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Fallout 4 provides examples of the following tropes:

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    Q 
  • The Quisling: Clint, whom you can find in the Quincy Ruins. He was originally one of the Minutemen. But when he saw how few of them showed up to defend Quincy, mostly due to the severe infighting the group was going through due to lack of a charismatic leader, he saw the writing on the wall, and promptly defected to the Gunners. He also revealed the highway overpass above the town, which allowed the Gunners to quickly overwhelm the remaining Minutemen along with many of the citizens there, which later became known as the "Quincy Massacre" when Preston talks to you about it. As a result of this, he is given command of the Gunners stationed in Quincy. Though there's no actual quest or dialogue related to it, you can thankfully dish out a massacre of your own when you kill all the Gunners there, including Clint. If Preston is with you, you get a "Preston Loved That" each time you kill one of the Gunner leaders, there, including Clint.
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    R 
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: Ghouls, naturally, as well as Super Mutants. Your character can also become one of these with the endurance level 9 perk Ghoulish, which makes the radiation poisoning of the wasteland actually heal you.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Utilities seem to have held up remarkably well, given both a nuclear war and over 200 years of neglect. Some buildings still have working water fountains, lights, and computer terminals. Even recorded announcements from before the Great War are ridiculously common. Implicitly justified, with it being all but stated that Boston was especially "prepared for the future", even when compared to other American cities.
    • Possibly Exaggerated with the USS Constitution. It's astonishing that after a nuke going off somewhere south of Fort Hagen and at least 210 years since her last restoration (and who knows how much time there was between that and the Great War) that she's still (mostly) in one piece, with only a single hole in her hull and her copper sheathing missing.And that's not taking into account that she crash-landed into a building, and that she can end up crashing into yet another building, yet still more or less be in the same shape you found her in.
    • A number of places in the Commonwealth are also shown to have survived by design, whether it's the time capsule in Jamaica Plain or the pyramid-shaped, radiation hardened Sentinel Site in the Glowing Sea.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Your potential companions are a sassy and snarky news reporter, a stuffy British robo-butler, a Nice Guy militia soldier, a 100 year old prototype Synth detective, a Brotherhood Paladin who hates Synths (unaware that he's one himself), a charmingly naive medical robot, a breezy Railroad operative who's also a Consummate Liar, a tough-as-nails female Irish pit fighter, a Ghoul drug addict who's modeled his new identity on John Hancock, a mercenary sniper with a surprisingly kind heart, a psychotic Super Mutant Noble Savage, an Institute Courser, a customizable robot with free will, an old cynical survivalist who has seen it all, a one-eyed Raider, and a dog. The only thing tying them together is loyalty to the Sole Survivor and some of them can only barely tolerate each other.
  • Random Drops: The equipment you get from defeating a legendary enemy.
  • Random Number God: The odds that the above drop is actually something good that you can use.
  • Real Is Brown: Refreshingly averted. Unlike in previous Fallout games, much of the landscape in the Commonwealth is not stuck to a limited color palette. Things like neon signs, a brightly-painted Vault door, vibrant Pre-War vehicles and even toys add color to the blighted yet bright gray-brown scenery of the Wasteland. The Pre-War scenes are even more colorful.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Stealth Boys and a certain legendary armor mod turn the wearer invisible. Awesomeness by all means! ...Until you realize that the effect also extends to the Survivor's weapons including any type of analogue sights. Have fun sniping baddies with those crosshairs you can't see anymore.
    • Despite their positive intentions, the Commonwealth Minutemen's weak command structure led to over-extension and a huge decline in regional power & influence. It has gotten to the point that when the story starts, there's only one active Minuteman left in the entire Commonwealth.
    • After establishing the first few Minutemen settlements, the Sole Survivor should prepare for a series of attacks by Raiders, Gunners, Super Mutants, and other threats. Considering how radio beacons are used to spread the influence of settlements, the knowledge of new & relatively rich towns now open for plundering spreads fast in the Commonwealth.
    • The Railroad's secret password to get into their secret headquarters is... "Railroad". When the Sole Survivor mentions to the Railroad's leaders about how that isn't a good password, they justify it by pointing out not that many Wastelanders are literate.
    • The game provides an Author's Saving Throw on the wasteland still being, well, a wasteland, 200 years after the war, by showing just how difficult rebuilding civilization is. It takes a lot of time, money, and supplies to build up a settlement of even just a dozen people who can be self-sustaining, never mind setting up mercantile shops, running caravan routes between settlements, and defending the populace from attacks. The Player Character also has the benefits of Acceptable Breaks from Reality in doing this: the knowledge of how to construct power generators, water pumps, and shelters, being able to do so instantly, and being able to quickly identify junk components needed for the task. Wasteland civilians who obviously would have to do these things realistically would find it much, much more difficult and time-consuming.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • The protagonist is over 210 years old, thanks to becoming a Human Popsicle inside their Vault.
    • As all Ghouls are The Ageless, you can encounter a few who lived before the war, including the Vault-Tec Rep you met during the prologue.
    • The entire Cabot family, due to a mysterious anti-aging serum.
    • Kellogg, due to cybernetic enhancements.
    • DiMA has been around for so long that he has long ago exhausted his ability to store memories inside his own frame.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Nick Valentine doesn't just tolerate your sarcasm; he usually finds it refreshing. However, in the Far Harbor DLC, if you're sarcastic if and when DiMA is executed for crimes against the Harbor, he'll put you in your place.
    Nick Valentine: You know, why don't you just shut the hell up for once? I swear, you care more about sounding smart sometimes than you do about who has to listen to it.
    • Preston Garvey goes ballistic on the Sole Survivor's ass if the latter took over a Commonwealth settlement for a Nuka-World Raider gang.
    • Father and the Sole Survivor can give these to each other a few times. Siding against the Institute immediately after the Battle of Bunker Hill will have Father inform you he never imagined you'd actually do something so stupid, while the Sole Survivor can respond they've been waiting their entire life to see what he'd be like as an adult, only to find the end result incredibly disappointing. Somewhat inverted during the endgame conversation with a hostile Father where, instead of listing all the reasons the Institute is wrong, the player can instead essentially say "After all the misery you've caused, you still can't imagine I'd fight you?!"
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Sentry Bots' "eyes" now glow brightly with an ominous red light, which is more apparent during the night. They probably have this as an illuminator for their IR sensors. This includes Sentry Bots you can build in Automatron as a follower/settler.
    • Plot point for the "Red Death" monster in Far Harbor. Hilariously subverted because it is actually a tiny Mirelurk.
    • Bloodrage Mirelurks (that can spawn if Far Harbor is installed) also have glowing red eyes, though not as bright as the Glowing Mirelurk variants.
  • Relationship Values: All companions have actions they like or dislike. For example, cannibalism only sits well with a few of them. If you do enough actions that they approve of, it unlocks a unique companion perk (though some of them require completing the companion's personal Sidequest).
  • Retcon:
    • A minor one, if it even is one. In Fallout 2, it's stated the Vertibird was in the early prototype stage when the nukes fell, being a full eight years short of expected deployment. This is re-stated in Fallout 3 with the display at the museum of aerospace. The Enclave finished development, did the field testing, and mass-produced them. Fallout 4 shows at least 2 Vertibirds in active service as of 2077: one seen during the prologue flying over Sanctuary and landing at Vault 111; another one, possibly the same one seen outside Vault 111, was in full deployment with US Army soldiers when it crashed over the Museum of Freedom thanks to the EMP from the nuclear detonation. However, since it's already been established that the prototype stage had limited production runs during the Anchorage Reclamation, there were also likely "homefront" prototypes during 2077.
    • Power Armor also suffers from this, for better and for worse. They are the walking tanks of destruction that they're made out to be, and you're immune to fall damage. But due to the integrated micro cold fusion reactor being completely out of fuel, you are limited to using Fusion Cores in order to make them work at full capacity. As a Mythology Gag to the unreleased Van Buren, the use of Fusion Cores are utterly energy inefficient and they drain within about 20 real-World minutes depending on the activity. Not only that, but all six armor "pieces" have their own durability and can break off the frame once they're damaged enough. Calling back to the original Fallout 1 & 2, the Power Armor Training perk is no longer a requirement to use it, which means anyone and everyone can and will use them if they find a suit that still has a fusion core in it.
      • Also, the T-60 model was never mentioned before Fallout 4, with all previous games stating that the T-51b was the pinnacle of Pre-War Power Armor. In game, the T-60 is mechanically superior. The fan theory that the T-60 is a Brotherhood of Steel modification to the T-45 is thrown out the window by the two guards wearing T-60 suits outside Vault 111 in the prologue. Some of the terminals encountered throughout the game suggest that the T-60 was a Super Prototype developed before the Great War and was intended to replace the T-51b before the nuclear apocalypse intervened. It's also stated that the T-60 isn't a wholly new model, instead being more of a refined upgrade on the T-45. Relatedly, the Brotherhood's use of the T-60 is explained as being due to them recovering schematics & learning how to effectively recreate/reproduce them.
    • Another extremely minor one. Fallout 3's Wilson Automatoys, the company that produced the Giddyup Buttercup robot ponies, changed their name slightly to Wilson Atomatoys, swapping out an automotive pun for an atomic one.
    • Originally, the chem Jet was invented by Myron, a companion in Fallout 2. While Fallout 4 doesn't imply a different inventor, it is mentioned as one of the drugs that Vault 95 was being sent a supply of during it's construction. One of the possibilities brought up is that Jet was originally a Pre-War combat drug, and the version of Jet developed by Myron is a post-apocalyptic equivalent. Considering how the drug's crafting recipe is pretty much poop fumes (fertilizer & plastic), this seems pretty likely.
  • Retired Badass:
    • The male protagonist is a recently retired soldier getting ready to go to a Veteran's Meeting before the world ended, explaining his ability to build turrets, houses, custom weapons and mix and match Powered Armor. They even say that because war never changes, they're ready to tackle whatever the wasteland throws at them.
    • The female protagonist is only explicitly stated to have gotten a law degree, though Vault-Tec rep's unwillingness to speak to your spouse about being selected for Vault 111 due to "your family's service to the country", and the female protagonist's matching skills imply a military or government background of some kind.
  • Retirony: In the BADTFL offices, Da Chief's computer has a journal entry that's looking forward to his retirement in 3 days... made on the day the bombs fell.
  • Retraux: The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. videos are all done in the style of 1950s public service announcements, right down to the film rot.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: If you side with the Scavengers and betray the USS Constitution robotic crew by sabotaging them, the Scavengers tell you that they've decided to keep the reward for themselves before turning on you.
  • Rewrite: There have always been some inconsistencies as to exactly when the Great War started throughout all of the Fallout franchise. The only solid fact is that it happened on October 23rd, 2077. All the clocks in the Capital Wastelands in Fallout 3 are frozen at 9:47, with log files suggesting the AM. Clocks in New Vegas are also frozen at 9:47, but this is a case of just reusing textures from 3. Log files in Little Lamplight suggest the bombs fell between 2-3 PM, and the Dead Money and Old World Blues DLCs in New Vegas suggests the bombs fell at night on the west coast. This game reestablishes that the bombs fell on the east coast at 9:47 AM, though Pennsylvania and New York were hit at 9:42, 5 minutes earlier, and would have been around 6:45AM, about a half hour before sunrise, on the west coast.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Building structures involves gathering the necessary items, and constructing them is instantaneous.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: As evidenced by the terminal in Gwinnett Brewery, a pint of beer cost $39 in 2077, and nearly $200 for a six-pack. Coffee and a donut was proudly advertised for $30, while printed magazines ranged from $30 to $39. Gwinnett Brewery sold shot-glasses and Fun TShirts for less than the glass of beer.
    • The Harbor Grand Hotel in Far Harbor charged $118,764.32 per day (including taxes and fees) for one of its rooms.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The Institute's third-generation Synths are Blade Runner-esque artificial humans, practically indistinguishable from regular people. They're so humanlike that the Railroad exists to emancipate them from slavery to the Institute, giving them memory wipes, cosmetic surgery, and new names to hide them from the Institute's coursers, while the Brotherhood finds them too dangerous to be allowed to exist. Heck, Synths are so ridiculously human-like, there are some characters who aren't even aware they are Synths!
    • Numerous other robotic characters (like Codsworth, Curie, K-L-E0, and Ada) show a surprisingly level of emotion and personality, acting like actual people and not just artificial constructs.
    • Although they're obviously robotic in appearance, Assaultrons were apparently programmed to feel pain, for some reason.
    Dying Assaultron: I can't...feel my legs...
  • Right-Handed/Left-Handed Guns: The hunting rifle is clearly a weapon designed for left-handed people, but the Sole Survivor holds it right-handed. Cue awkward bolt cycling of a left-handed weapon by a right-handed person. The Submachine Gun is also hit with this, as it has it's bolt on the left side, which could be excusable, but the ejection port on the left as well.
  • Roar Before Beating:
    • Many Deathclaws perform one before engaging the player. This can work against them, as it's a prime moment to shoot at their unarmored belly.
    • The Sole Survivor will do this every time they get high on Psycho, usually right before a fight.
  • Rock Beats Laser:
    • The Minutemen taking down the Institute. A squad of low-tech guys taking down hi-tech Synths and Coursers.
    • In the Minutemen's Post-Climax Confrontation should they become enemies with the Brotherhood, the Brotherhood's high-tech airship Prydwen is taken down in a Curb-Stomp Battle by the Minutemen's rather low-tech artillery.
    • The easiest way to uncloak stealthed enemies like Coursers, Assaultron Dominators, or even Chameleon Deathclaws? Toss a Molotov Cocktail at them.
    • If siding as the Railroad, the Brotherhood inevitably decide to knock down your door with a bunch of Knights in power armor. Desdemona tosses you a Railway Rifle, and the damage on it is so obscene it can easily destroy most power-suited BoS enemies in three shots, two if you've leveled up the "Rifleman" perk. It's pretty much a steam powered railgun.
  • Rocket-Powered Weapon:
  • Robbing the Dead:
    • The player takes their Pip-Boy from the wrist of a skeleton before leaving Vault 111, not to mention all the looting that is doable on other dead NPCs.
    • The Wasteland around the Commonwealth is built upon this - Violence is law and you get to keep what you take from whomever you kill.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Mole Rats return and are much smaller than in 3 and New Vegas, though still fairly large. They also attack in packs, tunneling through the earth and pop out at will to surprise you. Then there are the Glowing ones.
    • The Nuka-World theme park as well as the surrounding areas are home to Radrats. These critters are much smaller than Mole Rats and also bear a far greater visual resemblance to common Pre-War rats, but that still doesn't stop them from being a disgusting menace.
  • Rolling Pin of Doom: One of the melee weapons.
  • Romance Sidequest: The player is able to romance some of their companions, regardless of gender.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The Brotherhood of Steel are romantic traditionalists who sought to restore/preserve humanity and value the pre-War society, their society is even built around similar to medieval Europe. The Institute falls more into the enlightenment side as they value technological progress and completely disregard the pre-war society and wish to built an enlightened society with more advanced technology beyond the pre-War technology. Mind you that both sides are very secretive, racists in some degree, and view Wastelanders as inferiors.
    • The local factions, the Minutemen and the Railroad are also this as well, but with slight variations. Both the Minutemen and the Railroad highly value the romantic view of freedom, but with different approach. The Minutemen are orderly Big Good who wish to help the common man and want to bring the more positive aspects of pre-war America. The Railroad are enlightened Rebellious Rebel who wish to change society so that humanity can accept the Synths as humans. Both factions will work together to take down both the Brotherhood and Institute by the player's decision.
  • Rousing Speech: Elder Maxson gives one of these to all of the recruits. Unfortunately, it becomes a Kick the Dog moment as it states all Synths must be destroyed and the PCs have already made at least one friend among them.
    • Hancock gives one to the community of Goodneighbor by stating that they will not take crap from anyone and stand up to the Institute by eliminating anybody who acts suspicious within the town.
  • Rule of Symbolism: A well-done example. The Institute's main symbol looks like a stylized Vitruvian Man, which seems befitting for their Mad Scientist origins. What's not often pointed out is that it's also reminiscent of a Synth during construction.
  • Run or Die: In an early Railroad faction mission, Deacon gives this advice to the player regarding Coursers. Given that Coursers are basically Terminators, it's not bad advice.
    S 
  • Sadistic Choice: Which faction to side with in the game is one of the most divisive, and because of the Grey and Gray Morality of the Commonwealth, every option will end with sympathetic characters dying as their factions are destroyed. For starters, the only option that doesn't involve the player consciously causing the death of their own son and the destruction of his life's work is the Institute, and that requires betraying the sympathetic & helpful Railroad along with the largely benevolent Brotherhood of Steel - both of which may have helped you find him in the first place.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Mechanist, the main villain of the Automatron DLC questline, is actually a socially awkward (possibly autistic) Wrench Wench named Isabel Cruz who was inspired by the original Mechanist character from comic books and radio dramas to try and make the Commonwealth a better place with an army of Mecha-Mooks. She dons the identity of the Mechanist, using a helmet outfitted with a voice modulator to emulate the character's voice on radio.
  • Sand Worm: A comparatively small example in Nuka-World's Bloodworms, one of the primary reasons why even the resident Raiders are reluctant to venture into the desert beyond the park walls. The worms are basically five-foot-long tubes of pink flesh with a gaping, triple-jawed maw full of razor teeth on one end that just love to burst from the ground without warning all around their prey. Hope you brought a flamer.
  • Save Point: In Survival Mode, beds are this, since Quicksave and Manual Saving are disabled.
  • Scare Chord: Used occasionally when you round a corner in a dungeon to come face to face with something disturbing. One example would be in the parking garage maze near Fallon's Department Store, where you find two decapitated corpses, one hung from a meat hook, the other positioned upright, and two heads impaled on stakes. Also sometimes used for scripted enemy assaults, such as the one in Nuka-World's Rob-Co Battlezone.
  • Scary Scorpions: Radscorpions can ambush the player by burrowing themselves under ground, and pop up unexpectedly. They're also much bigger, faster, stronger, far heavier armored, a lot more frightening in appearance and generally way more dangerous than ever before in the Fallout series. Oh, and they rarely travel alone.
  • Scavenged Punk: This game takes a step up from previous installments. The pipe weapons are basically scrap wood and metal fashioned into crude facsimiles of weapons. You may occasionally find turrets built out of shopping carts. Settlement structures you build look pretty cobbled together. Even power armor has been scavenged and modified by raiders with random junk like sheet metal and rebar.
  • Scavenger World: Taken to the next level: previous Fallout games were full of junk; this one is overflowing with trash, but all that trash can be converted into useful building and crafting materials. Unlike in New Vegas: Old World Blues where you had to use specific stations to convert junk into useful crafting items, all items now have innate crafting materials hidden within them. You can scavenge entire towns and rebuild them!
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • The game features half-decimated cities, cracked roads, bombed out suburbs, forests of dead trees, and so on in general.
    • The Glowing Sea, an irradiated hellscape where the bomb that was supposed to hit Boston fell.
    • Vault 111 is fairly pristine when you first enter it, but by the time you make your escape, it looks like bombs went off in it. The cryogenic pod room, alone, is littered with frozen corpses and dripping with thawed coolant.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Urban environments are absolutely stunning, with a large color palette, still intact skyscrapers, towering highways, Massachusetts monuments, and so on.
    • The open wilderness is also gorgeous, reflecting the hilly woods and plentiful lakes and streams found in rural New England. Far Harbor is also quite lovely with its dense coniferous forests and rocky cliffs, though you may need a mod to appreciate it, as the view is normally obscured by the island's thick fog.
  • Schizo Tech:
    • The USS Constitution is a heavy sailing frigate built in the 1790's, and is one of Boston's historical landmarks. By 2287, she has been retrofitted with nuclear booster rockets and other such equipment.
    • The Broadsider (obtained from the current captain of the Constitution if you side with him in a certain quest involving the old war frigate)) is a naval cannon that's been turned into a heavy infantry weapon by mounting it on a hydraulic frame (to dampen the recoil) and has an electrical powder igniter that acts as the trigger. The Sole Survivor can add in a Shot Canister that holds two additional Cannonballs.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • You will find signs pointing towards an old school that say things like "Fresh Water Ahead!" and "Traders Welcome!" The school is full of violent drug-addicted raiders.
    • Meg, the little girl in Bunker Hill, offers to give you a tour of the place for 10 caps. She essentially cons you by giving a "tour" that consists of naming the locations of various things. Fitting for a child inside of a major trading post surrounded by hawkish merchants 24/7. The best part is that chances are you've only found Bunker Hill after Vault 81, in which Austin gives you a genuine tour.
    • With the Wasteland Workshop DLC, you can set your own Schmuck Bait in the form of Raider and Gunner Traps. Said traps consist of giant metal boxes with signs that say "Free Chems!" and "Free Caps, Guns, And Ammo!" respectively.
  • Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink: While this trope has always been an integral part of the franchise, it's taken up to eleven with the Institute and their Synths.
  • Scratch Damage: Both regular damage and radiation will always affect you to some degree despite your protection.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Vault 81 was originally meant to be used in the development of bioweapons and their countermeasures, with the Vault residents being turned into human guinea pigs. But the first Overseer - who was perplexed about how she even got appointed Overseer seeing how her political views are at odds with the prevailing government - discovered the true purpose of the Vault and worked to limit the number of science team members that made it to the Vault. She also cut off contact with the side the researchers were living on to prevent them from being able to carry out Vault-Tec's plans. Vault 81 consequently thrived compared to virtually every other Vault across the county, and the three researchers ended up testing their bioweapons on Mole Rats instead. One of them created Curie, first to help them maintain their sanity after the Overseer stopped responding, and then to continue on with the research after they all passed away from old age. On a related note, the researchers also all developed more of an ethical side and deliberately sealed their experiments away with them to make sure they wouldn't infect the rest of the Vault.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: Theodore Collins, the owner of Longneck Lukowski's Cannery, has been serving more than just mole rat in his canned meat — investigating the basement during the "Mystery Meat" quest reveals that he's been using the ghouls in there as meat as well. No wonder people have been getting sick from eating it!
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: A Random Encounter has you walk up on a pair of men, Mikey and Moss, having a spirited debate over the definition of a sandwich. (In a bit of Genius Bonus, this was actually the subject of a court case in Massachusetts in 2012.)
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • On a meta-level. The Brotherhood of Steel under Elder Owyn Lyons was one of the more.. contentious story elements of Fallout 3 (especially among older Fallout fans), who didn't like the BoS being rewritten as more of a "White Knight"-style organization in comparison to their more Anti-Heroic depiction in previous games. In Fallout 4, the East Coast BoS under Elder Maxson have become much more like the original BoS. Nameless Brotherhood soldiers are even shown to be mocking Elder Lyons' reforms and are shown to be glad that they're "back on the right path."
      • This could be a case of Older Than They Think - as the same criticism towards Lyons was what led some Brotherhood members to leave, resulting in Fallout 3's Outcasts. Unsurprisingly, Maxon's rise to power resulted in the Outcasts returning to the proverbial flock.
  • Sentry Gun: The first time you can deploy them in the series. In Settlement Workshop, by owning Gun Nut and Science perks, as well as sufficient materials and power, you can deploy a huge variety of sentry guns to defend your settlements.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike:
    • In a manner of speaking. VATS no longer stops time completely; ammunition is much scarcer; Stimpaks are much rarer (no longer found in every bathroom), restore health over time, and only restore health based on a percentage; and monsters like Deathclaws are now able to endure a massive amount of punishment from a minigun. Perhaps exemplified by the treatment of Radroaches. You hunt them with a toy BB gun as a child in Fallout 3, but the Sole Survivor reacts to them with disgust and horror when they first encounter them.
    • Several old enemies are a lot stronger, such as Protectrons and Sentry Bots (which are now essentially robo-tanks) who simply have huge amounts of health and damage resistance, and enemies like Mole Rats and Radscorpions have new mechanics that allow them to get the drop on you easily.
    • The radiation system was previously a stat that all would ignore until it hit a certain threshold, at which point it was easy to fix with the abundant RadAways. In the new system, every single point of accumulated radiation directly lowers your max health. Made all the worse by RadAways being far more rare this time around. There is a decontamination arch available to build in settlements that is highly recommended... if you shell out the cash for the Wasteland Workshop DLC!
    • The updated Survival difficulty is essentially this to the Hardcore mode in New Vegas. In Hardcore mode, the player had to regularly eat, drink, and sleep, lest they would receive stat debuffs, as well as items like ammo having weight and healing items only healing over time. In the Survival difficulty of 4, not only does it have all of the above but damage is skyrocketed for everyone, the carry cap for the player and companion is much less, no fast travel, and the player can no longer quicksave or manually save, causing beds to essentially become save points.
    • Settlement defense missions get this treatment in Far Harbor expansion. In the vanilla game, these quests are rather easy (especially if you've built up the settlement's automated defenses and have equipped the settlers for combat) and really only annoying for how often they tend to occur. However, if you've built up a settlement on Far Harbor's "The Island" and show up for a defense mission expecting a few Raiders or Ghouls, you're in for a world of hurt. Instead, you'll have to face waves of well-equipped Trappers or, worst of all, multiple Fog Crawlers (which are on the level of a Mirelurk Queen or Super Mutant Behemoth) backed up by Gulpers and/or Yao Guai who are attempting to destroy your Fog Condensers. Much more challenging...
    • If you build Raider Settlements from the Nuka-World DLC, it is possible for them to get attacked by a Brotherhood of Steel assault team with Vertibird support.
  • Sequel Escalation: The crafting system now allows complete customization of numerous weapon parts, allowing the player to, say, take a basic laser pistol and retrofit it into a laser sniper rifle, or mix and match parts of different power armor models, like a brand new Jet Pack feature, on a single suit.
    • Power Armors are now humanoid tanks that you enter and exit, instead of a slightly fancier piece of clothing you put on and take off.
    • The restored and fully rebuilt Liberty Prime is technically Liberty Prime Mark II.
  • Sequence Breaking: Averted as you cannot skip to the end of the first act straight away unlike 3 and New Vegas. Unless you have rescued Nick you cannot get to the elevator to Kellogg, until you take his brain to Amari you cannot find Virgil and without Virgil you cannot get into the Institute to kick off the second part of the game.
    • However, like Fallout 3, where the furthest you could skip (without exploits)is rescuing your dad from Vault 112 - from leaving Vault 101, the furthest you can skip here, is rescuing Nick Valentine from Vault 114 - from leaving Vault 111.
    • The game does allow for a very minor degree of Sequence Breaking with the Minutemen. If you already have a suit of power armor when you go to Concord for the first time, the Minutemen have slightly different dialogue. Sturges even comments that his original plan (to retrieve the power armor and minigun from the roof) is irrelevant now.
      • A more minor break in the same quest — you have to retrieve a Fusion Core from the basement to use the Armor, but if you show up already toting a core this Sub Quest will auto-complete. There's even a convenient one on the way to Concord, in the Mole Rat den beneath the Red Rocket service station.
    • If you are allied with the Brotherhood of Steel and get the Mass Fusion quest from Allie Filmore during your time with the Institute before you have been given it by Proctor Ingram, you have the option to inform the Proctor of the Institute's intentions, which prompts her to kick off the quest to retrieve the Beryllium Agitator for Liberty Prime sooner than would be normal for the Brotherhood quest line. As a result she will refer to you as a paladin, despite the Blind Betrayal quest not having been completed yet and Danse still being part of the Brotherhood.
  • Series Continuity Error: Nuka-Cola Quantum returns from Fallout 3 despite being specifically a local release in the D.C. area, but this can be waved off because Fallout 4 takes place ten years later, which is more than enough time to move the product to other areas. Jet is present in the Vaults, though it could just be that the current occupiers (Triggermen, Gunners, and Raiders) had placed them for later use.
    • This is later accounted for in the Nuka-World DLC. One of the attractions has a loudspeaker explaining that the Quantum in Nuka-World is from a special, pre-release allotment just for the park. Considering that the same attraction has a literal river of Quantum flowing through it, this pre-release allotment was clearly quite large. It makes sense that some of that Quantum would have found its way to nearby Boston in the intervening centuries.
    • Jet itself is a Continuity Snarl insofar as it's stated to have been invented by Myron in New Reno in Fallout 2. It appears in Vault loot tables in Fallout 3 without explanation...But considering that Jet is little more than poop fumes and the crafting recipe in 4 involves little more than getting fertilizer and some plastic to make a Jet inhaler, it's more than likely that Myron wasn't the first person to make this connection.
    • The presence of bottlecap currency, which was originally a very localized mechanic in the original game, is still never explained. This can be simply Hand Waved by the bottlecaps being backed by water (just like they were in Fallout 1) from the various merchants in Bunker Hill. After all, it was previously mentioned in New Vegas: Old World Blues that a very popular Pre-War thesis was that most post-holocaust societies would utilize bottlecaps as currency.
  • Serious Business: The town hall in Jamaica Plains is rigged with tons of laser triggered explosives and turrets. The 2077 mayor must really not have wanted anyone to open that time capsule any earlier.
  • Severed Head Sports: The final rank of the Big Leagues perk lets you hit "home runs" with your enemies' heads. Complete with stadium applause!
  • Sexy Walk: All of the women in the game walk like a model.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The game retroactively makes Elder Lyons's entire crusade against the Super Mutants, Enclave, and other evils of the Capital Wasteland into this. It's not a Shoot the Shaggy Dog one because some progress is made. However, the Brotherhood of Steel has become an amalgam of Lyons' humanitarian principals and the Western ideals. It's implied the Capital Wasteland has become part of the country that the Eastern chapter is establishing on the East Coast (with country being referenced in one of the Prydwen terminal entries).
    • A much lighter one occurs aboard the USS Constitution. Captain Ironsides sends you on a complicated quest to get the nuclear booster rockets on the Constitution working, allowing her to return to the ocean. They move the ship perhaps a hundred yards, right into another building. Ironsides seems surprisingly pleased with this outcome.
    • The Jamaica Plains treasure is a legend, considered by Piper and others as the story of a lifetime. Said treasure turns out to be a pre war time capsule of Americana. Don't expect any caps or valuables as some companions will complain about, but others will be amused or even impressed at the find.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Anyone not immediately under you when you land from a high enough height while wearing power armor will not suffer a Goomba Stomp but instead get sweeped up in the shunted impact energy of your landing. A mod for power armor legs escalates this to be high-explosive.
  • Shows Damage: Feral Ghouls and Second Gen Synths. With Ferals, you can sever their limbs. Second-gen Synths, on the other hand, gradually lose their artificial skin as they take damage, even completely losing it if they're damaged enough.
  • Show Within a Show: The Silver Shroud, a Captain Ersatz of The Shadow. The radio station acts as Mission Control for the relevant quest.
  • The Siege: If you choose to side with the Minutemen in the endgame, you will have to help defend their main base from a massive invasion by the Institute and, depending on your choices, the Brotherhood of Steel.
  • Sighted Guns Are Low-Tech: In contrast to previous games, laser weapons avert this trope, being equipped with iron sights just like the more low-tech guns. They retain the ironsights all weapons received in New Vegas although they also benefit from the more varied sights available to all weapons; of note, the "reflex" sight option for all energy weapons appears to be an EOTech Holosight, rather than the red dot sights used on ballistic weapons.
  • Sigil Spam: The symbols for all four major factions can be seen a lot. The Institute has a stylized Vitruvian Man. The Brotherhood of Steel brings their old standard back; a set of gears wreathed by winglets with a sword superimposed over it. The Railroad features a railroad oil lamp with a candleflame (although the version seen on their flag seems to have an atom in the middle instead of the candleflame). The Minutemen have a revolutionary musket crossed by a lighning bolt surrounded by three stars at the top, right, and left.
  • Simple, yet Awesome:
    • Normally, submachineguns aren't that hot as weapons due to low damage and high ammo consumption. Spray n' Pray (a unique SMG sold by Cricket) turns this upside-down. Thanks to its "Explosive" legendary effect, each bullet does an extra fifteen points of AoE explosive damage. The Commando perk buffs its base damage while Demolition Expert buffs the explosive damage; investing in those perks turns Spray n' Pray into an engine of devastation. To top it all off, the explosions have a chance to stagger the target. Did I mention that Spray n' Pray is a full-auto weapon?
    • Ordinary projectile guns are just as effective as energy weapons if not moreso, due to the high availability of ammunition which is cheaper to buy and is far more common as scavenged loot. Even with all points in the Scavenger perk, the player will most often discover plain old bullets in crates, desks, lockers and such, rather than energy cells and plasma cartridges.
    • The "Instigating" legendary effect doubles the damage the weapon does if the target is at full health. For most weapons, this is kind of pointless, as it just gives a little extra damage to the first shot and there are far more useful effects (such as "Explosive," mentioned above.) However, this is the best effect for a sniper rifle. Fully upgraded with mods and in the hands of a character with the right perks, that one shot will be all you need to drop nearly anything in the wasteland. A character who maxes out the Rifleman perk and has an Instigating Gauss Rifle will kill anything but the absolute strongest enemies in the game with a single shot. And they can be killed with a single Sneak Attack.
  • Sinister Subway: While the remains of what is left of the Boston MBTA underground aren't as extensive compared to the DC metro in 3 (and the real life MBTA is indeed compact when compared to the other subway systems in the U.S.), the stations are still crawling with Raiders, Super Mutants, traps, and pockets of radiation just as ever. Fortunately, you no longer have to travel from station to station as the MBTA underground areas mostly have dead ends and no pathways to other stations.
  • Stone Wall: The Institute's Synth armies don't deal that much damage with their unique laser weapons, but more than make up for it with their frequent numerical advantage and their special Synth armor (which is the best body armor in the base game, and is only succeeded by the Marine Combat Armor in the Far Harbor DLC), meaning that they can take a hell of a lot of punishment before finally going down.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: The Perk system underwent a big change. Perks are tied to SPECIAL stats, with ten perks for each stat. More advanced perks require a high-enough stat, and most perks have multiple ranks tied to the player's level — for instance, a player with a high enough SPECIAL stat can take a powerful Rank 10 perk early on, but won't be able to upgrade it until they're, say, level 25. Then there are the magazine perks, which not only grant you a perk, but you need to keep finding more copies in order to level said perks.
  • Skippable Boss: Swan. On the way to recruit Nick Valentine, the player will pass through Boston Common in an area called Swan's Pond. Swan a Super Mutant Behemoth sleeps fitfully in said pond, but can be avoided by quietly moving past the pond and into the nearby subway station. Many followers familiar with the area will also warn you of the peril while in the area, and the site is also marked with a Railroad sign normally reserved for dangerous areas lousy with Institute synths.
    • The boss battle against Oswald the Outrageous in Nuka-World's Kiddie Kingdom can be avoided by various means, like passing a difficult speech check or finding and presenting a specific holotape. The first option can be next to impossible to pull off for player characters without very high charisma. The second one requires either a game guide or very thorough exploration of Nuka-World's surrounding areas before meeting Oswald face to face, something that comes across as quite counterintuitive while following the DLC's main questline. It's worth it though, seeing as the guy puts up an incredibly difficult fight for someone who's nothing more than a pompously dressed Ghoul. Battling him is arguably more challenging than taking on the entire Raider army of Nuka-World during "Open Season".
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: The Unstable Nuke Launcher for robot companions in the Automatron DLC. It's the single most powerful weapon that can be added to one; for balance purposes, though, it's still limited to a couple hundred points of damage rather than the thousand or so that a Fat Man can deliver.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Fallout 4 exists at an interesting place on this spectrum. On the one hand, the game's quite idealistic in showing that all the region's factions (even the Institute) have good intentions and genuinely want to make the world a better place. However, much like New Vegas, the game is cynical by showing how not only all of these factions have major problems, but that they are willing to resort to pretty horrific measures to accomplish what they think is the common good and aren't able to put aside their diffierences and work together for what's right.
  • The Slow Path:
    • Codsworth, your Mr. Handy, has been waiting 210 years for you to return. He can hardly believe his processors that you're still alive.
    • The Vault-Tec Rep from the prologue of the game shows up later as a Ghoul, furious at how you managed to be physically preserved while he had to deal with absolute hell for over two centuries.
    • Shaun himself, who was taken 60 years before the Sole Survivor escapes from Vault 111, and who has become the elderly Father of the Institute.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: The Lover's Embrace effect, which is earned by sleeping in a bed while a companion you've romanced is nearby, is depicted as a shirtless Vault Boy getting up from bed while taking a drag from a cigarette.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Most of your companions have a Idle Animation where they smoke and if you build a bar at a settlement, any settler will light a cigarette up randomly while standing in front of one.
  • Sole Survivor: You play as the only remaining resident of Vault 111, who woke up after 210 years to find everyone else dead.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: While not evil per se, the game notes that the further south you go the tougher enemies get. Justified as heading south means you get closer to the Glowing Sea. You start at the most northwestern point of the map, so you have to trek a while to find the really nasty enemies.
  • Spot the Impostor: One random encounter has you stumble upon a man named Art holding a shotgun on another man named Art who looks exactly like him. Both insist that they're the real Art, and the other is a synth. Ordinarily, you have a 50/50 chance of saving the real guy, but there is a clue for those with the Awareness perk: Synths have higher damage resistance and built-in energy resistance that unarmored humans don't.
  • Spot the Thread: The mad scientist kidnapping people to test which are synths discovers a psychological weakness: During the SAFE test, when asked which type of baseball player they'd be, they almost always answer "catcher," even if they don't really know what a catcher does.
  • Spy Catsuit: The form-fitting Marine Wetsuit from Far Harbour is a great example of this, turning any third person camera angle with the female protagonist into copious amounts of Male Gaze.
  • Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly: Every time you attempt a stealth infiltration of an area full of enemies, there is the possibility of your sneak attempts failing and forcing you into a blazing firefight.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The USS Constitution is a wooden ship literally crewed with Iron Men. And seeing how you find it somehow stuck atop a financial building, that means it's also foundered on a bank, which Codsworth lampshades if you bring him along.
    Ironsides: "Curse you Weatherby Savings & Loan. I spit on thee!"
    • Nuka Cola beverages now come in rocket-shaped bottles. Bottle rockets!
  • Stepford Smiler: An entire environment. When you first show up at The Institute, you find a shiny beautiful place full of happy people. Explore just a little bit and what you find is blocked-off hallways and rooms that are as degraded as the rest of the Wasteland and orders for everyone to be on their best behavior for you. Up to Eleven with the self-aware Synth servants, most of which are terrified slaves.
    • Covenant also qualifies. It's an entire shiny settlement with a lot of nervous - but oh so friendly - smiling people with some sort of ominous agenda.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors:
    • It's possible to come across the same Vault-Tec Salesman from the start of the game, long since become a Ghoul. And still wearing his Vault-Tec standard outfit, or at least a post-apocalyptic approximation of it.
    • If one chooses, the male Sole Survivor can go around kicking ass in the same kind of GI fatigues and combat armor he wore during the war. The fatigues can be upgraded with ballistic weave, keeping them useful even as late-game protection.
    • The Scribe, a recruitable armor salesman that is found as a random encounter, is a disillusioned former member of the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel who left when Maxson supposedly became just a mouthpiece for the reactionary Lost Hills Elders. However, he still wears his Brotherhood jumpsuit.
  • Stoners Are Funny: With the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC, you can build a soda fountain in your settlements. Give it the "Mood enhancement" option and you get random settlers sounding like the soda is causing the walls to melt.
    Settler: This soda is like drinking sunshine, or rainbows!
    Settler: I could drink this forever and ever. And then stop.
  • Storming the Castle: Done in "The Nuclear Option" quests, where you invade the Institute with whichever faction you side with and blow it up from the inside.
    • Deciding to free Nuka-World's enslaved traders from their Raider overlords requires the elimination of all four gang bosses, which means you have to storm their respective headquarters and take on an army's worth of heavily-armed hardened criminals in the process.
    • Conversely, you end up on the receiving end of this if you antagonized the Institute and made the Minutemen powerful enough to be considered a threat. The quest is actually called "Defend the Castle" - fittingly, considering how the Castle is the former Fort Independence. It can happen a second time after the main questline is completed if you pissed off the Brotherhood of Steel as well. Last but not least, the quest becomes radiant at this point, meaning that someone trying to storm your castle can happen at any time if the fort's defense value is too low - over and over and over and over and over again. Have fun repelling veritable waves of high-level Super Mutants including half a dozen Behemoths on a regular basis. You will also have attacks from Gunners or Raiders on The Castle.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: There are a number of areas where you can only conclude what happened through environmental clues. A lot of that has to do with the Railroad and their symbols. A dead Protectron with a Railway Spike on its body near a Relay antenna is a clear sign someone from the Railroad killed it at that location. Several hidden pointers show the way an escaping Synth was guided through a feral-infested train yard. And the railsign for "Ally" is marked on a hidden observation post overlooking Vault 111 and Sanctuary Hills... someone's been watching you.
    • In general, the game is really fond of this, intentionally leaving many details vague about the story, setting, and characters so the player can fill it in with environmental details.
    • Even more generally, this is a favorite trope of Bethesda in general - especially in their Fallout games. Sometimes these events will come with a terminal entry or holotape as well, but other times the story is told entirely in the set pieces.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A given with the nuclear powered vehicles of the era, which have been abandoned in the open with no maintenance for over 200 years. Additional world objects such as propane tanks, fuel canisters, and oil slicks will also explode when shot at.
    • Reaches new heights with trigger happy enemies wielding the Fat Man or missile launcher, as well as the new Super Mutant Suiciders who charge at the player with a live Mini-Nuke.
    • This trope becomes Schmuck Bait for overeager looters with both regular Sentry Bots and Legendary robots, who explode after a short delay once they are killed (often while the player is busy looting the destroyed bot).
    • Taken Up to Eleven with Legendary Sentry Bots, who explode twice when killed: once for being a Sentry Bot, and a second time for being Legendary.
    • Honourable mentions go to the final questline for any of the factions, which inevitably leads to either the destruction of The Prydwen, detonation of the Institute's main reactor, or (in the case of the Railroad), both outcomes.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: In the final confrontation with Kellogg, he'll ask you to come out in the open peacefully to see if the two of you can't reach a diplomatic solution to your feud. A savvy player will quickly figure out that this very much looks like an obvious trap: he has three Synths as backup, and all of them are positioned in such a way that engaging in dialog forces you to be flanked by them. And then the game ups the ante by throwing a bit of Violence Is the Only Option on top of everything. Try as you might, but there is no option to get out of the encounter peacefully; no matter what option you pick, the conversation can only end with the Sole Survivor declaring their intent to murder Kellogg, and you will have to go through a boss fight with him, while he springs the aforementioned obvious trap on you. While it certainly is possible to cheese the encounter by various means, it doesn't change the fact that the game is asking you to willingly walk into an ambush.
  • Subsystem Damage: Become more focused this time. Crippling the limbs of robots and Feral Ghouls will actually sever said limbs. Robots may attempt to self-destruct if damaged enough, while ferals will make due with their missing limbs until you've killed them. This isn't the case with base humanoid enemies, however, which works exactly like the previous games.
  • Subverted Kids Show: The holotapes of The New Squirrel the player can find scattered in the Fiddler's Green Trailer Estates. Played with — to the player, it's probably pretty screwed up, but it accurately reflects the pre-Great War worldview other in-game sources establish.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The Player Character now talks in conversations and comments on the world Mass Effect style, in contrast to previous protagonists in the Fallout series being Heroic Mimes who spoke through text boxes.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The standard response by Raiders if you're in power armor is to actually say "Power armor?? BRING IT ON!!". Justified because they're so zonked on Psycho and other chems that they're out of their minds.
  • Suicide Attack: The aptly named Super Mutant Suicider, who has a Mini Nuke strapped onto his right arm and ready to charge at anyone for his mutant brethren. If he sees you, you better hope you take him down first and quickly, lest you become nuclear detritus.
    • Some robots can also do this when they are near death, specifically Sentry Bots and any legendary robots.
  • Suicide Pact: The Boylston Club, whose clubhouse is in the Boston Common, is comprised of an all-male membership of current and former government or social elite. A few days after the old world ended, they engage in a suicide pact involving poisoned wine.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills:
    • The Endurance 5 perk Aquaboy/Aquagirl gives you the ability to breathe underwater at the first rank. As an additional bonus, you also no longer take radiation damage from simply standing in water.
    • Wearing a Power Armor helmet allows you to breathe underwater for around a in game hour, which is just as well as wearing Power Armor makes it so you can't swim and have to trudge along the bottom of the lake/river/ocean.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids:
    • The Mister Handy model of robot is advertised as being nothing more than a robotic butler, but they can be easily modified into a lethal combatant — heck, the US Army used customized "Mister Gutsy" versions before the war. Piper frequently points this out in combat with hostile Mister Handys.
    • There are also a variety of non-combat Protectrons, such as Construction and Medical models, which can still be very lethal in a fight. Special mention goes to the Firefighter model with a built-in cryo gun, which is just shy of the Construction variant that fires railway spikes in terms of lethality. Even medical Protectrons will come at you with their defibrillators.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: Averted when describing the man who killed your spouse to Nick. Simply telling him that he's a bald guy with an ugly scar over his left eye causes him to immediately pinpoint Kellogg as your target, as Kellogg used to live in Diamond City like Nick.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • The East Coast Brotherhood of Steel has become a great deal like the Neo-Feudalist Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel. This wouldn't qualify for this trope if not for the fact the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel is Broad Strokes canon for the Fallout first-person shooter series. They exist, but in a far diminished state than Fallout: Tactics indicated. It should also be noted that the only difference between the two is that the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel was egalitarian to nonhumans and offered its membership to Super Mutants, intelligent Deathclaws, and Ghouls, while the East Coast Brotherhood does not have any nonhuman members and in fact shows active disdain for nonhumans.
    • The Minutemen meanwhile call to mind the New California Republic on the West Coast, or at least how the NCR started out. While the Commonwealth has no real "state" or "nation" to speak of, they still uphold justice, order and a more virtuous memory of Pre-War America while intentionally invoking symbolism from the Revolutionary War. Not to mention bringing the various settlements and communities in the Commonwealth together as partners in exchange for protection rather than lording over them like the Brotherhood and Institute would. To the point of laying down the foundations for something like the NCR to emerge in the East Coast. And succeeding where the "Commonwealth Provisional Government" (which the Institute supposedly purged) failed.
    • The shipwrecked Norwegian Raider Ghouls living at the wreck of the FMS Northern Star are even more unhinged and angry versions of the Chinese remnant Ghoul soldiers from back in the Capital Wasteland.
    • Vault 81 is not only a more upbeat version of Vault 101, but is also the Commonwealth's equivalent of Vault 21 - a non-control Vault that, despite the expectations of both Vault-Tec and the Enclave, thrived.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Bosun on the USS Constitution proclaims his loyalty to the captain because he wants to and certainly not because he's been reprogrammed five times to do so! Furthered by the fact that the Bosun is a Mr. Handy with no arms or armor, making him essentially a floating brain with three eye-stalks.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity:
    • The game gives you a suit of power armor and a minigun to take down a bunch of raiders, who are pretty much no match for the weapon and armor. Then a Deathclaw appears and you'll finally realize why you needed them.
    • The National Guard Training Yard's secret armory contains a good amount of ammo, as well as a free power armor suit! You're going to need that when you leave, as opening the armory releases a sentry bot that will attack you immediately.
    • In the Castle, there's a missile launcher plus ammo just laying around on a table. Might come in handy if you weren't prepared for the Castle Mirelurk Queen...
    • Subverted/Parodied in Mad Mulligan's Mine, as there is a missile launcher just sitting out in the open on a desk, which given the large population of relatively brittle enemies around, may as well have a neon sign on it saying "INCOMING BOSS". The boss isn't any tougher than the regular version.
    T 
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: There are several different damage types (ballistic, energy, radiation, and poison) and armor is strong or weak against said various attacks. Fortunately, with the exception of the Gamma Gun on radiation-immune enemies such as Ghouls, you can generally kill everything with one weapon type. That said, it's still a good idea to carry several guns that can deal various damage as well as ammo. If nothing else, this helps reduce over-reliance on just one type of ammo, such as 10mm rounds or fusion cells, as ammo is a bit scarcer and more expensive without the right perks.
  • Take a Third Option: It's possible to get the moral end to "Hole in the Wall" by curing Austin and not contracting the disease. The first is to not let any mole rats hit the player or companions. The second is to use a certain Good Bad Bug.
  • Take That!:
    • One can sometimes find tiny hairbrushes on dead Deathclaws, which might be a subtle jab at Fallout Tactics' infamous "hairy Deathclaws" redesign.
    • Evidently, in the Fallout timeline the Boston Red Sox didn't manage to break the Curse of the Bambino, even going into the 2070s.
  • Take Your Time: Zigzagged:
    • Played straight with some missions, especially story-related ones. If you want to explore Boston, go right ahead. No need to go to Diamond City right after leaving Vault 111 if you decide you'd rather explore first.
    • Averted with some missions, usually ones relating to a kidnapping or a "Defend a settlement" quest. Though you get quite a bit of time to respond, if you take too long the quest will fail, and in the case of a "defend the settlement" quest, your generators and turrets will be destroyed and need repairs when you revisit it.
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Super Mutant Suiciders attempt this, rushing you and spiking their mini-nuke if you fail to kill them or at least cripple their right arm in time.
    • Sentry Bots and any robot with destroyed arms will also attempt this if you're too close to them when they die. They usually explode upon death, making them tougher to fight for melee-based characters.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Not anymore!
  • Target Spotter: The Minutemen storyline unlocks the ability to build howitzers at settlements you control and crew them with settlers. You can then throw smoke grenades to paint areas for artillery bombardment by any guns within range, which is Death from Above for clustered enemies.
  • A Taste of Power:
    • Helping out the Minutemen early on gets you a suit of power armor and a matching minigun at nearly the beginning of the game... but its fuel and bullets limit how crazy you can go with these toys and you'll soon be back to hoofing it with scavenged gear shortly thereafter.
    • Because weapons no longer degrade or suffer from penalties caused by lack of skills, you can use even the most ludicrously overpowered weapons as soon as you find them. In addition to the mini gun given to the player early in the game, you can find a Fat Man and a mini nuke in a junkyard a short stroll from Sanctuary Hills.
  • Tech Demo Game: Has become one for Bethesda, who have recursively used the improvements made in the engine for a backport to Skyrim, as well as serving as a test bed for their own built-in mod support and delivery platform. NVIDIA even used the game with Bethesda's approval as a platform to show off their graphical capabilities with the Vault 1080 mod.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Near Sanctuary Hills is a cabin where you can find the skeleton of a girl who ran away from home after fighting with her parents because she got pregnant. Unfortunately, that was the day the nukes fell; the poor girl seems to have starved to death.
  • Teleportation: This is how the Institute sends their agents to and from the Commonwealth. That's the reason why one can't find where the Institute is hiding: there is no entrance or exit, nor need of them with molecular relay technology.
  • Tempting Fate: In the Boston Bugle office, you can find an article extolling the possibility of the Boston baseball team winning the first World Series in 159 years, which is to be played on October 23rd, 2077. The reporter finishes their piece with this Harsher in Hindsight message:
    "But on Saturday, October 23rd, 2077, the only thing that could snatch away victory is an act of God, or some obscene calamity of man. Tomorrow my friends, the unthinkable will finally come to pass. And life in Boston will never be the same again."
  • That One Case: There are two of these cases for Nick Valentine:
    • After you befriend Nick enough, he tells you about the last case that he can remember from before he was made a synth. There was a mobster who had killed his girl but managed to get away with it. You are able to help him bring closure to this case by tracking down the evidence that has survived and locating the now ghoulified mobster.
    • If you go through the files in Nick's office one of them talks about the Mysterious Stranger who Nick assumes is some immortal serial killer. While you cannot talk to Nick about this, should you have the perk and the
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • The Big Boy is a unique Fat Man launcher which fires two mini nukes at the cost of one. And if you combine it with the MIRV mod, the Big Boy MIRV fires 12 nukes at once, it is in doubt if anything can survive that.
    • Legendary enemies have a trick where they return to full health stronger if they are reduced to below 50% health. An exception, however, is if you hit them once with such force that it's instantly lethal, which overrides the regeneration.
    • If you have lots of turrets in your settlement, along with well armed settlers residing there, anything stupid enough to attack it will be subjected to this.
  • They Walk Among Us: Institute Synths started off clunky and plastic, but the latest model of Synth, the Gen-3, are now so sophisticated they are nearly indistinguishable from humans, leading to a Massachusetts full of paranoia about who's real and who's a Synth.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Some perks have only very specific uses, but you'll be damned glad you have them when you do. For (an almost literal) example, Aquaboy/girl, which makes you immune to the radiation of swimming in the water and able to breathe underwater. Suddenly rivers are no longer a deadly barrier but a viable avenue of approach.
  • This Is a Drill:
    • The Railway Rifle's bayonet mod is a circular drill-bit that attaches over the barrel.
    • With Automatron, you can build robots that are armed with giant drill arm attachments for melee weapons.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • The very first trailer for the game uses the same "Pan out from the TV to a blasted hellscape of a 1950's style house". What theme song do they use? "It's All Over (But the Crying)" by the Ink Spots. Followed by a montage of all the overpowered enemies and NPCs that make the Capital and Mojave Wastelands look like a black-and-white family picnic.
    • During gameplay, higher level enemies can also invoke this when you're still underpowered, such as if you run into someone wearing Power Armor, enemies with a skull by their name, or Deathclaws. Many human enemies also have grenades, and will use them liberally to prevent you from camping in one spot. And given the opportunity, some of them will also attempt to flank you, hitting you from behind while you're focused on their buddies.
    • Getting ambushed from behind or one of your flanks can also do this. Ghouls tend to make liberal use of this, with some sneaking around you to attack from behind. The fact that they can lunge at you can make it worse for really unprepared players.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Grenades are back. Notably, they no longer require you to switch away from your gun to throw them, and can be tossed as secondary weapons like in other shooters. Expect your enemies (and companions, if you make the mistake of putting some grenades in their inventory) to toss them with reckless abandon.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: One of the many Synth-phobic characters eventually finds out that they are in fact a Synth themselves. It's Paladin Danse of the Brotherhood of Steel, as you learn during the quest Blind Betrayal.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Almost all of the old/recurring enemies from Fallout 3 and New Vegas are terrifying now.
    • The basic Radscorpion is now almost the size of a Giant Radscorpion, is about as strong, fast, and tough as one, and to top it off, it can also tunnel to reach you!
    • Mirelurks now have massive Mother Hydra-esque queens, dwarfing the more frog-like Kings that can still annihilate you with sonic blasts.
    • Mole Rats are now pack hunters with tunneling abilities, making escape from them near-impossible.
    • Sentry Bots are twice the size and armed with missiles and a Gatling gun, pretty much being an ED-209 on steroids, and can even launch mortars at you at a significantly high-enough level. They will rush towards you if you try to flee (and will do so with terrifying speed). Finally, they now explode like a Mini-Nuke on death.
    • Protectrons were the weakest robot enemy in the previous games. Now, they're tougher than most human enemies and pack a mean punch.
    • Feral Ghouls, while not tougher, are a hell of a lot more dangerous because they are almost always in huge packs and have unpredictable patterns of attack, and will infect you with radiation poisoning by just touching you.
    • All the animal mutant enemies have glowing variants. This includes everything from the lowly Radroach to freaking Deathclaws.
    • Raiders now have the know-how to construct their own power armor (albeit still a crude and improvised version), and thanks to the new system, can loot junk from fallen enemies. Given the right circumstances, they can even steal your own Power Armor and use it against you if you ever decide to exit your suit and not take the fusion core out.
    • On a non-hostile note, the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel here in this game obviously have taken many levels in badassery after the events of Broken Steel now that they have clearly swelled in numbers, have more advanced Power Armor, access to their own personal fleet of Vertibirds, and an freakin' airship.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • Power Armor now turns you into a walking tank that can shrug off pretty much anything, but it comes with a high price. You can only carry the enormously heavy armor pieces with you and need a power armor station to swap them out and repair them. You must also climb into the armor to use it, you can't craft while wearing it, and now you need fusion cores to power it, which are rare and run out relatively quickly. Your days of strolling through the wastelands indefinitely in your powered armor are behind you now. The suit is still very useful against bosses and in particularly difficult dungeons, however, so it is more of a matter of conservation. Also, running in the suit is a terrible idea, because it drains the aforementioned fusion cores faster.
    • Jet packs are an amazing addition to power armor which allow you to move around the city and get a serious edge in combat by repositioning quickly. They also suck away your action points in seconds and chew through fusion cores at an alarming rate.
    • Rank three of the Nuclear Physicist perk allows you to eject fusion cores creating a timed small nuclear explosion, allowing you to clear out a lot of hostiles. Unless your fusion core is all but spent or you have ones to spare though, this is rarely worth the cost.
    • The Mysterious Serum gives you +5 Strength (the next best buff item only gives a +3), an enormous +50 Damage Resistance, and it causes you to lose radiation for 3600 seconds. It's only possible to find it during a single quest in the game and you'll never find more than eight vials. Though you can get an unlimited supply (one vial at a time, and you can only get a new vial after having used your current one) depending on your choice at the end of the quest.
      • The Mysterious Serum Effect's duration stacks, meaning that if you are planing a marathon session, head to the unlimited supply and immediately use the ones you get, then get a new one and use that. Rinse and repeat.
    • The homing beacon is essentially a Fat Man in grenade form, allowing the player to call down nuclear strikes without hefting thirty pounds of catapult around. You get three.
    • The Nuka-World-exclusive "Fragmentation grenade MIRV" is an exceedingly powerful cluster grenade. Each of the park's gang bosses carries one, so assuming they didn't use it when you fought them, you either get one (if you sided with the raiders) or three (if you wiped them out) in the entire game.
    • The Fat Man can fall into this trope if you don't have a good stock of mini-nukes to use. Players may then also forget to bring it with them due to not wanting to lug that heavy weapon around, making it a situational weapon for a guaranteed boss fight instead, such as the Minutemen quest to retake the Castle from Mirelurks.
    • X-Cell is one of the most powerful Chems in the game, giving +2 to all SPECIAL stats. It's also extremely rare, cannot be crafted, has a short duration, and a high chance of one of the most punishing addictions in the game (-1 to all SPECIAL), which is hard to stave off due to the aforementioned rarity.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • During the Pre-War rush segment, you encounter a neighbor who is preoccupied in packing up his luggage instead of running directly to the Vault, despite the fact that the bombs will fall any second. The player can also be this if they take too long dallying instead of getting to the shelter in time, leading to a Non-Standard Game Over.
    • Irish Pride Industries Shipyard is home to a Mirelurk nest. There is a repeating announcement on loudspeaker recorded by a guy named Rory telling the Mirelurks that he loves them. Inside the boat is a computer terminal with log entries from Rory about how he's raising orphaned Mirelurk hatchlings, including how they're becoming increasingly violent and his attempts to train them through The Power of Love. Underneath the boat in drydock you'll find the horde of Mirelurks with their eggs and hatchlings, along with Rory's decomposing remains. Poor Rory learned the hard way of why you shouldn't try to make wild animals your pets.
    • There's a man near the Castle who sells "Charge Cards" that will supposedly bypass the need to spend caps when purchasing any goods from a vendor in the Commonwealth. Naturally, they do not. If the con weren't fairly apparent from the start, he's stupid enough to call you a "retard" straight to your face whether or not you accept his offer, which completely gives away his cover as a scammer, and which in the wasteland world is just asking for a bullet to the face. Furthermore, he's armed with a weak pipe gun and wearing only basic clothing in a region which has Super Mutants, Raiders, and Mirelurks. He's actually scripted as "essential" just until you've spoken with him to make sure he lives long enough. For added laser guided karmic Irony, if you have a Junk Jet launcher with you, you can kill him with his own Charge Card if you do accept his offer. The irony continues to drive the point home even further when speaking to him the first time eventually results in him saying, "Most conversations are like 'Hello' and then someone gets stabbed in the liver"note . This guy surely deserves a Darwin Award for his blatant stupidity.
    • A lot of Raiders fall under this category, but a special mention must be made of the ones who try to shake the player down for caps to cross a bridge. They can be armed with pipe guns and wearing scrapped together armor and they player can be in full Power Armor and aiming a Gatling Laser straight at them and they'll still try to threaten the player for caps. However, this can fall under Acceptable Breaks from Reality (to a certain degree, at least), since if most enemies actually did have a working brain and ran away in terror when you came close, then the game would become very frustrating and boring (and perhaps justified in-story, as Raiders are usually strung out on chems that might interfere with their ability to recognize an incredibly bad idea when they see one).
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: After the death of the Lyons, the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel under the guidance of Elder Maxson has become an amalgam of the Western ideals of preserving technology and Lyons' vision of protecting the people by fighting threats that endanger the wasteland. Their opposition to Synths makes them villainous in the eyes of the Railroad. It's also implied that the Capital Wasteland has become something of a feudal domain for the Brotherhood.
  • Too Much Information: Actual unsolicited dialogue to the player from one of the Diamond City guards: "Yeah, it's true. I got Shot in the Ass last year. Long story."
  • To Serve Man: "Handy Eats" is a diner staffed by robots (located in the General Atomics Galleria). However, due to a programming error, the robots make the classic misinterpretation of the trope name. When asked about the bodies, the waiter robot refers to them as "satisfied customers" who "never leave".
    • A mod allows you to see the actual text of the responses, rather than just "Sarcastic," "Sympathetic," or whatever. Of the four responses to "How can we serve you? Char-broiled? Diced? Mashed?", one is "I'm not hungry after all", and all three of the others are "Wait, what?!"
  • Town with a Dark Secret: With concrete walls and turrets on the outside and overly-friendly people on the inside, it's a given that there's something really up with the people of Covenant. They've been sizing up people passing by so they can kidnap them and perform gruesome tests to see if they're synths. Most good-hearted party members will agree that defeating the callous scientist in charge of this is a good thing, but that pisses off everyone in Covenant and you have to clear it out by force afterwards to resettle it. As a final twist, if the girl you rescue, Amelia Stockton, dies, you find a synth component on her body...
    • Amelia's father; Old Man Stockton is a prominent Railroad member. Amelia is a freed synth he adopted as his own daughter after she had her memory and appearance altered, if the player is a Railroad member and has completed certain missions, he will confirm it if asked.
  • Trauma Conga Line: As if experiencing the nuclear destruction of the entire world wasn't traumatic enough, you also have to witness both the murder of your spouse and the abduction of your son - all without being able to do anything to stop it.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The player character can take their dead spouse's wedding ring after they escape the cryo pod. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from hocking it off to the first merchant you find.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The launch trailer's narration is actually part of the ending narrations.
  • Trauma Inn: Like some of the previous games, sleeping in any bed will heal you to full HP and restores any crippled limbs. Still, this will not remove radiation.
  • Trick Boss: The fight against Gristle and his Raiders in Concord. Gristle is tougher than a normal Raider, but still goes down quickly, especially if you turn your newfound minigun on him. The Concord Deathclaw that appears after that, however, is the true boss.
  • Troubled Production: An In-Universe example. You discover that Hubris Comics was trying to make the Silver Shroud radio serials into a successful TV show. Unfortunately, it was rife with infighting, drama, and backroom passions - which proved to be all for naught as the nuclear apocalypse put said show and its creators off the air permanently.
  • Turns Red: All Legendary Enemies have the ability to mutate at half health, making them stronger, more durable, and it also replenishes their health back to full.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: The Sole Survivor can do this with the Institute, depending on their dialogue choices.
    • It starts with members of the bio-sciences division sealing themselves away along with all the food in protest of Father's decision to name the player as his successor. You can infiltrate them and act like a Reasonable Authority Figure and talk them into giving you a chance as the new head of the Institute. Then after they agree to your terms and stand down, you can immediately order their execution as punishment.
    • Meanwhile, you can be an abusive Jerkass to every department head, field operative, and named underling who answers to you.
    • And to top it off, when Father asks you to record an announcement of the Institute's intentions to the Commonwealth, you can really play up the Evil Overlord bit. You can deliver an epic New Era Speech that the Institute is here and the master of everyone, cares nothing for the pathetic little lives of people on the surface, and will annihilate anyone who has a problem with it.
    • After all this you can still side with one of the other factions and blow up the Institute, making you the ultimate Bad Boss.
    U 
  • Unbreakable Weapons: Played straight due to the removal of the repair system featured in 3 and New Vegas; weapons and regular armor no longer degrade even after long periods of extensive use and wear. The only thing suffering from degradation is Power Armor.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe, the earlier-generation Synths evoke this in most people.
    Brotherhood Scribe: You know those Synths with the plastic faces? They creep me the hell out.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: In the Far Harbor DLC, the quest to obtain DiMA's stored memories has you go Inside a Computer System and hack into the files using digital bugs, blocks, and turrets in a sequence that looks like a cross between TRON and Minecraft.
  • Unfazed Everyman: The protagonist isn't terribly surprised by what the wasteland has to offer. The husband, Nate, had fought in the Sino-American War, so he's prepared for future combat. Subverted all to hell by the part until meeting Codsworth where the protagonist acts like they're suffering a horrible nightmare - which is actually an option of dialogue to give the robot.
  • Unfriendly Fire: While it's never explicit, it's heavily implied that this has happened to Sarah Lyons on behalf of the Lost Hills Elders. It's highly suspect that a that a high ranking Sentinel and leader of an elite Brotherhood squad would perish in combat very shortly after being named Elder especially when Arthur Maxson was being trained in the same Brotherhood group.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: With the Nuka-World DLC, taking over a settlement results in Preston Garvey and the Minutemen turn hostile, making their questline impossible to complete. If you've done this and turned the Brotherhood, Railroad and Institute hostile (or destroyed them), then you can't complete the main quest. The Raiders of Nuka-World have no means of destroying the Institute.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: While it has since been patched with a work-around, it was once possible to completely screw up "The Lost Patrol", the quest Paladin Danse gives you when he informally inducts you into the Brotherhood of Steel. You have to talk with him, but if you completed the quest after the Prydwen shows, you couldn't complete it, as he was now recruitable as a companion; setting it as your active quest would cause an irritating quest marker to follow you around anywhere. This was fixed by talking to Captain Kells. The second time the player talks to him, if Tactical Thinking is not active and Acadia remains undiscovered, he'll immediately ask about Paladin Brandis.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Like Fallout 3 before it, some of Fallout 4's perks aren't as enticing to take as they may seem.
    • V.A.N.S. uses VATS to display a path that's closest to your quest objective. You really don't need a perk to show a path to your objective when you can set a waypoint. Nuka-World gives +2 to Perception... at level 36. Items can do that when you need it and it has the net cost of doing it manually but without a stupid restriction in the way!
    • Toughness gives 10 points of Ballistic Defense per rank, and its sister perk Refractor gives an equal amount of Energy Defense. By the time you can max out either perk you could either invest in Ballistic Weave for, at minimum, 220 in both categories, or you use Power Armor, so that extra 50 doesn't have much of an effect. The Assault Marine armor in Far Harbor gives you the same bonuses without the level restrictions too.
    • Lead Belly reduces the radiation you suffer from eating and drinking, nullifying it completely at rank 3. Food and water have minimal radiation to begin with, and by cooking it you can completely eliminate the radiation drawback in addition to making it even more effective. That said, it's still somewhat useful for pre-war foodstuffs, which can't be cooked. Nuka-Cola can be mixed at stations with Nuka-World installed to remove all radiation as well as increase points healed as well as add bonuses depending on the recipes, further reducing the need or want for Lead Belly.
    • Rad Resistant adds 10 points of Radiation Resistance each rank, totaling 30. If you're in an area where radiation poisoning is an actual concern, Hazmat Suits and Power Armor will reduce ambient radiation to almost nothing, and Rad-X provides better temporary defense.
    • Cannibal allows you to eat corpses to restore a portion of lost health, but you have plenty of healing options in Stimpacks and cooked food. While Strong likes you eating people just killing random raiders will do the same thing faster and with more loot and experience gained.
    • The Ghoulish perks causes you to regenerate health at a rate determined by how much you've been irradiated. Since radiation reduces max health, there's no point in being able to regenerate quickly if you can only do so to half or less of your maximum.
      • As of Nuka-World, this perk has an additional level that also removes rads over time, so now it allows the Survivor to actually be healed by radiation like real ghouls.
    • The fourth rank of Lockpick prevents your bobby pins from breaking, and the fourth rank of Hacker keeps you from being shut out of terminals if you fail to hack them successfully. Bobby pins are so cheap and plentiful that you will almost always find more than you break, and you can avoid a terminal lockout simply by exiting and reentering to reset it. For that matter, both skills are unnecessary for story progression, only allowing you to bypass certain obstacles or access rooms with decent loot.
  • The Usual Adversaries: While different factions have different enemies, no one likes the Raiders or Super Mutants.
    V 
  • Vehicular Turnabout:
    • If you're quick and sneaky enough, you can pickpocket the fusion core from an active enemy power armor, kill the operator after they bail out of the powerless armor, reinstall the core, and then attack their allies in that armor. It's also a way to acquire the base frame, which otherwise is mangled beyond salvage if you have to kill the operator the direct way.
    • For the same reason, don't ever leave fusion cores in your armor. Friendly and enemy NPCs can and will appropriate it for their own use if given the opportunity, though at least settlers can be told to get out.
    • Near the end of the Railroad's main quest, after massacring the Brotherhood of Steel members (including Nice Girl Scribe Haylen) inside the Cambridge Police Station, Tinker Tom will hijack a Brotherhood Vertibird to get you and Deacon aboard the Prydwen (the Brotherhood's mobile HQ). After the end of the main quest, the Vertibird can be summoned with a signal grenade to fly you to anywhere in the Commonwealth. If you destroy the Brotherhood as the Minutemen, they'll manage to salvage a Vertibird for transport purposes as well.
  • Vendor Trash: Subverted — pretty much every seemingly useless item can be broken down for crafting components. Around a quarter of the time you'll spend in any given location is picking the entire place clean of every last bit of junk. One of the only pure examples of Vendor Trash in the game would be the Subway Tokens, which can't be junked or put to any other practical use, and have a 1:1 exchange rate with Bottlecaps.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: The game runs on this. While you can be a Jerkass Hero if you work at it, it's much easier to run in a more positive direction. From helping the Minutemen build and protect settlements, to retrieving a child's final message to her toymaker (and now ghoulified) father, to bucking up the spirits of your companions and even the lonely ghoul Vault-Tec salesman, there are chances to help and protect people everywhere across the Commonwealth.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The potential for this is severely downplayed compared to previous games in the series. You can be something of an Anti-Hero if you choose, stealing stuff and doing whatever it takes to find your son, but for the most part, you can't really play a full-on villain and a lot of innocents are essential NPCs. This can lead to some severe Railroading as the game can break down and be physically unable to cope if you attempt to play a murdering psycho, as one journalist from Rock Paper Shotgun found out to his detriment.
    • Of course, that’s not to say there are no opportunities to be a complete asshole. For starters, pretty much everyone aboard the ‘’Prydwen’’, every member of the Railroad and everyone in the Institute is non-essential, meaning you can have lots of fun going on a murderous rampage. There’s a quest where you have the opportunity to sell a ghoul child to some slavers, or if you refuse, give up their entire family to them. In one Diamond City quest, you can ambush a chem deal, and then murder your partners to take all the chems and money for yourself. And then, of course, you can join the Institute and announce to the Commonwealth you’re their new overlords and that their pitiful lives are meaningless. If you side against them, you have to blow them up, and you can choose to not sound the evacuation alert so that all the civilians and children living there get blown up with their home.
    • After completing Far Harbor's main questline, nothing's stopping you from immediately destroying the faction you chose to side with, betraying their trust. The options of telling the Institute or the Brotherhood about the synth refuge, setting off the nuke in the Nucleus, and cutting off Far Harbor's power can still be taken.
    • Nuka-World starts off with the Sole Survivor becoming the Overboss of the Nuka-World Raiders, and a suitably evil player can go whole hog on becoming a bloodthirsty, chem'd out Raider warlord. You can even forcibly take over any Commonwealth settlements and turn them into Raider outposts, forcing them to pay up in caps and chems while you live like a post-apocalyptic Croesus. Which is nothing to say of what you can do to all the other faction leaders of the Raiders themselves if you don't want to cooperate with them (or want to Pay Evil unto Evil).
    • And of course, there are mods designed to add more opportunities for this. For example, a mod that tweaks dismemberment so it can happen to any opponent when they are still alive. So if you want to shoot the legs off a supermutant, feel free to do so. Want to literally disarm a particulary annoying Ginner? Yep. Mods like these also have the added benefit of adding more strategic options, as it's much easier to kill a Deathclaw by sniping it's legs off before moving in and executing it.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Most of your companions will dislike or hate villainous actions, especially committing wanton murder. The only standouts are Dogmeat, who is a dog and doesn't know better (so he loves you no matter what you do), Strong, who loves violence, and the sociopathic X6-88. Even the last two have points where they'll disapprove for reasons moral or practical. Continuing to act like an ass or a psycho killer while they're travelling with you will cause them to dislike you and eventually leave you, never to return.
    • A variety of this will present itself if you choose to start killing people in the Institute before the quest to destroy it. For every named Institute member you kill, two Synth Patrollers will spawn in the entrance/exit area on the topmost floor. So, if you decide to be thorough and kill everybody, you will come face to face with literally dozens of Synth Patrollers when you decide to leave.
  • Video Game Delegation Penalty:
    • You can grow a number of crops at your settlements. Assigning a Settler to take care of the crops not only prevents the crops from dying, but surplus crops (those not required to feed the Settlers) will automatically be placed in the settlement's workbench. However, if you go to the settlement and manually pick the crops yourself, you'll get those crops as food items in addition to the surplus crops harvested by the settler.
    • If one of your settlements is under attack, you'll get a message (and quest objective) to defend the settlement. You can personally go to the settlement and defeat the attackers, saving the settlement. However, if you choose not to , the settlement has a chance to successfully defend itself based on the ratio of defense to resources. For a massive settlement creating 100+ food/water, the best odds of it successfully defending itself against an attack, even if you've turned the place into an absolute fortress with 100+ defense, is a 69.4% chance. In most cases, when you get there, your defenses will annihilate the attackers before you can even locate them. However, if you aren't present, that same settlement can inexplicably fail to defend itself nearly 1/3 of the time.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential:
    • Let's start with the fact that when you take a dead enemy's gear, that can include their clothing- so you could leave a trail of underwear-clad corpses across Boston and its environs. There's also Cait and Hancock, who give a "like" reaction to your Survivor fast-travelling from location to location while wearing no clothing. And, of course, there are nude mods.
    • Although it's usually impossible to get your Companion down to just underwear (the game won't let you unequip what they're wearing, just equip something new), there's currently a glitch that lets you do it to at least one on PS4 (equip something on them that's incompatible with their current outfit, and off it goes).
  • Villain World: Nuka-World is run by various raider gangs as well as the usual mutants and robots. The "good" storyline of the DLC is to simply kill all the Raiders in the park and go home.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • You can acquire quantities of "Irradiated Blood". It's sickly green, has "NOT FOOD" clearly marked in big marker letters on the blood bag label, and is radioactive. And you can still imbibe it despite all those red flags for a net gain of 30 hit points and wasting a good crafting item.
    • In Far Harbor you can get the Marine Armor which is the heaviest armor at a whopping 81 pounds, almost as much as Power Armor and only superseded by Heavy Nuka Raider armor in Nuka World. So the Ultra-Light upgrade must be the best way to reduce weight right? As it turns out Deep Pocketed is a whole 7 pounds lighter (26.8 pounds compared to "Ultra-light"'s 33.8) and lets you carry more while keeping its hefty damage resistance of 50 ballistic and 50 energy ("Assault" and "Inquisitor's" swap them as the other will always have one point less than the other).
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Especially compared to the previous games, where there were almost always non-violent solutions. There are exceptions, but a large number of the game's radiant quests require you to kill people. In particular, any quest to help out a settlement in trouble usually boils down to "go to the Raider/Super Mutant base and kill everyone and everything there".
    • No matter what dialogue options you say to Kellogg, you will always end up fighting him in the end. Admittedly, this is more justified than other examples since going into Kellogg's memories would show that he was essentially committing Suicide by Cop.
    • Mostly played straight, but there are still several situations where no one has to get killed, depending on how you answer, such as the standoff between Trudy and Wolfgang. Though killing one or the other is much easier, you can find a peaceful resolution. Keeping both alive allows you to buy and trade with both as well, as a small reward for not blowing them away.
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    W 
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: After clearing the Raiders and Gristle at Concord with your Powered Armor and Minigun, a huge Deathclaw appears out of nowhere. This thing can kill you within a few hits, soak up loads of damage from your Minigun, moves quickly, and even actively dodges your bullets!
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Robots and characters in Power Armor are too heavy to swim. Instead, they simply plod along the bottom of the water body.
  • Wall of Weapons: The Contraptions Workshop DLC adds weapon racks and display cases to the workshop build menu, allowing the player to add these to any of their settlements. On that note, nothing is really stopping them from making an entire settlement into an example of this trope with every room filled with power armor stands, mounted miniguns and fully stocked rifle display cases. Piling a stack of ammo into a little pyramid on the tables is optional.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Colter, the Overboss of Nuka-World by the time the player arrives there, has rigged his power armor to a bumper car arena's power supply, which for some reason makes him completely invincible to any kind of damage. Unless he gets hit by the awesome power of the Thirst Zapper, a retro-futuristic pistol that shoots... water. It's a 200-year old squirt gun. The boss of three entire raider outfits gets laid low by a child's toy that shorts out his defense mechanism for a short time after each hit and therefore allows the player to bring some real guns to bear on him. The Sole Survivor even lampshades the audacity of this plan when they're introduced to it.
  • Weak, but Skilled: A faction-wide case with the Institute. Their advanced laser weapons are actually weaker on average than even Post-War pipe guns, and their Synth forces are more meant to serve as strike teams to quickly grab important assets on the surface before heading back to the Institute. However, the Institute's able to make up for this with both a massive spy network and generally being excellent at espionage warfare.
  • Weak Turret Gun: Early on, hostile turrets are just a nuisance. Late game turrets are very dangerous however. You can also build your own to defend your settlements, and if you capture the Castle early, they actually do quite a good job at killing the surviving Mirelurks.
  • Weird Weather: The weather system (which mostly simulates normal weather) will sometimes subject the player to radiation storms, which randomly cause radiation poisoning while they're outside. Since there's an area called the Glowing Sea to the southwest of Boston, which is a bombed out hellscape with many pools of extremely radioactive water, it's not that weird in-game for storms that come from that direction. It's just that, thankfully, we don't experience florescent green radioactive rain in the real world.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Director of Cambridge Polymer Labs. When the bombs fell, he locked everyone inside, seeking to protect them both from the radiation and from the knowledge that the world had ended and everyone they knew and loved was probably dead. After learning that he and his team would be shot if they tried to get aid or evacuation on their own, and that they would only otherwise be extracted if they were of military significance, he told everyone they were on mandatory overtime until they completed their work, to keep them safe away from the devastation and hopefully get them to complete the power armor coating that would make them worth rescuing by the military.
    • Per the game's Grey and Gray Morality, both the Institute and the Brotherhood of Steel can be seen as this, although the Brotherhood is admittedly A Lighter Shade of Grey in comparison to the Institute. Both factions want to prevent another Great War and create a better world, but have some pretty harsh/dark methods that they'll use to do so. Even the Railroad has shades of this, subscribing to Black and White Insanity in believing that no Synths are bad, when the player has seen firsthand that this, the Brotherhood's belief that no Synths can ever be good (so they all should be destroyed), and the Institute's belief that no Synths are truly sentient (so they are all tools to be used rather than slaves) are all demonstrably incorrect.
  • Wetware Body / Wetware CPU: The Generation 3 Synths seem to be mostly, but not entirely, organic. Paladin Danse is outed by DNA records, implying that they have actual flesh and blood; Father confirms this inside the Institute, stating that Gen 3s were based on Shaun's Pre-War and thus unmutated DNA. Those with the Cannibal perk can eat them just as they would normal humans. However, when killed, most Synths will have an inorganic Synth component on their corpses. Nick Valentine also references that they have mechanical components to them when referring to the Broken Mask Incident.
    • A holotape found in Shaun's room indicates the Synth was a prototype, and considering it was only two years after Shaun was taken from Vault 111 (nearly 60 years before Fallout 4 properly begins), it's very likely said Synth wasn't truly a Gen 3 - just another in-between step, like Nick and DiMA, but much more advanced. This is backed up by the fact that Nick claims that the Synth involved, had "servos and sprockets", which should be very easily detected by anyone with medical knowledge - yet even with the Brotherhood's technology, they weren't able to tell that Danse wasn't human. Still, the fact that Synths are established as having enough differences from baseline humanity (such as not gaining or losing weight) that it can be argued that they're clearly not perfectly organic creations.
  • Wham Line:
    • When you get your hint as to how to get into the Institute.
    Dr. Amari: Teleportation. Now it all makes sense. Nobody's found the entrance to the Institute because there is no entrance.
    • While there's some Foreshadowing beforehand, it still counts as it's the official reveal of it.
    Father: It's good to finally meet you, after all this time. It's me. I am Shaun.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The arrival of the Prydwen in the Commonwealth, a sign of how powerful the Brotherhood of Steel has become, how seriously they're taking this war, and how much things are about to escalate.
    • Proctor Ingram talks to you about the Brotherhood secretly preparing a superweapon that will turn the tide of war with the Institute. She keys in a code and the hanger door slides up to reveal The remains of Liberty Prime, with his distinctive head front and center under a spotlight.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • Almost all of the Raiders you encounter are led by a named boss. They also have a lot more varied dialogue and even hold conversations when you're not detected. There's a good number of journal entries, too, which continue to humanize the enemies you fight. The various Raider bosses even have their own power struggles; kill the Raiders in the Federal Ration Stockpile and when you come to murder the boss of a rival gang, you'll find how he hoped to use the food in there to expand his influence and take on one of more fearsome bosses. What also helps is that most of them have refrained from decorating their hideouts with the corpses of their victims.
    • Super Mutants also like to chat with each other when you're not shooting them apart. Like the FEV strain of Mutants in the Capital Wasteland, they want to kill all humans, something Strong reinforces in one of his comments about how he thinks that, one day, Super Mutant will kill everything. Strong also gives us further insight into the life of the average super mutant.
    • Travel south along one of the railroad tracks, and you'll come across a Raider kneeling on the ground. As soon as they notice you, they'll attack, and you're forced to defend yourself. But when you approach to loot the body, you realize what they were doing: grieving over a body dumped in a shallow grave.
    • The Viking Ghoul Raiders who inhabit the FMS Northern Star are also unique from other Raiders by the fact that they just want to be left alone. Translating their Norwegian dialogue reveals that they also long to return to their distant, likely irradiated homeland.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: A major theme of Fallout 4 is you determining what qualifies as human or sentient, and the alliances you make will narrow based on your thoughts and choices. The Institute view Synths as nothing more than machines, treating them as property and refusing to acknowledge that Synths have the potential for sapience. The Brotherhood calls for their destruction because they think Synths will lead to another apocalypse. The Railroad takes after the historical Underground Railroad, and is dedicated to the liberation and equality of Synths. By the time you have met any of the three factions, you have likely made a friend or enemy of several different Synth characters.
    • Ghouls, Super Mutants, and robots are also under the thumb of this theme, but to a lesser degree than Synths are.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Things you do and how you react in a situation can affect how other NPCs will react to you.
    • Some minor stuff include stealing while accompanied by an NPC whose moral compass leans towards the good side, or refusing to help when asked. Or agreeing to help for the more Anti-Hero-oriented characters. And while Strong dislikes you getting into power armor, Danse likes it.
    • Major incidents include murdering faction NPCs. Killing a lot of unnamed ones, or a named one, will immediately cause that faction to be hostile towards you, including companions belonging to that faction.
    • One that every companion (aside from Danse and X6-88, due to their plot-related absence) can unanimously agree on is their utter rage at the Sole Survivor dismissing a dying Glory. Even Cait and MacCready, despite their callous responses, dislike it. As for the others, they proceed to chew out the Sole Survivor:
    Piper: You're a real piece of work, you know that?
    Deacon: That's cold.
    Hancock: This woman is dying here, show some damn respect!
    Preston: What the hell? That's how you treat a comrade?
    Codsworth: Have you no heart? Miss Glory risked her life for this mission!
    Strong: Humans should help humans. Bad leader!
    Nick: It's alright, Glory. You're here with friends...And one goon.
    • In the same way, everyone except Strong and X6-88 is horrified and angry if you tell Blake Abernathy that his daughter deserved to be killed for standing up to Raiders.
    • Killing a Settler will often turn the rest of the settlement against you. They may let it slide if you accidentally kill one during a firefight with hostile NPCs. But if you kill one in cold blood, the other Settlers will quickly turn hostile, forcing you to kill them as well. This becomes problematic when a settlement is infiltrated by a Synth, and you can't figure out which one of them is the Synth.
    • Father will have this reaction to you if you turn against the Institute. Even if you try to apologize as you prepare to blow their base, he tries to guilt trip you no matter how you respond.
    • For players who follow the Raider path of the DLC, Nuka-World is practically "What the Hell, Hero?: The Game" if they were dumb enough to bring a good-aligned companion along for the ride. Pretty much everything the Sole Survivor does will earn dislikes at the very least, often even outright hate. Preston Garvey turns this Up to Eleven due to Raiders being one of his biggest Berserk Buttons. Claim a Commonwealth settlement for the Raiders, and his affinity will instantly drop to the minimal possible value no matter how high it was before and where he is currently located, even if he's at the opposite end of the map at that moment. Upon talking to him the next time, he'll deliver a vicious The Reason You Suck speech, cut all ties to the Survivor, refuse to accompany them any longer and eventually turn hostile on sight if the Sole Survivor kills Settlers in his presence.
    • If choosing to fight against the Institute, Father will have a Synth copy of Shaun as a child, meet you at the exit of the Institute. Regardless of which faction you choose to complete this quest with, and how pro or anti-Synth they are, they'll have this reaction towards you, if you choose to leave the kid behind.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: The Relay Interceptor has a Tesla coil torus on the top that spins when it's powered.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The town of Covenant serves a very similar role as Andale in Fallout 3 and Hackdirt in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, being a small settlement that is pretty obviously a Town with a Dark Secret and putting you in a situation where you're likely to be forced to kill the entire town if making good/moral decisions.
  • Why Isn't It Attacking?: You can choose to return the Deathclaw Egg obtained in the Museum of Witchcraft to its nest. When you get there, a high-level Deathclaw will pop up in front of you... and leave you alone, knowing that you're returning its egg, allowing you to get the nearby Deathclaw Gauntlet. If you attempt to steal the egg back, however...
  • Wicked Cultured: Somewhat implied with the Institute. You eventually find out they're the ones broadcasting the Classical Music radio station.
  • Witch Hunt: Many settlements and organizations, up to and including the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, are conducting witch hunts for "Synths", androids who look and act human. For bonus points, this witch hunt just so happens to be in Massachusetts, home of the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • In the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. video series, Vault Boy is a badass who gets his ass handed to him twice per episode. This is usually to explain (A) how dangerous having a Dump Stat can be in certain situations, and (B) how your enemies (or allies, or even literal corpses) can beat the crap out of you if you fail a skill check.
    • During your search for Kellogg, you'll find the remains of a curb-stomped Assaultron. If you've had the pleasure of fighting one of those before, this should be a dead giveaway that this man means business.
    • Later in the main questline, you have to track down and kill an Institute Courser. You'll eventually find him making short work of dozens of Gunners, which are essentially elite Raiders.
    • When visiting the Mahkra Fishpacking Facility the first time, you'll notice an unusually large amount of Raider corpses laid both outside and inside the plant. Investigating the facility further inside reveals that a large group of Synths have invaded the place and are responsible for their deaths. Eventually, they turn their attention to you and start trying to kill you for presumably interfering with their operations, unless you've allied yourself with the Institute. Hopefully you don't try to explore this place until you're at a sufficiently high level because these Synths are armed well enough to quickly kill a low-level PC at a moment's notice.
  • World Half Full: Compared to the Crapsack World that's the Capital Wasteland and even the (relatively) thriving Mojave, the Commonwealth has quite a bit going for it. Only one nuclear warhead was ever launched at Boston... and missed it. Despite the chaos and turmoil (as well as the deliberate machinations of the Institute), there is a stronger sense of continuity with the Pre-War world as well as a more stable semblance of civilization getting back on its feet. The people in the Commonwealth even come across as largely more idealistic and friendlier than the residents of the Mojave and especially those of the Capital Wasteland.
    • Applies in a meta sense to what the player can do to change things, since they were unable to have a direct hand in actually rebuilding civilization, with they can now do, with the effects immediate and apparent due to the settlement mechanic.
  • Wormsign: In the Massachusetts State House, Mirelurks can burrow beneath floorboards with ground underneath them, displacing them on their way to pop up on you.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: The Treasure of Jamaica Plains is a Pre-War time capsule containing mostly junk and a World Series bat that may occasionally send those it hits flying.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: One particular piece of Vendor Trash the player will accumulate in large quantities - especially as it's one of the few weightless items - is wrapped bundles of hundred-dollar bills... which are of course worthless because the country that printed them collapsed over two centuries earlier. Its only real use is as "cloth" for Item Crafting. The most common item you'll build with cloth? Beds and chairs. You're stuffing your furniture with money!
    • It's ultimately subverted, though, in that Pre-War money is still far more viable as a trading commodity then a crafting resource, as they do actually have a value (8 caps per unit), and have no weight; the crafting mechanic just adds to their primary use in the previous two games. The expectations of the original trope prevent a lot of new players from noticing that Pre-War money actually is an excellent bartering tool.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: When you approach Hardware Town for the first time, a settler will be outside screaming for someone to help. She will then lead you into the building, where her kidnapped friend is being held. Once you go into the back areas however, it turns out to be a trap, and a few Raiders attack you. You can avert the trope by killing the settler first, or purposely waiting outside for a long time, after which one of the raiders will kill her for failing to bait you inside. You can even pacify her with Intimidation rank 3 perk and use her to fight against the Raiders.
    • Nuka-World starts off with this, as a "wounded" guy urges you to get on the monorail to Nuka-World (and get trapped in their Gauntlet.) If you offer him a Stimpack, he refuses it and you can catch his game with that.
  • Wrench Whack: The Pipe Wrench is available as a melee weapon, there is even a unique one, Big Jim.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The Sole Survivor can do a variety of wrestling moves while using an unarmed weapon in third-person. These include German suplexes, front facelocks, and double leg take downs.
  • Wretched Hive:
    • Goodneighbor is a town filled with the dregs and rejects of the Commonwealth, meaning either ghouls or criminals. As such, the city is a crime-riddled hellhole run by a mayor with limited interest in exerting overt authority, though he does appreciate efforts in getting rid of the worst of the lot. Conversely, aside from The Slog, it's the only place in the Commonwealth that Ghouls are allowed to reside in due to the bigotry they face everywhere else.
    • Nuka-World is an abandoned amusement park run by three different Raider gangs. The majority of the DLC is spent helping them conquer the remaining sections of the park that aren't yet under their control, making the place even worse.
    • It's implied that at least some parts of America had become this by 2077, justifying the existence of pipe guns even in Pre-War times. There's even an issue of the Pre-War magazine "Guns and Bullets" featuring the "Street Guns of Detroit".
  • Wrong Insult Offence: One of the sarcastic dialog options after searching through Kellog's home with Nick Valentine yields us this jewel:
    Sole Survivor: What? The Clockwork Dick is stumped?
    Nick Valentine: It's Synth Detective, jackass. If you're gonna be that way, you might as well get the make and model right.
    Y 
  • Yellow Peril: Averted with Captain Zao. While he may hail from Pre-War China, he's an otherwise honorable (if ghoulified) officer who sincerely regrets his role in the Great War and just wants to return home.
  • You All Meet in an Inn:
    • Kellogg's memories note that his hit jobs during his drifter days universally "start in a bar".
    • Played arrow-straight with the throwback RPG "Grognak and The Ruby Ruins", of course.
  • You Are in Command Now:
    • Preston Garvey promotes you to General if you promise to help him rebuild the Minutemen.
    • Father names you as the next Director of the Institute if you side with them. This title carries over after the story is completed.
    • In a perfect example of You Kill It, You Bought It, defeating Nuka-World's current Overboss at the start of the DLC's main story results in the three resident Raider gangs naming you his successor while his mutilated corpse is still bleeding all over the place.
  • You Bastard!: By the time the Nuka-World DLC was released, most players had probably finished the base game at least once, if not multiple times. That means there's a good chance they also allied themselves with pretty much every settlement in the Commonwealth and are familiar with their respective situation, as well as the general state of affairs in the game world. Then the Sole Survivor gets named Raider Overboss of Nuka-World all of a sudden, with the not-so-surprising final goal of taking over the Commonwealth itself. Go ahead and try not to feel like a complete asshole while you gun down all those peaceful settlers with a gang of bloodthirsty killers at your side. It gets even worse, should the player choose the peaceful option of verbally persuading the settlers to hand over their land. The short speech they give the Survivor about being evicted from their home under the threat of a painful death is nothing but heart-rending. Gets worse yet again if the settlement in question is one the player brought into the fold of the Minutemen earlier. Naturally, you can subvert this by slaughtering all of the Raiders.
    • Of course there is yet another option when it comes to dealing with the Nuka-World Raiders. This option seems to resonate quite well with almost everybody - well, except for the Raiders of course.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: If your affinity with a companion drops too low, they will voice their concern. If it continues to drop, they will leave you for good unless you can pass a difficult speech check. If you convince them to stay, but continue to lower their affinity, you won't be able to convince them to stay again: they'll leave and not look back.
  • Your Head Asplode: Do enough damage to a target's head (or if Bloody Mess triggers) and it pops like a blood-filled melon.
  • Your Cheating Heart: You can literally do this to a companion who you have a romantic relationship with, and not just by starting relationships with other companions. One quest involves asking an attractive singer in a seedy bar for information about a missing person. With a high enough level in charisma, you can flirt and go on a date with the singer which fades out and then fades back in to the date ending in her bedroom. If your current companion is romantically involved with you, you get an onscreen message that they "hated" what you did. If you've completed the quest line with them and have them as a permanent companion, they don't even mention about how you just cheated on them and they're still completely in love with you.
    • Remember though that this is about the dialogue only (and the associated perk which you cannot lose). You can and will lose affection and it can downgrade you to a lower level where you won't get the Lover's Embrace bonus anymore (which is basically the only way to find out about it). Normally you will be restored to lover level soon after, though, since travelling alone gives "good points", so you may also notice that your lover has broken up with you when s/he initiates a dialogue about getting back together like before.
    Z 
  • Zeppelins from Another World: The Brotherhood's metal-hulled airship Prydwen serves as their mobile headquarters. It also violates physics: there's no way in hell it would fly in real life, as it's too small to hold enough hydrogen to support a hull made entirely of steel, nor would the engines provide sufficient lift. Like other aspects of Fallout science, it's Science!
  • Zerg Rush:
    • Mole Rats. What appears to be a single mole rat will call on a horde to rush the player once said mole rat is alerted or killed.
    • Feral Ghouls now act like this. They initially "play dead", but as soon as one notices you (or is killed), the entire "horde" will wake up and then run straight for you. They move fast, flop around while they swing at you, and every hit causes radiation damage that cuts down your health. You have to shot every corpse you didn't make just to make sure.
    • Mirelurks who don't have ranged attacks will attempt this on you as well.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Inverted. Terminal entries recount the ghoulified survivors of the Kiddie Kingdom staff in the ruins of the Nuka World amusement park fortifying their part of the park and using the equipment and their radiation resistance to defend themselves against repeated waves of raider attacks. As many of them begin to go feral (a nearly inevitable event as ghouls age and absorb more radiation over time), they see themselves as survivors infected with a disease and start trying to find a cure.
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