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Characters / Fallout: New Vegas - The Courier

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Voiced by: Yuri Lowenthal (male), Laura Bailey (female) (grunts only)

"It appears that you are both the messenger and the message."
Legate Lanius

The Courier was just a regular schmuck working for the Mojave Express. During a particularly strange delivery job, they're ambushed on the road. The ringleader of your muggers, a man named Benny wearing a distinctive checker-coated suit, steals their package (a or rather, THE Platinum Chip), puts two 9mm bullets into their skull, and has them buried in a shallow grave just outside of town.

By all accounts, they should be dead. But they aren't.

The story is driven mainly by the Courier's attempts to understand the meaning behind the attack, the significance of the Platinum Chip, and getting said Chip back to finish the job. Ultimately, the Courier gets to decide the future of the entire Mojave Wasteland and beyond.

  • The Ace: It's very possible for them to become this, being tough enough to take a whole platoon by yourself while outsmarting everyone in the wasteland, whether it's with scientific knowledge and practical abilities or better plans and people skills.
    • The Courier is also canonically the most experienced of the protagonists, having been a wasteland traveler for years before the event of the game. All other protagonists (barring those from the spin-offs) only enter the wasteland proper at the start of their prospective game.
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  • Action Hero: Get a duster and a hat, load up with revolvers, lever-action rifles and the appropriate perks, you become a gunslinging cowboy. Take tons of drugs, grab an assault carbine or light machine gun and be Rambo. Get a combat armor, a silenced pistol and turn into Solid Snake. Take resistance perks, drop all armor, seize a giant sword, and become Conan the Barbarian. The possibilities are endless.
  • Action Survivor: After surviving two shots to the head, you proceed to become one of the most dangerous and influential individuals in the entire Mojave Wasteland. And you were tough before that, considering how dangerous the wasteland is.
  • Affably Evil: Nothing is stopping a very evil Courier from picking polite options in conversation.
  • Almighty Janitor: While someone who delivers packages across the Mojave Wasteland is obviously gonna be fairly tough, you are still essentially a mailman who can wipe out hordes of enemies by yourself, master various skills, and even be the deciding factor in who conquers the Mojave (or even conquer it for yourself). Don’t piss off the mailman.
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  • Amnesiac Hero: Due to the wealth of questions about the NCR, Caesar's Legion, and a whole host of other things, fans speculated that the two bullets the Courier took to the head scrambled their memory. JE Sawyer eventually came out and said that the Courier isn't an amnesiac and that all the questions are for the player's benefit. Indeed, from studying the wording of the questions, it is evident that the Courier is familiar with the different organisations, and is actually asking the people they meet about their opinions on them.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Regardless of the ending you get, it is made clear that the Courier's romps through the Wasteland are far from over. It's even an option in the NCR ending dialogue. Note that the adventure doesn't actually continue; game's over once you hit the ending. This wasn't the original plan. Old World Blues says that the Courier eventually settled down in Big MT to watch it over after all their travels. Well, for a given value of settled down.
  • Anti-Hero: Assuming you aren’t outright evil or going out of your way to be a hero, most of the time you will fall somewhere along this spectrum depending on your choices.
  • Anything That Moves: Men. Women. Robots. Ghouls. Yeah, it's an option. With the appropriate Perks, you can even hit on your own disembodied brain. It's appropriately horrified, despite being your brain in the first place.
    • Perhaps the most explicit and strange of the Courier's trysts is performing what is, essentially, a biological strip-tease for a Brain in a Jar (not your own this time) that causes a robotic Immodest Orgasm.
  • Assassin Outclassin': You'll end up doing many of these if you get on the wrong side of the NCR or Ceasar's Legion as you trounce the hit squads they send to deal with you.
  • The Atoner: You can convince Ulysses that they can make up for what happened to the Divide by turning the Mojave into the potential New World "nation" that the Divide was working towards. This is worth an extra point if you create an independent New Vegas, free of the control of any other major powers and making true on the promise.
  • Asleep for Days: Eight days, specifically. The Courier's "death" happens on October 11th, 2281. They regain consciousness on October 19th.
  • Badass Boast: The Terrifying Presence perk gives you the option of opening hostilities by calmly informing enemies of exactly what you're about to do to their guts.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The Courier can find formal attire and pre-war business suits.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • The Courier duster, worn during the last slides of the Lonesome Road ending. It's got a different emblem on the back depending on which path you chose.
    • The box art of Lonesome Road depicts a different duster design.note 
    • Not to mention the many variations of Ranger armor available.
  • Badass Normal: At first, the Courier is just an ordinary wasteland survivor... who takes two bullets to the head, and all it does is give them a nap. (and some brain damage.)
  • Badass Pacifist: If you go for the Pacifist Run.
  • Badass Transplant: In Old World Blues, the Courier has their brain, heart and spine removed by the Think Tank, which are then replaced by artificial ones. These grant them increased resistance to addiction, increased efficiency from healing items, increased damage threshold (DT), total immunity to poison, and making your head and torso impossible to cripple. The Courier can keep any or all of them at the end of the DLC; taking back the original parts grants a different set of perks, and leaving your newly-independent Brain in a Jar behind in Big MT even adds a few unique slides for it in the DLC's ending reel.
    • Many popular game mods, such as the famous Project Nevada, expand on this with additionalnote  implants, limits on how many implants the player can install, and ways to expand those limits.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: There's nothing stopping a kind-hearted and morally good Courier from taking the Terrifying Presence perk and utterly scaring the shit out of anyone who messes with them.
    • And even if you don’t take Terrifying Presence, a very good karma Courier who talks their way out of every fight and goes out of their way to help everyone they meet is still likely to be carrying enough firepower to level a small town by the end of the game.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Aside from the range of eccentric actions the game allows you to make on your own time, the Courier can make some amusingly out-of-touch with reality remarks while being as ruthless and powerful as in any playthrough.
  • Big Bad: An evil-karma Wild Card Courier lies to, manipulates, and betrays the denizens of the Mojave to rise to the top and set themselves up as the new Ruler of Vegas with an army of near invincible killer robots at their command.
  • Big Good: A good-karma Wild Card Courier sets the Mojave up as a free and powerful nation without the tyranny of the Legion, the NCR, or House, and can maintain a minimum level of senseless violence if they made the right choices.
  • Blind With Out Em: Any Courier with the Four Eyes trait, which gives +1 Perception while wearing glasses but -1 without them. Annoyingly, you have to take off your glasses to wear a power armor helmet.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    • The Courier can invert this when dealing with Benny and Jessup, since they'll freak out when seeing you, even if you aren’t chasing them down for shooting you, and ran into them by accident.
    • You can also play it straight in Lonesome Road, by telling Ulysses that the delivery of the package that destroyed the Divide was just like any others. Played even more straight as until Ulysses reveals what happened there, the Courier genuinely had no clue what destroyed the Divide.
  • Came Back Strong: Before Goodsprings, you were just an unknown courier making their way in the world - a tough cookie by any account, but nothing remarkable. Afterwards, you become a One-Man Army who takes the fate of the entire region in your hands, carving, sneaking and/or talking your way through anything and everything between you and your goal, whatever it may be.
    "Look at that. Maybe them bullets done your brain some good."
  • Card-Carrying Villain: You can be one if you wish.
    Arcade: (after you tell the Enclave remnants to support the Legion) What are you thinking? Do you want to see Vegas turned into the new slave capital of the west?
    Courier: Actually, yes, I would like to see New Vegas turned into a slavery hub.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Have a high enough unarmed skill, and your bare hands can literally punch limbs off or even reduce low-level enemies to chunks of meat.
  • The Charmer: With the right stats and perks, you can use your natural charm and magnetism to sway people your way.
  • The Chessmaster: The Courier, especially if they're pursuing the Wild Card route, has the ability to play the various factions of the wasteland in order to come out on top, either by getting rid of strong enemies by turning them against each other, sabotaging their operations, or charming them to get them on their side.
  • Chick Magnet: A male Courier who apart from Cass having the hots for them, can also earn the affections of Sarah Weintraub and Red Lucy. With the Lady Killer perk they can also add more. All in all they can have Lady Jane, Light Switch 02, Dr. Dala, the Stealth Suit Mark II, Jonna, Dazzle, Sweetie, random girls at Gomorrah, old lady Gibson, and can mention a encounter in Montana that may have led to a kid. They also have Ship Tease with Christine in ‘’Dead Money’’ regardless of gender. They can also use this to their advantage by making Janet fall in love with Jack. There are also other sexual encounters, if you’re willing to pay for them.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Depending on player choice, the Courier can side with numerous characters, factions and settlements, only to betray and harm them, or completely wipe them out. The Wild Card route optionally encourages you to do this by siding with one of the three main factions {NCR, The Legion and Mr. House, though Yes Man encourages pretending to side with House}, use them to further your own goals and then betray said faction at the last minute to take over Vegas for yourself.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The Wild Wasteland trait makes you see things quite a bit... differently. Even if you don't have it, they can still can come up with quite a few outlandish trains of thought. (Particularly after failed speech-checks.)
    Veronica: Do you know anything about the Brotherhood of Steel?
    The Courier: I've heard they shoot lasers from their eyes!note 
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: To the Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3.
    • The Lone Wanderer was 19 when they left the Vault and as such had no knowledge of the world since they lived their entire life in the Vault; the Courier's age is unknown but it's hinted you're in your 30s at least,note  you were born in the wasteland (though to be fair so was the Lone Wanderer) and are a seasoned explorer.
    • The Lone Wanderer had Three Dog center newscasts around them and gives them their moniker as a way to identify them; the Courier is never mentioned by name by Mr. New Vegas, who only refers to you as "a civilian contractor" and other anonymous synonyms.
    • The Lone Wanderer travelled the wasteland searching for their father, the one who gave them life; the Courier travels the wasteland looking for their would-be murderer. Likewise, Fallout 3 starts with the Lone Wanderer's birth while Fallout New Vegas starts with the Courier's "death".
    • The Lone Wanderer's early life is detailed in several sequences through the years; save for Ulysses and other optional dialogue, the Courier has a Mysterious Past (or a Multiple-Choice Past, if you prefer)
  • Courier: Wow, who could have guessed?
  • Combat Pragmatist: Aside from the usual Fallout tacticsnote  of sniping, Stealth Boys, immolation, gratuitous high explosives, and sending your companions to fight for you, The Courier has many new and inventive options to choose from, including (but not limited to) crafting many different types of poison and applying them to their weapons, tossing sand into their opponent's eyes, and hijacking an orbital death ray to call down solar-powered annihilation upon their enemies.
  • The Conscience: Serves as this for Joshua Graham, whom they can convince to back down from the warpath at some points during their time together.
  • Consummate Liar: A Courier with high Speech can bluff their way into many victories.
  • Cultured Badass: During Silus' interrogation, a Courier with high-intelligence can reveal not only a familiarity with Latin, but prove to be knowledgeable enough to be able to quote Virgil and Cicero.
  • Curiosity Is A Crap Shoot: Aside from all the times the player would enter a cave or door only to immediately regret it when they see whatever's on the other side, This is ultimately what leads to the events of Dead Money, Old World Blues, and Lonesome Road. Ulysses calls you out for this in the latter, though the validity of his accusations is up for debate.
  • Cursed with Awesome: In Old World Blues, you get your brain, heart, and spine surgically removed by Dr. Dala. However, in response you get replacements that work even better.
    • You can even remove the "Cursed" part by getting your original Brain, Heart and Spine back, but with some advanced tech remaining with them, and while some of the bonuses are reduced, some bonuses are actually increased. For example, the artificial spine gives the courier +1 strength and immunity to torso crippling, but with the real spine restored, that torso crippling immunity is toned back, but you actually get double the strength of the artificial spine.
  • Cyborg: Becomes one in Old World Blues. To a lesser extent, can be upgraded with implants at the New Vegas Medical Clinic. In addition, some perks seem to be cybernetic implants... that the Courier somehow installs on themselves during level up, apparently.
  • Darkhorse Victory: In the Wild Card path, the Courier gives the finger to House, the NCR and the Legion. And wins.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When told that they should be dead by someone who witnessed them get shot in the head, the Courier can reply, "I'm a ghost. Ooooooooh!"
  • Determinator: Gets shot in the head at point-blank range and buried alive in a shallow grave. Nine days later, one very annoyed Courier wakes up and decides to track the shooter across the entire Mojave Desert. When you meet him, Caesar says this trope is why he took notice of you: when you want to do something, you get it done.
  • Disability Superpower: While normally taking two bullets to the brain is bad, it comes around to benefit the Courier come Old World Blues. As the scarring on their brain is in just the right spot for Big MT's first successful brain removal and sparing them becoming a Lobotomite.
  • Disappeared Dad: A male Courier with the Lady Killer perk. Or at least he thinks that he might be. When meeting the Lonesome Drifter and learning that he's both from Montana and never knew his father, you have the option to ask, rather nervously, if he's 17 years old. Much to the Courier's relief, he's not, but that doesn't mean there's not still a Courier Jr. kicking around in Montana somewhere.
  • The Ditz: If played with a low intelligence stat, anyway.
  • The Drifter: The Courier is quite a veteran of the trail, having traveled all over California and parts of Nevada, even having, if some optional dialogue is to be believed, made some detours to Utah, Arizona, and Montana.
  • Doom Magnet: Ulysses sees the Courier as a kind of harbinger of mayhem, destruction, and change wherever they go. He's not exactly wrong.
  • Double Tap: The Courier was on the receiving end of a double tap, courtesy of Benny. Miraculously, they survived even after being Buried Alive, though not without some serious brain and facial reconstruction surgery from Doc Mitchell.
  • The Dragon: You can be this to Mr. House or Caesar, if you so wish.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: If you are in the service of Mr. House, you'll be going around doing all the work for him. And you can design your character to be as intelligent and lucky as he is. If you help him gain control of New Vegas with an evil character, during the ending the narrator will reveal that the only reason why he's keeping you around is because he's terrified of your retaliation, should he cross you.
  • The Dreaded: The Courier is this to their enemies.
    • The Powder Gangers even refer to the Courier as "The Grim Fucking Reaper".
    • Even your allies can be terrified of the Courier, should you take certain "old-fashioned" ways of completing quests. Like freeing slaves by murdering every single other person in the compound. Or, apropos of little, announcing that you killed a person with an undertone of daring your audience to do something about it (they won't).
    • An evil Courier working for Mr. House manages to terrify their own boss, to the point that the only reason he lets you keep working for him is because he knows he doesn't stand a chance against you and really doesn't want to piss you off.
    • After the boss fight at the end of the Lonesome Road DLC. The narration says The Tunnelers and The Marked Men let you travel back to The Mojave without a fight partially because of this trope.
  • Dumb Muscle: It's perfectly possible to play the Courier with very high Strength/Endurance but low Intelligence. Your character can reduce the likes of Deathclaws into bloody bits but may sometimes communicate in Hulk Speak and the reduced skill points per level will make it harder for your character to be proficient in science, medicine and other fields of expertise.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: In Old World Blues most of the Courier's vital organs are extracted and replaced with advanced cybernetics, granting you resistance to damage, chems and super human strength. Even before then, you can become more than human with the use of implants and power armor.
    • Not to mention the fact that if you take the perks literally, by the end of the game the Courier can absorb strength from sunlight a la Superman ("Solar Powered"), lace their bones with metal ("Adamantium Skeleton"), regenerate damage while irradiated ("Rad Child"), and inexplicably repair equipment with non-matching parts ("Jury Rigging").
  • Even Evil Has Standards: An Evil Courier can still vehemently oppose the Legion and condemn the vilest of the various atrocities they see in their trips around the Mojave.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": See also "Hello Insert Name Here." While you can name them whatever you wish, the name prompt defaults to "Courier" if you don't change it.
  • Evil Overlord: An evil-karma Courier who takes the Wild Card path sets themselves up as a fearsome tyrant backed by a Mecha-Mook army.
  • Evil Versus Evil: When an Evil Courier decides to go up against The Legion, especially if you're doing the Wild Card route.
  • Eviler Than Thou: An evil karma courier doing a Wild Card run can be seen as this to the Legion. Though an evil karma courier can kill the Fiends, this ends up being subverted as killing the Fiends racks up a lot of good karma and can therefore turn an evil karma courier into a good or neutral karma one.
  • Face–Heel Revolving Door: You're free to swing your Karma Meter whichever way you like. One of the top-level perks in Lonesome Road (a set of three) is awarded based on your karma. If you're very good or very evil, you can take it for a significant combat bonus while resetting your karma. The bonus varies depending on the extreme.
  • Faux Affably Evil: It's very possible to pick the most polite dialogue options and seemingly do a favor for someone, only to screw them over for your own personal gain in the end. In some quests, you can kill/destroy who or what you were asked to save, only to deceive the quest givers by framing it as a harsh truth you're dealing, or blame someone else.
  • Female Misogynist: A female Courier can help Caesar's Legion take over the Mojave and condemn all its women to slavery.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: A female courier has a lot of very good reasons to hate Benny and want to watch him die. That does not prevent her from potentially sleeping with him. Even he is initially freaked out by this.
  • The Fool: It is fully possible to play the game doing things that don't make any sense at all and still somehow manage to do far better than you would have otherwise, especially with a high enough luck stat. Raul clearly believes this of you.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Played straight, subverted or averted depending on the playthrough. Evil characters with the Four Eyes trait, certainly apply. Neutral or Good karma? Generally averted. Good players with a Legion alignment are a brilliant subversion.
  • Friend to All Living Things: You can come quite close. Between having a high charisma, high speech and the Animal Friend perk, you can get through much of the game quite peacefully if you're careful.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • You start off as just a package courier and by game's end you could be monarch of New Vegas, or have decimated the Legion, the NCR, a half-dozen small communities, or all of the above. Alternatively, just ask Benny.
    • Or ask Ulysses, who watches as the Courier unknowingly damns the community of the Divide they helped create from a potential godsend for the wasteland to a literal Hell on Earth.
    • The game starts with you being killed, just because of something you were carrying. The very idea that you could actually still be alive is ludicrous, and yet later on you can be the one making Benny kneel, pointing his own gun (the one that 'killed' you) at him. There may never be a more karmic reward for shooting the messenger.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: With the "Jury Rigging" perk, they can somehow repair Super Sledges with a pool cue, a ripper with a combat knife, or a Power Fist with a regular glove. It's even pointed out in the perk description:
    "You possess the amazing ability to repair any item using a roughly similar item. Fix a trail carbine with a hunting rifle, a Plasma Defender with a laser pistol, or even power armor with metal armor. How does it work? Nobody knows... except you."
  • Genius Bruiser: With high Strength/Endurance and Intelligence.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • If you somehow manage to put in points in Science/Medicine while being an Idiot Hero.
    • With the Luck statistic being deconstructed in NV, a Courier with high luck and low intelligence is a Genius Ditz as well. They're essentially a master at calculating odds and variables, and pushing events to their favor, while being dim when it comes to everything else.
    • At one point, you can act perform brain surgery. This takes either a lot of skill in Medicine, or a high Luck stat. With the latter, you can admit that you had absolutely no idea what you were doing, but succeeded anyway.
    • If you're one of those people who feels the need to exhaust every dialog option (indicated by the option 'graying out', though still selectable), you'll end up asking a lot of questions to the same people repeatedly. A small number of NPCs will even take note of this.
      Raul: That's what I love about you, boss, your firm belief that one day you'll actually remember things people tell you.
  • Gentleman Thief: High Charisma, Speech, Sneak, Lockpicking, and sticky fingers.
  • Going Postal: The whole plot gets started with the Courier having a really bad day at work.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Should you so choose. It's possible to have the highest good karma rating and still be one of the rudest people in the Mojave Wasteland.
  • Good Is Not Soft: You can have the karma of a saint, and still never fail to cap anyone who threatens the freedom and safety of the Mojave.
  • Guile Hero: In most scenarios, when there's a conflict, a Courier with high Luck/Charisma/Intelligence has an option to use charm, wit and trickery rather than weapons and hard work, whether it's wiping out a large group of people using the environment, purposefully botch a job to kill or impair their enemies, getting someone else to fight for them, or figuring out a way to solve a problem quickly and/or efficiently.
  • Handicapped Badass: In Hardcore mode if you get crippled limbs and choose to limp and fight your way back to town instead of fast travelling to have you healed.
  • Had to Be Sharp: While this technically applies to everyone in the Fallout universe, the Courier's chosen profession literally involves walking through the hostile wastelands, often completely by themselves.
    Cass: Caravan code of the wastes is you don't fuck with the one who brings you your mail, and you don't fuck with your supply line.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Played with; regardless of the name you pick you're almost invariably referred to as "The Courier" or "Courier Six". Your chosen name will sometimes appear in written dialogue, but never in the verbal dialogue. Alas the limitations of pre-recorded voice acting.
  • Heroic Seductress: Both genders can be this trope. With high enough Speech, Charisma, and/or proper perks (Lady Killer, Black Widow, Confirmed Bachelor and/or Cherchez La Femme), you can resolve a lot of conflicts with flirtation or flat out sex.
  • Hidden Depths: A courier with high intelligence can show some knowledge of Latin and speak full sentences in it, enough to fool a Legion's centurion.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: To the NCR, who are completely hopeless without your assistance. Also to Mr. House, though only to the extent that he physically cannot enact his plans without outside help, and it's not like House himself is a pushover. Averted for the other two factions: Caesar doesn't really need the Courier and mostly just has them around as a bonus, while Yes Man is this trope to you.
  • I Am Who?: The DLCs hint towards the Courier being more special than they appear to be, given that they appear to have a relationship with Ulysses. Finally revealed, as the Courier was the specific one that Ulysses watched over as they helped the settlement at the Divide. Until the destruction of the Divide that killed everyone except Ulysses.
  • Iconic Outfit: Two, both from Lonesome Road; First is the Elite Riot Gear, arguably the best medium armor set in the game, and in which they are frequently depicted in fanart. The second is the original concept art version of the Courier Duster, as seen in the cover art for Lonesome Road, and restored in-game through mods.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Cannibal perk allows you to feed on human corpses. Eat enough of them and you'll unlock the option to cut off some "Human Remains" to take with you as a food item for later. This can be taken to Extreme Omnivore levels with the Ghastly Scavenger perk (which requires Cannibal), which allows you to feed on Super Mutant and feral ghoul corpses. Feeding a corpse or eating Human Remains causes you to take a karma hit (yes, even the feral ghoul that just gave you positive karma for killing it), and NPCs who witness the act will be horrified by your "crime against nature" and turn hostile.
    • For those without the perk(s), there's always Strange Meat, which is all but stated to be human flesh that less morally-sound individuals sell to other people without telling them what it is. Also, there is a clearly marked "Human Flesh" food item sometimes dropped by feral ghouls, which is different from the aforementioned Human Remains and can be eaten without losing Karma or turning witnesses hostile.
  • Implacable Wo/man: You trudge across half the Mojave Wasteland to find the man who shot you. Even Caesar applauds your tenacity.
  • Instant Waking Skills: The Courier is never at a disadvantage right after sleeping, even if said sleep is interrupted by a friendly NPC. (or a hit squad)
  • Irony: According to Ulysses, the Courier helped build the community in the Divide by carrying supplies to and from there. It was one of these deliveries that caused the Divide's destruction.
  • Jerkass: Most of the lower dialogue choices just drop off sarcasm and downright rude or insulting to who you talk to. The Terrifying Presence perk combines this with The Dreaded.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: If you're still good karma and selective on who will you treat like jerk and who will you treat nicely.
  • Karma Houdini:
  • Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge:
    • The good karma ending of Old World Blues states that the Courier went on to serve as protector of Big MT for many years, releasing beneficial technology to aid in the development of the Mojave, on an as-needed basis.
    • Also should the Courier decide to not inform the NCR about the Archimedes II and instead chose to rewire the Helios One power-plant to provide free electricity for the entire Mojave Desert. An agent from the Followers of the Apocalypse is also there and seeks you help in hiding the destructive potential of the plant from the NCR and the Legion.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: A Evil Courier who still ends up screwing over or outright destroying some of the nastier factions {Such as the Legion, Powder Gangers, Fiends and Omertas} is basically doing this.
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: The Wild Card ending has the Courier create an independent New Vegas for this reason, believing that people of the Mojave deserve to control their own destiny rather than be ruled by another. No Gods, No Masters.
  • Lightning Bruiser: If you have high Strength, high Endurance, high Agility, and take the Travel Light perk (which allows the Courier to move 10% faster while wearing light armor or no armor whatsoever), you can invoke this.
  • Literal-Minded: If playing with low intelligence, the Courier's social intelligence is just as bad, and some of the dialogue options change accordingly, much to the annoyance of some of the people you meet.
  • Made of Iron:
    • You survived being shot in the head twice and then being buried.
    • Also, with an implant, two level perks, and two DLC perks, you can have a naked DT of 13.2, which is higher than most light armor.
  • Magnificent Bastard: An invoked play style. High Intelligence and Speech-based Couriers, as well as those who take the Independent path, can manipulate just about everyone they come across without even trying.
  • Master Actor: In Old World Blues, the Courier can impersonate DR. MOBIUS himself in order to intimidate the Think Tank into backing down, provided you have the necessary skills to pull it off.
  • Master of Disguise: If you can procure yourself the clothes of a faction, you'll appear as one of them to anyone who sees you, which allows you to walk past enemies without them opening fires.
  • Memetic Badass: In-Universe. After a while, you have to simply mention you're "The Courier" for the enemy to get nervous.
    • The first time players will probably notice this is the reaction of Boxcars, who's one of two survivors of the Legion's razing of Nipton. Boxcar has survived the Legion having decapitated a quarter of the town, crucifying the rest, and as he came second in their lottery, they left him alive but crippled. But even all that doesn't scare him as much as seeing the Courier walk in.
      Boxcars: Are you fucking kidding me? First I get my legs smashed, and then in walks the Powder Gangers' Grim Fucking Reaper. What the fuck have you got against us, man?!
    • The end of Lonesome Road counts, too. When you walked in, the locals— mutated soldiers and horrifying freaks of nature— harassed you to no end. When you walk back out, they keep their distance out of either respect or fear.
    • This is the whole reason the Courier is courted by Caesar and the NCR shortly after arriving on the strip: after hunting your would-be killer across the desert and waltzing into the Lucky 38 like you owned the place, they want you on their side. Caesar in particular is especially impressed if you kill Benny and House before meeting him.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: In Lonesome Road, it turns out that by delivering a certain package from Navarro to the Divide, the Courier inadvertently activated the ICBMs hidden underground, destroying the thriving settlement there, and instilling Ulysses with some twisted ideas about how a single person could determine the fate of a nation. Honest Hearts revealed that this had another big effect: the nuking killed large numbers of both NCR and Legion soldiers, but turned out massively beneficial for the Legion, both because the NCR troops were worth proportionally more and because the incident crippled the NCR expeditionary force's supply lines right as they were about to capitalize on a major victory.
    Joshua Graham: I can say that we were both lucky that NCR's supply lines and land routes north of Mojave Outpost were destroyed before the Battle of Hoover Dam. Something bad happened near Death Valley, at a place called the Divide. NCR couldn't cut across anymore and it slowed down their reinforcements. Terrible storms ripped entire companies apart before they even got to Nevada soil. The aftermath of Hoover Dam could have been far worse for Caesar.
  • Mildly Military: If you side with the NCR. You do numerous missions for them, some of which include slaughtering entire armies, but you're still officially considered a civilian (Mr. New Vegas' broadcasts refer to you as a "civilian contractor"). They also put you in charge of NCR forces at several points in the game and give you some high level NCR armor (and a beret that designates the owner as an officer) and weapons. Additionally, a high NCR rep lets you boss around several NCR officers. Examples:
    • If you get "Accepted" reputation with the NCR, you can acquire an emergency radio that lets you call in a Ranger or a Trooper to help you fight whenever you want. Said Ranger/Trooper will be under your command and follow you around and heal after fights, just like a companion.
    • The final section of "Restoring Hope" involves you commanding an NCR squad (usually about four troopers, not including an extra one you may have called with the radio) and leading them in the attack on Nelson. They'll follow you on path you choose: frontal assault or ambush through the mountains.
    • A squad of six Veteran Rangers are explicitly placed under your command in the final battle. You can get them to snipe, follow you, or just kill all the enemies in the area for you.
    • In "Three Card Bounty", you can have First Recon follow you and kill one of the bounties, one Driver Nephi.note 
    • With a high enough NCR rep, you can simply demand additional troopers as part of the "No, Not Much" quest instead of doing favors for the commanders of the bases you visit.
  • Morality Pet: The Courier could qualify as this for House, particularly if they end the game with high karma.
    "Mr. House afforded [the Courier] every luxury at his disposal in the Lucky 38 out of gratitude and a quiet sense of pride for his choice in lieutenants."
  • Mouth of Sauron: Should you decide to side with Mr. House, you'll step into this role for him, acting as his emissary in any matters that require a face-to-face presence.
  • Mr. Vice Guy / Ms. Vice Girl: The Courier can be played like this; frequently using addictive chems, always being drunk, having lots of flings (including soliciting prostitutes), constantly gambling and talking people into giving them a bigger reward, while having high Karma and/or picking polite dialogue options.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Between the Melee and Unarmed skills, if it stabs, slices, or smashes, you can use it.
  • Multi-Ranged Master: Practically required for Couriers who focus on Guns or Energy Weapons, since they'll be using scrounged weapons and ammo for at least a little while and have to switch between whatever happens to be in the best condition at the moment. Later, when resources become less scarce, it's still a good idea to carry (at least) a scoped rifle for long-ranged combat in the wastes, a SMG or shotgun for short- to medium-ranged combat, and a (preferably silenced) pistol that can be smuggled into any of several areas that check you for weapons upon entry.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The player can choose a number of details regarding their past, such as their age, their relationship with their mother, and their familiarity with the Brotherhood.
  • Mysterious Past: Much of the Courier's history is left up in the air in the main game. You're mostly a blank slate, in sharp contrast to the three main series Fallout games where your past is known and relatively benign. However, some dialogues and stat checks imply a few things, namely :
    • A male Courier can infer he slept with at least one woman in Montana in 2263.
    • The Courier has been to New Reno and Utah before, where they learned the language of the Zion tribals, as well as bits of Spanish. Ulysses also implies that they went to several other NCR cities like Vault City.
    • Dialogue with Boone indicates a knowledge about military topics such as sniper teams.
    • A high Intelligence Courier knows Latin and shows advanced knowledge of computers, implying an educated background.
    • Some optional dialogue with Veronica can even imply the Courier doesn't know where they were born.
    • The DLCs then subvert this, especially Lonesome Road. Exhaust all the dialogue options you can with people, because it turns out you've been shaping the fate of the Mojave for a long time even before the game began and you were hired by House. You just never realized how big an impact you were making.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: The Courier takes on many, many jobs throughout his romps throughout the wasteland, including bounty hunter, mercenary, repairman, psychologist, doctor, drill instructor, assassin, chef, hunter, computer programmer, and of course, Courier.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nice job single-handedly destroying the Mojave's greatest, most promising civilization and turning it into an irradiated, stormy hellhole, Courier. In all fairness, the storms are the result of something else, and the Courier could not have known what was about to take place. Also, one has to wonder how much of this is Ulysses simply glorifying that which he lost.
    • Though it's undeniable that, by unwittingly destroying Hopeville and Ashton, the NCR's supply chain into the Mojave was drastically slowed down, allowing the Legion to maintain a toehold in the region after being routed at the First Battle of Hoover Dam. So, in a roundabout way, they are responsible for the entirety of the game's conflict. Way to go!
  • Nominal Hero: An Evil or Neutral Karma Courier who goes for the House or NCR endings will end up as this.
  • Odd Friendship: The Courier's companions are weird.
    • In the main game: A flying robot created by a fascist, pre-war paramilitary organization that flew to the Mojave from the Potomac; a suicidal, self-widowed, ex-military Cold Sniper; a lesbian wandering tinkerer with ties to a feudalistic post-war paramilitary organization; a gay doctor with ties to a fascist, pre-war paramilitary organization; a 209-year-old cyberdog; a 234-year-old Mexican ghoul handyman and onetime vigilante vaquero; and a schizophrenic, Axe-Crazy super mutant grandmother.
    • In Dead Money: A mute, lesbian assassin that's part of an offshoot of a post-war feudalistic paramilitary organization; a super mutant with two separate personalities, an Extreme Omnivore of a Dumb Muscle and a Control Freak of a Genius Bruiser; and a 200-year-old celebrity-turned-survivalist ghoul.
    • Honest Hearts has two relatively tame tribals that can be your companions, but you can also have an Implacable Church Militant that was The Dragon to the Big Bad of the main game as your companion.
    • Lonesome Road gives you a copy of the aforementioned flying robot as a companion, but this time it has an excitable personality. If you choose to talk down Ulysses, you can add a slightly-deranged ex-Legion Warrior Poet who's spent the last four years plotting to murder you and destroy the NCR to the list.
  • Old Soldier: The age of your character can be adjusted during creation, allowing the Courier to look like a weathered and seasoned veteran of the wastes. However, many of the older NPCs will still refer to you as "kid".
  • Omnicidal Neutral:
    • It is an option in the Wild Card ending; you can collect the weak and destitute factions under your banner or crush them and rule yourself.
    • Especially if you stack it with the latter above, in Lonesome Road, you can choose to launch nuclear missiles against NCR and Legion's only pathways to the Mojave and thus leaving them to slowly choke to death from the lack of a trade routes (in NCR's case). Yikes.
  • One-Man Army: If you level up enough, you don't need anyone besides you and your weapon of choice. People lampshade how the Courier seems to be a force of nature, being able to do the impossible, most noticeably if the player chooses to kill Caesar or President Kimball. And by the end of the game, you've single-handedly tipped the balance of power in the Mojave for your faction of choice and ensured their conquest.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: With a high Science skill, the Courier can become an expert in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, robotics, computer programming, radiology, electromagnetics, and aeronautics, among other things.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Downplayed; you can mention your name in your own dialogue, and certain characters will know who you are, but of course, the current technical limitations of voice acting means that they will never call you anything but "Courier" out loud. The Courier sometimes does have the option to simply introduce him or herself solely by the nickname/job title.
  • Only Sane Man: In Old World Blues. Says something that you're this even if your Intelligence is less than three.
  • Outside-Context Problem: To either the NCR or the Legion, if you don't pick their side. The Courier's quest has nothing directly to do with the war over the Hoover Dam, and they were a complete unknown before the events of the game. You can start meddling with their business from the moment you reach either Nipton or the NCR Correction Facility, and by the time you reach The Strip, whichever side you didn't pick (if not both) realizes that you're a big enough threat to warrant hit squads constantly sent after you.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Was on the receiving end of one, and not only survived it, but also has no scar to show from the double gunshot to the face they suffered.
    • Doc Mitchell's dialogue at the start of the game implies that your face was actually a mess, and he did some pretty damn impressive reconstructive surgery. Mainly this serves as a Hand Wave for the player customizing the character's appearance.
  • Really Gets Around: With the perks Lady Killer, Black Widow, La Femme, and Confirmed Bachelor the Courrier has more romance than any other Fallout protagonist.
  • Rebel Leader: In the "Independent" path, where you can lead the various minor factions in the game against all three major powers.
  • Rebellious Spirit: The Independent path in a nutshell, particularly since you'll likely be betraying more than one of the factions you've reached high approval with.
  • Sixth Ranger: You can be this to the NCR or the Legion if you join them: you operate outside the basic command structure but are recognized as the reason they gained control of the Mojave.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Played with. While some NPCs recognize and are aware of the things the Courier has done, there are those who either don't believe the Courier was responsible or dismiss the various stories as little more than rumour.
    • Possibly averted by Mr New Vegas, who only ever refers to the Courier by name once when reporting this miraculous recovery in Goodsprings. It's left vague whether he's aware or simply doesn't acknowledge that the lone civilian responsible for most of the other current news in the Mojave happens to be the same person.
    • Ulysses' dialogue suggests that his obsession with the Courier has essentially mythologized them in his eyes.
  • Silver Fox: With Lady Killer/Black Widow perks and an aged Courier, you can basically invoke this in the people you meet.
  • Smarter Than You Look: If you pass intelligence checks with some people, they'll remark how you're "not as dumb as you look". Even with high Intelligence, Raul still treats the Courier as if they were a moron.
  • Smug Snake: There are certainly dialogue options available, which especially fit if you haven't played them with the competence they imply.
    Oliver: Do you seriously think you have what it takes to build a nation? Carve out a frontier, train troops, build roads, and create towns?
    Courier: My sycophants tell me "Yes".
  • The Starscream: To Mr. House, if the Courier takes the Wild Card path, which involves offing him and taking his place as Emperor Scientist of the Mojave. Also in the Legion path, if you arrange for Caesar to have an "accident" during his brain surgery.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: A Male Courier with the Lady Killer Perk can invoke this when nervously asking if the Lonesome Drifter, who has travelled from Montana to the Mojave looking for his father, wouldn't happen to be exactly 17 years old? When he replies he isn't, he asks why the Courier is so interested in knowing his age.
    Courier: No reason.
  • Terror Hero: Via the Terrifying Presence perk.
    Brotherhood of Steel Paladin: We heard Veronica talking with the Elder. We won't stand for this.
    Courier: I will cast down your codex and bask in the dying agony of those who hold it dear.
    Brotherhood of Steel Paladin: No. No!
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: Shot in the head at close range, twice, and buried in a shallow grave at the very beginning of the game. Naturally, being the Player Character, they get better, though some quick work on the part of an escort robot and the local doctor, along with being the Fallout universe, could affect the outcome. note 
  • Token Evil Teammate: The Courier is the only non-antagonist character who can be unambiguously evil, as the rest of their allies are all trying to help people, and even Graham is good-intentioned if he goes off the deep end. A Courier with Evil Karma will also end up being this if you ultimately side with the NCR.
  • Token Good Teammate: The only character in Dead Money who can be unambiguously good, since even Christine is willing to let your collar go off to take out Elijah. Alternatively, you can gleefully bully and manipulate your fellow prisoners for your own greed. A Courier with Good Karma can also be this to The Legion.
  • Tongue-Tied: In Old World Blues, the Think Tank have put in mental conditioning that prevents you from talking about Big MT to the outside world as a handwave for keeping the events of that DLC self-contained.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • You're just a regular delivery person... then you take two shots to the head. The rest of the game sees you slowly solving every challenge you come up against, tearing through established powerhouses and steering the fate of the Mojave by your own hands.
    • If you managed to pass all of Lanius' speech checks (requires 100 speech skill to pass all of them), he will comment that the two bullet holes in your head are making you strong.
  • Transhuman: Thanks to a selection of cybernetic implants, especially a few that boost mental aspects.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Sure, you know that Doc Mitchell saved you, but to everyone involved in your death, you're a ghost coming to haunt them. Played for all it's worth in dialogue choices:
    • From one of the Great Khans present;
      Jessup: What the hell, you're supposed to be dead!
      Courier: I got better. / I'm a ghost, here to haunt you. Oooooohh!
    • And Benny, the man who put you in the ground.
      Benny: Hu— wha— you're... how are you alive?
      Courier: I got better.
    • When first meeting Veronica:
      Veronica: You look like a mess. Where do you come from?
      Courier: The grave.
      Veronica: Huh. I take that back. You look pretty good, all things considered.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In a Dummied Out event that would have taken place if you chose to betray House by blowing up the hidden Securitron army while working for him, Victor would more or less call you this while confronting you. The Outside Bets mod restores this event. Even without this mod, doing any route except for the House route requires you to betray and kill the boss of the robot who saved your life, and Victor will either die in the crossfire or deactivate upon House's demise.
    Victor: You low-down snake! I wish I'd left you in the ground to rot!
    • You can also have the Courier be this to Doc Mitchell and Goodsprings if you choose to side with the Powder Gangers: He saves your life and helps you completely free of charge, so how do you repay him? Manipulate him into giving you medical supplies to help a gang of convicts take over the town, and then murder him alongside the majority of the town's residents when they try to fight back.
  • Unstoppable Mailman: Being a courier in the world of Fallout is not for the faint of heart. During the first half of the game as you track Benny to the Strip, you have the option of telling characters, up to and including Benny himself, that you have no interest in vengeance or payback, you just want your package back so you can complete the delivery. Other characters express various shades of disbelieving humor that finishing your job is more important to you than revenge on the man who shot you in the head.
    Mr. House: You've been a very busy courier, haven't you? You take your obligation to deliver a package very seriously; an ethic for which I am grateful.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: One package you delivered before the story began was an active detonator that turns The Divide into the hell hole it is in the present day.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: One of the reasons you can give for allying with the Legion.
  • Vague Age: While the first two Fallout games let you set your age, and the third game set you as a teenager / young adult, this game is very vague. There's a hint you're in your 30s-40snote , but it's only a hint. The ability to customize your character's facial appearance only adds to the ambiguity; an Age slider during character creation lets you change how old your character looks, but there's no option to decide how old they actually are. Some characters such as Benny, Johnson Nash and Caleb McCaffery refer to the courier with terms like "youngster" and "kid" regardless of appearance.
  • Villain Protagonist: If you don't find the idea of playing as The Hero appealing, you don't have to be one; you can act like the biggest asshole ever to walk the wastes instead. Even more so than the evil versions of the Vault Dweller, Chosen One, Lone Wanderer, and Sole Survivor, as the main story at least pitted them against monsters who were planning to destroy most of the remaining human race. However, the Courier can hook up with the Legion to bring a nation of crucifying, rapist slavers to power, throw New Vegas into absolute anarchy and chaos with help from (but much to the regret of) Yes Man, join forces with Father Elijah and turn the Mojave in a completely uninhabitable, poisonous wasteland (although doing so results in a Non Standard Game Over), and utterly obliterate several factions in horrible ways For the Evulz.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The player can actively encourage this. For example having Evil Karma but good Reputation with most of the factions.
  • Warrior Therapist: Among the eleven possible companions, only ED-E, an eyebot, and Rex, a cybernetic dog, do not seek guidance from the Courier. Dean Domino can also count, depending on how nice they are with him. It is especially true with Veronica, with whom The Courier can be something of a Big Brother Mentor/Cool Big Sis. Her reliance on them for emotional support and advice is quite apparent throughout her personal sidequest.
  • Wasteland Warlord: In the Wild Card ending, you can betray and overthrow Mr. House, expel the NCR and Legion out of the Mojave, and then rule over New Vegas as a despot backed up by your army of Securitrons.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: The same way as Ulysses after completing Lonesome Road. Doubly so, you not only get a duplicate of Ulysses' duster, but you also get your own based on your end faction choice as a gift from Ulysses. The Mr. House version looks identical to Ulysses' Duster.
  • Wild Card: You tip the balance of power in the Mojave Wasteland, whether to the NCR, Legion, House or yourself. This is even the name of story arc set around doing this.
  • You Are Number 6: Is literally the sixth Courier who have been hired by Mr. House (and the one carrying the Platnium Chip itself) and is therefore called "Courier Six" by some characters.
  • You No Take Candle: A Courier with low intelligence will sometimes speak this way. For instance, responding "me take your job cause me smarter" when Fantastic asks if NCR sent the Courier to replace him.