These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Fallout 3
Accidental Aesop: By using the GECK to reactivate Project Purity instead of using it to terraform the region as in Fallout 2, "It's better to work hard to change things over time than to change them entirely at once."
Alternative Character Interpretation: There's a mod that can make your player into a child. With this installed Moira's upbeat perky attitude that's so amusing and bizarre comes off as her talking to the player like he's actually a child. Compared to other NPCs who cuss and scream and try to kill this kid, she almost seems to become the mother figure they never had. Considering the fact that they share the same VA one has to wonder. And then when you consider her quest theme in that light, and she's suddenly a magnitude more crazy. Ask a twelve-year old to get beaten up within an inch of its life, would you? Crawl into monster lairs, get irradiated, walk a minefield. Hell of a mother figure. The moment you're done giving her what she needs for her book she tosses the kid aside. And even with that she's still a hell of a lot more maternal than most people in the wasteland.
The appearance of Mr.Burke in the Lone Wanderer's drug induced hallucination can be taken to mean a variety of things depending the on the player's actions, specifically whether you destroyed Megaton or not.
Some of the random encounters might fall under this, but they are, by nature, a bit out-of-the-blue.
If you accept the quest to track down the android, a woman will track you down and berate you for it. This can happen ANYWHERE. Yes, I appreciate that you support android rights, can we discuss this when I'm not being shot at by Super Mutants, thanks?
Dr. Stanislaus Braun, a Mad Scientist who locks away a bunch of people in a virtual simulation, where he tortures them for years and years. He specifically states that torturing real people who can feel pain rather than computer simulations is more fun. You get positive karma for ending the suffering of his victims permanently and trapping him in his own simulation completely alone, presumably for all eternity. And you may want to do this after reading his terminal entries where he recounts all the "fun" he's been having, including a resident who slipped on some icy steps at a ski resort and was impaled on an iron fence, and in an island scenario another resident is devoured by a shark. The same terminal makes it clear that Braun enjoys changing the simulation setting every couple decades to keep it interesting for him, and that Tranquility Lane is so far his favorite precisely because when he begins "playing", he enjoys shattering their illusion of domestic safety.
Note that Braun was in charge of the Vault experiments in general. Every single Vault Dweller that died or went insane is this bastard's fault. It seems that creating little worlds and then screwing them up as much as possible is what he does.
Mr. Burke. His back story isn't explained much, all we know about him is that he is Mr. Tenpenny's right hand, and Mr. Tenpenny wants Megaton (a peaceful town) nuked, because it ruins the view from his tower. He assigns Mr.Burke to detonate the atomic bomb in the middle if Megaton, under the condition that he evacuate the town first. Burke, however, completely ignores this, and goes out of his way to make sure that when the town is nuked, as many people as possible are caught in the blast. If you get Lucas Simms to arrest him, he shoots Simms dead (unless you are very quick on the draw) and assigns mercenaries to track you down. You get positive karma for killing him. However, if you don't kill him and help Roy Phillips (see below) break into Tenpenny tower, Roy (who is scared to death of Burke), will make Burke his right hand man. Not only that, Burke will go ahead and nuke Megaton, even though Tenpenny is dead and there is absolutely no reason to nuke the town.
Roy Phillips. He leads a ghoul gang who live in the horrible slums outside of the luxurious Tenpenny tower. He has tried repeatedly to get in, and when you meet him you can help get into the tower either peacefully or violently (by unleashing a horde of feral ghouls into the tower). Either way, even if he gets in and is allowed to live there peacefully, he and his gang still slaughter everyone there. But for some reason, you get bad karma if you kill him (although you can kill him without karma loss if he attacks first).
Contested Sequel: Points of debate include the shift in gameplay from turn-based to real-time (among numerous other changes), the quality of writing, both in the main quest and in secondary quests and locations, and the change of location resulting in almost nothing carrying over from the first two games aside from the Enclave and Brotherhood of Steel.
Liberty Prime. He has backpack full of nukes he throws like footballs.
General Jingwei's main weapon, an electrified Jian sword.
Crowning Moment of Awesome: The ending, with Broken Steel. You highjack an Enclave Kill Sat and blow up their gigantic mobile base, almost certainly ending the threat of the Enclave forever. It's especially awesome when you think about it: It took an atomic war and two centuries for the Wasteland to throw off the shackles of the past. The Enclave, the remains of the United States government, had plans to control the Wasteland, and the protagonists of the Fallout trilogy flipped them off and nuked them. Three times.
Liberty Prime is online. All systems nominal. Weapons hot. Mission:the destruction of any and all Chinese communists.
If you buy Charon's contract from Ahzrukal, this happens:
Charon: (upon being informed about you purchasing his contract) This is good news. Please wait here, while I go take care of something. (walks up to Ahzrukal) Excuse me, I am informed that I am no longer in your service?
Ahzrukal: That's right Charon, come to say goodbye?
Charon: Yes. (pulls out his shotgun and blows Ahzrukal's head off)
Consider this Foreshadowing if you happen to be an evil character yourself...
Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Merely one example of many: Randomly encountering three slaves being escorted by a slaver, rescuing them, and successfully defusing all three slaves' explosive slave collars.
The "Agatha's Violin" question. From Three Dog:
Three Dog: Now, the Lone Wanderer, aka that kid from Vault 101, has done some pretty interesting things, but this one takes the cake. My contacts report that he/she recently went on a highly dangerous excursion to recover -drum roll please- a violin. Oh, but not just any ol' violin, children... We're talking Stradivarius here. That's one top o' the line fiddle, you dig? Here's the best part. The violin was for an old woman named Agatha, who has taken to the airwaves herself to share some truly beautiful music. Agatha, we love ya. Keep playin', sister. And Vault kid? You've helped make the Capital Wasteland a better place. Hats off, my friend.
Fallout New Vegas gives us one retroactively. You can find the Wasteland Survival Guide as a skill book. Moira dared to dream, and it came true. It is possible to come across a woman who tells you that thanks to your book her family is no longer starving.
Crowning Music of Awesome: The music playing in the main menu and while it loads. It practically booms POST-APOCALYPTIC. Works even better when doubled with The Ink Spots' I Don't Wanna Set The World On Fire in the opening sequence.
So cool that the London Philharmonic Orchestra included it in their album of The Greatest Video Game Music.
The Enclave Hellfire Troopers, who have more health than any other human enemies in the game, carry either a hard hitting, very accurate plasma rifle or an extremely high damage Heavy Incinerator, and wear the best armor in the game. Thankfully, they are a pretty rare encounter, and when you encounter a large number of them, you get the Tesla Cannon, which can make short work of them.
Enemies with missile launchers (at long distance) and flamers (at short distance). Missile launchers because they do large, area-of-effect damage and tend to cripple your limbs easily, flamers because they do large amounts of damage and block your view with a large gout of flame.
The Tribals. They are ridiculously powerful and hard to kill for no reason at all. Getting beaten by a bunch of tribals with hunting rifles and axes that barley wear clothes after curb-stomping the Power Armor wearing, Gatling Laser wielding Elite Mooks of the Enclave is rather jarring.
Radscorpions in general due to their lack of a weak point. At least the Mirelurks have a head to snipe for a potential One-Hit KO.
Designated Villain: Aside from the shoot-on-sight policy of their Mooks, the game never really gives any reason for why you have to fight the Enclave, Dr. Li just saying "it's not right" when telling the Brotherhood the Enclave can't be allowed to control the purifier. The obvious pride issues aside, when you examine the situation from a pragmatic point of view, it actually makes far more sense to ally with them and let them take over the region, as they have the resources, manpower and technology to help a lot of people and bring order to the wasteland, and they're (mostly) interested in doing so. The only reason they're seen as villains is because players will know about what they did in Fallout 2, to the player character it's Off Screen Villainy and barely brought up until the end of the game. And by that point you know only Eden wants to repeat their plan in Fallout 2; Autumn, who depending on your actions can end up the sole controlling force of the Enclave, does not.
Draco in Leather Pants: Many people who played the game thought Colonel Autumn was a super nice guy, even though he's a Jerk Ass racist who only betrayed the Big Bad because he wanted absolute control over the water supply, and Eden was going to poison it. Some even wanted him as a companion.
The Player Character can play himself this way: a bloodthirsty killer with no morals what-so-ever, but who has maxed out their charisma and intelligence to the point where no one would dare argue. Except Three Dog, of course.
Alistair Tenpenny seems to have a bit of this treatment going on as well; while he's perhaps not quite the Complete Monster his minion Mr. Burke is, he still shoots people from the top of a skyscraper for fun, he's still a complete bigot, and the fact that killing him nets the player a karma boost (one of the few occasions where this happens) suggests that even if he's now just a slightly senile old man (which is how he's generally viewed in this treatment), he's been responsible for some pretty nasty stuff in his life.
Ashur. Full stop. While the DLC doesn't make any pains to show Ashur in an ultimately positive light, you'll see many a fan claiming that Ashur is an ultimately good person, or at least well-intentioned, who happens to have some very unruly employees. This completely ignores that Ashur himself has no problem with abducting hapless bystanders who will likely die building a utopia (with utopia here meaning "really efficient steel-mill") that none of them care about, and will at random pit said bystanders against experienced Raiders in fights to the death that most of them are completely unprepared for. The guy is less Henry VIII and more Bridge on the River Kwai.
Ear Worm: The Enclave Radio, and Galaxy News Radio station. Most memorable ones:
Or let's be practical: it could also be that he's a bright yellow, eight-foot-tall walking tank. With a GatlingLaser.
Fan Dumb: Try reading an argument about the "Meaning" of Butcher Pete and keeping your sanity.
Fridge Brilliance: The names of the weapons in Mothership Zeta are incredibly generic and dull, "alien atomizer", "alien disintegrator", "drone cannon", etc. Then you realize these aren't their actual names, they're just the names your character has given them in-universe to tell them apart, they probably have proper names but there's no way you could ask the aliens to tell you.
East Coast super mutants getting Stronger With Age neatly justifies Fawkes being such a Game Breaker with Broken Steel: He's an original super mutant, nearly 200 years old, making him potentially much older than the muties you and he chew through. And he still has all his faculties.
Players often wonder why the Tribals in Point Lookout are so much tougher than they look. It makes sense though if you think about their initiation ritual, which involves cutting out a piece of their own brain. It's possible that the part that registers pain is damaged or destroyed in the process, so if they're numb to pain, they can continue fighting far longer than your average human being.
For starters, every single add-on gives you at least one weapon that would be considered an Eleventh Hour Superpower before the eleventh hour.
Broken Steel gives you the Tesla Cannon, which can kill most enemies with one hit and all but the strongest enemies with two, and it runs on one of the most common ammunition in the game.
Almost every item you can find in Mothership Zeta is a Game Breaker. Of particular note is the Captain's Sidearm, a better version of the Infinity Plus One Gun of the base game. The other items are almost as powerful.
Operation Anchorage gives you an indestructible suit of Power Armor (although the indestructible bit is a mistake in the code) and a suit that will basically give you the effect of a Stealth Boy permanently, thus giving you the ability to have perfect invisibility and be undetectable to all enemies in the game, as long as you're using a silenced or melee weapon.
To follow that up, The Pitt has the Infiltrator, a silenced machine gun with a scope, and it's not a unique weapon. It has an even more powerful version of itself called the Perforator. With this and the stealth suit, you can breeze through the game without ever being seen.
Point Lookout gives us the Microwave Emitter, which ignores armor. All armor.
Fawkes, who can take on any enemy with almost complete impunity. Good once you hit level 20/30, since you won't have to use your own weapons any more.
Unless you go to one of the DLC zones. Your Wasteland companions can't follow you there.
The Chinese Stealth Armor from the Operation Anchorage DLC. Allows you to kill anything without ever being detected.
The Grim Reaper's Sprint perk, restoring your action points once you leave V.A.T.S. if you killed someone in it. And you will kill someone, unless that someone is an Albino Radscorpion, Overlord or Behemoth.
Remember how in Fallout and 2, healing while resting was a function of time and only restored hitpoints? In Fallout 3, one hour of sleep will restore you completely.
With Broken Steel, RL-3 levels up with the player at ten times the rate he should, giving him absolutely ridiculous health. That, combined with the fact that he can be obtained very early provided the player knows where to look (and where to get 500-1,000 caps) makes pretty much every other companion useless (except Fawkes, but that is pretty late in the game).
The same can be said for Dogmeat, who receives the same Broken Steel benefits as Fawkes and RL-3. Go right to the Scrapyard at the beginning of the game and you have a nigh-invincible (Dog)Meat Shield right off the bat! Oh, and unlike RL-3 and Fawkes, Dogmeat can be recruited regardless of your Karma.
And of course, there are plenty of glitches in the game that will give you a huge advantage. The ones above are by design.
The Dart Gun has a very high chance of crippling the legs of whatever it hits, turning melee enemies into a joke, including Deathclaws.
The repair shop merchant in Point Lookout has continually increasing repair skill. He is eventually the merchant capable of repairing everything to pristine condition.
The developers mistakenly placed the simulation version of The Winterized T-51-b Power Armor as the reward after completing Operation Anchorage, which results in it becoming almost totally indestructible since it has nearly ten million item HP (i.e., it doesn't ever have to be repaired).
In vanilla Fallout 3, Dogmeat, Fawkes, and Sergeant RL-3 are fixed-level characters, due to being creatures rather than human NPCs. The Broken Steel DLC upgrades them to allow them to level up with the player, in order to stay competitive against the super-powerful new enemies introduced in the expansion. The Good Bad Bug is that their health and damage increase ten times more than what the designers intended... making them pretty much indestructible killing machines (For example, Dogmeat has 2,500 health at player level one and 15,000 health at player level thirty!!! For comparison, a Super Mutant Behemoth, by far the toughest monster in the game, has 2,000 health). Note that this only occurs if Broken Steel is installed before you actually meet and recruit those characters... otherwise they receive no upgrade, and get curbstomped by the new Demonic Spiders.
The inventory system has a small bug where, if there are two or more of the same equip with different conditions and the more damaged equip is below the less damaged equip, moving the more damaged equip will instead move the less damaged equip. The same bug applies to equipment shops, only now you can buy the item that is less damaged for the price of the more heavily damaged one, then sell it back for it's real price. Repeat the process as many times as you want and you will have quite literally robbed the shop blind of all it's stock and money.
The game applies perk based skill bonuses upon selecting them, rather than after confirmation. During the level up screen, you can select a perk that gives skill bonuses, then go back to the skill distribution and see the game has added them already. But if you go select another perk and return to the skill screen, the added points remain. Repeat for more points.
Harsher in Hindsight: Liam Neeson plays the main character's father and a widower. Less than a year after the game's release, Neeson's real life wife, Natasha Richardson, tragically passed away. The scenes where he sadly talks about his dead wife in the game felt very strange after that.
Iron Woobie: Gob. He seems to keep a stiff upper lip, (well, if he had lips) but the fact that his normal way of saying goodbye is crying "Don't hit me!" shows that Moriarty's done a number on him.
Jerkass Woobie: Scribe Bigsley in Broken Steel is a smug, snarky, arrogant jerk who shows you nothing but disdain until you offer to help make his workload easier, and yells at his subordinates. However, he's stuck working around the clock in a dimly-lit room with no windows, has little support from the Brotherhood because their resources are still focused on the Enclave war, and has to oversee the distribution of the water to the various cities of the wasteland, which he does with limited manpower and limited money to hire more, and he's on the receiving end of the water requests from said cities because by the time you wake up, they've reportedly begun to get greedy about it.
Moral Event Horizon: As the player, you can if you want: Nuking Megaton, following Eden's orders and poisoning the Wasteland with the virus, and aiming the Enclave's Kill Sat at the Citadel in Broken Steel.
Charon in particular has a personal moral code despite coming off as True Neutral, and certain acts (such as murdering innocent Ghouls, robbing Underworld blind, or killing female slaves) get an audibly horrified reaction from him, and he'll try to blow you away if you dismiss him immediately afterward. The same can happen with Fawkes, though you have to be much more of a bastard to get on his bad side, and if you do then you'll be facing off against someone with a Gatling Laser and skin tougher than two Vault doors welded together. Good luck!
Most Annoying Sound: "You appear to be wounded sir/madam, may I suggest you seek attention treatment as soon as possible?"
The tone that plays every time you lose karma.
Doc Church if you rely on him for stimpaks and other meds early in the game: "You best have cancer, because from the look of it your breaking rule number one right now."
Having GNR on while talking to a shopkeeper will result in a low, staticy hiss that sounds like Three Dog saying "they" over and over and over again.
Sticky: "Let's make up stories to pass the time!" Player: Your blood will be as warm milk, and your screams as my lullabies.
Super Mutants can be pretty scary sometimes, especially if one is barreling down on you in a confined space waving a nailed board or a sledgehammer in the air, not even flinching as you run backwards firing your gun in his face. The first Super Mutant Behemoth you're likely to meet is introduced by exploding two buses after a Scare Chord hits, and then out from the smoke comes a Super Mutant twice as big as the rest so far swinging around a piece of sewage pipe like a baseball bat.
Very often you stumble into tableau-like scenes of skeletons that were killed doing things when the bombs hit. For example, you can frequently find "Pulowski preservation shelters", phone booth-like pods designed to protect people. However, almost every single time you open them a skeleton falls out. On occasion you'll find two skeletons in a shelter, or a skeleton with a handgun clutched in its hand with a blood spatter on the wall. While wandering around pick up a radio broadcast of a couple with a critically injured son child taking shelter in a nearby drainage pipe, but when you get there you find a ham radio broadcasting the messages and two adult skeletons. Stop and take a moment to think about what happened to these people that you find their skeletons in these conditions...
Listen to Keller Family Transcript three of five. "Mom, it's Candace. Oh my God, it's really happening. I can see the cloud... it's so big... Mom, I'm so scared." The background noises on the tape just make it all the worse.
In Mothership Zeta, the screeching of the Abominations as they run at you pointing with their Black Eyes of Evil wide can be pretty creepy.
All the Vaults are pretty bad in this regard, but possibly the worst is Vault 92. What makes it the worst is that the game builds up a hugely creepy atmosphere all the way through it, with plenty of detail provided about exactly what was going down and what went wrong, expecting you to find the worst things around every corner, until you find... Nothing. There's nothing down there. Just the ghosts of the dead and the ruins they left behind...
Only The Creator Does It Right: The game is hated by some of the more die-hard fans of the first two games because it was created by Bethesda Softworks and not Black Isle Software. Especially noticeable when you consider that Fallout New Vegas was given a more accepting reception and that some of the old employees of Black Isle incidentally worked on it.
Rooting for the Empire: It's easy to want to side with the Enclave in this game. As a sharp contrast to Fallout 2 where they were fascist, genocidal monsters, in this game they're just looking to take control of the Capital Wasteland with intent to begin rebuilding "true" America. The only one that really wants to carry out genocide is President Eden; his second-in-command Colonel Autumn thinks this is a terrible idea and that a source of clean, fresh water would be better used as a means of control. Granted, the Enclave are ruthless Jerkasses with a penchant for killing those who resist them and practising You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, but in the cut-throat world of Fallout (filled with Raiders, mutated wildlife, Super Mutants and slavers) they're one of the few remaining groups with the manpower, resources and willingness to bring true safety to the wastelands.
Only if you never visit an Enclave wilderness outpost. The computers note they're experimenting on the denizens of the wasteland, then killing them. Of course, a Villain Protagonist LW probably wouldn't care.
The Scrappy: Sticky appears to be designed be the most insufferable 'companion' ever devised by the dark souls of men. When your dragging him around, he will never shut up, repeating the same few stories but replacing half the words and calling it a "new" one. In his single quest he appears in (thankfully you don't have to do it) is the hardest in the game, not because there are death Claws or Enclave between the cave and Big Town, but because you cannot resist putting a bullet in the kids head. It is possible to shut him up via a speech option (or by hitting with a power glove) but the former has a small chance of failing even with a perfect speech score, which will only make him MORE annoying. The salt on the wound is that the only thing you get out of doing his quest is a paper party hat, or to see him run in the mines you taught Big Town's people to make.
For some, Three Dog is an insufferable character after a few hours of the game, given that his radio broadcasts repeat endlessly, but he always refers to them as breaking news. He gained the most extreme hate, though, for slamming the player for killing Roy, who, despite inherrent sympathy as a minority, wanted to murder innocent civilians.
Many Jerkass characters in Fallout 3 get understandable hatred, among them Confessor Cromwell, Colin Moriarty, and especially Knight Captain Durga. Fortunately, unlike many video game scrappies, they can be killed if the player wishes.
Amata has gained quite a bit of hatred from fans for kicking you out of he vault after you let the overseer live TWICE, (Unless, of course, you kill him) made her the overseer, and saved the vault from a war that would have destroyed them. Her father is also kind of a Jerkass.
The absolute worst is the anonymous Megaton villager who, almost every single time you enter Megaton or exit a building in Megaton, tells you how much everyone loves you and offers you a near-worthless item. At least Cromwell is easily ignored by walking straight past the ambient noise of his Word Salad Philosophy. This woman's appearance completely locks your movement the moment you walk through the door and you have to wait for the camera to slowly move in front of her and go through the exact same dialogue menu every single time. Makes the Talon Mercenaries much more likable in comparison, especially when it comes to high Karma punishments.
Dr.Zimmer in the Replicated Man quest actually makes a very good point. He's out to capture an android that escaped, and the player is either given the option of locating and bringing back the android or helping the android avoid Zimmer. The first option gives negative karma, the second gets positive karma along with the android's unique Plasma Rifle. However, Zimmer repeatedly points out that the android is his property that he created himself, and that you couldn't enslave an android anymore than you can enslave a water purifier or a computer.
The obvious flaw in his reasoning is that water purifiers cannot decide they want to be free. Androids can - that is the point of the quest!
(Admittedly) obvious flaw aside - and his ignoring it is supposed to show why Zimmer is the "wrong" choice - the android is still a significant financial investment that took time and caps to build and activate.
Raising a child to adulthood is also a significant financial investment that takes time and caps to nurture and teach how to survive. An adult would have no more right to enslave a full grown child who wants to be free then Zimmer has to enslave an android who can grasp the concept and desire the state of freedom.
The Overseer's reason for being such an extreme isolationist is actually pretty sound. He thinks that the dangers of the outside will result in the deaths of everyone in the vault, particularly if a large group of raiders finds them. Considering what happened to Vault 3...
Although the Vault 101's Overseer can be portrayed as an stubborn idiot, in this case the game doesn't really portray him as a strawman but rather acknowledges that this argument has merit. When returning to the Vault for Trouble on the Homefront, the player can hack into the Overseer's computer to learn that the Enclave have been trying to gain entrance to the Vault. The player can then use this information to convince Amata and the rebels to keep the Vault locked and you're rewarded with positive karma for this decision. And rightfully so — imagine what the Enclave would do if they got their hands on some of the last pure survivors in America.
Vault 34 and Vault 11 also show what can happen if an Overseer allows his people to get too much out of hand. Totalitarian authoritarianism seems more nuanced when balanced by the fact that all it takes is one asshole to get careless in the engineering area to doom the entire vault (something Butch was dangerously close to doing himself in 101's case).
Vault 34 failed because the overseer was too totalitarian and refused to left them leave the Vault. If they did they would never had a food problem which was a major reason for the unrest, and Vault 11 had a Lottery of Doom.
Tear Jerker: "If anyone can hear this, this is Bob Anderstein. [My] family and I have taken refuge in a drainage chamber not too far from a radio relay tower outside of D.C. My boy is very sick, needs medical assistance. Please help if you can. We're listening for your response. 3950 kilohertz."
For those who are curious, there's a drainage chamber nearby, with the long-dead skeletons of Anderstein and his wife, surrounded by toddler toys and a lunchbox. Their son's corpse is nowhere to be found.
There's just a lot of little things that get you down. A skeleton behind a sealed door with a pistol in its hand, a note from a nurse dying of radiation sickness who laments that she'd prefer to die last so she could take care of her patients, a corpse in the wilderness with a note about a man who killed his kids in front of him... who doesn't exist in-game, denying you the satisfaction of enacting some justice in this sick sad world.
Also, the story of Little Lamplight and Vault 87. Little Lamplight began as a series of caverns that a troupe of children happened to be taking a field trip in during Armageddon. Vault 87 was in an adjacent cave complex. The kids pounded and pounded on the door begging to be let in, but a man inside said that they were "already dead" and should go away. That man was one kid's father, who believed his son killed in the holocaust, and his voice a hallucination.
And, right outside Vault 101, there are a couple of skeletons. And a picket sign saying, "We're DYING,assholes!"
At one of the Drive-in theaters, there are two skeletons embracing on the hood of an old car. And if you check the mailboxes in the various small towns, you'll eventually find rejection letters from the Vault program.
In one house, the player can find the undisturbed skeletons of a couple spooning on a bed, apparently sleeping peacefully when the bombs fell. There's a child's skeleton in another bedroom. The child's room has a crutch and medical brace nearby. Yeah, basically they killed Tiny Tim.
In another random house, you can find a skeleton in a bathtub. Also, a toaster.
When some characters are killed, they'll cry/mutter the name of a loved one as their last words. Even for gamers who enjoy playing evil characters, it can be heart wrenching to be reminded the man you just shot had a wife or kid.
One drawn-out side quest involves trying to gain entry to a bunker in the National Guard armory where a family had taken shelter. Once you get in, you find four skeletons and a feral ghoul.
There is one house in Georgetown where a robot sits silently in a room, untouched for the two hundred years since the bombs fell. When activated on a certain command, the robot will drolly float to the child's room where a small charred skeleton lays where the child died sleeping, with its teddy bear still cradled in its hands. The robot, not realizing this, will read its designated bedtime story...There will come soft rains.
This one is especially tragic if you think of it as the parents possibly preparing their children for what the war will bring...
Going to Arlington Cemetery invoked this feeling in me. It seems so sad that all the sacrifices and suffering of the ages experienced by all these soldiers was in vain because the world that they fought to protect and uphold was all destroyed in the nuclear fires of the Great War. Even after the apocalypse all it brought was a sad new chapter in humanity's long history. It got me to thinking if perhaps the men in those graves were luckier then we for the dead have seen the end of war, the survivors of the war have not because war never changes.
Zoe Hammerstien. She was a young violinist invited into Vault 92, which was a vault meant to create a breed of Super Soldiers by using subliminal white noise on its inhabitants, under the guise that it actually existed to preserve musical talent. Gradually, over half of the inhabitants went insane with rage, ripping the place to shreds. Young Zoe witnessed all of this. She was slowly losing her mind due to the white noise, and the few journal entries you find of her show how badly her mind was wrecked- she couldn't write properly at all, and her insanity consumed her. Not the new, insane breed of rage-filled people that took 20+ bullets to kill. She fell victim to her own mind.
To make matters even worse, her initial journal entries show that she was a bright, promising, likable young girl. She even had a crush on another boy from the vault... Whom she saw killed by the brainwashed vault dwellers. Cue the sad violin music...
You get a Karma boost for killing certain evil characters in the game.
Another point is the rather small range of -1,000 to 1,000 karma points. Nuked Megaton (-1,000)? No problem, just pay 2,000 to the local cult and you are the shining beacon of goodness again. Since the game is nice enough to send mercenaries after you if you are too evil or too good, this pays off in no time!
Note that once you EVER hit evil karma, Regulators will come hunting for your head. In fact, going back to good karma from evil karma means that BOTH the Regulators and the Talon Company mercs are gunning for you, your call to decide that is good or bad.
And then there's the ending:
Possible ending one: Activate purifier, + 1,000 Karma. Understandable, so far.
Possible ending two: Poison purifier and activate it: no karma change (the game docks 1,000 for the poison, but you also get the 1,000 boost for activating it), unless you were on the evil side, in which case you will be neutral after that. Oh, and you just doomed the whole Wasteland to a long and painful death.
Possible ending three: Poison purifier and then walk away, leading to its destruction. -1,000 karma, and the Wasteland is no better or worse off than before.
There's a possible ending four: Poison the purifier, then have Sarah Lyons sacrifice herself to activate it instead of you. This grants -1,000 karma and, upon reflect, is the most logical choice for an evil, non-idiotic character.
The quest Tenpenny Tower has this. If you convince Tenpenny that ghouls are not all mindless, cannibalistic murderers, he allows them to move in to the tower. A few days after this occurs, the ghouls murder every resident, strip their bodies, and unceremoniously dump their corpses with feral ghouls around to presumably eat them. This includes the one resident who is extremely tolerant of ghouls. The major bigoted stereotype is actually justified by this quest.
Reverse-pickpocketing a grenade onto a swamplurk (Point Lookout) is somehow bad karma. What.
If you decide to be a terrible person, you can make Amata's life hell growing up. Teaching bullies to mock her weight, killing her dad, destroying her home, and causing her to be captured by the enclave and shot to death for not revealing where Vault 101 is.