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Fallout New Vegas / Tropes I to M

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Fallout: New Vegas provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Used verbatim as a name for the challenge that requires you to cripple 100 right arms or whatever your current target has instead of one.
  • I Call It "Vera": Some unique guns, such as Maria, Lucky, Annabelle, Esther (Gun Runner's Arsenal) and Big Boomer. In addition, Corporal Sterling and Ranger Milo call their repeaters 'la Longue Carabine' and 'Carmine' respectively.
  • I Can Rule Alone: The Wild Card line of quests provides this option. You can go to the minor factions and ask for their help in creating a free Vegas or you can wipe them all off the face of the earth!
  • I Die Free:
    • In Arcade's Legion ending, as long as Caesar lives through the end he becomes Caesar's personal physician. In a moment that he is unguarded he guts himself with a scalpel. Though he was well loved by Caesar, and thus probably lived quite nicely, he considered having to serve the Legion (even in comfort) a Fate Worse than Death.
    • In Dead Money Elijah kidnaps you at the beginning, strips your gear, and straps an explosive collar to your neck. You can refuse to do what he says and let him explode the collar.
  • I Have No Idea What I'm Doing: When it is found out that Caesar has a brain tumor, but the Courier doesn't have the necessary medicine skill to perform brain surgery, they can pass a speech check instead to bluff Caesar into believing that they have the skills to perform the operation anyway. Normally, choosing this option will lead to the trope coming into effect and Caesar gets killed by the Courier's clumsy hands during the operation, but if the Courier also has 9 luck, the operation can actually succeed, and doing so will give the Courier a dialogue option that has them indicate that they have no idea how the hell they managed to pull off the operation successfully.
  • Idiot Ball: Caesar is holding one. He knows that his camp at Fortification Hill is sitting on top of a bunker protected by doors that can't be drilled or blasted open. He knows said doors bear the logo of the Lucky 38 and thus must be relevant to Mr. House's interests in some way. He knows the Platinum Chip he just confiscated from Benny fits the disc-shaped console near the doors and suspects it will open them. What does he do? Why, he waits for the Courier to finally decide to make their way to Fortification Hill, hands the Platinum Chip to the Courier even if they have single-handedly destroyed all of his operations west of the Dam by this point (if you want some really funny dialogue, do this), and trust them to deal with whatever is inside the bunker completely unmolested, confident that the Courier will do as asked and destroy it. You even get to keep the chip. Brilliant! The best part is, the Courier doesn't even have to report to Caesar once done inside the bunker, and can just walk out of the fortress completely unmolested by the guards! Caesar might be an extremely intelligent person lore-wise, but he sure displays a complete lack of common sense here.
    • It's actually acknowledged and explained if you discuss it via dialogue choices, though it does display an extreme amount of arrogance when it comes to you and your motivations. Caesar has a worldview where advanced technology in the hands of the masses is actively harmful to their cultural development. Thus, he cannot send Legionaries down to examine the structure without teaching them about technology and disrupting his carefully-constructed culture... but he can send you, a Profligate. His argument relies on you to see the light of his wisdom, but if that doesn't work he's happy to intimidate you into doing his bidding. He won't let you leave the camp with the Chip without trying to kill you, and if you fight back, you're Vilified by the Legion forever.
    • You can grab it too, if you so choose. Special mention goes to blowing up the Securiton army underneath the Legion Fort if you are going for the House or Wild Card ending, essentially throwing away your trump card for no good reason.
      • Lampshaded by Yes Man:
    Yes-Man:"And if you had, you know, a huge killer robot army at your command, yeah, that would just clutter things up; and a lesser person might want that kind of overwhelming force on their side, but you know - where's the challenge in that?"
  • Idiot Hero: You can play as a 1-INT wasteland wanderer with hilarious moments of ditzy stupidity but the skill points you get are considerably less.
  • Idiot Savant: You can also play as a 1-Int wasteland wanderer and eventually acquire maximum skillpoints in at least one of the Science, Medicine, Repair or Speech skills, making you a complete idiot with genius-level skills in a specific area.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: If you think that nothing good would happen in a place called Bitter Springs, you would be right. It is the site of a massacre.
  • I Found You Like This: After taking a bullet to the head, the courier is dug up by Victor and brought to Doc Mitchell's house. He then brings you back to life through surgery and gets you back on your feet.
  • I Have This Friend...: Turns out that the sex-bot Garett is interested in isn't for a customer... though after slips of the tongue, he asserts that it is for "those sick machine-fetishists".
    James Garrett: You found one? Hot damn! I have to try it out right away! Er, I mean to make sure that it will meet our client's needs...
    The Courier: Sure, whatever.
  • I Love Nuclear Power:
    • Taking the Rad Child perk gives the Courier a Healing Factor whenever they suffer radiation poisoning, offsetting some of the penalties.
    • Applies to Ghouls, with the medical advantages that radiation provides to them.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The White Glove Society used to be this. Mortimer however, still is and wants to serve the rest of the White Glove Society human flesh so they have no choice but to go back to the "old ways." And, of course, the Courier can be this as well if the player so wishes. A later perk even expands it to super mutants and ghouls. There is even a special perk you can get as a reward for having Caesar, the King, Mr. House, and President Kimball for dinner.
    • The "Them's Good Eating!" perk gives you a chance of finding "Thin Red Paste" or "Blood Sausage" on every living enemy you kill. It is implied you are eating salvageable body parts off the critters you blew away (since it doesn't work on robots) and this could include sapient humans. The two healing items' names are also a reference to Wasteland.
    • It's heavily implied that, due to excessive drug abuse, the Fiends are this. If you manage to hide after you get spotted by them, they will sometimes even say, "When I find you, I'm gonna eat your spleen."
    • In Honest Hearts, some of the remnants from Vault 22 became this, killing and eating other refugee groups in Zion National Park, according to Randall Clark's Apocalyptic Log. Randall, horrified by their acts, started to hunt all of them down.
    • In the ruined town portion early on in Lonesome Road, you can find a basement that has been fashioned into a butchering shop with human remains and "Strange Meat" everywhere, spelling it out that the Marked Men are cannibals.
  • Immodest Orgasm:
    • Red Lucy in The Thorn, Sarah Weintraub in Vault 21, and any prostitute you sleep with. Also, you can hear a few while walking around Gomorrah and Casa Madrid. Dr. Dala in Old World Blues takes this Up to Eleven, despite (or because of) being essentially a brain in a jar.
    • Dr. 8 has a hilarious example of this when he "sonijaculates" into the Sonic Emitter. The player dialogue reflects this.
    The Courier: "Did you clean this off before you gave it back to me?"
  • Immunity Disability: Joshua Graham suffers from horrific burns as a result of being covered in burning pitch as punishment for failing Caesar. He's also Immune to Drugs, meaning that no medicine can ease his constant pain.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: According to some Legion NPC's, NCR troops are on the average quite lacking in marksmanship, while at least one NCR character mentions that new troops are often receiving less than a month's training before being sent to the Mojave. Could go a long way to explaining why a military made up primarily of riflemen is having such a hard time against an opponent that primarily issues melee weapons to its front-line troops. That and the Legion's body armor being able to eat up a lot of the damage from a service rifle.
  • Important Haircut: Invoked. The only place to get a haircut in the game (without requiring the player to sacrifice valuable rewards for it) is in the Big MT, which, if played chronologically and to be properly leveled, takes place after you deal with Benny and starting the lead up to the Hoover Dam Battle, survive the trials of Sierra Madre, fight back against the tribes of Zion, and have your major organs taken out of your body.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Children cannot be directly harmed in any way. Of course, you can kill everyone they know and love...
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy: As a result of being one of the few enemies that use Level Scaling (in term of skill, HP, and equipment), The White Legs in Honest Hearts are basically Veteran Rangers disguised as tribals if your level is high. In addition to having as much health as the Veteran Rangers, they also carry as good or better weapons (like automatic shotguns, anti-tank rifles, Tommy guns, and 12.7 submachine guns) and are the most commonly found enemies in the DLC. The only break in your favor is that White Legs have poor armor and lack the 30% damage resistance that Veteran Rangers have.
    • In the vanilla game, Veteran Rangers and Legion Praetorians were originally noticeably more powerful than Brotherhood of Steel Paladins. However, this got corrected after the most recent patch, where all non-named BOS NPCs have had their hit points doubled or more, putting them on par with the game's other Elite Mooks (and, with their power armor, giving them the higher edge).
    • In Lonesome Road, the Deathclaws also level scale, and at their highest level, they deal 350 melee damage, which is more than the Legendary and Alpha Male DC's from the main game, enough to smite nearly any character in a single swipe.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • Private Sexton in Camp Forlorn Hope runs a collection quest where you bring him the ear of any Legionaire you kill. Get it? Legionear? You can then call him out on how awful the pun is.
    • When you return the Platinum Chip to Mr. House, you can make this happen by trying to Barter him for more money but not having enough skill points.
      The Courier: Better raise the price or... or you're "chip outta luck".
      Mr. House: ... Was that an attempt at humor?
  • I Never Said It Was Poison:
    Courier: Can you help me find some missing people?
    Slave Trader: I don't know anything about the refugees going missing from the Aerotech Office Park.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Whatever weapon you find north of Westside, whether it be the Alien Blaster or the YCS/186. They're both incredibly devastating weapons, capable of one or two-shotting all but the toughest enemies.
    • There's a suit of Infinity Plus One Armor out there, as well. The Remnants Power Armor, the complete suit having a DT 6 points higher than the T-51b and no faction affiliation. However, like all great ultimate items, you have to work for it: it's on the wrong side of the Colorado river and guarded by a nest of Deathclaws. Good luck getting there! Alternately, you could do Arcade's loyalty quest. You simply have to talk to 6 people around the Mojave Wasteland.
    • For players who favor light armor due to the related perks, the Sierra Madre Reinforced Armor and the Gecko-backed Reinforced Leather Armor. The former has the highest damage resistance of the two (higher than the basic Combat Armor) while the latter comes with additional resistances to radiation, poison and fire, but there's a catch. Obtaining the former requires to go through Dead Money, obtaining the latter requires going to Zion, a very high Survival skill, and a fair bit of component farming and crafting.
    • Arm your humanoid companion with the highest weapons in their specialty and they become a walking Infinity +1 Sword.
      • Give Boone the Anti-Materiel Rifle or the Gobi Campaign Sniper Rifle.
      • Give Lily a Thermic Lance or the "Oh Baby!" Super Sledge.note 
      • Give Veronica the Ballistic Fist, the unique displacer glove "Pushy" or the Fist of Rawr.note 
      • Give Arcade the Gauss Rifle or the YCS/186.
      • Give Raul the Ranger Sequoia.
      • Give Cass the Riot Shotgun.
    • Joshua Graham is the Infinity+1 Companion, with only ED-E paired with Boone or Raul coming close. He's ridiculously accurate, carries a default pistol that does more damage (both per shot and per second) than about 90% of the guns in the game, and has such a large damage threshold (50) that he's practically invincible. Unfortunately, he's only available as a companion during the final battle of Honest Hearts.
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • Ratslayer, the unique varmint rifle, comes with all the available mods for the weapon and a huge critical multiplier (a properly geared character with the correct skills or perks will always crit) while still using the common 5,56mm ammo. All it takes to find it is finding the cave where it rests and deal with the giant rats in it, something ED-E can do without any problem.
    • "That Gun", the unique 5,56mm pistol (and only one without Gun Runners Arsenal) is a pistol that fire 5,56 rounds (giving it both power and versatility) and has a decent crit multiplier. It's behind a "Very Easy" lock in Novac's general store.
    • Chance's knife, the unique combat knife, has an insane DPS (on par with Oh, Baby!, the unique super sledge) and can be taken in casinos if you have 50 Sneak or more. You can find it in Chance's grave, north of Goodsprings, provided you have a shovel (to loot the grave) and can avoid the Cazadores.
    • ED-E can be acquired as soon as you reach Primm with a Repair skill of 35 and some junk items. For this low, low price, you have a non-human companion that allows you to craft ammo and items on the road, allows you to spot enemies from very far away and is armed with a laser powerful enough to kill anything shorter than a Super Mutant.
    • For players who prefer light armor, there's Joshua Graham's armor from Honest Hearts. Provides the same DT as the gecko-backed reinforced leather armor at less than half the weight and is much easier to acquire (it's simply one of the rewards at the end for completing Honest Hearts), though with a small boost to critical hit chance rather than fire, poison and radiation resistance, and with less durability and a rarer source of repairs without Jury Rigging (having to go find Powder Ganger guard armor rather than leather armor).
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Doc Mitchell looks like Michael Hogan with a country doctor mustache. Other notable examples include Benny (Matthew Perry), Chief Hanlon (Kris Kristofferson), Colonel Moore (Kirsten Potter), Sunny Smiles (Katherine Pawlak), Trudy (Lora Cain), Bruce Isaac (Gregory Allen Williams), Cass (Rachel Roswell), The King (James Horan), Julie Farkas (Laura Bailey), Arcade Gannon (Zachary Levi), Mr. House (Rene Aubejonois), Michael Angelo (Jesse Burch), Caesar (John Doman), Vulpes Inculta (Jason Spisek), Aurelius of Phoenix (Yuri Lowenthal), and Father Elijah (Richard Herd).
  • Insane Proprietor: The Wind-Brahmin Salesman at Brooks Tumbleweed Ranch.
  • Insistent Terminology: Ranger Jackson is not allowed to contract mercenary work.
    Jackson: I said you might accidentally get supplied, and I meant it.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Example is northwest of Brooks Tumbleweed ranch, where a pileup prevents further movement northwest. Even though you could jump on one of the blockading vehicles, you're blocked from going further.
    • Despite being numerous places where it seems like you could climb over the ring of hills surrounding Quarry Junction, there are actually only two: the main entrance near Sloan and a small pass just north of the Great Khan encampment in the quarry.
    • In Lonesome Road, one of the more blatant ones occurs when a collapsing building falls across your immediate path through the Divide, forcing a detour despite the climbable-looking rocks and rubble.
    • Lampshaded in Old World Blues, if you tell the Think Tank you're leaving and want nothing to do with their plans. It's actually a sound-based barrier that shuts off the artificial brains of the lobotomites. Like you.
  • Interface Screw:
    • The otherwise pushover Bark Scorpions have this as a really nasty surprise. If they sting you, the poison completely distorts your screen. Not the "crippled head" kind of distortion, but completely warping your entire field of view such that you can't even see the scorpion if it's in your face. They are deadly if you give them the chance. You can also suffer this effect from Cazador stings and taking a shot of Fixer.
    • The Mushroom Samba noted below. You're drugged up and sent off to fight a flaming Yao Guai with a Doppleganger Spin. It's delightfully trippy and chaotic as hell.
  • Internal Affairs / The Inquisitor General: The Special Ops group known as The Circle of Steel is this to the Brotherhood of Steel proper, made up of Brotherhood 'hardliners'. Their acts of 'policing' the Brotherhood include marking Elijah for death (and sending Christine out to pull the trigger) after sacrificing a large number of his men trying to hold Helios One. You can later succeed where he failed, and crispy the NCR with Archimedes I.
  • Internal Homage: Vault 34 works as one to The Glow in the original Fallout. It's even possible to end up there on a quest from the Brotherhood of Steel.
  • Interservice Rivalry: The NCR Regular Army and the NCR Rangers, at least in General Oliver's mind.
  • Invisible Wall: As a definitive response to players notoriously finding ways to scale terrain intended to be unclimbable in Gamebryo engine games, invisible clip brushes have been added. No clever shortcuts for you.
    • If only the players hadn't discovered new ways to scale their own inventories with "armor hopping" and coupon stairs. The Legate Camp is a popular destination.
  • Ironic Echo: When Benny and the player character first speak, the latter is on his/her knees and Benny's about to kill him/her. Guess what happens in Caesar's camp? You can actually point this out to Benny, to which he'll say that the irony isn't lost on him.
  • Ironic Name: In Westside there's a jerkass self-claimed prospector named Saint James, who in reality happens to be a slaver and child molester.
  • Irony:
    • Benny notes that the game was rigged from the start... too bad it wasn't rigged in his favor, as House knew about his scheme all along.
    • Doctor Henry in Jacobstown was once a member of the Enclave, a group that considered any outsider to be a subhuman fit for execution due to their exposure to radiation (no matter how minute). And what is his current line of work? Researching a cure to help Super Mutants with mental disabilities. Because they asked him. Even more special is the fact that he's working for the Mutant that helped kill Horrigan and bring about the fall of the Enclave.
    • As a female character, if you either kill Caesar or help him, there's a delicious lump of irony involved given the status of, well, every other woman even remotely connected to the Legion.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: Though it doesn't have the payoff the trope normally promises, President Kimball does this after his speech, announcing his desire to leave the stage before he gets shot. Given it was a PA system, however, maybe he just didn't care.
    Thank you, thank you. [Beat] All right, let's get the fuck out of here. What the hell are you waiting for –- do you think I want to get shot? Let's go!
  • It Can Think: You are given this treatment in Old World Blues. The Think Tank treat you like an alien being and are unable to comprehend the fact that you are speaking at first. Never mind that you are speaking the same language they are...
  • Item Crafting: Of three varieties! You can use workbenches to create weapons and items from spare parts, use reloading benches to make or customize gun ammunition, and use campfires to cook up food or medicine.
  • It Is Pronounced KAI-sarr/Insistent Terminology: Caesar's Legion uses the Latin pronunciations, while the NCR troops and everybody else typically use anglicized pronunciations. In fact, how a character pronounces Caesar is a pretty good indication of how much respect they have for him. Joshua Graham, for instance, should know better - after all, he was in the Legion since the beginning - but due to the circumstances of his departure, he intentionally pronounces Caesar's name incorrectly.
    • Strangely enough though, Marcus uses the Latin pronunciation. Follows-Chalk does as well, which is likely because he first heard the name from Graham when he was still with the Legion.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: The Courier can say this about killing Jeannie May.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Pearl, you can see her younger days depicted as nose art on the B-29 Bomber you recovered once the restoration is well underway. Possibly Old Lady Gibson as well.

  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Lieutenant Boyd will be more satisfied if you make Silus talk by repeatedly punching him in the face rather than using speech or intelligence skills. So will Boone, for that matter, but he'd rather Silus just die.
    Silus: You're getting nothing from me.
    Boyd: I'm getting entertainment. That's something. So what's it gonna be?
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: By starting with high Intelligence and investing in the right traits and perks (Skilled, Educated, and Comprehension), the Courier can become very good at many different skills very quickly and max out every skill long before reaching the Level Cap. While they may not be as good at, say, melee combat as someone who spent those points in Strength instead of Intelligence or quite as good with guns as someone who invested in a different set of perks, the amount of flexibility this playstyle affords can be well worth it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: On the outside, Cass is a swearing, alcoholic, promiscuous, foul-tempered bitch. But she is a good person deep down. She's the only companion that will leave you if you have Evil Karma, rather than everyone else who leaves you based on your reputation with certain factions, and she's extremely loyal to, and protective of, a Good-aligned Courier, and she gets quite riled up after hearing about what Benny did to him/her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Alice McLafferty is a crooked trader, and angling to play both sides in the conflict between the NCR and BoS to come out ahead. However, her concerns that the Cap making machine in Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters will undermine the economy are quite right. Not only would this be tantamount to counterfeit, an influx of new caps would devalue the existing ones and cause inflation.
  • The Juggernaut: Deathclaws. Deathclaw Alpha Males. Deathclaw Mothers. The Legendary Deathclaw. Remember the old description of The Baron of Hell in Doom? "Tough as a dump truck and nearly as big, these Goliaths are the worst things on two legs since Tyrannosaurus rex." This perfectly describes an ordinary deathclaw, to say nothing of its monstrous variants.
  • Jump Scare: Like its predecessor, there are plenty of opportunities for these.
    • In particular, there are the Tunnelers from Lonesome Road. You can sometimes catch them out of the corner of your eye, but they will disappear below ground before you can get a bead on them. Take a few more steps and suddenly 6-10 will pop out of the ground surrounding you. And in case you couldn't tell by their name, they especially like to pop up in tight, dark areas with little room to operate...
    • With some companions, they might spot and go after enemies before you do, and you're left wondering where they are. Then you get a Bullet Time shot of an exploding head. The sound makes for a surprisingly effective Scare Chord.
  • Just Following Orders: Yes Man. Because his programming says so.
    • At one point, you can ask him if he should really have just explained the details of Benny's master plan to you; his response is that he was programmed to be helpful and to answer questions, and whoever had reprogrammed him must have forgotten to add in restrictions on whose questions he was supposed to answer.
    Yes Man: That was probably pretty dumb, huh?

  • Kaizo Trap: In the House and Independent ending paths, you might end up picking a fight with NCR's General Oliver after you defeat Legate Lanius. Your Securitron allies will gun him down easily, but they often fail to do so before his 5 Veteran Ranger Elite Mooks armed with the best guns in the game mow down your own character.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • After destroying the lives of two innocent people and sealing their fates to die alone, miserable and in extreme pain, Dean Domino can just walk right out of the Sierre Madre two hundred years later to start over in the Mojave if you choose to let him live. Then again, considering how easy it is to tick him off and make him plan to murder you (for example, by not constantly acting as his snivelling lackey) which results in his own death, you would really have to go out of your way to placate him - how to let him live isn't listed under Guide Dang It! for nothing.
    • With all the DLC installed, the player can escape from the consequences of their evil actions at level 50 by taking the "Ain't Like That Now" perk, which can only be taken when you're evil; it immediately resets your karma to neutral and gives you a host of bonuses.
    • Since most of what happens in the game depends on your actions, it's entirely possible for any significantly​ evil or otherwise amoral characters to completely​ get away with their actions, be it the result of you actively helping them or just not paying attention to the quests surrounding them, such as The Fiends and Powder Gangers if you don't kill their leaders in an Independent/House playthrough. The Legion in particular will win the Battle of Hoover Dam and conquer the Mojave Wasteland if you choose to side with them.
  • Karma Meter: Along with the karma meter, the reputation meter for each faction from Fallout 2 makes a return. Karma only seems to dictate perks and some dialogue choices, whereas the reputation meter is the main focus of the gameplay.
    • This is a good thing, because karma can behave oddly at times. For example, killing Powder Gangers nets you positive karma, whereas taking their stuff strangely counts as stealing and gets you a bit of negative karma. The amount of it is negligible, but it's confusing nonetheless.
      • Also confusing: killing one of the few characters with "Very Evil" karma gives far less positive karma (+2) than any of the large number of characters and even whole factions (like the Powder Gangers and Fiends) that are just considered "Evil" (+100).
    • Lonesome Road finally makes good use of the Karma Meter in addition to the Reputation Meter. Depending on your Karma Level and who you're supporting at the time, will radically change how Ulysses views you and your actions. At level 50 there's even a karma-based perk.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Depending on how you deal with him, Benny can eventually ends up in the same position the player was at the beginning of the game: tied up and completely at the mercy of his captors and yourself. At this point, you can choose to execute him yourself, using either the machete handed to you - or the gun you may have concealed on your person.
      • Gun Runner's Arsenal adds a challenge for killing him with his own gun, Maria. You know, the gun he shot you with?
    • Allen Marks, the supposed Big Bad in the quest to collect the star bottlecaps, is found dead in the prize room. A holotape reveals he was trapped inside, and all the people he killed to get the caps only got him a worthless badge and a slow death by asphyxiation.
    • If you commit corporate espionage for Alice McLafferty and finish Cass' quest peacefully, then Alice, along with the Van Graffs she hired to put down competing caravaners, will be killed by raiders using "advanced weaponry and military tactics." The Gunrunners, whom she tried to steal from, will deny having any "public motivation behind the attack."
    • In Dead Money, Elijah can be trapped forever in the vault. Simply sneak out to the left exit corridor as he's coming down to meet you. He really wants to get in the Sierra Madre casino vault THAT badly? You can give him all the time in the world.
    • Speaking of Dead Money, YOU can have a Karmic Death. Haven't been paying attention to the "greed will get you killed" message of Dead Money? Trying to take all 37 gold bricks that weigh over 1200 pounds with you? Have fun outrunning that explosion! (It can be done, but you either have to exploit the physics engine or time your escape just right so Elijah's scripted trap activates after you've passed through the doors but not prematurely by approaching too soon.)
    • One of the challenges for Gun Runners' Arsenal is "Historical Propriety", where you re-enact the Ides of March and stab Caesar to death with a knife.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: If you get the Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC, you can have a Katana as a melee weapon. It has got decent attack power, but it also attacks ludicrously fast, has a high crit multiplier, and a limb damage multiplier, effectively turning you into an honorable Japanese meat grinder. Add in the Authentic Blade and Balanced Grip weapon mods and you'll be decapitating everything in less than 5 seconds. Its VATS special is "Unlabored Flawlessness", dealing 250% damage and usually aims at the head.
  • Kick the Dog: In the Independent Vegas ending, every response to General Oliver is a sarcastic and hostile remark, ending with either you forcing him to back down and run away a humiliated man, slaughter him and his troops without another thought, or throw him off the dam while his Rangers are forced to watch helplessly. Due to how your character may easily have "Good Karma" in this ending, this is jarring to see the next Messiah become an ultimate bastard in just a few moments.
    • Caesar's Legion is introduced with them having massacred the entire town of Nipton, complete with crucifying the Powder Gangers that have set up shop there. While the Powder Gangers may have been your enemies (depending on how you dealt with them in Goodsprings), even they don't deserve this ugly fate. It does a bang-up job of establishing them as even worse than the Powder Gangers in general.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Caesar's Legion's ending for the Mojave is an absolutely brutal Downer Ending... but in their ending they are at least kind enough to take out the Great Khans, the Powder Gangers, and the Fiends.
  • Kill Sat: The Archimedes II orbital laser. You can acquire a remote to it. And that remote is in the hands of an unwitting child. The safety was on, at least.
  • Kill Them All:
    • This is the easiest way to complete some of the main quests. Doesn't work so well when dealing with the Powder Gangers and Legion, but really, who wants to have anything to do with those jerks?
    • In the DLC Honest Hearts at any point after the initial ambush you can decide "Screw it, I'm not running all these errands" then shoot anyone of your allies kicking off an alternate quest for essentially killing everyone in the valley. This causes you to fail the DLC's main quest line but you get all the good loot and get back to the main game that much faster.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Hoover Dam is the only genuine power source in the Wastelands (unless you get Helios One working) that could recharge energy weapons, thus it'd be far easier to use or manufacture bullets. Most notably, the Laser RCW, essentially a tommy gun that shoots lasers, is less damaging than the real tommy gun, the .45 Auto SMG. This is justified in-story as there being many laser and plasma weapons before the war, but they were only just starting to come into their own as a technology and as a result most lacked the durability to weather a nuclear apocalypse and the subsequent two centuries. Mundane lead spewing firearms did not share this frailty.
  • Kingmaker Scenario: The situation at the start of the game, with neither Caesar's Legion, the NCR or Mr. House being able to defeat one faction without falling to the other. It's up to the Courier to decide which to side with. Or kill Mr. House, eliminate the other two factions, and take over yourself.
  • King Mook:
    • In the base game, there are various "legendary" versions of other creatures scattered across the Mojave. In Old World Blues, each enemy type encountered has a unique, named, "boss" version of it somewhere in the Big MT. Each mini-boss is set at level 50, with matching health.
    • Old World Blues' Legendary Bloatfly takes this to an insane (and probably parodic) degree, being something like a fantasy dragon in the shape of a mutant housefly. Regular Bloatflies are perhaps the least threatening thing in the Mojave, second to Giant Mantis Nymphs or Radroaches only because of their erratic flight patterns, and easy prey for even a low-level Courier, likely one of the first enemies you'll encounter. The Legendary Bloatfy is the second strongest enemy in the game (no, not Old World Blues. The game. Period). The thing is somehow more dangerous than every single Deathclaw you will come across, outclassed only by the Giant Roboscorpion, which at least appears in a room containing a few defenses to turn against it and lots of things to hide behind. The Legendary Bloatfly appears in a small cave surrounded by regular Bloatflies and will likely notice you before you notice it. Generally, the player will round the last corner of its cave, oblivious, and be reduced to glowing goo with a single shot before they have any idea what the hell just happened.note 
    • Deathclaws don't generally count, as they're often treated as boss-level enemies at lower levels. But in addition to the various regular-sized deathclaws in Quarry Junction, there's also a larger, faster alpha male and an even bigger, faster, and stronger mother deathclaw, all guarding their nest. Lonesome Road plays this straighter, with level-scaled deathclaws and irradiated deathclaws as high-level mooks, and the big daddy of all deathclaws in the game: Rawr. Old World Blues, meanwhile, adds a miniature deathclaw which, despite appearances, is just as powerful as its full-sized cousins (stronger than an alpha male, albeit with lower HP). Named Stripe.
  • Kinky Spanking: An event when you first enter the area in front of the Ultra Luxe has three female NCR soldiers drunk and dancing in the fountain. When a soldier comes along to try and persuade them to stop, they start demanding that he spank them for their conduct, before running into a nearby club.
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: Load screens are almost entirely poster ads, billboards, and paper paraphernalia of pre-war Nevada. The ads are generally of mediocre quality at best; one shows a 50's style Strongman lifting weights with the caption, "Build Mass With Sass! Sunset Sarsaparilla".
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: You can help yourself to anything that isn't nailed down. The game does dock a few karma points for outright stealing, but the penalty is negligible and karma isn't that important in this game anyway (thanks to the new reputation system). This can lead to the amusing irony of the "Scourge of the Wastes" being one of the most beloved residents of the wasteland.
  • Klingon Promotion:
    • You can convince Swank to let you bring in your weapons to kill Benny, and in Gomorrah you can help Cachino to kill Big Sal and Nero. They will take over their respective casinos once you have done that. Benny himself is also head of his casino due to this, having knocked off his boss when Mr. House first set up the Strip.
    • Furthermore, you can knock off Mr. House and take over New Vegas yourself.
    • This is also how Lanius became Legate, by beating his own commander to death.
  • Knight in Sour Armor:
    • Chief Hanlon, Colonel Hsu... this attitude is common in the NCR, and more so the higher up the chain of command you go. These people know the NCR means well, but is mired in so much bureaucracy and bickering its hard for anything to get done.
    • Dr. Henry is a grumpy ex-Enclave doctor living with the super-mutants trying to cure them of their schizophrenia. He's old and bitter enough to have had enough of anyone's moralizing but believes its something useful he can do with his skills.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: A central theme of the game no less, and very fitting for a game based in Vegas. Most of the characters in trouble could solve their problems simply by letting go of their obssessions but for any number of reasons are unable to do so.

  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: The Followers Labcoat gives +10 to two of your skills. Guess which ones.
  • Lab Pet: Inverted in the Old World Blues add-on. Doctor Borous used his dog Gabe, the closest thing in the world he had to a friend, as a subject for cyberdog enhancement research. If you complete a certain side-quest and present him with Gabe's dogbowl, he has a brief My God, What Have I Done? breakdown over this.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Yes Man hangs one on the fact he has been programmed so that he Cannot Tell a Lie... to anybody. Period. Benny, you are Too Dumb to Live.
    • The standard "neutral" response to a quest offer (that is, keeping it open for you to do later without failing it) is usually something like "I'll think about it". When Vulpes asks you to do a very simple quest (go to Vault 21 and get the Omertas away from an informant), he'll say "I don't see what there is to think about" if you give him that answer.
  • Large Ham:
    • The Think Tanks, especially Dr. Klein. Even his subtitles are in all caps. It's lampshaded as well, with him constantly complaining that the volume control of his loudpspeaker is awry. The Tick, Dr. Venture, Captain Quark and Liquid Snake are 4 of the 6 scientists. Case closed.
    • You can get in on the action, albeit in an unvoiced dialogue option way. It happens mostly in the Old World Blues DLC due to the general hamminess of the setting, but appears in the main game a few times as well.
    • Most Super Mutants and Nightkin, but especially the Nightkin. Yeah, we're looking at you Lily, Davison, Tabitha and Keene. On the other hand Marcus, Neil and an unnamed Super Mutant in Jacobstown avoid this one; they're calm and quite soft-spoken.
    • The only Nightkin who's calm is God (excluding his other personality) in Dead Money, unless you scare him and hits his Berserk Button. But unlike the aforementioned Super Mutants, his calmness only makes him more creepy.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Boone believes he had the loss his wife and child coming as punishment for his part in the Bitter Springs Massacre. After you complete Boone's companion quest and help him find some peace of mind (or not), he will open up to say that the reason he first joined up with you was that he believed he would finally find the death he deserves while traveling with you.
    • A positive example in the beginning of the game. Doc Mitchell saves you from Benny and co, and Sunny helps you by teaching you how to shoot. The Courier can and probably will repay them by... standing with Goodsprings and not only crushing the attacking Powder Gangers, but also eradicating them from the game itself.
  • Last Stand: In Boulder City, there's a building full of dead skeletons with a holodisc explaining what happened: surrounded by the enemy and unable to escape the coming destruction of the city, a platoon of NCR Rangers holed up and held their position to the last man.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Elijah's comment about the Pip-Boy in Dead Money could be seen as a Take That! towards the quest markers that tell you exactly where to go instead of the player having to figure it out themselves. The labyrinthine nature of the Sierra Madre, with its multi-tiered design, broken steps, locked and barricaded doors, roaming Ghost People, and traps everywhere mean that barreling straight toward your quest markers is usually not the best approach.
    Father Elijah: That thing on your wrist — it's a convenience. It tells you where to go, what to do, dulls the brain.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Chief Hanlon's reaction to the player revealing his secret is to lock himself in his office, announce a suicide note over the tannoy, and blow his brains out.
  • L33t L1ng0:
    • With high enough science skill you can get the Securitrons guarding the Strip gate to let you past by reciting "1C 3C R34 M". Which is just the password "ice cream" reused with letters swapped for numbers and added spaces.
    • A computer password in Dead Money is given as "1837uC@n7Gu355", which translates as "I bet u cant guess".
  • Lending a Backhand: If playing for Mr. House, the 6th quest in his quest line has the player protect President Kimball from three assassination attempts. This is ultimately done to ensure Kimball (who was already blamed for the seven-year stalemate between Mr. House and the Legion) lives to be blamed for the loss of New Vegas instead of Mr. House when Mr. House takes over, preventing all-out war between the NCR and Mr. House.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The Kamikaze trait apparently.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Club Zoara, inside the Gomorrah Casino.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Abeline Kid LE BB Gun is the Fallout New Vegas equivalent of the Red Ryder Limited BB Gun, which gives a bonus critical damage and bonus critical chance.
    • Boxing gloves, or the unique Golden Gloves. Very low damage indeed, but you will find out that even a character with low Unarmed skill can KO a deathclaw with it, allowing you to take your time dismembering it with a chainsaw.
    • Euclid's C-Finder, which looks like a child's toy, is actually used as a target painter for ARCHIMEDES II.
    • The Silenced .22 Pistol does pathetic damage and has no particularly great ammo options, and due to being the only rimfire round in the game, can't have custom ammo crafted. However, it is a basic holdout weapon, meaning you can always take it anywhere (except the Sierra Madre), it is, as the name suggests, silenced, meaning you can fire it without being detected, and it has a massive critical damage multiplier. All this combines to make it a surprisingly effective assassination weapon, especially in places like casinos.
  • Lighter and Softer: The story and general atmosphere are generally lighter in tone than in Fallout 3 - the game is set in a location where almost no nukes fell, after all.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Deathclaws can run faster than you can, do a lot of damage, and have very long melee reach. Thankfully, a couple of bullets to the legs will gimp them. Better (or worse) are the Alpha and Mother versions, which run even faster, can leap large distances and One-Hit Kill most characters.
    • Legate Lanius plays this even straighter. The man is straight-up faster than any human should be, continues to be faster than you even if you cripple both his legs, hits really hard, and has more health than the Legendary Deathclaw.
    • Likewise, Driver Nephi is actually 25% faster than most other human NPCs and hits like a truck with his unique golf club. His health is nothing too spectacular, though.
    • Any super mutant. Look at how fast they run, and how powerful their running stride looks.
    • Any Level 45+ player with high Strength, Agility and Endurance is this, especially if you have the best weapons and armor in the game.
  • Lightning Gun: The Tesla cannon, and the unique Tesla-Beaton prototype.
    • The LAER (Laser Assisted Electrical Rifle) in Old World Blues
    • The Arc Welder in Lonesome Road
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Veronica. She even gives you a quest to find her a pretty dress, complete with audible Squee! if you find one and give it to her.
  • Literal Metaphor: The Bloody Mess perk, which causes bloodier and more gory deaths if you have it, living a literal bloody mess of organs whenever you kill somebody.
  • Literal-Minded: Ranger Milo makes a joke about needing a few dozen doses of Psycho to get his troops acting like soldiers. Offering him the drugs will net you a reputation boost but he won't take them.
  • The Load: Waking Cloud, a companion from Honest Hearts. Her only combat skill is Unarmed, the only combat skill in the game with no ranged attacks whatsoever (Melee Weapons has a handful of thrown weapons), but her hit points are so low she literally loses fights to plants with distressing regularity. Giving her a ranged weapon means she'll live an extra 2 seconds because now the monster she's fighting has to walk to her without her charging right up to it.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Probably one of this game's biggest flaws. The load times themselves aren't that long, but there's lots of them.
    • One of the worst examples would probably be wanting to buy stuff from Sergeant Contreras. Fast travel to Camp McCarran (load), enter it (load), run a minute or two, to reach the terminal building (load) and now you can either go through the airfield (load, run a minute, load) or the terminal hallways (load, run a minute, load) to get to his shack. At least, after buying you can just exit the shack and fast travel away, since the airfield counts as an outside location.
    • The Strip is this. A good example is the mission to confront Benny if you lack speech stats or the Black Widow perk. Go to Freeside, itself two loading areas just to get to the gate to New Vegas. Get to The Strip. Go through another gate. Go to the Tops and say hi to Benny. Go up the elevator to the Presidential Suite and get ambushed. Go back down to the lobby. Go up to the 13th floor and say hi to Yes Man. Go back down again to the lobby and get ready to go on a long trip to a place you likely can't fast travel to at this point. All this does not include meeting Mr. House in the Lucky 38, which adds another three loading screens if you don't make a mistake about which floor you want to go to. This also applies to just about every other mission on The Strip.
  • Loads and Loads of Sidequests: The game is an excellent example of this. Even without the downloadable content, there's still a lot of interesting places to visit and sidequests to undertake that aren't touched by the main plot at all. It's probably a good idea to spend some time doing just that too, as focusing entirely on the main plot can lead to finding oneself sorely underleveled and underequipped to deal with the mid/late game challenges. Don't worry, the guy that shot you in the intro isn't going anywhere.
  • Loophole Abuse: Katherine Stone, the Overseer in Vault 11. Since the Justice Bloc in the Vault used their majority to control who became Overseer and thus was sacrificed, she was forced to perform sexual favors to save her husband from that fate. When they nominated him anyway, she murdered several of them, because she knew she would be elected Overseer due to her crimes. Upon her nomination, she changed the voting process to selection by random number generation, effectively destroying the Justice Bloc's power. There wasn't any rule preventing her from changing the rules. This backfired in a sense, as the Justice Bloc totally lost it and started a civil war, culminating in all but five of the population dying.
    • You can take the trait Logan's Loophole, which invokes this by halting level gains at 30. However, you can wait until level 29, get a reevaluation from the Sink's Auto-Doc (the trait requires the DLC to take anyway), and get rid of it at the cost of chem addiction immunity, but who says no to 20 levels?
  • Love Dodecahedron: The employees of H&H Tools spent nine minutes out of ten planning romantic trysts. You can use terminals and read personal e-mails between them planning some horizontal mambo after-hours. In fact, one married couple make up excuses to be away from each other so they can have a tryst with the same guy.
    • Noodle Implements: They were also very... interesting in their choice of love toys. Amongst those mentioned in the e-mails are an accordion, a riding crop, a stovepipe, souvenir moon rocks, rubber sheets and a souvenir elephant-foot trashcan.
  • Loyalty Mission: Companion quests function this way. They range from helping Boone make peace with his past to upgrading ED-E to convincing Raul to pick up his guns again and defend the weak, and all of them give your companion a perk upon completion.
  • Luck Stat: A Fallout trope in general, but Deconstructed in this game. It's actually an ability to calculate probabilities and know how to nudge them in your favor. The luckiest individual in the Wasteland, Mr. House, who has a Luck state of 10, can in fact predict the future with his ability. Not that it helps him to any extent should the player decide to cross him - and you can't see the NPC stats directly without console commands either. A better example of Doing In the Wizard on the matter of luck is that one of the implants you may obtain - a probability processing unit of sorts - actually increases your luck.
    • Vault 21's hat was that everyone was equal and conflicts were solved with games of chance, essentially an in-game deconstruction of luck. Unlike most of the other Vaults, 21 did pretty well for itself...until House showed up and won the whole place in a game of blackjack.
    • For the player, with a Luck stat of 10 the random odds of slots and roulette are a bit better. Blackjack on the other hand will be insanely easy. The dealer will regularly deal you out 20s and 11s (read: double down and snag a face card for 21 and double your bet), and if you're insane enough to hit on say, 18 or 19, there's still a decent chance of getting dealt a 2 or 3. With 10 Luck and fifteen minutes or so, you can win several thousand chips and will eventually get banned from the casino for winning too much.
    • In some cases, it still works as straight-up luck though; such as being able to guess a random password right on the first try or successfully perform brain surgery despite lacking advanced medical knowledge.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The Anti-Materiel Rifle. What do you expect when you use a gun made primarily for use against tanks and vehicles on those poor, poor people?
    • Want more overkill? Load your Anti-materiel Rifle with incendiary rounds and reduce your enemies to flaming gibs. Still not enough? Gun Runners Arsenal adds explosive rounds. Mince your target and anyone standing too close to them.
    • Or when you use a weapon that flings projectiles at several times the speed of sound with magnets?
    • Don't forget about the Bloody Mess perk, which lets you make a splatter house on anyone or anything by coughing at them (just so long as it's the killing hit).
    • What's truly amusing about this is that it's not just showy, but practical. Is there a body hanging just out of reach? Gib it, and you can loot it through whatever pieces of it happened to fall in your direction.
    • Another unique gibbing is the Tarantula sonic emitter (The one that sets people on fire on a crit). If it kills anything on a crit, the creature will burst into flames, its will explode launching all severable limbs off, then those limbs will explode. Sometimes this will happen regardless of whether the crit was fatal, causing an instant kill.
    • Gibbing is a vital mechanic in Dead Money, as unless you gib the Ghost People (or reduce them to ash or green goo), they'll get right back up again. The tendency of shotguns to easily do this makes them extremely useful if you can find even a Single Shotgun

  • MacGuffin: The platinum chip for the first third of the game. However it's only important in the House and Wild Card questlines, if you go to work for NCR or Caesar they have no use for it.
    • MacGuffin Location: Hoover Dam, the largest source of clean water and free power in the region as well as a massive fortress that controls travel across the Colorado River. While the Legion sends raiding parties and spies over, they will not attempt a full-scale invasion of the Mojave without the dam, and Mr. House plans to take the dam from NCR and use it to expand his influence out of the Strip. The final battle of the game puts the player on one of three potential sides during a seige of the dam, and the outcome determines ultimately which faction takes over the Mojave. Alternatively, join the battle... on YOUR side.
      • The Sierra Madre casino counts as well, especially after Father Elijah explains exactly WHY he wants it...
    • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Aside from this technically being your job, this happens on every fetch quest. The DLCs have three straight examples:
      • The first, in Dead Money, has you nearly giving the Casino over to Elijah. Justified because you were forced to do so under pain of death, and you can even take it a step further by joining him.
      • In Old World Blues, it turns out that the three schematics you delivered to the Think Tank will NOT save Science, but allow them to experiment on the entire Mojave.
      • Lastly, in Lonesome Road, Ulysses snatches up your Robot Buddy ED-E right before you reach his temple because he can activate the Divide Nukes. Even more painfully, he lampshades this, saying that all this could've been avoided if you just went back.
  • Machete Mayhem: One of the more powerful and reliable melee weapons in the game is the humble machete. This is a staple weapon of low-level Legionnaires in Caesar's Legion, and there's an advanced version called a Machete Gladius, plus the unique Liberator. The Tribal pack DLC gives us an even better Broad Machete.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Gun Runner's Arsenal gives us hive missiles and Tiny Tots mini-nukes, which let you fire 9 projectiles from your missile launcher or Fat Man. Cue memories of the Experimental MIRV. An honorable mention must also be given to Lonesome Road and the Red Glare, a fully automatic rocket launcher that can be upgraded to have one of the highest rates of fire of any weapon in the game. While it doesn't fire rockets (NOT missiles; it uses its own ammunition) simultaneously, it puts them out at an almost comical rate.
  • Made of Explodium: Due to graphical limitations, the Marked Men that swarm the base at the end of Lonesome Road explode as if they've been critically hit by a plasma weapon when killed. This is done because there are a lot of them, and leaving the corpses to pile up is extremely taxing. By comparison, the smoking green goo is much easier on the engine.
  • Made of Iron: Most notably there's Legate Lanius. A lesser example would be Jean-Baptiste Cutting, The Dragon to Gloria Van Graff, and of course high-level monsters such as deathclaws and sentry bots.
    • A character can be specced to become this. If you have Remnants power armor, both ranks of the Toughness perk, the big brained and reinforced spine perks from the Old World Blues DLC, and the sub-dermal plating implant, you can have a DT of 53! If you have Cass as a active companion and drink Whiskey, you'll have a DT of 57! Also, if you have Endurance 10 and Life Giver at level 30 (45 if you have the three DLCs), your HP will be a whopping 620 (770)!
    • The Courier being Made of Iron is pretty much required. Over the course of the game, the Courier is shot in the head (twice, at point blank range, before the game even starts), knocked unconscious and dragged for miles (Dead Money), survives having his heart, spine, and brain removed, eventually swapping them and their prosthesis out at will (Old World Blues), and can optionally waltz through three separate ground zeroes within hours of their creation. And that's without all the decision-dependent beatings they take and survive. Two of the three highest-level Perks lampshade the fact that the Courier shouldn't be alive (they're called "I'm Lucky to Be Alive," and "I Thought You Died").
    • Not to mention that the player can LITERALLY be made of iron if you buy the 8000 cap sub-dermal armor implant. It works by infusing your cells with iron
    • The backstory of the game also has Joshua Graham. In fact, a few Legion characters will mention that while Legate Lanius is a more intelligent tactician and strategist, Legate Graham was an even more powerful warrior than Lanius. It's worth noting that the seven foot tall heavily armored killing machine that fights by swinging a huge blade around was the brains relative to Joshua Graham. In gameplay terms Graham has a ridiculously high Damage Threshold of 50, and apparently only 15 of that comes from the armor he wears.
      • They're not kidding. Joshua Graham was covered in pitch, set on fire, and thrown over the edge of the Grand freakin' Canyon. Not only did he live, he climbed out again and walked all the way back to his home in Utah. And not only that, Graham didn't even scream when he got thrown off, further emphasizing the fact that he's one tough cookie.
    • Pretty much everyone in the game is made of iron, due to weapons doing an unrealistically low amount of damage. Even perfectly normal bystanders can oftentimes take a .357 magnum round to the head and survive.
    • Marcus. He survived the events of Fallout, that is the complete destruction of the Master's Army. Then, he survived a three day fight with a Brotherhood Paladin and became friends with the man. A group of refugees joins him and the Paladin to form the town Broken Hills, which later becomes deserted. Canonically, Marcus joined the Chosen One on the assault on the Enclave's offshore oil-rig, going toe-to-toe with the infamous Frank Horrigan. During the events of Fallout 2, you can take him to a clinic in Vault City, where the doctor will remove "20 7.62mm, 40 .44 magnum JHP, 40 .44 magnum FMJ, 50 5mm JHP, 10 .45 caliber, 24 10mm JHP, 50 .223 FMJ, and 20 9mm ball" rounds from his body. Careful count will reveal over 254 seperate rounds removed. He then lives through a coup at Black Mountain against his leadership, very good considering Tabitha's murderous tendencies. 40 years later, he is leading a group of super mutants in Jacobstown, and seems to be more powerful then ever. You just can't kill Marcus. Oh, and he's voiced by Worf.
  • Mad Scientist: The Think Tanks of the Big Empty.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: The Big Empty.
  • Magikarp Power: Numerous skills start out useless at low levels, but become deadly once you've maxed them out:
    • Explosives. It's a near-useless skill on a normal playthough, as even a number less than 10 is sufficient to disarm proximity mines, i.e. the only mines that matter. However, get it high enough and take the right perks (Demolition Expert and Splash Damage), and the blast radius and damage of any explosive is significantly increased. This turns weapons like the missile launcher, grenade machinegun, and the Fat Man into THE MOST damaging weapons in the game. The only problem is ammo, about which this game is not kind. The Gun Runner's Arsenal DLC adds mini nukes and missiles that fragment into nine cluster bombs, plasma and pulse grenades for grenade launchers, the return of the Nuka Grenade, and extremely easy-to-craft explosives made from microfusion cells and pistol powder. Lonesome Road ends the ammo problem by giving us the Divide, a horrifying badland. Rockets and rocket canisters, as well as the new Red Glare rocket launcher, await. If you let Ulysses live at the end of the game, he'll give you 50 rockets every few days, making the ammo problem moot. The Explosives skill also has the added benefit of giving us access to a peaceful solution of the Why Can't We Be Friends? quest and unlocking the Pyromaniac skill that massively boosts fire damage. This might sound unimpressive until you find out that this also boosts the damage of certain superheated melee weapons, specifically the superheated Saturnite fist which brings us to...
    • Unarmed. At low levels the unarmed skill does pitiful damage and needlessly puts you into the thick of the fight even though good armor is hard to find at the beginning of the game. But once you unlock some of the more powerful melee perks, Unarmed becomes just as useful as all the other combat skills. Suddenly you're able to ignore the armor of your opponents and punch right through their chests, boost melee attack speed to ludicrous levels, knock your enemies down and punch them into submission without them being able to retaliate and reduce the cost of your V.A.T.S. attacks to a miniscule level. At that point in the game you become the post-apocalyptic Fist Of The North Rawr, and thanks to Power Armor, getting into melee range is no longer that big an issue. Also, Unarmed is a phenomenal skill for dedicated MinMaxers because it generally doesn't require a big investment into the strength stat, freeing up SPECIAL points you can put into more useful statistics.
    • Sneak too. With 100 sneak skill, you can sneak past most human enemies, which form the bulk of the game, or even better, put yourself in position for a sneak attack critical (an automatic Critical Hit with damage doubled).
    • Energy Weapons. It starts out much less useful than Guns, since energy weapons are rare and the ones you get towards the beginning of the game are weak. But then you get your mitts on the Q-35 matter modulator, the Gauss rifle, the fully modified Holorifle, or the YCS/186 and all of a sudden you're one-shotting Deathclaws.
      • The Laser RCW is this for Energy Weapons. It starts as being weak, eats rare ammo that used by rarer guns such as the Tesla Cannon and Gatling Laser, and has low critical hit chance but with the Laser RCW recycler modification and Max/Over charge ammo it can punch a fierce and accurate punch, functioning as a poor man's Gatling Laser while being lighter and cheaper to carry and repair. With Gun Runner's Arsenal installed Optimized ECPs lets the Laser RCW hit harder as well as last longer while still being far easier to find, carry, and maintain than the Gatling Laser while doing the same job as close-to-mid range rapid fire for energy weapon players.
    • Survival. At lower levels, it doesn't get many useful crafting recipes. Past 70, you can craft food that heals better than anything in the game and completely eliminates baseline hunger and thirst in just one bite. All of Hardcore mode's survival problems become moot.
  • Mama Bear: The Mother Deathclaw. Shoot one of her little babies and prepare for pain.
    • In a hilariously awful subversion, this actually causes them to frenzy, which can only make thing easier for you and result in her killing her own, other babies.
    • To a lesser extent, Lily. Having adopted the courier as a pseudo-grandchild, she will charge headlong into a nest of Cazadores to protect you.
  • Man in the Machine: Mr. House, and potentially the player, if the Mr. House ending is chosen.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Courier, potentially. It's amazing how many dangling strings there are in the Mojave, just waiting to be pulled.
  • Matter Replicator: The Sierra Madre vending machines, which uses Sierra Madre chips as both a form of currency and base matter.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: Mr. House, the perpetually sequestered leader, face of New Vegas, and leader of a vast army of killbots, is really nothing more a shriveled, 261-year-old Howard Hughes Expy whose immune system is so weak, he'll die from numerous viral infections in a matter of months if you so much as open his stasis tank.
  • Match Maker Quest: Jack and Janet, another way to increase your reputation with the Boomers.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Jason Bright, leader of a religious cult for ghouls, is a Glowing One - a ghoul so dosed up on radiation that he emits a radioactive glow. Lampshaded if you ask him about his name.
    • The name Lanius means "butcher," a word that certainly describes the Legate's approach to battle.
    • The man in charge of New Vegas, playing the NCR and the Legion against one another for his own gain? Robert House, as in "the House." Lends itself to the name of a quest dealing with his downfall, "The House Has Gone Bust", and his main questline to help him take over the Mojave, "The House Always Wins".
    • In the cases of Bright and House, those were the names they were born with a good 200 years previously. Foreshadowing indeed.
    • Each of the scientists in the Big MT has a name referring to an endless loop. Dr. Klein refers to the Klein bottle, Dr. Borous refers to the Ouroboros (and with a high enough INT, you can point out it's spelled wrong), Dr. Dala comes from "Mandala", a Sanskrit word meaning circle, Dr. 0 is obviously a loop, Dr. 8 is an infinity symbol turned on its side, and Dr. Mobius is named for the Mobius strip.
    • Benny, much like the Courier, is a Joker in the card deck. A Joker is necessary for the highest trump in a game of Euchre.
    • The Fiends are the most evil faction in the game, maybe in the entire series, as The Enclave at least wanted to rebuild the world.
    • The Van Graff family which deals in energy weapons is probably named after the physicist Robert J. Van de Graaff, who naturally is the inventor of the Van de Graaff electrostatic generator.
  • Medieval Stasis: A higher-tech version than usual, but consider, it has been 200 years since the bombs fell and the Brotherhood of Steel (in particular, the Nevada chapter you deal with) is falling into a serious rut. It's stated that the Mojave Brotherhood chapter is trying to get in touch with the Brotherhood of Steel headquarters far to the west, but isn't getting responses. Given that the Brotherhood of Steel and the NCR have just been at war, it's possible that all other Brotherhood chapters in NCR territory have been wiped out and the Mojave chapter may be one of the few Brotherhood chapters left.
    • Caesar's Legion try to enforce a degree of this as many of their troops use basic machetes and armor made of football gear while higher members use actual guns. Modern medicine is also banned, save for a few cases like Caesar himself.
  • Meet the New Boss: Caesar's manifesto will seem pretty familiar to those who've played the original Fallout and faced down The Master. In many ways the Legion is simply the Unity all over again. You can even talk to Marcus about Caesar, and while he doesn't make an obvious direct comparison you definitely get the vibe that he's seen it before and knows it can never lead to anything good.
  • Megaton Punch: The Two-Step Goodbye takes this trope Up to Eleven (and fits in quite nicely with the nuclear theme of the series). It's a Power Fist that has an increased chance to score criticals, though the critical damage is reduced. The kicker is, a critical hit will send your enemy flying, and then they explode. You hear the sound of a frag mine going off followed by the explosion.
  • Mega-Corp: The Crimson Caravan Company is the closest thing to a Mega Corp that you can get in a post-apocalyptic world. They dominate most of the commercial activities on the west coast, have offices and trading outpost all the way from California to Utah, and have lot of influence in the NCR government.
    • The Mojave Wasteland under the control of Mr. House is basically a Mega Corp in the form of a nation state.
    • The Gun Runners, while very specialized, excel in that specialization. They have access to every firearm in the Wasteland due to their ability to factory-make their own firearms, which in this post-apocalyptic wasteland is a huge deal. They are also the sole provider of weapons to the entire NCR. Their only real competition is the aforementioned Crimson Caravan and the Van Graffs, who provide energy weapons and caused the Gun Runners to drop their energy weapon lines. However, in comparison to the Gun Runners, the Van Graff's operation in the Mojave is pitifully small.
  • Mega Manning: The super-secret hidden perk Meat of Champions If you use the Cannibal perk to eat President Kimball, Caesar, Mr. House, and The King, you temporarily gain their abilities (Kimball's strength, Caesar's intelligence, House's luck, and The King's charisma) whenever you feed from a human corpse.
  • Mêlée à Trois:
    • The game's plot involves an upcoming battle for Hoover Dam between The NCR, Caesar's Legion and Mr. House, with the main character deciding who they want to side with as the Wild Card of the game. Of course, if the players wish, they can even fight for an Independent New Vegas in which they essentially take over Vegas.
    • Various factions in the game are enemies with each other and will fight each other on sight, which can possibly lead to one of these if you have a terrible reputation with both groups, such as having both NCR Rangers and Legion​ Assassin's sent after you at the same time. That's not even getting into the possibility of nearby raiders and wildlife joining in as well.
    • The NCR questline "Restoring Hope" can briefly turn into this. At one point early on into the quest, you have to retrieve supplies from the corpses of some dead NCR troops. There are Fire Geckos very close by the location of the bodies, and picking up the supplies results in some Legion goons ambushing you, and if you haven't killed the Fire Geckos yet they will attack you as well as the Legion.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • You can also give one to mutilated NCR troops while exploring a minefield. It's a good thing.
    • Boone repeatedly voices his distaste towards mercy kills and often stresses that you should only be done as a last resort. Of course, there are only two situations (and a few scattered ones if you're on the side of NCR, notably before assaulting a Legion stronghold) where it isn't, so it's a moot point. It turns out he hates them because he gave one to his wife when he found her about to be auctioned off in a Legion camp.
    • You get an option to inflict a Mercy Kill upon Benny when you find him captured in Caesar's camp — otherwise he'll meet a far more gruesome death at the hands of the Legion.
    • At Nipton, you can give these to the crucified Powder Gangers. Your character's XP and Karma will not change as a result of these actions.
  • Mexican Standoff: This is what the three factions vying for control of the Mojave (the NCR, the Legion, and Mr. House) are in at the start of the game. If any of the three moves to eliminate another, they'll be left too weak and vulnerable to be picked off by the third faction. The Courier gets to decide which of the three to support. Or, say "screw them all" and take over the Mojave him/herself.
  • Mighty Whitey: Played with a lot in Honest Hearts; both Daniel and Joshua are Mormons who have become leaders of tribal societies. Neither is terribly happy that they're interfering to such a massive degree, but they don't have/know any other way to help. Daniel in particular is incredibly indecisive, worrying about whether he's doing the right thing, and both of them put major decisions at your feet because they're uncomfortable with their level of involvement in everyone's lives. Joshua even says this to you outright about Follows-Chalk (paraphrased).
    Courier: Why don't you talk to him? You know I'm just going to tell him to leave, right?
    Joshua: Perhaps, but I think he's learned too much from me already.
    • The Courier may complicate this even further depending on the skin tone you chose for him/her at character creation. Amusingly, the hidden quest to talk to Follows-Chalk about his desire to leave the tribe is called "Civilized Man's Burden."
  • Minigame Zone: The casinos, of course:
  • A Million Is a Statistic: A strange meta-example with the Mr. House quest to wipe out the Brotherhood of Steel. Of the available optionsnote  are going in, guns blazing, and killing them all, or sneaking in, and blowing the whole place up. Of the two options, both give negative Karma, but the latter significantly less-so, because it's one large karma hit, instead of many smaller (but still reasonably large) hits. Alternatively, it might be because the self-destruct mechanic, while still destroying the infrastructure and home of the Brotherhood, might give them enough time to evacuate and thus doesn't count as bad as an all-out massacre.
  • Min Maxers Delight:
    • Good-Natured, which grants +5 each to Barter/Medicine/Repair/Science/Speech at the cost of -5 to Energy Weapons/Explosives/Guns/Melee/Unarmed. All five of the former are useful from the beginning of the game, and five points is a huge boon at Level 1, whereas the player is well-advised to choose only one of the latter to focus on until the late-game, so you're basically getting 20 free points. If you select one of the combat skills as your tag skill (+15 at the start of the game), your performance won't noticeably suffer at that either.
    • Skilled, which gives you +5 to all skills at the expense of -10% to experience gain. While that sounds like a big deal, there's more than enough XP to go around that you still won't have trouble hitting the Level Cap. The kicker? "Skilled" is bugged in that, should you select the trait during character creation and then select it again if you decide to modify your character before leaving the tutorial area, you will get its benefits twice while the -10% to experience gain will not stack, meaning you can get 10 points to EVERY skill before you even reach level 2. And since the Old World Blues DLC allows you to change your traits once more, you can exploit this to get 15 bonus points to every skill while suffering from the trait's malus only once.
  • Miracle Food: In the Dead Money DLC, you can find 'vending machines' which are actually matter conversion devices. These can be used to convert casino chips into food, medicine, tools or ammo.
  • Missing Secret:
    • Players may go nuts trying to figure out just what the "Lucky 38 Executive Override" does after they activate it at the H&H Tools Factory, House Resort, New Vegas Steel, and/or the Central New Vegas sewers. The answer is...nothing. At one point, it was intended to play a part in the "The Moon Comes Over The Tower" quest, but they cut that part out since the results for the quest were already underwhelming.
    • The flight simulator VR pods in the mess hall of Nellis Air Force Base cannot be used. When interacted with, a message says they require a code to operate. If you ask Loyal if you can use them, he says they're for the Boomers' use only, no matter how high your reputation is with them.
    • The schematics for the Rock-It Launcher from Fallout 3 could originally be found in the Nellis hangar, but it could not be crafted even if you had all the components. A patch removed the schematics.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: Differences between this game and Fallout 3 extend beyond the setting, but if you've played Fallout 3, then you can go a long way in New Vegas without looking at the manual.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Nightstalkers are coyote/rattlesnake hybrids who try to eat the Courier and their friends. They're pretty cuddly when you gain the "Animal Friend" perk.
  • Modular Epilogue: The ending has a "where are they now" segment for each recruitable character (each one has their own sidequest which upgrades them in some way when it's complete) and a segment that reflects your Karma Meter and which faction you sided with in the battle for Hoover Dam. The Downloadable Content all have a similar, self contained, ending for each of them.
  • Molotov Cocktail: The firebomb from Honest Hearts gives off this vibe, as it is made from a beer bottle and uses a lit rag as a fuse. In gameplay, it's more of a weaker, craftable Incendiary Grenade.
  • Money for Nothing: It's very easy to acquire more money than you could reasonably spend. A few prime examples:
    • By investing in the Barter and Repair skills, a player can purchase nearly broken items, fix them up, and then sell them back for potentially thousands of caps in profit. Made even better if you have the Jury Rigging perk, which allows you to repair any similarly classed items with items from that same class, rather than copies of the exact same item. This means you could repair a near-broken Anti-Materiel Rifle with an ultra-common Varmint Rifle or an expensive Super Sledge with a Baseball Bat.
    • Playing blackjack at the casinos with a high Luck skill. You can get banned from every casino in the game in less than hour, making around 40,000 caps in the process. Add in the casino from Dead Money and your total will end up at over 100,000 caps.
    • Speaking of Dead Money, there are various exploits which allow the player to steal all 37 of the Gold Bars at the end for a nice profit of ~370k caps. No traders will have the caps to buy even a single bar from you, but you can balance it out by throwing in a few items as well. (Either to use, or re-sell later once the vendor stocks reset with more caps.)
    • The Gun Runner's Arsenal DLC tries to help avert this by giving vendors some expensive and powerful weapons for the player spend caps on. Many of these weapons are truly unique, rather than boosted versions of normal weapons (for example, Sleepytime is the only 10mm submachine gun with a silencer, Two-Step Goodbye is a Ballistic Fist with a rocket launcher instead of a shotgun on it, and the Bozar is the only Light Machine Gun with magnifying optics), and all of them are expensive, typically costing upwards of 20,000 caps (for comparison, that's five times what the implants that give you a permanent stat increase cost).
  • Money to Burn:
    • Legion Coins can be turned into ammunition if you're playing a particularly creative character who's good at tinkering with ammo.
    • Of course, the perennial favorite "Bottlecap Mine" (an IED made with caps, the region's popular currency, as shrapnel) makes a return in this game. The head of Crimson Caravan even lampshades the deflationary effect of nutcases blowing up perfectly good currency.
  • Monster Closet: Vault 34 has an interesting take on monster closets. Because the player effectively has radar, just hiding monsters in secret wall panels wouldn't do, so instead the vault features several feral ghouls (universes version of zombies) trapped in various temporarily inaccessible rooms, which convenient glass picture windows so that you very much know they are there. The power doors pop open when ever you pick up certain items or perform certain tasks required for opening the Vault's armory. However normally the opened door will be on the other side of the vault, so the ghouls often spread out when they are released and you can seldom be sure that you've eliminated all the free ghouls.
  • Monty Haul: The Dead Money DLC is named quite appropriately. After the very frustrating and aggravating campaign, you are rewarded with Gold Bars which are worth 10000 caps each, the very high tier weapons and armor from the campaign, and over 10000 Sierra Madre chips if you gambled at the casino. Also, every three days, you get 1100 Sierra Madre chips at the Abandoned Bunker. Think they're useless now? There's a vending machine in Elijah's room. That means a practically infinite supplies of chems, stimpacks, and weapon repair kits!
    • The DLC's ending may be a Monty Haul especially if you win as many chips as possible and use them for free gear or trade them for pre-war cash to sell (and then miraculously manage to haul out all 37 bars of solid gold), but the campaign sure as shit makes you work for it.
  • Mood Lighting:
    • Camp Forlorn Hope gets a brown color wash to show how dire the situation is for them (lack of all kind of supplies, lots of wounded and a Legion-controlled town at spitting distance). If you play on a low detail setting, the color is instead much more desaturated than normal. Also found around the area of Camp Searchlight, which is tinted green due to Legion troops irradiating the area using canisters of nuclear waste. Forlorn Hope eventually turns back to normal if you solve their problems, Searchlight doesn't.
    • The Sierra Madre is permanently bathed in a dim reddish light due to the Cloud. As an added bonus, it blocks natural light, so you can't tell night from day unless you look at your Pip-Boy.
  • Moral Dissonance: The entire point of the game is that NCR and Legion are neither objectively good or evil, so while some named characters will be, most rank and file troops of either faction are of neutral karma. Thus, you can head into a camp of friendly legionnaires and pump them full of buckshot for no loss of karma. But when you try to loot the camp after, their goods that are marked as owned are still counted as such, so you get a karma penalty for stealing. Killing them in cold blood, no problem, taking their healing powder, that's terrible.
  • Morality Pet: Tabitha (the Black Mountain super-mutant radio personality) apparently relied on her robot, Rhonda, to make decisions for her. After Rhonda broke down, Tabitha became significantly worse, as her schizophrenia manifested as an imaginary Rhonda supporting her darker thoughts. (The Rhonda you can hear on the radio is just Tabitha distorting her voice.)
  • Mordor: Sierra Madre Villa and The Divide.
  • More Dakka: The iconic minigun and gatling laser, of course, but also the light machine gun with its 90-shot magazine (which, thanks to a weapon mod, can be modified to hold 200 bullets, invoking the trope in all but name), the assault carbine (which can burn through its 24-round magazine in less than three seconds), and the many variations on the theme of submachine gun. Old World Blues includes the K9000, a Cyberdog Gatling Gun that fires magnum rounds.
  • Mugging the Monster: Freeside thugs bring this trope to untold heights of absurdity. Should you decide to make the Lucky 38 your base of operations and walk out of the city instead of fast-travelling on a daily basis, you can expect the roads of Freeside to be covered in battered corpses very quickly. And even if you decide to ignore the unarmored nutcases going at your power-armored person with their pool cues and tire irons, the nearby Securitrons, the Kings and your optional companions certainly won't.
    • Terrifying Presence allows your dialogue options to occasionally lampshade this.
  • Multiple Endings: Four proper endings, plus a variety of "segmented endings" for different communities and characters that all depend on the choices you make.
  • Mushroom Samba: one quest in Honest Hearts has YOU go on one.
    • The game also has the potential for a user-induced one, in that if you take multiple substances together, the visuals change. If you take every mind-altering chem and drink at once, you can make yourself temporarily go blind. Bonus points for taking enough antivenin to poison yourself and add health damage and even more visual distortion
  • Musical Theme Naming: Almost every quest is named after a classic song, along with an Incredibly Lame Pun or two ("Ant Misbehavin'").
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Cass believes this about the NCR. While she loves her country, she just wishes that the leadership of the NCR would get their heads out of their asses. Boone has hints of it as well.
    • Elder MacNamara also has this attitude.
  • My Greatest Failure: This attitude is commonly held of The Bitter Springs Massacre by those who were there.
  • Mysterious Protector: Two of them, Mysterious Stranger and Miss Fortune, the latter simply knocking people out instead of killing them. You can get both.
    • The Lonesome Drifter is an NPC you can find along the road to Vegas. If you ask for his story it's heavily implied that he is the Mysterious Stranger's son.
    • And a step further, you can get his Mysterious Magnum. It even plays the Stranger's theme when you draw and holster it.
  • Mystery Meat: Strange Meat (and Strange Meat Pie) is a fairly commonly-found food item. It's made out of people.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Myth Arc: The DLCs all hint towards the Courier's confrontation with Ulysses, which is settled at the Divide in Lonesome Road.


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