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Character page for the Fallout series.

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Recurring Characters


One day, a shotgun-toting man in a leather jacket walked into Junktown with his dog. The man was killed by thugs and the dog was left all alone. When another traveler walked into town a month later and befriended him, Dogmeat decided to follow the traveler to the ends of the Earth — it so happens this second traveler was the Player Character of the first Fallout game.

According to the manual for Fallout 2 where the Vault Dweller recounts his adventures, Dogmeat died running into a force field in the Mariposa Military Base, but returned in Fallout 2 in an optional random encounter to aid the Chosen One. In Fallout 3 the Lone Wanderer finds Dogmeat in a junkyard, and Word of God is that somehow this is a descendant of the original Dogmeat. Another Dogmeat appears in Fallout 4, but he is (apparently) not related to the original Dogmeat family line and just happens to have the same name.

  • Artificial Stupidity: "Bad dog! You're standing in my line of fire! That's better, now watch out for that forcef— DOGMEAT, NOOO!" So many players experienced this and recounted it, that it's canonically how the original Dogmeat died.
  • Badass Family: Given the badassery of his Identical Grandson and his pups, it's safe to say that ass-biting is In the Blood.
  • Born-Again Immortality: Pretty much; every Dogmeat is practically the same dog, but besides the first two sharing a Dogmeat despite his death under the Vault Dweller's care, they're all separate entities, with Broken Steel's Puppies! perk allowing you to replace Dogmeat with one of his pups if he dies and 4 featuring a Dogmeat of an entirely different breed. Chris Avellone's non-canon apocrypha states (in a joking tone) that Dogmeat is the "eternal dog champion" who will perennially fall and arise to save dogkind from extinction at humanity's hands.
  • Canine Companion: A loyal one.
  • Dead Guy Junior: In Fallout 3 there's the Puppies! perk, added in Broken Steel. Should Dogmeat get killed in the line of duty, one of his puppies/reincarnation will appear by the Vault 101 entrance a short time later. The puppy is treated as if he were the original and is thus subject to the perk as well.
  • Everything's Precious with Puppies: Awww, did Dogmeat die heroically in combat in the Capital Wasteland? Well, now your beloved companion is gone forever... or is he? With the Puppies! perk you'll never have to worry about his safety again! Whenever he bites it you'll just have to wait for a new doggie buddy to show up at Vault 101. Truly, puppies make everything better.
  • Fragile Speedster: Dogmeat has tons of action points per turn and a nasty bite. Too bad he can't wear armor. Subverted in 3 thanks to the next trope.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Like Fawkes and RL-3, he levels up with the player with the Broken Steel DLC added for Fallout 3, and can end up with insane health by time you reach level 30. The only thing keeping him from being Plus One is his lack of a long range attack.
  • Killed Off for Real: The Vault Dweller's memoirs state that it's canon that the original Dogmeat died by running into a force field.
  • Legacy Character: There's a Dogmeat in all four main games. The Fallout 4 dog is an entirely different breed from the one seen in 3, so it may be a descendant of Dogmeat after he bred with a female German Shepard, or it may be this trope. Dogmeat isn't around in New Vegas, but the player can find Rex the cyberdog as a replacement.
  • Shout-Out: To the Canine Companion of heroes in both Mad Max and A Boy and His Dog.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: "Dogmeat, don't get too close to that Deathclaw/Super Mutant wielding Minigun/forcefie—" (ZAP) "DOGMEAAAT!"
  • Team Pet: He's often the only animal you can get to follow you. Fallout 2 has other dogs you can acquire, but none of them are as famous (or powerful) as Dogmeat.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: How Dogmeat survived the first game in spite of dying in it. The way you get him in Fallout 2 is a random encounter where cut characters and Dummied Out incarnations of existing characters can be found, and Dogmeat is among them and follows you out. Considering some of the other random encounters in Fallout 2, it's possible that some sort of time or dimensional travel is actually taking place here.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can pet him, treat his injuries, feed him yummy food, tell him he's a good boy, and prevent him from dying horribly while he tries to defend your life. (sniff)

Harold in Fallout
Harold in Fallout 2.Harold and an older Bob in Fallout 3,
Voiced by: Charlie Adler (1 and 2), Alan Oppenheimer (Brotherhood of Steel), Stephen Russell (3) (English)note 

A person horribly mutated by FEV, he resembles a ghoul pretty strongly, aside from having a plant growing from his head. The plant's name is Bob, but he calls it Herbert... which is pretty sophisticated humor coming from a man with a root system entrenched in his brain. In the first game, he's a beggar in the Hub who provides information to the player for a price. In the second game he becomes mayor of Gecko, a city of ghouls. By the third game he's migrated to the Capital Wasteland, but Bob has grown too much and he literally puts down permanent roots, Bob growing into a massive forest with Harold as the central hub of the network.

  • Action Survivor: He's survived more than a hundred years and has been around some pretty dangerous places and people, but he still endures. In fact, he's a very old friend of Richard Gray — the man who became the Master.
  • A God I Am Not: In Fallout 3, the Treeminders who care for him think that, as a living tree at the heart of a lush forest in the middle of a wasteland, he's a god. Harold has tried over and over to get them to believe that he's not a god, but they assume he's "testing their faith."
  • And I Must Scream: He's been stuck immobile in one position for decades after the tree in his head spread throughout his body and rooted him in place, with side effects including his heart being removed from his body and left dangling several meters below the rest of him. By the time you find him, he longs for death.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Bob growing through him in Fallout 3 has removed his heart some ten or twelve feet below his head and brain, yet he lives and it beats. It is incredibly irradiated, and going down to destroy it yourself will mutate you and make your skin as hard as bark.
  • Body Horror: Getting worse as the years go by, with the tree spreading through his body turning his flesh to what seems to be wood and removing his heart to several meters below him, although Bob seems to have saved him from the fate of fellow FEV-sufferer Richard Grey...
  • Companion Cube: He talks to and about Bob as if they were the best of friends. Again, Bob is a tree growing from his head.
  • Cool Old Guy: Some NPCs remark that he has a lot of interesting stories to tell. They're not lying. Among other things, he started a successful water caravan when the vaults first opened, got turned into a mutant, became the mayor of the Ghoul city of Gecko, gave it up to become an adventurer, walked for thousands of miles from the California region on the West Coast to the Capital Wasteland on the East Coast, mutated still further into a sapient tree, accidentally propagated the first living forest seen in centuries, and became a god to a small cult of good-natured loonies called the Treeminders.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The player character can opt to burn him to death after he specifically begs him not to.
  • Cursed with Awesome: He may be stuck in an And I Must Scream purgatory, but Harold is bringing genuine green life back to the world. He's also able to use his senses through the trees Bob sprouts, so he's becoming a Genius Loci too.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially in 3.
  • Death Seeker: In the third game, he asks the player to kill him.
  • Did You Die?: Inverted. If you ever ask him how he survived whatever calamity he got involved in, he'll say: "Didn't. Got killed." He loves that joke.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Bob has one, Herbert. Harold claims he hates it, and in the third game wonders if his usage of it annoyed Bob to the point he mutated Harold into a living tree.
  • Fate Worse than Death: How he feels about his situation in the third game. The player can make him see otherwise, or they can help him escape it.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: A heroic version, he went from just a random explorer to progenitor of a whole species of radiation-resistant tree life.
  • Genius Loci: In a sense. After Bob overwhelmed him and formed a forest around him, Harold developed a further mutation that allowed him to see everything going on in his forest through the trees themselves, effectively turning him into the Mind of Oasis.
  • The Grotesque: Even by comparison with ghouls, Harold is unpleasant to look at.
  • Kill It with Fire: Trees burn, after all.
  • Mercy Kill: Asks the player character to kill him off. You can fulfill his request as painlessly as possible, or... not.
  • Mr. Exposition: He provides a lot of Backstory for the game, especially about Richard Grey, before he became the Master.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Harold looks like the Ghouls, but he's technically not one.
  • Plant Person: Courtesy of Bob, the tree growing from his head. Downplayed in the first games, where Bob is little more than a twig and then a fruiting branch, but by Fallout 3, he's turned into a tree with a face.
  • Self-Deprecation: Uses this a lot as a coping mechanism.
  • Shadow Archetype: It's not apparent (because of the different rates of their mutations), but Harold has integrated with nature in the same way that the Master integrated with technology. And while both have suffered Sanity Slippage from the experience, Harold has become more benevolent (toward the residents of Gecko, the Treeminders, etc.) while Richard Grey plummeted into monstrous behavior.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: It's implied in Fallout 4 that the Brotherhood may have killed Harold for being a mutant, especially one who was "poisoning the earth" by sowing mutant seeds everywhere.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: The Treeminders venerate him: he wishes they'd stop, especially because they keep twisting what he actually says into supporting their own weird beliefs.
  • Transflormation: Bob slowly overtakes his body between his appearances, turning him from a ghoul to a tree man in a couple hundred years.
  • Treants: Not really; Bob is the tree surrounding Harold, but Harold is the one who speaks. The Treeminders are convinced that Harold is the tree, and the confusing situation can keep the Lone Wanderer in a similar position of thought until Harold gives them his name.
  • Wandering the Earth: Between Fallout 2 and 3, he'd been wandering about the continent until eventually (and literally) taking roots outside the Capital Wasteland.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: By the time players meet him in Fallout 3, he has been stuck in one place for so long due to Bob's out-of-control growth that he doesn't really want to live anymore.

    The Mysterious Stranger

He is many things: an unexpected ally, a strange gunslinger, a guardian angel. Appearing to those in need, he lets off a quick shot (only one is needed) and disappears just as fast. He is... the Mysterious Stranger.

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: invoked In-Universe. Nick Valentine, being presumably unaware of the Stranger's association with the player characters of previous games, considers his killings of apparently random and unconnected targets as evidence that he is a dangerous Serial Killer.
  • Ambiguously Human: Whatever he is, he looks incredibly good for his age. Theories over exactly what he is range from him being a human-looking Ghoul to a renegade synth. note  We'll likely never know for sure.
  • Arc Welding: Fallout 4 has Nick Valentine investigating a case on him, confirming that the Stranger is a real person and has been since the first game. Nick further begins speculating on how the Stranger is able to appear across the continent decades apart, and can strike without being seen and then vanish just as quickly.
  • Badass Longcoat: He uses it to supposedly help hide his identity.
  • Beyond the Impossible: While implied to be somehow a real person, he can show up in some pretty outlandish places. The ultimate example of this has to be Operation: Anchorage, where he can show up in a computer simulation meant only for one person. Lampshaded in Mothership Zeta, where the Lone Wanderer can comment that anytime now his "friend" should show up to help them... in an alien spaceship orbiting the Earth.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Carries an ornate .44 magnum revolver in New Vegas. The Lonesome Drifter, heavily implied to be his son, can also give you a similar pistol.
  • Deus ex Machina: Invoked. If you're in a tight spot, you might get lucky by having him show up to take out a Deathclaw or some other high-level foe.
  • Disappeared Dad: He's implied to be this to the Lonesome Drifter.
  • Distaff Counterpart: He has one in the form of Miss Fortune in Fallout: New Vegas, however, she does an Area of Effect attack in contrast to his single-target One-Hit Kill.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Nick Valentine begins putting together a case on him in Fallout 4 and proposes how the Mysterious Stranger could operate, and in doing so makes it apparent that there may be mundane methods behind the Stranger's decades-long appearances and ability to appear and disappear at a moment's notice.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The perk worked very differently back in Fallout 1 and 2; the player character would have a random chance of gaining a leveled companion whenever they entered a hostile random encounter on the world map. This figure wore a leather jacket, had a leveled weapon, and could be either a man or a woman depending on the player character's gender. The Mysterious Stranger would also be Killed Off for Real (or at least cease showing up to help for the rest of the game) if he/she died in combat. From Fallout 3 onwards, he will randomly appear to finish off an enemy the player has injured with a VATS attack, then vanish.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: He appears just as quickly as he kills, disappearing with nary a trace. As such, his Small Guns (later Guns) and Sneak are both at 100 in 3 and New Vegas. The Mysterious Magnum that can be found in the latter also plays his musical riff when unholstered, and acts as an improved holdout weapon when one's Sneak reaches 50.
  • Hand Cannon: He carries a .44 magnum capable of delivering a One-Hit Kill on even the toughest enemies in the games.
  • Fedora of Asskicking: He wears one and can kill literally everything in the game in one shot.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Who is he? Where does he come from, and where does he go? Why does he help you? Well, if we knew, then he wouldn't be a very mysterious stranger, now would he?
  • I See Them, Too: Nick Valentine, who's out to arrest him, will exclaim in frustration when he disappears.
  • Legacy Character: Nick speculates that this may be the case-if nothing else, it would explain his different appearances in each game, and how he's managed to stay active for nearly two centuries.
  • Leitmotif: His appearance and exit is associated with a cool Western riff in 3 and New Vegas and with a Film Noir one in 4.
  • Murder by Mistake: A frustrating part of his design at least in Fallout 3 is his lack of proper programming when it came to his spawn location. He would appear in a random spot on the map and fire at your target regardless of whether your shot already killed the target, whether or not something was between him and the target, or whether or not some friendly NPC was in his way. Since his shot is generally a one-hit kill... There were also times he could even sidestep somewhere that made the shot he was attempting impossible wasting the perk activation entirely.
  • Mysterious Protector: He shows up in battle to help out the player if they have the perk associated with him.
  • Mysterious Stranger: Um... yeah. You take a perk and he shows up once in a while to save your bacon.
  • Older Than They Look: Assuming that the Stranger is the same person in each game, he's been going strong since the time of Fallout 76, set nearly two hundred years before the events of Fallout 4, the chronologically latest-set game in the franchise. To this end, Nick speculates that he may be a unique Ghoul with minimal skin damage.
  • One-Hit Kill: His .44 magnum deals 9000 damage per shot.
  • Race Lift: Maybe. Assuming the incarnation of the character seen in Fallout 4 is meant to represent the same person as in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, his appearance is changed from a clean-shaved Asian man to a white man with a bushy mustache.
  • Real After All: While the first three games in the series treated him solely as a gameplay quirk, New Vegas contained a Mythology Gag that implied he was the father of the Lonesome Drifter, and then Fallout 4 implies he's canon.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Who, or what, is he? Why has he been crossing the continent for two hundred years helping random Vault dwellers? How does he know where to find you no matter what kind of crazy adventure you're on? Nobody knows.
  • Serial Killer: This is the conclusion Nick Valentine comes to in regards to his motive, attacking people at random out of nowhere. In-universe, he ultimately doesn't seem to have a motive beyond helping out certain, seemingly unconnected individuals in fights, but out-of-universe, he appears at random when you have the Mysterious Stranger perk.
  • Stealth Expert: Again, maybe. Nick Valentine theorizes that, due to the fact he only ever uses a conventional .44, his ability to appear and disappear at will is actually just the result of expert infiltration training rather than stealth tech. It's difficult to confirm or deny this in-game due to the fact that he appears and departs exclusively during camera transitions.
  • The Spook: No known name, identity, or indeed any sign that he exists at all outside of his killings (apart from one character heavily implied to be his son in New Vegas). No obvious links between himself and those he assists, nor those he kills. Appearance changes between games. His entrance and exit is not accompanied by any tell or trace other than a unique musical sting, unlike all known forms of stealth and teleportation in the series (which use Visible Invisibility and very loud and visible effects, respectively).

    Vault Boy

The mascot of Vault-Tec and of the Fallout franchise. With a Vault Suit on his back and a smile on his face, Vault Boy is plastered all over merchandise, menu icons, and posters in-universe, beckoning civilians to a new life in the safety of a Vault-Tec bunker.

  • Butt-Monkey: In the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. animated shorts, he's usually used to demonstrate the effects of going into the Wasteland poorly statted or unprepared. This invariably takes the form on him being horribly mauled by mutants, raiders and roving animals.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Vault Girl, his family version.
  • Expy: Was inspired by Rich Uncle Pennybags, AKA the Monopoly guy.
  • Guest Fighter: He makes an appearance as a DLC Mii outfit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • Iconic Outfit: The blue and yellow vault jumpsuit, usually the only thing he's shown wearing.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In-Universe. It is revealed in the TV Show that Vault-Boy is based on Cooper Howard. Specifically, Howard was hired by Vault-Tec to promote their brand. During a photo-shoot where Howard does several poses in a Vault Suit, he improvises and does a pose where he holds out his thumb, smiles, and winks. Apparently, the Vault-Tec Marketing Dept. liked it so much that after Howard severed his ties with the company they used it as the basis of the iconic thumbs-up pose for their new mascot, and thus Vault-Boy was born.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Most of the time, he's shown smiling.
  • Product Placement: Several instances of this happen in-universe with Vault Boy in pre-war media.
  • Series Mascot: Vault Boy is essentially synonymous with the Fallout franchise, often appearing in publicity material or representing it as a whole in other works.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: He tends to suffer gruesome situations in every S.P.E.C.I.A.L. short.
  • The Worf Effect: In the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. shorts, Vault Boy is portrayed as a badass adventurer who gets brutally murdered by the mutants in order to show how dangerous dump stats and failed skill checks can be.

Pre-War Factions

Pre-War Companies

    Atomic Mining Services 
A mining company based out of the Appalachian Mountains and surrounding area, AMS was originally a relatively minor corporation with only a regional presence. However, as the war against China grew in intensity, the company suddenly ballooned in importance thanks to the discovery of a mysterious new mineral known as Ultracite.
  • Community-Threatening Construction: AMS essentially tried to evict the entire mining town of Welch, which escalated into an all-out war between the inhabitants and the National Guard deployed by AMS. It became a moot point when the town was destroyed due to a vein of Ultracite getting ignited beneath the ground and wiping out the whole area.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: AMS was a big proponent of automatization, replacing not just much of their work force, but also their security with robots. Their corporate headquarters was even located in Watoga, a heavily automated community designed as a "city of the future". This came back to bite them HARD in October 2077 (the day before the Great War in fact) when a disgruntled programmer unleashed a bug into the system that caused all the robots to turn against the citizens, massacring the population and destroying AMS in the process.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Thanks to their connections with the U.S government, they were able to deploy state troopers and the National Guard to put down strikes and crush workers unions.
  • Villain Team-Up: Their robotic workforces and soldiers were provided to them by RobCo Industries as part of a joint venture.

    Dunwich Borers LLC 
An East Coast-based mining company and industrial equipment manufacturer with a safety record that was grisly even by pre-War corporate standards. As it turns out, this is all very much intentional, as the corporation was a tool of the perverse Blackhall family, whose perverse obsession with the occult drove them to seek out and supplicate dark, ancient entities by any means necessary in pursuit of eldritch power.
  • Beneath the Earth: At the very bottom of the Dunwich Borers pit, there's the partially uncovered face of...something, in a shaft filled with irradiated water. It's implied that the tremors felt throughout the mine is caused by the thing in the pit.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By:
    • The deeper the Lone Wanderer goes in the Dunwich Building in Fallout 3, the likelier it becomes for them to catch a brief glimpse of how the dim, ruined offices looked before the War, only to find that the employee seen in one of these is revealed to have long devolved into a feral ghoul.
    • Travelling to the bottom of the Dunwich Borers Quarry in Fallout 4, specifically beyond the chained door, will give the Sole Survivor flashes to Pre-War times, when the mine was still active. After killing the long-ghoulified cultists, there's a final flashback, showing them kneeling around a water-filled pit like sacrifices.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Blackhall family worshipped one (or possibly a pantheon) of these, and while exact details are never given, the strange occurrences in former Dunwich locations indicate that they, at the very least, caught the attention of something unexplainable.
  • Evil, Inc.: Their upper-level corporate culture actively encouraged engineering workplace fatalities, serving roughly the same purpose as ritual Human Sacrifice for the awakening and/or bribing of various supernatural abominations.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The stone face beneath Boston, what little can be seen of it implies a humanoid body, but whatever it is certainly isn't human.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The player never actually encounters anything undisputably supernatural while exploring the Dunwich locations, which have been abandoned since the Great War, and home to nothing but feral ghouls and Raiders. The visions could be the result of hallucinogenic gas, which happens in other locations in both 3 and 4, the tremors could just be the unstable foundation of the quarry, even the stone face might just be a bizarre statue... but none of that is explicitly confirmed either. And if the tremors are natural, why do they only occur inside the quarry? And then there's the Obelisk at the bottom of the Dunwich Building...
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Downplayed from a gameplay perspective, given that areas formerly controlled by Dunwich tend to be full of ordinary feral ghouls, but played totally straight with regards to their backstory, in that they were a corporation run by what appear to have been genuine evil wizards in an otherwise (admittedly rather soft) sci-fi setting.
  • Shout-Out: The Dunwich Corporation and associated storyline are all pretty clear sendups of The Cthulhu Mythos, with the company name itself being a rather on the nose reference to The Dunwich Horror.

    General Atomics International 
A technology and energy company that originally focused on home appliances such as washing machines and television sets, General Atomics crowning achievment and lasting legacy would be the Mr. Handy, a versatile line of robots that could be programmed for everything from domestic work and babysitting, to manual labor and white-collar duties.
  • Absurdly Dedicated Worker: Countless Mr. Handies can be found across the post-apocalyptic U.S, still trying to perform the duties assigned to them by their long-dead owners. Only a rare handful have expanded their programming enough to realize how futile their work is, but keep at it anyway from lack of anything better to do.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: There are reports of customers being injured or outright killed by their Mr. Handies, as the robots could be both clumsy and glitchy.
  • Continuity Snarl: The games give differing accounts on wether or not the Mr. Handy was the creation of General Atomics, or the result of a joint venture with RobCo, and while the Fallout Wiki lists the latter, there's no source backing it up.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Mrs. Handy/Mrs. Nanny, a Mr. Handy model with a female personality and lighter color scheme, primarily designed for child care.
  • Everyone Has Standards: General Atomics was involved in the early development of the Robobrains, until their scientists found out exactly what the military expected them to do. This reluctance caused the project to lag behind so much the U.S military took it over entirerly.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: The basic Mr. Handy is fairly simple-minded, and likely wasn't designed to operate for more than a few years. Centuries later, some of them, especially those kept around by the survivors and given a lot of social interaction, have developed unique personalities and basically evolved into individuals. One of the most notable examples is Codsworth from Fallout 4.
  • Kill It with Fire: The standard Mr. Handy comes equipped with a flamethrower for some reason, which it's all too happy to use against intruders.

    Nuka-Cola Corporation

A beverage manufacturing company before the Great War, Nuka-Cola was the brand of soft drink for the United States, and really the entire world. Nuka-Cola vending machines could be found on street corners, the company had its own soda-centric theme park called Nuka-World, and their dominance in the soft drink market was without question. Their products were so widespread that even centuries after the Great War, you can find Nuka-Cola all over the ruins of office buildings, public spaces, and suburban homes. Most of it may be flat, warm, and lightly irradiated, but Nuka-Cola remains the soft-drink of choice for post-apocalyptic America.

  • Amusement Park of Doom: Nuka-Cola World, despite its popularity, was basically a death trap thanks to the hyper-capitalist mindset of pre-War U.S, where safety regulations were little more than suggestions. This included live ammunition being used in the Wild West part of the park, combat robots being used as staff in the Space zone, dangerous wildlife clones in the Safari area, and exposure to toxic chemicals used in the production of the soda itself. And in case visitors were injured, the staff wouldn't even help them unless they could show proof of admittance. The post-War park, which is being used as an HQ by three murderous Raider armies and overrun by mutated Mirelurks, haywire robots and clone animals, is worse, but not by as much as you'd think.
  • Arc Welding:
    • Nuka-Cola Victory and Nuka-Cola Quartz appeared in Fallout: New Vegas without any appearance in previous titles and without explanation of their sudden presence. The Nuka-World DLC for Fallout 4 brings back the variants in the theme park, and mentions that those two varieties were specifically rolled out first in the southwestern United States to compete with the regional dominance of Sunset Sarsaparilla. Their growing popularity and plans to introduce the drink on the East Coast were interrupted when the bombs dropped.
    • Fallout Tactics, which is Broad Strokes canon, had Cherry Nuka-Cola as a variant, but it never appeared elsewhere. Then Fallout 4 introduced Nuka-Cherry as a variant. The two have different, but not incompatible, backstories, meaning they may be intended as the same beverage. Tactics also had a character that could brew "Fusion Cola" by mixing Nuka-Cola variants together; Nuka-World introduced the Nuka-Cola Brewing Station that allows customers (and the player) to mix together different flavors into something new.
  • The Assimilator: A corporate variant — they expanded their drink brand by buying out other companies, tweaking their recipes to taste more like Nuka-Cola, and then marketing it as a new flavor of Nuka-Cola.
  • Benevolent Boss: While he was horrible to the competition, John-Caleb Bradburton treated his employees fairly well. His research staff at Nuka-World worked out of a fairly well-furnished and secure underground bunker, he refused to authorize the U.S. military to co-opt them for their own projects without assurances they would be treated well, and when an executive saved the companies millions in lawsuits due to some fine print in legal contracts, Bradburton gifted him a new car. Subverted in the case of Nuka-World, where employees struggled with long hours, hard work, and amoral practices, and were threatened with termination if any of them stepped out of line; though Bradberton wasn't personally overseeing them and a major reason for such treatments was to keep the military's work on the grounds, Project Cobalt, top-secret.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • The company is an obvious spoof of Coca-Cola, right down to the red label with white text, and written in a similar font. Interestingly, it's implied that Coca-Cola may exist in the Fallout universe alongside Nuka-Cola — the shape of Nuka-Cola bottles changed in Fallout 4 to a rocket ship shape, when previously their shape was identical to bottles of Coke. The in-game explanation is that an unnamed competing soft drink company sued Nuka-Cola claiming copyright infringement on the design of their bottles, and won, so Nuka-Cola had to abandon the design.
      • The founder of the company is named John-Caleb Bradburton, a mash-up of the founders of Coca-Cola (John Pemberton) and Pepsi (Caleb Bradham).
    • The Nuka-World DLC for Fallout 4 adds a dash of the Walt Disney Corporation to the mix, with the eponymous theme park being a parody of Walt Disney World, and it's revealed that Bradburton managed to survive as a head floating in a tube, in a nod to a pop cultural rumor about Walt Disney.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: They would undermine competitors through any means necessary to buy them out, and anyone that wouldn't sell, Nuka-Cola would deliberately rip off their brand with an identical drink under their label to compete with them that way. In the case of Vim pop, Nuka-Cola operatives engaged in a full conspiracy to tank the company's profits and pressure them into selling by sabotaging their delivery trucks, harassing their workers, and plastering over Vim billboards and putting out-of-order signs on their machines to undermine public trust in the brand.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In keeping with Fallout's extensive parody of '50s culture, Nuka-Cola advertisements proudly tout the drink provides "120% recommended daily dose of sugar!" Nuka-Cola Quantum takes it a step further by promising "twice the calories, twice the carbohydrates, twice the caffeine, and twice the taste!"
  • Milkman Conspiracy: Nuka-Cola's chemical engineers were so good at making soda, they ended up getting contracts with the US military to create chemical weapons. Nuka-World has its Galaxy Zone patrolled by robots thinly disguised as park exhibits, when they were actually a military contract for the park to have its own robot fighting army in the case it needed it in the war.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The company's mascot, Nuka-Girl, is depicted as a pretty young blonde woman in a tight spacesuit that exposes her cleavage and midriff.
  • Mundane Utility: Downplayed. Their beverageers were among the top chemists in the world, and they created the radioactive isotope that would become the key ingredient to Nuka-Cola Quantum. But if research terminals are to be believed, they weren't trying to make a radioactive soft drink: they were creating experimental chemical weaponry for the U.S. military and it so happened that one of them decided to see if it could be used for soft drinks pretty much on a whim. Regardless, Bradburton loved it and the drink became a huge hit, so it was put into mass production. In the post-apocalyptic world, Nuka-Cola Quantum can be weaponized to potent effect in various high-yield explosive devices, but while this sounds like Mundane Made Awesome, this was the original intended purpose for the concoction all along anyway.
  • Secret Ingredient: Nuka-Cola Quantum's blue glow comes from a radioactive isotope. It took the death of many (over 60!) testers, but eventually they managed to make a version that is safe (well, within an acceptable margin of safety) for consumption, though it does make one's urine glow blue for a week after consumption.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Nuka-Cola Quantum is explosive, which is what allows the Nuka-Grenade and Nuka-Nuke to be crafted from it.

    Poseidon Energy 
An energy conglomerate that controlled virtually all forms of energy and fuel production in pre-War America, taking advantage of the energy crisis to consolidate it's power. Like Vault-Tec, it was heavily involved with the Enclave, being behind the construction of their infamous oil rig HQ. While the Great War put Poseidon Energy out of business for good, their facilities can still be found scattered across post-apocalyptic America, rife with lootable pre-War tech.
  • The Assimilator: Like Nuka-Cola, Poseidon Energy bought out any potential competitors that sprung up, adapting their technology for their own use.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Was complicit in the Enclave's and Vault-Tec's Vault conspiracy, and that's not even touching on their exploitation of the oil shortages and energy crisis. There's also their efforts in destroying Workers Rights and Unions, including funding Hallucigen to test chemical weapons on civilians. Interestingly, the Fallout TV show doesn't show a Poseidon Energy executive being present at the evil corporate meeting discussing the benefit of causing nuclear armageddon.
  • No Blood for Phlebotinum: They were behind the U.S invasion of Mexico in 2051, giving them access to the Mexican oil fields through their subsidiary Petro-Chico.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: When the workers in one of their coal plants went on strike, Poseidon Energy responded by replacing the whole crew with robots.
  • Post-Peak Oil: With the support of the U.S government, Poseidon Energy was able to seize control over virtually all the remaining deposits of oil on Earth, turning them into a monopoly.
  • Power of the Sun: Developed solar energy technology which was used to construct their HELIOS One power plant in Nevada, which not only produced electricity, but served as the power source for a prototype Kill Sat.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: While not completely unscathed, 200 years of fallout takes it's toll, many of their installations are still remarkably intact, and have even been refurbished and put back in use by factions like the NCR and the Brotherhood.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: The oil crisis allowed Poseidon Energy to charge ridiculous prices for gasoline at their gas stations, culminating at $8000 for premium fuel in 2077.

    RobCo Industries 
A prolific robotics and computer company that manufactured numerous products in widespread use both before and after the war. The most notable of these is the Pip-Boy series of handheld and wrist-mounted personal computers, which serve as the player's primary interface access in most Fallout titles due to being standard issue for all Vault residents. They also built normal computers, several lines of robots, and the Humongous Mecha Liberty Prime.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: In cooperation with Vault-Tec, several large underground bunkers were built under the Mojave for RobCo, likely as part of House's plan for the company to survive the inevitable nuclear apocalypse; one such bunker serves as the Brotherhood of Steel's base of operations in New Vegas, and another holds an army of Securitron robots. In turn, they aided in the construction of some of the Vaults.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Under Robert House's watch, RobCo went from being just another electronics start-up to the premier robotics and computer MegaCorp in Pre-War America. Even centuries after the Great War, its handiwork can still be found in droves across the wasteland.
  • Humongous Mecha: They built the towering Liberty Prime in cooperation with General Atomics, to be deployed in Anchorage to fight the Chinese.
  • Killer Robot: The Assaultrons and Sentry Bots they built were intended for combat use and come equipped with military-grade weaponry. Protectrons were models used in civilian contexts and could be programmed to serve as emergency responders or something as mundane as attendants on subway lines, but they were still usually armed with some manner of weaponry to discipline people who acted unruly or tried to attack them.
  • Meaningful Name: "Robotics Company", naturally. But before they were fleshed out, Word of God is that they didn't even think about what RobCo actually did, and called it that to give the idea they were robbing their customers.
  • Megacorp: Their primary business was robotics and computer hardware and software, but they (or a company they owned) also had their hands in hardware tools, aerospace research, weapons development, pharmaceuticals, cryogenics, and cleaning products.
  • Plot Tumor: They were mentioned in background lore in the first two games, and Fallout 3 featured a factory of theirs that players could explore. New Vegas made its founder Robert House one of the major characters of the game, provides a lot of new background information on him and his company, and has numerous locations associated with either, while the 2024 TV show has founder and CEO Robert House attend a secret meeting of evil corporate executives discussing how they could benefit from starting the Great War.
  • Theme Naming: They liked using the suffix "-tron" for a lot of their lines of robots.
  • Villainous Legacy: Almost all of the robots in the setting of Fallout were manufactured by RobCo, including Assaultrons, Protectrons, Securitrons, Eyebots, Sentry Bots, and numerous models of stationary turrets. Meanwhile, the Robobrain and Mr. Handy lines were developed by a cooperative initiative between RobCo and General Atomics. In the post-war world very few of these machines are friendly to humans anymore, sometimes because they're been reprogrammed, other times because they've malfunctioned, or just because they have very strict standards and enforce them with extreme violence.

    Vault-Tec Corporation
"Better living underground!"
"Prepare for the future!"

Vault-Tec was a pre-War military contracting company so influential in the United States that it was basically an auxiliary branch of the Pentagon. As part of the government's initiative to ensure the survival of the United States citizens in the event a nuclear holocaust occurred, Vault-Tec constructed a number of massive underground bunkers called "Vaults", that would provide shelter for civilians if, when, the bombs came. At least, that's the story told to the public — the reality is the Vaults were a ploy to get groups of humans into a confined space for various scientific and sociological experiments, with the data to be put towards how the Enclave could and should rebuild civilization after the dust of the bombs settles.

  • Absurdly Dedicated Worker: Many Vault-Tec overseers and undercover employees continued to perform their assigned tasks and roles in the experiments not only after the Great War, but for decades or even centuries afterwards, long past the point they could reasonably expect to be compensated or relieved.
  • Accidental Hero: As horrible as Vault-Tec was and is, every protagonist of a mainline Fallout game was either a resident of, or descended from/assisted by someone from, one of their vaults. If not for the vaults they built, none of the protagonists may have been in a position to stop their respective game's Big Bad.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The live-action show reveals that Vault-Tec not only tried to bring about the Great War but even planned on firing the first nukes. It's left vague, however, whether the company actually did or if someone else jumped the gun before they could.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Prepare for the future!" It was their company slogan, and serves as an ironic emblem of the dissonance between their advertised goal of constructing fallout shelters so they could keep mankind safe underground to rebuild the world post-nuclear holocaust and the actual goal of conducting cruel science experiments for the sheer hell of it.
    • "The Vaults were never meant to save anyone." This single line, repeated rather often, sums up the true nature of Vault-Tec and their safety shelters — or, to put it more accurately, cruel social experiments. While quite a few people actually did survive thanks to the Vaults, this was almost entirely incidental.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: If they offered you anything, from an employee perk to a place in their Vaults, it was a trap; Vault-Tec could barely offer you a glass of water without making it some kind of sick experiment liable to kill, maim, or psychologically torture hundreds. Nevertheless, they successfully tricked people into joining their Vault programs by the hundreds and bamboozled their employees to recruit them for Comically Small Bribes like sets of steak knives.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Vault-Tec was supposedly building the Vaults to save American citizens from the inevitable nuclear war. In reality, the Vault program was a pretense to gather test subjects into a confined space for various scientific and sociological experiments, with the data to be used by the Enclave to rebuild civilization. Unfortunately, Vault-Tec was a Stupid Evil Incompetence, Inc. whose corporate culture actively encouraged their Mad Scientists to conduct needlessly cruel and bizarre "experiments" for their own amusement.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Vault-Tec sold the public on the Vault program as a way to ensure their safety from the war, as a pretense to gather test subjects for horrific experiments.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: Vault-Tec, by the time the Great War happened, had become a public proxy for the Enclave, with many within the corporate leadership also being members. That being said, it's mentioned that the interests of Vault-Tec's directors and the Enclave didn't always neatly align.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Zigzagged. Vault-Tec merchandised the hell out of themselves with bobbleheads, lunchboxes, clothing, cross-promotional gimmicks with other companies, and more. So prolific were they that such things can be found all over the country centuries later. Yet it seems that they were only interested in marketing those mundane products — their cutting-edge scientific pursuits like terra-forming modules, advanced computer AI, human cloning, biogenetics research, and powerful hallucinogens, were kept secret for use in the Vaults, and it's implied not even the government or the Enclave knew the full extent of what Vault-Tec could do.
  • Dramatic Irony: Vault 21 in the Mojave, being populated by gamblers, was seen by Vault-Tec as having little chance of success, being projected to implode on itself within a few weeks, tops. Not only did it far exceed their expectations, but it managed to sustain a functional society for two centuries, only losing to Mr. House in a (possibly rigged) game of blackjack.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: As the name would suggest, they specialised in these. They were pretty good at it too; some Vaults were designed to be self-sufficient communities with all their own facilities, supplies and technical knowledge necessary to sustain themselves far beyond the end of the world. The few remaining Vaults that haven't been compromised by their own ghastly experiments or hostile forces from the world outside are among the most secure places in the Wasteland and offer the best quality of life anyone born After the End could possibly dream of. Unfortunately, the same things that make them attractive to normal people also tend to draw the eye of Raider gangs like the Fiends and Powder Gangers, who find the idea of a secure, defensible bad guy lair with stockpiled resources impossible to resist.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In a supreme case of Irony, Vault-Tec seemed certain that the general population held a high-esteem for human life regarding several Vault experiments. For instance, Vault 11's experiment was that the denizens must select one person to be killed each year. It is heavily implied that Vault-Tec believed the denizens of Vault 11 would end the experiment by refusing the yearly human sacrifice after only a few years, if they killed anyone at all. They were very wrong.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: According to the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC, being a cartoonish psychopath is so ingrained into the corporate culture that the single employee who doesn't indulge in this and made functional machines that didn't harm their users was largely hated for being an anomaly.
  • Evil, Inc.: Their corporate culture actively encouraged amoral psychopathy and shuns any employees who prefer to make safe and practical inventions for the masses.
  • For Science!: Subverted. At first a lot of Vault-Tec's experiments seemed to be to conduct science just for the sake of science. A good example is Vault 118, which was supposed to consist of 10 elite rich citizens and 300 middle-class "workers", and the elites could lord their privilege and influence over the workers. However, then one of the elites who was a robotics engineer suggested they all transfer their minds to Robobrains to survive the war — the Overseer of the Vault warned Vault-Tec of his plan and that it could compromise the experiment, but Vault-Tec found the idea intriguing and let it go ahead as a new experiment. Fallout (2024) would later reveal that they were all actually Social Darwinist tests to weed out the best from the rest.
  • For the Evulz: Their "experiments" were often pointlessly and excessively cruel, and it's a mystery how any useful and practical information could be gleaned from performing them. Examples include filling a Vault with recovering drug addicts, getting them clean, and then revealing a cache of chems and alcohol to see what they do; forcing the Vault residents to choose one of their own to be sacrificed to the main computer or the Vault's systems will shut down and doom them all; and pumping psychotropic drugs into the air filtration system until inevitably all the residents became violent maniacs.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Most of the Vault-Tec Vaults were social experiments that had extremely predictable results. For example, Vault 95 was created to test what would happen if Addled Addicts were all cured of their drug addictions, only for a massive surplus of their old vices to be revealed and left open for their use. Predictably, most of the former addicts relapsed, and even those that didn't were either killed in the chaos and fighting that resulted over the stash or eventually gave in just so that they wouldn't die alone.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Vault-Tec Corporation's atrocities are known far and wide across the North American Wasteland, and their actions are indirectly responsible for some of its greatest dangers (such as the growth of the Master's armies in Fallout 1 through providing un-mutated humans for FEV exposure). There are some implications that Vault-Tec was fully aware of the oncoming nuclear war and even some hints that they may have been partially responsible for starting it. The show would confirm that Vault-Tec wasn't just aware, but actively escalated the Great War on both sides and planned to fire the first nukes themselves, revealing the whole company as the Big Bad of the setting all along in a gambit to Take Over the World.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: Likely thanks in part to being a massive MegaCorp, it's frequently shown that the employees at Vault-Tec really weren't that good at their jobs most of the time, with sterling examples of quality like Vault 118 being so mismanaged that it led to only half of the Vault being finished and its rich residents becoming Robobrains, and Vault 114 having them be hoodwinked by the Boston Mafia so it would be built inside of a subway station and be useless for experimentation. In some cases, it's shown that they intentionally sought out incompetent employees, particularly as personnel to work within the Vaults, because for whatever reason they wanted someone who would be bad at the job.
  • It Amused Me: A couple of their Vaults are just plain silly and seem to have been done as a joke, like Vault 43, populated by twenty women, ten men, and one panther; or Vault 77, populated by one man and a crate full of hand puppets. Vaults 55 and 56 were sister Vaults, 55 had no entertainment tapes while 56 had one tape, that of a terrible stand-up comic — Vault-Tec was curious which Vault would fall apart first, and they predicted it would be 56. Vault 69, in what is very definitely a joke, had a population of 999 women and a single man; its sister Vault, Vault 68, had 999 men and a single woman.
  • It Was His Sled: invoked Happened in-universe after the war. It used to be a genuine secret to the people living in the post-war US that the Vaults were used for social and science experiments, not bunkers to save people from the war. However, as time has progressed, more Vaults been explored and word has gotten around, and now it's common knowledge what Vault-Tec was really doing behind closed doors.
  • Just Think of the Potential!: To a horrific and darkly comedic degree, Vault-Tec will do anything to see the (il)logical conclusion of its experiments, no matter how many lives are ruined in the process.
  • Laughably Evil: Downplayed; as horrible and despicable as many of their experiments are portrayed, the general Comedic Sociopathy portrayed by their corporate culture and general Stupid Evil antics is also mined for a fair share of Black Comedy across the games.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: While Vault-Tec had some control vaults set aside for some of it personnel, Fallout 4 reveals the majority of its rank-and-file were not only left in the dark as to the company's true plans, but were also deemed expendable when the Great War happened.
  • LOL, 69: The test of Vault 69 was putting a thousand women in a vault with only one man. Give you two guesses as to why.
  • Mad Scientist: Vault-Tec's employee application forms must list "lack of morals and ethics" as a requirement, because almost every direct employee of the company is amoral to some degree, and this is especially pronounced with those in charge of the Vault experimentation. This is outright lampshaded by the original Overseer of Vault 81 in Fallout 4, who mentions in her personal log that she's surprised she got picked to be Overseer because she would have thought her sense of morals and ethics would be contrary to what Vault-Tec tends to expect from their employees.
  • MegaCorp: The live action series refers to them as the largest corporation in pre-War America. The games bear this out - they built military hardware, underground bunkers, computers, experimented in biogenetics, terraforming modules, various software and hardware to be used in the Vaults, and virtual reality programs. They also merchandised the hell out of themselves with T-shirts, lunchboxes, snowglobes, bobbleheads, action figures, and more.
  • Mundane Utility: In their Nuka-World exhibit, Vault-Tec scientists secretly used white noise and subliminal messaging to... try and brainwash visitors into registering for a spot in a Vault.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Vault-Tec didn't keep any troops of its own, but they were in bed with the Pentagon and had advanced military research projects in the works that nobody asked for yet, but they could quickly create a market for. At the height of their power, they were arguably a de facto wing of the government, but without the oversight, ethics, or the interest in the nation's future well-being beyond their own profit margins and power. The live-action show implies that they may have had nukes in their back pocket without telling Uncle Sam, and were willing to use them. The details of the situation are still murky, so we still don't have the full picture.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Vault-Tec's failure to properly supply Vault 13 would lead to the Water Chip crisis and the rise of the Vault Dweller, and the eventual destruction of the Enclave at the hands of his grandchild.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Several of their experiments are so patently ridiculous and absurd (i.e., Vault 108's overabundance of murderous Gary clones) that it makes the more genuinely horrifying and hideous experiments (i.e., Vault 11's elected suicide requirements and Vault 75's Logan's Run-esque eugenics program for Super Soldiers) all the more nightmarish by sheer contrast.
  • Pet the Dog: Downplayed. Vault-Tec had some consideration for at least its more "deserving" or competent personnel and had certain control Vaults set aside specifically for them. Everyone else, however, was left to fend for themselves when the Great War happened.
  • Playing Both Sides: The live-action series suggests that Vault-Tec manipulated both China and the US, including its own Enclave allies, in order to spark the Great War.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Credit where credit is due, when Vault-Tec built things to last, they lasted - over 200 years later, there are still a handful of inhabited Vaults spread out across the U.S, operating more or less like advertised.
  • Research, Inc.: Despite outward claims to the contrary, the Vaults were never intended to save anyone, meaning all of what Vault-Tec was actually doing was blue-sky research and science for its own sake... or, in many cases, For the Evulz. There were a few Vaults designed to safely house their populations, with an excess of supplies and technology to sustain them for centuries, but these Vaults were intended as control groups or to house healthy, untouched human populations who could be kidnapped for future experiments.
  • Secret-Keeper: Often the Overseer of a Vault would be the only person aware of the nature of the experiment being conducted on the inhabitants, but occasionally other ranking Vault personnel would be informed because the nature of the experiment demanded they had to be.
  • Settling the Frontier: In Nuka-World, the "Vault-Tec: Among the Stars" exhibit, open to the public, demonstrates how Vault technology could be used in space exploration and colonization... although even that turns out to be a testbed for their low-frequency mind- and mood-altering subliminal audio tech.
  • The Social Darwinist: The true nature of the Vault experiments was to cultivate talented individuals by subjecting them to horrific social and scientific experiments to see who would remain standing at the end, with predictably terrible restults
  • Stupid Evil: Vault-Tec's corporate culture was evidently so insane that they couldn't recognize the value of an employee who built practical machines with no harmful side effects rather than engage in pointlessly cruel experiments.
  • Token Good Teammate: As seen in Fallout 4 and its Vault-Tec Workshop DLC, there were a small handful of scientists and overseers at Vault-Tec who genuinely meant well and actually wanted to make a better world. Those people were often held in contempt and mocked behind their backs by the others.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Several of their lower-level employees had no idea what Vault-Tec was actually doing with the Vaults and thought they really were bunkers for people to survive a nuclear war. The Vault-Tec representative in Fallout 4 who signs you up for Vault 111 claims he had no idea what the Vault was really about, he just knew he had a quota to meet to win a set of steak knives.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Vault-Tec was a semi-private corporation supported by the US Government - specifically, the parts of it that would become the Enclave. The two groups were supposed to work together, and the Enclave even had access to Vault-Tec research data and passcodes for many Vaults. However, the two factions' goals didn't perfectly align, and several Vaults' Overseers (such as 101 and 111) had explicit orders to ignore communications from the US government, which included the Enclave.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Inverted. It's a plot point that Vault-Tec's personnel could do math. By the time of the Great War, the United States had a population of 400 million people — even with a capacity of 1000 people, which only the largest Vaults could contain anyway, they would need hundreds of thousands of Vaults to ensure the safety of every single US citizen, and they were only contracted to build a little over a hundred. They also understood that giving each Vault enough supplies to sustain its population through decades or centuries of isolation would be a logistical nightmare, so most only got enough to last the intended length of the Vault experiment and not much longer. The Vault program was never going to work as they sold it to the public; Vault-Tec covered up their deeds with bribery, threats, and oppressive whistleblower laws, ensuring few were willing to go public with the truth behind the Vault program and anyone who did would be silenced.

A defence contractor and biomedical research company before the Great War, West-Tek was the brains behind some of the most important discoveries of the Pre-War U.S, including the portable energy cells that made laser and plasma weapons practical, as well as the earliest models of Power Armor. When the New Plague broke out in the 2050's, West-Tek began work on the Pan-Immunity Variant project, a universal vaccine against any kind of infectious disease. However, the fruits of these labors were anything but benevolent, and infamously known in the post-War wasteland as the FEV, or Forced Evolutionary Virus.
  • Abusive Precursors: While the U.S government were the ones running the show, West-Tek were the ones putting their mad plans into action. Super Mutants have been a plague across almost the whole U.S for 150 years because of them.
  • Human Resources: The FEV tests had just begun to move into human test subjects in the days before the Great War broke out. While technically, these subjects were "military prisoners", they were actually American civilians imprisoned by the military on unjust charges. Discovering this is what led to Roger Maxson and his men to declare secession from the U.S government.
  • Just Following Orders: The excuse used by every single scientist at Mariposa when Roger Maxson interrogated them about their horrific experiments was that they were merely doing what they were told by higher-ups. Refusing the orders doesn't seem to have occurred to any of them.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: The Mariposa base was damaged when the nukes hit, remaining largely intact, but allowed trace amounts of FEV to leak into the outside world and accelerate mutation in surviving lifeforms.
  • Mad Scientist: Unlike the For Science! attitude over at Vault-Tec, West-Tek's experiments had actual goals in mind, but that didn't make them any less monstrous.
  • Power Armor: West-Tek were the creators of the early versions of Fallout's iconic power armors, albeit the Awesome, but Impractical models that ate through energy cells like tic-tacs.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: West-Tek's facilities went into lockdown when the Great War broke out, leaving their contents (ranging from vats of FEV to bioweapons research to advanced weapons and armor) sealed away, guarded by the automatic security systems over the following decades and centuries.
  • Super Serum: The FEV had started out as a serum meant to cure any disease, but when early trials revealed that it both boosted the immune system and also induced rapid cell regeneration, it was converted into a mutagen meant to create a Super-Soldier. The eventual result was the Forced Evolutionary Virus and the monstrous Super Mutants.

Pre-War Nation-States

The northern neighbor to the United States, and an extremely unwilling addition to the Expanded States of America during the Resource Wars, with its mineral wealth and alleged interference with supply lines to Alaska making it an obvious target for American imperialism.
  • Expanded States of America: Was annexed by the U.S during the war with China, though it's unclear if it was actually integrated with the rest of America before the bombs fell.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: Canada understandably tried to fight back against the U.S, who responded with mass murder to any sort of resistance. Not surprising, considering they were doing the same thing to their own citizens by that point.
  • Orbital Bombardment: If the player fires the Death Ray onboard the spaceship in the Fallout 3 DLC Mothership Zeta, ground zero for the blast would be somewhere near Ontario, Canada. However, there's no consequences for this, not even Karma loss, and the event has dubious canonicity, especially considering that the sheer size of the blast would have taken out Detroit and Cleveland as well.
  • Pretext for War: Attacks by Canadian terrorists on American supply lines for Alaska were used as an excuse to annex Canada. It's entirely possible these attacks were staged.
  • War Crime Subverts Heroism: The iconic shot of two American soldiers executing a Canadian rebel in the intro to Fallout 1.

    European Commonwealth 
A pre-war collective of western European nations that began to fragment during the Resource Wars due to their dependency on the Middle Eastern oil fields, collapsing entirely some time before the Great War. Virtually nothing has been heard from across the Atlantic Ocean since then.
  • All for Nothing: The Resource Wars came to an anticlimactic end once the Middle Eeast ran out of oil, making further war pointless.
  • Divided We Fall: Post-Peak Oil put an end to any sort of European alliances, collapsing the whole continent back into the same warring states it had been centuries before.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Relative to the United States, the European Commonwealth seemed less dystopian, at least until the Resource Wars. If Stanislaus Braun is any indication, however, it's not saying much.
  • The Remnant:
    • A stranded cargo ship full of Ghoulified Norwegian sailors can be encountered in Fallout 4, having degenerated into Raiders to survive in the past 200 years. Their combat dialogue, what little there is of it, is still in Norwegian despite how much time has passed.
    • Dean Domino mentions performing in Paris, and high-tech firearms and energy weapons are mentioned as coming from Germany or Austria, so it appears that the collapse wasn't entirely total and that certain industries like entertainment and weapon manufacturing continued.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: With no native oil of it's own (there's no mention of the deposits in eastern Europe), Europe was reliant on imports from the Middle East, and once those became too expensive, war was the only option.
  • The Unreveal: There hasn't been a peep out of Europe in centuries, at least nothing that's been recorded in any of the games. Tenpenny from Fallout 3 is supposedly an immigrant from the UK who came to the Capital Wasteland to seek his fortune. Too bad for the player that he refuses to talk about his pre-America life.

    The Middle East 
A collection of oil-producing nations that became a focal point for the Resource Wars, setting the stage for the looming apocalypse.
  • No Blood for Phlebotinum: The Resource Wars officially began in April 2052 when the European Commonwealth invaded the Middle East after oil imports became too expensive. The oil fields finally ran dry in 2060, making the whole war pointless.
  • Nuke 'em: Terrorists set off a nuclear bomb in Tel Aviv, Israel, in December 2053, wich was followed by several small nuclear skirmishes throughout the Middle East. It's one of several events that drove the U.S to begin work on the Vaults.
  • Post-Peak Oil: Began to hit the oil industry by the 2050's, leading to soaring fuel costs and eventual oil wars.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: There's no information at all about what happened to the Middle East after the Resource Wars fizzled out and Europe withdrew. Considering they were nuking each other before the Great War, they might simply be gone.

    People's Republic of China

Also known as the PRC or just "China", the People's Republic of China was a Communist state located in eastern Asia that became opposed to both the Soviet Union and United States during the Cold War. They became the US' primary geopolitical rival, eventually invading Alaska for the last known supply of crude oil on Earth and sparking the Resource Wars (which in turn would eventually cause the Great War).

  • Alternate History: From what background details can be inferred, Communist China in the timeline of the Fallout series stayed Maoist and never "reformed" itself into being more of a state capitalist society under Deng Xiaoping.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's kept deliberately vague if they or the Americans first launched the nukes that sparked the Great War. The live action series throws another potential answer into the mix: Vault-Tec may have launched the first nukes themselves in their pursuit of One Nation Under Copyright.
    • A minor mystery in the games is what China is like after the bombs. It's possible their government survived the same way the Enclave did, that China was bombed so hard it can no longer support complex life, or anything in between. Even the larger factions in post-war America admit they have no idea. The cancelled Fallout Extreme was intended to explore this, with the endgame revolving around a Doomsday Device under the control of a new Chinese emperor operating out of the Forbidden City, but development never went anywhere, and the plot was obviously never canon.
  • Arch-Enemy: To the Pre-War United States.
  • Defiant to the End: Even when the United States was on the cusp of victory by invading Mainland China, the Chinese still stubbornly fought on and tried to deny the Americans any form of satisfying victory.
  • Dirty Communists: Pre-War China was frequently stereotyped and depicted as an insidious evil and existential threat to the American way of life that had to be completely obliterated so as to assure the triumph of "democracy" (read: oligarchic fascism).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In Fallout 2, the Sierra Depot GNN transcript names China's leader as "President Xin". All later games mention a "Chairman Cheng" as the leader of China.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Along with the Pre-War United States, the Resource Wars fought between them ultimately instigated the Great War, causing the nuclear holocaust of mankind.
  • I Have Your Wife: To ensure the loyalty of operatives and sleeper agents working on enemy soil, Pre-War China had a habit of promising that their families would be taken care of should they succeed in their missions, or implicitly be "taken care of" should they fail. Fallout 76 reveals that this is similarly how hardline Chinese remnants keep others in line, threatening to kill their loved ones if they fail their mission or entertain deserting.
  • Invincible Boogeyman: In-Universe, Pre-War China constantly evoked paranoia and fear in the American populace through espionage and infiltration specialists. The most obvious success of this can be seen with the Liberators in Appalachia, but Chinese intelligence bunkers can be found in virtually every Fallout game (such as the secret intelligence bunker located almost directly next to the Calvert Mansion in Point Lookout, meaning that it was successfully installed right next door to a family of rich capitalist politicians).
  • Invisibility Cloak: invoked The Pre-War Chinese were the first to create advanced cloaking technology, to the point where they managed to create an entire "Ghost Fleet" of stealth submarines armed with this cloaking tech (allowing them to sneak all the way into the Atlantic Ocean). It's even mentioned that the American "Stealth Boy" and associated invisibility tech are a Poor Man's Substitute to the original Chinese versions.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Seemingly relative to the pre-War US. They clearly weren't playing nice during the war, but there's never any indication that they resorted to anything as depraved as FEV testing or the Vault experiments. That didn't stop them from nuking the planet to glass, however.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Chinese infiltrators (most notably the "Mama Dolce's" franchise seen in Appalachia and Washington D.C.) were almost everywhere in Pre-War American society, constantly sowing discord and chaos to hamper the American war effort.
  • Mirroring Factions: To the United States of America. Both were ultimately authoritarian dystopic hellholes that refused to get along, leading to a pointless and bloody conflict in the form of the Resource Wars that only culminated in the near-extinction of all life on Earth.
  • Paranoia Fuel: invoked Invoked In-Universe; To help make up for their technological shortcomings, the Chinese constantly stoked and spread rampant paranoia and panic across the mainland United States, severely hampering the American war effort.
  • Post-Peak Oil: They were hit by it much worse than the Americans due to them failing at a widespread transition of their electrical power over to nuclear fission from fossil fuels, and with no native sources of oil to provide a stopgap.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Several Chinese characters (either through an Apocalyptic Log, being ghoulified remnants stuck in the USA, or descendants of Chinese characters after the war) are portrayed as normal men and women simply fighting for their country.
  • Red China: From what little is known of Pre-War China, it was undoubtedly and unapologetically Communist in its outlook, surpassing the USSR as America's geopolitical rival in the Cold War.
  • The Remnant:
    • While there hasn't been a peep out of mainland China since the apocalypse, a handful of Ghoulified Chinese infiltrators still remain in Washington D.C 200 years after the Great War, intent on continuing their mission to undermine the American war effort, even though there is no longer a War, or even an America.
    • Captain Zao in Boston is the ghoulified captain of the Yangtze, the nuclear submarine that nuked Boston, but he has lost any interest in anything other than returning to China, and won't be hostile unless the player attacks him.
    • In Appalachia, a loyalist contingent of Ghoulified Chinese infiltrators stubbornly continued with their mission of tunneling into the Whitespring bunker in an attempt to capture it and its secrets, despite the Great War rendering said mission completely pointless.
  • Sadistic Choice: Because the Chinese significantly lagged behind the Americans in advances in nuclear power (and renewable energy sources a pipe dream at best, requiring infrastructure and expertize they didn't have), the Chinese government eventually realized that they had a completely unwinnable choice left for them: Invade their Arch-Enemy the United States for the oil fields in Alaska (some of the last oil reserves left on the entire planet) to keep their people alive for a few more years while starting a war they couldn’t possibly win, or let their people starve and their country completely dissolve. Their decision to accomplish the former sparked the Resource Wars and ultimately caused the end of the world.
  • Schizo Tech: With the exception of the incredible leaps in stealth technology and the Liberators, virtually all Pre-War Chinese technology is fairly "average" and only looks to be around the same level at best as the generally mid Cold War-esque setting the Resource Wars encapsulated. As for their known small arms, their service rifle, the Type 93, is little more than a modified RPD, the Shanxi Type 17 is a C96 clone chambered in 10mm, the Red Victory is a knock-off M79, and the officers continued to use swords well into the 21st century.
  • Soviet Superscience: Surprisingly inverted. Based upon what precious little has been seen of Chinese Pre-War technology, it wasn't the Communists who had the advanced tech. While the Chinese were beginning to close the technological gap by the end of the war, their only real achievements were invisibility fields, advanced stealth suits, and simplistic combat drones. The U.S., by comparison, had developed at least three generations of Power Armor and deployed two, created efficient and reliable laser and early generation plasma weaponry, intelligent domestic robots, intelligent combat robots, and cold fusion batteries, the latter of which made all the others possible. The U.S. had outright invaded Mainland China and was even on the verge of an overwhelming victory when the nukes launched.
  • Stealth Expert: What Pre-War China lacked in terms of technology they more than made up for in terms of being masters at espionage warfare.
  • Taking You with Me: While no-one knows for sure who first let the nukes fly, documents in Fallout 4 imply it was China. If this is true, China was likely trying to invoke this trope due to the U.S sending troops into Mainland China after beating them in Alaska. With the war about to be lost, China preferred facing nuclear annihilation.
  • Tokyo Rose: In pre-war times Chinese infiltrators in the Washington D.C area have set up a propaganda broadcast (which is actually pretty accurate in-universe) to demoralize Americans and convince them to stop the war. It's still active 200 years later, though nobody really cares by that point.
  • Vestigial Empire: China was on the verge of collapse in the final days of the Resource Wars, being completely defeated in Alaska and being pushed back all the way to Mainland China as the Americans launched a counter-invasion from the Philippines.
  • We Have Reserves: One of their primary advantages over the Americans was a massive pool of manpower they could use to constantly throw at the Americans. This ultimately came back to bite them as the massive population demanded a suitably massive amount of resources in a world running low on them while the threat of nuclear apocalypse undercut their capacity to use the manpower advantage in a militarily useful way. Ultimately backed into a corner, they decided to invade Alaska to try and control some of the world's last oil wells before getting their faces kicked in.
  • Yellow Peril: invoked Intentionally invoked In-Universe by the Pre-War United States government.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: If the hidden bunker in Point Lookout is any indication, it's likely that the Pre-War Chinese government had little intention of actually bringing its operatives back home. Those not gassed to death or shot by hardliners were likely to be simply left to either fend for themselves in the ensuing chaos or continue awaiting orders that would never come.

    United States of America

Also known as the USA or just the "United States", the United States of America was a representative democratic republic with a market capitalism-based economy located in North America (along with holdings in the Pacific Ocean thanks to the presence of Hawai'i). Ostensibly democratic, in reality the United States had long since devolved into a fascist corporatocratic hellhole obsessed with stamping out Communism forever and securing the government’s continued existence at the expense of its own citizenry.

  • Abusive Precursors: The whole country became a corrupt, totalitarian police state that put unwilling human subjects through horrific scientific and social experiments. Even two centuries since they all went up in smoke in a nuclear holocaust they helped cause, most of the Wasteland's problems can be tied back to them: Super Mutants, Deathclaws, Robobrains, the Vaults, most of the Big Empty... it all came from them.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's kept deliberately vague if they or the Chinese first launched the nukes that sparked the Great War. The live action series throws another potential answer into the mix: Vault-Tec may have launched the first nukes themselves in their pursuit of One Nation Under Copyright.
  • Asshole Victim: Gradually deconstructed. The United States of the Fallout universe was ultimately an imperialist, warmongering and selfish fascist dictatorship whose government more than deserved a nuclear war... but its considerably more innocent civilian population was ultimately caught in the crossfire in the process.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: Invoked as a heavy undercurrent of the Pre-War government and society, what with workers' rights being basically non-existent and Corrupt Corporate Executives getting off with a slap on the wrist at worst for performing horrific actions like ordering a horde of Protectrons in Pittsburgh to brutally massacre the same steel mill workers they've been created to replace after they attempt to perform a strike, or decapitating Mount Blair in the name of short-term profit.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The number of Pre-War American businesses that weren't incredibly shady, corrupt, criminally negligent, or downright murderous can literally be counted on one hand. Vault-Tec is easily the most infamous example, but there’s plenty more examples, such as HalluciGen, Inc. (who drugged their own volunteers to trick them into signing completely unfair waivers along with openly recommended its scientists to leave the volunteers to die if they had to evacuate in case of a fire) and the Nuka-Cola Corporation (which required guests to have a valid park admissions ticket and fill out an incident report prior to being given first aid if they were stung/bitten by a deadly animal in Safari Adventure) just to name a few.
  • Corrupt Politician: Virtually every American politician in Pre-War America was in the pocket of one of its numerous evil corporations, and even those who weren’t are frequently shown to have been jingoistic narcissists with a profound Lack of Empathy for the suffering of their constituents.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Pre-War United States frequently styled itself as a capitalist utopia a la a Stepford Suburbia, where the worst trouble to befall its citizens was Mom's apple pie being overcooked. In reality, Pre-War America was a terrifying fascist dystopia and police state that regularly executed its own citizenry or submitted them to extraordinarily cruel and unethical experiemnts for the merest hint of independent thought all while brutally subjugating its neighbors and ostensible trading partners for refusing to follow their every whim. Even on the eve of the Great War in 2077, there was still enough semblance of normalcy to mask how close the country was to widespread social unrest.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The hyper-capitalism and blatant warmongering/dehumanization seen in Fallout's America is highly deliberate, being used to satirize the values of greater American society during the Cold War.
  • Designated Hero: invoked In-Universe. American propaganda constantly portrayed itself as a heroic and righteous society defending itself from the "Evil Empire" of Communist China, when in reality the United States had long since devolved into a fascist police state and the Resource Wars were an Evil Versus Evil conflict more than anything else.
  • Different States of America: In 1969, the United States reorganized itself into 13 "Commonwealths", creating another layer of bureaucracy between the federal and state governments.
  • Eagleland: Type 2 - Boorish Flavour, to the point where the Fallout series is one of the few American properties to outright portray the United States as an Evil Empire.
  • The Elites Jump Ship: Attempted, but ultimately only really played straight by the Enclave, of which only a few of the ultra-wealthy were actually members of, mostly high-ranking politicians and executives from corporations with ties to the military-industrial complex such as Vault-Tec and Poseidon Energy. Everyone else, no matter how rich they might be, were left to fend for themselves in a post-apocalyptic hellscape where money was only useful as kindling.
  • Emergency Authority: By 2077, the United States was on its way to de facto martial law, especially in the wake of simmering social unrest. This was further exacerbated by how members of the Enclave, including the President, had already evacuated, leaving the country effectively on autopilot by the time the Great War happened.
  • Evil States of America: It really says something when Post-War America, an irradiated wasteland filled with vicious mutants, warring tribes, aggressive wildlife, and every example of human evil imaginable can be still argued as a better place to live than the authoritarian, violently expansionist Pre-War America.
  • Expanded States of America: The United States invaded Mexico under the pretense of protecting oil interests in 2051 and annexed Canada in 2076, although whether or not the two countries were split into states, made into Commonwealths, or just remained occupied territory is unclear.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Deconstructed; while the Pre-War paranoia of Communist infiltrators was somewhat justified in that the People's Liberation Army does seem to have had eyes and ears virtually everywhere before the bombs fell, this justified paranoia was only used as a paper-thin excuse to brutally persecute, torture, and experiment upon Chinese-Americans and anyone else who spoke out against the government's increasingly fascist policies.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: Evidence across all of the games shows that as the United States government became increasingly dictatorial and corrupt, it also became increasingly incompetent. Most notably, they were constantly being hoodwinked (willfully or not) by powerful corporations like the Nuka-Cola Corporation and West-Tek, and their violent reprisals to food riots and the like would only further fan the flames of resistance from organizations like the Free States in Appalachia.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Pre-War United States of America and People's Republic of China are responsible for virtually all of the terrible things in the Fallout series thanks to the Resource Wars waged between the two countries that ultimately culminated in the Great War.
  • In Spite of a Nail: A surprisingly high amount of American pop-culture seems to have progressed relatively unchanged, or at least diverged at a later date. Conversations in Fallout 2 mention the existence of "Rocket Man" by Elton John directly by name, and one NPC comments how he remembered seeing the same movie after you directly quote Silence of the Lambs. There's also the Kings in New Vegas, who wouldn't be who they are if Elvis Presley didn't exist. To say nothing of the music and credited artists that Galaxy Radio, Radio New Vegas, Diamond City Radio, and Appalachia Radio play on your Pip-Boy.
  • Invaded States of America: The Resource Wars between China and the United States were sparked when China invaded Alaska, occupying a decent portion of the state to gain access to the last known oil deposits on Earth.
  • Irony: For all of Pre-War America's jingoism, a surprising amount of its small arms drew influence from European firearms; to name a few, the R91 is an HK33 with CETME furniture, their 10mm SMG was based on a cancelled prototype from Heckler & Koch, the Operation Anchorage-era Gauss Rifle was designed after the Lahti L-39, and the Combat Rifle and Combat Shotgun were inspired by the PPSh-41 (a Soviet design, for additional irony).
  • Mad Scientist: A disturbingly high number of them were employed by both the Pre-War government and Pre-War Mega Corps. The most obvious case can be seen with the Think Tank from the Big Mountain Research Facility, but numerous other organizations — such as the Vault-Tec Corporation and HalluciGen Inc. — seems to have staffed their R&D divisions almost exclusively with sadistic sociopaths.
  • Mirroring Factions: To the People's Republic of China. Both were ultimately authoritarian dystopian hellholes that refused to get along, leading to a pointless and bloody conflict in the form of the Resource Wars that only culminated in the near-extinction of all life on Earth.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Pre-War America decided, sometime before 1969, divided the states between 13 Commonwealths. They hoped that this new layer of bureaucracy would benefit states with common regional concerns, but wouldn't affect those states with dissimilar interests or political cultures, helping strengthen the country as a whole against the threat of communism. Instead, the Commonwealths began viciously competing against one-another, only weakening the U.S. as a whole. This served to be the first in a long line of decisions that eventually turned America into an Orwellian Police State.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: By 2077, the Pre-War United States was increasingly at the mercy of corrupt corporate oligarchs, as well as the nascent Enclave.
  • Oppressive States of America: The Pre-War United States of America was not pretty. The infrastructure of America had collapsed due to the resource shortages (food, fuel, and material) while unemployment was skyrocketing. The government responded by becoming a police state and by trying to blame their problems on Communists, then brutally cracking down on anyone who spoke out against their regime. Arrests, "re-education," and in some cases outright murder followed as the government tried to keep the population in line. At the same time, the New Plague (suspected to be a bio-weapon unleashed by one of America's enemies) began to spread, leading to nationwide quarantines. Before long the government had given up trying to cure it and decided to use the paranoia created by its spread as a cover in order to break up assemblies and register people. Eventually, civil liberties became virtually non-existent. In one example the commanding officer of the Hopeville Missile Base, Commander Devlin, had a protest group arrested and sent off for human experimentation, claiming it would give them "the white-hot rage of capitalist justice." These tactics made things worse, and by the end of 2077 the United States was on the verge of a massive civil uprising.
    • This was done because the éminence grise of the federal government (the Enclave) realized it was likely only a matter of time until total nuclear war occurred, and knowing that the common man would not survive it they believed that they alone were worthy of re-colonizing the planet. Originally their focus was to find another planet to live on, however they could not succeed in this goal and decided to re-colonize the planet they were already on.
  • Pet the Dog: For all its flaws the pre-war USA appears to have been genuinely more progressive socially in some aspects than the real life USA in the 1950s, with gender discrimination and racism (other than against Chinese-Americans) seemingly rare or non-existent and interracial couples being normal. For instance the 2024 TV series features a white male actor and his black wife who is a high-ranking Vault-Tec executive and Evil All Along and their biracial daughter living a comfortable life in Hollywood.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: While the series mostly uses Politically Correct History for Pre-War America despite it being intentionally written as an incredibly dark Deconstructive Parody of Fifties Americana, numerous details in Fallout 2, New Vegas, and 4 show that the government was virulently racist towards Asians (particularly Chinese-Americans and those of Chinese descent) due to the current war against China. Numerous Chinese-Americans and Chinese prisoners-of-war were sent to internment camps like "Little Yangtze" at Big Mountain to serve as guinea pigs for the U.S.'s Mad Scientists, and those who weren't were often violently assaulted and attacked by their neighbors (with the police being willingly complicit in their suffering).
    • Additionally, the pamphlets given about the New Plague in Fallout 3: Point Lookout imply that Pre-War America was virulently homophobic, with “sodomy” being described as one of the plague’s symptoms.
  • Post-Peak Oil: Before the Great War, peak oil was the cause of the Resource Wars that devastated both Europe and the Middle East. Gas prices reached up to $1450.99 per gallon for regular. The United States (and possibly China) were only saved by going to an all-nuclear society, while the rest of the world ended up collapsing. It was all made moot however, when everyone started to sling nukes at each other.
  • President Evil: The last U.S. President was a complicit member in The Conspiracy that would eventually become the Enclave, abandoning the American people to live on an oil rig off the coast of California as the Resource Wars worsened and the world slowly came closer and closer to Armageddon.
  • Properly Paranoid: While the paranoia towards Communist infiltration is exaggerated and both Played for Laughs and Played for Drama, in-universe there were actually numerous Communist infiltrators operating on US soil and sabotaging the war effort.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Most Pre-War American architecture seems to have been built to last remarkably well, burnt or reduced to rubble by the bombs but still standing centuries later, up to paint and even posters remaining largely intact while exposed to the open elements. In the case of the Capital Wasteland, this is also justified by how the government had much of Washington, DC purposefully remodeled to better withstand an enemy attack. Despite being absolutely carpetbombed, most of Washington's landmarks remain recognizable in 2277, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the House of Congress. The White House, however, has been reduced to little more than a hole in the ground.
  • Red Scare: The United States' government fervently exaggerated an obsessive hunt for Communists in part because they were actually at war with Communist China, but mostly it was done to weed out any potential forms of free thinking or disapproval with the current ruling class.
  • The Remnant:
    • The Enclave is all that remains of the Pre-War American government. There are mentions of other surviving government figures in Fallout 76, but these appear to have long-since fizzled out by the time Fallout 1 takes place.
    • Elements of the U.S. Army and National Guard managed to survive the nuclear apocalypse, many of them following emergency protocols during the initial weeks after the Great War in an attempt to restore order. While some would go to forge their own destinies (most notably the Brotherhood of Steel), others either deserted their posts, were overwhelmed by societal collapse, or were simply killed to the last man.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: Post-Peak Oil affected everything in consumerist America, not just gasoline; common everyday items like newspapers, donuts or beer cost at least ten times what they do in the real-life 2020's.
  • Schizo Tech: By 2077, the Pre-War United States had never developed mobile phones, the Internet, or widespread color television, yet had access to Powered Armor, robots with advanced artificial intelligence, portable Energy Weapons, and highly advanced applications of nuclear fission. In general, life in Pre-War America seems to have stagnated to the levels seen in the midst of the Cold War when ignoring certain technological leaps.
  • Soviet Superscience: Inverted. Thanks to their market-based economy, the United States was able to innovate faster than their Communist rivals, resulting in them being the ones to have virtually all of the fancy high-tech toys and gadgets before the Great War.
  • Start of Darkness: The creation of the 13 Commonwealths within the United States was the first step the modern American government took in becoming the fascist dystopia that was eventually destroyed in the Great War.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Because the United States had long since devolved into a fascist dystopia, the information supplied by any government sources — most obviously those regarding foreign countries, particularly China — frequently has an at-best tangential relationship to the truth. Operation Anchorage is one of the biggest examples of this - despite being intended as a realistic VR simulation of the war in Alaska (making it more useful for training infantry), General Constantine demanded more and more changes to the simulation, turning it into ridiculous Patriotic Fervor propaganda where all the American soldiers almost literally bleed red, white and blue as they fight against the Chinese hordes, including tearful last messages from soldiers as they prepare a Last Stand for God and Country. A few documents in the "real world", as well as some recordings inside the simulation that survived the changes, reveal that the situation on the ground had been a good deal more complex, including a recording by a soldier who deserted his post.
  • Vestigial Empire: Despite their overwhelming technological advantage and seemingly being on the cusp of victory over China in the Resource Wars, the United States was still falling to pieces by the time of the Great War, with massive shortages in every precious resource coupled with violent government reprisals at anti-war and anti-automation protestors causing ceaseless rioting and chaos, to the point that the whole nation was on the brink of a mass civilian uprising.
  • Villainous Legacy: The evils left behind by the Pre-War American government can be found scattered across the Wasteland, and frequently come back to overshadow and threaten the present. In fact, literally every Fallout game has prominently featured a Big Bad faction that is conncected to the Pre-War world, directly or not (Fallout 1 and the Master's supply of FEV from the West-Tek Super-Soldier experiments; the Enclave being the Big Bad/Greater-Scope Villain of 2, 3, and 76; Mr. House from New Vegas being a Pre-War industrial capitalist intent on re-starting his business all over again; and the Institute from 4 being directly descended from the Pre-War Commonwealth Institute of Technology).
  • Wretched Hive: Some parts of America had become this by 2077 due to food and automation riots, justifying the existence of pipe guns even in Pre-War times. There's even an issue of the Pre-War magazine "Guns and Bullets" featuring the "Street Guns of Detroit".
  • Yellow Peril: Invoked In-Universe by the Pre-War American government in their demonization of Communist China and Chinese culture in general.
  • Zeerust: The version of America seen in the Fallout universe is basically a Frankenstein's Monster amalgamated from virtually all of the science fiction created by/about the United States during the Cold War.

    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Better known as the "Soviet Union" or abbreviated as the "U.S.S.R.", the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a Communist state located in Eastern Europe and northern Asia that led the Warsaw Pact. Originally the United States' primary foe in the Cold War, they were eventually supplanted by the People's Republic of China.

  • Alternate History: In the Fallout universe, the Soviet Union failed to collapse in the late 1980s-early 1990s, instead existing into the 2070s when the Great War ended civilization.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: The Soviet Union's gradual détente and thawing of diplomatic relations with the United States in the face of Chinese aggression in the Cold War in the Falloutverse is very similar to how in actual history, the United States opened successful diplomatic relations with China during the Cold War to prevent a Sino-Soviet alliance.
  • Arch-Enemy: Not as much as the Chinese were since they were in the middle of a bloody war prior to the end of the world, but the Americans and Soviets still ultimately hated each other and viewed each other as ideological threats.
  • Chummy Commies: Downplayed. Relationships between the USA and USSR were cold but better than with China.
  • Dirty Communists: Even if the Soviets didn't actually side with the Chinese during the Resource Wars, American propaganda still vilified them and portrayed them as a dangerous threat to American life. Most notably, according to the Pre-War Switchboard entries from P.A.M. in Fallout 4, the United States government were equally worried about the Chinese and Soviets launching a nuclear first strike on the American continent.
  • Enemy Mine: Subverted. Despite the adversarial relationship between the Soviets and both the Americans and Chinese, they took neither side in the Resource Wars.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Only in a sense; Like in our world, Russia was the first successful Communist state, and from them would spread Marxist-Leninism to other countries, eventually including China (the United State's primary Arch-Enemy in the Fallout universe).
  • Out of Focus: With China being the Arch-Enemy of the United States in this timeline, very little focus is ever given to the Soviets. It can be safely assumed that they were nuked by both the Chinese and Americans during the Great War (and they returned the favor), but relatively little else can be determined.
  • Soviet Superscience: Downplayed. According to Fallout 3, the Soviets had been conducting their own human mutation experiments in an attempt to create super-soldiers. It's implied that this might have influenced the development of the Forced Evolutionary Virus.
  • Vestigial Empire: Background details imply that the USSR was not nearly as powerful or successful as China or the United States were by the time of the Great War.

Other Pre-War Groups

    The Hubologists 
The Church of Hubology was founded in the mid-21st century by writer Dick "The Hub" Hubbell. Inspired by music and Hubbell's personal experience with extraterrestrials, it was originally advertised as a correction of the perceived failure of modern medicine, organized religion and the United States government, with the man himself at the center of a "Great Wheel" that would fix all those wrongs and reap all the benefits. In practice, it's a pseudo-scientific cult that was effectively a glorified scam, albeit one that survived the death of its leader, who was supposedly called to the heavens to live with the "Star Father" on the planet Quetzel.

The fact that the Hubologists survived the Great War has further bolstered their devotion and given them a new lease on life. By the 23rd century, their presence could be felt from their headquarters in San Francisco, to even Nuka-World in the Commonwealth.
  • Arch-Enemy: In 2242, the Hubologists consider the Shi as both rivals for hegemony over San Francisco and an existential threat due to their "neurodyne-influencing ways."
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Some within their ranks, including leading figures like Dara Hubbell, seem to genuinely buy into the nonsense being peddled, despite also knowing to some degree how it's all a sham.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The Hubologists may be a glorified scam masquerading as a cult, but they're still notorious for fooling hapless converts and intimidating critics into silence (or worse). Their leaders are also shown as being much more astute than they let on whether it’s knowing of Enclave assets scattered throughout the West Coast or figuring out certain secrets in Nuka-World.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: As eccentric as they are, they nonetheless show a strong understanding of pre-war technology. Paradoxically, their fixation on extraterrestrials and wanting to be with their "Star Father" on Quetzel has also fostered a strong penchant for engineering.
  • Cargo Cult: They believe that an old Gravitron amusement park ride in Nuka-World is a genuine spaceship that will take them to their new home on planet Quetzel. Given that Dara Hubbell can give the Sole Survivor a working Alien Blaster if they finish her questline properly, it's not as insane as it initially seems.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Given the existence of the Zetans, the Hubologists were right about the existence of extraterrestrials, but not much else.
  • Church of Happyology: The Hubologists are a not-too-subtle jab at Scientology, from their origins to how they're organized, even having a certain idea of spirits of the dead plaguing the living and charging money for treatments. It's mentioned that even long after the Great War, they were fond of using celebrities from New Reno to help rope in new people into their cult.
  • Cult of Personality: Long after his death, Dick Hubbell remains a figure of near-divine reverence among Hubologists, being at the very center of their "Great Wheel" and their main link with the Star Father on Quetzel.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: All their endings in Fallout 2 involve them doing something wrong with their rocket and dying hideously. In fact, the Chosen One not helping is probably doing them a kindness as it leads to a (relatively) swift death in an exploding spaceship rather than slowly asphyxiating inside from a lack of oxygen scrubbers.
  • Generation Xerox: By 2287, their leader is Dara Hubbell, who claims to be a direct descendant of Hubology's founder.
  • Only in It for the Money: Other high-ranking Hubologists don't really buy into their own teachings and are clearly in it for the caps and privileges that come with their place in the movement.
  • Path of Inspiration: The cult was sold as a solution to the apparent ailments of modern humanity such as "neurodynes," in which only Hubbell and his chosen few can lead the way. This was also a convenient way of both asserting compliance and fleecing more resources from followers, especially if they wanted to go up the rigid hierarchy.
  • Scam Religion: Hubology in practice is an elaborate scam more often used to intimidate people into submission (and giving all they have), with its hierarchical structure even bearing a passing resemblance to a ponzi scheme. Given that it was heavily implied to have been set up by Dick Hubbell as both an ego-trip and a "get rich quick" ploy, it's not surprising.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Despite the movement's notoriety and relative prominence in San Francisco, Hubology is treated as a joke elsewhere even in the post-war wasteland.
  • Too Clever by Half: For all their competence in both pre-war engineering and scamming, they're not quite as brilliant as their best scientists like to believe, more often hoping that the Star Father would see them through. In Fallout 2, this can result in their must-vaunted spacecraft meant to send them to the planet Quetzel failing horribly, while in Fallout 4, it can potentially lead to their heads exploding from the Gravitron "UFO" not being fixed properly.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: Parodied. Neither nuclear war nor constantly being discredited in one form or another could really stop the Hubologists from popping back up to sell their “message” another day.

Extremely pre-war.

An ancient pre-human city of advanced, psychic precursors based in and around the Arabian peninsula. Though their concept was scoffed at by the public at large, undeniable proof of their existence was found and it is implied that not only was human civilization founded by them, but that they may have influenced the highest echelons of power in some form.
  • A Wizard Did It: Their civilization is implied to be behind the Interloper, psychic powers, the Mothmen, and much of the other "supernatural/magical" elements in the deeper, obscure lore of Fallout. There's even some hints (via the Interloper's close resemblance to Bob and the Overgrown) that their research might have tangentially inspired FEV.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Ubar was a mythical city somewhere in the Rub' al Khali, which a 19th century archeologist named Lorenzo Cabot thought to be proof of a technologically advanced precursor civilization to humanity. His theories, and his efforts to find the city, were ridiculed by the rest of his field, but Lorenzo was convinced of its existence and got more than he ever asked for.
  • Alien Geometries: The lost city itself was described as having non-conventional geometries and proportions, with carvings hinting at dimensions beyond human knowledge.
  • Ambiguously Human: They certainly seemed to resemble humans but their noses and eyes were uncannily too large compared to the rest of their proportions.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The entire Art Deco art style is hinted at as being theirs, given how the artifacts being studied by the Cabots bare an uncanny resemblance to what artists and architects were either knowingly or unknowingly channeling millennia later. It's also implied that they may be the source behind the Lovecraftian relics that the owners of Dunwich Borers were so obsessed over, to the point of madness.
  • Arc Symbol: The "Metro man" art deco busts depicting their faces, usually found improbably and partially buried in the ground anywhere something supernatural occurs.
  • Beneath the Earth: The remains of their civilization, like obelisks and statues, are buried deep within the ground.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Some biological remnants of their civilization survive, but from the few things we've seen they make FEV look quaint in comparison.
  • History Repeats: They apparently blew themselves up just like America and China did.
  • Humanoid Abomination: They were humanoid enough to be mistaken for humans, but clearly far different on the inside.
  • Human Sacrifice: Mass graves are usually found around their artifacts, implying this.
  • Mystery Cult: Over the millennia, various cults worshipping the Ubar and what they left behind have lurked in the shadows. The Point Lookout Swampfolk from Fallout 3, in particular, still invoke corrupted rituals from one such cult, even if they had long lost any meaning.
  • No Name Given: As Lorenzo Cabot discovered, Ubar is not the civilization's real name, though it's left unknown what they called themselves.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Though lately there has been an attempt to make them a case of "History Repeats" by thematically tying in their self-destruction to the Great War.
  • Shout-Out: They seem to be a combination of the Atlantis myth, the K'n-yan from The Cthulhu Mythos, Iram of the Pillars from Arabian mythology, and the Atlantis of the Sands.

Post-War Factions

Post-War Nation-States

    The Brotherhood of Steel
Ad Victoriam

"It was the Knights and the Scribes after the fall of Rome that protected what was left of Western civilization. So we are the new Knights and our role is similar. But we'll need more than names; we'll need new traditions, our own... mythology. Something people can believe in to their core."
Roger Maxson to Elizabeth Taggerdy (Fallout 76)

Days before the bombs fell in 2077, a group of U.S. Army soldiers under the command of Captain Roger Maxson staged a mutiny at the top-secret Mariposa Military Base in southern California to put an end to the unethical bioweapon experiments being conducted on prisoners there. Whatever response the government had planned never saw fruition, as the subsequent nuclear exchange with China destroyed the nation entirely.

The mutineers survived in the safety of the underground base, and after a few weeks gathered their families and local survivors and left for a government bunker complex at Lost Hills. There, Maxson used what remained of the nation's communications infrastructure to contact other army units, inform them of the atrocities at Mariposa, and unite them under his banner, gaining followers from as far afield as West Virginia.

So began the Brotherhood of Steel, a pseudo-religious military order loosely modelled after medieval crusaders, dedicated to the preservation and regulation of advanced technology. Originally a highly-centralized organization, the group's various chapters became increasingly independent over the years, with some outright splitting from the wider Brotherhood. By the mid-23rd century, they are divided into three main branches: the West Coast Brotherhood operating out of Lost Hills, the Midwest Brotherhood operating out of Chicago, and the East Coast Brotherhood operating out of Washington, D.C.

  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: An in-universe example, the Brotherhood views the Codex and the teachings meant to be taken from it differently from chapter to chapter. Some stick to it to the letter, even if it violates common sense and practicality; others believe in the spirit of the Codex, that being the continuation of civilization through the preservation and responsible usage of advanced technology.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The Brotherhood chapter or chapters involved in the show are not explicitly clear, as they have training grounds for Aspirants in California and recruit from there, but the presence of the Prydwen and mention of taking orders from the Highest Clerics in the Commonwealth suggests greater cooperation between the coasts than was possible earlier in the timeline.
  • Anti-Hero: With the exception of some of their more zealous members, the Brotherhood universally does what they believe is best for humanity; it varies if they're right or not. They also tend to be xenophobic isolationists who may or may not look down on outsiders.
  • Anti-Mutiny: Subverted. Roger Maxson's desertion from the U.S. military and that of his comrades were initially a bid to force their superiors, or someone high up the chain of command, to give them the truth about what was happening. The Great War, and the realization that the experiments being conducted in Mariposa were sanctioned by the government, made the break permanent and genuine.
  • Anti-Villain: Can veer into this at times. While they're generally well-intentioned, their xenophobia, Fantastic Racism, obsession with technology and Knight Templar tendencies often end up doing more harm than good and put them at odds with good-aligned groups such as the NCR, Followers of the Apocalypse, Railroad and the Minutemen. The West Coast chapter in particular have become this by the time of New Vegas having become little more than high-tech raiders in power armor that have gone to war with the only faction in the West that has begun to restore civilization simply because they viewed them as as a threat to their power. They're still better than the more villainous groups like the Enclave, Institute, Legion and Unity though.
    • The branch in the show plays a minor antagonistic role, invading California to finish off the last remnants of the NCR and opposing the main force for good in the series, Moldaver, but they are largely mission focused and not interested in needless civilian casualties. The Big Bad of the series, Hank MacLean, is not nearly as considerate.
  • Back from the Dead: The West Coast branch of the Brotherhood of Steel was almost completely wiped in the Brotherhood NCR War. However, the destruction of Shady Sands reduced the NCR to scattered remnants which allowed the Brotherhood to once again reestablish itself as a major power on the West Coast by 2296. It's implied that the East Coast Branch may have had a hand in this, as they are shown receiving reinforcements and orders from Brotherhood forces operating in the Commonwealth.
  • Badass Family: The Maxson dynasty, who typically end up leading the Brotherhood and usually served as Paladins.
  • Breakout Character: The Brotherhood proved popular enough to recieve two spin-off games of their own.
  • Characterization Marches On: In 1, 2, and Tactics, there is little sign of either the Fantastic Racism that would characterize the East Coast branch or the rabid isolationism that would later characterize the West Coast branch. In 1, for example, while they're reluctant to let outsiders join their organization, they're noted to maintain strong trade ties with the Hub (being the region's chief weapon manufacturer) and to take action against raiders if they become too troublesome for regional stability (hence using the Vipers for target practice). In the ending of 1, they're also noted to protect the wasteland settlements from the remnants of the Master's army, before reintroducing various technology into southern and central California, helping to pave the way for the New California Republic. In 2 they have outposts in every major city as part of an outreach program. In Tactics they're a pseudo-government over the Midwest and openly allow ghouls and mutants into their ranks (though some, such as Barnaky, dislike this policy).
  • Creating Life Is Bad: They believe in this by the time of Fallout 4, with a very justified reason — every known attempt at creating new and better lifeforms has resulted in the creation of things like Super Mutants, Deathclaws, Nightstalkers, Cazadores and other dangerous monsters.
  • Cult: Played with. The Brotherhood doesn't outright worship technology, but they do hold a certain respect and reverence for it, because they understand that the proliferation of advanced technologies that mankind wasn't able or ready to use responsibly is what led to the Great War. Otherwise as a whole the group is fairly rational-minded and naturally is very adept in the sciences. On the other hand their general trappings are very heavily influenced by medieval Christian imagery of church militants: their ranks include Knights, Paladins, Scribes, and Initiates; they rigidly follow the Codex and some of the lines quoted from it sound like religious scripture; they use the phrase "Steel be with you" as a greeting and farewell like a religious blessing; and their sigil and its variants prominently features a sword with a pair of wings. By the time of 4, they've become very prone to religious turns of phrase, with numerous Paladins calling Feral Ghouls "godless abominations" and Elder Maxson at one point even arguing that Synths are "unholy."
    • The branch in the show also uses an intricate branding ritual when Aspirants are promoted to Squire, with priests burning incense and saying blessings over the new Squire.
  • Defector from Decadence: The Brotherhood was founded by a band of U.S. military deserters led by Roger Maxson. Certain chapters, notably the East Coast Brotherhood, also see themselves as this to the original and traditionalist Lost Hills branch, believing that rigid adherence to the Codex would doom them all in the long run.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Because long-distance communications is extremely difficult in the Fallout universe, the Brotherhood's individual chapters tend to, if not initially, become isolated and tend to their own business. Interpretations of the laws of the Codex, relations with outsiders, willingness to share technology and aid with them, and involvement with other major government and military power structures, vary greatly between each chapter. Sometimes all it takes is a change of High Elder to trigger a radical shift in Brotherhood ideology and directives.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • It's retroactively revealed in Fallout 76 that Owyn Lyon's deviation from the Codex is ironically much closer to the original Roger Maxson's plans, which would have involved the Brotherhood using its preserved knowledge to reach out and help Wastelanders rebuild civilization, than his own successors in Lost Hills.
    • Their emblem is also an example, namely the three gears which are meant to represent the Knights, Scribes and Initiates with all their engineering knowledge. Despite said knowledge, the Brotherhood doesn't seem to realize that if three gears are in contact like that, none of them will be able to move, reflecting how stagnant and immobile the whole organization becomes. Depending on the Artist, some depictions of the symbol space the smaller gears further apart, but in others all three gears are clearly jammed together.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Brotherhood's bases are often underground bunkers or tunnel complexes. Averted in the main Bethesda games, as 3 has them making their base in the ruins of the Pentagon (now renamed "The Citadel") while the Brotherhood's Commonwealth expeditionary forces in 4 is headquartered in the Prydwen.
  • Elite Army: In addition to their advanced equipment, they train rigorously. The result is that Brotherhood members are individually some of the most badass beings in the wastes.
  • Energy Weapon: They're understandably fond of laser and plasma weapons.
  • Fantastic Racism: They take an oath to destroy all Super Mutants and Ghouls, even the ones who are intelligent and benign. Sometimes subverted, however — in New Vegas they left Marcus' Mutants alone out of respect for Marcus' previous actions on their behalf. In Fallout 3, normal Ghouls in Underworld will mention that sometimes the Brotherhood takes potshots at them, but still don't go out of their way to kill normal Ghouls. In Fallout 4, Elder Maxson extends their hatred to the Synths of the Institute.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In Fallout 3, the East Coast Brotherhood under Elder Lyons is heavily evocative of early Prussia. By 4, they've since evolved into essentially being the State of the Teutonic Order under Elder Arthur Maxson with certain aesthetic echoes of the mythical Camelot.
  • Feudal Future: As a whole, they're heavily inspired by the numerous knightly and religious orders of medieval Europe, to the point where they literally have a rank entitled "Paladin." In Fallout 4, they use a system of "sponsorship" vaguely analogous to the relationship between squires and knights to help recruit new members from the Wasteland, and are mentioned on a terminal to even be practicing a form of vassalship in the Capital Wasteland (the Brotherhood helps protect local communities and trading caravans from threats like Raiders and Super Mutants, and in return, the communities provide the Brotherhood with supplies, manpower, and any advanced tech they've found). This is also deconstructed, as several factions with a more "modern" and democratic type of government structure (like the New California Republic and Commonwealth Minutemen) find themselves butting heads with the Brotherhood's more paternalistic tendencies. Fallout 76 reveals that this was deliberately cultivated by Roger Maxson to forge a new identity for the post-apocalyptic world, which he and his nascent Brotherhood could take pride in.
    Roger Maxson: Words have power, Lizzy. They build identity. They take on a meaning if you keep using them, even if it didn't exist to begin with. It was the Knights and Scribes after the fall of Rome that protected what was left of Western civilization. So we are the new Knights and our role is similar. But we'll need more than names. We'll need new traditions, our own, well, mythology. Something people can believe to their core.
  • Flanderization: Their recruiting policy is something that gets played up in later games. In 1, their "recruiting mission" was a Suicide Mission Snipe Hunt, because they weren't planning to recruit you, they were trying to get rid of you, and you only got to actually join because they gave their word and you succeeded. In later games, not only do you get to join in nearly all games, the Brotherhood is aggressively recruiting outsiders, and even the Codex-bound, xenophobic West Coast Brotherhood in New Vegas will admit you if you do some work for them.
  • The Fundamentalist: Certain factions of the Brotherhood of Steel vary in how rigidly they follow the Codex. While splinter factions like the Mid-Western Brotherhood and the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood under Owyn Lyons became more open to using their superior technology and training to bring order and peace to the Wasteland, as well as becoming more open to accepting outsiders into their ranks, the original Western Brotherhood continued to follow the Codex to the letter, refusing admittance to outsiders and hoarding any advanced technology they could get their hands on. In a karmic twist, the Mid-Western and Eastern Brotherhoods flourished, while the Western Brotherhood is rapidly losing power and shrinking.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Their hat (besides their hunt and reverence for lost technology) is squadrons of soldiers equipped with T-60c Powered Armor; while it slows the speed of an individual soldier considerably, the defenses from said armor make Brotherhood Knights some of the toughest and most dangerous foes out in the Wasteland.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Due to the shifting ideologies of the Brotherhood and general Grey-and-Gray Morality of the series, they can go from being an ally in one game to an enemy that needs to be wiped out in another. This is most prevalent in New Vegas and 4.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The West Coast Brotherhood are not seen frequently outside their bases and are very secretive about their operations, and usually do not get involved in matters that do not concern them unless there's technology to be acquired. Getting into their super-secret base to talk to their leaders and get access to their gear is often a late-game quest.
  • Hypocrite: Generally speaking, the Brotherhood views virtually all advanced technology as too dangerous to be used except for the "right hands"... which, by amazing happenstance, just so often turns out to be theirs.
  • Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: They try to keep outsiders from having access to advanced technology because they believe You Are Not Ready to use it in a wise manner. It's rather justified though, as many people in the wasteland — raiders, criminal enterprises, Mad Scientists, slavers, etc. — are proudly amoral, and would indeed use technology like power armor and energy weaponry to make the wasteland hell for civilians.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: The Brotherhood of Steel at its worst. They are xenophobic, arrogant, and fantastically racist towards mutants. However, they are not sadists and generally stay focused on their missions to find "relics" while avoiding unnecessary casualties, unlike Vault-Tec, which revels in human experimentation and started the entire mess in pursuit of profits.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: The Brotherhood of Steel at its best. They are xenophobic, arrogant, and fantastically racist towards mutants. Yet since they're most often locked in conflict with genocidal or omnicidal factions, such as the Unity, the Enclave, the Calculator, the Institute, the super mutants, and (potentially) the Legion, they usually end up looking like the better option and are the series' most recurring ally for good-aligned player characters.
  • Machine Worship: Though they don't outright worship technology, they do hold it in high regard and operate in a way similar to religious knighthoods of the Middle Ages. Again, their greeting and farewell "Steel be with you" comes to mind.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: invoked As the franchise has gone on, the morality of individual Brotherhood chapters has become increasingly diverse and starkly different from one another.
  • Motive Decay: In-Universe, the West Coast branches went through this.
    • The Brotherhood of Steel's initial purpose was to collect and safeguard particularly advanced or dangerous prewar technology, destroy the worst excesses of it (e.g. Super Mutants), and preserve it for humanity's future. In 1 and 2, this is basically what they did; the ending slides of 1 explained that they protected the fledgling communities against the mutant hordes and progressively and responsibly reintroduced the technology they had hoarded into the wasteland for humanity's benefit. By 2 they even have outposts in the major settlements to act in an advisory and observatory role.
    • Between 2 and New Vegas, however, the Brotherhood reverted to zealotry and became concerned with hoarding technology for its own sake and almost never letting anyone else use it, while also never allowing anyone else to join their group. This led to the war with the NCR.
    • The Midwestern Brotherhood and East Coast Brotherhood both averted this, instead continuing down the path and integrating more with the outside.
    • 76 reveals that Roger Maxson intended to both safeguard technology for the future and work more closely with outsiders from the onset, serving as protectors of civilization rather than its gatekeepers. The West Coast Brotherhood's more isolationist and zealous tendencies only took root after his death.
  • Neutral No Longer: The East Coast Brotherhood under Elder Lyons broke long-standing "tradition" by actively engaging with and helping wastelanders. Even under Elder Maxson's watch, this aspect remains a constant.
  • Our Founder: As early as 1, Roger Maxson has been lionized by the Brotherhood at large as its founder and first High Elder. While his memory over time has morphed into a borderline Cult of Personality, the real Maxson to shown in 76 to have been more down-to-earth and humanitarian that what his successors ascribe him as being.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: The Brotherhood's motto, Ad Victoriam, has been in use almost from the very beginning, as revealed in Fallout 76.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Even as the West Coast Brotherhood grew more isolationist, expeditions (some through large airships) were still sent to various corners of the former United States. Beyond simply recovering Lost Technology or cataloging sites of interest, such voyages also gave the more traditionalist Lost Hills elders an outlet with which to conveniently exile reformists, dissenters, and other would-be threats to the status quo.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Fallout 76 introduces the hitherto unknown Appalachian chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, who were founded by an old friend of Roger Maxson's inspired by his satellite radio broadcastings and some later correspondence. Their absence in later games is justified, as they and the rest of Appalachia were all seemingly killed to a man by the Scorched Plague.
  • The Remnant: The Brotherhood arose from a group of U.S. Army mutineers who rebelled against the government and took shelter when the bombs started falling. Their flag still includes the red and white stripes of the U.S. flag, but with the blue field of stars replaced by their own logo.
  • Rising Empire: By the time of 4, the East Coast Brotherhood is seemingly at the peak of their power, having the Capital Wasteland firmly under their control and are slowly expanding through the rest of the East Coast. And if the Prydwen's presence in the 2024 TV series is any indication, they've returned to aid their West Coast brethren.
  • Technology Marches On: invoked This trope is occurring in-universe, and it's why their organization is fading from power.
    • In the original Fallout the Brotherhood was, bar none, the most powerful faction in the wasteland, with vastly superior technology equipped by a large and well-trained army. But a century later during the time of New Vegas, energy weapons are manufactured and distributed widely to the extent even raiders have them, the NCR has re-established air travel, and they have numerical superiority over the Brotherhood. The one advantage the Brotherhood has left is their power armor, but the NCR been able to salvage old suits and jury-rig them to work unpowered, and they're probably in the process of reverse-engineering them fully, so this advantage won't last long.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood is a bit better off in their technological superiority over most of the wasteland, but the Enclave is more advanced and initially numerically superior, and against the Institute both sides have some advantages the other lacks (the Institute has their Synths and teleportation tech, while the Brotherhood has better weapons and Vertibirds). The Commonwealth in general has an abundance of high-tech weapons, like the Railroad's Gauss rifles and the Minutemen's laser muskets, compared to other regions the Brotherhood has set up shop in. In particular, Powered Armor (which in the West is practically Lost Technology to other factions) is easily available in the Commonwealth; even raiders can have salvaged suits.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: In-Universe, the Brotherhood is generally disliked and viewed with suspicion by other groups and wastelanders for their isolationism, tech-hoarding and xenophobia, and the amount of people outside the Brotherhood who hold a positive opinion of them can probably be counted on one hand. Out of universe, the Brotherhood have proved to be the Breakout Faction of the series, getting two Spin-Off games centered around them and being the only group to so far appear in every game in the series. (It also helps that their iconography and power armor is a key part of Fallout's brand identity for Bethesda Softworks.)
  • Vestigial Empire: Played With.
    • While the original Lost Hills branch is still mentioned as being active, the Brotherhood's presence in the West Coast has largely been reduced to a few scattered bunkers with almost no significant presence in the wasteland by the time of New Vegas, and depending on the player's actions in that game the Mojave Chapter can be completely eradicated.
    • By Fallout 4, their East Coast branch rules the Capital Wasteland around Washington D.C. and they make a significant incursion into the Commonwealth around Boston; depending on the player's actions, they can either take over the region or have their expeditionary force wiped out, and with its loss will also lose their Elder and their Cool Airship, which was a huge investment of resources to build. Given the Prydwen's presence in the Amazon series and the prominence of East Coast Brotherhood elders over their West Coast counterparts, it's clear they're in the ascendancy. Any other branches they have across the U.S. are treated as Broad Strokes canon.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: By the time of Fallout 4, the Brotherhood's myriad branches are shown to have grown progressively divergent in worldviews when it comes to facing the future, which has resulted in bouts of infighting. Be it the East Coast Brotherhood's willingness to make compromises, or how various West Coast chapters remain firmly traditionalist in upholding the Codex. This seems to have changed somewhat by 2296, as the East Coast Brotherhood now seems to be the dominant faction in the Brotherhood. Of course there still seems to be some internal dissent, with some members decrying the "weakness" of the modern Brotherhood.
  • We Used to Be Friends: The original Brotherhood of Steel was instrumental in the establishment of the NCR, with the area around their main bunker becoming one of the 5 founding NCR states, Maxson. They maintained cordial relations with NCR for the next century or so up through Fallout 2, but by the time of New Vegas and continuing onto the Amazon series the Brotherhood and NCR have become mortal enemies due to their conflicting ideologies and ambitions.
  • You Are in Command Now:
    • Roger Maxson was originally just the Sergeant Rock of his unit until circumstances and the suicide of his superior officer forced him to assume command and ultimately the mantle of Elder.
    • His distant descendant, Arthur Maxson, found himself in command of the East Coast Brotherhood following the deaths of both Owyn and Sarah Lyons, eventually being formally recognized as Elder by Lost Hills.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: The Prydwen, a giant airship that acts as a mothership for Vertibird helicopters, has been reassigned to this Brotherhood chapter from her usual moorings on the East Coast.

    The Enclave
"One Enclave, one America, now and forever."

Before the Great War, the Enclave was a secret cabal of wealthy industrialists, members of the military and influential politicians who operated in the shadows and held a great degree of control over the United States' government. Knowing that a massively destructive nuclear war would inevitably happen at some point, they masterminded the Vault project; on the surface a project to protect the US population from destruction, but in fact was a social experiment on a massive scale, meant to determine how isolated populations would behave under different circumstances. Finally, as the world situation started heating up, they sequestered themselves into secret bunkers and other hidden fortresses months in advance of the nuclear exchange, with their main headquarters being an oil rig dubbed "Control Station ENCLAVE" off the coast of California. Thanks to these preparations, they survived. They emerged to form the Enclave, proudly declaring themselves the last bastion of pure humanity and the heirs to the legacy of America.

For more on the Enclave's East Coast branch specifically, see here.

  • Affably Evil: Their leaders tend to be very personable and charismatic, and the average worker or soldier is relatively rational and comes off more as a Punch-Clock Villain. That said, they still want to restore America to a pure state by eliminating everybody that's been touched by radiation, and they do still have members who avert this. It's justified, however, thanks to their skewed viewpoints; they genuinely believe that all mainlanders are too far gone and need to be eradicated, but other than that are normal people.
  • Anti-Villain: Aside from Frank Horrigan and Doctor Schreber in 2, most of the Enclave officers you can talk to are relatively reasonable and rational people who want to restore America to glory.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: By Fallout 2 and 3, most in the Enclave have long since bought into their own propaganda about saving and rebuilding America, even if that means wiping out anyone deemed "impure."
  • Big Bad: The group is the major threat and driving force of the plot in Fallout 2 and 3, providing both games' masterminds and Final Bosses.
  • Broken Pedestal: The remnants of the United States government see their own people as mutants needing to be wiped out so they can rebuild properly.
  • Defector from Decadence: The more sympathetic Enclave characters tend to be those who leave the organization, like Doctor Henry, Cannibal Johnson and Sergeant Granite and his squad.
  • Deflector Shields: The Enclave in Fallout 3 is shown to be using "Photonic Resonance Barriers" to protect vital locations. If Liberty Prime's quotes and the Old World Blues DLC in New Vegas are any indication, these were already in use before the Great War.
  • The Dreaded: To the Wasteland at large. Very few people saw Enclave troops and survived to tell the tale. Even years after the Brotherhood of Steel and the NCR kicked their asses, people on the West Coast still tell horror stories about the Enclave. To drive the point home, the Enclave Remnants in New Vegas can be swayed into nudging the odds of the Second Battle of Hoover Dam in one faction's favor, and the ending slide about them all but states that even the limitless NCR and relentless Legion forces are struck with fear at the sight of a single Enclave squad on the attack.
    (vs. the Legion): After their bold arrival at Hoover Dam, the Remnants disappeared as quickly as they came. Legends of their power spread throughout the southwest, a reminder of why people once feared the sight of vertibirds in the sky.
    (vs. the NCR): Merciless in their assault on the NCR, the Remnants struck fear into the hearts of even the centurions at Hoover Dam. Well aware of the full extent of their power, Caesar commanded his troops to not pursue them.
  • Eagleland: They think they're a Type 1 — proud, stalwart defenders of freedom and liberty who want to restore America's glory. They're actually a Type 2 — violent, fascist war-mongers who want to take over the country no matter how many people they have to kill to do it.
  • Elite Army: invoked To an even greater degree than the Brotherhood of Steel, as all of their soldiers are highly trained and equipped with the absolute best infantry gear in the world, even better than pre-war gear. While their numbers are very small (only a few hundred power-armored soldiers per Word of God), it doesn't matter much when a single Enclave soldier can wipe out a town or a mercenary base with little trouble. In New Vegas, five aging Enclave soldiers with their old equipment and a single Vertibird can slaughter hundreds of soldiers from Caesar's Legion, and Word of God is that during the timeframe of Fallout 1 and Fallout 2, the entire Enclave army could have steamrolled both the Brotherhood of Steel and the Master's Unity.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Most West Coast Enclave soldiers consider Frank Horrigan to be a freak and very few of them actually want to accompany him on missions.
    • Colonel Augustus Autumn is horrified by President John Henry Eden's plan to poison Project Purity and wipe out the entire non-Vault born population of the Capital Wasteland.
  • Evil Counterpart: Like the Brotherhood of Steel, they're an isolated army with technologically advanced equipment descended from the remnants of the US government and military. Unlike the Brotherhood, they see outsiders as enemies to be eradicated and use their technology to try and conquer the wasteland.
  • Evil Wears Black: Their advanced power armor is black, and they're plenty evil.
  • Face of a Thug: Invoked if the Player Character wears their Powered Armor, namely their helmets. In New Vegas and 3, even if they're a morally righteous character, the helmet negatively hits their Charisma stat by one point due to their genocidal legacy. Meanwhile in 2, some NPCs will have some crude and negative things to say upon seeing the Chosen One strolling around in the Enclave's uniform. It doesn't have any effect in 4 however, even though the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel have just recently waged and won a war on the Enclave not too long ago. At one point in the development of New Vegas, it would have even been programmed for just about every NPC to instantly turn hostile on the Player Character if they wore the Remnant's Power Armor, only for the concept to be scrapped.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Enclave considers all mainland humans mutants due to decades of being raised in the radioactive wasteland, and see them as needing to be exterminated.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: They're more or less Nazi Germany under a thin veneer of pre-War America.
  • Government Conspiracy: Before the Great War, the Enclave was comprised of prize-winning scientists, wealthy industrialists, members of the military, and influential politicians, including presidents, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and certain members of Congress. By 2077, this secretive cabal had its tendrils in nearly everything and, seeing the writing on the wall, had prepared contingencies to ensure America's survival.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Their power armor has glowing yellow-orange visors on the eye holes, and they're a villainous faction.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Of Fallout 1, Fallout Tactics, and Fallout 76. They were the ones who commissioned the experiments that caused the conflicts of both games, with the Super Mutants, the Calculator, and the Scorched all being weapons projects they (or their prewar predecessors) intended to use. They're more direct as the antagonists of Fallout 2 and Fallout 3. To date, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4 are the only games in the series whose conflict was not caused by them.
  • Hypocrite: As the existence of Grand Zealot Brian Richter in Fallout 4: Far Harbor can attest to, for all their vaulted claims of superiority over the average Wastelander for not being touched by radiation, many of their members were also just as mutated, as Richter had developed a natural immunity to radiation that later led to him joining the Children of Atom
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Yes, in theory they could go from village to village, conducting genetic testing to separate the worthy from the doomed, but that would require more resources than they have. "Death to all", on the other hand, is within their budget, so... That said, there are a few Enclave outposts in the D.C area who offer water in exchange for genetic testing... it's just everyone who chooses to get tested gets torched by a flamer because they failed the test.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: They tick nearly every box in the criteria for actual real-world fascism.
  • Obviously Evil: Did the black power armor not tip you off the first time you saw them? Then how about their first appearance in the Fallout 2 intro where they unleash miniguns upon hapless, innocent Vault dwellers.
  • Obliviously Evil: Few if any of the Enclave's members consider what they do to be morally wrong. To them, everyone outside of the most tightly-sealed Vaults is a filthy, sub-human mutant, and slaughtering them en-mass isn't any different from exterminating an invasive species of pest.
  • Outside-Context Problem: While they're a very well-established part of the world lore now, the in-universe characters never saw them coming in 2 or 3. In 2, no one beyond San Francisco had ever heard of the Enclave, and with 3 they were thought a rumor or a hoax: some characters even assumed Enclave Radio was 'old recordings on a loop somewhere' because President Eden sounded so out-of-touch with the post-apocalypse.
  • Plausible Deniability: The Enclave is also known for doing this for achieving its ends rather than drawing too much unwanted attention, whether it's using the Salvatores of New Reno as useful pawns in Fallout 2, or discreet sending out bounties on Dr. Siggi Wilzig in the Amazon series.
  • President Evil: Played with; while the faction is evil and is led by a President, the two you meet, Richardson and Eden, are pleasant, personable individuals who will engage you in conversation as if you just dropped by for a friendly chat, and both take no pleasure in their plans, they just believe they are Necessarily Evil in the name of restoring America.
  • Properly Paranoid: When the Great War happened, the Enclave not only had provisions set aside for its planned reconquest of the wasteland, but also had the foresight to not put all its eggs in one basket. Thus, despite losing Appalachia, the Oil Rig, Navarro, and DC, it still remains an elusive threat.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: At least some within the Enclave are this, having little to do with the crimes committed by their superiors other than following orders. The Enclave Remnants in New Vegas in particular are largely comprised of personnel who were only doing their duty by the time Navarro fell, while in the case of Arcade Gannon, there were also those too young to have been involved in any capacity.
  • Putting on the Reich: They see themselves as the last pure strain of humanity, and all other "humans" are lesser beings that must be killed so a glorious new America can be built on their ashes. The power armor their grunts wear is notably black-tinted and the design of their officer's uniforms carries some rather obvious connotations to Nazi Germany.
  • Shocking Defeat Legacy:
    • For the West Coast branch, the Chosen One destroying the Oil Rig followed soon after by the New California Republic taking Navarro, slaughtering the remaining Enclave forces. This completely erased their presence west of the Mississippi, with the few survivors of the twin defeats hiding their identities and trying to integrate into Californian society.
    • On the East Coast, the Lone Wanderer destroying Raven Rock and Adams Air Force Base alongside the Brotherhood had seemingly dealt a crushing blow to the Enclave. It's revealed however, that not only is it still active in Chicago, but that it remains powerful enough to deploy advance parties and Vertibirds to the Commonwealth, though they're under express orders to avoid any confrontation with the Brotherhood.
  • Shoulders of Doom: The Mark II Powered Armor and the X0-1, the Enclave's signature suits of armor, have a big and bulky hump of armor on the back and collar, extending to the shoulders, and they're very far from a peaceful faction. This is averted in 3 however, with the Ravens Rock chapter of the Enclave making use of a different model of Powered Armor that's more angular and spikey in appearance.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: With a speech check, the Chosen One can convince the head scientist on the Oil Rig to release a variant of the FEV in the ventilation system that will kill most of the Enclave. In the Capital Wasteland, the Lone Wanderer can invoke a Logic Bomb on President Eden through dialogue, taking out Raven Rock in the process.
  • Token Good Teammate: As highlighted by the Enclave Remnants in New Vegas, there were personnel who're decent individuals who genuinely wanted to do the right thing, or at the very least had nothing to do with the atrocities committed by other members.
  • The Remnant: The last direct descendants of the United States government and military. Interestingly, the Courier can meet Enclave Remnants in Fallout: New Vegas, meaning they're a remnant of a remnant.
  • Vestigial Empire: They're this to start with, being the last remnants of the pre-war US government, and get smaller and smaller each game, since they make the mistake of making the Player Characters their enemy. The Amazon series and the Next-Gen update for Fallout 4, however, reveal that it's still operational, while Lonesome Road suggests that their main outpost is in Chicago.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Over the course of the franchise, it's revealed that not only did the Enclave not get along well with its Vault-Tec allies, but even within the Enclave itself, various cliques had their own ideas for rebuilding America. This is notably seen with Colonel Augustus Autumn's more pragmatic approach in Fallout 3 clashing with President Eden's genocidal insistence on using Project Purity to purge the Capital Wasteland of impurity.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Played With. On the outside they act as a ruthless and absolutely murderous outfit that's planned to genocide the remnants of humanity on more than one occasion. Speaking to their leaders, however, reveals that they view most post-War humans as post-War humans view feral ghouls or super mutants; monsters that threaten their existence. To achieve a true rebirth of the world and to begin rebuilding the shattered remains of America, the Enclave believes that all remaining life must be eradicated save for their own members and the most clandestine Vaults. Genocidal and brutal for sure, but they're not doing it for fun or For the Evulz, and they don't see their actions as cruel or villainous.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Zigzagged. Even before their planned genocides, they had next to no qualms about killing peaceful Wastelanders, including children, who had virtually no way of fighting back. You can witness their massacres in Fallout 2 and Fallout 3. However, this was subject to some variation between Enclave members — the Navarro contingent only warns the Chosen One off if approached at their base, specifically citing them as a civilian (this even extended to if the Chosen One sneaks into Navarro but gets caught before getting too deep).

    The New California Republic
"A safe people is a strong people."

Fifty years after the Great War, Vault 15 opened and its people splintered in raider groups and one small town, Shady Sands. Over time under the leadership of their elder Aradesh and his daugther Tandi, Shady Sands became a major economic power in the southwest, and united with other major hubs of civilization in the area to found the New California Republic. Over the decades, the NCR has expanded across much of California and become its push into Nevada, coming into conflict with Caesar's Legion and the city of New Vegas under the leadership of Robert House.

For more on their depiction in New Vegas specifically, see here.

  • Aerith and Bob: Justified, given their origins in Shady Sands (and thus the culturally and ideologically diverse Vault 15) as well as the towns around it. That said, after Aradesh and Tandi, later NCR leaders tend to have more conventional American names like Wendell Peterson and, by New Vegas, Aaron Kimball.
  • Ambiguous Situation: While the 2024 TV series reveals that Shady Sands was nuked and the NCR is still active, it's actual state beyond southern California is left vague.
  • Animal Motifs: Their flag has a two-headed bear, representing their power and strength. That it has two heads also represents their increasing lack of focus among their leadership as they keep growing.
  • Anti-Hero: They're the closest thing anyone in the Fallout universe has come to restarting a stable, civilized national government and military structure. But their history is not without strife and war, and by the time of New Vegas, they've become highly corrupt and bogged down by bureaucracy.
  • Arch-Enemy: To the Khans; the Khans were the largest Raider gang to harass Shady Sands back in the town's early days, and now that the NCR is a state-spanning government, the Khans are still on hostile relations with them as a matter of principle at this point.
  • Badass Normal: Compared to factions like the Brotherhood, the Enclave, Caesar's Legion, and the Institute, the NCR doesn't have advanced technology, Training from Hell for its army, or massive underground bases. What they do have is a massive territory, huge population and economic base that lets them supply one of the largest armies in the post-war United States. Notably, they appear to be the only faction that has a large fleet of transport trucks and other conventional ground vehicles, as well as artillery and the means to mass-produce their own firearms.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: Downplayed. By New Vegas, much of New California has largely recovered to something resembling a Western consumer culture. While the average NCR citizen still faces such issues as corruption, crime, and taxes, they're still better off than many other Wastelanders, who often struggle to survive day-to-day. Averted, however, in southern California as revealed by the TV series, following the nuclear destruction of Shady Sands.
  • Create Your Own Hero: The Khans, one of their biggest enemies, are ironically the indirect reason for their existence. The Khans kidnapped the then 16 year old Tandi that, after being rescued by The Vault Dweller, changed her mind about leaving the farming settlement of Shady Sands and decided to work alongside her father into forming alliances with other communities, thus founding the republic.
  • Cruel Mercy: The NCR tries to offer some amnesty and invoke the rule of law, even if it's not always ethical in practice. Be it apprehending Enclave personnel and their children as war criminals, or potentially relocating the Khans to an isolated reservation instead of just summarily executing either on sight.
  • Elite Mooks: In addition to the Rangers, the NCR military includes various elite units and divisions among its ranks, including First Recon.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In Fallout 2, they're clearly based after the pre-War United States. As of Fallout: New Vegas, they've since evolved to where they're evocative of both the United States during the Wild West and The Roman Republic, of all things.
  • The Federation: They were formed when several separate communities banded together under Aradesh's leadership; their territories became the founding states of the NCR.
  • Foil: To the Enclave. They're both trying to restore a semblance of the old world order to the country, but the NCR is formed by the remnants of a Vault populace, and they're mostly peaceful in their expansion efforts; the Enclave are formed by the remnants of the US government and military, and are violent in their conquest of the wasteland.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: A small farming community struggling against packs of radscorpions and gangs of raiders ended up becoming one of the most powerful forces in the entire post-apocalyptic United States.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The NCR Veteran Rangers always wear gas masks.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The NCR is going to bring peace and stability to the Wasteland, even if some of its inhabitants don't want them to.
  • Hereditary Republic: Downplayed in that the first and second presidents of the NCR are father and daughter (with the latter ruling for 52 years until she became a centenarian). However, Tandi's son Hoss (who was largely seen as a failure) didn't take power and all subsequent were regularly elected officials. Still, Caesar from New Vegas argues this undermines their claims to be a true democracy, especially since the post-Tandi NCR is largely considered a step-down.
    Caesar: As a young man, I was taught to venerate President Tandi of Shady Sands. "The Founding Mother of the New California Republic." Did you know her Presidency lasted 52 years? And that her father, Aradesh, was the Republic's first President? Does that sound like democracy to you, or a hereditary dictatorship?
  • Interfaith Smoothie: Dharma, the spiritual worldview endorsed by Aradesh and Tandi, is hinted at as being based on the various religious views of Vault 15's original residents. Echoes of this would influence the NCR's ideological evolution down the line, albeit in a more muted form.
  • Improvised Armor: By New Vegas, NCR heavy infantry are equipped with power armor salvaged during the war against the Brotherhood, with the joint servos removed. While the armor's much heavier to wear and lacks some of the more sophisticated features of a full suit, it still provides significant protection.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Unlike most factions in the series, the ideals, morality, goals, and compassion of its members tend to vary wildly.
  • Multinational Team:
    • The NCR is also known for its relative diversity not only in terms of having Vault-descended, Wastelander, and tribal citizens living together but also ghouls and even super mutants.
    • Shady Sands, from which the NCR would emerge, was founded by the sane survivors of Vault 15, which was purposefully filled with people of radically different backgrounds, ideologies, and ethnicities.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Played With. By Fallout 2 and especially New Vegas, the NCR gains a reputation for red tape and corruption within its beleaguered bureaucracy. Once said bureaucrats get their act together, however, they can prove to be remarkably effective, even if it takes time for that to manifest.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Downplayed. By 2281, as highlighted in New Vegas the NCR is described as increasingly at the mercy of influential ranchers and post-war financial giants like the Crimson Caravan Company. On the other hand, it's shown that the nation is still more than capable of bringing them to task, especially once the bureaucracy gets its gears running.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: For all its flaws, the NCR has not only managed to rekindle old world ideals such as liberty and the rule of law, but also live up to the very values Pre-War America claimed to uphold on paper.
  • The Remnant: Moldover's rump state ("state" being a generous term here) is the only active NCR presence after the destruction of Shady Sands seen in the TV show, though Word of God is that other NCR territories still exist.
  • Sins of the Father: Following the fall of Navarro between 2 and New Vegas, the NCR made it standard policy to capture not only surviving Enclave members but also their children for war crimes trials, simply by virtue of being born to said Enclave members.
  • Vestigial Empire: While Shady Sands was destroyed in a nuclear blast, as revealed in the Amazon TV series, the NCR is still alive according to Word of God. It had, however, fallen back to its remaining territories, with the only ones left in that particular region being Moldover's holdouts.
  • Virtuous Character Copy: The NCR, Warts and All, becomes this to the pre-war United States, especially by New Vegas. For all their faults and corruption, the government and New California's people in general prove to be sincere in their commitment to democracy, liberty, and the kind of values old America only paid lip service to.
  • We Have Reserves: The NCR's military might relies as much on numbers as it does equipping them with standardized equipment and mass-produced firearms.
  • Zerg Rush: They make up for their technological inferiority against the Brotherhood and Enclave with numerical superiority.

    The Shi 
Descendants of the crewmen of a Chinese submarine, the Shi-Huang-Ti, that was beached shortly after the Great War, the Shi are a technologically advanced yet reclusive island of civilization in what had once been San Francisco. By 2242, the Shi had become a major research and development hub, profiting off its neutrality in West Coast wasteland affairs, under the leadership of an unseen Emperor.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Shi are this to the Hubologists, an aggressive Church of Happyology based in San Francisco that has sought to not only subvert the Shi's scientific achievements for their own pointless endeavors, but also abduct and brainwash their children.
  • Cultural Posturing: The Shi in general take immense pride in their Chinese cultural heritage and tend to stick among themselves, further making them stand apart from the rest of New California.
  • Deus est Machina: The Shi Emperor is revealed in Fallout 2 to be the Shi-Huang-Ti's supercomputer. While it's not known to have any sentience, it is capable of making predictions based on all factors it had access to with astonishing accuracy, allowing its "advisors" to guide their fellow citizens appropriately.
  • Foil: The Shi are this to the other Chinese remnant groups scattered across the former United States. In addition to how the Shi are by and large not ghoulified, they notably make no effort to claim continuity with the People's Republic of China, even while upholding much of Chinese culture.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Chinatown: Before the Great War, San Francisco’s Chinatown had not only been reduced to a glorified ghetto for Chinese-Americans and suspected Communist spies, but was in the process of being converted into a large-scale detainment camp. The Shi, however, have once more restored the district to its former glory.
  • Future Imperfect: Downplayed. While the Shi in general know of their origins, popular folklore and flowery prose has gradually distorted it to the point of denying the very submarine their forefathers were on existed. On the other hand, the intellectuals, engineers, and advisors have a very clear understanding of what actually happened, and aren't happy with said folklore.
    Ken Lee: "Any fool who had done their research can see that the very basis of Shi-town is the wreckage of this submarine. It seems fruitless to argue with those who would say there is no submarine."
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Shi Emperor is never seen by his erstwhile subjects and is represented by "advisors" who carry out his will. In practice, said "advisors", which include scientists and engineers among their ranks, are the true leaders, with the Emperor being a supercomputer salvaged from the Chinese submarine that brought their ancestors to the West Coast.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: Though they're shown in Fallout 2 as speaking mainly in Mandarin, they are shown to be capable of understanding (and speaking) English just fine.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Downplayed. While the Shi are well-known enough within and beyond San Francisco, offering their services to most anyone who could afford to, they generally stick amongst themselves and don't venture much outside Chinatown, known by locals as Shi-town. That doesn't stop them from hiring outsiders as extra security even if only for intimidation, such as Conrad Kellogg in his younger years before winding up in the Commonwealth.
  • Knowledge Broker: In addition to technological know-how, such as having some familiarity with how Vertibirds work, the Shi's upper ranks are also known to offer information in exchange for certain conditions, such valuable intel on the Enclave's presence in Navarro.
  • Meaningful Name: The Shi are named after the submarine that brought their ancestors to San Francisco, the Shi-Huang-Ti, which itself is a reference to the first Emperor of China.
  • The Neutral Zone: The Shi consider themselves above the power dynamics of the surrounding wasteland, even refusing to join the nascent New California Republic.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Despite being largely confined to the vicinity of Chinatown, the Shi are seen as the "de facto" hegemon of San Francisco thanks to their technological expertise and general sanity, compared to the Hubologists.
  • The Remnant: The Shi are descended from the survivors of the Shi-Huang-Ti, who had rebuilt the ruins of San Francisco's Chinatown, previously used as an internment camp before the Great War, into a new home.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: After a fashion. While the Shi play a subdued role in New California, they stand out by virtue of being the only notable Asian faction in the series. Moreover, until Captain Zao in Fallout 4, they were also the only non-hostile Chinese NPCs in the franchise.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The surviving Shi-Huang-Ti crewmembers, realizing that there was no way back to their homeland, resolved to make Chinatown their new home.

Post-War Religions

    The Church of the Children of Atom
"Glory to Atom!"

The Church of the Children of Atom are, more than anything else, an exceptionally odd bunch of people that serve as an excellent example of the Fallout franchise's Atompunk themes being taken to their (il)logical conclusion. The earliest known records of them has them starting out as a small cult of harmless weirdoes in the Capital Wasteland town of Megaton, viewing the unexploded nuclear bomb in the town's center as an altar to their god "Atom". In the Children's belief system, each nucleus contains its own entire universe, and nuclear fission (or, as they call it, "Division") is an inherently creative act, with two new universes being created every time an atom splits. As such, they worship the creative and mutative properties of radiation (who they have personified as Atom) and aspire to "embrace Division" so as to create new entire worlds and be with their god in everlasting peace. As the series goes on, they increasingly swell in ranks, spreading as far north as the Commonwealth and Mount Desert Island in Maine, but unfortunately also gain a lot of xenophobia and rabid fanaticism as a result from their new followers.

For more on the sect of the Children of Atom found on The Island, see here.

  • Admiring the Abomination: In 4, the Atom sect controlling Kingsport Lighthouse have locked up a Glowing One in the lighthouse's lantern room, viewing it as a sign from Atom and feed "heretics" (read: unsuspecting passers-by) to the mutated creature.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: In-Universe; numerous sects and practicioners of Atom worship have different perspectives on how they should worship their god and practice their beliefs.
  • Ascended Extra: They go from being a very minor side faction in Fallout 3 to being a major recurring side antagonist in 4 and eventually becoming one of the primary factions feuding over Mount Desert Island in the Far Harbor DLC.
  • Badass Preacher: In 4 and especially Far Harbor, the members of this religion can be a veritable nightmare to fight, in large part thanks to their radiation-based weapons.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: It can be kind of hard to take a bunch of loons in rags praying around an unexploded nuclear bomb that seriously... until they either throw you into the "loving embrace" of a Feral Ghoul to have your intestines torn out or dump you into a pit of radioactive waste so that you can gain "Atom's gifts" that way.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: They view radiation poisoning (which most of the Wasteland understandably views as a terrifying and invisible menace) as a nurturing and sacred path to salvation by their god.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: It can be obscured by them frequently talking in Purple Prose obscured by religious turns of phrase, but on a completely technical level, they've been shown to actually have a pretty decent understanding of nuclear technology and are also damn good engineers and mechanics. It's even mentioned that they were vital in the early days of Megaton's construction, helping forge the town's protective walls on the sole condition that the unexploded bomb in the town's center not be disturbed.
  • Cargo Cult: They worship radiation, radioactive materials, and nuclear weapons/devices. Expect barrels of toxic waste to litter their homes in each game they appear.
  • Church Militant: Justified, as they live in the Wasteland.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: They worship radiation poisoning, for one, and in general most members of the organization come across as pretty... quirky. Possibly justified as a result of the constant background radiation in their homes altering their brain chemistries.
  • Corrupt Church: The Church doesn't have the same kind of strictly organized hierarchy as seen with most modern organized religions in Real Life, instead being set up in a very decentralized series of sects that work individually and typically don't communicate. Unfortunately, this leads to it being relatively easy for individual sects to get taken over by wannabe tyrants, as seen by High Confessor Tektus for the Mount Desert Island chapter.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: A fair bit, obviously. For one, they still hoard lots of Rad-X and RadAway despite the vast majority of them being The Immune to radiation, as they believe that taking in lots of rads before "scouring" themselves of radiation poisoning and then continuing that cycle is a form of penitence, with them "embracing the Glow anew."
  • Fantasy Counterpart Religion: As highlighted here, they share a surprisingly high number of similarities to many ancient Egyptian cults, most prominently those based around the worship of the creation god Atum (appropriately enough).
  • Future Imperfect: Their entire faith is largely founded on a misinterpretation of the structure of the nucleus, viewing each atom as its own entire reality.
  • Foreshadowing: Subtle hints are given of them later becoming murderous lunatics in 4 during the Broken Steel DLC for 3, with one side sect (the "Apostles of the Holy Light") tainting local Brotherhood shipments of Aqua Pura into radioactive "holy water" as part of a misguided attempt to spread their faith.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In Fallout 3, they're a bunch of harmless kooks. In Fallout 4, they're a bunch of terrifying Lovecraftian cultists that worship Feral Ghouls and are willing to wipe out entire towns so as to "spread Atom's word."
  • Glass Cannon: In the base game of 4, hostile Children usually fight in their ragged robes and don't have much in the way of defenses, but their Gamma Guns can pack an absurdly deadly punch to most enemies, and especially the Player Character if their armor isn't specifically suited to resist radiation.
  • Good Shepherd: While it's unfortunately downplayed by their more fanatical brethren, some of their leadership (most notably Confessor Cromwell in Megaton and Mother Isolde in the Crater of Atom) are still largely benevolent and friendly.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The vast majority of the Children look just like ordinary humans, but can survive ungodly amounts of radiation. They may be just going through an exceptionally slow form of ghoulification, but it's never made clear one way or the other.
  • The Immune: Most of their members are completely immune to radiation poisoning even if they can still feel its effects. Notably, however, there are still some members who aren't and so understandably have to take certain measures to keep themselves alive among their mutant brethren.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Many of their fanatics practice this. For instance, they attack people with radiation weapons as part of their recruitment drives by reasoning that those who survive are immune to radiation and thus should join their cult, while those who just die from the radiation poisoning are not among Atom's chosen.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Their radioactive weapons work in 4 by reducing maximum HP, making them among some of the most difficult enemies in the entire game.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Some of their beliefs can't be waved off as just mere coincidence or zealotry. This is lampshaded in the Far Harbor DLC, with even the Children themselves ultimately admitting that it's possible that the "Mother of the Fog" they can see on Vision Quests is just a crazy old hermit playing the role of a spiritual advisor For the Lulz, but as they don't know for certain either way, they're going to give Atom the benefit of the doubt and just accept the Mother as one of Atom's messengers. Paladin Danse mentions in 4 that many of the Children of Atom are immune to radiation and the Brotherhood of Steel has studied them intently to try and find the reason, to no success — this implies that there's something more to their immunity than the biological and scientific.
  • Religion of Evil: Ultimately subverted. Unlike with the Children of the Cathedral below, the Far Harbor DLC highlights that the Children of Atom's religious practices are not inherently evil, and it's more that their church's intentionally loose command structure makes it unfortunately easy for overly ambitious Confessors to rise in power and lead them down a dark path.
  • Rising Empire: They've swelled by far in numbers on the East Coast by the time of 4, and have de facto control over most of The Island at the start of the Far Harbor DLC.
  • Secret Test of Character: Most aspiring Children have to drink a lot of radioactive water to see if they're worthy enough to join. If they survive, then they're seen as among Atom's chosen! If not, well, then at least they're with Atom now.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Most of the stuff they use is associated with/has a neon-green color scheme. Justified since they worship radiation and radioactive waste, which is associated with the color green in Fallout.
  • Sigil Spam: Most of which are stylized versions of scientific diagrams representing atoms and valence electron orbitals.
  • Sinister Minister: An unfortunately plurality of their membership in the Commonwealth is made up of this.
  • Straight Edge Evil: "Evil" isn't exactly the right word, but asceticism is a common thread in their religion, and they can be antagonist. Confessor Cromwell claims that the Children strive for sobriety (despite the fact that he can be found hiding some alcohol in his church), and the Far Harbor sect view extended fasting as a clear sign of one's devotion to Atom.
  • Taken A Level In Badass: According to Confessor Cromwell in 3, the Children of Atom are meant to be a faith focused on pacifism and sobriety. In 4, they're a mighty band of ruthless Church Militants striking down almost anyone who crosses their path.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: They're far more radical and ruthless in 4 than they were in 3.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Some members of the Church still stick around despite not having the inborn resistance to radiation shared by their brothers and sisters. Subverted, though, if the Player Character actually asks them why they stick around, as most will note that the Children's large hoarded supplies of Rad-X and RadAway (along with homemade remedies, like Zealot Ware's brew) are usually enough to help them make do, and that living with the Children is typically a lot safer than trying to fend for oneself out in the Wasteland.
  • Vision Quest: Revelations from Atom being imparted by his messengers are an important part of their religion, to the point where the Children require the Sole Survivor to undergo one in order to gain access to the Nucleus.

    The Followers of the Apocalypse
The Followers of the Apocalypse, or simply the Followers, are a quasi-religious and humanitarian organization originating from a secular tribe in the outskirts of Dayglow, formerly known as San Diego, sometime before 2161. Headquartered in the ruins of the former LA Public Library, and forgoing preaching in favor of humanitarianism, the Followers instead focus on providing education and medical services to those in need, as well as furthering research in non-military areas. They also welcome anyone who wishes to join their ranks, including former members of the Enclave and Brotherhood of Steel, so long as they abide by their pacifist tenets.
  • Badass Bookworm: The Followers of the Apocalypse are generally well-educated humanitarians who can back up their pacifism and convictions with sheer determination and, if need be, a handy gun or two.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Defied. Those in positions of power often regard the Followers as seditious anarchists, even though the organization as a whole has no interest in seizing power.
  • Disaster Scavengers: Part of their overall mission is to seek out Pre-War tech and books, using them for humanitarian purposes. Arcade in New Vegas points out that simply scavenging can't go on forever and they do also try to gain the knowledge to produce things themselves.
  • Foil:
    • The Followers of the Apocalypse are this to the Brotherhood of Steel in myriad ways. In addition to being a pacifistic non-profit charity organization as opposed to a militant neo-feudal order, the Followers are much more open towards spreading knowledge and helping wastelanders, in stark contrast to Brotherhood traditionalists with their insistence on hoarding technology from an unprepared wasteland and isolating themselves from the outside world.
    • They're also this to the Children of the Cathedral. Whereas the Followers prioritize knowledge and aiding wastelanders over proselytizing, while being generally upfront regarding their activities, the Children are glorified puppets of the Master, using their public shows of charity and preaching to mask a more nefarious scheme.
  • Good Shepherd: Wherever they go, the Followers seek to provide services to those in need, such as medical care, education, and agricultural instruction.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Followers' penchant for welcoming anyone willing to contribute to their noble cause is both a great strength and flaw, as it also gives opportunistic bad actors and those trying to escape justice a convenient cover for laying low. To say nothing of unwittingly enabling people like Edward Sallow/Caesar.
  • Impartial Purpose-Driven Faction: Downplayed. While the Followers won't lend their expertise towards raiders or openly antagonistic factions, they're otherwise impartial towards who they help. Whether it's providing the NCR an academic, agricultural and industrial foundation or helping the Khans, the NCR's old foes, forge their own empire in Wyoming with ancient knowledge of logistics and economics.
  • Information Wants to Be Free: The Followers consistently believe that knowledge, especially of the non-military kind, should be spread to all in the wasteland. This also includes ideas that could be seen by some in positions of authority as "seditious."
  • Living Is More than Surviving: They firmly believe that just as living a fulfilling life doesn't mean merely surviving day-to-day, there's more to learn out there than coming up with new ways of killing one another. Thus, much attention is placed on cataloging and preserving knowledge aimed towards non-military ends.
  • Martial Pacifist: Although pacifists by nature, the Followers will not hesitate to defend themselves, often taking up arms against those who threaten their ideals as a last resort. Oftentimes, however, they just hire guards for much-needed protection and firepower.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: If the Courier persuades Veronica Santangelo to join the Followers in New Vegas a group of Mojave Brotherhood paladins proceed to massacre everyone in the outpost she was planning to work in, fearing she had given them forbidden knowledge.
  • Non-Indicative Name: While their name might sound terrifying, in reality, what follows the Apocalypse are people who try to heal its damage.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction:
    • Downplayed with the New California Republic's Office of Science and Industry. Some Followers broke off following the organization's split with the NCR, joining the government outright. While more amoral, prone to corruption, and flagrantly For Science! without oversight, the OSI still retains ethical standards carried over from the Followers in its pursuit of knowledge. Standards that even the self-absorbed Mojave director, Thomas Hildern, is afraid of openly breaching, lest he draw the ire of either more principled staff or the NCR's military.
    • Caesar's Legion qualifies much more. The Legion started when a pair of Followers and a New Canaanite missionary journeyed to the Grand Canyon and made contact with the Blackfoot, to both learn their culture and help as needed. Turned out, the Blackfoot tribe needed help to win a war with other tribes they were about to lose. The younger apprentice Follower, Edward Sallow, taught the Blackfoot how to wage total war on their enemies using the knowledge from the Followers' own library, including the autobiography of Julius Caesar from which he used to create his own army of legionaries, with himself as Caesar of course. The Followers are naturally deeply embarrassed about this.
      Caesar: "I was taught it was my responsibility to bring the torch of knowledge to the wastes. I may have taken the torch part more literally than they intended."
  • Saintly Church: Downplayed. While the Followers' tenets are influenced by Christianity, and use the Christian cross as a unifying symbol, they're much more focused on education and humanitarian work than proselytizing. Moreover, they're fairly tolerant of welcoming anyone into their ranks, even if they don't necessarily share the same religious beliefs.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Followers' penchant towards welcoming anyone inadvertently backfired on them when they sent a young Edward Sallow east to document the tribals of Arizona, unaware of his drive for power that would lead him down to becoming Caesar.
  • Vindicated by History: In-universe. Despite being dismissed early on as delusional fools out of touch with the real world, the Followers' dedication towards charity and rebuilding civilization would leave a lasting legacy upon the denizens of New California and beyond.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Once close allies of the New California Republic and playing a key role in the nascent nation's development, they have since parted ways due to disagreements over their own perceived monopoly on education and the NCR's foreign policy by New Vegas. That being said, the NCR is still shown as being fairly tolerant of their activities and can even allow them to continue operating from Old Mormon Fort if the Republic wins the Second Battle of Hoover Dam.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: If the Legion wins the Second Battle of Hoover Dam in New Vegas and Caesar is still alive, then he will grant the Followers safe passage out of the Mojave due to retaining a soft spot for them for helping raise him as Edward Sallow. Unsurprisingly, they're rather reluctant in returning such "mercy."

    The Unity
The Unity, also called the Master's army, is a force of super mutants and human cultists created by the Master, a horrifically mutated individual seeking to transform the human species into a new, "perfect" form adapted to thriving in the Wasteland. The Unity includes a number of subdivisions, including the mutant armies proper and the Children of the Cathedral, a religious branch meant to spread the Master's message and prepare wasteland communities for the eventual takeover.

The Unity largely fell apart after the Master's death, with its surviving members either reintegrating into society or striking out in the wilderness.
  • All for Nothing: Their plan is doomed to failure right from the start. While Super Mutants are incredibly Long-Lived and difficult to kill, the nature of how FEV works sees reproductive cells as damaged and "fixes" them, rendering them sterile, meaning that the Unity would have died out within a generation anyway. It's possible for a Vault Dweller with sufficient speech skill and Vree's autopsy report to convince The Master that his plan won't work because of this.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Join the Unity and comply with the Master's orders at the end of the game, and the closing cutscene shows the Vault Dweller being dipped into the FEV vat and their vault being raided by super mutants as they beat its resisting denizens to death. With nothing stopping the Unity now and their forces bolstered, this potentially leads to an all-out super mutant conquest afterwards. Thankfully, however, this ending is (rather obviously) non-canon.
  • Collapsing Lair: Their main headquarters fall victim to this if the Master is brought to realize the fatal flaws of his plans. He activates the facility's self destruct in shame, blowing it to smithereens and scattering the surviving and leaderless mutants to the wind.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The Children of the Cathedral worship "the holy flame" as a cleansing force that destroyed the evil generation that went before them. They have a gothic-style cathedral, their elders wear robes, and they have a sort of penance system.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Despite the Unity's general disdain for anyone who isn't a Super Mutant, they still make use of human collaborators in the form of the Children of the Cathedral, enticing both true believers and its corrupt leaders with all kinds of promises upon transformation.
  • The Remnant: Unity patrols can still be encountered throughout California in Fallout 2, though most have tried to integrate into society or started towns of their own, such as Jacobstown.
  • Scam Religion: The Children of the Cathedral, behind their posing as a legitimate religion and some admittedly genuine charity work, are chiefly a cult intended to indoctrinate new members into following the Master's will and being made into Super Mutants without a fight by promising redemption upon transformation. Its leaders don't even try to follow their own teachings, since they know the whole thing is a sham — they simply use their power to control the masses. As a result, the Unity has no real ideological foundation, and even its true believers tend to quickly devolve into dangerous extremists.
  • Villainous Legacy: Even decades after the Master died and the Unity dispersed, there are still surviving super mutants who fondly remember their time served in its army and still believe in its cause.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Their goal is to usher humanity into a new era and make it flourish. However, they plan to do this by turning humans into Super Mutants with FEV and killing the rest. Eventually, they start to specify it solely on pure humans whose genetic makeup has been untouched by radiation once it turns out wastelander Super Mutants are much dumber. Many Super Mutants who worked under Unity still see their cause as just after the Master's defeat, a few of them being heroic outright such as Marcus.

Other Post-War Groups

    The Crimson Caravan Company 
Established in the Hub around 2151 by Demetre Romara and Keri Lee, the Crimson Caravan Company is one of the largest and most influential trading companies in the West Coast. By doing any job, no matter the risk, so long as clients can afford to pay the price, it had rapidly risen to prominence and with the ascendance of the New California Republic, expanded its reach even further afield. By 2281, pretty much every major region within reach of the NCR, including the Mojave, has a Crimson Caravan branch.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: The Crimson Caravan conspired with other merchant houses in the Hub to reintroduce bottlecaps as legal currency in the NCR following the war against the Brotherhood, both out of a lack of trust in the gold standard and to strengthen their economic influence. By the events of New Vegas, this helped give said merchant houses, especially the company itself, lobbying power in the NCR Congress.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: By New Vegas, the Crimson Caravan Company has developed a penchant for using sleazy backroom deals and other underhanded tactics to get its way. Its actions, notably, drove Cassidy Caravans, once a regional competitor in the Mojave, to the ground.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While the company has grown more unethical over the years, its tolerance for corruption and corporate hijinks has limits. If a branch fails to perform as a consequence of said antics, a manager can be sent from the Hub to take over operations and straighten out the business.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Early on, Crimson Caravan traders helped pave the way for more stable economic linkages across New California and often braved raider-infested roads in search of new opportunities. Even by New Vegas, they still have a reputation of being rugged, reliable and well-armed, though their bosses are just as likely to simply buy out competitors just to seize new trade routes.
  • Karma Houdini: Thanks to its broad reach, financial clout and political connections, the Crimson Caravan has managed to get away with various dubiously legal if outright criminal antics scot-free. Unless enough evidence incriminating the Mojave branch is gathered in New Vegas, which leads to NCR officials ultimately passing stricter trade laws with little resistance.
  • MegaCorp: The Crimson Caravan has over time evolved into a post-apocalyptic version of this trope, wielding not only considerable economic clout, but even political influence in the NCR's government.
  • Motive Decay: Once committed to just enabling safe, reliable trading, as well as doing the jobs no one else wanted, it has over time devolved into a corrupt MegaCorp concerned with keeping itself on top and getting as many trade routes under its control as it could, ironically turning them into a post-apocalyptic incarnation of the corporations that once ruled the Pre-War world.
  • Private Military Contractors: In addition to trade, the Crimson Caravan also specializes in providing private security to keep traveling merchants safe.

    The Gun Runners 
The Gun Runners are a weapons manufacturer and merchant company operating out of the Fortress in the Boneyard. Originating from a small-time gang who took up residence at an abandoned factory in 2131, they quickly established themselves as machinists and gunsmiths, capable of manufacturing military-grade weapons and ammunition, thanks to access to valuable Pre-War schematics. By 2281, they not only came to dominate the conventional weapons market all the way up to the Mojave, but had since become one of the biggest arms suppliers to the New California Republic's military.
  • The Alliance: Unique for its size and scope, the Gun Runners rely on a flat organization where experts in their fields (gunsmiths, guards, supply managers, etc.) collaborate for the benefit of the company, without a boss to impose their will upon them.
  • Arms Dealer: Thanks to their skill in machinery and access to Pre-War military schematics, the Gun Runners have positioned themselves as the arms manufacturer and supplier in the West Coast. So much so, that the NCR's government tends to considers them an unofficial branch of the military.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: They have come far from their humble beginnings as a small-time gang from the Hub, to becoming the NCR's main Arms Dealer.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Being skilled gunsmiths, the Gun Runners excel in not only manufacturing weaponry to Pre-War standards but also in studying old schematics to create new models for sale. While they used to deal with Energy Weapons, however, meddling from competitors like the Van Graffs forced them to stop making those.
  • MegaCorp: They're the post-apocalyptic equivalent of the military-industrial complex, as far as the NCR's concerned.
  • Plausible Deniability: The founding Gun Runners weren't above just gunning down rivals and grabbing their firearms as merchandise, figuring that none of their clients could prove otherwise. This tendency would continue even as they evolved into a much more organized company. In one possible outcome in New Vegas, the Van Graffs and Mojave branch of the Crimson Caravan Company are wiped out by raiders armed with military hardware heavily implied to be proxies hired by the Gun Runners to wipe out the competition.
  • Quality over Quantity: The Gun Runners take pride in manufacturing (and selling) high-quality weapons and munitions almost on par with Pre-War standards. Even their basic mass-produced rifles, used in bulk by the NCR's grunts by New Vegas, are of higher caliber than most guns scavenged out in the wasteland.
  • Start My Own: Rather than just scavenging guns (or taking them off dead rivals) and selling them for scrap, the founding members opted instead to produce their own ammo and firearms, giving them a dramatic edge over the competition that their successors retain generations later.


Rather than referring to a single cohesive group, "raider" is the catch-all term for the bandits, renegades and ne'er-do-wells found in the wasteland. Most of the time, these gangs barely have any connection to each other and instead act only in favor of themselves. What they do all share in common, though, is an attraction to murder, torture, mugging, rape, and raiding the more honest people of the wasteland.

Most raider gangs are improvised and short-lived affairs, arising from a handful of thugs banding together and rarely lasting long before being brought down by infighting, retaliation from stronger forces or the dangers of the wastelands. A few, however, manage to endure in the longer term, eventually growing in numbers and developing into either mercenary companies or primitive tribes in their own right with some cultural nuance beyond being thieves and killers.

  • Always a Bigger Fish: Plenty of times the raiders will be a persistent problem that comes with living in some parts of the wastes, but they're almost always outdone by an even bigger and better equipped threat who make them look more like a pest than anything.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: With a few exceptions, most Raiders in practice are monstrous sadists that kill anyone in their path.
  • The Apunkalypse: They're roaming gangs of bandits who tend to be gleefully evil and sadistic, enjoying the thrills that living lawlessly can bring when they're not struggling for survival.
  • Arc Villain: Quests often put a specific raider, whether a gang leader or their most infamous members, on the forefront as someone who needs to be dealt with for one reason or another.
  • Asshole Victim: The sympathetic ones aside, most Raiders are Always Chaotic Evil villains of one shade or another, and so one shouldn't have to feel that bad about having to put them down.
  • Bandit Clan: They rove over the land in loosely-coordinated groups, shooting anything that moves and stealing anything that doesn't.
  • Bad Boss: It varies; sometimes raider bosses can be utter bastards who torment and kill their fellow raiders for any reason they can think of, and sometimes they're nice enough to their crew that it'd almost be a Band of Brothers if they weren't all bandits and sadists. Most of the time though, it's usually a harsh leadership in some form.
  • The Chew Toy: If the game wants to show off how deadly a threat is or how cruel a fate can be in the wasteland, raiders are usually the people who'll be on the receiving end for a demonstration.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Quests and DLCs that put non-hostile raiders in the spotlight delve into this, serving as a reprieve from them usually being just another type of enemy to be blown away. Nuka-World in particular explores the raider lifestyle in detail, explaining why someone would even become a raider in such a dangerous world to begin with, like desperate circumstances forcing them to banditry or the thrill of danger and companionship with your gang. Anecdotal stories and from non-hostile raiders and working with local leaders talk about how loyalty varies between gangs and what objectives can drive them forward.
  • Dead Guy on Display: If you find intact and usually limbless corpses hanging from meat hooks and spikes and they're not chewed up and neatly arranged in bags, then you're probably walking through a raider outpost and not a super mutant's camp. Curiously, Moira Brown can be paid to decorate your Megaton house with the same kind of dead bodies and gore like you'd find in raider territory.
  • Depending on the Writer: Raiders in the West Coast games (1, 2, and New Vegas) are typically written as specific families of people that have their own vaguely "tribal" internal culture that drive their actions (e.g., the Vipers, Jackals, Scorpions, Fiends, White Legs, and Khans). In contrast, most Raiders in the East Coast games (3, 4, and 76) are typically written more as glorified criminals and highwaymen held together under the charisma of pseudo-mob bosses than anything else, being motivated primarily by either simple sadism or utter greed (though some East Coast Raider groups, like the Forged, are more ideological in nature).
  • Drugs Are Bad: Plenty of times you'll find evidence of raiders being heavy chem abusers with plenty of unused drugs scattered around their territory or on their person, if not outright stated by themselves that they're pretty high. The Fiends in New Vegas kick it into overdrive, all of them being so drugged out that they have almost no sense of self-preservation and are shells of their former selves. Their base of operations have non-hostile Fiends going through painful withdrawal and dead Fiends who overdosed themselves in their sleep.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Sometimes, you can find the memoirs of or even directly talk to a raider who admits that there are certain lines they aren't willing to cross and complain about how fucked up some their fellow raiders are, although this heavily leans on a person-by-person basis and doesn't always apply for every gang.
    • They also tend to inspire this in other factions, with pretty much everyone agreeing that raiders are absolute scum who need to be exterminated if any positive progress is going to be made. Notably, Caesar's Legion, a faction who practices slavery, Cold-Blooded Torture, genocide against "unworthy" tribes and communities, blatant sexism against women and Fantastic Racism against mutants in general, has a zero-tolerance policy for raiders and shows no mercy in driving them out their territory. If they're victorious in the Second Battle of Hoover Dam and begin to expand into the Mojave, they're disgusted by the Fiends despite their contribution in destroying the NCR, and swiftly kill them off.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The first Raiders were descended from civilian survivors of the Great War, who turned to banditry and murder in the aftermath. As revealed by Captain Maxson's journal in Fallout 1, this process took less than a week, with Raider precursors attacking the convoy leaving Mariposa.
  • Fallen Hero: Some Raiders were originally decent people or even heroes, but fell from grace thanks to the cruel realities of the Wasteland. Probably the most noteworthy example of this is the Libertalia Raiders in Fallout 4 who are primarily made of former Minutemen who turned to extortion in order to survive after the Fall of the Castle.
  • The Goomba: They're usually the weakest enemies you can find who have gear and weaponry, rushing headfirst into combat even after you've quickly outgrown them being any threat.
  • Hired Guns: A select handful of Raider gangs can wind up becoming mercenary groups, as seen with Talon Company and the Gunners. While more professional, organized, and inclined towards military hardware, the line between such mercs and their Raider counterparts can get very blurred.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Even in a world full of radiation-mutated monstrosities. Either way, Raiders tend to exist to provide a punchable human antagonist during a questline, rather than the Tragic and Non-Malicious Monster enemies that are just mutated animals trying to survive.
  • Laughably Evil: Sometimes. As ruthless and brutal as many Raiders are, they can be entertaining with their dark sense of humour, Suicidal Overconfidence and weak equipment barely held together by chewing gum and duct tape.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Raider gangs are just as inclined to rob and kill each other through gang wars just as they are to raid settlements.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Most Raiders would be more accurately referred to as "highwaymen," essentially ambushing people and fleecing them of their wealth/killing them for fun. However, this is averted in Fallout 4, where Raiders can actually be drawn to the Sole Survivor's settlements throughout the Commonwealth and will try to actually raid them for resources.
  • Post-Apunkalyptic Armor: Their main aesthetic, seeming to prefer wielded-together armors and hastily built outfits made from things like tires, leather, scrap metal, house appliances and whatever else they scavenge for in the wastes. These outfits are generally pretty poor for actual combat though, having low protection ratings across the board.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Standard raider operating behavior goes about like this, and sometimes not even in that order.
  • Starter Villain: Raiders tend to be the first non-wildlife enemies you run into in any game. Due to their poor coordination and tendency to fight among themselves, they are seldom the Big Bads of any given story.
  • Stripperiffic: Some of the female raider armor in 3 and New Vegas veers into this, showing off plenty of skin with hastily applied kitchen-mesh bras and nipple-tape. 4 deviates away from this, instead having more practical armor pieces that can be mixed and matched to better protect the body.
  • Tragic Villain: Many Raiders are Trapped in Villainy by the cruel realities of the Wasteland, and at times, it's hard not to pity them.
    Nameless Raider: Just shut up and die already, I've got kids to feed!
  • Trapped in Villainy: As highlighted by Nuka-World, many Raiders can start out with sympathetic goals motivated by their desperation to survive in the Wasteland, but can slowly find themselves getting trapped in the lifestyle of a Raider until they have essentially no real choice but to continue on.
  • Trash of the Titans: Wherever they start to squat in, it's almost never going to be clean, not even bothering clean up all the pre-war debris and plenty of food, alcohol, drugs, and weapons just left sitting around in piles. Not to mention all of the gore, bones and dead bodies left to rot around rooms.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Raiders and their named equivalents seem to escalate in threat levels as the games go on.
    • In 3, raiders are generally a non-threat once you reach a certain point and can blown away rather easily, mostly due to their poor weapons and armor they can't upgrade. The Pitt DLC, however, shows that they can be rallied to control an entire industrial complex in a unified effort for a single goal (and plenty of pay), kidnapping and brutalizing plenty of wastelanders to do their bidding as slave labor.
    • In New Vegas, the Fiends prove to be all-around better raiders than their predecessors, coming to battle with powerful energy weapons with the sheer force and drugged-out viciousness of hundreds to take over a chunk of the Mojave for themselves and push the NCR back to a defensive role, acting as a serious thorn for NCR forces already occupied fighting the Legion on other fronts. Even the Vipers and Jackal gangs, who have really fallen out of grace by the time of New Vegas, can threaten players with explosives and especially grenade launchers, making crossing their paths unprepared lead to a potentially explosive death.
    • In 4, raiders come with the hastily built yet versatile pipe weapons, making them come with anything from pistols, revolvers, machine guns and bolt-action rifles and generally prepared for most battles, even if their armor leaves a lot to be desired. More importantly though, they can now wear Powered Armor and wield weapons like the fat man and missile launcher to blow the player away. Their ranks have also improved, with a clear distinction from the pathetically weak standard raider who stand out in the open to the tougher raider survivalists and veterans, who come with the much more dangerous combat shotguns and rifles and the tactical sense to stick to cover. Similar to The Pitt, the Nuka-World DLC shows that raiders can be rallied as a domineering force comprised of multiple gangs, able to take over entire communities for themselves. If you so wish, you can even lead the Nuka-World raiders to take over the entire Commonwealth.
  • The Usual Adversaries: Bandits and raiders have been terrorizing the wasteland for centuries for their own selfish gain or sadistic tendencies. The Brotherhood, The Enclave, super mutant armies, The NCR, and the Legion come and go, but raiders will always be a persistent problem for both the player and civilized parts of the wasteland.
  • Villain by Default: Their primary purpose in the series is to serve as Mooks that everyone gets to beat up on (most notably the Player Characters) without pity or mercy because they're Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Villainous Legacy: Raiders that manage to survive for long enough tend to either become more like the Khans, reorganize into mercenary companies such as the Gunners, or turn into some of the more violent tribals marauding the fringes of civilization, as seen with the White Legs.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: As crazy and merciless as they can be, raiders still have enough sense in them to realize when they've picked on the wrong wanderer. Injure them to the brink of death and they might put their weapons away and flee for their lives, try to hide or beg for mercy. In 4, they'll become distraught and shout things like "No!" or "Don't you die on me!" if you kill their friends while fighting.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: A raider gang in particular can become the focus of quests as a distraction from the main story, usually with something that distinguishes them from the more generic gangs. The Fiends in New Vegas aren't necessarily required to be dealt with for the main story, but the NCR will be very pleased to see their chain of command decapitated, and Camp McCarran can suffer heavy casualties or be outright overwhelmed if their leaders are left alive. Meanwhile in 4, gangs like The Forged, Rust Devils, Disciples, The Pack, Operators, and plenty of unnamed gangs with named leaders terrorizing the Commonwealth are encountered outside the main storyline.
  • You Have Failed Me: Raider leaders tend to have nasty tempers and low tolerance for failure, executing their underlings for not living up to their standards or just because they're annoying them. Slag in 4 takes it up to ridiculous extremes, frequently feeding his men and sometimes their whole families into molten metal forges as an execution for coming back alive after unsuccessful raids or for questioning him, or in one case because one of his men refused to give himself a cooler name upon joining his gang.

Instead of any singular faction, "Tribals" refer to stateless societies that emerged across the wasteland, characterized by the absence of formal government, a distinct cultural identity, and self-sufficiency. Particularly by inhabitants from various organized states and communities, the term is used to describe someone as primitive, uncouth, and unsophisticated.

Whichever case, wasteland tribals are generally a connection of "families of families," where the family unit extends beyond blood relations and often encompasses the entire community. This results in much more close-knit communities than in other wasteland settlements, but also tends to make these tribes highly insular and wary of outsiders.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Tribals were notably featured in a significant capacity in Fallout 2 and the Honest Hearts DLC of New Vegas.
  • Abusive Precursors: Some tribals are descended from raider clans that had managed to survive out in the wasteland, with the likes of the 80s tribe in Utah still retaining those ignoble habits as part of their "tradition."
  • Apocalypse Anarchy: Tribals tend to be more prominent in regions where the breakdown of civilization was even more pronounced than other parts of the wasteland:
    • The Midwest, as shown in Tactics, is filled with raider clans and super mutants, while deadly robots lurk in the devastated ruins. Outside of some organized settlements, a good chunk of the population is comprised of tribal villagers, who the Midwestern Brotherhood heavily recruits from.
    • Point Lookout wasn't directly hit by the Great War but witnessed much greater societal collapse than in the Capital Wasteland. By the time the Lone Wanderer shows up, much of it is inhabited by tribals and mutated Swampfolk, the remainder being either foolhardy merchants, or wandering missionaries.
    • Much of the Southwest, prior to the events of New Vegas, was little more than a hodgepodge of tribes, with some frontier towns scattered in-between. At least, until Caesar's Legion brought Arizona and New Mexico to heel and Mr. House "rehabilitated" the tribals living around what became the New Vegas Strip.
  • Badass Native: Tribals in general are as close as it gets in the post-apocalyptic Fallout universe, being often indigenous-coded fierce warriors.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Zig-Zagged. A common stereotype in "civilized" parts of the wasteland is how tribals are overly spiritual ignoramuses who can be easily toyed around with. In practice, while some seem to embody that mindset, such as the Point Lookout tribals manipulated by Calvert to do his bidding, and has been exploited by Caesar to forge his Legion, this isn't universal. The devoutly Christian New Canaanites are shown to be as sharp and well-informed as anyone else, while the Followers of the Apocalypse include a number of tribals among their ranks, such as New Arroyo-born Emily Ortal in the Mojave.
  • Cannibal Clan: The bizarre and disturbing mini-tribe of Andale from Fallout 3; it consists of two families living in the somewhat intact ruins of the small town of Andale, who act and dress as if the Great War never happened, complete with a traditionally conservative American mindset. They're actually heavily inbred cannibals, descendants of the original survivors of Andale, who turned to preying on and eating other survivors when they ran out of food, and have been reproducing within their own insular community for 200 years.
  • Cargo Cult: Some place a particular reverence towards Pre-War artifacts, even if they have a dim (at best) understanding of them.
    • The Arroyo tribals in Fallout 2 notably treated the G.E.C.K. being sought after as though it were a sacred relic, with both the Elder and Hakunin describing it with practically divine reverence. That said, they still retain some understanding of literacy, basic engineering, and knowledge of the outside world thanks to the Vault Dweller’s teachings.
    • The cancelled Van Buren featured the Ciphers, tribals descended from surviving scientists and soldiers from Los Alamos, who passed their pre-War knowledge about technology to their children and grandchildren similarly to religious tradition. As a result, the Ciphers became wasteland tribals with a very out-of-place understanding about repairing and maintaining tech, even though they barely even used it themselves, nor understood why any of it worked, just how to make it work. Even their cave paintings are actually copies of schematics for various technology.
    • Downplayed with the Boomers in New Vegas. While still retaining the know-how and love for ordnance of their Vault 34 ancestors, and having a working knowledge of aircraft through Nellis Air Force Base's flight simulators, they have a profound fondness towards a sunken B-29 Superfortress at the bottom of Lake Mead which they call the "Lady in the Water."
  • Forbidden Zone: While reasons vary, certain tribes consider Pre-War ruins to be off-limits, viewing them as cursed in some manner. The Sorrows in particular fear such places due to how their "Father in the Caves" had punished them once for entering one of them. In actuality, they lost one of their own to a trap left behind by Randall Clark in one of his cave hideouts, which over time morphed into part of the Sorrows' belief system.
  • Future Imperfect: Many tribals' oral traditions have, over the centuries, distorted their origins as well as the Great War.
  • Future Primitive:
    • In stark contrast to other wastelanders, tribals are often stereotyped as brutal savages or at the very least, woefully backward simpletons. Some tribes consider Pre-War technology and structures taboo, preferring to live in isolated agrarian communities or as nomadic hunter-gatherers, though others retain elements of their more "civilized" ancestors.
    • A handful of tribal factions, however, stand out as exceptions by virtue of maintaining a social or technological foundation that lets them stay on par with "civilized" wastelanders, be it New Arroyo through use of the G.E.C.K. after the destruction of the Enclave's Oil Rig, the heavily-armed Boomers using Nellis Air Force Base and its gratuitous stockpile of munitions, or the New Canaanites retaining their Pre-War Mormon heritage and knack for gunsmithing.
  • Going Native: Many tribals have adapted various Native American-style motifs over the generations, down to their customs and clothing. They are, however, not based on any specific indigenous culture.
  • Had to Be Sharp: Tribals are known for their keen survival skills in order to live in the wilderness, especially with what resources they have.
  • Hidden Elf Village: They're mainly found in isolated corners of the wasteland or in regions where there's little-to-no semblance of organized authority. Tribals also tend to be disinterested in what goes on beyond their immediate vicinity, unless it's to raid or seek new pastures.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: The degenerate Swampfolk of Point Lookout, who come off as a post-apocalyptic version of Deliverance - twisted by generations of inbreeding, radiation and possibly something even more sinister and otherworldy, considering the heavy Lovecraftian mood over the area. The tribals they fight against aren’t much better, being comparatively sane yet zealous pawns exploited by Professor Calvert.
  • Home Field Advantage: Subverted. While they're attuned with the land and know how to use their surroundings to their advantage in combat, this doesn't always work against more organized or technologically advanced opponents.
  • Language Drift: Most tribals like the ones in Zion speak creoles based on their original founders' native tongues—the Dead Horse language, for example, is a mashup of English, German, and Navajo.
    Dead Horses Tribal: "A bil he neh fuhr jahd thli gai!note  Heh he!"
  • Lost Common Knowledge: Tribals tend to stick out like a sore thumb in organized settlements and more "civilized" regions due to their lack of familiarity with what other wastelanders take for granted. Follows-Chalk of the Dead Horses, for instance, is confused over bottlecaps as currency and can't grasp why the NCR and Legion are fighting over a "river dam."
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: The Point Lookout tribals are descended from counterculture survivors who came to cultivate punga fruit and worship Calvert, the latter using a holographic guise as the "Transcendental One" to manipulate them to do his bidding.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: The New Canaanites and the other Zion tribals in Honest Hearts, as pointed out by Joshua Graham, are more similar than appearances might suggest.
    Joshua Graham: We wear more clothing than them and understand more about technology, but we're still a tribe, a linked family of families. The Boneyard, Phoenix, New Vegas, they're just places, metal and stone. New Canaan dies, but the tribe lives on. When the walls come tumbling down, when you lose everything you have, you always have a family. And your family always has a tribe.
  • Out of Focus: Overall, tribals generally don't have that much of a presence on the East Coast as opposed to the West Coast. This is implied to be due to the East Coast being far more urbanized than the West Coast, resulting in more cultures having clear connections to the Old World and thus it being more difficult for them to become Future Primitives. There are still tribals and organizations with "tribal" influences, however, such as the Swampfolk, Point Lookout tribals, the Church of the Children of Atom, the Harbormen of Far Harbor and various Raider gangs (i.e. the Forged and Pack).
  • Post-Apunkalyptic Armor: Some tribes don variations of this, intermeshed with more primeval and naturalistic trappings.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The more war-like tribals such as the White Legs tend to operate like this, attacking other tribes or even small settlements for women, resources, or even land if they're trying to expand. This is especially prevalent among tribals descended from Raider bands.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Subverted. While tribals are generally capable of fending off interlopers with otherwise primitive weapons, they're no match against the likes of the Enclave or even Caesar's Legion. More often than not, however, this has as much to do with their relative unfamiliarity with certain ways of warfare as it does a lack of sophisticated technology.
    Caesar: This was new for the tribes, you see. They played at war, raiding each other, a little rape and pillage here, a little ransoming there. I showed them total warfare. Like I said, there's a lot you can learn from old books.
  • The Savage Indian: The likes of the White Legs play into the negative image of tribals as brutal savages to a tee, often raiding nearby settlements and rival tribals. They're usually descended from Raiders.
  • Schizo Tech: It's not unheard of for tribals to go into action with little than spears, clubs, and perhaps an old firearm, just as it for some of them to use pieces of Power Armor for protection or as badges of honor.
  • White Man's Burden: Deconstructed.
    • Both the New Canaanites and Followers of the Apocalypse are notably careful with how they approach tribals. Both know too well that even the best of intentions, such as simply observing or cataloging their cultures, could all too easily spiral into "civilizing" missions or the creation of something like Caesar's Legion if they go too far.
    • Others like the New California Republic, while generally tolerant of tribals, have less qualms about assimilating those living within or close to "civilized" regions for whatever reason. Whether it's "domesticating" those who revered President Tandi as "the Great Mother" or putting more antagonistic ones like the Khans in reservations for their own good. Compared to what the Legion does, this is seen as more preferable.
    Rose of Sharon "Cass" Cassidy: "You know, like one of the tribes from the East - we got 'em out West, too. NCR's herding 'em up, though, domesticating them."


Archetypical little green men with ray guns and flying saucers, they've apparently been monitoring the Earth for centuries, abducting us and studying us for unknown reasons. Aliens and/or their technology feature repeatedly in the series as Easter Eggs.

  • A Day in the Limelight: They're the focus of the Fallout 3 DLC Mothership Zeta.
  • Alien Abduction: They've been doing it since the 1600s, and it happens to you in Mothership Zeta, leading to Alien Abductees Fight Back.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The recordings one can find of them interrogating their captives in Mothership Zeta has them beating the captives with shock batons to prompt them to do what they want, but even when a subject is cooperating peacefully, they still tend to get hit. They also experimented on human test subjects in unspeakably horrific ways, and are implied to have set off the Great War.
  • Area 51: The ship in the first Fallout game has text on it implying it came from the infamous military base. There's been various plans to include Area 51 in the series, but it hasn't actually happened yet.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Zetans are usually Lethal Joke Characters on their own, but The Flatwoods Monster in 76 is played almost completely seriously as a terrifying and dangerous cryptid.
  • Deflector Shields: In Fallout 3's Mothership Zeta, higher-level aliens are equipped with inertia suppression fields which significantly increase their durability, often providing significantly more protection than Powered Armor. Max level aliens can withstand comparable amounts of damage as Feral Ghoul Reavers and Super Mutant Overlords.
  • Easter Egg: Finding a downed craft of theirs, possibly with a survivor or a weapon, is a recurring feature in the series.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: It's implied the Enclave has studied their technology to develop some of their breakthroughs, possibly even going back before the Great War.
  • The Flatwoods Monster: In 76, Flatwoods Monsters show up as Zetans tasked with abducting test subjects for experimentation, which is made all the more easy by their ability to teleport, even though it's pretty Flashy Teleportation. Controlling humans telepathically probably helps mitigate that. Colton Pickins is ostensibly one of their victims. They glow purple like the Frametown Monster and as per the Frametown interpretation of the Flatwoods Monster are aliens in suits.
  • Flying Saucer: Their typical craft designs are the classic flying disc with a thickened core.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: A recording in Fallout 3 has them mind-probing a US military officer for the launch codes for ICBMs, implying it might have been the aliens who started the Great War.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Alien Blaster tends to be one of the most powerful weapons in any Fallout game where it appears.
  • Inscrutable Aliens: They speak in unintelligible alien babbling and either can't or don't have any interest in making us understand them. A recording in Mothership Zeta includes a linguist who was attempting to try and figure out a way to communicate, and they just kept whacking her with their batons.
  • Insufficiently Advanced Alien: Their ships crash all the time, the aliens are pretty fragile beings on their own, and their technology, while daunting at first, is not so beyond human comprehension that it can't be operated and even modified with a little ingenuity. A handful of humans in Mothership Zeta, one of which is a child, are able to take over an entire ship and gun down dozens of aliens in the process.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare: They seem to have a fascination with Giddyup Buttercup. A room aboard the Zeta craft is full of replicas of the toy, and they get excited when Sally recognizes one in her recording.
  • Little Green Men: A shining example in modern media — they're shorter than humans, have green skin, and fly around in saucer-shaped spacecraft abducting humans.
  • Took a Level in Badass: They're typically Glass Cannons in all of their appearances, but The Flatwoods Monster in 76 is a surprisingly deadly combatant along with being treated in a far more serious light than prior Zetans.