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Fallout 4 provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • Jet Pack: You can mod power armor to have jump jet backpack attachments that let you leap tall buildings in a single bound, the thrust duration of which is provided by Action Points and doing so drains your fusion core like nothing else.
  • Jerkass:
    • Nate/Nora can be if you want to play as them, especially if you choose the sarcastic option.
    • N.I.R.A., the Nuka-World Informational Robot Assistant, is this when ever she malfunctions after a Nuka-World Raider reprogrammed her. She still speaks with the annoyingly cheery voice while being as acerbic and abusive as possible without swearing.
    N.I.R.A.: Are you done wasting my time, you filthy, low-life scavver? Cause I'm getting bored, and when I get bored, I get violent!
    • Marcy Long. Bitter and never satisfied, she will complain about everything ("I'll stop complaining when there's nothing to complain about!") day in and day out. At the very least, both her and her sad-sack of a husband had their Essential status removed by the Nuka-World update, making them killable. Though considering she's such a jerk because her son just died, she arguably more a Sour Outside, Sad Inside than a jerkass.
    • Played for Laughs with the Robobrain Generals utilized by the Mechanist's forces in the Automatron DLC, with them often throwing childish insults as they chase after you with full intent to kill.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel under Elder Maxson have a rather unnerving streak of Fantastic Racism a mile wide towards Super Mutants, Ghouls, Synths, and intelligent A.I.. However, the vast majority of BoS members (most notably Elder Maxson himself) are shown to hail from the Capital Wasteland, one of the most hostile Death Worlds seen in the entire series. Further elaborating on that, the reason why the Capital Wasteland is such a Crapsack World is because it's been constantly run roughshod over (until the BoS arrived) by Feral Ghouls, Vault 87 Super Mutants, and malfunctioning robots for the last two centuries. Considering all that, it's not a surprise they have no love for mutated humans and self-aware A.I.s.
    • The Institute's Directorate are furious at Father for naming you as his successor as the Director of the Institute. Considering how the Sole Survivor gained access to the Institute through subterfuge and is largely seen as a dangerous outsider, they're not presented as being wrong for opposing your appointment.
    • Marcy Long is one of the biggest complainers of the entire game, finding faults in everything and constantly expressing her displeasure whether it's warranted or not (which to say "all the time"). That being said, she was right in thinking the Minutemen were not the people her son thought they were.
    • The residents of Bunker Hill aren't fans of the Minutemen, but this is because of their previous calls for help to the Minutemen falling on deaf ears due to the organization's infighting after the Fall of the Castle.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: After killing Kellogg, you get to experience a few of his past memories via a virtual reality chamber, thanks to using his cybernetic brain augmenter.
    • If you visit the Memory Den prior to meeting Nick Valentine, you can relive your own memories of Shaun's kidnapping and Nate/Nora's death, with the Sole Survivor's thoughts added instead of Kellogg's.
  • Jump Scare: Much like Fallout 3 before it, the game proves to be quite good at this.
    • With the new game mechanic, plenty of creatures can now tunnel through the ground and pop up right in front of you, or burst through walls and ceilings unannounced. So prepare for a lot of this and try to not play with a full bladder, especially when said creature is a Radscorpion.
    • During "The Big Dig", the player needs to escort a modified Eyebot to clear the fragile walls, leaving a lot of dust and a tunnel behind. While most of them are conveniently empty right behind the walls, a certain one has a Feral Ghoul that will pounce on you through the obscuring dust if you move in too quickly.
    • The Witchcraft Museum in Salem has a few as your progress through the building, culminating in suddenly coming face to face with a very pissed off Deathclaw.
    • Feral Ghouls in general. You see one at a distance, look away for half a second and it's right in your face. They're not the slow, nearly harmless shamblers of Fallout 1 and 2.
    • So, you're wandering through Boston, possibly looking for the first quest target of "Road to Freedom", and you come upon Boston Common. Oh look, what a pretty pond—Oh, Crap!! There's a Super Mutant Behemoth living in the pond, wearing bits of one of the swan boats as armor and camouflage. The Jump Scare is mitigated if you have a companion familiar with the area's hazard, as they warn that the area is perilous (but not detailing why).
  • Just a Machine: The Brotherhood of Steel views Synths as machines that must be eradicated. When one of them is revealed to be a Synth, Elder Maxson immediately referred to him as "it".
    • The Institute also believe Synths are just machines, albeit ones that should remain under their control.
  • Just Before the End: The game starts the morning of the very last day of the pre-apocalyptic world, mere minutes before the Great War begins.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The Institute seems to have been on a puppy-kicking spree for centuries.
      • There was an NCR-like organization called the Commonwealth Provisional Government, which was going to help the various groups rebuild. Each group sent a representative. The Institute sent a synth to represent themselves... and it killed the other representatives. Possibly subverted since the Institute claims the deaths were due to infighting, and due to too many Unreliable Narrators on both sides, we don't really know which one is right anymore.
      • The massacre of University Point of 2285. It used to be a thriving settlement, until a girl found the secret Army lab under the Bank. Then the Institute demanded the lab's contents be given to them. When the town didn't immediately agree to do it on that day's town meeting note , rather than wait or negotiate the Institute returned three days later with armed Synths and killed everyone in University Point. Ironically, they screwed themselves over by killing/driving off the only person who knew where it was and ended up never finding it.
      • The Institute is also responsible for all of the Super Mutants in the Commonwealth. This is one use of the people they kidnap.
    • Leaving the Sole Survivor in Vault 111 even after they had human-looking Synths by 2229, only two years after taking Shaun. Even Father admits there was no reason for keeping them there for so long.
      • During your tour of the Institute, you get to see one of the scientists threatening to scrap a Gen-2 synth with a faulty cleaning chip, saying that maybe something useful will come out of him.
      • Kellogg gets one even after he murders your spouse and steals your child. All of the cryogenically frozen people in Vault 111 were actually alive and fine until he awoke them, then let everyone suffocate in their cages except you. It was an act of mass murder on a grand scale. Relatedly, he works for the Institute, who ordered him to do so.
    • Elder Maxson orders the Sole Survivor to kill the otherwise-loyal Paladin Danse for no other reason than they're a Synth. Maxson in general considers Synths (and other sapient mutants and such) to be sub-human and an insult to humanity.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: If you have a high Armorer skill and some spare Ballistic Fiber, then the Sequin Dress can be made as protective as any regular armour, while still being a glittery dress with a Charisma bonus. It also comes with a smart pair of black and white court shoes. The Red Dress is a sexy glittery dress as well and can get ballistic weave on it.
  • Killer Robot:
  • Kill It with Ice: Vault 111 houses a "Cryolator", a prototype ice weapon that functions like a flamethrower that freezes enemies instead of burning them.
  • Kinda Busy Here: At the beginning of the "Secret of Cabot House" quest, the player witnesses this situation first hand. Jack Cabot is trying to talk to Edward Deegan over the radio, while the latter is engaged in a running gun-fight with a bunch of raiders. Edward even drops the trope name at one point before being forced off the air by the fighting.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Many radiation and energy weapons, such as the Gamma Gun and Gauss Rifle respectively, will appear to have massive damage, but so many enemies are resistant to those damage types and their resistances are so high that there's little point. They also tend not to benefit from sneak bonuses to base damage and crit, as most weapons of these types cannot be modified with silencers.
  • King Mook: The Mirelurk Queen is a gigantic member of their species who soaks up minigun shots like they're water droplets. Given the game is set in Lovecraft Country, the damn thing has been likened to Mother Dagon.
    • A quest in Far Harbor will make you fight a Legendary Mirelurk Queen. There is also Shipbreaker, a Legendary Fog Crawler.
  • Knee Capping: Shooting enemies in their legs can cripple their movements. Can be useful if you have too many attackers and want to fall back to another spot without having too many of them chase you. Or to prevent them from escaping easily.
    • The eponymous 'Kneecapper' legendary weapon effect provides a chance to cripple the legs of an enemy no matter where they are actually hit. Since it works per projectile, the otherwise less impressive shotguns and weak but rapid-firing pipe weapons found in the early game can become very useful.
  • Large Ham: Your character can do this when talking to Hancock while wearing the Silver Shroud outfit. He humors you and mostly plays along during this. You can even ham it up in both Nuka-World in "Dry Rock Gulch" and "Automatron" against the Mechanist.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: MacCready elicits one next to Henry David Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond.
    MacCready: Make sure you search the cabin thoreau-ly. Heheh... No?
  • Laser Hallway: The Treasure of Jamaica Plains is guarded by such a hallway, linked to three very damaging Gatling Laser turrets which will turn you into Swiss cheese if they catch you in the open. You can disarm all the individual tripwires, but take care to only press the use key when it's centered on a tripwire, as using the turrets by mistake activates them.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Killing Machete Mike in the Far Harbor DLC for the massive amount of caps he carries (approximately 3000) will lock you out of the second and third parts of the Mariner's questline, leaving you unable to experience her quests... unless you try to pickpocket him and fail, causing him to attack you and be killed in self-defense (alternately be killed by the player with Big Leagues 4 as it hits everyone in front of them).
    • Killing former Minutemen Clint and James Wire who abandoned their fellows by the current General and second-in-command can feel so satisfying.
  • Last of His Kind: Preston Garvey is the last active Minuteman in the Commonwealth. Others are still alive, but quit after a Noodle Incident, with Clint being a Lieutenant of the Gunners in the Quincy ruins while James Wire, despite still having the heart of a Minuteman, lives with his raider gang in Libertalia. You can decide to help him rebuild the organization.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: One of the Funko mini figures is of Curie after her consciousness is uploaded to a Synth body.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Downplayed, but part of in-game lore is that Synths can't age (or at the very least age incredibly slowly in comparison to "normal" humans). Due to both the limits of the game engine and the fact that the game's events likely only take place over the course of a few years at the most, no characters in the entire game — Synth or otherwise — visibly age with the possible exceptions of Jack and Emogene Cabot after the loss of their immortality serum with Lorenzo's death.
    • Another downplayed case, but Father's constant statements about how the Synths only resemble human sapience can be seen as a commentary on programming video game NPCs and making them resemble actual characters in a story people should invest in.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Siding with the Railroad in the main quest requires acting as a double agent for the Institute for a time. This trope is used to cover the Sole Survivor's actions during the Battle of Bunker Hill.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: As with previous installments, your sneaking abilities are only as effective as your often overzealous companions allow. It has improved to some degree, but it's still there.
  • Let the Past Burn: The Institute symbolically seeks to do this trope in its attempts to erase all traces of Pre-War America and pave the way to their new order.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • The Thirst Zapper is an adorable 1950's retro-future style squirt gun that shoots water and is completely harmless... until you get your hands on some classified Pre-War military research notes and learn how to craft certain soda flavors into hideously lethal squirt gun ammunition. The most powerful one of these, weaponized Nuka-Cola Quantum, turns the Thirst Zapper into a bright-red nuke pistol whose damage output surpasses that of missile launchers and even actual military-grade atomic hand grenades. Doesn't stop the Zapper from making that cute little squirt sound every time it blasts stuff to smithereens.
    • Nuka-World also introduces weaponized paddle balls. Seriously. It deals one deplorable point of damage in its base configuration, but upgrade it with the aforementioned weaponized Nuka-Cola ammo and it becomes a dismayingly deadly tool, albeit a somewhat impractical one due to its rare ammunition (the string is sold one piece at a time for 50 Nuka-cade tickets each) and abysmal range. Hey, it's a paddle ball, what did you expect?
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Once you achieve romantic status with a companion, resting in a bed with them nearby will give you the "Lover's Embrace" perk, which increases the value of experience gains for a limited time.
  • Liberty Over Prosperity: Should you side with the Railroad or the Minutemen over the Institute, this is the state of affairs for the Commonwealth. Sure, the Institute's advances in robotics and bioscience are effectively lost (at least until enough scavenging of the ruins has been done) and the Wastelanders above ground will never know any of them, but at least the Commonwealth they live in belongs to them and not a hidden cabal of scientists with very questionable ethics.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Apparently on that fateful day 210 years ago, a perp was left handcuffed to the table in the BADTFL station's interrogation room. You find a skeletonized hand and a handcuff on the table.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Wearing upgraded Power Armor with a heavy hitting weapon will turn you into this. Unfortunately the reverse is true, as enemies wearing Power Armor will generally be tougher to deal with, especially early on. Fitting the legs with overdrive actuators drives this trope Up to Eleven, as it makes a power armor suit frighteningly fast while sprinting.
  • Lighter and Softer
    • Both the main quest and side quests are less dark, nihilistic and/or crude in comparison to past games where slavery, genocide and rape were a common occurrence or part of the backstory. Also, sexism and racism is toned down considerably. However, Fantastic Racism against Ghouls and Synths is even bigger in the Commonwealth.
    • Compared to the Capital Wasteland. Like the Mojave Wasteland, it's quite clear the Commonwealth got the long end of the stick, with significantly friendlier inhabitants and the chance to directly improve things yourself with the Settlement system. Justified, as the Commonwealth received relatively little attention during the Great War when compared to the immense bombardment Washington suffered. Only one major warhead targeted Boston proper, and even then, it missed. Its actual impact site is the Glowing Sea, far to the Southwest of the city. note 
  • Light Is Not Good: The Institute is the white, cleanest, brightest area in the game, designed with a futuristic, heavenly look that would have been impressive even Pre-War. This doesn't stop them from kidnapping people, experimenting on them, replacing them with Synths, enslaving potentially sentient Synths, and maybe destroying the Commonwealth Provisional Government.
  • invoked Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition:
    • The Pip-Boy Edition, which comes with a wearable Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV, a stand for said Pip-Boy, a Pip-Boy Pocket Guide, a Vault-Tec Perk poster, the game itself in a steelbook case, all in a RobCo capsule case. Similar to what happened with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the Pip-Boy Edition completely sold out: the sheer number of people ordering the damn thing caused the factory making them to hit their production limit!
    • There's a very limited Fallout 4-themed Xbox One appropriately named the "Pip-Box". It looks like the Pip-boy 2000 from the original games.
  • Logic Bomb: One random encounter is with a Mr. Gutsy robot enforcing a curfew. When it asks "Repeat: Will you comply?", you have the option to repeat "Will you comply?". Do this enough times, and the Mr. Gutsy will either turn hostile or malfunction and self-destruct.
  • Loophole Abuse: During settlement building, there are some restrictions on how you can build things, such as a roof needing a wall to support it. However, once the roof is up, you can remove the wall and the roof will stay in place. This allows you to have an elevated defense platform(s) where you can place turrets which will then not only be out of reach from melee attackers, but will also have a much clearer line-of-sight for attacking enemies. As an additional bonus, said platforms will be out of the way, giving your provisioners plenty of room to go in and out.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Yes, you can have multiple romantic partners. However, most romanced companions will hate it when you flirt with other characters in front of them.
  • Lovecraft Country: This vibe is given off more and more the farther north you go. The Far Harbor DLC takes this even further, being set in post-apocalyptic Maine.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The Bloody Mess Perk. It gives you a global 5% damage boost (emphasis on the "global" part, meaning it's always in effect; all other damage-boosting perks are either specific to certain weapons or only trigger under certain conditions) for every rank you put in it, and it also gives enemies' character models a chance to explode apart at the seams upon death as though they were held together with bubblegum and paperclips.
  • Lumber Mill Mayhem: One of the new settlements in Far Harbor is an abandoned lumber mill infested with Feral Ghouls. Once the Sole Survivor clears it out they can then design their own version of this trope by placing various traps and hazards all around the area.
  • MacGyvering: You can build modifications for your weapons out of pieces from microscopes, toy cars, and other seemingly useless "junk" littering the wasteland.
  • Machete Mayhem: Machetes are among the various melee implements found in the Commonwealth, and can be given serrated blades for additional damage.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • The Big Boy is a unique Fat Man launcher which fires two mini nukes at the cost of one. And if you combine it with the MIRV mod, the Big Boy MIRV fires 12 nukes at once, it is in doubt if anything can survive that. (Including you. It sets them off at about half of the maximum flight distance, far too close for comfort.)
    • The missile turrets the Sole Survivor can build to defend their settlements shoot not one but four missiles in rapid succession per attack sequence. Even one of them qualifies for this trope, but of course nothing's stopping players from building a whole bunch with overlapping fields of fire for MMM Deluxe.
    • Similarly, the man-portable missile launcher, while holding only a single missile in its base configuration, can be upgraded with a detachable magazine containing up to four missiles for copious amounts of missile spam. Picture the thing John Matrix is toting on the Commando page image and you're right on track.
    • If you mod a weapon in Creation Kit, you can decide how many projectiles to fire from your original weapons, if it happened to fire 12 missiles per shot, be it with a standard Missile Launcher, Broadsider, or a Minigun...
    • One of the first mods made for the game, before the Creation Kit was even released, allowed players to attach weapon mods in any combination they wanted. Missile launchers with gatling gun barrels? Sure, why not.
    • Some mods allow you to put a Legendary effect on anything you want. So slap a Never-Ending effect on a missile launcher (and a stabilizer or targeting computer), and blast away!
  • Made of Explodium: There are tanks and barrels scattered throughout Boston that you can blow up by shooting at them.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Maxing out the Toughness and Refractor perks gives you an innate 50 points of ballistic and energy resistance respectively, combined with any half decent armor and you can tank anything. With the Assault Marine armor from Far Harbor and Vault jumpsuit with Shielded lining you damn will as it adds up to a whopping 100 ballistic resistance, 119 energy resistance, and a nice bonus of 25 Rad resistance! And that's before you add in Nuka-World's "Pack Alpha" perk and Med-X's 25% damage resistance each. Jump in some fully upgraded X-01 power armor with everything else...
    • Sentry Bots, both literally and metaphorically, as they are the closest things post-War Boston has to tanks on wheels. The sole weak spot on their back is guarded by withering firepower and heavy armor on the front. Good thing the Robotics Expert perk is a thing.
  • Made of Plasticine:
    • Feral ghouls are so decayed that a solid whack will tear their limbs right off. This won't stop them unless you manage to kill in the same hit, but an armless ghoul is a lot less of a threat than an intact one. You can also sever one or both legs, leaving even a high level ghoul helpless. You'll need to when an entire pack rushes at you!
    • The robotic synths are similarly fragile, though some are armored to let them survive longer. "Longer" being the operative word and said armor is one of the best in game, offering heavy protection with light weight.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: The speech you give for the Institute during "Powering Up" has some really awkward long pauses between the set portions and the keywords that you can choose.
  • Madness Mantra: Found on Bedlam's terminal in Dunwich Borers: "I'm safe in the light."
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Fairline Hill Estates is an abandoned settlement with no story significance or unique loot. Most of the homes are completely empty with no signs of violence or recent habitation. However, one house is locked from the inside, heavily trapped to prevent entry, and once you find your way inside you'll find the skeleton of the house's previous owner clutching a pistol (possibly suggesting suicide) outside a chained up room which turns out to contain a pair of feral ghouls. One possible interpretation of this is that the home's previous inhabitant's ghoul friends/family members started to turn feral, and he/she locked them up in the spare room and eventually committed suicide.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Modding. At low levels, you're likely to loot more helpful items than you can make. If you spend the 17 points necessary for all the modding related perks, you can make weapons and armor far better (and complimentary) than the random loot you come across.
    • Settlements. They can be a huge investment in time, resources and perks that could be spent on more direct character upgrades. But if you make that investment, what you'll have is a vast network of heavily defended hubs filled with traders and settlers, continuously producing vast supplies of food, scrap and caps. The former of which can be used to create an unlimited supply of adhesive, or simply used to swamp vendors in huge piles of Mutfruit so you can laugh maniacally in Adam Smith's face. During the Minuteman quest line you gain access to producing artillery for each settlement. Having each settlement have an artillery piece means you can safely shell hardened positions at a distance and with the maxed-out Explosive Expert perk, you can tell where your flares are going and have the shells hit twice as hard. This also means that the Minutemen are also the only group with anti-air capability and the command structure to make good on it as the Brotherhood learn with the fall of The Prydwen.
    • Robot Companions. Introduced in the Automatron DLC, a basic protectron is nothing impressive. Ada, the companion you get in the DLC has much higher combat potential than anything you can craft at that point. Given time and mods and you have a walking humanoid tank with twin laser gatlings as your sidekick. They require no ammunition, no equipment, have an insane carry weight and will never disapprove of your actions. They come with handy customizable buffs like the ability to pick locks, hack terminals, increase your damage resistance or passively heal you outside of combat. And that's keeping to a humanoid frame. Go full sentry bot and you will have a companion wielding missile launchers and perhaps mininukes. Better invest in the Inspirational perk so that your own minions do not blow you up...
    • A weird weapon-based case can be seen with the Sledgehammer. This weapon does a solid 23 point of damage, pretty good in the early game, but swings slow as hell. Even with the Big Leagues Perk increasing its damage it's overshadowed by its big brother the Super Sledge and its Stun pack (which stuns foes long enough for anther swing). Until you get Nuka-World that is. With Nuka-World the sledgehammer gets 7 upgrades (compared to the Super Sledge's paltry 2) and with the "Heavy (sharp/spiked/searing sharp/shocking sharp) rocket" upgrade can compare to Atom's Judgement, the most damaging melee weapon in-game, especially if you get lucky and find a legendary sledge hammer with "Irradiated" (deals radiation damage on top of ballistic) or "Instigating" (deals double damage if target is at full health). An Instigating Heavy (sharp/spiked/searing sharp/shocking sharp) rocket sledgehammer can do 576 damage with all Perks (Big Leagues 5 [double damage], Bloody Mess 3 [+15% damage], and Pack Alpha [+ 25% damage]) on the first swing. If anything survives that it'll still have to face a hit that does 288 points of damage plus bleed damage plus 23 points of fire damage or 27 points of energy damage on each and every swing!
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: The facial reconstruction system in this game is so advanced that it can not only change the Survivor's facial structure, but also their general body structure, and even their race as well—from White to Black, vice-versa, and everywhere in-between. However, this doesn't stop people from recognizing the Survivor. You can even have Joe Shmoe do it for you for free with the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC.
    • Deacon alludes to getting major facial reconstruction every few years in order to make it harder for the Institute to identify him.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: Encouraged with Feral Ghouls, as some of them play dead or lie under objects to pop out as you pass by. Confirmation shots on any suspicious looking bodies can trigger or kill them from a more manageable distance, preventing them from getting the drop on you. Pulling up VATS will also target ghouls just playing dead.
  • Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: No matter which parent you play, all of the dialogue options makes your character obsessive on the subject of finding your child. Dialogue ranges from a polite "Where the hell is my son?" to an angry "Where the fuck is my son, you bastard!" Even the sarcastic option when Kellogg speaks to Nate/Nora via Valentine is yelling "Oh, you wanna throw down, asshole?!" to the (dead) man who stole your child.
    • The reason for the Deathclaw at the Museum of Witchcraft? Some Gunners stole its eggs, and it slaughtered its way through them to get it back. If you return the egg to its nest, said Deathclaw's mate will leave you alone... but if you try to take it back and leave, it will attack.
  • Mauve Shirt: For all of their limited dialogue options and occasional Jerkassery, it's surprisingly easy to get invested in the lives of the nameless Settlers under the control of the Commonwealth Minutemen and be saddened when they get killed during Settlement attacks.
  • Maximum HP Reduction:
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • In the base game, the Junkie Prophet Mama Murphy can have visions of the future (which can operate as a Hint System for the Sole Survivor for the first two acts of the main storyline) via giving her chems. While some of her visions are implied to just be a result of her going on a Mushroom Samba, some of her other predictions are a bit too accurate to be entirely random (i.e., her supplying the Sole Survivor with the reset code for the Courser Z2-47).
      • Furthermore, there's everything going on with Dunwich Borers. As with the preceding game, it's possible that it's all the result of hallucinations based on improper mining techniques, or there could be something far more Lovecraftian happening in the wings...
    • In Far Harbor, nothing is ever made clear about the Mother of the Fog. Are they a crazy old hermit who just leads the Children of Atom along for her own amusement, a "saint" of the Children's religion found on the Island with an unknown connection to the Fog, or are they just a Helpful Hallucination brought upon by drinking too much irradiated water at once? Interestingly, if you ask Grand Zealot Richter about this in the Nucleus, he'll admit that the Children themselves aren't sure if the Mother of the Fog is real or not.
    • In Nuka-World, similar mysteries surround Oswald the Outrageous, a Pre-War stage magician turned Glowing One. The only one of his abilities he himself believes to be magic (healing and reviving other Ghouls) is actually something any Glowing One can do thanks to the radiation emanating from their bodies. What's never explained at all is his throw-a-smoke-bomb-and-disappear trick, which is a staple of his profession, but in his case it enables him to leave locked rooms without any opening he could possibly fit through, as well as him covering vast distances in the blink of an eye - may he actually be employing teleportation? Another unexplained trait of Oswald's is his ridiculous resilience to lethal injuries. Sure, Ghouls are tough, but not even the most powerful Ferals in the game can survive a dozen nukes to the face and still ask for more.
    • Also in Nuka-World, there's the Grandchester Mystery Manor, a haunted house attraction in the southwest corner of the map whose story revolves around an allegedly possessed girl that killed her parents and was later found hanged in the attic. Enter this attic and a young girl will run past you, laughing cheerfully before exiting the room through a door that's out of the player's field of view. Opening this door reveals that it doesn't lead into an adjacent room, no - there's nothing behind it but a solid brick wall...
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Mecha-Mooks:
    • The robots are still around, of course, and now there are the rather common Synths.
    • The Automatron DLC allows the player to build their own as companions, mixing and match parts from Sentry Bots, Mister Handies/Gutsies, Robobrains, Protectrons, and Assaultrons.
  • Mêlée à Trois: There are four major factions in the game, three of which are in opposition to each other: the Institute, the Railroad, the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, and the Commonwealth Minutemen.
    • The Institute is a cabal of scientists living in secret within the Commonwealth. The goal of the Institute is their own continued existence and to protect themselves from the outside world, which they view as a dangerous hellhole. They also want to advance their technology for the betterment of humanity (or so they state). To further their goals, they create Synths, artificial humans that they implant in Commonwealth society for the purpose of keeping the region as weak and divided as possible so the Wastelanders won't be a potential threat to the Institute's resource-scavenging operations. They seek to destroy both the Railroad, who work to subvert them and steal away their slave labor, and the Brotherhood of Steel, who seek the utter destruction of both them and their Synths.
    • The Railroad is an underground espionage-based resistance movement dedicated to the liberation of Synths and the eventual downfall of the Institute. They rescue Synths that seek asylum and help them assimilate into Commonwealth society, giving them reconstructive surgery and rewriting their memories to prevent them from being singled out, either by the Institute or the paranoid people of the Commonwealth.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel is a feudalistic military organization that rules the Washington D.C. area with an iron fist and seek to expand into the Commonwealth. They view the Institute as the greatest threat to mankind since the creation of the atomic bomb, and the Synths as mechanical abominations that would be deserving of genocide if they even could be considered a race at all (their opinions of Ghouls and Super Mutants are not very positive, either). This also puts them in opposition with the Railroad, since they harbor Synths.
    • The Commonwealth Minutemen is an armed citizen's militia with a single goal: protecting the people of the Commonwealth. Since they lack manpower and resources, they stay out of the conflict between the Institute, Railroad, and BoS and focus on protecting the citizenry. Under the Sole Survivor's guidance, however, they can grow large enough to take on both the Institute and Brotherhood.
    • This is perhaps most stark if the Sole Survivor does the "Battle of Bunker Hill" quest, which has the Brotherhood, Institute and Railroad all battling against each other, with the Institute trying to capture escaped Synths in the titular location. You can optionally warn the Railroad and/or the Brotherhood about it and more Brotherhood and Railroad soldiers appear.
    • During the Institute mission to capture the synth raider leader at Libertalia, the Brotherhood usually shows up in a vertibird as you arrive. Also, military robots (hostile to everyone) from a nearby checkpoint tend to get drawn to the battle, and there's a building near the mission start that spawns a random encounter which could be two groups of enemies fighting each other, meaning the quest could potentially turn into a five-way, or even six-way, battle.
  • Mini-Game: invoked There are some holotapes hidden in the game that contain minigames playable on computer terminals and your Pip-Boy, including Red Menace (which is essentially Donkey Kong), Atomic Command (Missile Command), Pipfall (Pitfall!, natch), Zeta Invaders (Space Invaders), and Grognak & the Ruby Ruins (an old computer RPG in a similar vein to Ultima and Wasteland). The Automatron DLC adds another game of the same name, which plays like Robotron: 2084.
  • Molotov Cocktail: One of the available grenades (and the only one that can be built without taking ranks of the Demolitions perk), and unlike in New Vegas, it will detonate on impact and will burn the ground for a short time. It's also far more realistic in regards to making them; you need to use actual oil to make it rather than alcohol. Still no regards to characters reaction to the heat of the bottle, though...
  • Money for Nothing: Caps start off harder to come by than in previous games because merchants have much higher markup when selling and markdown when buying. Later on, they become just as abundant and even less useful for several reasons: weapons and armor no longer break so you won't have to pay people to fix it for you, there are relatively few expensive unique weapons and armor in the game to be bought, you can easily find randomly dropped Legendary weaponry that is of similar (or possibly better) power, and with the right perks you can build your own shops that will supply you with infinite income.
  • Money Spider: The fourth rank of the Fortune Finder perk adds a chance of any enemy spraying out caps when killed.
  • Monster Clown: Kiddie Kingdom in the Nuka-World DLC is filled with Painted Ghouls-feral ghouls in clown makeup. This is deliberate, because the Glowing One who leads them, Oswald the Outrageous, figured out that the clown paint tended to cause attackers to panic and run off faster than just the ghouls on their own. It was quite effective at keeping people out until the Sole Survivor arrived.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: If you decide to investigate the Museum of Witchcraft, there will be a dismembered corpse with an Apocalyptic Log detailing an attack on a group of Gunners delivering a secret package being attacked by something. Inside the museum are several other bodies, including one supplied with a missile launcher and a dozen missiles. On the second floor of the museum is a huge Deathclaw that serves as the area's boss. After killing it, you'll find another tape and a Deathclaw egg, which explains that the Deathclaw tracked the Gunners for miles and slaughtered them to retrieve the egg. If you choose to return to egg to its nest, the Deathclaw's mate will approach you, but it won't attack... unless you choose to steal the egg back.
  • Monster Whale: While you never encounter any, throughout the game you'll occasionally hear people spreading rumors about massive "ghoul whales" that supposedly haunt the ocean.
  • Monty Haul: The Vault Tec Workshop DLC, which adds Vault 88 to the game. A short questline has you aid the Overseer in recruiting residents to the Vault and then conducting a variety of experiments on them. Each experiment mission follows the pattern of "build an experimental object, set a parameter on it, and test it on a resident". Only one of the four experiment missions even requires that you leave the Vault, while all four pay out a base of 350xp upon completion. (An experience payout comparable to main quest missions which are all far more involved.) In addition to the experience rewards, Vault 88 has an epic amount of settlement salvage which will leave you wanting for very few building materials for the rest of the game (including rare Nuclear Material due to the Vault's plentiful uranium deposits). Additionally, after completing the experiments, you can build new happiness-increasing technology at all of your settlements. (If you chose the least reprehensible experiment options for each, there is literally no downside to building them either.) Finally, upon taking over as Overseer at the end of the quest line, you can use the Overseer's Terminal to gain a semi-permanent +1 increase to your Intelligence.
  • Monumental Damage Resistance:
    • Many recognizable places and landmarks located in Boston, such as the Bunker Hill Monument and the Paul Revere Monument, are shown to be relatively intact despite the post-apocalyptic setting. Director Todd Howard confirmed that only one bomb was launched at Boston, then missed the city and landed southwest of Natick, minimizing damage to Boston and its surrounding areas.
    • Flat out averted by the crew of the U.S.S. Constitution, who leveled a bank with said ship and later demolish the top of a sky scraper if you help them out. However, their famous warship remains largely intact despite being made of wood.
    • In the endings where you destroy the Institute, the C.I.T. campus and surrounding areas end up getting cratered.
  • Mook Horror Show: If you are seen slaughtering some raiders and then hide, the survivors can become panicked and jumpy instead of just playing the violence off as a trick of the wind. They may draw their weapons, become verbally terrified and can occasionally start shooting at shadows they've mistaken as the player stalking up on them. All thanks to the A.I.'s newfound brilliance.
    • Invoked in the Museum of Freedom. If you sneak up on the two Raiders on the second floor, you can eavesdrop on them talking. One of them mentioned that there is another guy shooting the place up (or in other words you) and there is nothing they can do to stop you, so they better run while they can. The other Raider refuses, thinking that you are just another Wastelander.
    • In "Hunter/Hunted," both you and the Courser you are chasing after are doing this to a group of Gunners, before finally having a duel after you wiped out most of the Gunners.
    • During the final part of "The Silver Shroud," you can continue to act like the titular hero and chew the scenery to cause Sinjin's mooks to let out an Oh, Crap! and run away in fear. If you do this, they will continue to run in fear and not fight back even after you kill Sinjin; double points if you choose to stick around and brutally kill them one by one Punisher-style.
    • Pickman's Gallery is the dark, intensely creepy home of a serial killer filled with paintings and other "art" crafted from the remains of his victims. It's filled with Raiders who are there looking for Pickman to get revenge for the deaths of their friends. After you start killing them, they'll begin panicking and accidentally shooting each other or falling into the house's many death traps.
    • The Gunner group who happened to stupidly swipe a Deathclaw egg and was chased into the Salem Museum of Witchcraft by an angry Mama Bear Deathclaw. You can even listen to some of the few holotapes left behind by the (now-dead) soldiers.
    • Taken Up to Eleven at the HalluciGen, Inc location, where chemical leaks have caused a group of Gunners looting the place to hallucinate and turn on each other. You can hear their terrified gibbering as you move throughout the building, and can even come across a living Gunner so out of it that he's not hostile - because he's far too horrified by whatever he's seeing in his mind.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe example: If you take over a single Commonwealth settlement on behalf of a Raider faction in the Nuka-World DLC, Preston will immediately and irrevocably despise you.
    • Desdemona will also immediately and irrevocably despise you, to the point of turning the entire Railroad against you, if you do not give the Evacuation Order during a run of "The Nuclear Option" for the Minutemen.
  • Mordor: The Glowing Sea. It's ground zero for the one atomic bomb that hit Boston. It covers the entire lower left corner of the map, and the entire zone is completely devoid of vegetation, buildings (except for mostly-submerged ruins) or signs of civilization in general. There is a permanent radioactive storm going on, all the water is horribly polluted, and it's home to some of the deadliest creatures in the game. The radiation is so severe you'll quickly suffer radiation poisoning without power armor or a hazmat suit. Rad-X is powerful enough to keep you protected there, but each application only lasts a small while, while the affected area is quite large. And you HAVE to go there during the main campaign.
  • More Dakka: Automatic weapons and the minigun make liberal use of this trope. Special mention goes to the Accelerated minigun, which fills the screen with bullets and munches ammo like a hungry pig.
  • More Friends, More Benefits: The more allied settlements you have working for you, the more Minuteman support you have around the Commonwealth. Firing a flare gun into the sky will summon up a handful of allied Minutemen (in greater numbers if you have a lot more nearby settlements) and later on, you get artillery unlocked which lets you get something equivalent to a multiple Fatman-launch on any target you can throw a smoke grenade to. Random minutemen will start appearing around your settlements and in the wasteland the more areas you unlock.
    • There's a point in the game where you can be allied with all the major factions. Synths ignore you, Brotherhood knights assist you in battle, Minutemen come whenever you call for them, and so on. At that point, you only have to worry about monsters, raiders or Super Mutants.
  • Multiple Endings: Similar to Fallout: New Vegas, the ending of the game is determined by which faction you side with at the end of the game, leading to a final mission in which you act to assure your faction's dominance over the Commonwealth. Regardless of which faction you choose, the game's ending cinematic and narration is the same (as it is simply the main character reminiscing about how far they've come), but the consequences for the in-game world vary quite a bit.
    • Well, almost the same. The first sequence is different if you choose to side with the Institute.
    • Brotherhood of Steel: Fearing the continued proliferation of synths in the wasteland, the Brotherhood of Steel wipes out the Railroad in a surgical strike. Afterwards, the newly repaired Liberty Prime leads an assault against the Institute, blowing a hole in its roof with a nuclear device. The Brotherhood then storms the Institute and detonates its nuclear reactor, securing the order's control over the Commonwealth.
    • Institute: Having finally gained an inside man in the Railroad, Father sends the Sole Survivor to assassinate the organization's leaders, finally eliminating the possibility of synths escaping from the Institute. The Survivor then leads an assault the Brotherhood of Steel's base of operations, killing Elder Maxson in a final battle, and re-programs Liberty Prime to target and destroy the Prydwen, allowing the Institute to continue its shadowy dominion over the Commonwealth.
    • Railroad: Fearing that the Brotherhood will commit genocide against synths in the Commonwealth, the Railroad infiltrates the Prydwen and crashes it into Boston Airport, decimating the Brotherhood of Steel. They then use their contacts within the Institute to launch an invasion, evacuate the synths inside, and detonate the facility's reactor, leaving the Commonwealth free from the control of any major faction.
    • Commonwealth Minutemen: Essentially the game's "Wild Card" ending, for players who don't want to side with any of the above. After forsaking and declaring war on the Institute, the Sole Survivor helps the Minutemen infiltrate the Institute through a hidden maintenance tunnel, storming the reactor and destroying the sinister scientific cabal once and for all. Depending on the player's actions, they may also have to contend with the other factions: if the player does not activate the evacuation signal before destroying the Institute, the Railroad will blame them for the deaths of all the synths inside and declare war on the Minutemen. Should the player become enemies with the Brotherhood at any point prior to or after the ending, war is declared and the Minutemen shoot down the Prydwen with their artillery.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: If one confronts The Mechanist the usual way, they will have to face off lots of eyebots, trashbots, swarmbots, and a duelbot in a closed arena, the first two of which will continuously spawn until the power gets cut (twice).
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Using an old/spare suit of Power Armor for transporting large amounts of goods between settlements is perfectly viable. Mostly because fast traveling doesn't drain the fusion core, and even a bare Power Armor frame gives massive bonuses to carrying capacity. That said, carrying capacity is capped even while in Power Armor; maxing out Strength while wearing pocketed armor can allow you to carry more on your own than you would in a nuclear-powered hydraulic suit.
    • With the Automatron add-on, you can manufacture robots. You can create an army of Killer Robots armed with lasers, flamethrowers, missile launchers, and heavy-duty armor. Or, you can use this ability to mass-produce cheap settlers to man your supply lines between settlements, since you can make as many as you need and rename them to easily keep track of their functions.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: The problem with the Robobrains in the Automatron DLC. They exercise their own interpretation of orders from the Mechanist to "save innocent people"; they decide that killing people to put them out of their misery is the best way to save them, because they calculate that actually protecting innocents against raiders and mutants has too low a success rate to be an effective way to carry out their directives.
  • Murderous Mannequin: Seemingly invoked. 1st Generation Synths look like Skelebots, and 3rd Generation Synths can pass for humans, but 2nd Generation Synths are at an uncomfortable middle ground and appear as porcelain-white, expressionless, genderless mannequins (until they take battle damage). Coincidentally, the game is the first in the Fallout series to feature actual mannequins hanging around the ruins of Boston. And if you get both 2nd Gen Synths and mannequins in the same area...
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: The companions you recruit from each faction don't necessarily get along. You can initially recruit all of them (with an achievement for doing so), but eventually when you pick a faction to side with, you will permanently piss off at least one of them. The Minutemen faction will let you stay friendly with most of them, but X6-88 will abandon you since you have to destroy the Institute. Otherwise, if you side with the Railroad, Brotherhood of Steel, or the Institute, you will lose most of your faction companions (except Preston who will always work with you in the base game, though he disapproves of the Institute and distrusts the Brotherhood.)
  • My God, What Have I Done?: You get this reaction from the Mechanist, if you can convince them to accept the truth that their robobrains are directing their bots to kill innocents.
  • My Grandson Myself: The Cabot family, who became immortal after their father discovered a ruin in the Middle East built by Ancient Astronauts, and found therein a Clingy Macguffin that made him immortal (and also crazy and telekinetic), at which point his son made a serum from his blood that prevents or reverses aging as long as you take it regularly. For the next 200 years or so they regularly left the country for a decade or two, "died", and came back as their cousins and heirs. They stopped having to do this after the bombs fell, and are thus among the only people in existence whose lives were made more convenient by a nuclear apocalypse.
  • Myth Arc: The majority of side quests, dungeons and other locations throughout the Commonwealth are (in some way) tied into the Institute and their Synths, even if some cases are more distanced than others to the central focus of Synths.
  • Mythology Gag: Quite a few appear.
    • The game's Vault jumpsuits are closer to the tight spandex design of the first two games, rather than the baggier boilersuit designs of Fallout 3 and New Vegas.
    • Mama Murphy's psychic visions tell her that Dogmeat has a habit of finding worthy soldiers and leading them where they're needed. Given that every Dogmeat in the series is (somehow) a direct descendant of the first Dogmeat, Mama Murphy probably knows how important his lineage is.
    • The first trailer begins in a manner similar to the intro of the first game, by slowly panning out from a TV set to show the ruins of the Wasteland around it.
    • The character generation starts with a Pre-War rush to get to a Vault, like the tech demo for Fallout: Van Buren.
      • On the note of Van Buren, it was supposed to reveal that the earliest versions of Power Armor originally ran on small energy cells, but ended up draining them ridiculously fast. Just replace "small energy cell" with "fusion core", and you have your Fallout 4 Power Armor.
      • Acadia in the Far Harbor DLC, and the associated quest to find more memory storage for DiMA, both resemble Van Buren's Boulder Dome and its quest to find the ZAX computer more memory.
    • In the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC, you can make your own Vault Gear-doors. However, they look like the smaller doors with the side-arm pulling them away, as in the art style for the original two Fallout games.
    • Porter Gage calls Mirelurks "Mudcrabs" in a reference to Fallout's sister series, The Elder Scrolls.
    • The relationship between the Commonwealth Minutemen and the Settlers they protect is heavily based after that of the Desert Rangers from the original Wasteland. The Fallout series is generally seen as the Spiritual Successor to Wasteland.
    • invoked Looking at The Art of Fallout 4 will show that the design of the Fog Crawler in Far Harbor is based on a Dummied Out design for the Mirelurk Queen.
    • The ingredients to make Jet are Plastic and Fertilizer, calling back to Fallout 2 when Myron explains Jet is essentially fumes from brahmin dung.
    • John Hancock wants Sinjin to "take a dirt nap", referencing Set trying to establish his own ghoul subculture.
  • Mysterious Protector: The Mysterious Stranger perk appears yet again. This is Lampshaded when you search through Nick Valentine's office. He has a file on the guy that lampshades his improbable appearances and help. Nick will also make a variety of comments if he happens to be around when the Mysterious Stranger appears.
  • Necessary Drawback:
    • Added to the now massively beefed-up Power Armor: it actually works like Power Armor should, but it takes fusion cores to properly function, the cores drain quickly to keep the player from steamrolling everything everywhere all the time, and it's also the only equipment in the game that still degrades from damage. Although the Nuclear Physicist perk can double the amount of use you can get out of fusion cores if you take all three ranks.
    • The Automatron DLC lets you make robots by mixing and matching parts of Assaultrons, Protectrons, and Sentry Bots. Each of these has its pros and cons. Assaultron parts are fast and very good at melee, but with lower carrying capacity. Protectron parts have good carrying capacity, but are slow and clumsy. Sentry Bot parts are huge and have a lot of hit points, but this comes at the expense of limited mobility in smaller spaces.
  • Necessary Weasel: Like the Capital Wasteland, the entire Boston area has no real greenery in it 210 years after the Great War because it's a staple of Fallout games to be set in barren brown wastelands full of dead trees. Most other forms of plantlife, however, like grasses and corn, have adapted pretty well to the post-apocalyptic world.
    • However, if you look around, this is actually averted. While most of the trees in the Commonwealth have no leaves, dead leaves on the ground show that the trees do grow, it just doesn't look like it since the game starts out in autumn and engine limitations wouldn't allow the trees to change over the year's course.
  • Neck Lift: Deathclaws are now capable of this, should you be bold enough to face them without Power Armor. If you have enough health they'll slam you to the ground. If not, then they'll disembowel you with their other hand from a first-person persepective. Lovely.
  • Neck Snap: Doing a power attack with an unarmed weapon equipped while in third-person on an unaware enemy allows you to snap their necks.
  • Never Found the Body: One would suspect the nuclear destruction of the world and the passage of 210 years would be enough to kill an insignificant character like the Vault-Tec Representative from the opening scene, but he turns up later alive and well as a Ghoul in Goodneighbor. And as it turns out his "200 years of Vault-Tec sales experience" lets him be a level 4 merchant for the trading emporium, selling very rare items and even the Apocalypse left greave!
  • Never Learned to Read: The Railroad justifies using "Railroad" as the password due to most wastelanders never having learned to read. However, possibly in a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, any settler can be seen reading Piper's Publick Occurances if you build a bar in any of your settlements.
  • Never Recycle a Building:
    • After 210 years, most of the major buildings in the Boston area are still intact and boarded up. A few are used by raiders and Super Mutants as bases, but there has been no large scale rebuilding and re-habitation of the Commonwealth. Boston is supposed to be one of the least damaged and more civilized places in the post-war world, yet all the buildings you enter have useful junk laying around, ranging from Pre-War tech, weapons and ammo, to old clothes and food still on the shelves of many shops. The whole setting would make much more sense if it was set 20 years after the bombs fell instead of 210. Partly justified due to both the Institute trying to keep any form of civilization in the Commonwealth limited to self-contained settlements that are completely ignorant of the Pre-War world, and the fact that the Commonwealth is still very much a Death World where most people see the ruins of Boston as just full of wild animals and other dangers, and they should just keep to themselves in order to survive (the region has just barely worked its way back up to subsistence agriculture, after all).
    • Averted by the local scavengers. Unlike previous games, where a building would stay empty after you cleared out any raiders or ghouls that were camping out in it, this time around a new group will move back in after a while.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The first official game trailer made it seem like Boston was rebuilt as a thriving and populated city like New Vegas was. In reality, it's a filthy ruin filled with Raiders and Super Mutants all trying to kill you. The only major population centers are confined to a baseball stadium converted into a fortress town, the city's former red-light district, and another fortress town located around the Bunker Hill Monument.
    • Zig-zagged by early gameplay footage reveals, which used the Sole Survivor's first conversation with Piper and Mayor McDonough at Diamond City to introduce the new dialogue camera and animation systems. While the conversation was still in the final release, it takes way more advantage of those systems (especially custom animations) than the rest of the game, since it was used a major dialogue testbed by the developers.
  • New Era Speech: In the Institute path, you're eventually given the chance to give one of these on behalf of the Institute. You can adjust some of the words to make it sound more benevolent or more tyrannical.
  • New Tech Is Not Cheap: And Pre-War tech is even more expensive. The town of Covenant is built like a fortress on the outside but looks spotless and Prewar on the inside. A glimpse at a terminal reveals the town's supported by an outside budget and is vastly more expensive to maintain than the shacks most people use for houses.
  • New Weapon Target Range: The Powered Armor and minigun you get from the Minutemen quest in Concord serve a very important purpose during the Deathclaw fight shortly after you find them... the minigun will likely be the most damaging weapon you've picked up at that point in the game, and the armor makes you too heavy for it to use its deadly Neck Lift attack.
  • Nice Girl: A few companions are this, namely Piper, Curie, Ada, and Cait (after her Character Development, although she tends to lean more toward Jerk with a Heart of Gold). Some NPCs from different factions and places also are this, with some examples being Magnolia, Irma, and Daisy of Goodneighbor, Scribe Haylen of the Brotherhood of Steel, Sister Mai of The Children of Atom, Kasumi Nakano, Allie Fillmore of the Institute, and Desdemona and Glory of The Railroad.
  • Nice Guy: The Sole Survivor, no matter what, is remarkably more heroic than other Fallout heroes. At their worst, they're a Jerk with a Heart of Gold hitting up people for money and being rude to everyone they meet, while at their best they are a Wasteland Messiah akin to the Good Karma Lone Wanderer or Vault Dweller.
    • Zigzagged by the Nuka World DLC, which lets you become the head honcho of no fewer than three separate raider gangs. While you do indeed have the option to be exactly as malevolent as one would think, you also have the option to be surprisingly benign in your administration of these raiders, as it's entirely possible to go through the entire DLC without ever hurting someone who didn't have it coming; you always have the option to simply purchase settlers' land or crops from them instead of taking it by force, for example.
  • Nice Hat: While there are plenty of nice hats, there are none quite so nice as that of the captain of the U.S.S. Constitution, a Sentry Bot with a period naval hat befitting the ship he commands.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In Vault 81, Bobby De Luca hides a stash of jet in a previously unknown area of the Vault. Austin, one of the boys living there, sees it, and ends up exploring the ruins of the secret Vault 81. Unfortunately he's bitten by a rabid Mole Rat, and nearly dies from it. Or really dies if you've contracted the disease while attempting to retrieve the cure, and then use it on yourself.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: Many Wastelanders call the Institute's android replicants "Synths", both as a Fantastic Slur and for convenience's sake.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Several:
    • The crew of the U.S.S. Constitution are robot sailors (complete with accents and ranks befitting the theme) and have attached rockets to said ship, which makes them robot sailors on a flying ship.
    • The crew of the FMS Northern Star are ghoulified Norwegian sailors who have become raiders, making them effectively zombie vikings.
    • Nick Valentine is a clockwork dick. And his vaguely necrotic rubbery skin makes him a zombie clockwork dick From a Certain Point of View.
      Nick: That's Synth Detective, jackass.
  • Nintendo Hard: Besides the five main difficulties of Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard, there's Survival, which a recent patch has transformed from a Harder Than Hard difficulty level into a downright brutal new mode. In Survival mode, you can only save by sleeping in a bed, fast travel is disabled, carry weight is harshly reduced (and ammo now has weight), enemies no longer show up on your compass, you have to regularly eat/drink/sleep or else face severe stat penalties, companions will return home if they're downed and not healed, you must contend with a slew of all-new infections and sicknesses (which chems and Stimpaks make you even more susceptible to), and damage from all sources - including you - is greatly amplified. New Vegas's Survival mode is an absolute cakewalk in comparison.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked:
    • Zig-zagged in the base game. There's little you can really do to play the Sole Survivor as really evil, at least not as far as any characters recognize (with the game's lack of a Karma Meter, it's now up to you to decide the morality of your actions). You can side with any of the four major factions, but none of them are unambiguously evil. Even though the Institute comes across as the worst overall, you're mostly aiding it to make it less evil.
    • Completely averted in Nuka-World. Ever wanted to be a Raider? Visit Nuka-World! Interview well and you can send the gangs on the rest of the park, and even the Commonwealth!
  • No Canon for the Wicked:
    • The Brotherhood of Steel obviously survived the events of Broken Steel, given they're now powerful enough to potentially take over the Commonwealth and are led by Elder Maxson. This means that the Lone Wanderer chose to nuke the Enclave's Mobile Base Crawler rather than betray the Brotherhood.
    • At one point Megaton is briefly mentioned as having expanded in influence since the time period of Fallout 3, suggesting the Lone Wanderer canonically sided with Megaton over Tenpenny Tower in regards to the nuclear bomb.
    • Also, like in Fallout: New Vegas, the Wasteland Survival Guide by Moira Brown and The Lone Wanderer is one of the skill magazines you can get. This time, some of the copies resembles what you have to do in Fallout 3.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • The game has to very neatly skirt around using the Boston Red Sox since Bethesda Game Studios actually couldn't afford their rights for the game, but they naturally still come up (at least by proxy) since the game is literally set in Boston.
    • Averted with the Cabots, with them being based after the historical Cabot family. The real Cabots came to Beverly, Massachusetts in the 1700s, and were one of the first families amongst the "Boston Brahmins" (the Bostonian elite).
    • The Grandchester Mystery Manor in Nuka-World is pretty obviously based after the Winchester Mystery House.
  • No Fair Cheating: Using mods on the console versions of the game disables Achievements/Trophies. Fair enough. However, because all three versions are essentially the same build, having mods installed on the PC version disables Steam achievements. That said, there is a mod that re-enables them for people with mods installed, but it's PC version only due to requiring the Fallout 4 Script Extender to function.
    • This is averted however, when it comes to console commands on the PC version. Of course, New Vegas attempted to block achievements whenever console commands were used, but as it only applied to the current session, there was nothing stopping a cheater from using the console to make their character a virtual god, saving, then closing the game, only to open it up, load the game, and continue on from there.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Blowing up the Institute will leave a huge irradiated crater where the C.I.T. ruins and its surrounding buildings used to be, but neither the Cambridge Police station nor the civilians right on the other side of the river will be affected by the nuclear detonation at their doorstep.
  • No Entrance: Despite most of the Commonwealth looking for signs of one for decades, an entrance to The Institute was never found, and the only remnants of the original Commonwealth Institute of Technology are bombed-out ruins. [[spoiler That's because The Institute has no physical entrances. Getting in requires teleporting in and out several hundred feet below ground.]]
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In the "Hole in the Wall" quest, you're sent into a secret section of Vault 81 to retrieve a cure for child bitten by a mole rat. The disease isn't just a plot point — it's something you can actually (and probably will) catch unless you're very careful, and it gives a debuff of -10 max health. There's only one sample of the cure, and you can't split it between yourself and the child. If you use the cure, the child will die, and if you don't, the debuff is permanent. Your reward for this quest if you give it to the child? A Syringer rifle that is valuable and rare, but you can acquire one easier if you know where to look. However, maybe you just want the room in the Vault to use as a player house that they give out of gratitude.
  • Non Standard Game Over: This can happen very early on if you spend too much time dallying around Pre-War Sanctuary Hills when the Great War occurs.
  • No OSHA Compliance: At the Dunwich Borers location, many of the terminals in the mine have complaints from the various supervisors in the area that they need safety equipment installed, such as railings and load bearing beams. The management's response to said complaints boils down to "stop falling to your deaths morons!", and complain that safety equipment costs money. Hilariously, during the upcoming holiday event, they also make all the employees pay for it via withholding money on their next paycheck, suggesting the company is either in financial trouble, very greedy, or possibly both. But since judging by what lurks at the bottom of the mine and considering the Dunwich Building in Fallout 3, this may be voluntary...
  • Notice This:
    • If you run out of a crafting component, you can tag it, meaning that items with that component in it have a little magnifying glass next to their name. You can take the trope further by choosing to make such objects (and containers they're in) glow with your HUD color when you get near them.
    • Getting lost in a dungeon? Look for a red light on the wall. In one particularly blatant case, the red light is flashing.
  • Not So Different:
    • The Brotherhood of Steel under Elder Maxson's command have since reverted to their old traditional beliefs utilized by the original West Coast chapter (though they still recruit Wastelanders much like their counterparts from both Tactics and 3) and, with their heightened Fantastic Racism towards non-humans as well as their newly acquired technology after the events of 3, are getting dangerously close to becoming another Enclave.
      • More specifically, Elder Arthur Maxson shares numerous similarities and differences with Colonel Augustus Autumn. Colonel Autumn was a more "liberal" member of President Eden's Enclave, while Elder Maxson is a reactionary member of Owyn Lyons' Brotherhood. They're also both conquerors who want to bring order to the Wasteland "for the good of the people" (although Maxson comes across as far more self-aware about the implications than Autumn ever did), and are easily recognizable by their signature Badass Longcoats. However, they still differ by Maxson trying to maintain a neutral relationship with Wastelanders instead of Autumn just shooting them on sight for crossing his path. Maxson is also never cruel for cruelty's sake, keeps his word when he gives it, and can be sometimes convinced to be more compassionate by a charismatic Sole Survivor. Autumn, by contrast, randomly shot hostages to make a point and had a habit of pulling You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
      • The main difference between the two is the Brotherhood is against any non-human that threatens the life of humans - and especially if the non-human is the result of humans playing God. Their belief that it was the irresponsible use of technology that nearly led to the extinction of the human race, is a huge factor in this. It comes as no surprise that they view Super Mutants and Synths as crimes against nature. While feral Ghouls are acceptable targets - due to how dangerous they are, the Fantastic Racism can be played straight on an individual basis, with normal Ghouls. The Enclave, on the other hand, took this human purity Up to Eleven. Not only did they hate anything that wasn't human, they even hated humans who have had their "purity" altered by only two or three generations of ambient radiation.
      • The Enclave is made up of the descendants from the same lovely government that thought the vault experiments, FEV, and Robobrain projects were a great idea. So, not only do they believe they're the rightful rulers and citizens of what used to be the United States, but they also believe that everybody currently living there, is just as disposable. The Brotherhood on the other hand, basically believes that it's their duty to clean up the results of The Great War and the FEV experiments, and to prevent any further irresponsible use of technology that could threaten humanity. Most of the time, this is considered pretty noble. Nobody's going to shed a tear over fewer super mutants and ferals. However, the Brotherhood doesn't really put much effort into telling the difference between ferals and sentient ghouls, and Synths simply illustrate the one major flaw in their beliefs. After all, they're both a case of science going too far, and a threat to humanity. But they're also basically human beings themselves.
    • Of all things, this can happen between the player and a Deathclaw. The Museum of Witchcraft contains a leveled Deathclaw, which, after it's probably killed by the player, has an unhatched Deathclaw Egg nearby. If the player chooses to return the egg, they're put in a similar situation to the Deathclaw at the nest- having their spouse killed and their child kidnapped (and found again).
    • Likewise, potentially between you and Kellogg, who also suffered the loss of his wife and child after being helpless to protect them; the key difference is that instead of bouncing back, he let his depression get the best of him and became a completely cold-hearted killer. One of the dialog options after seeing this is to lampshade it and decide whether or not you want to cut him a little slack.
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel and the Institute themselves are more similar than either faction would be comfortable to admit. Both factions rely on superior technology and limiting interaction with the locals (In the Institute's case they're the Commonwealth's boogeymen, in the Brotherhood it is mentioned that unauthorized fraternizing with Wastelanders is a punishable offense), both believe they're the best hope for the Commonwealth (and by extension, the rest of the post-apocalyptic world}, and both see Synths as less than human - though in the Brotherhood's case they see them as abominations to be exterminated while the Institute sees them as mere tools with no actual free will.
    • The Institute bears a worrying amount of similarities to Caesar's Legion. On the one hand, they're at complete opposite sides of the tech spectrum (the Institute are a cabal of Mad Scientists and the Legion are textbook Evil Luddites), and the Legion is happier with naked military conquest while the Institute's lack of resources means they have to rely on more subtle methods of control. On the other hand, both societies are heavily reliant on slave labor, with their military and work forces being seen as expendable. Both also display a high-minded contempt for both outsiders and those they deem as "primitive", and are fans of annihilating the past and cultural identities of the peoples they conquer/rule over. They also incorporate the more useful elements/peoples of the societies they conquer - Caesar recruited numerous members of the Denver Hangdog tribe for use as hound-masters, and the Institute will accept skilled Wastelanders into their organization. Finally, they both have the capability of infiltrating and subverting enemy organizations with a disturbing amount of ease.
    • The Commonwealth Minutemen share many similarities with the New California Republic. Both are (largely) benevolent organizations made up of ordinary Wastelanders that evoke optimistic and benevolent memories of the Pre-War United States. Both are also handicapped by awkward command structures that impede their progress in important regions (the Commonwealth and Mojave, respectively). They also started out as the weak alliances of a few small settlements that become something much more powerful over time.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Averted if you have Power Armor. In some of the skyscrapers, players often amuse themselves by jumping off the top. Or waiting for a band of Raiders and Feral Ghouls to pass through down below and do a Dynamic Entry on the rabble.
    • Reading terminals on the Prydwen will mention that the Brotherhood has turned this into a game, involving jumping off said airship.
  • Nuclear Nasty: Fallout 4 features many of the same grotesquely mutated creatures from previous games, such as giant Mole Rats, Yao Guai, Deathclaws, Radroaches, Bloatflies, Ghouls, and Super Mutants. It also introduces two new creatures - the Bloodbug, a monstrous insect mutated from the common mosquito, and the Stingwing, a giant, mutated, actually venomous scorpionfly.
  • Nuclear Option: In order to halt the Institute from bring terror upon the Commonwealth with their synthetic humans, you must nuke the entire facility to shut down the Institute for good. The quest name is also called "The Nuclear Option". The other option is to join the Institute and change it by becoming the Director of the Institute itself.
  • Nuke 'em: The Fat Man nuclear catapult returns.
    • Taken to the extreme with the MIRV Mod - similar to Fallout 3, it make the Fat Man fire multiple, in this case six mini-nukes at once. And it can be applied to a legendary Fat Man known as the Big Boy, which fires two mini nukes for the price of one, meaning you can rain down twelve rounds of atomic fire for the price of one. Deathclaws will wish that they had brought their brown pants.
    • The Nuka-World-exclusive Nuka-Nuke Launcher can't be outfitted with the MIRV mod but compensates for its lack of carpet-bombing capabilities with a 50% increase to the regular Fat Man's already ridiculously ginormous damage output. It also retains the standard version's longer range. The downsides: It shoots special Nuka-Nukes that must be crafted from regular Mini-Nukes, and it requires completing an annoying collection sidequest in order to gain access to it.
    • Players who are unwilling to lug around the very heavy Fat Man will have a lot of fun with the far handier Nuka Grenades. While these are somewhat weaker than mini-nukes, their damage output is still monstrous for something so small.
    • Last but not least, there's no nastier surprise than suddenly hearing the rapid fuse countdown of a Nuke Mine hidden somewhere in the underbrush...
  • Obliviously Evil: The Mechanist is convinced they are "saving" the people of the Commonwealth with their robot army. It takes some convincing from Ada and the Sole Survivor that A.I. Is a Crapshoot and their robobrains are deliberately misinterpreting orders and murdering civilians.
    • Considering that the ones doing the interpretation have human brains, it's more along the lines of Humans Are Bastards.
  • Obvious Beta:
    • The 1.3 patch, in addition to a variety of cross-platform bug fixes and feature tweaks, promised to dramatically increase object fading distances on consoles. This was not a game-breaker, but if the developers could not find the time to fully optimise the game for fixed, well-known, popular platforms before release, then they may have been rushing it a bit.
    • When the Far Harbor DLC was released, it had much worse performance on PS4 than on Xbox One, mainly because of different handling of the fog effects. This was eventually fixed.
    • The game itself has delicate zone geometry compared to any of the previous Bethesda games or even other mainstream Wide Open Sandbox, especially in the Boston downtown area, where many of the buildings have multiple levels and non-separate interiors. This, on top of the denser Commonwealth world design (where the Commonwealth lacks miles of open fields commonly seen in previous Bethesda games), larger base texture and addition of new special effects like Godrays, results in an uneven framerate no matter which version you play. Tinkering with the settings of the PC version or installing mods that reduces several clutter objects might help somewhat, but another technique called "Previs" or "Precombine" might cause issue with pre-rendered static objects, which, if wasn't handled carefully, might lead to things like objects popping up and disappearing, appears "stacked" on top of each other, to downright crashes.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: You no longer get EXP from enemies who die solely at the hands of your companions. The days of sitting back and letting Boone snipe enemies to death before you even knew they were there for free EXP are over. Though, fortunately, if you get at least one legitimate hit in, you still get the EXP. Or completing quests, doing stuff that requires skills such as lockpicking, hacking, also building settlements where every part awards EXP.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Your companions will do this to catch up to you if you wander too far away from them. Hilariously they can also spawn in mid-air if you're exploring the roof of a tall building, and fall to the ground, though thankfully this doesn't kill them. Keep in mind enemies and NPC's are capable of this as well, if you're far enough from them, and not looking at them at the moment, which may allow enemies to bypass some of your defenses in your settlements.
    • Becomes especially humorous with the game's frequent elevators. Your companions' AI normally isn't smart enough to have them get into the elevator with you, but if you activate the elevator and then turn around 360° they will magically be behind you.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Everyone in the Pre-War scene has this reaction when the news announces confirmed reports of nuclear detonations along the Eastern Seaboard. Even Codsworth sounds scared and the Sole Survivor and their spouse literally run for the hills to reach Vault 111 before the bomb hits. In fact, the elevator descends in to the vault just as the blast wave reaches the vault.
    • Nick has this reaction on finding out you have to go into the Glowing Sea. He remarks that he will be fine. You, on the other hand... And X6-88's reaction when you're there ?
    • At certain points NPCs panic when boss level enemies show up (the raiders at Concord when the Deathclaw shows up or the Minutemen when the Mirelurk Queen attacks the Castle).
    • Your companions' reactions upon seeing the Brotherhood of Steel's Prydwen roll into town.
    • Your companions almost universally freak when confronted with an Assaultron:
    Hancock: Hey there beautifu... Oh shit! Assaultron!
    MacCready: Assaultron! Take cover!
    Danse: Assaultron! Watch for heavy fire!
    Cait: Who built shite like this?!
    Deacon: Assaultron... not good.
    Piper: Hey, Assaultron over here! Watch yourself!
    Preston: Look out for the eye laser, it packs a punch!
  • Omnicidal Neutral: Averted for the base game where the player is forced to join either of the four main factions in order to finish the main quest line. Played straight for the two story DLCs, however, both of which provide dedicated quest options for going omnicidal on every single raider outfit in Nuka-World, or straight-up everyone on the island of Far Harbor, respectively.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: The Science! perk allows the Sole Survivor to make several mechanical and highly advanced mods, and even some chems, but then again, in the world of Fallout, science really is a sort of magic.
    • Averted for Virgil, who points out that he's a bit sketchy about the details in his teleportation schematics, since he was in the bio-engineering branch of the Institute. He might be better described as an Omnidisciplinary Engineer, since not knowing the details of how it works doesn't prevent him from designing something that does work.
  • Once per Episode: Numerous elements from previous Fallout games return in the fourth entry.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The Ricochet perk has a chance of making bullets that hit the player fly back to the attacker... killing the attacker instantly.
    • Once you're at a high enough level with the right perks and upgraded weaponry, you can do this regularly against lower level enemies, especially if it's a sneak attack.
  • One-Hit Polykill: A projectile that does enough damage to kill its target, will continue travelling, and hit anything behind it. If another target is behind it, this can be the result.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: Melee weapons held in two hands when on foot get held by just one hand while in power armor in 3rd-person view.
  • One-Man Army: The Sole Survivor if you travel without a companion, or with just Dogmeat.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Ghouls can now still survive and fight with their limbs severed. If you take off a leg, though, they become totally helpless, only wriggling about on the ground until you finish them off.
  • Only in It for the Money: Mags, William, Lizzie, and the rest of the Operators have one goal, and ONLY one goal in mind for taking over the Nuka-World theme park: Making as many caps as they possibly can.
  • Only Sane Man: While they can be sarcastic, questioning, or pleasant, the Sole Survivor tends to act in a very calm and subdued manner compared to just about everyone else around them. Likewise, their complaints and insults tend to be right on the money for how bizarre and idiotic a lot of the post-Great War stuff around them is. For example, one of the player characters responses is to call Moe a dumbass after Moe explains that baseball used to be played by teams beating each other to death with "swatters." When not making a choice, they tend to be a calm and pleasant person, offput by the utter weirdos surrounding them. Given they're the only survivor of the Pre-War era except for ghouls, Mister House, Cabot, and Braun, this shouldn't be surprising.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: The pre-war AEP/AER-series military issue laser weapons from Fallout 3 and New Vegas return, but the Institute introduces their own lasers. They're considerably bulkier-looking, have highly beveled edges on their primarily plastic casings instead of metal like the AEP/AER, and are actually inferior to the Pre-War lasers (to start; after upgrades, they're nearly identical).
  • Outlaw Town: In the Nuka World DLC, the area around the entrance of the titular amusement park has been taken over by an alliance of raider gangs, who enslaved the former settlers. They were prepared to take over the rest of the park, but were unable due to a combination of it being infested by various dangerous creatures and machines as well as their Overboss getting lazy. While it's primarily populated by raiders, they are willing to do business with outsiders provided that they have money.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: There are hints of Lovecraftian horror to be found out in the Commonwealth, most especially the quest line involving Cabot House.
  • Out with a Bang: Taking this trope to its most literal extreme, in one of the abandoned buildings in the wasteland, there are a pair of skeletons intertwined in each other's arms. Their positioning indicates that the woman was being ravished by her lover the very moment the bomb fell. He still has most of his clothes on, but she has none.
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: Thanks to level scaling, humanoid enemies can end up with truly absurd health values by the endgame, or even the mid game if you do a lot of sidequests, with a basic trooper able to take 10 .50 BMG rounds to the face and keep going. However, their guns generally don't level up anywhere near as fast (especially the Institute forces who only ever use variants of a single weapon), probably to encourage the player to craft weapons rather than take them from enemies. The result is this trope, as past a certain point every enemy takes ages to kill but can most can barely hurt you, especially if you have Powered Armor.
  • Painted-On Pants: Most of the clothing that counts as underclothes is also skin tight, most notably the Vault jumpsuit, but the BoS uniform, road leathers and the undershirt and jeans are all skin tight.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe. The constant fear over family members and friends being replaced with Institute Synth infiltrators keeps the Commonwealth in a state of paranoia. This also counts the player's/Minutemen's Settlements.
    • It gets worse when you start poking around through Institute terminals and find that they've made synthetic birds, which they use as living spy drones. The Institute, literally, has eyes and ears everywhere.
    • As you progress through the main quest, you have to have Nick Valentine probe through Kellogg's memories. After you finish, the first thing Nick says to you is "I should have killed you when I had the chance" in Kellogg's voice. It's never brought up again, but for the rest of the game you'll be left wondering if the psycho who murdered your spouse is lurking somewhere within the Synth detective's mind, waiting for his chance to get revenge from beyond the grave...
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": One way to get into Boston Public Library is to enter an employee ID number. If the Sole Survivor guesses "123456", the entry system says "Hello Mister Mayor!"
  • Patriotic Fervor: Downplayed, but the Minutemen and Railroad in their own ways invoke benevolent memories of Pre-War America in their own ways. Whether it's the Revolutionary War for the former or the Civil War and fight against (synth) slavery in the latter.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Averted with the 20 Vault-Tec Bobbleheads this time around. Previous games had a few missable ones which were located in non-returnable locations. All of the ones in this game can be found no matter what quests or actions have been accomplished.
    • Played straight with some unique weapons/armor that are only sold by specific vendors. If they're killed, the items will no longer be available.
    • There are several corpses scattered around the wasteland that contain unique keys and holotapes, or exist as set dressing to help tell a story during a quest. Unfortunately, many are set to despawn or simply vanish, along with their unique contents, if you entered the general area and then left without looting them.
    • Various random encounters can occur at hotspots all over the map. They will happen at these set locations even if you're just skirting the periphery, distracted by other things. This means potentially unique encounters can play out unnoticed by the player, never to be seen again. Wandering NPCs that can be recruited as level 4 settlement vendors can appear to die off-screen without the player even being aware of them, because they were killed by enemies at the very edge of the currently loaded area.
    • There is a collectible magazine located inside the Institute. If you end up destroying the Institute before you have the chance to collect it, it's gone.
  • Percussive Maintenance: An Idle Animation that occurs when the Pip-Boy is up has the Survivor smack it twice, presumably to fix bugs.
  • Personal Space Invader: Bloodbugs can grab ahold of people from the front and then suck out blood through their probosces.
  • Pet the Dog: Both the Institute and East Coast Brotherhood of Steel have their moments, which helps reinforce the game's Grey-and-Gray Morality.
    • While Elder Maxson's vicious rant when confronting Paladin Danse is at first a straight-forward Kick the Dog moment, he can be talked down and convinced to simply exile Danse from the Brotherhood instead of having him executed.
    • After the Institute got the unmutated cells they needed from Shaun so as to create Gen 3 Synths, they accepted him as their own child without prejudice and contempt.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Deliverer, a special issue DIA concealable pistol (looking suspiciously like a certain debonair british secret agent's signature weapon) is a tiny little gun that is superior in performance to the hefty standard-issue N99 10mm pistol it shares a chamber caliber with. The N99 only has range superiority and capacity for a full-auto receiver mod in its advantage.
  • Pistol Whip: You can now smack your enemies with your firearms. You can even give your guns special mods such as bayonets in order to increase their melee damage and can upgrade the damage with the Basher perks.
  • Playing Possum: Feral Ghouls can often be found pretending to be corpses, often lying near actual corpses, only to get up when the player approaches. This has he benefit of allowing a fast or sneaky player to kill one before it can retaliate. However, where there's one there's usually two or three more, and you usually won't catch all of them in time. This becomes a lot easier to deal with if you have power armor fitted with a targeting HUD mod for your helmet, since the ghouls playing possum will be glowing red and you can easily pick them off.
  • Player Headquarters: Much like Bethesda's previous games the player can get several homes scattered across post-War Boston. They are Home Plate in Diamond City, the USS Constitution's Captain's Quarters, a room in Vault 81, the Institute, Listening Post Bravo, and the Prydwen. Unlike Bethesda's previous games, only the Home Plate is able to be bought for a steep 2000 caps as the rest are quest related and none can be improved as what you see is what you get. It's more likely that your settlements will become your major hubs as you'll have to put a ton of effort into them but the other places provide a good rest stop in Survival Mode.
    • The Vault 81 room is perhaps the worst of these as it involves you doing the frustrating "Hole In The Wall" quest to save a child's life while simultaneously dealing with infected mole rats that will give you the same disease and shave off 10 hit points off your total. The quest is bugged so a companion will give it to you when they get bit (and they will). The room is a dim and dingy supply room that, again, can't be improved.
  • Point of No Return: When it comes to the main storyline, it's a polite event horizon, since the quest that locks you in one faction's path typically involves killing your contacts in another faction, which tends to make reconciliation afterwards impossible. Subverted for The Minutemen path, which is like the Wild Card Ending of New Vegas, since it's always available as an option and no faction will target them.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Legendary weapons can randomly have this as their effect. Depending on how the RNG feels this could either be quite a nice bonus, fun, but impractical or needless overkill. For players that don't want to rely on random drops from legendary enemies the Far Harbor DLC also adds a recipe for poisoned caltrops at crafting stations.
  • Police Are Useless: Oh boy...
    • Diamond City Security, though well-meaning and not really at fault themselves, is incapable of handling anything worse than a bar brawl. They're forbidden from investigating the numerous counts of missing citizens by order of the mayor himself (both because he's an Institute agent and an all-around Jerkass), so if one of your loved ones suddenly disappears, you're on your own. If one of your loved ones suddenly shows even the slightest bit of odd behaviour, chances are either him/her or yourself get shot dead by DC guards in their attempt to maintain the illusion of normalcy. These guys don't fare much better against open assaults on the city either, seeing how the territory around Diamond City is held by Super Mutants and a couple of Raider gangs. In fact, an important part of the game's backstory involves the "Battle of Diamond City," where the Commonwealth Minutemen pulled a Big Damn Heroes moment and saved the whole city from a huge horde of Super Mutants, putting themselves on the map largely due to the DC guard's incompetence. DC guards only carry weak pipe guns at best and rely on ancient baseball gear for protection, so while they can hold their ground in the beginning, they invariably get slaughtered in droves once the more powerful enemy types show up.
    • The robotic security detail of Vault 118 might as well not even be there when it comes to keeping the peace among the residents. The vault is populated by wealthy Pre-War citizens who had their brains transferred into Robobrain chassis in order to wait out the nuclear apocalypse. Robobrains are heavy and highly visible machines that move on very loud tracks, yet one of them managed to kill another by smashing its brain dome apart with a baseball bat, right in the middle of the Vault's largest room, without any of the half dozen Protectrons on patrol taking note. Whatever the reason for this lapse might be (hacking, bad programming, general uselessness), it's really no wonder they needed to call in an outside investigator to find the killer.
    • The Brotherhood of Steel fancy themselves the wasteland's Big Good, the Commonwealth's only bastion against evil, and humanity's last hope for survival. In reality, they can't even figure out how tons of supplies manage to disappear from their stockpiles without anyone being the wiser. Hell, many of them refuse to believe the supplies actually are vanishing; those inspired individuals blame sloppy accounting for the discrepancies. It again needs an outsider to uncover that one of their own initiates is nicking food by the pallet to feed some Feral Ghouls below the airport they use as their main base, right under their collective noses.
  • Polyamory: In what has been stated by Word of God to be intentional, it's possible to carry on multiple romantic relationships with your Companions. Apparently, they don't sweat this sort of thing in the Commonwealth. This fan theory is further supported by the programming in the game sometimes resulting in multiple people all going to sleep on the same mattress at night.
    • Actually attempting to conduct a polyamorous relationship can be difficult, since many of the romanceable companions still get jealous if you flirt with someone else in front of them.
      • The option to flirt arises a maximum of four times per companion, is clearly labelled and imposes a measly penalty of -30 approval each... out of up to 1100 points for a fully romanced companion. Knowing that, it's actually quite difficult to endanger an existing romance by trying to hook up with someone else. Earn two "Liked this" or one "Loved this" from the offended partner and any flirt is Easily Forgiven.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: Dogmeat, as usual.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation:
    • If you take the Minutemen ending path, but have antagonized the Brotherhood of Steel along the way, the Minutemen will go to war with the BoS in the post-endgame after the defeat of the Institute. This involves using a combined artillery strike from all of your settlements to shoot down the Prydwen, then defending the Castle from the final assault from the remaining Brotherhood army. Unlike the Railroad ending path, going to war with the Brotherhood as the Minutemen is entirely optional. If you complete the game without making them enemies, they'll instead just be miffed that you didn't invite them to the party.
    • A war between the Minutemen and the Railroad is also possible after the main quest, if you failed to order evacuation of the Institute. The Railroad does not directly attack the Castle, but its members become hostile, and the Railroad now can only be destroyed.
  • Post-End Game Content: The game doesn't end with the main story, unlike Fallout 1, 3 (sans Broken Steel), and New Vegas.
  • Powered Armor: Power Armor, high tech suits that grant increased strength, radiation shielding, and so forth, make a return. Unlike previous games, Power Armor is no longer an inventory-stored apparel item, but a big, methodically plodding wearable tank that you have to climb into and out of, and potentially leave behind. Or, better yet, you can leave it in your home or the garage.
  • Power Creep:
    • Before Automatron, Codsworth and Curie(without her Synth body) were some of the weakest followers, Dogmeat being the top spot. The reasons for this were twofold; firstly due to having standard Mr. Handy weapons while nearly every else could equip new weapons, secondly for being stuck with their normal bodies while other followers could have clothes and better armors. After it was released, the new Robot modifications easily put Codsworth and Curie at the top of the line in terms of power and utility.
    • Baseball Bats and Sledgehammers are strong and viable weapons in themselves, but still weaker than the Super Sledge weapon class. With the Nuka-World DLC, both weapons get new "Rocket" powered mods that grant them superior damage to any Super Sledge.
  • Power-Up Food: Lots of food items in this game give extra benefits beyond restoring health, especially if you cook them in a cooking station. The supreme king of this trope is probably the Nuka-Cide, a refreshing beverage from the Nuka-World DLC that heals a massive 1200 hp, restores 300 AP, and temporarily raises your max HP by 50, your max AP by 20, your Rad Resistance by 35, and your carry capacity by 35. Of course, it's Too Awesome to Use given that you've got to lug back a dozen or so Nuka-Colas of various types to a mixing machine just to make one.
  • Precision F-Strike: Occasionally dropped by the Player Character, usually in particularly emotional situations. Often doubles as a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner.
    Protagonist: Ready to fuck some shit up? (to their trusty Canine Companion in the pre-release trailer)
    Protagonist: Fuck you, Kellogg!
    Protagonist: Where the fuck is my son, you bastard? (also to Kellogg, in the same conversation)
    Protagonist: RAAAAGH! Fucking kill! (when taking Psycho)
  • Preferable Impersonator: One quest revolves around The Institute Killing and Replacing a homesteader with a Synth. The original homesteader was a belligerent drunk who beat his wife and kids, and although they don't know the reason why, his kids will tell you that he suddenly became a lot nicer a short time ago.
  • Prequel: Subverted. The game appears to be this way for the first half-hour (just before the Great War nukes obliterate the world). However, once you're brought into a cryogenic stasis chamber for purification, you remain stuck in there till 10 years after Fallout 3.
  • Principles Zealot: The Brotherhood of Steel has more or less become this. While Elder Maxson insists on upholding the old ways Elder Lyons sought to change, he nonetheless still believes that the Brotherhood's policies are for the good of the Commonwealth. They still are willing to recruit Wastelanders into their ranks, though.
  • Produce Pelting: You can find the signs of such an incident in a Raider-infested speakeasy near Andrew Station. Some Tatos and several red blotches dot the stage inside. As well as a corpse on the stage that looks like it took a blow from the front.
  • The Promised Land: Preston Garvey is leading a group of refugees in search of a Sanctuary one of them has seen in a vision. It turns out to be Sanctuary Hills, the cul-de-sac housing development the protagonist lived in before the War. To the protagonist, it's the ruins of their relatively ideal life, but to the refugees, it's a defensible spot with reparable houses, so whether it's the played straight or crapsack version is a matter of perspective.
  • Punny Name: Old Man Stockton. Stockton is a style of lantern, a lantern is the symbol of the Railroad, and Old Man Stockton secretly operates the biggest Railroad safehouse in the Commonwealth.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender:
    • Played straight in general. Not only does the player character's gender have no effect on their stats, it doesn't even have an effect on who you can sleep with this time around.
    • Averted with the perks Lady Killer (for males) and Black Widow (for females), which allow the player to do more damage against human enemies of the opposite gender and make persuading them through dialog easier. As there are more generic male enemies in the game, this provides a slight advantage to a female Player Character. However, it's toned down from the previous games since female Raiders and Gunners are just as common as the male.
    • Averted a bit in some atmospheric comments made by settlers in the Commonwealth. For example, some Diamond City security officers may catcall a female Survivor, though you can't react to the comments in most cases.

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