ground nearby when they inevitably fall from the sky in a fiery explosion. Sometimes the only way you'll know that there was a vertibird nearby is when your activities are interrupted by an explosion followed by a rain of flaming debris and Brotherhood corpses.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A terminal in Saugus Ironworks details people who failed "The Forged", how they failed, and their punishments. Three of these charges, which resulted in the offenders being fed to a forge, were: cheating on a trial, fleeing from battle, and refusing to change their name.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The art design of the game got completely overhauled from Fallout 3; environments have more color, almost every monster got redesigned, even staples of the series like what Vault doors look like got revamped (they are now somehow even bigger).
    • Character creation is much more in-depth this time. In addition to preset shapes for features such as your eyes and nose, you can now fine tune the size, position, and shape of your facial features much better than in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. You can even morph their body within a "Thin-Muscular-Large" parameter, meaning that every human, synth, and ghoul NPC no longer share the same physical build.
    • The Ghouls are slightly different than in previous games. A fair number of them are able to keep their head of hair and many now have completely black eyes. They also have varying levels of decomposition and don't all speak in raspy voices. Feral ghouls also look more like lumpy, hunchbacked mutants rather than straight zombies, with bulging heads and twisted limbs. Overall, feral ghouls in Fallout 4 look more like actual real-life burn victims or patients suffering from severe degenerative disease, rather than the high-fantasy undead zombies they looked like in Fallout 3.
    • The Pip Boy interface and icons now looks more high res, having a more solid font than in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. The Pip Boy icons are now even animated humorously. It was also redesigned to have the switches and dials on the right side, where someone could actually use it when wearing it on their left hand.
    • Mirelurks are no longer bipedal crustaceans, instead looking more like oversized mutated crabs or lobsters depending on the species.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Everyone is a whole lot smarter now.
    • Despite some odd pathfinding issues, enemy A.I has been greatly improved from previous games. Shootouts no longer consist of NPCs standing in the open like a firing squad; gun wielding enemies will take cover, flank, and retreat to heal themselves, and now know how to pin you down with suppressive fire. Raiders are also quite liberal in the use of grenades, flushing you out of cover and preventing camping strategies that were common in previous games. However, human A.I isn't the only thing that has been improved. Mutated animals such as Wild Mongrels will attempt to circle the player while in combat, and Deathclaws are now intelligent enough to weave to the sides to dodge gunfire. Feral Ghouls, instead of serving as shambling bullet catchers, are now flailing, erratic, and extremely aggressive adversaries. Mirelurks now cover their faces with their pincers when they are charging at you. In cases where the enemy is incapable of finding its way to you (such as Deathclaws being unable to climb a truck), they will retreat to cover and stay there until you either manage to shoot them from another angle (which makes them retreat even further) or come down to ground level, which renders you vulnerable to attack once more.
    • Enemies will eventually wise up to the direction of incoming sniper fire, even with a suppressor. Remain hidden without relocating and a group of enemies may start firing blindly in your direction in hopes of forcing you to reveal your location, before moving up to sweep the area. Some raiders can be armed with missile launchers or even a fat man, which do a great job of forcing snipers to relocate one way or the other. Enemies will also constantly change shooting positions and move in zig-zag patters wile advancing in order to make sniping them harder.
    • Sneaking is a bit more difficult in this game than previous titles. Unlike The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim where the enemies were infamously bad about dismissing arrows as the wind and going back to milling about as their friends were being slaughtered one by one, enemies in this game will always be paranoid if you manage to shoot or kill one of them. In large dungeons or the open world, enemies will even leave to go tell the rest of the mooks to be on their guard. they also tend to react appropriately to the type of sneak style being used, constantly searching the map for the up close and personal assassin types and taking cover when there is a sniper.
    • Companions can pick up fallen enemy weapons if you don't give it to them yourself. Dogmeat often fetches items for you or points out more hidden caches by barking and pointing when you're not fighting.
    • Random NPCs in towns will comment on your exploits that they've seen or heard you've done, such as your answers to Piper's questions for her newspaper. Additionally, some of the stuff you do while exploring the ruins of Boston will also be reflected in comments that other NPCs mention in their computers. For example, if you kill a named raider during your travels, a rival raider leader may comment that said raider was killed by someone, right after you've killed them as well.
    • Enemies attacking settlements, (at least those specifically attacking a settlement, not those who wander in) will usually attempt to enter from the weakest points in the defenses. Once inside they will always target the settlements generators if they are vulnerable, which most turrets need to function and can easily be the most difficult to repair after the fact.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Unfortunately, there are still some issues.
    • AI characters apparently do not realize that radiation is harmful, and so will make no effort to avoid it. In particular, the mission-founded settlement at Starlight Drive In has a large radioactive crater smack dab in the middle, and the settlers apparently love nothing more than to go and stand right next to it. They don't die, but the process of losing all their health and getting back up wipes their commands, including instructions to carry out jobs to support the settlement. It's necessary to remove the radioactive barrels through the settlement building interface in order to keep everyone from dying.
    • AI Settlers pathfinding becomes worse and worse the more complex a player built settlement becomes, leaving half or more of your population just standing around and shops and defense posts unmanned, so forget about making that Megaton replica.
      • Although part of that is the happiness level in the settlement. The less happy the settlers, the more likely they are to abandon their assigned jobs.
    • It's an Enforced Trope sometimes. A lot of enemies intentionally lack the buffs to their AI mentioned in artificial brilliance, seemingly to reflect that said enemies are dumb as hell in universe. A good example of this is that low level raiders will take cover behind the very explosive cars. Higher level raiders not only don't do this, but will tell any of their colleagues who do to stop being dumbasses.
    • Many of the hostile factions are pretty trap-happy, laying booby traps all around and in their territory. However, sometimes they don't remember where these traps are. This can lead to situation where Super Mutants and Raiders charge through their own minefields or get hit by their own tripwire rocket launcher in their eagerness to attack you.
    • Any melee based NPC will try to get up and close to a Super Mutant Suicider. Said Suicider will also explode should any hostile creature get close, including half dead Radroaches that they could easily stomp on...
    • Enemies armed with the Fat Man are extremely unpredictable because they treat it as if it was a normal ranged weapon, seemingly unaware of its power or arcing fire. They'll occasionally blow themselves up when firing it from cover or enclosed spaces, miss often by only taking direct shots without factoring in splash damage, and disregard all potential collateral damage to their allies. What's more they think nothing of firing it at point blank range in an unintentional suicide attack, so you can't dead-zone them.
    • Vertibirds will almost always get shot down eventually wherever they appear, though given that they are the only flying enemy/ally in the game composed of multiple NPCs, this can be somewhat forgivable. Still they almost always die because they try to orbit around allies they are escorting or enemies they are trying to kill. This strategy makes them harder to hit but also exposes them to far more groups of enemies who will take potshots at them and eventually down them. To make matters worse they often deploy the only person assigned to the mini gun when they land, depriving them of their most effective weapon.
    • Dogmeat gets this pretty bad. Unlike other companions, he is programmed to run in front of the player and seems to predict their movement to better get ahead. Good dog behaviour perhaps, but terrible for a companion since he'll frequently barge into trouble. He'll open rigged doors and blunder through minefields before you can disarm them, walk directly into enemy camps while you probe the outskirts, and will constantly dodge attempts to access his inventory.
    • Companions still have no concept of stealth, and can be highly unpredictable when you're in stealth (either trying to kill everything all the time or ignoring enemies that are attacking them).
    • Companions are set to teleport to you periodically to prevent you from getting separated from them. If you're in a tight space in a building however the game tends to teleport them into an adjacent room or even onto the floor above or below, usually right into a group of enemies.
    • Trying to get companions to enter power armor can be a real chore. They will often try to run straight into it rather than coming up from behind as they should, and to make matters even more frustrating they will give up trying after only two seconds.
    • NPCs don't really handle the verticality of the world very well. Settlers will often deduce that the only way to get down from a roof isn't to take the stairs you carefully placed to let them up there, but to walk off a nearby ledge. Raiders, and especially Gunners due to their raised highway forts, will occasionally walk right off the edge of their vantage points and die instantly on contact with the ground.
    • During the "Defend the Castle" quest, it quickly becomes clear why the Minutemen lost control of the castle in the past. They seem to have no understanding of the value defensive fortifications, as they will mindlessly charge out of the castle to attack the oncoming Synth army instead of staying behind the walls and letting the enemies come to them. They will also turn on you if you accidentally hit one of them with a stray round or explosive, which is hard to avoid when they are constantly charging in front of you to rush the foes. This severely limits your weapon selection for this quest, as a few stray rounds or splash damage from a grenade can actually turn your own garrison against you in the middle of the battle.
    • Similarly, Settlers assigned to guard duty will abandon their fortified positions during an attack. It's quite jarring to see a guard equipped with a sniper rifle leave his guard tower that is flanked by turrets to charge right up to melee weapon-wielding Super Mutants before he starts shooting.
    • Kidnapping missions are generated at random, regardless of how well defended a settlement is or the armament of the victim. This can lead to some extremely baffling and frustrating situations, such a settler wearing power armor and armed with a plasma rifle being kidnapped from a settlement with over 150 defense turrets covering every possible angle of approach.
    • Before it was patched, the first few months the radiant Minutemen quests were generated randomly without regard to defences you set up or equipment of your settlers, leading to a heavily fortified settlement with well equipped inhabitants being afraid of three ghouls at the other end of the commonwealth or even getting kidnapped. Similarly, attacks on settlements needed your immediate attention and personal presence to be successful, just as regardless of any defences and equipment, even if your turrets would take out the attackers before you even had time to find out what's going on, so that four raiders could destroy your whole infrastructure. Both issues have been addressed though, so that well defended settlements won't endure kidnappings anymore and if attacked and ignored send you a message that they succeeded in defending themselves.
  • Ascended Extra: Arthur Maxson, previously a young boy of seemingly little significance in Fallout 3 makes a return as the Brotherhood's Elder.
    • The Institute and the Railroad were both introduced in 3 as part of a side quest, with a few references to the sad state of the Commonwealth. Here, they're both major factions who drive the plot forward.
  • Ascended Fan Fic: The game introduces dozens of features from fan-made mods for Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.
    • Creating and defending communities in the wasteland from Wasteland Defense (construction/raid mechanics) and Real Time Settler (resource/settler mechanics).
    • The sprint meter, helmet visor, dynamic crosshairs, and being able to equip grenades as a secondary weapon from Project: Nevada.
    • The ability to use action points to go into Bullet Time instead of V.A.T.S. from DK_BulletTime.
    • Music tracks from the CONELRAD mod - specifically, "Atom Bomb Baby", and "Crawl Out Through The Fallout".
    • Taking a breath to steady your aim while using a scope from the FWE mod.
    • The lighting system of the game looks astonishingly similar to the extremely popular ENBSeries mod, most often used to make Skyrim and Fallout 3/New Vegas look prettier.
    • The rain, sand, and radiation storms from the Nevada Skies mod.
    • The ability to make your own robots (from the Automatron DLC) sounds somewhat similar to the Robco Certified mod.
    • The updated survival mode takes several cues from various mods such as Project Nevada that disable the use of fast traveling and try to make the game more immersive such as being able to get diseases.
  • Ascended Glitch: In 3 (and New Vegas), Radscorpions would sometimes glitch underneath the ground, and would fall through when you got close to them. Now in 4 Radscorpions are one of only two enemies (the other being mole rats) that gain this ability as an attack.
  • Asshole Victim: Plenty in the game. Almost every raider can be considered one, especially named ones that keep a journal talking about how they tortured and killed people For the Evulz. So don't feel bad killing them, because they'll kill you given the opportunity.
  • The Atoner: Ada, a robot working with a group of caravaners, seeks your help to avenge the deaths of her friends after the route she'd chosen leads them into an ambush by the Mechanist's robots.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Some monsters, such as Super Mutant Behemoths, and the Mirelurk Queens.
  • Attack Its Weak Point:
    • Sentry Bots can be dispatched much more easily by attacking their fusion core, which deals a huge amount of damage to it. The trouble is that it keeps said core protected in a hatch, only opening it when it overheats to cool itself down.
    • Likewise, Mirelurks will usually die from two good hits to their face. That, however, requires getting past their massive and extremely tough shell, a fact they will exploit by charging you with their heads down to minimize exposure and crouching to block hits.
    • Deathclaws are vulnerable in their unarmored belly area. Good luck trying to hit them there, though, since they know how to dodge, and tend to be bent over when moving towards the player.
      • Deathclaws also become much easier to kill when their legs are crippled, reducing them to a helpless crawl.
    • One of the stock phrases that Paladin Danse shouts in combat as a companion is this, word for word. Though he shouts it at random whether the enemy has a weak spot or not.
    • Subverted by Protectrons and Assaultrons. Their heads actually receive less damage than their bodies.
  • Attack Reflector: The 10-Luck Perk is Ricochet, which gives enemies' bullets a chance to bounce off you and kill themselves, with a higher chance of kicking in when you are close to death.
  • Authority in Name Only: You can be named the leader of both the Minutemen and the Institute over the course of the game, but this just results in someone else giving orders to you to complete quests for the faction.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Plasma weapons are functionally useless at long range compared to laser weapons and conventional firearms for one simple reason: travel time. Lasers and slug throwers do damage almost as quickly as Hit Scan weapons. A plasma weapon gives targets that have seen you plenty of time to dodge so that multiple shots can easily miss, making them frustrating to use unless fired point-blank or modded to be full auto for More Dakka.
    • Laser weapons themselves are less useful for sniping than kinetic weapons because they can't be silenced. They can kill a single target well enough, but if you try to pick off a large group, they will be alerted by your first shot. They also don't get the benefit of a stealth kill damage multiplier perk because of this.
    • Radiation weapons due to their Crippling Overspecialization. Human and non-mutant animals are the only ones vulnerable to it, and they represent maybe a third of the things you'll be killing in this game.
    • Missile Turrets. They're turrets that shoot missiles. Rapidlynote . They give the highest level of settlement defense, and are extremely likely to deter raiders and the sort from attacking. That being said, it's a very bad idea to rely exclusively on them, since they lack the concept of a blast radius. Taken Up to Eleven during Defend the Castle, considering the fact the Synths can teleport to the top of the walls to try and flank you. The missile turrets are unaware of the possibility that there might be friendly settlers within close range of their targets, or even other turrets.
    • The jetpack mod for power armor fits this as well. It allows fast vertical movement, bypassing a lot of barriers and level geography, but it eats Fusion Cores like candy, visibly draining your charge meter with every use, and you'll usually get only a few seconds of thrust at a time, due to the high Action Point cost.
    • The Junk Jet has been rendered impractical since junk is now extremely important for all kinds of crafting, so why would you want to get rid of it? There are some resources you can spare — steel is common enough, for instance — but objects made of only one resource are rare, and usually too heavy to justify carrying around to use as ammo. Junk jet items are also orders of magnitude larger than bullets, and thus more likely to be intercepted by cover the target may stand behind or near to. It's much easier to hit someone's body protruding behind a pillar for example with a bullet than with a basketball, which is far more likely to partially hit the pillar and bounce off.
    • An invoked example of Technology Marches On, the opening narration shows a scientist working on the Pipboy 1.0. It's a giant hulking contraption with a clunky metal frame and heavy circuitry that was three times larger than the wrist of the wearer.
    • The Big Boy with the MIRV Launcher Mod: The Two Shot Legendary Effect with the other Mod effectively multiplies your payload from two to twelve, but also increases the blast radius to the point that it's better to carry a regular Fat Man indoors.
    • In general, any weapon that has an ammo type that enemies do not drop, is not generally found as loot, and that only a handful of merchants carry in limited (sometimes very limited) quantity is prone to becoming this, even if the weapon performs otherwise fine. Notable examples are the Broadsider, the Railway Rifle and the Cryolator.
    • The syringer can also fall victim to this as its ammo needs to be crafted, and requires some rare components, making it too precious to use freely, yet the weapon's weight can make it impractical to keep around "just in case" you meet someone worth using it on.
  • Awesome McCool Name: Naturally for a Fallout game. Your companions include such colourful individuals as Piper Wright, Nick Valentine, John Hancock (no, not actually the guy), Deacon, and Strong. Codsworth's rather comprehensive name database allow you to take names like "Mr. Badass", "Ms. Furiosa" or "Mr. Snake Plissken". Or you could Invert this trope and pick something really lame like "Mr. Assface".
  • Badass Longcoat: There are a number of longcoats in the game, and each one could fit. Special mention however goes to the Silver Shroud outfit: a long, black trench and the Silver Shroud's iconic scarf. Even comes with a Nice Hat and a Cool Gun to complete the look. If you're siding with the Minutemen, you can also get the Minutemen General's outfit, which is a mix of an American revolutionary war-style coat and Captain America's costume and sports decent defences, low weight and a bonus to Charisma.
  • The Barnum: There's a man hanging out in the South Boston area near the remains of the Minutemen's former base of operations (The Castle AKA Fort Independence) who gives out supposedly useful cards called Charge Cards in exchange for 110 caps each. He claims that these cards are useful in bypassing the need to spend bottle caps with vendors everywhere in the Commonwealth. In reality, these cards were only valid before the bombs fell and they are no longer of relevance in the post-apocalyptic world; in other words, he's a scam artist who rips off unsuspecting wastelanders of their hard earned caps just to satisfy his greed. He even calls you "retard" straight to your face whether or not you accept his offer, immediately blowing his guise as a scammer. Sure enough, this puts him into Too Dumb to Live territory.
    • Brooks in Far Harbor, however, will accept it.
  • Battle Butler: Codsworth is a literal one once he joins you as a companion.
  • Battle Couple: The Sole Survivor can become one with their romanced companion, if you take them along.
  • Batter Up:
    • The baseball bat is back as a heavily customizable weapon, and baseball plays a role in the game's setting. One of the settlements, Diamond City, is inside Fenway Park. Shopkeeper Moe Cronin wears an ersatz Red Sox uniform and sells baseball equipment as weapons and armor, believing that baseball was a Blood Sport where people beat each other to death.
    • Up to Eleven with the Grand Slam Perk, which gives up to 100% melee damage and has a chance to slam some poor bastard's head off. HOME RUN!
  • Bayonet Ya: One of the new weapon mods, which increases a weapon's melee damage but slightly lowers ranged accuracy.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Yao Guai, giant mutant bears, are back and are as mean as ever.
  • Beef Gate:
    • Typically any areas where deathclaws are prevalent are meant to be explored when you're a higher level, with hopefully better gear as well. If they're not around though, any enemies with a skull by their name should also give you a hint that you're probably not strong enough for this place yet. It's not that they can't be killed; you'll be at an extreme disadvantage if you attempt to fight them, such as doing less damage to them than an enemy that's about your level or lower.
    • The game will randomly spawn high level Yao Guai nearby if you travel a long distance during the early game. Usually they have that skull next to their name to indicate that you've ventured too far.
  • Benevolent A.I. : In contrast to previous games, many of the robots have both evolved far beyond original parameters and remained extremely friendly to humanity. Codsworth, Curie, and Nick Valentine are among the nicest and most polite of the recruitable companions, and the Commonwealth residents in general.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Your friendly canine buddy will viciously tear out raiders' throats when they're down.
  • Big Bad: Depends on what faction you choose to side with, either way you'll have to go war with one of the two most powerful by the main story's end. These include facing Arthur Maxson, the synth discriminating leader of the Brotherhood of Steel, or 'Father' the leader of the human-replacing institute.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Besides the Radscorpions from earlier games, there are giant mosquitoes known as Bloodbugs, and giant Scorpionflies called Stingwings (which are this game's answer to Cazadores).
  • Big Good: The player character can become one of these like in all Fallout games. The thing is, this can happen very early by you taking over the Minutemen and becoming their General.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The band of raiders at the FMS Northern Star wreck speak entirely in untranslated Norwegian.
    • Yao Guai, the mutated bears, can be translated from Chinese as monster; in game fluff explains that the name was given to them by Chinese POW's.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Henry Cooke. When you first meet him, he's presented as a calm and reasonable person, but in the quest related to him, you can find out that he's been doing exactly what he's been accused of (sleeping with another man's wife), dealing drugs, willing to murder, and will sell you out when things get too much for him to handle. And if that wasn't enough, he's an informant for the Institute.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Irrespective of which faction you support, your son Shaun dies. If you helped the Brotherhood, the Railroad or the Minutemen, you meet your son on his deathbed for a poignant last scene as your forces storm the Institute and destroy his life's work. But at least with the Institute gone, the Synths are finally free from their slavery and the people of the Commonwealth can sleep easy too.
    • More-so bittersweet if you supported the Brotherhood, as the Commonwealth enjoys a level of stability and prosperity never seen before... at the cost of placing the region under the control of a foreign neo-feudal military dictatorship, and possibly also placing the fate of the Synths and the region's other mutated humans in highly questionable hands.
    • Even in what's generally considered the happiest ending, the Minutemen ending, can result in a war with the Brotherhood which results in a Minutemen victory... and the Prydwen being blasted out of the sky, lost with all hands including all of the children on-board.
    • Far Harbor embraces this as there is no golden ending. Even getting all three factions on the island to live in peace comes at the price of keeping DiMA's crimes secret, and helping him murder someone and two synths having had their mind wiped and replaced, which goes against the very purpose of Acadia. All other endings require the destruction of at least one faction.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Of the three factions that can't be reconciled in the game, the fact that you can choose the one that kidnaps and murders random people to replace them with robot clones in order to more efficiently steal resources from starving wasteland dwellers to side with without feeling you're making the evil choice highlights how grey this incarnation of the Brotherhood of Steel is. And the Railroad, the nominally good faction, are so fixated on Synth liberation that they're firmly grey as well. The only outright "good guys" in the setting are the Minutemen, who are inadvertently rendered grey themselves by the fact that you can convince them to side with any other faction, even the Institute. The player, however, can subvert this.
    • The Triggermen are ruthless killers modeled on the Mafia, but they have a progressive hiring policy - they have no problem allowing ghouls in their ranks.
  • Bland-Name Product: Fallon's department store and Fallon's Basement are references to Filene's and the associated surplus/overstock bargain store.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • "Our intentions are peaceful." Says the giant, metal airship surrounded by vertibirds.
    • "It's a training exercise." Says the protagonist to a young Brotherhood Initiate. Right after you shoot a half-dozen of his older comrades right in front of him in the Railroad ending.
  • Blood Knight: Super Mutants in general.
  • Body Horror: The Putrid Glowing One has been in such a state for so long that either fungus or tumors are growing from them, which serves as makeshift armor.
  • Bonus Boss: In Far Harbor, the Red Death, which you face as the last quest for the Mariner. Well, it's built up that way. It's actually a tiny mirelurk that goes down in one shot.
  • Boom, Headshot: Played straight with human and humanoid enemies once you have a strong enough gun and the right perks for it to do more damage. Subverted or averted with other enemies, as their head may not be their actual weak spots, such as mirelurks being weak to face-shots, but they often hide it behind their claws and thick husks. And deathclaws having a mostly unarmored belly being their weak point, so shooting them in the head is less useful.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • The Deliverer pistol. It does high damage using cheap and plentiful 10mm rounds and it comes with a suppressor already attached. The feature that sets it apart from other 10mm pistols is its action point cost. With a little bit of upgrading, you will be able to fire an entire 16 round magazine or two of them with a full AP bar (although you can never fire more than one magazine's worth within one VATS sequence). It's little wonder that stealth gunslinger builds tend to swear by it.
    • Any of the early-game pipe weapons which use the extremely plentiful .38 ammo. They'll take care of low-level enemies for quite a while, allowing you save the comparatively rare ammo for your better weapons for tougher enemies. The mods for them are also relatively resource cheap compared to other weapons, and can be accessed at lower levels of the Gun Nut perk.
    • Similar to the above Pipe weapons, modding weapons to use lower caliber (and thus lower damage) ammunition. Especially on higher difficulty levels, better ammo is rare and will be used up quickly. Modding a weapon to use a lower caliber but more plentiful ammo will allow you to get more use out of it.
    • In previous games, food was largely useless (unless you were playing New Vegas' Hardcore mode). This time around, food is much more useful because it heals a specific amount of hitpoints, not a percentage like Stimpaks. Especially in the early game this makes food far more practical than the rarer Stimpaks, which require perk investment to get up to a high percentage. Because most uncooked food irradiates you, and radiation subtracts from your max health, the "Lead Belly" perk is suddenly a lot more important, too. In addition, not only does cooked meat now heal a large amount of HP, it also has beneficial temporary buffs, and no longer poisons with radiation when eaten. Some can even heal radiation. Cooking also gives experience and increase the item value in case you wish to sell them instead of eating them, steaks from rare meat like Deathclaw Steak and Mirelurk Queen Steak are worth quite some caps.
    • The humble 10mm pistol, previously a ground-level only weapon, remains a competitive sidearm for quite a while if you keep its mods up to date. Take a couple levels of the ammo finder perk, and you'll be pretty set with ammo for it as well.
    • The perks for crafting weapon mods do only that and each of the 4 perks needs 3 or 4 points to fully utilize. This might seem boring compared to perks that let you pacify enemies but modding weapons is a very practical way to keep your guns relevant and let your armor resist more damage.
    • The Strong Back perk has four ranks. The first two are nothing fancy, just a +50 total carry weight. The third lets you run while encumbered using action points, which isn't all that helpful. The fourth lets you fast travel while encumbered, which is an incredible time saver when you consider how much junk you can cart out of a single building.
    • For factions, the Railroad and the Minutemen. While the Brotherhood and the Institute have ridiculously advanced and amazing technology, the Railroad and Minutemen are just poor wastelanders. However, the Railroad uses disguises and guerrilla tactics to sabotage their enemies' superior technology while the Minutemen can attack from miles away with WW2 era artillery, hitting hard enough to curb stomp even the Brotherhood.
    • Fortune Finder and Ammo Scrounger are pretty mundane, increasing the chances of caps/ammo/fusion cores appearing in containers. But in this game, as caps are much harder to come by and the shopkeepers are a lot stingier than in past games and only carry limited amounts of ammo. Having enough cash on hand to buy materials you need and having enough cores to keep you in Power Armor continuously suddenly get a lot more likely with these two inconspicuous perks.
    • The Aquaboy/girl perk. Since it's right up against the coast, there are a lot of irradiated rivers and lakes dotting the map, which are annoying to go around but give a healthy dose of radiation to directly cross, not to mention just how many indoor areas have basement flooding. With the Aquaboy perk, water radiation is completely negated, allowing you to just swim across with no trouble.
    • The Rad Resistance perk. With the changes to the radiation mechanic, creatures which do radiation damage on top of physical damage, and the increased scarcity of RadAway, having radiation resistance is all the more important.
    • The Local Leader perk has a non-trivial cost in SPECIAL points and gives no bonuses for combat, crafting or character interaction, but it makes managing multiple settlements much easier.
  • Born in the Wrong Century:
    • Downplayed, but Nick Valentine fits the bill, given how he's a Hardboiled Detective Synth who acts like he's walked straight out of The Maltese Falcon. Justified though in that his personality and neural patterns are that of a Pre-War police officer.
    • Obviously, the Sole Survivor was literally born in the wrong century.
  • Boss Battle: In contrast to Fallout 3, which generally avoided straight boss fights (with the exception of the Super Mutant Behemoths and General Jiangwei), Fallout 4 has a number of boss fights that occur during the main quest line or major side-quests, such as the Concord Deathclaw, the Castle Mirelurk Queen, and Kellogg himself.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • One can find Legendary Enemies with a star next to their names. Not only are they much deadlier and tougher, but when they reach half health, they can mutate, regaining all their health and making them even deadlier!
    • The Mirelurk Queen (level 50 boss fought with multiple Minutemen helping you out) can be found on one of the uncleared settlement areas in a marsh. And you have much less help here. You can, however, prepare before attacking it, unlike the one at The Castle.
    • Generally speaking, the larger the enemy, the more dangerous they are. Super mutants aren't too difficult to beat once you've gotten decent gear and perks. But run into a gigantic behemoth, and you probably don't want to go toe to toe with it, at least at low levels. Even plain ordinary humans wearing power armor will be more difficult to defeat than their counterparts.
  • Boss Room: Beware of any suspiciously open space with no enemies, whether inside a building or a marked location in the open, especially if there is no apparent way back up if you jump into it. Deathclaws are a common sight in such places.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Played Straight with a legendary weapon mod called "Neverending" which does Exactly What It Says on the Tin. If you find a weapon with this mod, it will draw directly from your ammo supply. It's an amazing mod to have for a sniper rifle, full auto weapon, minigun, missile launcher or Fat Man.
    • Averted with enemies wielding powerful weapons such as the missile launcher or the Fat Man. They don't have an unlimited ammo supply like most other enemies, so it's possible to goad them into wasting their supply, rendering their weapon useless and making them much easier to beat. Though if you can kill them before they fire at all, you can take their entire supply of rare ammo for yourself.
    • Also Averted for companions when not using their default weapon: while they can pick up or be given nearly any weapon (and often do of their own volition) they still need ammo. If they use their default weapon, it's Played Straight and they will never need ammo for it.
    • Played straight with your settlers. Give them a gun and one round of ammo for that gun, and they will happily fire away forever. This doesn't work for missile launchers or the Fat Man, but does work for powered armor; they don't wear out the fusion core.
  • Brain Uploading: Nick Valentine's base personality was created this way. He's a second generation synth who is completely mechanical (as opposed to third generation synths, who are organic enough to have DNA), but his personality is patterned after the uploaded brainwaves of the real Nick Valentine, a policeman who lived before the Great War, hence his Hardboiled Detective look.
    • You can also help one of your robotic companions do this, allowing her to upload her robotic personality into a Synth body, so that she can develop human emotions. (Gaining the properties of a Human companion in the process)
  • Brick Joke:
    • There was an achievement in Fallout 3 called "The Bigger They Are..." for killing all Super Mutant Behemoths. A similar Achievement/Trophy in Fallout 4 is named "... The Harder They Fall".
    • Long after being teased at in one of the viral promotional videos for Fallout 3, you finally get to see Jangles, the Moon Monkey.
    • A more meta one: the artist behind the Pip-boy in Fallout 3 really regretted that he put the knobs on the left side rather than the right. No need to worry, it's on the right side this time.
  • Broken Bridge: Certain areas are blocked off or sealed with keycards you don't have depending on where you are in the main quest. For instance, if you go to Fort Hagen, the basement is inaccessible until you get the quest that leads you down there. You can enter the building, but all you'll find is a few synths. In the ruins of Boston, an entire building is sealed off until the quest that requires you to search it.
  • Bullet Time:
    • Jet now provides this effect rather than simply refilling AP.
    • During combat the V.A.T.S. system was changed to slow down time to a crawl rather than stopping it outright, allowing for dynamic shots.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Once you reach a high level and have decent armor on, low level enemies will essentially be doing this to you. You can easily One-Hit Kill them, but they'll still attack you anyway even if they're clearly outmatched. It's a similar situation from Skyrim where you can single-handedly kill a dragon, absorb its soul, and then some low level bandits nearby decide they can take you out. One could argue that they're simply defending their turf, especially if you're about to loot their place. But they'll still do this if you just happen to be walking by close enough to them. Could also be Justified in the case of raiders, as unlike Skyrim's motley bandits, raiders often use psycho-active drugs which make them more aggressive, plus they tend to be quite unhinged anyway.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Madison Li, last mentioned to have left for the Commonwealth, returns as one of the department heads of the Institute.
    • LIBERTY PRIME IS REPAIRED AND ONCE AGAIN READY TO DESTROY ALL CHINESE COMMUNISTS!
  • But Thou Must:
    • Rejecting certain quests or quest stages is often simply not an option. In the most prominent example, the Sole Survivor is offered to help ambush and rob a caravan by two characters. The player can't outright refuse to participate; the closest to actually rejecting their offer is having the Sole Survivor declare that they could just kill the two conspirators and rob the caravan themselves.
    • In a rare case for a Fallout game, you cannot persuade Kellogg AT ALL about anything when you finally catch up to him. The only thing you can control is how demanding, desperate, angry or snarky you are when ordering him to tell you where Shaun and the Institute are. The situation inevitably turns violent.
    • During the first mission with Deacon and the Railroad, you're given the option to either perform a frontal assault on the Railroad's old base, or go in the back way. Going in full-frontal reveals that the Synths turned off the power. Since the elevators can't take you down to the old base, you have to go through the back tunnel anyway.
    • If you side with a faction other then the Institute, you eventually get a mission to destroy it by blowing up their reactor. But by the time you make it to the reactor in the Institute, you've already wiped out all resistance, so there really isn't any reason to blow it up. If you think capturing the Institute building so your faction can use their technology would be more preferable, it doesn't matter. You still have to blow up the Institute anyway.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Travis of Diamond City Radio notes that prior to being liberated by the Minutemen the Castle was filled with "Fish... Or Monsters... Or Monster Fish?!"
  • Call Back:
    • A couple of characters from Fallout 3 are either mentioned or present in the game. This includes Dr. Madison Li, Arthur Maxson, Dr. Stanislaus Braun and Mayor MacCready.
    • You also encounter one in the form of a settlement name, oddly enough. At the start of the game you can look through Vault 111's terminals, in which it is logged that one of the few Vault-Tec workers who failed to make it to the Vault was named Nordhagen. One of the settlements you can ally with later is called Nordhagen Beach, suggesting that Nordhagen survived and started a settlement.
    • You can also encounter the Vault-Tec rep from the intro later in Goodneighbor's hotel. Hilariously, he's wearing the exact same outfit.
    • A lot of reoccurring scenery elements from both 3 and New Vegas have been painstakingly rebuilt for this game. What makes this special is that there are usually a dozen or so new recurring scenery elements that could easily fit the same role, but the old switchboards and posters still pop up now and again.
    • Kellogg's flashbacks mention him working for the Shi, the Chinese-descended people living in San Francisco, who haven't been seen since Fallout 2.
    • A fictional version of the Mechanist is the Big Bad in the Silver Shroud radio drama being broadcast by Kent Connolly. Kent also mentions in passing listening to a crossover episode of said drama involving Captain Cosmos.
    • The Glowing Sea is very similar to The Glow way back in the first Fallout, a highly-radioactive impact site from a nuclear bomb.
    • MacCready at one point couldn't resist quipping "Tunnel Snakes rule!", mentioning how he heard quite a bit of it back in the Capital Wasteland.
    • Cherry Nuka-Cola from Fallout Tactics (which was loathed by consumers in-universe) makes a return in this game, as Nuka Cherry.
    • The Wattz Consumer Electronics building is one to Fallout 1, 2, and New Vegas. Wattz Electronics made the laser weapons from 1 and 2, as well as the cattleprods and handheld radios.
  • The Cameo: The voice of Ron Perlman, who served as the narrator in previous Fallout games, appears in the prologue of the game as a newscaster on the day of the Great War. He even gets to say his famous "War never changes." line.
  • Canine Companion: In series tradition, you can recruit a dog party member named Dogmeat. He's the only one that's unfailingly loyal.
  • Cap: In the settlement areas, there is a limit to how many things you can build. Once you reach the cap, the game won't let you build anything else in the settlement unless you remove something else first, including yellow-highlighted materials that for the most part are only useful as scrap, such as destroyed cars. For PC players, there are mods out there which lets you raise said cap, but be warned that putting too many things in a small area can slow the game down when in that area on lower performance P Cs. There is also a bug working on both console and PC, where placing weapons in the workbench in the construction mode will effectively increase the cap.
  • Central Theme: This is primarily related to the companion stories but shows up in the faction quests and the main quest, too. It's, 'Letting the Past Define You.' All of the companions are either struggling to reinvent themselves, traumatized by their past, working through some serious baggage from their past, or some combination of the above. The sole exception being X6-88 who is a slave of Father. This theme ties into the Sole Survivor defining themselves as a parent and spouse plus pre-war soldier/lawyers (professions which no longer exist) versus the fact they must build new lives in the wasteland without those prospects. They can either try to recapture the past becoming a soldier in the Brotherhood of Steel, aligning with the Institute to be with Shaun, or leading the Minutemen or struggle to build a new life on their own. The fact Shaun is sixty-years-old means that the past is impossible to recapture, even if you can try with Synth Shaun or symbolically marrying a new companion with your Tragic Keepsake wedding ring.
  • Charged Attack:
    • Weapons like the Gauss Rifle and Junk Jet can be overcharged by holding down the trigger, whereupon their next attack will do additional damage. Since weapon repair is not an issue in this game, you can overclock your weapons as much as you like.
    • The Laser Musket can only hold one shot before it needs to be re-cranked, but that doesn't mean you can't make the single shot much stronger by cranking it again. By default, you can add an additional charge to a standard musket, and mods allow you to upgrade it to holding six charges at once. Combine it with a long range scope, and you've got an extremely powerful — if slow to charge — laser sniper in your hands.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Just like in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the Bloody Mess perk makes your enemies explode when you kill them. This game gets a little creative by localizing the mess to whatever part of the body that you hit. For example, smashing a raider with a sledgehammer, exploding his head and body so only his limbs remain. An upgrade to Bloody Mess now allows the shrapnel of the exploded enemy to explode other nearby enemies, too!
  • Cliché Storm: Invoked and Played for Laughs with Sgt. Dave Mallory's final log entry in the BADTFL regional office. He's the department's angry, no-nonsense chief who complains that he's "too old for this shit" and hates dealing with loose cannon agents who don't play by the rules, only taking solace in the fact that he's three days from retirement.
    • And then there's Unlikely Valentine, which plays up classic Film Noir tropes (detectives, gangsters, double-crossing dames, ironically named mob bosses, etc.) to the hilt.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • The Sole Survivor can play up the part of the Silver Shroud if they take the quest of the same name. The finale of the quest itself allows you to really get into character, so much that you terrify a bunch of raiders who think you're the real deal.
    • Captain Ironsides can do this from time to time as well, such as claiming they're slightly closer to sea after their ship leaves one building, only to then ram into a highrise in the downtown Boston area if you helped them fix the rocketship up.
  • City Noir: Goodneighbor, where Scollay Square is located, is dark and rainy. There's also Nick Valentine, a Synth Hardboiled Detective, who comes with a trenchcoat and a revolver.
  • *Click* Hello: Albeit without the click; the Charisma 10 perk "Intimidation" basically lets you take take a page out of the Payday crew's book and lets you to pacify any human target below your level simply by pointing your gun at them. Higher ranks of the perk allows you to give them commands.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Invoked in Vault 95. The residents were all addicts put on a five-year rehabilitation plan, whereupon a massive supply of every kind of chem was revealed. They promptly did one of three things: grab part of the stash and fatally overdose, start fighting over it, or resist and hide as long as they could until despair and loneliness drove them give in. The entire Vault population was wiped out.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Weapon bashing humanoid enemies in 3rd person cam allows you to pull this yourself by sometimes performing a grappling move instead. Sometimes, all you do is kick or push the enemy away. Others, you kick their feet out beneath them, pick them up and drop them, or punch them a couple times before clotheslining them. There, now you have a defenseless opponent.
  • Commonplace Rare: Certain crafting materials are this:
    • Adhesive. All of your weapon and armor mods require it; hell, it's the first part on the list. While you could go through the trouble of scrounging for every bottle of wonderglue and every roll of duct tape left in the Commonwealth, it's just easier to just buy up (or grow) the right veggies (corn, mutfruit, and tatos) to mass-produce vegetable starch at a Cooking Station. (Vegetable Starch breaks down into 5 units of Adhesive.) If you're impatient, you can also buy big shipments of it from many traders, though it costs a fortune.
    • Aluminum. Large quantities are required to repair more advanced models of power armor and to create power armor mods. If you're a frequent user of power armor, you'll be grabbing every single aluminum can and alarm clock you can find.
    • Screws. All kinds of weapon mods need them, some settlement adjustments need a lot. What makes it worse is that tons of junk items that should logically contain plenty of screws yield none at all. You'll quickly find yourself scanning each office area for desk fans, typewriters and other relatively heavy junk items just for the one or two screws within. The Scrapper perk exists specifically to address this problem, which you really should take before scrapping armor and weapons.
    • Oil has a similar problem. Luckily, you can make it yourself at the chem station, though you'll among other things need bones and acid, which are both not that easy to come by themselves.
    • Chances are, with the exception of steel and wood, you'll be hurting for each type of crafting component at least once in any given play through if not repeatedly. And even those two, while seemingly abundant, can run out really quickly if you decide to build a major settlment structure, since building floors and walls can use it up again quickly.
  • Confusion Fu: Feral ghouls are dangerous because you can't predict when they'll suddenly break into a run and charge you. They often wait longer than they need to before going on the attack, which can be annoying to melee players trying to knock them down quickly.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted, at least early in the game. If you get caught in the open with no cover to hide behind for multiple ranged attackers, or can get easily surrounded by melee enemies, such as in a small room or a really narrow hallway, you can die pretty quickly. Once you've upgraded your gear and have decent perks, then it can be played somewhat straight against anything other than Elite Mook encounters.
    • Then there's Preston Garvey's team-up perk, which increases your damage and defense when mobbed by three or more enemies, enforcing this trope.
  • The Conspiracy: The Institute rules the Commonwealth through proxies and Synth agents who operate behind the scenes. They do not take a direct hand in controlling events but make sure any threats to their power are neutralized before they get anywhere near them. They also have a nasty habit of removing any pre-war tech by sending in an army of synths to destroy it and massacre any people there before anyone knows what they've found.
  • Continuity Nod: The Brotherhood having a Cool Airship is one to the opening of Fallout Tactics, where the Brotherhood sends members with undesirable opinions east in them to hunt Super Mutants. In fact, Lancer Captain Kells even mentions that they had less advanced airships built in the past but was unsure of their fate, a nod to the Broad Strokes canon of Tactics.
    • Kellogg's memories reveal that he was a former citizen of the NCR and ran security for the Shi.
    • The baby's crib mobile plays the same tune that was played for the infant protagonist of Fallout 3. On a dresser nearby is a baby book, "You're SPECIAL!", the book you selected your stats from in Fallout 3. Even better, picking up that book 210 years later gives you one free point in any stat up to 10.
    • The Children of Atom, who were last seen in Fallout 3, make a return, having expanded far beyond the Capital Wasteland.
    • Also coming back from Fallout 3? LIBERTY PRIME.
    • It's also revealed that Dunwich Borers, the same folks behind the infamous Dunwich Building in the Capital Wasteland, had a branch in Boston.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel is led by a now-adult Arthur Maxson, previously seen as the young ward of Elder Lyons in Fallout 3.
    • On the topic of now-grown characters, one of the companions is MacCready, a.k.a. Mayor MacCready of Little Lamplight. One of his random comments is "Tunnel Snakes Rule" which he says he heard somewhere and it felt appropriate, implying Butch never made the Tunnel Snakes amount to much.
    • Another one to Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel. Cherry Nuka Cola wasn't much of a commercial success, and general opinion was that it was fairly mediocre. Apparently, Cherry Nuka Cola is actually liked in The Commonwealth. Also serves as a callback to New Vegas, where Sunset Sarsaparilla is immensely popular in the Mojave, but was a commercial failure on the East Coast.
    • The Institute is in many ways what Big MT from New Vegas would be like if the Think Tank got their act together and weren't a bunch of insane lunatics. Which, echoing Dr. Mobius's warnings, makes the Institute even more dangerous.
    • One of the skill magazines, an issue of Astoundingly Awesome Tales, is advertised to be about a man falling in love with his own brain. The Courier can attempt to seduce their own brain if they have the right perk in New Vegas.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel now has an attitude extremely similar (if not identical) to the Midwestern one. While Arthur Maxson himself is mentioned as being made Elder by the original West Coast ones back in the Lost Hills.
    • The family TV in the Pre-War prologue will occasionally play some of the Retraux viral commercials for Fallout 3 before returning to the news broadcast.
    • Similarly to the Boomers in New Vegas, the Minutemen can gain access to some heavy ordinance in the form of WW2-style artillery. Which they can use to shell the Brotherhood and Institute.
    • The terminal files of Vault 75 mention Dr. Stanislaus Braun from 3 as one of the pioneers behind that vault's particular project. Sounds about right.
    • The S.A.F.E. test administered to visitors of Covenant is actually the G.O.A.T. from Fallout 3.
    • A pre-war newspaper discusses the fact that the U.S. President had evacuated the White House prior to the nuclear strikes and fled to a Poseidon Energy oil platform off the California coast, which is where the Chosen One would encounter the Enclave during Fallout 2. It's also a nod to Chris Avellone's Broad Strokes Universe Bible for the series, which included this event in its timeline.
    • Deacon claims to have won the override codes of Robert House in a poker game. However, he tries to use them on a Mr. Handy, forgetting that those codes only work for RobCo robots and not General Atomics.
    • The Automatron DLC brings back The Mechanist, who still has a love of ridiculously dramatic doors even if its not the same guy from Fallout 3. Also the history of the Robobrain namely, brains of criminals being forcibly extracted for them closely mirrors the history given out by Fallout 1 lead designer Chris Taylor in an old interview, plus the info given in J.E. Sawyer's tabletop RPG.
  • Controllable Helplessness: When you first get awakened in your cryo-pod, you can do nothing except move the camera around and watch the events before you unfold.
  • Cool Airship: The Brotherhood of Steel has a Zeppelin-esque airship dubbed the Prydwen. note  It took four years to gather the materials and another four to make it.
  • Cool Car: The pre-war flashbacks show retro-futuristic cars. Previous Fallout lore establishes that they are nuclear powered.
  • Cool Plane: You can fly around in Vertibirds and shoot enemies with the minigun on the side.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: You can lead futuristic knights with an American Humongous Mecha into battle against a cabal of evil scientists with their own army of Terminators. Or, you can smack down both factions with your own army of American revolutionaries with wind-up laser muskets and old howitzers.
  • Crapsaccharine World:
    • In keeping with franchise tradition, the pre-war era is shown as a bright, vibrant, 1950s-esque period, where everything is seemingly perfect and normal. Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the series' backstory knows this isn't the case. Even if a nuclear war hadn't erupted, civilization was still going to collapse anyways thanks to the new plague and a world-wide oil shortage. Not to mention the near constant rioting, martial law, and general corruption of every facet of society, as well as the Enclave's original plans of leaving Earth behind. The United States and China were among just a handful of nations who even still existed — the European Commonwealth and the nation-states of the Middle East were just straight-up gone, having collapsed into anarchy or blown themselves up years before the bombs fell. Despite this, the trope is Deconstructed as the depiction of the Pre-War era includes people who were genuinely happy, interracially mixed, and possessed of women in high-powered positions like Law. It seemed the perpetual 1950s and fascist government didn't keep people from living their lives and improving society in small ways.
    • The Institute is this. It's a Raygun Gothic paradise on the surface, looking a bit like Mass Effect's Citadel. Everyone is devoted to studying science, chemistry, and using their knowledge for the betterment of mankind. The Synths wandering around are mostly fawning and subservient... and utterly terrified. Inhabitants frequently make comments which indicate the Synths flee or behave in manners which show their intelligence, yet aside from a few Internal Reformists, they get dismissed brutally. The Institute also dabbles in darker pursuits, as shown by a hidden FEV lab, stocked by kidnapped wastelanders experimented on only For Science!. Their technological superiority does not make them nearly as powerful as they claim. They do have an enormous edge in bioscience, being able to essentially build biological synths from scratch who are superior to baseline humans in every way; they also have the edge in the exotic sciences, developing teleportation which is unlike anything seen even before the great war. Where their tech falls down however, is in the all-around inferiority of their laser weapons and their lack of power armor which is a proven battlefield asset as demonstrated by the Brotherhood. Also, their initially inadequate power supply forces them to be too conservative to make bolder strides. These inadequacies mean they lag behind the Brotherhood of Steel in terms of military force and general ability to act in the Commonwealth.
  • Crapsack World: The Commonwealth, albeit to a slightly lesser degree than the Capital Wasteland in Fallout 3 or the Mojave Wasteland in Fallout: New Vegas.
    • There are constant radiation storms blowing in from the radioactive crater to the south. The water in the rivers and lakes is still highly radioactive, although you can become resistant to it. Any form of meat is radioactive unless you roast it into something that won't slowly kill you. All seed crops are also radioactive until cooked in some way.
    • The Commonwealth is full of hyper-aggressive hostile mutated creatures, from mole rats to feral ghouls, to deathclaws who will all try to rip your face off on sight.
    • The vast majority of communities are composed of raiders, trigger-happy mercs and super mutants who will all try to shoot you on sight. Creating your own peaceful settlements as a sanctuary from the hell outside will attract constant raiding parties from all of the above.
    • As the Commonwealth's largest most luxurious surface settlement, Diamond City is really closer to Megaton than it is to New Vegas on the scale of living standards. Its citizens still live in makeshift metal shacks built on top of the stands. There's a school, a bar and a church, but these are the height of the luxuries on offer. Dredging the city water supply for garbage still yields the occasional human skull. It appears first glance to be safe from destruction despite the constant battle outside between its guards and the raiders/mutants, but this is a subversion. Diamond City once had a gaping hole in its defensive wall covered by nothing more than a couch until Piper Wright published an article about the danger to spur action to fix it. The city itself is much more vulnerable than its people or mayor are ready to admit.
    • The two largest factions want to improve the Commonwealth in their own way but both sides believe incredibly cruel methods including systematic oppression, terrorism, slavery and even genocide (in the case of the Brotherhood) are needed to make it happen.
    • The Island in Far Harbor is a Crapsack World all on its own. A constant radioactive Fog that had driven people insane blankets most of the Island and probably all of it, hadn't the Fog Condensers were made to protect them from the the other... inhabitants.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • The Hazmat Suit gives an impressive +1000 to radiation resistance, reducing all forms of radiation short of direct consumption to minimum. It's indispensable in the Glowing Sea, which is pretty much radiation personified. It also has no ballistic or energy defense whatsoever, can't be modded, and is a full-body outfit, meaning it can't be worn with anything else. And considering the creatures that call the Glowing Sea home (Deathclaws, Stingwings, Radscorpions and other Demonic Spiders), you're really better off climbing into your Power Armor.
    • Metal armor has the highest ballistic damage resistance of all the normal armor types. It also has abysmal energy resistance in a game where anywhere from a third to half the things shooting at you have some sort of energy weapon. In addition, it's the heaviest type.
    • Radiation weapons and radiation damage in general. All mutants (animal and humanoid), robots, and ghouls are immune (the latter are actually healed by it). Furthermore, enemies in Powered Armor are also very resistant to radiation. The only ones vulnerable are normal humans and dogs. This isn't so bad if the radiation damage is a mod to a ballistic or laser weapon, but straight radiation weapons like the Gamma Gun are highly situational.
  • Critical Hit: Back as usual, but now a sort of Limit Break instead of something that happens by chance: attacks in V.A.T.S. fill up a Critical gauge which you activate at will, also in V.A.T.S. They also now have the very nice effect of always hitting. The Critical Banker Luck perk even allows you to store/stack critical hits for later.
  • Critical Hit Class: Many of the Luck Perks can make a build like this. Critical Banker allows you to store up to four Critical Hits, the final rank of Grim Reaper's Sprint replenishes Critical meter when it triggers, Four Leaf Clover can randomly build the critical meter just by hitting enemies, and Better Criticals makes the criticals hurt even more. And while weapons don't have crit chance multipliers anymore, mods can increase crit damage and some legendary weapons deal extra crit damage, charge the crit gauge faster, or have special effects when they crit (like causing frenzy or freezing).
  • Critical Status Buff: A lot of items in the Far Harbor expansion (weapons, armor, and consumables) only work or work better when your health is low; either being based on how naturally low your health is, or how many rads you have.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Codsworth seems somewhat goofy and unworldly at first encounter- until he volunteers to help clean up Sanctuary for you, whips out a rotary saw and flamethrower, and curb-stomps some rad-roaches.
    Codsworth: I've got a circular saw with your name on it!!
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The battle against Kellogg can become this. If you look around the building enough you'll come across the password to the fort's armory. Inside, along with relatively normal weapons and bullets, is the Fat-Man and a single shell. After talking to Kellogg you can back out the open door before the battle begins and fire the round at him as soon as he turns red ending the battle before it even begins.
    • As a testament to just how awesomely powerful the rebuilt Liberty Prime is, it's possible for the thing to come up against a Super Mutant Behemoth. If that happens, Prime will pick the Behemoth up, squeeze the abomination in it's hands until it goes limp, and then casually toss it's lifeless body aside like trash. Needless to say, in the face of such destructive power, the Institute fare little better.
    • If you decide to ignore the main quest and explore the Wasteland in the early game, you can easily wind up facing much more powerful enemies than you can deal with at a low level. On the flip side, if you've already leveled up a few times before going to Concord, some of the early Minutemen quests can become Curb Stomp Battles in your favor. (For instance, showing up to the Museum of Freedom with much better Power Armor and Heavy Weapons than you can find on the roof, then mowing down all the Raiders and the Deathclaw with relative ease.)
    • If you get a little luck with the Legendary drops and go hard for the weapon mod perks early, you can turn what should be a trip to the last save point into a case of turning this trope on its head. Shooting a Deathclaw in its tender underbelly when you're barely leveled beyond the point where you fight the one in Concord is one of the game's most satisfying payoffs.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Applies to both Fallout 3 endings (with or without expansions). Terminal logs in the Prydwen mention that Sarah Lyons was killed in battle, meaning that she didn't activate the Purifier. Also, with the presence of the Eastern branch of the Brotherhood of Steel, it was obvious that the Lone Wanderer had destroyed the Enclave's Mobile Base Crawler at Adams Air Force Base.
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: You find these things all over the place. They may or may not activate in your presence. You can't pick them up, but you can bash/shoot their heads off. Some have even been rigged up as trap triggers.
  • Cyborg: Third generation synths seem to be this in some form or other; Coursers sport unemotional personalities, but Gen 3's having DNA is mentioned more than once. Kellogg is also explicitly a cyborg, with one of his parts playing a significant role in the main story. This functions to prolong his life, distorting the Sole Survivor's perception of how long ago Shaun was kidnapped.

    D-I 
  • Damage Typing: There's four different sources of damage — ballistic, energy, poison and radiation. All four can be resisted via different types of armor. However, unlike the other three, Radiation damage causes Maximum HP Reduction.
  • Deadly Lunge: One of the Feral Ghouls' new forms of attack; they rush at you then do a lunge that inflicts both physical and radiation damage if it hits. On the plus side, they also take time to recover, so it's the perfect time to cave their skulls in.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In almost every encounter, there is a player dialogue choice simply labeled "Sarcastic". A compilation.
    • Most of your teammates also have a wealth of amusing comments ready for almost any given situation.
    [upon finding a bombed house crumbling into the river]
    Valentine: I think they're going to have to forfeit their deposit.
    [entering a school that's been overrun by Super Mutants]
    Valentine: Say what you will about the ambiance, but you can bet the Mutants improved the freshness of the meals in here.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: The Far Harbor DLC has The Red Death, who is hyped up as a terrifyingly powerful mirelurk, only to actually be incredibly tiny and weak.
  • Death World:
    • As usual, almost everything living in this world wants to kill you, but with the addition of monsters that can spawn out of the ground (including Deathclaws!), radiation storms, and just how plain toxic nearly every food and water source is, survival will be a task. Various Endurance perks ease the pain by increasing your health and toughness, and giving you a lot of ways to mitigate radiation poisoning, but even then, there's no permanent way to be immune to all sources of radiation.
    • Special mention goes to the Glowing Sea, the crater and surrounding area of a nuclear blast that takes up the entire bottom-left corner of the map. Radiation there is so bad that a hazmat suit or Powered Armor are a must if you're to survive for long. It's home to packs of feral ghouls, Radscorpions, all manners of buzzing insects that can kill you with their sting, and (of course) Deathclaws. It's telling that even supermutants who are immune to radiation are completely absent from there. All but one, anyway.
    • There is a small town to the far west in the Commonwealth called Natick Banks which lies very close to the northern edge of the Glowing Sea. You will find bodies of dead raiders and supermutants there. What killed them will become obvious when you encounter the only living creatures in the area, namely the multiple deathclaws that have traveled north from the Glowing Sea.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The male protagonist, if you choose to play a female character. The opening is narrated by him, giving a monologue on his grandfather's service in World War II and how "war never changes". Then he dies in the first 15 minutes, and the story turns out to be about his wife instead.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The Deathclaw fought near the start of the game appears later on as a regular enemy.
    • The Synth Courser fought as a storyline boss becomes a regular albeit very tough enemy in the "Defend the Castle" mission.
    • The Mirelurk Queens you can encounter while exploring (such as at Murkwater) are noticeably smaller than the huge Dagon-sized one fought as a boss battle in "Taking Independence", though they're still extremely tough enemies. In a weird backwards case, you may very well run into these first, if you like exploring.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Item crafting allows you to build your own weapons, power armor, and even settlements. There are 700 modifications to customize the barrel, stock, ammo, grip, scope and so on of the 50 basic melee weapons and guns alone. So you can mod a laser pistol into multiple varieties of the laser rifle from Fallout 3, such as an assault rifle, a shotgun, or a sniper rifle. Or upgrade a baseball bat with nails, or give it an aluminum body with a mahogany grip and screw sawblades to the end, among many other possibilities. This is taken almost to ridiculousness with pipe weapons. It's very possible to pick up a pipe pistol at the start of the game, and mod it into a supermutant killing assault rifle over the course of the game.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Codsworth has a database of 924 names that he can call you by, as opposed to "Sir" or "Ma'am". Want him to call you "Joe" or "Rose"? Go ahead. Wanna be "Vash" or "Furiosa" instead? You can do that too. Wanna be called "Mr. Fuckhead" or "Ms. Boobies"? Why not!
    • There is a very impressive amount of unique NPC dialogue depending on who your companion is at any given time; for instance, bringing John Hancock or Strong (a ghoul and a mutant, respectively) into a Brotherhood of Steel base causes them to complain about how much they hate ghouls and mutants.
    • Civilized areas such as Diamond City change when a holiday rolls around on the in-game calendar. Don't be surprised to see a Christmas tree up by the noodle stand and lights strung about toward the end of December. NPCs will even comment on it.
    • The raiders in the area all have some measure of interaction, and their terminals will have entries based upon which of them you've previously slaughtered.
    • Spend too long exploring or walking around Pre-War Sanctuary Hills when the Great War starts and the game will trigger a Non Standard Game Over, as the bombs kill you instantly.
    • If you go all the way through the game to have met Shaun before talking to Codsworth, there will be a different set of dialogue.
    • Sturges has specific dialogue if you're already wearing a suit of Power Armor when you first meet.
    • If you decide to be stubborn and refuse to fill out the Vault-tec forms, your spouse does it for you.
    • If you choose to visit Vault 81 with your Vault suit on, the conversational and ambient dialogue will be different than if you wear Commonwealth clothing
    • If you somehow avoid going to Sanctuary Hills at all and meet Codsworth after you've concluded the main plot of the game, there's an entirely different dialogue with him.
    • In Far Harbor you can get yourself recruited by the Children of Atom. If you go to the Crater of Atom in the Glowing Sea, the lady there will have unique dialogue for you.
  • Diegetic Interface:
    • You still interact with your Pip-Boy directly in the world to view stats, inventory, and lore.
    • The collector's edition takes this Up to Eleven by including a physical Pip-Boy armband which you can socket a smartphone into and run a special dual-screen app on to make a fully functional, game-affecting interface.
    • If you're wearing a power armor helmet, the HUD changes to reflect that, with the minimalistic bars and meters of the normal display replaced with intricate fuel gauges.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Artillery. You need several quests and a lot of settlements unlocked to even begin the quest, have to fight two extremely powerful boss monsters, and need a shitload of resources to be able to build the cannons, but when you do, you have the equivalent of multiple Fat Man bombardments anywhere you can safely throw a grenade. And the more manned cannons you have nearby, the more bombardment. It takes a lot of investment but you can eventually get Minuteman coverage almost everywhere you care to explore in the wasteland, and can easily shell raider compounds to dust. Sufficient artillery coverage is also what evens the odds in a clash with the Minutemen against the Brotherhood of Steel, by bombarding the Prydwen and removing it from the equation.
    • Robot Settlers as of Automatron. They require a fair amount of relatively rare resources just to build the base frame of a no-frills Protectron, but once it's done you have a worker that never needs a bed or food and whose happiness never goes below 50. Arming them as you see fit into a horrible death machine (for example, a provisioner Sentry Bot that can easily defend itself) is just a bonus.
    • Beast cages in Wasteland Workshop require a variety of animal resources to create and you need two seldom-used perks in the Charisma tree, Wasteland Whisperer and Animal Friend, to make use of the Beta Wave Emitter structure, but put 'em together and you have the ability to generate tamed monsters that provide a free defense bonus to your settlement. Just make sure you don't have different types of monsters in the same open area or they'll attack each other...
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Armor rating (Ballistic Defense and Energy Defense) gives less damage reduction the higher the value. For example, 60 Armor rating gives 30% damage reduction, but about 93 Armor rating turns into 40% damage reduction. And the difference between 560 Armor rating (T-45 Power Armor) and 1280 Armor rating (T-60 Power Armor) is 81% and 87% damage reduction respectively.
  • Disc One Nuke: Numerous examples can be found within the first few hours of game play if the player knows where to look or, thanks to addition of Legendary enemies dropping Legendary weapons and armor, gets very lucky. And thanks to the removal of skills, the player can use any weapon they have without any penalties as long as they have the right ammo (though the right perks do help).
    • Power armor. You're given a suit for free on the first story mission, and there's a second not far from Sanctuary for your companion. Very few early-game enemies will be serious threats to you even in basic, non-upgraded power armor. Its use is limited by requiring fusion cores which are fairly rare early on. Since companions don't use up the fusion cores putting the first humanoid companion you find into your suit instead of wearing it yourself makes it a straight example.
    • A Fat Man and a mini nuke can each be found at the Robotics Disposal Ground, only a very short jog northeast of Sanctuary. These can be found in several other early-game locations as well, and have a chance to spawn on Raiders if the player is very lucky.
    • The Laser Musket that you get at Concord, the second town you'll visit if following the main quest, is lying on the ground by a fallen Minuteman. This weapon can be charged with extra ammunition, allowing it to deal incredible amounts of damage at the start of the game. It can also be upgraded with better mods at lower levels of the Gun Nut and Science! perks than more standard laser weapons. It will eventually become outclassed, even with upgrades, but will get you through the early parts of the game quite easily.
    • Justice, a unique variant of the Combat Shotgun that causes staggering, can be purchased in Covenant, which requires only a short side-trip to reach after Concord. Normally, legendary items available for purchase are too cost prohibitive for low level players, but for quest related reasons, the merchants in Covenant are selling at an incredible loss, meaning you only need to scrape up about 1000-1500 caps to purchase it (depending on Charisma and perks.) As a bonus, it comes with several mods already in place that a low-level character will be unable to craft for some time, adding to its usefulness.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Your physical from the Brotherhood of Steel is a trifle odd as they're not concerned with your physical health or psychological stability. Instead, they ask if you've been exposed to large amounts of radiation, have ever had sex with a nonhuman, or would hesitate to kill any enemy of the Brotherhood. See A Nazi by Any Other Name.
  • Doomed Hometown: Sanctuary Hills, the housing development that you start the game in. It doesn't look nearly as nice after a major war and two hundred years of looting and neglect. Unlike just about any example of the trope in RPGs, however, you can rebuild it from scratch yourself.
  • Door to Before: A ubiquitous anti-frustration feature of just about every old building you can explore that figures in a main quest or side quest. This is due to internal damage inconveniently blocking doorways and corridors, turning the interior into The Maze. The quest objective will always be found at the end, accompanied by a direct exit to the outside world that is either extremely well hidden or difficult to access from the outside until the quest is completed. For those with high lockpicking skills, finding such doors offer alternative routes that allow the player to bypass entire sections of enemies.
  • The Dreaded:
    • The Institute is only spoken of in hushed whispers in Diamond City, and is largely suspected of producing synthetic replicants of people to spy on others.
    • Nobody goes into the Boston Common because of Swan, a Behemoth that sleeps in the lake and wears a swan boat as armour. The area is littered with warning signs, from notes on dead NPCs, signs saying "Danger", chains across the entrances and even a Railroad sign that they usually reserve for areas infested with Institute synths. Several companions also make nervous comments if you get too close.
    • Coursers are elite Synths, whose main job is to assassinate specific persons, or retrieve captured synths. The first one you run into during the quest "Hunter/Hunted" manages to deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to an entire building of gunners, and can be a tough fight if you have to fight it as well without decent gear.
    • Deathclaws likewise have a similar reputation, as they are very tough to kill until you have decent gear and perks. There's a reason everyone and everything else tries to stay as far away from their nests as possible.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • The Overseer in Vault 111 left all the staff trapped until they died because he was convinced the radiation levels would still be immediately fatal 180 days after the Great War. In Fallout canon, radiation levels effectively normalized within two days of the Great War.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel has become more like the Western Brotherhood after the policies of such got it destroyed in a war with NCR.
    • The Sole Survivor searches for their infant son only to find out he's an old man grown up to the Big Bad.
  • Driven to Suicide: You can find skeletons lying in positions that imply they did this. To point out a specific example, there's a trailer southeast of Country Crossing, where a skeleton is sitting in a chair and a snubnosed .44 revolver lies on the floor below its hand.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Adhesive is used in all forms of weapon modification and is somewhat uncommon compared to steel and wood as far as crafting materials go. It's most commonly found in, naturally, rolls of duct tape you see lying around. When that's insufficient, you can cook up a bunch of vegetables to make vegetable starch, which then becomes adhesive.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Both played straight and subverted. Mostly, the people of the Commonwealth pay respect where it's due, and your more shining track records are acknowledged properly. In fact, some characters like Paladin Danse seems to give you a disproportionately high amount of respect, giving you plenty of respect and referrals even if your record is greener than a Super Mutant, potentially having only had a couple missions under your belt.
    • Played completely straight, however, with the Minutemen. Despite apparently being the head of the organization, no one in the Minutemen treats you with the slightest deference, or the vaguest acknowledgement that you are their boss. Your "second-in-command" Preston will be ordering you to the frontlines day and night to do every other menial task, and the grunts hardly ever acknowledge your leadership, if at all. There is even one mission (which can happen after you have long established yourself as THE conquering hero who leads the Minutemen) in which a Minutemen sergeant commanding four or five people will rudely treat you, his General, as cheap backup who happened to be passing by, and when you tell them to stand down on their current objective, will in no uncertain terms tell YOU (read: his top boss) to basically fuck off. This is actually a bug since in some games he can be ordered to stand down.
  • Dug Too Deep: Dunwich Borers LLC returns in the Commonwealth with more mining-based misfortune. This time, however, someone dug up something on purpose, and it still rests down there.
  • Dummied Out: At one point the Chinese Assault Rifle from Fallout 3 was going to make a return, but it never made it into the final cut. It's (untextured) model is still in the game but it doesn't have any associated scripting to make it usable, nor does it have proper animations. There is a mod that partially restores it, but as with Fallout 3 custom animations are still a bit difficult to work in.
  • Early Bird Boss: The Deathclaw in Concord is just a Deathclaw. That is, it's "just" a ten-foot-tall razor-clawed murder machine with iron-scaled skin. The problem is, at this point in the game you're wearing damaged and pretty crappy power armor that the Deathclaw can open up like a tin can, you are most likely low-level with not a lot of perks, and more importantly, the minigun that you have to fight it with is absolutely not designed for the task, forcing you to empty an entire drum of ammo into the creature through over a minute of sustained fire and Scratch Damage, while avoiding its attacks. Most of the other Deathclaws in the game are in the southern half of the map, and by the time you challenge their territory, you should have the perks and the gear to take them on properly.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: During the Railroad mission to infiltrate their former headquarters, you find this poster that depicts some of the buildable robot combinations from the Automatron DLC.
  • Early Game Hell:
    • Before you've built up your level and scavenged a good amount of armor and weapons, it can be a real pain to wander through the wasteland. Once you have decent armor, weapons that can one-shot common mooks, and enough Stimpaks and RadAway to keep yourself healthy, only the boss enemies will be a problem.
    • Until you have a steady supply of adhesive, modding is a nightmare. Armor isn't quite as bad, since you can strip mods from the pieces you find at no cost, but weapons don't have that option. Once you have a town that can grow the items needed for vegetable starch, however, it becomes a lot easier to get your guns up to spec.
    • Until you either reach Diamond City or get to a high enough level that you can build and man your own medical clinic, you have no easy way to deal with radiation - which can be found in the Commonwealth in abundance, particularly on the feral ghouls that infest the place. You can use RadAway, but RadAway is scarce and expensive in this game; it's not something you find in every first aid kit. And since Adam Smith Hates Your Guts, you're not going to have enough caps to buy it from the few shops that can be found in the northwest corner of the map.
  • Easily Forgiven: When first entering Diamond City, Piper will say that you manage a caravan and will be coming with supplies tomorrow if the city lets both of you in now. You can then talk to the guard and continue Piper's lie, which, if a charisma roll is successful, will prompt him to give you some bottlecaps in advance. You can then say you were lying about the whole thing, and the guard will brush this off with some "that's Piper for you" sentiment, allowing you to keep the bottlecaps with no penalty or admonishment.
    • Most of your actions will be easily forgiven by your followers, even if you get the message: "X hated that." Cannibalism, selling children into slavery, these actions won't drive them away individually. However, accumulate enough disapproval and they'll leave permanently. Preston, Deacon and X6-88 will also turn hostile if you harm their respective factions.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: The game uses Boston city landmarks, like the USS Constitution, Fenway Park, the Paul Revere Statue, North Church, the Massachusetts State House, Faneuil Hall, and the Bunker Hill Monument, to establish you are playing in Boston, while not being a one-to-one recreation of the city.
  • Elite Mook: Legendary enemies. Denoted by having "Legendary" in their name and a star at the end, these enemies have the ability to regenerate to full health once if reduced to half health or less. When this happens, they get a stat boost which makes them much more dangerous. In addition, all legendary enemies carry a legendary armor piece or weapon with an effect that cannot be obtained with ordinary mods, which they will use against you. The current difficultly level determines how often they spawn.
  • Epic Fail: Just north of Gunner Plaza there is a shack that will explode in a massive fireball the first time you approach as the inhabitant botched a batch of moonshine that blew up in his face. What makes it a truly epic fail is the sheer size of the explosion which dwarfs even a mini nuke.
  • Escort Mission:
    • Some of the Minutemen missions require that the player rescue a kidnapped settler and escort them out of the building there were held in.
    • Similarily, a radiant Brotherhood mission requires you to escort a scribe to a certain terminal in a certain building and back so he can download data.
    • "The Big Dig" is one, with you escorting Bobbi, Mel and Sonya (an Eyebot modified by Mel who uses sonic waves to dig walls). The good news is that they can put up a fight, and can't die; the bad news is that Sonya's pathfinding is very buggy and tends to get her stuck, and you need her to reach the fragile walls in order to advance through the level.
    • "Trouble Brewin" ends with you escorting a brewery on legs through the city to Goodneighbor, protecting it from raiders, Super Mutants, and hostile wildlife. This isn't really that bad, since 'Buddy' is A) armed with lasers, and B) Nigh Invulnerable. However, it is also C) very, very slow, so that part of the mission winds up being more tedious than anything else. This can be avoided by telling the machine to head there on its own however but it will still take a while for it to get there.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As part of the general effort to humanize Raiders, they can be seen caring for each other as a close team, and one terminal indicates that one of the Raider bosses you can slaughter genuinely loves her sister...too bad she was accidentally killed by her kidnapper. Oh, and then, in a sense, there's your son, the by-default Big Bad.
    • Occasionally you can find a raider mourning over a grave site (they'll still go after you if they notice your presence though).
    • Tessa, one of the Gunners responsible for the Quincy Massacre has feelings for Baker, another high ranking Gunner in Quincy. Her last terminal log ends with her pointing out how she Cannot Spit It Out.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: A nuclear Pinto! It's very possible to inadvertently set off a chain reaction of exploding fusion-powered cars if you or your enemies are careless around them.
  • Everyone Is Bi: The protagonist can choose to be in romantic relationships with all of his/her human companions, regardless of their gender.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The protagonist awakens from a 210 year long cryogenic hibernation to find the world a blasted ruin, with everybody they knew either dead (from natural causes or otherwise) or horribly mutated.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: Played straight with the minigun and machine-gun turrets. It's especially noticeable in VATS.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: In contrast to the Brotherhood of Steel, which has been mostly just salvaging old tech, the Institute has been busily researching new tech ever since the bombs fell. Their Synths and Institute Laser Guns look sleek, white and plasticky compared to the boxy chrome and steel of pre-war laser weapons and robots.
    • The in-universe reason for averting Everything Is an iPod in the Future in the Fallout series is because the worldwide petrol shortage has made the manufacturing of commercial plastics incredibly expensive, hence why nearly every weapon has a wood or metal stock (as opposed to a carbon one), every home device is made of metal, and everything generally looks like the pre-plastic world. There are only a handful of junk items (inexplicably a bread box and salt and pepper shakers) that are plastic, but this was for gameplay balancing reasons, since energy weapons require plastic to modify, so it must be found in at least some scrappable objects. Meanwhile, you can visit Cambridge Polymer Labs, where attempts were being made to synthesize alternative plastics out of some kind of radioactive material.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: One of the traps you can build with the Wasteland Workshop DLC is a gorilla trap. Said gorillas provide 10 defense for your settlement (that's as much as a Deathclaw!) and improve the settlement's morale.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: All wildlife and most thinking beings in the Commonwealth will try to murder you on sight.
    • Roaming downtown Boston? Expect raiders and supermutants in every building to come out and shoot at you.
    • South Boston is owned and run by the Gunners and they're as friendly as the average raider.
    • Out in the wilderness? You'll run into feral dogs, feral ghouls, Big Creepy-Crawlies, mutated bears, and deathclaws. They are all of course, hostile.
    • Want to take a stroll along the beach? Have fun playing with the mirelurks. Hell, a puddle of water is as likely to contain a horde of buried mirelurks as an entire swamp, lake or shoreline.
  • Evil Albino: Most creatures in the Wasteland have albino variants that for some reason are considerably deadlier.
  • Evil Pays Better: The raiders who inhabit the Libertalia have a computer terminal containing logs from their leader. It turns out they're what remains of a band of ex-Minutemen who tried to create a peaceful settlement there by trading and hiring out their services to caravans and Bunker Hill. One log entry tells of how the leader hung two of his men for raiding a caravan for food when they were desperately running low. The penultimate log reveals that the caravans no longer trust the ex-Minutemen and keep stiffing them on deals for food. The final log triumphantly tells of how the group is now getting all the food they need by attacking the caravans, or being paid to leave them alone. The leader says in his log that the caravans refer to his group (who were once defenders of the Commonwealth) as "Raiders" now. Since he decided principles are worthless to a starving man, he doesn't even care anymore, but still feels guilt thinking about the shame this would have brought to his general.
  • Exact Words: Occasionally the Synths in the Institute will remark "If it weren't for Father, we wouldn't be here", simultaneously paying homage to him as their creator but also underlining the involuntary nature of their relationship.
  • Expy:
    • The Eastern Brotherhood of Steel has adopted Elder Maxson as their absolute leader despite the fact he was selected to be so at age 10. They are now a power-armored collection of supersoldiers on a mission to eradicate all non-humans. Yes, this means they're effectively Space Marines now.
    • The "Silver Shroud" hero of comic books and radio serials is an obvious expy of The Shadow, a popular hero of 1930s pulp novels and radio serials as well as The Punisher.
    • On the Silver Shroud quest, the player has to kill a raider named "Smiling Kate" who sports a Glasgow Grin along with the appropriate makeup and attitude of a popular comic book villain.
    • Stingwings are expies of Fallout: New Vegas' Cazadores, being flying bugs with a venomous sting. This is justified as Cazadores are confined to the Mojave wasteland.
    • Synth coursers appear to be expies of Terminator robots.
    • The Gunner faction is essentially 4's equivalent of the Talon Company Mercenaries, given their reputation as unsavory soldiers-for-hire who are willing to do any job for the right price. Unlike their Talon counterparts, they appear to be fiercely territorial of whatever settlements they can get their hands on.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Played straight with the Army and Vault-Tec guards at Vault 111, who calmly and quietly get as many people as they can to the bunker before the bomb hits, even though their chances on the surface are pretty bad. The Army officer who clears the Sole Survivor and their family through even wishes them luck.
    • Averted with the Vault-Tec rep from the beginning who tries to force his way into the Vault because he works for Vault-Tec. The minigun wielding, power armored guards are not impressed. He survives as a ghoul though and can be found at Goodneighbor.
  • Faction Calculus: A rare non-strategy game example. The Minutemen are Balanced, the Brotherhood of Steel are the Powerhouse, the Institute are Subversive, and the Railroad are Cannons.
  • Failed a Spot Check: To the player, it's obvious what Vault 111's experiment is, as the vault makes no effort to even try to conceal the cryogenic equipment and the frost coating everything. To the inhabitants inside, they're lead to believe that the stasis pods are decontamination chambers. If their lives being spared from a nuclear blast weren't still fresh in their heads, they might have questioned it.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Synths are loathed throughout the Commonwealth, resulting in such paranoia that brothers and friends turn on their loved ones to kill them. This is more justified than most examples as the Synths are very often used as assassins for the Institute. If Synths are freed from their masters, they prove to be more or less like anyone else.
    • Ghouls have recently been exiled from Diamond City despite the fact they're great sources of history and technological expertise. You eventually find out that the guy who threw them out is a Synth plant from the Institute, working to get rid of anyone with knowledge of the pre-War world.
  • Fantastic Slur: The Synthetics created by the Institute are just called Synths by the locals of the wasteland.
  • The Federation/The Republic:
    • The Commonwealth of Allied Settlements was getting close to becoming this in the backstory before it was purged by the Institute.
    • While the Minutemen are The Alliance, they can partner up with much of the Commonwealth including the Railroad and help lay down the foundations of something like the NCR.
  • Filk Song: Going Nuclear and Some Things Never Change, both courtesy of Miracle Of Sound. The first is an upbeat swing piece about the singer "going nuclear" out in the wasteland and having fun, while the second is a much more somber piece about the state that the world has fallen into and how the Sole Survivor is perceiving it through the filter of their Pre-War life. Some Things Never Change also carries several stylistic choices and a lyrical callback to his earlier piece for Fallout 3, Beauty Bleak.
  • First Episode Spoiler: Kellogg's age is spoiled early but subtly in the quest "Dangerous Minds." The first memory the Sole Survivor explores is Kellogg as a boy of about ten years old talking to his mother after a radio announces that the New California Republic has officially formed. This happened in 2189, nearly a hundred years before the events of the main game, spoiling the fact that he lived much longer than initially obvious because of Institute tinkering. However, this is the only mention given to the NCR, and their official founding hasn't been mentioned since Fallout 2.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: The player character was born before the Great War, but ended up 210 years in the post-apocalyptic future due to their Vault having an experimental cryogenics program.
  • Flaming Sword: The Shishkebab is back, and unlike the previous games' Shishkebab, Fallout 4's version is more well made. Rather than made crudely from lawnmower blade and motorcycle fuel tank in the previous games, this time it is made from a Wakizashi and a modified blowtorch.
  • Flash Step: The Blitz perk increases your VATS melee range... Up to Eleven. When maxed out, you'll be able to teleport all around a room using melee weapons, slashing/bludgeoning enemies. Using this ability you can even reach areas like balconies that normally would need a circumvent dungeon crawl to get to later.
  • Fluffy the Terrible:
    • If you invite the ghoulified Vault-Tec salesman to Sanctuary and have Deacon as a companion, Deacon will jokingly complain about how you'll take in a "stray" but won't let him keep a pet Deathclaw named "Fluffy".
    • There's a Super Mutant Behemoth hiding in a park in Boston. His name is Swan. Everyone is terrified of him.
  • Fluffy Tamer: You, with the Wild Wasteland and Animal Friend perks. Better still, with the Wasteland Workshop DLC, you can build cages that generate monsters and build a pacifying emitter next to them that cause the monsters to be friendly to the settlement, providing a free defense bonus. Yes, you can have giant mutant bears and deathclaws guarding your homesteads.
  • Foil:
    • The Sole Survivor to the Lone Wanderer. The Lone Wanderer is an individual leaving their comfy, pleasant, and secure Vault in search of their father. The Sole Survivor is leaving their decaying, frozen tomb of a Vault in order to find their missing son and avenge their dead spouse. They also serve as one to James, who left his family to build a New World while the Sole Survivor manages to juggle looking for their child with constructing new settlements as well as inspiring the people around them.
    • The Minutemen are in a sense this to the Enclave. In doing a service to the people of the Commonwealth and upholding honorable values, they harken back to what Pre-War America wished it was. Whereas the Enclave represented the worst aspects of Pre-War America in reality. In fact, the recruitment radio tower, which presumably uses Minuteman tracks, plays the same patriotic music as Enclave Radio did in between broadcasts of the Sole Survivor's recorded urgings for people to come to a given settlement. They also serve as this to the Brotherhood of Steel by being, essentially, everything Elder Lyons wished he could turn the Brotherhood into but ultimately failed to do. They also do it with far less technology, resources, and influence.
    • The Institute serves as another foil for the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel. As a Pre-War Institution of higher learning and intelligence, it has dedicated itself to making the Wasteland a better place. It also does so with ruthlessness, pragmatism, and behind-the-scenes manipulation which makes their brute force approach look trite. The Institute replaces racism against Wastelanders with racism against Synths and is willing to incorporate the best into their ranks. To this end, they also bear some similarity and antithesis to both Mister House as well as the scientists of the Big Empty.
    • The Railroad is one to the Followers of the Apocalypse, being more focused on the anarchism and "fight the power" elements of the group over science as well as knowledge. Whereas the Followers are frequently co-opted by NCR, the Great Khans, and other groups to build their empires, the Railroad actively tears them down but has a far less positive effect on society as a whole (while still helping individuals).
    • The Brotherhood of Steel now act almost exactly like the Midwest chapter, who functioned with a feudal model.
  • Follow the Plotted Line: In a departure from previous games in the series, the main questline is not only mandatory, but doesn't let you skip steps until the branching point (with the exception of the Minutemen's opening quest, which gives you a lead that you could technically get just by going south). There are still plenty of sidequests, but the main quest isn't optional this time.
  • Foreshadowing: During the Dangerous Minds quest, while observing Kellogg's first memory there's a radio playing in the background, with a host talking about the formation of the New California Republic and Aradesh being elected its first president. Fallout history buffs will note this event takes place in 2189, 98 years before the events of Fallout 4, hinting that there might be something more to Kellogg's age than first meets the eye. The last memory echoes the first, with Shaun reading while Kellogg sits. Notice what Shaun's reading?
    • Earlier, when looting Kellogg's body, the Sole Survivor will note that Kellogg is so heavily augmented he's "more machine than man." Implying one should not trust his otherwise normal human appearance too much - in particular his age.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: The Strength 10 perk Pain Train (which requires power armor to use), in the style of charging at your enemies and ramming them. At rank 3 you can knock even Deathclaws out of your way and can nearly kill low level raiders by ramming them.
  • Four-Star Badass: The leader of the Minutemen was always selected from the most respected and powerful of their warriors. Which includes you when Preston points out he doesn't have the chops to rebuild the order.
  • Friendly Fireproof: The Inspirational perk at its lowest level makes companions unable to hurt you. At second level, your companions become immune to your attacks.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • The Institute thinks that the Railroad are a nuisance but ultimately only able to help escaped synths and doesn't even spare a thought for the Minutemen. You can help either faction blow the Institute to hell.
    • Ten years ago, the Children of the Atom were a weird religion from Megaton and were mostly harmless (the incident in Broken Steel aside) but now they're an absolute terror, wandering the Commonwealth with their gamma guns and murdering anyone they find to "spread Atom's word."
    • Arthur Maxson - the timid child from Fallout 3 who liked writing stories and had a crush on Sarah Lyons - grew up into a charismatic yet fanatical demagogue, leading the Brotherhood of Steel on a crusade to cleanse the Wasteland of "abominations" (including Synths, Robots, Super Mutants, and likely Ghouls too) and rule over the rest of the population as feudal lords.
  • Future Imperfect: Moe Cronin, the owner of the bat store in Diamond City believes that baseball was a Blood Sport in which players beat each other to death with "swatters." Nobody else seems to believe him and if you tell him the actual rules he decides that he likes his version better.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Not the very deadly variant, but Dogmeat and Rex Goodman are very easy to glitch out of the elevator during the mission to recruit Strong.
    • It's also possible that the Brotherhood Elder will get stuck in an inaccessible room if you choose to side with them, effectively making you unable to proceed in the main storyline and consequently unable to beat the game. At least on the PC you can use the console to drag him back.
    • You can get stuck in an unbreakable animation loop that requires you to load an earlier save note  in order to be able to play again. This can happen with anything from using flavor objects like water pumps to the incredibly important workshop tables.
    • One of the side quests from the Railroad is to clear out various buildings that used to be Railroad safehouses of hostiles. If you've already been to any of the buildings and cleared them out before, it won't properly flag the building and the quest can't be completed. With the other factions, the building is refilled.
    • An example of a bug breaking the game by making it too easy was MacCready's companion perk Killshot before it was patched. It is supposed to increase headshot accuracy in VATS by 20%. Instead, it increased it by 2000%. Every headshot you attempted to make had a displayed 95% (the max), but effectively 100% chance of hitting. The only thing that could prevent a headshot with this bug was if the enemy's head went behind cover after you had already targeted it.
  • Game Mod: It wouldn't be a Bethesda game without having a Creation Kit... or in this case, the Garden of Eden Creation Kit. In a first for the series, the console versions are going to be able to have mods downloaded and installed just like the PC version, with the Xbox One being the testing grounds and the Playstation 4 receiving them some time afterwards if it's a success. For the NSFW modding community, Bethesda has already given their full support on letting them do their thing.
  • Game Within a Game: Your Pip-Boy can accept game cartridges to play Captain Ersatz versions of real-life video games. These include Red Menace, Atomic Command, PipFall, Zeta Invaders, Grognak and the Ruby Ruins, and Automatron note .
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality:
    • All of your companions are nearly invincible while travelling with you. If their health hits 0, then they collapse to the ground and will only get up if either you inject them with a Stimpak or once combat is over.
    • Similarly, settlers are nigh invincible unless you kill them personally, though they can die if the town is being attacked and you don't help or if they are hit with a massive amount of damage. (Such as an explosion if they are already in a "knocked out" state or are hit by an insta-kill move, like the one a Deathclaw can administer.)
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • The Institute's Synth Coursers are ruthless Terminator expies who are designed to not only look exactly like humans, but be superior in every way, shape and form. That being said, X6-88's stats total to a whopping 98 SPECIAL points, almost twice that of all your other companions' individual stat sums.
    • While we're on the subject of X6-88, let's talk about The Railroad HQ. The leadership there makes it explicitly clear that the Institute wants them gone. They also make it clear that Coursers are searching for their HQ. As that follows, bringing X6 to their hideout will instantly turn them against you forever. If you like Deacon (or want to go with the Railroad ending), never take X6-88 to the Railroad.
    • Fast-Travelling to and from the Institute will not only play a teleportation animation, but in-game time will only pass by 1 minute.
    • There's a reason Institute synths are feared like boogiemen: it is entirely possible for any of your settlers (barring companions) to be replaced with a synth. If other settlers realize that a synth is among them and find out who it is, they will kill them, and their corpse with have synth components on them.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • When talking to Codsworth, the protagonist is surprised that two centuries have passed, although the player is able to look at the date and time at the moment they activate the PIP-Boy. A Downplayed Trope example since the situation is disorientating and nightmarish to say the least.
    • In the fluff, Power Armor was powered via a back-mounted micro-fusion reactor that was filled with 100 years worth of fuel and Van Buren was supposed to reveal that the earliest versions were grossly energy inefficient due to running on small energy cells, rather than fusion cores. The Power Armor in Fallout 4 is a mix of the two versions: keeping the integrated reactor, while "adding" a backup power source for when the primary one fails. While it may seem like a huge technological step backwards, it gives a reason as to why you can't go around in Power Armor all the time now like you could in the previous games.
    • The lore for the Laser Musket explicitly states the weapon is powered by the crank. In gameplay, cranking simply loads the weapon with fusion cells.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In-universe example. While Cherry Nuka-Cola proved to be wildly unpopular in America before and after the War, apparently it has garnered a cult following in the Commonwealth and has seen some marketing success there; it being called Nuka Cherry.
  • Gendered Outfit: Mostly averted this time, unlike the previous games. A female dress will still look like a female dress when worn by a male character. Likewise, the Harness outfit will look just as revealing female characters as it is on male and will inevitably reveals the character's bra. The reward for the mission Curtain Call is a suit or dress depending on the Sole Survivor's gender.
    • Though certain outfits will change their fit to suit whoever is wearing it. Road leathers on a male has a full jacket, while on a female it shows a peeking midriff.
    • Also played straight with Grognak's Costume, in an inversion of the usual case, the female version features a leather bra while the male version covers even less.
  • Ghost Town: University Point looks like a player built settlement, including stuff the player can build like generators, water purifiers, shops. But it's uninhabited. It used to be a thriving settlement, until a girl found the secret Army lab under the Bank. Then Institute demanded the labs contents be given to them. When the town didn't immediately agree to do it on that day's town meeting (Note that they had not categorically refused either), the Institute returned 3 days later and killed everyone in University Point.
  • Giant Enemy Crab:
    • The Mirelurks are back, and then there's also the Mirelurk Queen boss, who's at least five times their size and has a lot of health.
    • Far Harbor adds hermit crabs, which are massive crabs that use buses as shells.
  • Giant Mook: The Mutant Behemoths from Fallout 3 are back, and just as large, angry, and powerful as before. Mirelurk Queens are also worryingly big
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: During the quest "When Freedom Calls", the player is tasked to eliminate Raiders from Concord. After beating them and their leader, a huge Deathclaw appears from nowhere and attacks the player, serving as the "boss" of the area. There's very little and vague foreshadowing about it (with Mama Murphy saying that "There's something comin'. And it is... angry" and Preston saying that there's "something else outside").
  • Golden Ending: Many consider the Minutemen ending to be this, as it involves the least loss of life. The only faction you have to wipe out is the Institute, the darkest of the game's factions. The Railroad will remain peaceful so long as you remember to sound the evacuation order in the finale, and the Brotherhood will tolerate you so long as you don't antagonize them. Though it's a bit trickier to pull off, this can also be accomplished with the Brotherhood ending, so long as you bypass the quest that makes you kill the Railroad via turning in Institute quest Mass Fusion for the Brotherhood.
  • The Goomba:
    • Radroaches fill this role like in most Fallout series games, being the very first mooks that the player fights in the game.
    • The Sole Survivor will occasionally even deliver a Finishing Stomp to kill them if the player uses a melee attack on them in V.A.T.S.
  • Goomba Stomp: Entirely plausible with Powered Armor if you have a steep drop on a foe, or have a jetpack.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: Unlike Fallout 3 and more like Fallout: New Vegas, there isn't a clear-cut "good" or "evil" faction, with both the Brotherhood of Steel and the Institute, as well as the various smaller factions, each making a compelling argument why their path is the best one for the future of the Commonwealth and humanity. In turn, the conflict between the Brotherhood of Steel and the Institute falls into the lines of Romanticism (The Brotherhood of Steel) versus Enlightenment (The Institute), see Romanticism Versus Enlightenment trope below.
    • The Brotherhood of Steel is noticeably more bigoted against ghouls and mutants than displayed in previous games, with one NPC literally saying that all ghouls and mutants should be exterminated.
    • The "Human Error" quest will force you to side with Honest Dan, or the denizens of Covenant. Dan is simply trying to rescue Amelia per his contract, but the Covenant citizens are survivors of synth assassins, who infiltrated their families and friends and killed them. As a result, they're attempting to develop a psychological exam to help spot synths, but are unfortunately torturing a lot of innocent people in the process too.
    • Even raiders are significantly humanized via conversations the player can overhear between them when they haven't been detected, and terminals in various raider-controlled settings show countless shades of villainy among them.
  • Greaser Delinquents: The Atom Cats are the post-apocalyptic version of a 1950s hot rod greaser gang. Only instead of customizing hot rods, they customize power armor suits. They also happen to help repair the machinery at a local farm and hold poetry nights...
  • Gunship Rescue: If you're allied with the Brotherhood, you can deploy a flare to signal a Vertibird gunship to pick you up, then hop in with your dog and grab a hold of the side mounted mini-gun.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • The settlement system only has one extremely bare-bones tutorial, which introduces you to the three basic things a settlement needs (food, water, defense), as well as the basics of assigning settlers to a task. It does not touch upon surplus resources, the nuances of the happiness system, or even basic house construction. The only other hints you get are from tips on the loading screen and the description of the Local Leader perk, the latter being vital to larger settlements and to propping up new settlements. The game only tells you once that the defense rating has to be kept equal to or higher than the total amount of resources being produced by the town, and it never tells you how to set up a power grid, or how shipments of junk work.
    • In order to get into the Institute, you have to build a relay platform using the settlement interface. This seems simple on its surface, but several of the specifics can be confusing. The platform itself consists of a large, three-pronged cover and a smaller platform, the latter snapping onto the former, which the game doesn't make clear. The operating console has to be within earshot of the platform so the operator's dialog will register and move the quest along. Finally, all three parts have to be on the same power grid.
    • Though the story missions do tell you outright when you're going to make a faction hostile permanently, the intertwined nature of the missions mean a lot of them can conflict with each other even before you've reached a turning point. For example, one Brotherhood mission causes the Railroad Assaultron P.A.M. to enter a "security lockdown" mode in which she will not respond to any attempts at conversation, even if you have quests to turn in. Furthermore, this will happen even if you haven't fulfilled the first objective of speaking to the quest giver. The conversation priority system, which determines how characters respond if there's multiple options, will also prioritize secondary objectives of other quests over that character's personal quests. For example, when Institute quests give you the option to warn the Brotherhood, this warning will be prioritized over any quests you may have active with Maxson.
    • Keeping all of the non-Institute factions and their related companions in play through the ending is possible, but requires a very specific order in doing quests for all three factions with very specific cutoffs that can make the A-Ending requirements from Valkyrie Profile seem sane. And even then, doing the wrong things during the final mission can permanently anger certain factions companions into leaving you. Doing so will also make you miss out on endgame rewards from the Brotherhood and Railroad. This is how it's done.
    • The game doesn't tell you that Critical Hits always hit, and there is a non-trivial difference between "more powerful attack" and "more powerful attack that never misses."
  • Gun Fu: The Agility 10 perk, which makes it easier to pull off shots against multiple targets in V.A.T.S.
  • The Gunslinger: A good pistol build, especially one that uses V.A.T.S., can feel very much like an Old Western gunfighter or a similarly badass gun-user.
  • Hand Cannon: The game's Design-It-Yourself Equipment system classifies a weapon as a pistol so long as it has a pistol grip instead of a full-sized stock. Thus you can get "pistols" with things like enormous magazines, barrels meant for sniper rifles, large scopes, and attachments like a muzzle brake or bayonet.
    • The most powerful pistols are the .44 Revolver and the Deliverer, a PPK-like 10mm that does more damage than even a maxed-out 10mm pistol. Pipe weapons can also be customized to deliver some truly heinous stopping power with the right mods and the right ranks in Gun Nut.
    • The Broadslider is a literal example of this trope, it is essentially a handheld cannon which fires cannonballs to your enemies. An unused version of Broadslider can even fire a Nuke at someone.
  • Happy Ending Override:
    • A Downplayed Trope example regarding the Lone Wanderer with their friendship to the Brotherhood of Steel. Given the Cutting Off the Branches and No Canon for the Wicked, it's now clear that the Lone Wanderer helped the Brotherhood of Steel conquer and assimilate the resources of the Enclave as well as establish themselves as the prominent power in the Capital Wasteland. While certainly better than the hell it was before, the Brotherhood of Steel is now implied to rule over the territory it conquers absolutely and is actively expanding its influence.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Higher difficulties feature more legendary enemies, which means more legendary weapons and items.
  • Harder Than Hard: The Survival Difficulty, as of patch 1.06. No Fast Travel, manual saving is disabled unless you sleep at a bed, carry weight is heavily reduced, and enemies do far more damage to the player. Much like Hardcore Mode in Fallout: New Vegas, you also need to regularly eat food and drink water. Failure to do so will result in increasingly weaker SPECIAL stats due to hunger and thirst. You can now catch various illnesses that debilitate your character until you visit a doctor or use Antibiotics. Healing from Stimpaks and other consumablea is much slower, and using RadAway will make you both hungry and increase you chances of getting an illness.
  • Have a Nice Death: Just as there are many ways to explodinate and gib your enemies, the many different ways apply to you as well. For example, when a Deathclaw (nearly) kills its prey, it can show the Deathclaw lifting it up into the air, take a moment to savor the kill, extend its claws, and slash the victim dead.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A very tragic case with the Brotherhood of Steel. In previous Fallout games, the BoS fought against the Enclave, who wanted to kill anyone that wasn't a "pure" human. In Fallout 4, the BoS have arrived in the Commonwealth to wipe out every synth as well as anybody who helps them. Ghoul's probably are next on their kill list although this is not directly stated.
  • Healing Shiv:
    • An interesting first for the series comes in the form of the gamma gun. Deals insane amounts of radiation damage that is most certainly not healthy, well not for humans. Ghouls are healed by radiation and the damage from the gamma gun is no exception. You can use this to quickly heal ghoul companion John Hancock.
    • There's a legendary weapon mod called "Medic's" which will cause the weapon to heal a target instead of doing damage. This means the player can potentially find a fat man with the mod which would make it a healing nuke. (Someone found a Medic's Fat Man and tested it. It only heals someone it directly hits, only for a tiny amount, and does no splash damage or healing otherwise.)
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Any character in Power Armor, which generally are limited to either Brotherhood of Steel soldiers or certain particularly tough Raiders. Railroad Heavies are also this to a lesser degree, as they're geared with heavy armor and weaponry and are the only Railroad members really equipped for a straight stand-up fight.
  • Hellish Copter: Chances are that you'll see Vertibirds spiraling out of control as often as you see them flying.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • The beeping mini-nuke of a Super Mutant Suicider. Pray you have a powerful ranged weapon handy or enough AP to hit the hand carrying the bomb from afar.
    • The sound of multiple Feral Ghouls rising from their "dead" state before their inevitable Zerg Rush. Pray you aren't in the middle of them when you hear it...
    • The whistling of a incoming mini-nuke from an raider or Gunner armed with a Fat Man. Get ready to die to this sound over and over as you try to find where the shot came from.
    • The cymbal banging toy monkeys scattered throughout the land. Though they don't harm your character, they are very creepy looking, and a first time encounter will probably be freaked out by it. Additionally, if there are any nearby enemies, the monkey will alert them to your presence.
    • In Bedlam's terminal in the Dunwich Borers location, her initial logs complain that the raiders in the area are just yellow-bellied cowards who can't do their job and deliver the shipment of scrap needed by the Saugus Ironworks factory. She then decides to go deeper into the mine herself, to see what's going on down there. Then her third entry is nothing but "I'm safe in the light" repeatedly, indicating that whatever was down there spooked her as well. As you travel deeper, you can also hear rumbles and footsteps of whatever's down there.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: The game has a dynamic dialogue system with a database of 924 popular male/female names. If the PC's name is a match, then Codsworth will use the appropriate dialogue snippet.
    • Also Protectrons: "I will be your personal escort during your visit to NAME OF OPERATIONAL AREA."
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Institute uses the Classical Radio station to encode the data they use to teleport synths in and out of their home base.
  • Historical In-Joke: The only thing played on the Silver Shroud radio station are broadcasts of the eponymous pulp hero's serial show (think The Shadow), and one of the episodes deals with a plot by the corrupt mayor to tear down Scollay Square, where the settlement of Goodneighbor is located. In real life, Scollay Square was torn down by the city of Boston to put up new developments.
  • Hint System: Mama Murphy can tell you where to go and what to do in the story missions, and sometimes even tell you easier ways to get through (like by giving a code phrase that Skinny Malone will remember, so he backs off without a fight). The downside is this takes a toll on her and she requests her own chair to sleep in constantly, so she won't work as a settler anymore. Plus, most of your companions don't like it and too many drugs will kill her.
  • Hoist By Their Own Petard:
    • A case that can happen to an unwitting player; don't leave a Power Suit in the open with a fusion core still plugged in. There's literally nothing stopping a Raider from hopping in and using it against you.
    • Power armored raiders are a real nuisance and thanks to the AI's new brilliance their weaker friends will fan out around them to try and flank or pin you down. Thanks to the new power armor mechanic of fusion cores, you can target the core, which not only does huge damage to the raider but also turns the core into a high powered grenade. Alternately, if you get the drop on the tin can, you might try and covertly deprive that suit of its fusion core through pickpocketing. The operator will egress from the dead suit, giving you an opportunity to apply a high-power weapon to their head at short range outside the suit helmet's protection. Reinstall the core, and then turn the raiders' power armor against them.
    • Enemies can now use the Fat Man, which was up until now a player-only toy. Much like the player can when using such a powerful weapon, they can accidentally blow up themselves and many of their allies. An errant piece of overhanging cover can potentially cause the raider armed with the Fat Man to wipe out his entire camp. They also don't seem to understand that a mini-nuke is not a close combat weapon.
    • The Super Mutant Suicider holds a primed Mini Nuke and attempts to charge the player to blow both up in a huge explosion. If the player manages to shoot the mini nuke, he blows up with his own Super Mutant friends instead.
    • The Luck 10 perk Ricochet gives a chance for an enemy's ranged attack that hits the player to deflect back to them and instantly kill them instead.
    • The Institute ending has the player infect Liberty Prime with a virus, causing him to identify the Prydwen as a hostile and knock it out of the sky, blowing up the entire airport.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Returning from Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas, but in addition the heavy sniper rifles that you could suppress in New Vegas, you can now add suppressors to revolvers of any type or even to shotguns.
    • They are more realistic than previous incarnations though, even on the quietest guns they don't silence the sound of the bullet and enemies will still become alerted by a near miss or you firing near them. Suppressors also notably reduce the gun's recoil, a trait of suppressors that most works of fiction ignore.
  • Hostile Weather: In addition to normal storms, you will occasionally be subject to radiation storms, sickly greenish-yellow thunderstorms which release intermittent bursts of radiation. The radiation is minimal, but it can be annoying if you're stuck in combat.
  • Human Popsicle: Vault 111's "experiment" was placing its denizens into cryogenic stasis and studying the effects of long term stasis. You're the only survivor due to a number of factors. Most of the Vault staff died in a mutiny about six months after the bombs fell. About 150 years later, the Institute popped in, killed your spouse to take Shaun away from you, and only reactivated the life support system for your cryo pod, leaving the rest of the "test subjects" to suffocate to death.
  • Humans Are Bastards: This is most exemplified by the the Robobrain research and production facility in the new Automatron expansion. The facility was run by human scientists who thought it was ethically and morally acceptable to extract the brains of human criminals and put them into robots.
    • The subjects for brain extraction were all maximum security criminals, but a few had committed crimes that weren't even deserving of a full life sentence. One log entry refers to an ideal subject who only committed manslaughter. Computer logs show the absolute terror of the people who were awake after their brains were removed and preserved in jars until their minds were wiped by the callous scientists.
    • Only the most callous and sociopathic of experimental victims proved able to handle the experience, and they alone went on to be turned into Robobrains, resulting in callous killing machines that preferred to interpret orders in the most evil, sadistic way possible. And the facility is huge — hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women, many of them minor or accidental crooks, mental patients with IQ ratings below 80, some likely innocent outright, were subjected to monstrous experiments and butchered by order of their own government.
    • The army officer in charge of the prison wing housing the test subjects was determined to put a stop to the madness until he was reassigned to a post cleaning toilets in Anchorage and replaced by someone more "patriotic".
    • One scientist pulled a prank on another by making a brain-shaped birthday cake by covering an actual extracted brain in frosting. He laughed his ass off when his colleague took a bite and reacted accordingly.
    • And then the Mechanist found the defunct facility and decided that the project which spawned robobrains which were defective to the point of violent insanity is just what the people of the commonwealth need for their protection.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Like other Fallout games, eating food heals you... unlike other Fallout games, however, cooking food at a cooking station can heal you more than a Stimpak does, especially in the early-game, due to Stimpaks now healing based on a percentage rather than a set amount of health, and start out at 30% without any perks. Cooked food also has (unlike most raw foods) no radiation and typically provides some nifty buffs. This is taken to absurd extremes in some cases, as a Nuka-Cola Quantum heals 400 HP right off the bat. Also, drinking from water pumps very quickly restores your health, much more than in previous games.
  • I Am A Humanitarian: It's an "acquired taste". It's a good way to turn most enemies into free healing, but the downside is most companions dislike it.
  • I Call It "Vera": Players can now give custom names to weapons and (most) armor pieces in their possession. Sadly, there is no way to name Power Armor.
  • I Have No Son: The Survivor can be sufficiently pissed and disappointed in Shaun enough to tell him that they're deeply offended by what he's been doing and that he isn't the son they cared for way back when.
  • Iconic Outfit: Every game gets one. The T-60 Power Armor is featured heavily in the Fallout 4 promotional material, just like the T-51b in Fallout, Enclave Advanced Power Armor in Fallout 2, the T-45d in Fallout 3, and NCR Veteran Ranger Armor in New Vegas.
    • An in-universe example stems from a sidequest where you have to find the outfit of the Silver Shroud, a pre-war detective superhero in the vein of The Shadow.
  • Idiot Savant: The Luck 5 perk. It gives you a random chance of getting hugely multiplied experience points from any action, said chance being higher the lower your Intelligence is.
  • Impossible Item Drop: While most loot is set to match the species (deathclaws will drop deathclaw meat and maybe a deathclaw hand - making it an even more annoying enemy, since you only get comparatively little loot out of a comparatively difficult fight -, bloodbugs will only drop bloodbug parts and blood, while humanoid characters may carry some random junk items), legendary enemies are an exception, since they always have a legendary item in the loot, which will be either a weapon or a piece of armor. So it's possible for a mole rat to drop a rocket launcher bigger than it is. Also, opening a Vault-Tec lunchbox may pop a Nuka-Cola, which is bigger than the lunchbox's interior.
  • Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat: You can come across Port-A-Diners, which contain a slice of somehow perfectly preserved pie. The chance of actually getting it out of the machine is infinitesimal, though it increases slightly with a high Luck stat.
  • Infant Immortality:
    • While children aren't killable like in the first two games, this can potentially be averted for Austin, who will die if he's not given a cure. Otherwise played straight such as if you kill the child's parents at a settlement. They still can't be attacked, but will run away so as to free up the slot space at the settlement.
    • In most of the non-Brotherhood endings, you end up blowing up Prydwen near the endgame. There are multiple children on deck.
    • During the Brotherhood of Steel quest "Leading by Example", a young squire follows and watches you fight while you clear out an area of enemies. Said squire is completely invulnerable to any damage, or even kill commands on the PC. Enemies will also ignore them, giving you free reign to fight them however you wish without worrying about collateral damage.
  • Infinity–1 Sword: Several mundane weapons can be very damaging if you fully upgrade them at workbenches and take a few levels in the relevant perks. For example, the Laser Rifle, Combat Shotgun and .44 Pistol can all do over 150 damage at maximum power. For context, 150 is the base damage of the Missile Launcher. Level locking of skills and perks prevents a Disc One Nuke scenario.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Gauss Rifle is the most damaging ballistic weapon, capable of doing over 400 damage, depending on mods and perks. It is also rare and expensive, and has rare and expensive ammunition.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: You may have superhuman strength or be packing enough explosive firepower to personally re-enact the Great War, but you aren't getting through an intact chain link fence. Nor will maxed out Strength and Agility enable you to climb it. Boarded-up doors are equally unpassable.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Unexpectedly, Lorenzo Cabot appears in the backstory to have stumbled upon the actual titular Nameless City of H.P. Lovecraft's short story.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Lots of characters are considered "essential" in this game to ensure that you can always complete the main questline. In particular, the original Sanctuary Hills settlers are invulnerable, preventing you from killing off the last of the Minutemen (since the Minutemen provide the opportunity for a Wild Card ending).
  • Irish Names: It's Boston so yep, Irish Americans with Irish surnames. Oddly, most of the game's Boston is the North End, a neighborhood known for its Italian American population.
  • Item Crafting: You can scrap junk and materials in the world to build and customize thousands of weapons, power armor, houses, generator, defenses, and even settlements all over the game.
  • I Own This Town: You can build entire settlements from scratch, organize defensive militias, and set up trade routes, making your own pocket kingdom in the Boston Wasteland.
  • Irony: Before the War (and in our world), Fenway Park's left wall was the "Green Monster", known for stopping home runs when fly balls slammed into it. Now, it's Diamond City's "Green Guardian", and the people there give it a near-religious veneration as it keeps out the monsters and raiders.
    • There is a bug in place where Strong will have almost no interval in his passive commentary. This occurs when left at base. What is one of his statements? "Humans talk too much."
    • Lampshaded by Nick when rescued by a female Sole Survivor:
    Nick: Gotta love the irony of the reverse Damsel in Distress situation. But the question is, what's a doll like you doing rescuing this old private eye?
  • Ironic Name: One unique legendary weapon is a laser gun named "Good Intentions". Said weapon is carried by Clint, the guy who betrayed the Minutemen and defected to the Gunners during the Quincy Massacre.
  • I Work Alone: The "Lone Wanderer" perk increases your armor and carrying capacity as long as you have no companions. Well, except for Dogmeat.

    J-P 
  • Jet Pack: You can mod power armor to have jump jet backpack attachments that let you leap tall buildings in a single bound, the thrust duration of which is provided by Action Points and doing so drains your fusion core like nothing else.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: After killing Kellogg, you get to experience a few of his past memories via a virtual reality chamber, thanks to using his cybernetic brain augmenter.
    • If you visit the Memory Den prior to meeting Nick Valentine, you can relive your own memories of Shaun's kidnapping and Nate/Nora's death, with the sole survivor's thoughts added instead of Kellogg's.
  • Jump Scare:
    • With the new game mechanic, plenty of creatures can now tunnel through the ground and pop up right in front of you, or burst through walls and ceilings unannounced. So prepare for a lot of this and try to not play with a full bladder, especially when said creature is a Radscorpion.
    • During "The Big Dig", the player needs to escort a modified Eyebot to clear the fragile walls, leaving a lot of dust and a tunnel behind. While most of them are conveniently empty right behind the walls, a certain one has a Feral Ghoul that will pounce on you through the obscuring dust if you move in too quickly.
    • The witchcraft museum in Salem has a few as your progress through the building, culminating in suddenly coming face to face with a very pissed off deathclaw.
    • Feral ghouls in general. You see one at a distance, look away for half a second and it's right in your face. They're not the slow, nearly harmless shamblers of Fallout 1 and 2.
  • Just Before the End: The game starts the morning of the very last day of the pre-apocalyptic world, mere minutes before the Great War begins.
  • Kick the Dog: Elder Maxson begins his speech to a recruit PC by talking about how synths are worse than the atom bomb and how it is disgusting that any machine would ever think it could be the equal of a man. At the very least, the PCs have met Nick Valentine and Codsworth at this point. They may also have met Curie and even helped her become as close to human as she can get. It gets worse if you're in a romance with her.
    • There was an NCR-like organization called the Commonwealth Provisional Government, which was going to help the various groups rebuild. The Institute sent a synth operative to destroy the organization's leadership or did they? Institute logs say that they did their best to support the CPG, and the Institute was scapegoated when the CPG representatives killed each other due to infighting.
      • The Institute is also responsible for all of the Super Mutants in the Commonwealth. This is one use of the people they kidnap.
      • During your tour of the Institute, you get to see one of the scientists threatening to scrap a Gen-2 synth with a faulty cleaning chip, saying that maybe something useful will come out of him.
    • Kellogg gets one even after he murders your spouse and steals your child. All of the cryogenically frozen people in Vault 111 were actually alive and fine until he awoke them, then let everyone suffocate in their cages except you. It was an act of mass murder on a grand scale.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: If you have a high Armorer skill and some spare Ballistic Fiber, then the Sequin Dress can be made as protective as any regular armour, while still being a glittery dress with a Charisma bonus. It also comes with a smart pair of black and white court shoes.
  • Killer Robot:
    • The Institute synths in a nutshell. As a focused example, the Courser class synths are basically Terminators: they are different from the other synths as they have sophisticated human disguises, they are also hunters that are dispatched by the Institute if they need someone dead or something goes wrong for them.
    • There's also a new type of robot called the Assaultron, a fast, tough and powerful humanoid that can fire lasers from afar or get in close to deal some huge damage. And they can also use stealth.
  • Kill It with Ice: Vault 111 houses a "Cryolator", a prototype ice weapon that functions like a flamethrower that freezes enemies instead of burning them.
  • King Mook: The Mirelurk Queen is a gigantic member of their species who soaks up minigun shots like they're water droplets. Given the game is set in Lovecraft Country, the damn thing has been likened to Dagon.
  • Knee Capping: Shooting enemies in their legs can cripple their movements. Can be useful if you have too many attackers and want to fall back to another spot without having too many of them chase you. Or to prevent them from escaping easily.
  • Large Ham: Your character can do this when talking to Hancock while wearing the Silver Shroud outfit. He humors you and mostly plays along during this.
  • Laser Hallway: The Treasure of Jamaica Plains is guarded by such a hallway, linked to three very damaging gatling laser turrets which will turn you into swiss cheese if they catch you in the open. You can disarm all the individual tripwires, but take care to only press the use key when it's centered on a tripwire, as using the turrets by mistake activates them.
  • Last of His Kind: Preston Garvey is the last Minuteman in the Commonwealth. Unless you decide to help him rebuild them.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: As with previous installments, your sneaking abilities are only as effective as your often overzealous companions allow.
  • Let the Past Burn: The Institute symbolically seeks to do this trope in its attempts to erase all traces of Pre-War America and pave the way to their new order.
  • Level-Locked Loot: A side-effect of the new perk system is that even the best weapons will behave poorly until you reach a certain level to unlock their full damage potential. In previous games, skill points could be allocated by the player at their discretion, allowing one to quickly specialize in a single skill to the detriment of everything else. The new tiered perk system only allows the player to unlock the next tier at an average of every ten levels or so, with the highest rankings usually requiring between level 40-45 to unlock. This forces the player to broaden their skillset so that they'll be the Red Mage until they reach a high enough level to become Master of All.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Once you achieve romantic status with a companion, resting in a bed with them nearby will give you the "Lover's Embrace" perk, which increases the value of experience gains for a limited time.
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: Should you side with the Railroad or the Minutemen over the Institute, this is the state of affairs for the Commonwealth. Sure, the Institute's advances in robotics and bioscience are effectively Lost Forever and the wastelanders above ground will never know any of them, but at least the Commonwealth they live in belongs to them and not a hidden cabal of scientists with very questionable ethics.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Wearing upgraded power armor with a heavy hitting weapon will turn you into this. Unfortunately the reverse is true, as enemies wearing power armor will generally be tougher to deal with, especially early on.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Fallout 3 and New Vegas. It's quite clear the Commonwealth got the long end of the stick, with significantly friendlier inhabitants and the chance to directly improve things yourself with the Settlement system.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition:
    • The Pip-Boy Edition, which comes with a wearable Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV, a stand for said Pip-Boy, a Pip-Boy Pocket Guide, a Vault-Tec Perk poster, the game itself in a steelbook case, all in a RobCo capsule case. Similar to what happened with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the Pip-Boy Edition completely sold out. However, the sheer number of people ordering the damn thing caused the factory making them to hit their production limit!
    • There's a very limited Fallout 4-themed Xbox One appropriately named the "Pip-Box". It looks like the Pip-boy 2000 from the original games.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • During settlement building, there are some restrictions on how you can build things, such as a roof needing a wall to support it. However, once the roof is up, you can remove the wall and the roof will stay in place. This allows you to have an elevated defense platform(s) where you can place turrets which will then not only be out of reach from melee attackers, but will also have a much clearer line-of-sight for attacking enemies. As an additional bonus, said platforms will be out of the way, giving your provisioners plenty of room to go in and out.
    • You can also avoid the approval restriction that stops you from spamming approval from repeated actions (e.g. lockpicking). This is done by simply quick-saving before you perform the action, and then reloading the quicksave and performing the action. It can be somewhat time consuming, but it is possible to max out the approval of, for example, Preston by creating a weapon mod, saving, reloading, and repeating while virtually no in-game time passes.
  • Lost Forever:
    • Averted with the 20 Vault-Tec Bobbleheads this time around. Previous games had a few missable ones which were located in non-returnable locations. All of the ones in this game can be found no matter what quests or actions have been accomplished.
    • Played straight with some unique weapons/armor that are only sold by specific vendors. If they're killed, the items will no longer be available.
    • There are several corpses scattered around the wasteland that contain unique keys and holotapes, or exist as set dressing to help tell a story during a quest. Unfortunately, many are set to despawn or simply vanish, along with their unique contents, if you entered the general area and then left without looting them.
    • Various random encounters can occur at hotspots all over the map. They will happen at these set locations even if you're just skirting the periphery, distracted by other things. This means potentially unique encounters can play out unnoticed by the player, never to be seen again. Wandering NPC's that can be recruited as level 4 settlement vendors can appear to die off-screen without the player even being aware of them, because they were killed by enemies at the very edge of the currently loaded area.
    • There is a collectible magazine located inside the Institute. If you end up destroying the Institute before you have the chance to collect it, it's gone.
    • Near the end of the Railroad Quest "Underground Undercover," an as-yet unfixable bug can happen which prevents you from initiating a conversation with Desdemona, thus preventing you from going any further with the Railroad faction and earning two Achievements/Trophies associated with them.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Yes, you can have multiple romantic partners. However, most romanced companions will hate it when you flirt with other characters in front of them.
  • MacGyvering: You can build modifications for your weapons out of pieces from microscopes, toy cars, and other seemingly useless "junk" littering the wasteland.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • The Big Boy is a unique Fat Man launcher which fires two mini nukes at the cost of one. And if you combine it with the MIRV mod, the Big Boy MIRV fires 12 nukes at once, it is in doubt if anything can survive that. (Including you. It sets them off at about half of the maximum flight distance, far too close for comfort.)
    • If you mod a weapon in Creation Kit, you can decide how many projectiles to fire from your original weapons, if it happened to fire 12 missiles per shot, be it with a standard Missile Launcher, Broadslider or a Minigun...
  • Made of Explodium: There are tanks and barrels scattered throughout Boston that you can blow up by shooting at them.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Maxing out the Toughness and Refractor perks gives you an innate 50 points of ballistic and energy resistance respectively, combined with any half decent armor and you can tank anything.
    • Sentry Bots, both literally and metaphorically.
  • Made of Plasticine:
    • Feral ghouls are so decayed that a solid whack will tear their limbs right off. This won't stop them unless you manage to kill in the same hit, but an armless ghoul is a lot less of a threat than an intact one.
      • On the other hand you can sever one or both legs leaving even a high level ghoul helpless.
    • The robotic synths are similarly fragile, though some are armored to let them survive longer.
  • Madness Mantra: Found on Bedlam's terminal in Dunwich Borers: "I'm safe in the light."
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Fairline Hill Estates is an abandoned settlement with no story significance or unique loot. Most of the homes are completely empty with no signs of violence or recent habitation. However, one house is locked from the inside, heavily trapped to prevent entry, and once you find your way inside you'll find the skeleton of the house's previous owner clutching a pistol (possibly suggesting suicide) outside a chained up room which turns out to contain a pair of feral ghouls. One possible interpretation of this is that the home's previous inhabitant's ghoul friends/family members started to turn feral, and he/she locked them up in the spare room and eventually committed suicide.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Modding. At low levels, you're likely to loot more helpful items than you can make. If you spend the 17 points necessary for all the modding related perks, you can make weapons and armor far better (and complimentary) than the random loot you come across.
    • Settlements. They can be a huge investment in time, resources and perks that could be spent on more direct character upgrades. But if you make that investment, what you'll have is a vast network of heavily defended hubs filled with traders and settlers, continuously producing vast supplies of food, scrap and caps. The former of which can be used to create an unlimited supply of adhesive, or simply used to swamp vendors in huge piles of mutfruit so you can laugh in Adam Smith's face.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: Encouraged with feral ghouls, as some of them play dead or lie under objects to pop out as you pass by. Confirmation shots on any suspicious looking bodies can trigger or kill them from a more manageable distance, preventing them from getting the drop on you. Pulling up VATS will also target ghouls just playing dead.
  • Mama Bear / Papa Wolf: No matter which parent you play, all of the dialogue options makes your character obsessive on the subject of finding your child. Dialogue ranges from a polite "Where the hell is my son?" to an angry "Where the fuck is my son, you bastard!"
    • The reason for the Deathclaw at the Museum of Witchcraft? Some Gunners stole its eggs, and it slaughtered its way through them to get it back. If you return the egg to its nest, said Deathclaw's mate will leave you alone... but if you try to take it back and leave, it will attack.
  • Maximum HP Reduction:
    • Radiation damage now reduces your maximum health by a percentage, making it extremely important that you get that RadAway ASAP.
    • The mole rats in Vault 81 are diseased, and if they hit the player (or their companions, or the protectron if activated), they transmit the disease. It permanently reduces the player's max health by ten points unless cured, and there's only one cure. If you use it, you have to let a child who's also infected die.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In Far Harbor, nothing is ever made clear about the Mother of the Mist.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Sanctuary Hills is your first available settlement in the game. It's also one of the few with a river going through it, allowing you to plant the higher-tier water purifiers, as well as providing a lot of materials from the junk that's accumulated around the neighborhood.
  • Mecha-Mooks:
    • The robots are still around, of course, and now there are the rather common Synths.
    • The Automatron allows the player to build their own as companions, mixing and match parts from Sentry Bots, Protectrons, and Assaultrons.
  • Mini-Game: There are some holotapes hidden in the game that contain minigames playable on computer terminals and your Pip-Boy, including Red Menace (which is essentially Donkey Kong), Atomic Command (Missile Command), Pipfall (Pitfall, natch), Zeta Invaders (Space Invaders), and Grognak & the Ruby Ruins (an old computer RPG in a similar vain to Ultima and Wasteland). The Automatron DLC adds another game of the same name, which plays like Robotron 2084.
  • Molotov Cocktail: One of the available grenades (and the only one that can be built without taking ranks of the Demolitions perk), and unlike in New Vegas, it will detonate on impact and will burn the ground for a short time. It's also far more realistic in regards to making them; you need to use actual oil to make it rather than alcohol. Still no regards to characters reaction to the heat of the bottle, though...
  • Money for Nothing: Even worse than the previous two games for several reasons- weapons and armor no longer break and need to be repaired so you won't have to pay people to fix it for you, there are relatively few expensive unique weapons and armor in the game to be bought and you can easily find randomly dropped Legendary weaponry that is of similar (or possibly better) power, and with the right perks you can build your own shops that will supply you with infinite income.
  • Money Spider: The fourth rank of the Fortune Finder perk adds a chance of any enemy spraying out caps when killed.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: If you decide to investigate the Museum of Witchcraft, there will be a dismembered corpse with an Apocalyptic Log detailing an attack on a group of Gunners delivering a secret package being attacked by something. Inside the museum are several other bodies, including one supplied with a missile launcher and a dozen missiles. On the second floor of the museum is a huge Deathclaw that serves as the area's boss. After killing it, you'll find another tape and a Deathclaw egg, which explains that the Deathclaw tracked the Gunners for miles and slaughtered them to retrieve the egg. If you choose to return to egg to its nest, the Deathclaw's mate will approach you, but it won't attack... unless you choose to steal the egg back.
  • Monumental Damage Resistance:
    • Many recognizable places and landmarks located in Boston, such as the Bunker Hill Monument and the Paul Revere Monument, are shown to be relatively intact despite the post-apocalyptic setting. Director Todd Howard confirmed that only one bomb was launched at Boston, then missed the city and landed southwest of Natick, minimizing damage to Boston and its surrounding areas.
    • Flat out averted by the crew of the U.S.S. Constitution, who leveled a bank with said ship and later demolish the top of a sky scraper if you help them out. However, their famous warship remains largely intact despite being made of wood.
    • In the endings where you destroy the Institute, the C.I.T. campus and surrounding areas end up getting cratered.
  • Mook Horror Show: If you are seen slaughtering some raiders and then hide, the survivors can become panicked and jumpy instead of just playing the violence off as a trick of the wind. They may draw their weapons, become verbally terrified and can occasionally start shooting at shadows they've mistaken as the player stalking up on them.
    • In Hunter/Hunted, both you and the Courser you are chasing after are doing this to a group of Gunners, before finally having a duel after you wiped out most of the Gunners.
    • The last part of The Silver Shroud, you can continue to act like the titular hero and chew the scenery which will cause Sinjin's mooks to let out an Oh Crap! and run away in fear, if you do this, they will continue to run in fear and not fight back even after you killed Sinjin, double points if you choose to stick around and brutally kill them one by one Punisher-style.
    • Pickman's Gallery is a dark, intensely creepy home of a serial killer filled with paintings and other "art" crafted from the remains of his victims. It's filled with Raiders who are there looking for Pickman to get revenge. After you start killing them, they'll begin panicking and accidentally shooting each other or falling into the house's many death traps.
    • The Gunner group who happened to stupidly swipe a deathclaw egg and was chased into the Museum of Witchcraft by an angry Mama Bear deathclaw.
  • Mordor: The Glowing Sea. It's ground zero for the one atomic bomb that hit Boston. It covers the entire lower left corner of the map, and the entire zone is completely devoid of vegetation, buildings (except for mostly-submerged ruins) or signs of civilization in general. There is a permanent radioactive storm going on, all the water is horribly polluted, and it's home to some of the deadliest creatures in the game. The radiation is so severe you'll quickly suffer radiation poisoning without power armor or a hazmat suit. Rad-X is powerful enough to keep you protected there, but each application only lasts a small while, while the affected area is quite large. And you HAVE to go there during the main campaign.
  • More Dakka: Automatic weapons and the minigun make liberal use of this trope.
  • More Friends, More Benefits: The more allied settlements you have working for you, the more Minuteman support you have around the Commonwealth. Firing a flare gun into the sky will summon up a handful of allied Minutemen (in greater numbers if you have a lot more nearby settlements) and later on, you get artillery unlocked which lets you get something equivalent to a multiple Fatman-launch on any target you can throw a smoke grenade to. Random minutemen will start appearing around your settlements and in the wasteland the more areas you unlock.
    • There's a point in the game where you can be allied with all the major factions. Synths ignore you, Brotherhood knights assist you in battle, Minutemen come whenever you call for them, and so on. At that point, you only have to worry about monsters, raiders or Super Mutants.
  • Multiple Endings: Similar to Fallout: New Vegas, the ending of the game is determined by which faction you side with at the end of the game, leading to a final mission in which you act to assure your faction's dominance over the Commonwealth. Regardless of which faction you choose, the game's ending cinematic and narration is the same (as it is simply the main character reminiscing about how far they've come), but the consequences for the in-game world vary quite a bit.
    • Brotherhood of Steel: After wiping out the Railroad, the newly repaired Liberty Prime leads an assault against the Institute, blowing a hole in its roof with a nuclear device. The Brotherhood then storms the Institute and detonates its nuclear reactor, assuring the Brotherhood's control over the Commonwealth.
    • Institute: The Institute wipes out the Railroad. They then assault the Brotherhood of Steel's base of operations, kill Elder Maxson in a final battle, and re-program Liberty Prime to target and destroy the Prydwen, allowing the Institute to continue its control over the Commonwealth for the greater good.
    • Railroad: The Railroad infiltrates the Prydwen and crashes it, decimating the Brotherhood of Steel. They then use their contacts within the Institute to launch an invasion, evacuate the synths inside, and detonate the facility's reactor, leaving the Commonwealth free from the control of any major faction.
    • Minutemen: Essentially the game's "Wild Card" ending, for players who don't want to side with any of the above. The Minutemen infiltrate the Institute through a hidden maintenance tunnel and storm the reactor, destroying the organization once and for all. Depending on the player's actions, they may also have to contend with the other factions: if the player does not activate the evacuation signal before destroying the Institute, the Railroad will blame them for the deaths of all the synths inside. Should the player become enemies with the Brotherhood at any point prior to or after the ending, the Minutemen will shoot down the Prydwen with their artillery.
    • Filicide: The only ending that doesn't involve choosing a faction. This ending will occur if the Sole Survivor kills Father at any point prior to receiving one of the other endings. Afterwards, the player is free to continue the other faction storylines to their completion if possible.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: If one confronts The Mechanist the usual way, they will have to face off lots of eyebots, trashbots, swarmbots, and a duelbot in a closed arena, the first two of which will continuously spawn until the power gets cut (twice).
  • Mundane Utility: The one kind of salvage that not a single companion will give you flak for picking up over and over? Adhesives. They're used in almost every single weapon and armor mod, and even though they can be found consistently, they're rarely found in bulk. That means you'll have serious consideration between taking an awesome new plasma rifle or a pack of duct tape when your inventory starts filling up. And this adhesive is strong enough to make night vision scopes out of (among other high-tech mods, like Power Armor voltaic charge paint).
    • Using an old/spare suit of Power Armor for transporting large amounts of goods between settlements is perfectly viable. Mostly because fast traveling doesn't drain the fusion core, and even a bare Power Armor frame gives massive bonuses to carrying capacity.
  • Murderous Mannequin: Seemingly invoked. 1st Generation Synths look like Skelebots, and 3rd Generation Synths can pass for humans, but 2nd Generation Synths are at an uncomfortable middle ground and appear as porcelain-white, expressionless, genderless mannequins (until they take battle damage). Coincidentally, the game is the first in the Fallout series to feature actual mannequins hanging around the ruins of Boston. And if you get both 2nd Gen Synths and mannequins in the same area...
  • My God, What Have I Done?: You get this reaction from the Mechanist, if you can convince them to accept the truth that their robobrains are directing their bots to kill innocents.
  • Mythology Gag: Quite a few appear.
    • The game's vault jumpsuits are closer to the tight spandex design of the first two games, rather than the baggier boilersuit designs of Fallout 3 and New Vegas.
    • Mama Murphy's psychic visions tell her that Dogmeat has a habit of finding worthy soldiers and leading them where they're needed. Given that every Dogmeat in the series is (somehow) a direct descendant of the first Dogmeat, Mama Murphy probably knows how important his lineage is.
    • The first trailer begins in a manner similar to the intro of the first game, by slowly panning out from a TV set to show the ruins of the wasteland around it.
    • The character generation starts with a pre-war rush to get to a Vault, like the tech demo for Fallout: Van Buren.
      • On the note of Van Buren, it was supposed to reveal that the earliest versions of Power Armor originally ran on small energy cells, but ended up draining them ridiculously fast. Just replace "small energy cell" with "fusion core", and you have your Fallout 4 Power Armor.
      • Acadia in the Far Harbor DLC, and the associated quest to find more memory storage for DiMA, both resemble Van Buren's Boulder Dome and its quest to find the ZAX computer more memory.
  • Mysterious Protector: The Mysterious Stranger perk appears yet again. This is lampshaded when you search through Nick's office. He has a file on the guy that lampshades his improbable appearances and help.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: A Downplayed Trope example notable for the fact the Brotherhood of Steel's Fantastic Racism has reached genocidal levels under Elder Maxson. Likewise, he's established a cult of personality which focuses on Rousing Speech, cool toys, and conquest. There's also the Does This Remind You of Anything? purity test it gives new recruits.
  • Necessary Drawback:
    • Added to the now massively beefed up power armor: it actually works like power armor should, but it takes fusion cores to properly function, the cores drain quickly to keep the player from steamrolling everything everywhere all the time, and it's also the only equipment in the game that degrades from damage. Although the Nuclear Physicist perk can double the amount of use you can get out of fusion cores if you take all three ranks.
    • The Automatron DLC lets you make robots by mixing and matching parts of Assaultrons, Protectrons, and Sentry Bots. Each of these has its pros and cons. Assaultron parts are fast and very good at melee, but with lower carrying capacity. Protectron parts are tough, but slow and clumsy. Sentry Bot parts are huge and have a lot of hit points, but this comes at the expense of limited mobility in smaller spaces.
  • Necessary Weasel: Like the Capital Wasteland, the entire Boston area has no real greenery in it 210 years after the great war because it's a staple of Fallout games to be set in barren brown wastelands full of dead trees.
  • Neck Lift: Deathclaws are now capable of this, should you be bold enough to face them without Power Armor. If you have enough health they'll slam you to the ground. If not, then they'll disembowel you with their other hand. Lovely.
  • Never Found the Body: One would suspect the nuclear destruction of the world and the passage of 200 years would be enough to kill an insignificant character like the Vault Tech representative from the opening scene, but he turns up later alive and well as a ghoul.
  • Never Recycle a Building:
    • After 210 years, most of the major buildings in the Boston area are still intact and boarded up. A few are used by raiders and Super Mutants as bases, but there has been no large scale rebuilding and re-habitation of the Commonwealth. Boston is supposed to be one of the least damaged and more civilized places in the post-war world, yet all the buildings you enter have useful junk laying around, ranging from pre-war tech, weapons and ammo, to old clothes and food still on the shelves of many shops. The whole setting would make much more sense if it was set 20 years after the bombs fell instead of 210. Partly justified due to the Institute trying to keep any form of civilization in the Commonwealth limited to self-contained settlements that are completely ignorant of the Pre-War world.
    • Averted by the local scavengers. Unlike previous games, where a building would stay empty after you cleared out any raiders or ghouls that were camping out in it, this time around a new group will move back in after a while.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The first official game trailer made it seem like Boston was rebuilt as a thriving and populated city like New Vegas was. Nope. It's a filthy ruin filled with raiders and Super Mutants all trying to kill you. The only major population center is confined to a baseball stadium converted into a fortress town. Evidently, nobody has tried to clean up and rebuild in 210 years.
    • According to some dialogue, the Commonwealth of Allied Settlements had tried, but the Institute infiltrated and destroyed them before they could make significant progress.
  • New Era Speech: In the Institute path, you're eventually given the chance to give one of these on behalf of the Institute. You can adjust some of the words to make it sound more benevolent or more tyrannical.
  • New Tech Is Not Cheap: And Prewar tech is even more expensive. The town of Covenant is built like a fortress on the outside but looks spotless and Prewar on the inside. A glimpse at a terminal reveals the town's supported by an outside budget and is vastly more expensive to maintain than the shacks most people use for houses.
  • Nice Guy: The Sole Survivor, no matter what, is pretty much forced to be a lot more heroic than other Fallout heroes. At their worst, they're a Jerk with a Heart of Gold hitting up people for money and being rude to everyone they meet, while at their best they are a Wasteland Messiah akin to the Good Karma Lone Wanderer or Vault Dweller.
  • Nice Hat: While there are plenty of nice hats, there are none quite so nice as that of the captain of the U.S.S. Constitution, a Sentry Bot with a period naval hat befitting the ship he commands.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Vault 81, Bobby De Luca hides a stash of jet in a previously unknown area of the Vault. Austin, one of the boys living there, sees it, and ends up exploring the ruins of the secret Vault 81. Unfortunately he's bitten by a rabid molerat, and nearly dies from it. Or really dies if you've contracted the disease while attempting to retrieve the cure, and then use it on yourself.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: Many wastelanders call the Institute's android replicants "Synths", both as a Fantastic Slur and for convenience's sake.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Several:
    • The crew of the U.S.S. Constitution are robot sailors (complete with accents and ranks befitting the theme) and have attached rockets to said ship, which makes them robot sailors on a flying ship.
    • The crew of the FMS North Star are ghoulified Norwegian sailors who have become raiders, making them zombie vikings.
    • Nick Valentine is a clockwork dick.
      Nick: That's Synth Detective, jackass.
  • Nintendo Hard: Besides five main difficulties of Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard, there's Survival, which a recent patch has transformed from a Harder Than Hard difficulty level into a downright brutal new mode. In Survival mode, you can only save by sleeping in a bed, fast travel is disabled, carry weight is harshly reduced (and ammo now has weight), enemies no longer show up on your compass, you have to regularly eat/drink/sleep or else face severe stat penalties, companions will return home if they're downed and not healed, you must contend with a slew of all-new infections and sicknesses (which chems and Stimpaks make you even more susceptible to), and damage from all sources - including you - is greatly amplified. New Vegas's Survival mode is an absolute cakewalk in comparison.
  • No Canon for the Wicked:
    • The Brotherhood of Steel obviously survived the events of Broken Steel, given they're now powerful enough to potentially take over the Commonwealth and are led by Elder Maxson. This means that the Lone Wanderer chose to nuke the Enclave's Mobile Base Crawler rather than betray the Brotherhood.
    • At one point Megaton is briefly mentioned as having expanded in influence since the time period of Fallout 3, suggesting the Lone Wanderer sided with Megaton over Tenpenny Tower in regards to the nuclear bomb.
    • Also, like in Fallout: New Vegas, the Wasteland Survival Guide by Moira Brown and The Lone Wanderer is one of the skill magazines you can get. This time, some of the copies resembles what you have to do in Fallout 3.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In the Hole in the Wall quest, you're sent into a secret section of Vault 81 to retrieve a cure for child bitten by a mole rat. The disease isn't just a plot point — it's something you can actually (and probably will) catch unless you're very careful, and it gives a debuff of -10 max health. There's only one sample of the cure, and you can't split it between yourself and the child. If you use the cure, the child will die, and if you don't, the debuff is permanent. Your reward for this quest if you give it to the child? A Syringer rifle that is valuable and rare, but you can acquire one easier if you know where to look. However, maybe you just want the room in the Vault to use as a player house that they give out of gratitude.
  • Non Standard Game Over: This can happen very early on if you spend too much time dallying around Pre-War Sanctuary Hills when the Great War occurs.
  • No OSHA Compliance: At the Dunwich Borers location, many of the terminals in the mine have complaints from the various supervisors in the area that they need safety equipment installed, such as railings and load bearing beams. The management's response to said complaints boils down to "stop falling to your deaths morons!", and complain that safety equipment costs money. Hilariously, during the upcoming holiday event, they also make all the employees pay for it via withholding money on their next paycheck, suggesting the company is either in financial trouble, very greedy, or possibly both.
  • Notice This:
    • If you run out of a crafting component, you can tag it, meaning that items with that component in it have a little magnifying glass next to their name. You can take the trope further by choosing to make such objects (and containers they're in) glow with your HUD color when you get near them.
    • Getting lost in a dungeon? Look for a red light on the wall. In one particularly blatant case, the red light is flashing.
  • Not So Different:
    • The Brotherhood of Steel under Elder Maxson's command have since reverted to their old traditional beliefs utilized by the original West Coast chapter (though they still recruit Wastelanders much like their counterparts from both Tactics and 3) and, with their heightened Fantastic Racism towards non-humans as well as their newly acquired technology after the events of 3, are getting dangerously close to becoming another Enclave.
    • Of all things, this can happen between the player and a Deathclaw. The Museum of Witchcraft contains a leveled Deathclaw, which, after it's probably killed by the player, has an unhatched Deathclaw Egg nearby. If the player chooses to return the egg, they're put in a similar situation to the Deathclaw at the nest- having their spouse killed and their child kidnapped (and found again).
    • Likewise, potentially between you and Kellogg, who also suffered the loss of his wife and child after being helpless to protect them; the key difference is that instead of bouncing back, he let his depression get the best of him and became a completely cold-hearted killer. One of the dialog options after seeing this is to lampshade it and decide whether or not you want to cut him a little slack.
    • The Brotherhood of Steel and the Institute themselves are more similar than either faction would be comfortable to admit; both factions rely on superior technology and limiting interaction with the locals (In the Institute's case they're the Commonwealth's bogeymen, in the Brotherhood it is mentioned that unauthorized fraternizing with wastelanders is a punishable offense), both believe they're the best hope for the Commonwealth and by extension the post-apocalyptic world, and both see synths as less than human, though in the Brotherhood's case they see them as abominations to be exterminated while the Institute sees them as mere tools with no actual free will.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Averted if you have power armor. In some of the skyscrapers, players often amuse themselves by jumping off the top. Or waiting for a band of raiders and ghouls to pass through down below and do a Dynamic Entry on the rabble.
  • Nuclear Nasty: Fallout 4 features many of the same grotesquely mutated creatures from previous games, such as giant mole rats, yao guai, deathclaws, radroaches, bloatflies, ghouls and super mutants. It also introduces two new creatures, the Bloodbug, a monstrous insect mutated from the common mosquito, and the Stingwing, a giant, mutated, actually venomous scorpionfly.
  • Nuke 'em: The Fat Man nuclear catapult returns.
    • Taken to the extreme with the MIRV Mod - similar to Fallout 3, it make the Fat Man fire multiple, in this case six mini-nukes at once. And it can be applied to a legendary Fat Man known as the Big Boy, which fires two mini nukes for the price of one, meaning you can rain down twelve rounds of atomic fire for the price of one. Deathclaws will wish that they had brought their brown pants.
  • Obliviously Evil: The Mechanist is convinced they are "saving" the people of the Commonwealth with their robot army. It takes some convincing from Ada and the Sole Survivor that A.I. Is a Crapshoot and their robobrains are deliberately misinterpreting orders and murdering civilians.
  • Obvious Beta: The 1.3 patch, in addition to a variety of cross-platform bug fixes and feature tweaks, promised to dramatically increase object fading distances on consoles. This was not a game-breaker, but if the developers could not find the time to fully optimise the game for fixed, well-known, popular platforms before release, then they may have been rushing it a bit.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: You no longer get EXP from enemies who die solely at the hands of your companions. The days of sitting back and letting Boone snipe enemies to death before you even knew they were there for free EXP are over. Though, fortunately, if you get at least one legitimate hit in, you still get the EXP.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Your companions will do this to catch up to you if you wander too far away from them. Hilariously they can also spawn in mid-air if you're exploring the roof of a tall building, and fall to the ground, though thankfully this doesn't kill them. Keep in mind enemies and NPC's are capable of this as well, if you're far enough from them, and not looking at them at the moment, which may allow enemies to bypass some of your defenses in your settlements.
    • Becomes especially humorous with the game's frequent elevators. Your companions' AI normally isn't smart enough to have them get into the elevator with you, but if you activate the elevator and then turn around 360° they will magically be behind you.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • Everyone in the pre-war scene has this reaction when the news announces confirmed reports of nuclear detonations along the Eastern Seaboard. Even Codsworth sounds scared and the Sole Survivor and their spouse literally run for the hills to reach Vault 111 before the bomb hits. In fact, the elevator descends in to the vault just as the blast wave reaches the vault.
    • Nick has this reaction on finding out you have to go into the Glowing Sea. He remarks that he will be fine. You, on the other hand...
    • At certain points NPCs panic when boss level enemies show up (the raiders at Concord when the Deathclaw shows up or the Minutemen when the Mirelurk Queen attacks the Castle).
    • Your companions' reactions upon seeing the Brotherhood of Steel's Prydwen roll into town.
  • Once per Episode: Numerous elements from previous Fallout games return in the fourth entry.
    • The protagonist gets a mangy Canine Companion with pointed ears, a la Mad Max 2, who they name Dogmeat.
    • Ron Perlman intones the series Arc Words "War. War never changes."
    • A new model of power armor (the T-60) makes its first appearance.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The Ricochet perk has a chance of making bullets that hit the player fly back to the attacker... killing the attacker instantly.
    • Once you're at a high enough level with the right perks and upgraded weaponry, you can do this regularly against lower level enemies, especially if it's a sneak attack.
  • One-Man Army: The Sole Survivor if you travel without a companion, or with just Dogmeat.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Ghouls can now still survive and fight with their limbs severed. If you take off a leg, though, they become totally helpless, only wriggling about on the ground until you finish them off.
  • Only Sane Man: While they can be sarcastic, questioning, or pleasant, the Sole Survivor tends to act in a very calm and subdued manner compared to just about everyone else around them. Likewise, their complaints and insults tend to be right on the money for how bizarre and idiotic a lot of the post-Great War stuff around them is (for example, pointing out the Brotherhood of Steel's entirely holy mission is self-serving greed). When not making a choice, they tend to a calm and pleasant person, offput by the utter weirdos surrounding them. Given they're the only survivor of the Pre-War era except for ghouls, Mister House, Cabot, and Braun, this shouldn't be surprising.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: There are hints of Lovecraftian horror to be found out in the Commonwealth, most especially the quest line involving Cabot House.
  • Out with a Bang: Taking this trope to its most literal extreme, in one of the abandoned buildings in the wasteland, there are a pair of skeletons intertwined in each other's arms. Their positioning indicates that the woman was being ravished by her lover the very moment the bomb fell. He still has most of his clothes on, but she has none.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Downplayed, but the Minutemen and Railroad in their own ways invoke benevolent memories of Pre-War America in their own ways. Whether it's the Revolutionary War for the former or the Civil War and fight against (synth) slavery in the latter.
  • Pistol Whip: You can now smack your enemies with your firearms. You can even give your guns special mods such as bayonets in order to increase their melee damage and can upgrade the damage with the Basher perks.
  • Playing Possum: Feral Ghouls can often be found pretending to be corpses, often lying near actual corpses, only to get up when the player approaches. This has he benefit of allowing a fast or sneaky player to kill one before it can retaliate. However, where there's one there's usually two or three more, and you usually won't catch all of them in time. This becomes a lot easier to deal with if you have power armor fitted with a targeting HUD mod for your helmet, since the ghouls playing possum will be glowing red and you can easily pick them off.
  • Plot Armor: All NPC charcters that play a vital role in the main story quests are immortal. Pump as many rounds as you want into them, they will never die.
  • Plot Hole: The male PC's backstory is that he was recently discharged from the army — this explains how he's able to shoot easily, tinker with his firearms and (possibly) use Power Armor. However, the female PC's backstory is that she got a law degree, with her military or government service only implied.
  • Point of No Return: When it comes to the main storyline, it's a polite event horizon, since the quest that locks you in one faction's path typically involves killing your contacts in another faction, which tends to make reconciliation afterwards impossible. Subverted for The Minutemen path, which is like the Wild Card Ending of New Vegas, since it's always available as an option and no faction will target them.
  • Polyamory: In what has been stated by Word of God to be intentional, it's possible to carry on multiple romantic relationships with your Companions. Apparently, they don't sweat this sort of thing in the Commonwealth. This fan theory is further supported by the programming in the game sometimes resulting in multiple people all going to sleep on the same mattress at night.
    • Actually attempting to conduct a polyamorous relationship can be difficult, since many of the romanceable companions still get jealous if you flirt with someone else in front of them.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: Dogmeat.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: If you take the Minutemen ending path, but have antagonized the Brotherhood of Steel along the way, the Minutemen will go to war with the BoS in the post-endgame after the defeat of the Institute. This involves using a combined artillery strike from all of your settlements to shoot down the Prydwen, then defending the Castle from the final assault from the remaining Brotherhood army. Unlike the Railroad ending path, going to war with the Brotherhood as the Minutemen is entirely optional.
    • A war between the Minutemen and the Railroad is also possible after the main quest, if you failed to order evacuation of the Institute. The Railroad does not directly attack the Castle, but its members become hostile, and the Railroad now can only be destroyed.
  • Post-End Game Content: The game doesn't end with the main story, unlike Fallout 1, 3 (sans Broken Steel), and New Vegas.
  • Powered Armor: Power armor, high tech suits that grant increased strength, radiation shielding, and so forth, make a return. Unlike previous games, power armor is no longer an inventory-stored apparel item, but a big, methodically plodding wearable tank that you have to climb into and out of, and potentially leave behind. Or, better yet, you can leave it in your home or the garage.
  • Precision F-Strike: Dropped by the Player Character to their trusty Canine Companion as a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner.
    Protagonist: Ready to fuck some shit up?
  • Prequel: Subverted. The game appears to be this way for the first half-hour (just before the Great War nukes obliterate the world). However, once you're brought into a cryogenic stasis chamber for purification, you remain stuck in there till 10 years after Fallout 3.
  • Principles Zealot: The Brotherhood of Steel has more or less become this. But while Elder Maxson insists on upholding the old ways Elder Lyons sought to change, he nonetheless still believes that it's for the good of the Commonwealth. They still are willing to recruit Wastelanders into their ranks, though.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Not only does the player character's gender have no effect on their stats, it doesn't even have an effect on who you can sleep with this time around.
    • Very slightly averted, as there's one Perk which varies based on gender: Males get the Lady Killer Perk, which provides benefits against female enemies, while females get the Black Widow Perk, which provides benefits against male enemies. However, unlike previous games, these Perks don't provide different story or dialogue options.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Brotherhood of Steel under Elder Maxson, which seeks to exterminate all non-humans and conquer the ordinary people of the Wasteland "for their own good".

    Q-Z 
  • The Quisling: Clint, whom you can find in the Quincy Ruins. He was originally one of the Minutemen. But when he saw how few of them showed up to defend Quincy, mostly due to the severe infighting the group was going through due to lack of a charismatic leader, he saw the writing on the wall, and promptly defected to the Gunners. He also revealed the highway overpass above the town, which allowed the Gunners to quickly overwhelm the remaining Minutemen along with many of the citizens there, which later became known as the "Quincy Massacre" when Preston talks to you about it. As a result of this, he is given command of the Gunners stationed in Quincy. Though there's no actual quest or dialogue related to it, you can thankfully dish out a massacre of your own when you kill all the Gunners there, including Clint.
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: Ghouls, naturally. Your character can also become one of these with the endurance level 9 perk Ghoulish, which makes the radiation poisoning of the wasteland actually heal you.
  • Real Is Brown: Averted. Unlike in previous Fallout games, much of the landscape in the Boston Wasteland is not stuck to a limited color palette. Things like Neon signs, a brightly-painted Vault door, vibrant pre-War vehicles and even toys add color to the blighted yet bright gray-brown scenery of the wasteland. The pre-war scenes are even more colorful.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • The protagonist is over 210 years old, thanks to becoming a Human Popsicle inside their vault.
    • As all ghouls are The Ageless, you encounter a few who lived before the war.
    • The entire Cabot family, due to a mysterious anti-aging serum.
    • Kellogg, due to cybernetic enhancements.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: It's All Over But The Crying by The Ink Spots.
  • Relationship Values: All companions have actions they like or dislike. For example, cannibalism only sits well with a few of them. If you do enough actions that they approve of, it unlocks a unique companion perk.
  • The Remnant: The Minutemen are reduced to a single surviving member by the time the players encounter them. Preston says he's probably not "literally" the last member, though, but all other members are now inactive due to a Noodle Incident.
  • Retcon:
    • A minor one, if it even is one. In Fallout 2, it's stated the Vertibird was in the early prototype stage when the nukes fell, being a full eight years short of expected deployment. This is re-stated in Fallout 3 with the display at the museum of aerospace. The Enclave finished development, did the field testing, and mass-produced them. Fallout 4 shows at least 2 Vertibirds in active service as of 2077: one seen during the prologue flying over Sanctuary and landing at Vault 111; another one, possibly the same one seen outside Vault 111, was in full deployment with US Army soldiers when it crashed over the Museum of Freedom thanks to the EMP from the nuclear detonation. However, since it's already been established that the prototype stage had limited production runs during the Anchorage Reclamation, there were also likely "homefront" prototypes during 2077.
    • Power armor also suffers from this, for better and for worse. They ARE the walking tanks of destruction that they're made out to be, and you're immune to fall damage. But due to the integrated micro cold fusion reactor being completely out of fuel, you are limited to using Fusion Cores in order to make them work at full capacity. As a Mythology Gag to the unreleased Van Buren, the use of Fusion Cores are utterly energy inefficient and they drain within about 20 minutes depending on the activity. Not only that, but all six armor "pieces" have their own durability and can break off the frame once they're damaged enough. Calling back to the original Fallout 1 & 2, the Power Armor Training perk is no longer a requirement to use it, which means anyone and everyone can and will use them if they find a suit that still has a fusion core in it.
    • Another extremely minor one. Fallout 3's Wilson Automatoys, the company that produced the Giddyup Buttercup robot ponies, changed their name slightly to Wilson Atomatoys, swapping out an automotive pun for an atomic one.
    • Originally, the chem jet was invented by Myron, a companion in Fallout 2. While Fallout 4 doesn't imply a different inventor, it is mentioned as one of the drugs that Vault 95 was being sent a supply of during it's construction.
  • Retired Badass:
    • The male protagonist is a recently retired soldier getting ready to go to a Veteran's Meeting before the world ended, explaining his ability to build turrets, houses, custom weapons and mix and match Powered Armor. They even say that because war never changes, they're ready to tackle whatever the wasteland throws at them.
    • The female protagonist is only explicitly stated to have gotten a law degree, though Vault-Tec rep's unwillingness to speak to your spouse about being selected for Vault 111 due to "your family's service to the country", and the female protagonist's matching skills imply a military or government background of some kind.
  • Retirony: In the BADTFL offices, Da Chief's computer has a journal entry that's looking forward to his retirement in 3 days... made on the day the bombs fell.
  • Retraux: The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. videos are all done in the style of 1950s public service announcements, right down to the film rot.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: If you side with the Scavengers and betray the USS Constitution crew by sabotaging them, the Scavengers tell you that they've decided to keep the reward for themselves before turning on you.
  • Rewrite: There have always been some inconsistencies as to exactly when the Great War started throughout all of the Fallout franchise. The only solid fact is that it happened on October 23rd, 2077. All the clocks in the Capital Wastelands in Fallout 3 are frozen at 9:47, with log files suggesting the AM. Clocks in New Vegas are also frozen at 9:47, but this is a case of just reusing textures from 3. Log files in Little Lamplight suggest the bombs fell between 2-3 PM, and the Dead Money and Old World Blues DLC in New Vegas suggests the bombs fell at night on the west coast. This game reestablishes that the bombs fell on the east coast at 9:47 AM, though Pennsylvania and New York were hit at 9:42, 5 minutes earlier.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Building structures involves gathering the necessary items, and constructing them is instantaneous.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: As evidenced by the terminal in Gwinnett Brewery, a pint of beer cost $39 in 2077, and nearly $200 for a six-pack. Coffee and a donut was proudly advertised for $30, while printed magazines ranged from $30 to $39. Gwinnett Brewery sold shot-glasses and Fun TShirts for less than the glass of beer.
    • The Harbor Grand Hotel in Far Harbor charged $118,764.32 per day (including taxes and fees) for one of its rooms.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The Institute's third-generation synths are Blade Runner-esque artificial humans, practically indistinguishable from regular people. They're so humanlike that the Railroad exists to emancipate them from slavery to the Institute, giving them memory wipes, cosmetic surgery, and new names to hide them from the Institute's coursers, while the Brotherhood finds them too dangerous to be allowed to exist. Heck, synths are so ridiculously human-like, there are some characters who aren't even aware they are synths!
    • Although they're obviously robotic in appearance, Assaultrons were apparently programmed to feel pain, for some reason.
    Dying Assaultron: I can't...feel my legs...
  • Roar Before Beating:
    • Many Deathclaws perform one before engaging the player. This can work against them, as it's a prime moment to shoot at their unarmored belly.
    • The Sole Survivor will do this every time they get high on Psycho, usually right before a fight.
  • Rock Beats Laser:
    • The Minutemen taking down the Institute. A squad of low-tech guys taking down hi-tech Synths and Coursers.
    • In the Minutemen's Post-Climax Confrontation should they become enemies with the Brotherhood, the Brotherhood's high-tech airship Prydwen is taken down in a Curb-Stomp Battle by the Minutemen's rather low-tech artillery.
    • The easiest way to uncloak stealthed enemies like Coursers, Assaultron Dominators, or even Chameleon Deathclaws? Toss a Molotov Cocktail at them.
    • If siding as the Railroad, the Brotherhood inevitably decide to knock down your door with a bunch of knights in power armor. Desdemona tosses you a Railway Rifle, and the damage on it is so obscene it can easily destroy most power-suited BoS enemies in three shots, two if you've leveled up the "Rifleman" perk. It's a steam powered railgun.
  • Rocket-Powered Weapon: The Super Sledge is now a sledgehammer with a miniature jet engine strapped to the back. Woe be to anything you hit with it.
  • Robbing the Dead:
    • The player takes their Pip-Boy from the wrist of a skeleton before leaving Vault 111, not to mention all the looting that is doable on other dead NPCs.
    • The wasteland around the Commonwealth is built upon this. Violence is law and you get to keep what you take from whomever you kill.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Mole rats return and are much smaller than in 3 and New Vegas, though still fairly large. They also attack in packs, tunneling through the earth and pop out at will to surprise you. Then there are the glowing ones.
  • Romance Sidequest: The player is able to romance some of their companions, regardless of gender.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The Brotherhood of Steel are romantic traditionalists who sought to restore/preserve humanity and value the pre-War society, their society is even built around similar to medieval Europe. The Institute falls more into the enlightenment side as they value technological progress and completely disregard the pre-war society and wish to built an enlightened society with more advanced technology beyond the pre-War technology. Mind you that both sides are very secretive, racists in some degree, and view Wastelanders as inferiors.
    • The local factions, the Minutemen and the Railroad are also this as well, but with slight variations. Both the Minutemen and the Railroad highly value the romantic view of freedom, but with different approach. The Minutemen are orderly Big Good who wish to help the common man and want to bring the more positive aspects of pre-war America. The Railroad are enlightened Rebellious Rebel who wish to change society so that humanity can accept the Synths as humans. Both factions will work together to take down both the Brotherhood and Institute by the player's decision.
  • Rousing Speech: Elder Maxson gives one of these to all of the recruits. Unfortunately, it becomes a Kick the Dog moment as it states all synths must be destroyed and the PCs have already made at least one friend among them.
    • Hancock gives one to the community of Goodneighbor by stating that they will not take crap from anyone and stand up to the Institute by eliminating anybody who acts suspicious within the town.
  • Run or Die: In an early Railroad faction mission, Deacon gives this advice to the player regarding Coursers. Given that Coursers are basically Terminators, it's not bad advice.
  • Sadistic Choice: Which faction to side with in the game is one of the most divisive, and because of the Grey and Gray Morality of the Commonwealth, every option will end with sympathetic characters dying as their factions are destroyed. For starters, the only option that doesn't involve the player consciously causing the death of their own son is the Institute, and that requires betraying the sympathetic, helpful Railroad that may have helped you find him in the first place.
  • Save Point: In Survival Mode, beds are this, since Quicksave and Manual Saving are disabled.
  • Scary Scorpions: Radscorpions can ambush the player by burrowing themselves under ground, and pop up unexpectedly.
  • Scavenged Punk: This game takes a step up from previous installments. The pipe weapons are basically scrap wood and metal fashioned into crude facsimiles of weapons. You may occasionally find turrets built out of shopping carts. Settlement structures you build look pretty cobbled together. Even power armor has been scavenged and modified by raiders with random junk like sheet metal and rebar.
  • Scavenger World: Taken to the next level: previous Fallout games were full of junk; this one is overflowing with trash, but all that trash can be converted into useful building and crafting materials. Unlike in New Vegas: Old World Blues where you had to use specific stations to convert junk into useful crafting items, all items now have innate crafting materials hidden within them. You can scavenge entire towns and rebuild them!
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • The game features half-decimated cities, cracked roads, bombed out suburbs, forests of dead trees, and so on in general.
    • The Glowing Sea, an irradiated hellscape where the bomb that was supposed to hit Boston fell.
    • Vault 111 is fairly pristine when you first enter it, but by the time you make your escape, it looks like bombs went off in it. The cryogenic pod room, alone, is littered with frozen corpses and dripping with thawed coolant.
  • Scenery Porn: Urban environments are absolutely stunning, with a large color palette, still intact skyscrapers, towering highways, Massachusetts monuments, and so on.
  • Schizo Tech: The USS Constitution, a 1700s era wooden ship that is one of Boston's historical landmarks, has been outfitted with nuclear booster rockets.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • You will find signs pointing towards an old school that say things like "Fresh Water Ahead!" and "Traders Welcome!" The school is full of violent drug-addicted raiders.
    • Meg, the little girl in Bunker Hill, offers to give you a tour of the place for 10 caps. She essentially cons you by giving a "tour" that consists of naming the locations of various things. Fitting for a child inside of a major trading post surrounded by merchants 24/7. The best part is that chances are you've only found Bunker Hill after Vault 81, in which Austin gives you a genuine tour.
    • With the Wasteland Workshop DLC, you can set your own Schmuck Bait in the form of Raider and Gunner Traps. Said traps consist of giant metal boxes with signs that say "Free Chems!" and "Free Caps, Guns, And Ammo!" respectively.
  • Scratch Damage: Both regular damage and radiation will always affect you to some degree despite your protection.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Vault 81 was originally meant to be used in the development of bioweapons and their countermeasures, with the Vault residents being turned into human guinea pigs. But the Overseer, hit with a bout of morality, cut off contact with the side the researchers were living on to prevent them from being able to carry out Vault-tec's plans. Vault 81 consequently thrived compared to virtually every other vault, and the three researchers ended up testing their bioweapons on molerats instead. One of them creates Curie, first to help them maintain their sanity after the Overseer stopped responding, and to continue on with the research after they pass away from old age.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike:
    • In a manner of speaking. VATS no longer stops time completely, ammunition is much scarcer, Stimpaks are much rarer (no longer found in every bathroom), and monsters like Deathclaws are now able to endure a massive amount of punishment from a minigun. Perhaps exemplified by the treatment of Radroaches. You hunt them with a toy BB gun as a child in Fallout 3, but the Sole Survivor reacts to them with disgust and horror when they first encounter them.
    • Several old enemies are a lot stronger, such as protectrons and sentry bots (which are now essentially robo-tanks) who simply have huge amounts of health and damage resistance, and enemies like molerats and radscorpions have new mechanics that allow them to get the drop on you easily.
    • The radiation system was previously a stat that all would ignore until it hit a certain threshold, at which point it was easy to fix with the abundant RadAways. In the new system, every single point of accumulated radiation directly lowers your max health. Made all the worse by RadAways being far more rare this time around.
    • The updated Survival difficulty is essentially this to the Hardcore mode in New Vegas. In Hardcore mode, the player had to regularly eat, drink, and sleep, lest they would receive stat debuffs, as well as items like ammo having weight and healing items only healing over time. In the Survival difficulty of 4, not only does it have all of the above but damage is skyrocketed for everyone, the carry cap for the player and companion is much less, no fast travel, and the player can no longer quicksave or manually save, causing beds to essentially become save points.
  • Sequel Escalation: The crafting system now allows complete customization of numerous weapon parts, allowing the player to, say, take a basic laser pistol and retrofit it into a laser sniper rifle, or mix and match parts of different power armor models, like a brand new Jet Pack feature, on a single suit.
    • Power armors are now humanoid tanks that you enter and exit, instead of a slightly fancier piece of clothing you put on and take off.
    • The restored and fully rebuilt Liberty Prime is technically Liberty Prime Mark II.
  • Sequence Breaking: Averted as you cannot skip to the end of the first act straight away unlike 3 and New Vegas. Unless you have rescued Nick you cannot get to the elevator to Kellogg, until you take his brain to Amari you cannot find Virgil and without Virgil you cannot get into the Institute to kick off the second part of the game.
    • The game does allow for a very minor degree of Sequence Breaking with the Minutemen. If you already have a suit of power armor when you go to Concord for the first time, the Minutemen have slightly different dialogue. Sturges even comments that his original plan (to retrieve the power armor and minigun from the roof) is irrelevant now.
      • A more minor break in the same quest — you have to retrieve a power core from the basement to use the Armor, but if you show up already toting a core this Sub Quest will auto-complete. There's even a convenient one on the way to Concord, in the molerat den beneath the Red Rocket service station.
  • Series Continuity Error: Quantum returns from Fallout 3 despite being specifically a local release in the DC area, but this can be waved off because Fallout 4 takes place ten years later, which is more than enough time to move the product to other areas. Jet is present in the vaults, though it could just be that the current occupiers (Triggermen, Gunners, and Raiders) had placed them for later use.
    • Jet itself is a Continuity Snarl insofar as it's stated to have been invented by Myron in New Reno in Fallout 2. It appears in vault loot tables in Fallout 3 without explanation, but considering that Jet is little more than poop fumes and the crafting recipe in 4 involves little more than getting fertilizer and some plastic to make a Jet inhaler, Myron clearly wasn't the first person to make this connection.
  • Serious Business:
    • The town hall in Jamaica Plains is rigged with tons of laser triggered explosives and turrets. The mayor in 2077 must really not have wanted anyone to open that time capsule any earlier.
    • Overdue books are a serious concern for the Boston Public Library to have turrets and Protectrons roaming the halls. While useful against super mutants in the year 2287, one has to wonder what their pre-war use in the library was for.
  • Severed Head Sports: The final rank of the Big Leagues perk lets you hit "home runs" with your enemies' heads.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The game retroactively makes Elder Lyons's entire crusade against the Super Mutants, Enclave, and evils of the Capital Wasteland into this. It's not a Shoot the Shaggy Dog one because some progress is made. However, the Brotherhood of Steel has reverted to the principles he crossed the entirety of the United States in order to get away from. It's implied the citizens of the Capital Wasteland now exist as feudal subjects to the Brotherhood.
  • The Siege: If you choose to side with the Minutemen in the endgame, you will have to help defend their main base from a massive invasion by the Institute and, depending on your choices, the Brotherhood.
  • Sighted Guns Are Low Tech: In contrast to previous games, laser weapons avert this trope, being equipped with iron sights just like the more low-tech guns.
  • Simple Yet Awesome:
    • Normally, submachineguns aren't that hot as weapons due to low damage and high ammo consumption. Spray n' Pray (a unique SMG sold by Cricket) turns this upside-down. Thanks to its "Explosive" legendary effect, each bullet does an extra fifteen points of AoE explosive damage. The Commando perk buffs its base damage while Demolition Expert buffs the explosive damage; investing in those perks turns Spray n' Pray into an engine of devastation. To top it all off, the explosions have a chance to stagger the target. Did I mention that Spray n' Pray is a full-auto weapon?
    • Ordinary projectile guns are just as effective as energy weapons if not moreso, due to the high availability of ammunition which is cheaper to buy and is far more common as scavenged loot. Even with all points in the Scavenger perk, the player will most often discover plain old bullets in crates, desks, lockers and such, rather than energy cells and plasma cartridges.
    • The "Instigating" legendary effect doubles the damage the weapon does if the target is at full health. For most weapons, this is kind of pointless, as it just gives a little extra damage to the first shot and there are far more useful effects (such as "Explosive," mentioned above.) However, this is the best effect for a sniper rifle. Fully upgraded with mods and in the hands of a character with the right perks, that one shot will be all you need to drop nearly anything in the wasteland. A character who maxes out the Rifleman perk and has an Instigating Gauss Rifle will kill anything but the absolute strongest enemies in the game with a single shot. And they can be killed with a single Sneak Attack.
  • Sinister Subway: While the remains of what is left of the Boston MBTA underground aren't as extensive compared to the DC metro in 3 (and the real life MBTA is indeed compact when compared to the other subway systems in the U.S.), the stations are still crawling with raiders, mutants, traps, and pockets of radiation just as ever. Fortunately, you no longer have to travel from station to station as the MBTA underground areas mostly have dead ends and no pathways to other stations.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: The Perk system underwent a big change. Perks are tied to SPECIAL stats, with ten perks for each stat. More advanced perks require a high-enough stat, and most perks have multiple ranks tied to the player's level — for instance, a player with a high enough SPECIAL stat can take a powerful Rank 10 perk early on, but won't be able to upgrade it until they're, say, level 25. Then there are the magazine perks, which not only grant you a perk, but you need to keep finding more copies in order to level said perks.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: The Unstable Nuke Launcher for robot companions in the Automatron DLC. It's the single most powerful weapon that can be added to one, but for balance purposes it's still limited to a couple hundred points of damage rather than the thousand or so that a Fat Man can deliver.
  • The Slow Path:
    • Codsworth, your Mr. Handy, has been waiting 210 years for you to return. He can hardly believe his processors that you're still alive.
    • The Vault-Tec Salesman from the prologue of the game shows up later as a ghoul, furious at how you managed to be physically preserved while he had to deal with absolute hell for over two centuries.
    • Shaun himself, who was taken 60 years before the Sole Survivor escapes from Vault 111, and who has become the elderly Father of the Institute.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: The Lover's Embrace effect, which is earned by sleeping in a bed while a companion you've romanced is nearby, is depicted as a shirtless Vault Boy getting up from bed while taking a drag from a cigarette.
  • Sole Survivor: You play as the only remaining resident of Vault 111, who woke up after 210 years to find everyone else dead.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: While not evil per se, the game notes that the further south you go the tougher enemies get. Justified as heading south means you get closer to the Glowing Sea. You start at the most northwestern point of the map, so you have to trek a while to find the really nasty enemies.
  • Spot The Thread: The mad scientist kidnapping people to test which are synths discovers a psychological weakness: during the SAFE test, when asked which type of baseball player they'd be, they almost always answer "catcher," even if they don't really know what a catcher does.
  • Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly: Every time you attempt a stealth infiltration of an area full of enemies, there is the possibility of your sneak attempts failing and forcing you into a blazing firefight.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: It's possible to come across the same Vault-Tec Salesman from the start of the game, long since become a ghoul. And still wearing his Vault-Tec standard outfit, or at least a post-apocalyptic approximation of it.
  • Stealth Pun: The USS Constitution is a wooden ship literally crewed with Iron Men
  • Stepford Smiler: An entire environment. When you first show up at The Institute, you find a shiny beautiful place full of happy people. Explore just a little bit and what you find is blocked off hallways and rooms that are as degraded as the rest of the Wasteland and orders to everyone to be on their best behavior for you. Up to Eleven with the synth servants, who are all terrified slaves.
    • Covenant also qualifies. An entire shiny settlement with a lot of nervous - but oh so friendly - smiling people with some sort of secret.
  • Storming the Castle: Done in "The Nuclear Option" quests, where you invade the Institute with whichever faction you side with and blow it up from inside.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: There are a number of areas where you can only conclude what happened through environmental clues. A lot of that has to do with the Railroad and their symbols. A dead Protectron with a Railway Spike on its body near a Relay antenna is a clear sign someone from the Railroad killed it at that location. Several hidden pointers show the way an escaping Synth was guided through a feral-infested train yard. And the railsign for "Ally" is marked on a hidden observation post overlooking Vault 111 and Sanctuary Hills... someone's been watching you.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A given with the nuclear powered vehicles of the era, which have been abandoned in the open with no maintenance for over 200 years. Additional world objects such as propane tanks, fuel canisters, and oil slicks will also explode when shot at.
    • Reaches new heights with trigger happy enemies wielding the Fat Man or missile launcher, as well as the new Super Mutant Suiciders who charge at the player with a live mini nuke.
    • This trope becomes Schmuck Bait for overeager looters with regular sentry bots and legendary robots, who explode after a short delay once they are killed (often while the player is busy looting the destroyed bot).
    • Taken Up to Eleven with legendary sentry bots, who explode twice when killed: once for being a sentry bot and a second time for being legendary.
    • Honourable mentions go to the final questline for any of the factions, which inevitably leads to either the destruction of the Prydwen, detonation of the Institute's main reactor, or (in the case of the Railroad), both outcomes.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: In the final confrontation with Kellogg, he'll ask you to come out in the open peacefully to see if the two of you can't reach a diplomatic solution to your feud. A savvy player will quickly figure out that this very much looks like an obvious trap: he has three Synths as backup, and all of them are positioned in such a way that engaging in dialog forces you to be flanked by them. And then the game ups the ante by throwing a bit of Violence Is the Only Option on top of everything. Try as you might, but there is no option to get out of the encounter peacefully; no matter what option you pick, the conversation can only end with the Sole Survivor declaring their intent to murder Kellogg, and you will have to go through a boss fight with him, while he springs the aforementioned obvious trap on you. While it certainly is possible to cheese the encounter by various means, it doesn't change the fact that the game is asking you to willingly walk into an ambush.
  • Subsystem Damage: Become more focused this time. Crippling the limbs of robots and feral ghouls will actually sever said limbs. Robots may attempt to self-destruct if damaged enough, while ghouls will make due with their missing limbs until you've killed them. This isn't the case with humanoid enemies, however, which works exactly like the previous games.
  • Subverted Kids Show: The holotapes of The New Squirrel the player can find scattered in the Fiddler's Green Trailer Estates. Played with — to the player, it's probably pretty screwed up, but it accurately reflects the pre-Great War worldview other in-game sources establish.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The Player Character now talks in conversations and comments on the world Mass Effect style, in contrast to previous protagonists in the Fallout series being Heroic Mimes who spoke through text boxes.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The standard response by raiders if you're in power armor is to actually say "Power armor?? BRING IT ON!!". Justified because they're so zonked on Psycho and other chems that they're out of their minds.
  • Suicide Attack: The aptly named Super Mutant Suicider, who has a Mini Nuke strapped onto his right arm and ready to charge at anyone for his mutant brethren. If he sees you, you better hope you take him down first and quickly, lest you become nuclear detritus.
    • Some robots can also do this when they are near death, such as Mr. Gutsies, Sentry Bots and even Legendary Assaultrons.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills:
    • The Endurance 5 perk Aquaboy/Aquagirl gives you the ability to breathe underwater at the first rank. As an additional bonus, you also no longer take radiation damage from simply standing in water.
    • Wearing a power armor helmet allows you to breathe underwater, which is just as well as wearing power armor makes it so you can't swim and have to trudge along the bottom of the lake/river.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids:
    • The Mister Handy model of robot is advertised as being nothing more than a robotic butler, but they can be easily modified into a lethal combatant — heck, the US Army used customized "Mister Gutsy" versions before the war.
    • There are also a variety of non-combat Protectrons, such as Construction and Medical models, which can still be very lethal in a fight. Special mention goes to the Firefighter model with a built-in cryo gun, which is just shy of the Construction variant that fires railway spikes in terms of lethality.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel has become a great deal like the Neo-Feudalist Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel. This wouldn't qualify for this trope if not for the fact the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel is Broad Strokes canon for the Fallout first-person shooter series. They exist, but in a far diminished state than Fallout: Tactics indicated. It should also be noted that the only difference between the two is that the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel was egalitarian to nonhumans and offered its membership to Super Mutants, intelligent Deathclaws, and Ghouls, while the East Coast Brotherhood has adopted a Kill 'em All policy toward nonhumans.
    • The Minutemen meanwhile call to mind the New California Republic in the West Coast, or at least how the NCR started out. While the Commonwealth has no real "state" or "nation" to speak of, they still uphold justice, order and a more virtuous memory of Pre-War America while intentionally invoking symbolism from the Revolutionary War. Not to mention bringing the various settlements and communities in the Commonwealth together as partners in exchange for protection rather than lording over them like the Brotherhood and Institute would. To the point of laying down the foundations for something like the NCR to emerge in the East Coast. And succeeding where the "Commonwealth Provisional Government" (which the Institute supposedly purged) failed.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Bosun on the USS Constitution proclaims his loyalty to the captain because he wants to and certainly not because he's been reprogrammed five times to do so.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity:
    • The game gives you a suit of power armor and a minigun to take down a bunch of raiders, who are pretty much no match for the weapon and armor. Then a deathclaw appears and you'll finally realize why you needed them.
    • The National Guard training yard's secret armory contains a good amount of ammo, as well as a free power armor suit! You're going to need that when you leave, as opening the armory releases a sentry bot that will attack you immediately.
    • In the Minutemen Castle, there's a missile launcher plus ammo just laying around on a table. Might come in handy if you weren't prepared for the Mirelurk Queen...
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: There are several different damage types (ballistic, energy, radiation, and poison) and armor is strong or weak against said various attacks. Fortunately, with the exception of the gamma gun on radiation-immune enemies such as ghouls, you can generally kill everything with one weapon type. That said, it's still a good idea to carry several guns that can deal various damage as well as ammo. If nothing else, this helps reduce over-reliance on just one type of ammo, such as 10 mm rounds or fusion cells, as ammo is a bit scarcer and more expensive without the right perks.
  • Take a Third Option: It's possible to get the moral end to "Hole in the Wall" by curing Austin and not contracting the disease. The first is to not let any mole rats hit the player or companions. The second is to use a certain Good Bad Bug.
  • Take Your Time: Zigzagged:
    • Played straight with some missions, especially story-related ones. If you want to explore Boston, go right ahead. No need to go to Diamond City right after leaving Vault 111 if you decide you'd rather explore first.
    • Averted with some missions, usually ones relating to a kidnapping or a "Defend a settlement" quest. Though you get quite a bit of time to respond, if you take too long the quest will fail, and in the case of a "defend the settlement" quest, your generators and turrets will be destroyed and need repairs when you revisit it.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Super Mutant Suiciders attempt this, rushing you and spiking their mini-nuke if you fail to kill them or at least cripple their right arm in time.
    • Sentry bots and any robot with destroyed arms will also attempt this if you're too close to them when they die. They usually explode upon death, making them tougher to fight for melee-based characters.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Not anymore!
  • A Taste of Power: Helping out the Minutemen early on gets you a suit of power armor and a matching minigun at nearly the beginning of the game... but its fuel and bullets limit how crazy you can go with these toys and you'll soon be back to hoofing it with scavenged gear shortly thereafter.
    • Because weapons no longer degrade or suffer from penalties caused by lack of skills, you can use even the most ludicrously overpowered weapons as soon as you find them. In addition to the mini gun given to the player early in the game, you can find a Fat Man and a mini nuke in a junkyard a short stroll from Sanctuary Hills.
  • Tempting Fate: In the Boston Bugle office, you can find an article extolling the possibility of the Boston baseball team winning the first World Series in 159 years, which is to be played on October 23rd, 2077. The reporter finishes their piece with this Harsher in Hindsight message:
    "But on Saturday, October 23rd, 2077, the only thing that could snatch away victory is an act of God, or some obscene calamity of man. Tomorrow my friends, the unthinkable will finally come to pass. And life in Boston will never be the same again."
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • The Big Boy is a unique Fat Man launcher which fires two mini nukes at the cost of one. And if you combine it with the MIRV mod, the Big Boy MIRV fires 12 nukes at once, it is in doubt if anything can survive that.
    • Legendary enemies have a trick where they return to full health stronger if they are reduced to below 50% health. An exception, however, is if you hit them once with such force that it's instantly lethal, which overrides the regeneration.
    • If you have lots of turrets in your settlement, along with well armed settlers residing there, anything stupid enough to attack it will be subjected to this.
  • They Walk Among Us: Institute Synths started off clunky and plastic, but the latest model of synth, the Gen-3, are now so sophisticated they are nearly indistinguishable from humans, leading to a Massachusetts full of paranoia about who's real and who's a synth.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Some perks have only very specific uses but you'll be damned glad you have them when you do. For (an almost literal) example, Aquaboy/girl, which makes you immune to the radiation of swimming in the water and able to breathe underwater. Suddenly rivers are no longer a deadly barrier but a viable avenue of approach.
  • This Is a Drill: the Railway Rifle's bayonet mod is a circular drill-bit that attaches over the barrel.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • The very first trailer for the game uses the same "Pan out from the TV to a blasted hellscape of a 1950's style house". What theme song do they use? "It's All Over (But the Crying)" by the Ink Spots. Followed by a montage of all the overpowered enemies and NPCs that make the Capital Wasteland look like a black-and-white family picnic.
    • During gameplay, higher level enemies can also invoke this when you're still underpowered, such as if you run into someone wearing power armor, enemies with a skull by their name, or deathclaws. Many human enemies also have grenades, and will use them liberally to prevent you from camping in one spot. And given the opportunity, some of them will also attempt to flank you, hitting you from behind while you're focused on their buddies.
    • Getting ambushed from behind or one of your flanks can also do this. Ghouls tend to make liberal use of this, with some sneaking around you to attack from behind. The fact that they can lunge at you can make it worse for really unprepared players.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: After a brief respite in Fallout 3, where they were somewhat reasonable in their approach, the Brotherhood of Steel is back to this trope in full force. It's even lampshaded heavily, with about half of the Brotherhood's non-quest dialogue and NPC conversations being dedicated to how much contempt they have for the sane approach of Elder Lyons and the other half dedicated to how much they're looking forward to brutally murdering any member of the inferior races that they can get their hands on.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Grenades are back. Notably, they no longer require you to switch away from your gun to throw them, and can be tossed as secondary weapons like in other shooters. Expect your enemies (and companions, if you make the mistake of putting some grenades in their inventory) to toss them with reckless abandon.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: One of the many synth-phobic characters eventually finds out that they are in fact a synth themselves. It's Paladin Danse of the Brotherhood of Steel, as you learn during the quest Blind Betrayal.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Almost all of the old enemies from Fallout 3 are TERRIFYING now.
    • The basic Radscorpion is almost the size of a Giant Radscorpion, is about as strong, fast, and tough as one, and to top it off, it can also tunnel to reach you!
    • Mirelurks are closer to the creature from Alien, complete with Dagon-esque queens.
    • Molerats are now pack hunters with tunneling abilities, making escape from them near-impossible.
    • Sentry bots are twice the size and armed with missiles and a gatling gun, like an ED-209 on steroids. They will rush towards you if you try to flee. Also, they now explode like a mini-nuke on death.
    • Protectrons were the weakest robot enemy in the previous games. Now they're tougher than most human enemies and pack a mean punch.
    • Feral ghouls, while not tougher, are a hell of a lot more dangerous because they are almost always in huge packs and have unpredictable patterns of attack.
    • All the animal mutant enemies have glowing variants. This includes everything from the lowly radroach to freaking deathclaws.
    • Raiders now have the know-how to construct their own power armor (albeit still a crude and improvised version), and thanks to the new system, can loot junk from fallen enemies. Given the right circumstances, they can even steal your own power armor and use it against you if you ever decide to exit your suit and not take the fusion core out.
    • On a non-hostile note, the Brotherhood of Steel here in this game obviously have taken many levels in badassery after the events of Broken Steel now that they have access to their own personal fleet of Vertibirds and an airship.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • Power armor now turns you into a walking tank that can shrug off pretty much anything, but it comes with a high price. You can only carry the enormously heavy armor pieces with you and need a power armor station to swap them out and repair them. You must also climb into the armor to use it, you can't craft while wearing it, and now you need fusion cores to power it, which are rare and run out relatively quickly. Your days of strolling through the wastelands indefinitely in your powered armor are behind you now. The suit is still very useful against bosses and in particularly difficult dungeons, however, so it is more of a matter of conservation. Also, running in the suit is a terrible idea, because it drains the aforementioned fusion cores faster.
    • Jet packs are an amazing addition to power armor which allow you to move around the city and get a serious edge in combat by repositioning quickly. They also suck away your action points in seconds and chew through fusion cores at an alarming rate.
    • Rank three of the Nuclear Physicist perk allows you to eject fusion cores creating a timed small nuclear explosion, allowing you to clear out a lot of hostiles. Unless your fusion core is all but spent or you have ones to spare though, this is rarely worth the cost.
    • The Mysterious Serum gives you +5 Strength (the next best buff item only gives a +3), an enormous +50 Damage Resistance, and it causes you to lose radiation for 3600 seconds. It's only possible to find it during a single quest in the game and you'll never find more than eight vials. Though you can get an unlimited supply (one vial at a time, and you can only get a new vial after having used your current one) depending on your choice at the end of the quest.
      • The Mysterious Serum Effect's duration stacks, meaning that if you are planing a marathon session, head to the unlimited supply and immediately use the ones you get, then get a new one and use that. Rinse and repeat.
    • The homing beacon is essentially a fat man in grenade form, allowing the player to call down nuclear strikes without hefting thirty pounds of catapult around. You get three.
    • The Fat Man can fall into this trope if you don't have a good stock of mini-nukes to use. Players may then also forget to bring it with them due to not wanting to lug that heavy weapon around, making it a situational weapon for a guaranteed boss fight instead, such as the Minutemen quest to retake the Castle from mirelurks.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • During the pre-war rush segment, you encounter a neighbor who is preoccupied in packing up his luggage instead of running directly to the Vault, despite the fact that the bombs will fall any second. The player can also be this if they take too long dallying instead of getting to the shelter in time, leading to a Non Standard Game Over.
    • Irish Pride Industries shipyard is home to a mirelurk nest. There is a repeating announcement on loudspeaker recorded by a guy named Rory telling the mirelurks that he loves them. Inside the boat is a computer terminal with log entries from Rory about how he's raising orphaned mirelurk hatchlings, including how they're becoming increasingly violent and his attempts to train them through The Power of Love. Underneath the boat in drydock you'll find the horde of mirelurks with their eggs and hatchlings, along with Rory's decomposing remains.
      Nick Valentine: Bet this guy wished he'd kept birds instead.
    • There's a man near the Castle who sells "Charge Cards" that will supposedly bypass the need to spend caps when purchasing any goods from a vendor in the Commonwealth. Naturally, they do not. If the con weren't fairly apparent from the start, he's stupid enough to call you a "retard" straight to your face whether or not you accept his offer, which completely gives away his cover as a scammer, and which in the wasteland world is just asking for a bullet to the face. Furthermore, he's armed with a weak pipe gun and wearing only basic clothing in a region which has Super Mutants, raiders, and mirelurks. He's actually scripted as "essential" until you've spoken with him to make sure he lives long enough. For added laser guided karmic Irony, if you have a Junk Jet launcher with you, you can kill him with his own Charge Card if you do accept his offer. The irony continues to drive the point home even further when speaking to him the first time eventually results in him saying, "Most conversations are like 'Hello' and then someone gets stabbed in the liver"note . This guy surely deserves a Darwin Award for his blatant stupidity.
    • A lot of Raiders fall under this category, but a special mention must be made of the ones who try to shake the player down for caps to cross a bridge. They can be armed with pipe guns and wearing scrapped together armor and they player can be in full Power Armor and aiming a Gatling Laser straight at them and they'll still try to threaten the player for caps.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: After the death of the Lyons, the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel under the guidance of Elder Maxson has gone back to their roots of preserving technology over protecting the people, which the current members now see as wasteful. They have also doubled-down on their Fantastic Racism against mutants and synths. It's also implied that the Capital Wasteland has become something of a feudal domain for the Brotherhood.
  • Too Much Information: Actual unsolicited dialogue to the player from one of the Diamond City guards: "Yeah, it's true. I got Shot in the Ass last year. Long story."
  • To Serve Man: "Handy Eats" is a diner staffed by robots. However, due to a programming error, the robots make the classic misinterpretation of the trope name. When asked about the bodies, the waiter robot refers to them as "satisfied customers" who "never leave".
    • A mod allows you to see the actual text of the responses, rather than just 'sarcastic', 'sympathetic' or whatever. Of the four responses to 'How can we serve you? Char-broiled? Diced? Mashed?', one is 'I'm not hungry after all', and all three of the others are 'Wait, what?'
  • Town with a Dark Secret: With concrete walls and turrets on the outside and overly-friendly people on the inside, it's a given that there's something really up with the people of Covenant. They've been sizing up people passing by so they can kidnap them and perform gruesome tests to see if they're synths. Most good-hearted party members will agree that defeating the callous scientist in charge of this is a good thing, but that pisses off everyone in Covenant and you have to clear it out by force afterwards to resettle it. As a final twist, if the girl you rescue, Amelia Stockton, dies, you find a synth component on her body...
    • Amelia's father; Old Man Stockton is a prominent Railroad member. Amelia is a freed synth he adopted as his own daughter after she had her memory and appearance altered, if the player is a Railroad member and has completed certain missions, he will confirm it if asked.
  • Trauma Conga Line: As if experiencing the nuclear destruction of the world wasn't traumatic enough, you also have to witness the murder of your spouse, the abduction of your son, without being able to do anything to stop it.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The player character can take their dead spouse's wedding ring after they escape the cryo pod. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from hocking it off to the first merchant you find.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The launch trailer's narration is actually one of the ending narrations.
  • Trauma Inn: Like some of the previous games, sleeping in any bed will heal you to full HP and restores any crippled limbs. Still, this will not remove radiation.
  • Trick Boss: The fight against Gristle and his raiders in Concord. Gristle is tougher than a normal raider, but still goes down quickly, especially if you turn your newfound minigun on him. The Deathclaw that appears after that, however, is the true boss.
  • Troubled Production: An In-Universe example. You discover that Hubris Comics was trying to make the Silver Shroud radio serials into a successful TV show. Unfortunately, it was rife with infighting, drama, and backroom passions - which proved to be all for naught as the nuclear apocalypse put said show and its creators off the air permanently.
  • Turns Red: All Legendary Enemies have the ability to mutate at half health, making them stronger, more durable, and it also replenishes their health back to full.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: The Sole Survivor can do this with the Institute, depending on their dialogue choices.
    • It starts with members of the bio-sciences division sealing themselves away along with all the food in protest of Father's decision to name the player as his successor. You can infiltrate them and act like a Reasonable Authority Figure and talk them into giving you a chance as the new head of the Institute. Then after they agree to your terms and stand down, you can immediately order their execution as punishment.
    • Meanwhile, you can be an abusive Jerk Ass to every department head, field operative, and named underling who answers to you.
    • And to top it off, when Father asks you to record an announcement of the Institute's intentions to the Commonwealth, you can really play up the Evil Overlord bit. You can deliver an epic New Era Speech that the Institute is here and the master of everyone, cares nothing for the pathetic little lives of people on the surface, and will annihilate anyone who has a problem with it.
    • After all this you can still side with one of the other factions and blow up the Institute, making you the ultimate Bad Boss.
  • Unbreakable Weapons: Played straight due to the removal of the repair system featured in 3 and New Vegas; weapons and regular armor no longer degrade even after long periods of extensive use and wear. The only thing suffering from degradation is Power Armor.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: In the Far Harbor DLC, the quest to obtain DiMA's stored memories has you go Inside a Computer System and hack into the files using digital bugs, blocks, and turrets in a sequence that looks like a cross between TRON and Minecraft.
  • Unfazed Everyman: The protagonist isn't terribly surprised by what the wasteland has to offer. They already fought in the Sino-American War, so they're prepared for future combat. Subverted all to hell by the part until meeting Codsworth where the protagonist acts like they're suffering a horrible nightmare - which is actually an option of dialogue to give the robot.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Like Fallout 3 before it, some of Fallout 4's perks aren't as enticing to take as they may seem.
    • V.A.N.S. uses VATS to display a path that's closest to your quest objective. You really don't need a perk to show a path to your objective when you can set a waypoint.
    • Toughness gives 10 points of Ballistic Defense per rank, and its sister perk Refractor gives an equal amount of Energy Defense. By the time you can max out either perk, you likely have armor that averages around 350 in both categories, so that extra 50 doesn't have much of an effect.
    • Lead Belly reduces the radiation you suffer from eating and drinking, nullifying it completely at rank 3. Food and water have minimal radiation to begin with, and by cooking it you can completely eliminate the radiation drawback in addition to making it even more effective.
    • Rad Resistant adds 10 points of Radiation Resistance each rank, totaling 30. If you're in an area where radiation poisoning is an actual concern, Hazmat Suits and Power Armor will reduce ambient radiation to almost nothing, and Rad-X provides better temporary defense.
    • Cannibal allows you to eat corpses to restore a portion of lost health, but you have plenty of healing options in Stimpacks and cooked food.
    • The Ghoulish perks causes you to regenerate health at a rate determined by how much you've been irradiated. Since radiation reduces max health, there's no point in being able to regenerate quickly if you can only do so to half or less of your maximum.
    • The fourth rank of Lockpick prevents your bobby pins from breaking, and the fourth rank of Hacker keeps you from being shut out of terminals if you fail to hack them successfully. Bobby pins are so cheap and plentiful that you will almost always find more than you break, and you can avoid a terminal lockout simply by exiting and reentering to reset it. For that matter, both skills are unnecessary for story progression, only allowing you to bypass certain obstacles or access rooms with decent loot.
  • The Usual Adversaries: While different factions have different enemies, no one likes the Raiders.
  • Vehicular Turnabout:
    • If you're quick and sneaky enough, you can pickpocket the fusion core from an active enemy power armor, kill the operator after they bail out of the powerless armor, reinstall the core, and then attack their allies in that armor. It's also a way to acquire the base frame, which otherwise is mangled beyond salvage if you have to kill the operator the direct way.
    • For the same reason, don't ever leave fusion cores in your armor. Friendly and enemy NPCs can and will appropriate it for their own use if given the opportunity, though at least settlers can be told to get out.
  • Vendor Trash: Subverted — pretty much every seemingly useless item can be broken down for crafting components. Around a quarter of the time you'll spend in any given location is picking the entire place clean of every last bit of junk.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: The game runs on this. While you can be a Jerkass Hero if you work at it, it's much easier to run in a more positive direction. From helping the Minutemen build and protect settlements, to retrieving a child's final message to her toymaker (and now ghoulified) father, to bucking up the spirits of your companions and even the lonely ghoul Vault-Tec salesman, there are chances to help and protect people everywhere across the Commonwealth.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The potential for this is severely downplayed compared to previous games in the series. You can be something of an Anti-Hero if you choose, stealing stuff and doing whatever it takes to find your son, but you can't really play a full-on villain and a lot of innocents are essential NPCs. This can lead to some severe Railroading as the game can break down and be physically unable to cope if you attempt to play a murdering psycho, as one journalist from Rock Paper Shotgun found out to his detriment.
    • That’s not to say there are no opportunities to be a complete asshole. For starters, pretty much everyone aboard the ‘’Prydwen’’, every member of the Railroad and everyone in the Institute is non-essential, meaning you can have lots of fun going on a murderous rampage. There’s a quest where you have the opportunity to sell a ghoul child to some slavers, or if you refuse, give up their entire family to them. In one Diamond City quest, you can ambush a chem deal, and then murder your partners to take all the chems and money for yourself. And then, of course, you can join the Institute and announce to the Commonwealth you’re their new overlords and that their pitiful lives are meaningless, and if you side against them, you have to blow them up along with all their civilians and children living there.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Most of your companions will dislike or hate villainous actions, especially committing wanton murder. The only standouts are Dogmeat, who is a dog and doesn't know better, Strong, who loves violence, and the sociopathic X6-88. Even the last two have points where they'll disapprove for reasons moral or practical. Continuing to act like an ass or a psycho killer while they're travelling with you will cause them to dislike you and eventually leave you, never to return.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential:
    • Let's start with the fact that when you take a dead enemy's gear, that can include their clothing- so you could leave a trail of underwear-clad corpses across Boston and its environs. There's also Cait, who gives a "like" reaction to your Survivor fast-travelling from location to location while wearing no clothing. And, of course, there are nude mods.
    • Although it's usually impossible to get your Companion down to just underwear (the game won't let you unequip what they're wearing, just equip something new), there's currently a glitch that lets you do it to at least one on PS4.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Especially compared to the previous games, where there were almost always non-violent solutions. There are a few exceptions, but a large number of the game's quests require you to kill people. In particular, any quest to help out a settlement in trouble usually boils down to "go to the Raider/Super Mutant base and kill everyone and everything there".
    • No matter what dialogue options you say to Kellogg, you will always end up fighting him in the end.
    • Mostly played straight, but there are situations where no one has to get killed, depending on how you answer, such as the standoff between Trudy and Wolfgang. Though killing one or the other is much easier, you can find a peaceful resolution. Keeping both alive allows you to buy and trade with both as well, as a small reward for not blowing them away.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: After clearing the raiders and Gristle at Concord with your Powered Armor and Minigun, a huge Deathclaw appears out of nowhere. This thing can kill you within a few hits, soak up loads of damage from your Minigun, moves quickly, and even actively dodges your bullets!
  • Weak Turret Gun: Early on, hostile turrets are just a nuisance. Late game turrets are very dangerous however. You can also build your own to defend your settlements, and if you capture the Castle early, they actually do quite a good job at killing the surviving Mirelurks.
  • Weird Weather: The weather system (which mostly simulates normal weather) will sometimes subject the player to radiation storms, which randomly cause radiation poisoning while they're outside.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: the Director of The Cambridge Polymer Labs. When the bombs fell he locked everyone inside, seeking to protect them both from the radiation and from the knowledge that the world had ended and everyone they knew and loved was probably dead. After learning that he and his team would be shot if they tried to get aid or evacuation on their own, and that they would only otherwise be extracted if they were of military significance, he told everyone they were on mandatory overtime until they completed their work, to keep them safe away from the devastation and hopefully get them to complete the power armor coating that would make them worth rescuing by the military.
  • Wetware Body / Wetware CPU: It's unclear what the breakdown of organic to inorganic parts in third generation synths is, but they look to be a mix of both. Paladin Danse is outed by DNA records, implying that they have actual flesh and blood; Father confirms this inside the Institute, stating that Gen 3s were based on Shaun's pre-War and thus unmutated DNA. However, they don't look to be entirely organic, as they exhibit some non-human abilities. For example, synths hidden among the general population can be detected with the Awareness perk because of their telltale energy resistance, which is much higher than a normal human's.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • Codsworth goes a long way to humanizing the previously soulless and hostile robots encountered in other games. It seems, 210 years earlier, robots really were good friends of mankind.
    • Almost all of the raiders you encounter are led by a named boss. They also have a lot more varied dialogue and even hold conversations when you're not detected. There's a good number of journal entries, too, which continue to humanize the enemies you fight. The various raider bosses even have their own power struggles; kill the raiders in the Federal Ration Stockpile and when you come to murder the boss of a rival gang, you'll find how he hoped to use the food in there to expand his influence and take on one of more fearsome bosses. What also helps is that most of them have refrained from decorating their hideouts with the corpses of their victims.
    • Super Mutants also like to chat with each other when you're not shooting them apart. Unlike the Mutants in the Capital Wasteland, they seem to be capable of reason, even if they still are usually idiots. Strong also gives us further insight into the life of the average super mutant.
    • Travel south along one of the railroad tracks, and you'll come across a raider kneeling on the ground. As soon as they notice you, they'll attack, and you're forced to defend yourself. But when you approach to loot the body, you realize what they were doing: grieving over a body dumped in a shallow grave.
    • The Viking ghoul raiders who inhabit the FMS Northern Star are also unique from other raiders by the fact that they just want to be left alone. Translating their Norwegian dialogue reveals that they also long to return to their distant, likely irradiated homeland.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A major theme of Fallout 4 is you determining what qualifies as human or sentient, and the alliances you make will narrow based on your thoughts and choices. Both the Brotherhood of Steel and the Institute view synths as below human, with the former calling for their destruction, and the latter treating them as property despite the synths having potential sapience. The Railroad takes after The Underground Railroad and is dedicated to the liberation and equality of synths. By the time you have met any of the three factions, you have likely made a friend or enemy of different synth characters.
    • Ghouls, supermutants, and robots are also under the thumb of this theme, but to a lesser degree to synths.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Things you do and how you react in a situation can affect how other NPCs will react to you.
    • Some minor stuff include stealing while accompanied by an NPC whose moral compass leans towards the good side, or refusing to help when asked. Or agreeing to help for the more Anti-Hero-oriented characters. And while Strong dislikes you getting into power armor, Danse likes it.
    • Major incidents include murdering faction NPCs. Killing a lot of unnamed ones, or a named one, will immediately cause that faction to be hostile towards you, including companions belonging to that faction.
    • Killing a settler will often turn the rest of the settlement against you. They may let it slide if you accidentally kill one during a firefight with hostile NPCs. But if you kill one in cold blood, the other settlers will quickly turn hostile, forcing you to kill them as well. This becomes problematic when a settlement is invaded by a synth, and you can't figure out which one of them is the synth.
    • Father will have this reaction to you if you turn against the Institute. Even if you try to apologize as you prepare to blow their base, he tries to guilt trip you no matter how you respond.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The town of Covenant serves a very similar role as Andale in Fallout 3 and Hackdirt in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, being a small settlement that is pretty obviously a Town with a Dark Secret and putting you in a situation where you're likely to be forced to kill the entire town if making good/moral decisions.
  • Why Isn't It Attacking?: You can choose to return the Deathclaw Egg obtained in the Museum of Witchcraft to its nest. When you get there, a high-level Deathclaw will pop up in front of you... and leave you alone, knowing that you're returning its egg, allowing you to get the nearby Deathclaw Gauntlet. If you attempt to steal the egg back, however...
  • Wicked Cultured: Somewhat implied with the Institute. You eventually find out they're the ones broadcasting the classical music station.
  • Witch Hunt: Many settlements and organizations, up to and including the Brotherhood of Steel, are conducting witch hunts for "synths", androids who look and act human. For bonus points, this witch hunt just so happens to be in Massachusetts, home of the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • In the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. video series, Vault Boy is a badass who gets his ass handed to him twice per episode. This is usually to explain (A) how dangerous having a Dump Stat can be in certain situations, and (B) how your enemies (or allies, or even literal corpses) can beat the crap out of you if you fail a skill check.
    • During your search for Kellogg, you'll find the remains of a curb-stomped Assaultron. If you've had the pleasure of fighting one of those before, this should be a dead giveaway that this man means business.
    • Later in the main questline you have to track down and kill an Institute Courser. You'll eventually find him making short work of dozens of Gunners, which are essentially better-equipped raiders.
    • When visiting the Mahkra Fishpacking facility the first time, you'll notice an unusually large amount of Raider corpses laid both outside and inside the plant. Investigating the facility further inside reveals that a large group of Synths have invaded the place and are responsible for their deaths. Eventually, they turn their attention to you and start trying to kill you for presumably interfering with their operations, unless you've allied yourself with the Institute. Hopefully you don't try to explore this place until you're at a sufficiently high level because these Synths are armed well enough to quickly kill a low-level PC at a moment's notice.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: The Treasure of Jamaica Plains is a pre-war time capsule containing mostly junk and a World Series bat that may occasionally send those it hits flying.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: When you approach Hardware Town for the first time, a settler will be outside screaming for someone to help. She will then lead you into the building, where her kidnapped friend is being held. Once you go into the back areas however, it turns out to be a trap, and a few raiders attack you. You can avert the trope by killing the settler first, or purposely waiting outside for a long time, after which one of the raiders will kill her for failing to bait you inside. You can even pacify her with Intimidation rank 3 perk and use her to fight against the raiders.
  • Wrench Whack: The Pipe Wrench is available as a melee weapon, there is even a unique one, Big Jim.
  • Wretched Hive: Goodneighbor is a town filled with the dregs and rejects of the Commonwealth, meaning either ghouls or criminals. As such, the city is a crime-riddled hellhole run by a mayor with limited interest in exerting overt authority, though he does appreciate efforts in getting rid of the worst of the lot.
  • You Are in Command Now:
    • Preston Garvey promotes you to general if you promise to help him rebuild the Minutemen.
    • Father names you as the next director of the Institute if you side with them. This title carries over after the story is completed.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: If your affinity with a companion drops too low, they will voice their concern. If it continues to drop, they will leave you for good unless you can pass a difficult speech check. If you convince them to stay, but continue to lower their affinity, you won't be able to convince them to stay again: they'll leave and not look back.
  • Your Head Asplode: Do enough damage to a target's head (or if Bloody Mess triggers) and it pops like a blood-filled melon.
  • Your Cheating Heart: You can literally do this to a companion who you have a romantic relationship with, and not just by starting relationships with other companions. One quest involves asking an attractive singer in a seedy bar for information about a missing person. With a high enough level in charisma, you can flirt and go on a date with the singer which fades out and then fades back in to the date ending in her bedroom. If your current companion is romantically involved with you, you get an onscreen message that they "hated" what you did. If you've completed the quest line with them and have them as a permanent companion, they don't even mention about how you just cheated on them and they're still completely in love with you.
    • Remember though that this is about the dialogue only (and the associated perk which you cannot lose). You can and will lose affection and it can downgrade you to a lower level where you won't get the Lover's Embrace bonus anymore (which is basically the only way to find out about it). Normally you will be restored to lover level soon after, though, since travelling alone gives "good points", so you may also notice that your lover has broken up with you when s/he initiates a dialogue about getting back together like before.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • Mole Rats. What appears to be a single mole rat will call on a horde to rush the player once said mole rat is alerted or killed.
    • Feral Ghouls now act like this. They initially "play dead", but as soon as one notices you (or is killed), the entire "horde" will wake up and then run straight for you.
    • Mirelurks who don't have ranged attacks will attempt this on you as well.

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