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Fallout: New Vegas provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Cannibal" Johnson got his nickname from an incident where, outnumbered by Raiders and with his back to the wall, he tore out a Raider's heart and took a bite out of it, hoping to scare the others off. It worked. Though he's actually the most unambiguously good member of the Enclave Remnants, and the only one who supports the NCR.
  • Names to Trust Immediately: "Sunny Smiles" is a bit on-the-nose as the name of a good character. Indeed, she's one of the only "Very Good" karma NPCs in the game.
  • National Weapon: The tribes in the Honest Hearts DLC each have a signature weapon. The White Legs use Submachine Guns, the Dead Horses use War Clubs, the Sorrows use Yao Guai Gauntlets, and the New Canaanites use .45 pistols.
  • Neon City: Deliberately invoked by the titular city, New Vegas — a post-apocalyptic remnant of Las Vegas, Nevada. In the story, Vegas was left relatively untouched by nuclear bombardment during The Great War thanks to measures taken by billionaire Robert House. House has slept in cryogenic suspension for two centuries since then, until scouts from a new government called the New California Republic are spotted by House's robots. House awakens, immediately sends the robots out onto the Vegas strip to tame and force the roving savage tribes into helping rebuild the city in the spitting image of Vegas at its peak. By the time the NCR soldiers reach Vegas, they are entranced by the shimmering lights of a functioning city within the Mojave Wasteland and soon the city becomes a tourist attraction for NCR citizens, bringing House wealth and influence as part of his plans to rebuild civilization.
  • Nerf:
    • The Sniper Rifle, with its 5x crit chance multiplier all but guaranteeing crits outside of sneak attacks, was toned down in the same patch that de-nerfed the low-tier energy weapons.
    • The Feral Ghoul Reavers got nerfed massively as well. In Broken Steel, they were one of the nastiest enemies in the game, with health to rival a Super Mutant Overlord and a deadly ranged attack. Now, their health got cut significantly and they lost the ranged attack. They're still extremely dangerous, but not as ridiculous as they were.
    • The Slayer perk was nerfed from previous Fallout games. "All hand-to-hand attacks become critical hits" was seen as a bit much even for an endgame perk, so instead it was changed into a perk that increased attack speed by a third.
    • Fire Geckoes, while still somewhat nasty, are no longer the Demonic Spiders as they were in Fallout 2.
    • The Varmint Rifle got nerfed hard in a patch since it gets the damage decrease of the Service Rifle without the rate of fire boost, that it is almost impossible to kill anything with it in a single VATS round.
    • The benefit from the Grim Reaper's Sprint perk was reduced from a complete refill of AP for a VATS kill to a refill of 20 AP, making it a lot less useful in clearing out hordes of enemies without ever having to fight in real time.
  • Never Found the Body: Joshua Graham, the previous Legate of Caesar's Legion, whom Caesar ordered to be set on fire and cast into the Grand Canyon after losing the first battle of Hoover Dam. He is so widely speculated to be alive that Caesar has forbidden his name to be spoken, mostly due to his reputation as the ultimate Implacable Man who miraculously survived fatal wounds on an almost regular basis. Turns out he is alive and with a massive chip on his shoulder against Caesar in Honest Hearts
    • Several NCR troops, including the 1st Recon snipers, have reported confirmed kills on the golf club-wielding fiend Driver Nephi. Yet he always turns up again, alive and still killing. (Assuming the NCR uses the same definition for a "confirmed kill" as modern militaries, this means that witnesses confirmed seeing Nephi as he was shot.) Naturally, it's up the Courier to put him down for good (and to remove his head for verification, averting the trope.)
  • Never Mess with Granny: Lily, a Nightkin supermutant who is roughly 200 years old and alternates between talking about her grandchildren and chopping enemies in half with a helicopter blade. And she has a split personality where she blames all her violent tendencies on "Leo". She mentions that she was already in her 70s by the time she first exited her vault and saw the sky for the first time... only to be turned into a Nightkin almost immediately after.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The Blue Moon trailer features a gorgeous view of a fully illuminated New Vegas in the background. In the actual game, however, only the four casinos are actually lit up. The trailer, as well as some bits in the intro narration, suggest that Obsidian might have intended New Vegas to be a completely pristine pre-war city. In the actual game, it is revealed that the city had undergone centuries of dilapidation until Mr. House decided to repair the casinos as a means of welcoming the NCR.
    • A magazine ad for the game depicts an NCR Ranger standing along an empty road leading straight into a gated off New Vegas, the "Welcome to New Vegas" standing next to it. In the actual game, this is incorrect: the "Welcome" sign is next to Camp McCarran, nowhere near the actual entrance to The Strip, and the only entrance to New Vegas (barring McCarran's monorail system) requires you to go through Freeside, looking nothing like the gate present in the ad.
  • New Meat: 10 of Spades. He's called that, because he's too green to earn Ace of Spades as his callsign. He's going to skip queen, though.
  • New Old West: While the other games certainly has elements of the genre, this one is very clearly meant to be a Western. It just happens to be set After the End.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • If you kill or incapacitate Mr. House. You'll receive a message saying "A great tragedy has befallen mankind" and take a large karma hit. It's essentially some post-mortem ego-stroking (check the bottom of the note if you don't believe us). Caeser even says how House was 'full of himself' after reading through the note if the player chooses to return to him after killing House.
    • Also gets rather ham-fisted in Lonesome Road, where it's made clear, in no uncertain terms, that you are the reason the Divide, touted as humanity's best chance at recovery, is now nothing more than an irradiated crack in the ground, thanks to the Earth-Shattering Kaboom you set off. Thanks a lot, asshole. Though it should be noted that only person who considered it humanity's best chance at recovery was Ulysses and he's all kinds of crazy. And it's not as if you meant to do it.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Ulysses arranged for you to carry the Platinum Chip with the intent and purpose of your violent death at Benny's hands. But fate decided otherwise, and now it's you and not him who became the NCR/Legion's top field agent, Mr.House's second-in-command or even the sovereign ruler of all New Vegas.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: With the Stealth suit Mk II (a suit of sentient Powered Armor) you get in Old World Blues, when you hit relatively low (about 40%) health, you have a stimpak and Med-X administered. And the rate of it is insane - about 1 dose of Stim per second. This renders you almost invincible in Casual, as long as you're not being wailed upon by about eight enemies at once, or fighting the Giant Robo-Scorpion with its near insta-kill laser.
    • The Ghost People of Dead Money. They can be beaten down, but unless you cripple a limb, within ten seconds they get right back up. This is demonstrated perfectly at the very beginning of the DLC, where, if you follow Elijah's advice and recruit Dog/God first, the very first one of them you find has a spear shoved through its body that it gives no shits about.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: This game loves playing with this.
    • First, there's Victor, the cowboy robot unicycle.
      • Primm has Primm Slim, who is another robot cowboy. Amusingly, there's a bit of dialogue where you have to clarify which robot cowboy you're talking about.
    • There's also Raul Tejada, the 230 year old ghoul vaquero mechanic.
    • And let's not forget cowboy-ghoul-mercenary-dominatrix Beatrix Russel.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The game gives you the option of Hardcore Mode, which simulates the post-apocalyptic experience. What does this mean? You have to eat, drink, and sleep regularly to survive. Ammo has weight. Stimpacks heal over time instead of instantly. They also can't heal limbs any more; you need a doctor's bag or and actual doctor for that. That said, doing this is at best a minor annoyance for a decent player: there is more than enough food, water, and beds to cover your needs. The only thing in short supply is doctor's bags, which can be supplemented cheaply by actual doctors.
    • Then there's the DLC Dead Money, which was apparently written by a Killer Game Master: it's nothing but the Fallout universe's very own Tomb of Horrors. You lose all your gear at start and are given low-condition, barely protective junk in return. There's toxic gas clouds all over causing a constant HP drain. The puzzles are a tad harder. There are traps everywhere. The good supplies are hard to come by at first. The Ghost People within can't just be beaten to death without a huge health drain (because they level with you; they also get back up if you don't cripple one of their limbs), and the Security Holograms that replace them halfway through can't be killed unless you sneak past (or, 90% of the time, run right by) them and deactivate their emitter. The whole thing is in a dark, terrible tint that will make you want to punch the screen. It also helps with not seeing the freakin' bear traps. Which are everywhere. And to top it off, there are speakers and radios which set off your explosive collar; Save Scumming is the way to find and deactivate (or outrun) them. At least you're warned.
      • Don't forget to play it on Hardcore mode! Enjoy your stay.
    • Whereas Dead Money was Nintendo Hard in terms of dungeon exploration, all the DLC is Nintendo Hard in terms of straight-out combat. All the enemies level with you, which actually makes being at high levels a disadvantage, since every single normal enemy is tough enough that they'd be considered a major boss character in the vanilla game. And you'll often have to fight several at once. This is especially bad in Dead Money, though, because you don't get your high damage weapons and the Ghost People don't take extra damage from headshots.
    • The game's project director Joshua Sawyer made the JSawyer mod, essentially a Director's Cut that rebalances the game to how he originally envisioned it. Your base carrying weight is reduced by 100, your hit points, XP gain rate and max level take sharp drops, and most stimpaks have lost effectiveness while all start having weight. All the stuff you get from pre-order DLC you have to find hidden in-game. Hardcore is on by default and your survival values start dropping a lot faster than in the base game. Some of the more common weapons and armor have been buffed (and most armor also has some level of damage reduction), which helps you in the short-term but also means the high-class gear doesn't put you at as big an advantage. It also means you die a lot faster.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked:
    • The game prides itself on making certain that none of the factions are straight out "good" or "evil," with reminders like NCR being ineffective at defending its interests in stark contrast to the Legion inspiring such strict order that even the Fiends won't attack their territory, but...of the companions for the Courier, all fall under either pro-NCR or neutral, and of the human companions, all four will abandon you outright for supporting the Legion.note  Couple that with a lot of doors being closed to players for throwing their lot in with the Legion (due to most of the map being under the control of the NCR or their offshoots)... yeah. There aren't a lot of incentives for siding with the Legion for anything but the different story missions. Word of God states that due to time constraints from Bethesda, Obsidian couldn't develop the Legion as much as they wanted.
    • Honest Hearts also plays this straight, and is clearly written for a pro-NCR or pro-House character given its focus on the redemption of a former Legion member who now detests them and kills their agents. Despite your ability to side with the Legion in the main game, you can't side with the White Legs in Zion, who are attempting to join the Legion. There are numerous potential Justifications/Hand Waves available, but none are brought up - the best you can go for is just shooting everyone on sight and then stealing a map to get out, which locks you out of all the quests and potential rewards in the entire region.
    • Ulysses was originally designed as a Legion-affiliated companion in the vanilla game. However, instead of being a plain Token Evil Teammate he would have acted as a sounding board to the Courier in regard to the different factions, and provided a Legion-sympathetic point of view.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Mr. House basically is Howard Hughes.
    • His securitron friend Jane is based on Jane Russell.
    • Several casinos and landmarks were given this treatment, such as Bison Steve = Buffalo Bill's, Dinky the T-Rex = Dinny the Dinosaur/Mr Rex, and The Tops = The Sands.
    • Benny is based on mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, right down to the tacky suit.
    • Mr. New Vegas is Wayne Newton, famous announcer known as "Mr. Las Vegas". And literally so as the character is actually voiced by Newton.
  • No Bisexuals: Most characters are either heterosexual like Cass and Boone, homosexual like Veronica and Arcade, or have sex with anyone if paid (prostitutes), drunk enough (Cass), or as a reward for their strength and skills (Red Lucy). However, this is averted for the Courier who has the option to take the "Lady Killer/Black Widow" perk along with the "Confirmed Bachelor/Cherchez La Femme" perk. The Courier can be bisexual and uses their smooth and sweet words to get others to open up to them.
  • No Fair Cheating:
    • Have the PC version and used the console? No achievements for you! Even if you do it to fix a Game-Breaking Bug. note  Thankfully, a few commands don't cause this, such as "TCL" which toggles clipping and is very useful if you get stuck glitching through an object.
    • If you are in a casino, saving the game also shuts down all the gambling options for a minute as an "anti-cheat" measure to prevent save-scumming.
    • Similarly, you cannot click through the type-up sequence for the hacking minigame if you just exited and re-entered the computer terminal, until the "SECURITY RESET" warning at the very top of the monitor goes away. All this means is you just have to wait 5-10 seconds before you can try again.
      • Which is strange compared to Fallout 3, where doing this to avoid getting locked out of terminals was actually recommended in one of the loading screens.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: You can kill low level creatures like ravens or coyotes with a fat man. There's even a achievement with Gun Runners Arsenal for that very thing.
  • No One Should Survive That: The response you will get when you catch up with the people who shot you in the head and buried you alive at the start of the game.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • Standard for the course in the Fallout verse. Though the Bison Steve hotel gets kudos. Pre-War there was a platform that led directly to the tracks for the Roller Coaster. Not to the loading/unloading platform, just in the middle of the tracks.
    • Subverted with the Hoover Dam. There are guard rails and there is a fence to block anything going into the intake valves,including stray players trying to sequence break.
    • Followed through in many other cases where toxic waste is dumped in places such as a fire station. The REPCONN headquarters' tour guide also lampshades this by constantly reassuring you that no safety measures are required for toxic waste dumps because "nothing bad will ever happen."
  • No-Tell Motel: Bison Steve was this BEFORE the war. You find a ransom note. A skeleton on the bed next to a blood stain that's at chest level then another skeleton in the tub with a knife and surrounded by drugs. Murder-suicide, anyone? Might be a Stealth Pun, since the real-world equivalent is "Buffalo Bill's".
  • No Woman's Land: The Legion. And boy, if you're a female Courier, will they let you know about it.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Multiple in the Dead Money DLC.
    • The expansion starts with you coming to in the Sierra Madre Casino with an explosive collar around your neck and a voice (Elijah) giving you orders. If you refuse to do what Elijah tells you, he'll remind you that you have an explosive collar around your neck and that you should do what he says. If you refuse again, he sets it off.
    • Similarly, if you tell Dean Domino you're not going to help him when meeting him for the first time, he sets off the bomb in the cushion of the chair you're sitting in.
    • If you access Sinclair's personal account in the Sierra Madre Vault even though a previous text clearly says doing so will permanently and irreversibly lock the vault door, you get a message (addressed to Domino) saying you are trapped in the vault with absolutely no way to get out, and an ending slide plays saying the Courier died inside the vault and was turned into a hologram.
    • At the end, you can join Father Elijah and unleash the Cloud upon the Mojave Wasteland, killing everyone.
  • Non-Action Guy:
    • The idea behind the Good Natured trait. Your combat skills take a hit, but a whole bunch of non-combat skills get a boost, and since you have the option of getting a couple of party members to do the fighting for you, you can still survive when violence becomes necessary. That also does not prevent you from taking a level in badass later on by putting skill points appropriately.
    • What's funny is that this trait actually has the opposite intended effect. Since you can't max out skills like in Fallout 3, you have to decide which skills you want to build up. This trait takes points away from the combat skills you will never use (depending on how you like to play, you'll only ever use one or two combat skills, maybe three at most) and puts them into skills you will, almost certainly resulting in a net gain. By putting skill points into combat skills anyway, your character can deal with practically any situation.
    • Even better, the Old World Blues DLC has the Skilled trait, which gives you +5 to all skills at the cost of a -10% exp gain. Combined with the Good Natured Trait, this is a net gain of +10 to a lot of skills while also removing the -5 penalty to your combat skills. The experience loss is a negligible disadvantage considering that the game's Level Scaling means that being low level for a little longer isn't a big deal, and there's still more than enough XP available to hit the Level Cap.
  • Noob Cave: The immediate area surrounding Goodsprings, complete with easy to kill giant geckos and a few bloatflies. Just don't take the north road if you've barely started the game. You probably won't survive. The North road is passable eventually after you've leveled up a bit and gained some heavy weapons.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • You can find a computer log in Old World Blues which says steps are being taken to avoid a repeat of Incident:PLAYTIME. There were cyberdogs involved (possibly in heat), and fixing/sanitizing it took up a good portion of the research budget.
    • Pete, the Boomers' historian, makes an oblique reference to at least one occasion in which the Boomers set off a nuclear warhead, and implies that the incident resulted in the otherwise heavily pro-ordnance Boomers banning the use of atomic weapons.
  • Noodle Implements: Several computer logs in H&H Tools use Noodle Implements in a sexual context: one mentions a stovepipe and souvenir moon rocks, another mentions rubber sheets and "the souvenir elephant-foot trash can", and a third mentions an accordion and a riding crop.
  • Not So Different:
    • Caesar and Arcade Gannon are extremely similar. Both are or were members of the Followers of Apocalypse. Both lost their fathers at a young age. Both are well educated to the point of knowing Latin. Both believe in the greater good, even if it is at the expense of the individual good (although Arcade doesn't take it to the same extremes). Both prove to be remarkably effective military leaders as soon as they put their mind to do so. If you get a very specific ending, the trope is more apparent, as well, due to Caesar's interactions with Arcade.
    • Veronica also points out that both the Boomers and the Brotherhood of Steel are quite similar, both being aggressively xenophobic hoarders of technology.
    • The New Canaanites and Tribal clans in Honest Hearts, which is lampshaded by Joshua Graham. While the Mormons wear more clothing and retain a number of Pre-War customs and technologies, like their would-be converts, they're a spiritual people who treat one another as belonging to one large family.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: If Benny survives his night with a black widow Courier, he leaves a note that manages to be infuriating and endearing at the same time.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: The ending to Honest Hearts takes this bent no matter which side you support. It ultimately comes down to whether or not you believe preserving the natural beauty and sanctity of Zion is worth the human cost or not.
    • The power distribution option to utilize emergency output levels of power to the full region in HELIOS One is this. The normal "Full Region" option points out that brownouts will occur frequently due to spreading the energy so thinly. But if you set it to use emergency output levels on top of supplying the full region, it overloads the generator.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: In Honest Hearts, Joshua and Daniel's tribe are only ever referred to as "New Canaanites," never as "Mormons" or "Latter-Day Saints."
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Vault 22, which is seemingly devoid of life apart from giant mantises and the numerous patches of flora... until you step on said flora and awaken a spore carrier.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: There is a virtual reality room in Old World Blues, only someone smashed the controls and left a note that ends "It has killed us. Now I will kill it." Makes you wonder what the hell was in the VR. And you will never know.
  • NPC Scheduling:
    • In the Lonesome Road addon, there are many instances where you will find a cache of goodies and opening it or merely approaching it will cause a group of angry NPCs to kill you. It helps immensely to lay frag mines down in the entrances to buildings before you go in.
    • Extremely obvious in Old World Blues, when you find an item titled "Take [X]" instead of the standard "name-weight-value" readout. Taking the object spawns another wave of baddies. Fortunately you can grab it without taking it and carry it to a safe location, as they only spawn once you put it in your inventory.
  • Nuclear Nasty: A well-represented trope in a series like this. The only monsters that avert this are the Deathclaws, Super Mutants, Centuars, and newcomers Cazadors and Nightstalkers both of whom were made in Big Mountain by Doctor Borous of the Think Tank.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: The "Old World Gourmet" perk in the Dead Money add-on makes a variety of junk food and alcohol items heal you. The "Unclean Living" referenced in the perk description is a reference to Dean Domino, who has survived on crappy ancient Mac and Cheese and stashed alcohol for years.

  • Obvious Beta: As one might expect of a game developed by Obsidian, the story is unique and lovingly crafted, but the bugs and glitches are plentiful and the game is prone to crashing even after several updates.
  • Offing the Mouth: You can sell companion Arcade Gannon into slavery as Caesar's personal physician and then arrange for him to die in the quest Et Tumor Brute. Should the Legion win at the Battle of Hoover Dam, Caesar's successor Lanius gets tired of Arcade's witty remarks and has him crucified.
  • Off-Model: Strafing to the left as a female Courier causes your left arm to suddenly gain a new joint. Pre-patch, there were some that were unintentionally hilarious.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The description of Elijah's escape from the Big Empty and the aftermath of it paints a darn impressive picture of it, as does the holotapes and terminal entries left by him, Ulysses and Christine. But the description is somewhat vague and unreliable (it is given by members of the Think Tank), the holotapes and terminal entries only touch on the impressive things, and since it happened before the Courier got there, and Elijah doesn't tell us much of what happened when the Courier meets him, it remains mostly offscreen...
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Both of the Mysterious Protectors. Victor seems to always be one step ahead of you, but it turns out he's got a justification for that.
  • Off the Rails: Part of the big draw of the game is that there is no one true plotline. All the big names you learn about throughout the game are certainly killable, and the game actually evolves around the decisions you make, to come to drastically different endings that require a massive slide show depicting the consequences of your actions. You will eventually be railroaded onto the Independent questline if you kill or antagonize enough people, but it's hardly a game over by any means.
  • Off with His Head!: The Katana has a special attack in V.A.T.S. called "Unlabored Flawlessness". Holding the sword Reverse Grip style, you swing at your enemy's neck. Combined with the Authentic Blade mod to increase damage, it will instantly kill most non-boss characters, almost always by decapitation.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Benny's reaction when he sees how you got better after that little incident up near Goodsprings.
    • Probably the best Oh, Crap! to come from Benny is if you go up to the penthouse at The Tops at his request. Of course, he betrays you and sends 4 of his bouncers to do you in. Kill them, and then go over to the intercom and interact with it.
      Benny: The cleaners will knock twice. Make sure they do a thorough job.
      The Courier: Yeah, it's a real mess here - four bodies.
      Benny: What... the... fuck!?
      • It's also heavily implied in dialogue with The Tops members that after this exchange, Benny fled from the casino in pure unbridled terror.
    • If you tell the lone NCR Ranger attempting to use a bunker as a safehouse that the Brotherhood of Steel have you hostage — "Ha, ha, not a slaver collar... hey, what's that noise?" Three angry paladins in T-51b armor, that's what.
    • In the Wild Card ending, General Oliver shows up after blasting down the doors to congratulate you. Then you point out you had help. Cue the dust settling and a very unhealthy number of Securitrons suddenly holding him at gunpoint. He gets another one seconds later if you get tired of his posturing and order Yes Man to throw him off the dam.
    • Jessup gets one in Boulder City when he recognizes the Courier, remarking that he saw you get shot in the head by Benny in Goodsprings and you're supposed to be dead.
      Courier: I got better.
    • If you successfully plant a grenade or landmine on someone while pickpocketing them, the person in question will realize just how screwed they are, patting themselves down and panicking like crazy... just before they get blasted sky high, usually in bloody chunks.
  • Old Soldier: "For Auld Lang Syne" involves rounding up a whole Badass Crew of now-elderly soldiers in order to have them fight at the Battle of Hoover Dam. The five of them are all well past seventy, but are nevertheless more than a match for whole divisions of young NCR soldiers, hardened Legionnaires, or House's securitrons. They're all veteran fighters who survived the fall of the Enclave, and recruiting them comes with a stash of advanced power armor, heavy weapons, and a vertibird bomber they can bring to the Dam.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • The Toaster in The Sink in Old World Blues. No, you don't need to have Wild Wasteland enabled to see this.
    • A far more serious example, and far more lethal, is Father Elijah and Ulysses. Elijah wants to conquer and enslave the Wasteland with technology from the Sierra Madre, while Ulysses feels there hasn't been enough atomic holocaust.
      • You can, however, convince Ulysses that his motivation and goal is flawed right after it has been set in motion, and actually help you out to try and stop it. No such option for Father Elijah, however.
  • Omnicidal Neutral: The Independent/Wild Card Route is essentially this. Although neutral in the sense that you are going against all three of the major factions and can even go against the minor factions if you choose too. Depending on your karma the ending can range from using the resources of New Vegas and other areas to turn the Mojave to a utopia where everyone can live in peace to using the very same resources to destroy all stability in the Mojave and turn the region into a anarchic dystopia. Yes Man is the only essential (as he just uploads himself into another Securitron if you kill him) NPC in the game specifically to give this option to prevent the game from being Unwinnable.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist:
    • Having a high science skill allows you to understand several elements from unrelated fields: computing, rocket science, chemistry...
    • Exaggerated with the think tanks from the Old World Blues DLC, Doctor Dala herself claims to have 211 doctorates.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: "Cannibal" Johnson. No, he isn't a humanitarian. Once, cornered by raiders, he managed to kill one of them, and took a bite out of his heart for psychological warfare purpose. It worked, since they freaked out and ran away. It also got him stuck with his nickname.
  • Once per Episode: Numerous elements from previous Fallout games return in this entry.
  • One-Handed Shotgun Pump: The reload animation for the Hunting Shotgun while in third person has the Courier pump the shotgun Sarah Connor style..
  • One-Hit Point Wonder: The Cloud in Dead Money can turn you into this in Hardcore mode if you don't have the stims to keep your health up, especially in the early game. Half the time you'll be throwing your companions at enemies to avoid using your precious healing items.
  • One-Hit Polykill: When you work for the King, the first task he gives you is to investigate on Orris, one of the bodyguards who can be hired in Freeside, as the King has the feeling there's something fishy in Orris' work. When you hire him as bodyguard, with high enough Intelligence the Courier will notice that he killed four thugs with three shots; if you mention this in the relevant dialog, he'll justify himself with this trope.
    Er, noticed that, did you? I keenly aimed one of the shots through some soft tissue of one of them to hit the man behind him.
  • One-Man Army:
    • The pro-NCR path more or less requires you to be this. Even if you aren't following that path, a high-level character with the right equipment can literally be this.
    • Ranger Stella, one of the possible opponents in the arena. She apparently refused to be given a machete in the arena, preferring to fight with just her bare hands, and she wasted just about anyone thrown at her, from slaves and recruit legionaries up to veteran legionaries and an elite centurion. When you fight her, she can cripple limbs with one hit.
    • Randall Clark, the Survivalist, wiped out most of the cannibalistic Vault 22 dwellers through guerrilla warfare after they killed the Hispanic refugees he was watching over. The Vault dwellers took to calling him the Evil Spirit.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: New Vegas itself. Mr. House describes himself as its "president, CEO, and sole proprietor," rather than its ruler.
  • One Riot, One Ranger:
    • Played with in regards to NCR Rangers. They're some of the toughest human units in the game, and in-universe, are treated as being at the highest levels of badassery. The NCR will use individual Rangers in this fashion, sending them into situations that would normally require an entire squad of Troopers to deal with, but a few instances in the game where individual Rangers are sent to deal with a problem (such as Anders in Vault 3,) go poorly. (Anders survives but is wounded, and the commander that sent him there admits that sending just one Ranger was a mistake.)
    • The Courier for the various powers-that-be in the Mojave region. S/he will be given assignments to do things that trained soldiers and mercenary groups have been unable or unwilling to do.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All:
    • Endurance an extremely useful stat, though not for its primary purpose of determining base hit points, poison, and radiation resistance (the latter two can be maxed out with clothing, perks, or chems). Endurance determines how many cybernetic implants your character can receive at the New Vegas Medical Clinic. Each point of Endurance allows for one implant, which include SPECIAL-raising implants. An Endurance stat of 7 lets you get +1 to every SPECIAL attribute, while 9 Endurance gives you all of the SPECIAL implants, +4 Damage Threshold, and minor health regeneration. In short, more Endurance means more of everything else.
    • As per the Fallout tradition, higher Intelligence means more skill points per level, though the amount has be severely toned down compared to even 3. Of all the SPECIAL stats, it's also the one that will come up most for conversation checks.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted in the Honest Hearts add-on, in which two people share their names with minor characters from the main game. Stella the ex-sheriff in the Happy Trails Caravan shares her name with the NCR Ranger fought as the final opponent in the Legion Arena, and the Mormon missionary Daniel is named the same as the Fiend jailer in Vault 3. There's also Camp McCarran Quartermaster Daniel Contreras and Courier 4 Daniel Wyand, but the former is almost always referred to by his surname only and the latter is a minor Posthumous Character.
  • One-Time Dungeon:
    • The Securitron Vault was intended to be such, with the player being unable to re-enter once it is completed, and the guard's dialogue not permitting you to leave until you complete the task. However, the actual implementation permits you to leave (using dialog or killing the guards) as long as you don't complete the section.
    • Taking Philip Lem's side in Why Can't We Be Friends? requires blowing up the sulfur caves under Vault 19. Alternatively, you can blow the whole vault to Kingdom Come.
    • The Dead Money DLC cannot be visited after it is completed, unlike the Old World Blues and Honest Hearts add-ons. In said DLC, the vault of the Sierra Madre is also closed off after you leave.
  • One-Wheeled Wonder: The Securitron robots, which form the personal guard of Mr. House, look like this.
  • Only One Female Mold: Even the old wrinkle-faced women have young shaped bodies.
  • Only One Name: Nobody in the Three Vegas Families or the Kings has a known surname, and considering they're "civilized" former tribals, they likely don't have any surnames. The same goes for the Boomers, even though they originated from Vault 34, and Vault Dwellers typically do have surnames.
  • Only Six Faces: For no good reason. FaceGen isn't cheap to lease, so it feels like a waste here. Anyone who's created a character for Oblivion knows the breadth of customization possible, and the same software was leased for this game, yet every character looks like one of a small handful of clones.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Sort of. One minor Frumentarius that you meet greets you for the first time with "Hail Caesar" (hard C) and the very next sentence says it again, this time with a soft C.
    • Cachino speaks with an Italian accent when he first meets you, but then drops it after you show him his journal. Justified because, like all Strip families, the accent and attitude is part of his family's "character" (mafia), which he doesn't need in personal conversation.
    • Santiago also loses his accent when you reveal that you were sent to settle his debts with the Garretts. He even admits its an act so he can charm his way out of this sort of thing.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Let's see. There are the hookers in New Vegas, Freeside, and Westside, Red Lucy in the Thorn, Sarah Weintraub in the Vault 21 hotel if you bring her enough Vault Suits, and Benny with the Black Widow perk. Finally, there's Fisto, who, as the name implies, is a robot that performs special services.
    Fisto: Numbness will subside in several minutes.
  • Optional Stealth: People specializing in Stealth can play in this way, sneaking about and using a silenced pistol, but breaking out a BFG and Power Armor whenever things get hairy.
  • Oracular Urchin: The Forecaster at 188 Trading Post, an orphaned young psyker.
  • Order Versus Chaos: All the major factions are some variation of order. Caesar's Legion, the brutal totalitarian military state represents evil order. NCR, the idealistic but flawed liberal democracy represents good order. And Mr. House, the Machiavellian aspiring ruler of New Vegas, represents a morally grey order. The Chaos side is Benny, who wants to usurp House and drive the two armies out of Vegas, establishing a quasi-anarchist free state. He doesn't live to see it through, but you can possibly finish what he started.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Every single exhibit in the REPCONN Headquarters museum contains at least one legal disclaimer.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future:
    • The 12.7mm submachine gun is the weapon in the Guns category with the least basis in anything in real life, being only loosely inspired by (according to the game's director) the Kriss Vector and P90. It looks like a brick. Add the silencer mod to it (which is far larger than the silencers other guns get), and it looks like a brick with a piece of pipe on the end.
    • The laser pistol and laser rifle retain their rectangular appearance from Fallout 3, but the rifle can be made to be even more boxy by attaching the scope to it. The result is a box with another box suspended several inches above it. A scoped laser rifle actually takes up so much of the screen in first person mode, it can make seeing things to your right difficult.
  • Outlaw Couple: Vikki and Vance, who, according to the claims of the robot that works as a tour guide in their museum, were not copycats of the former Trope Namers, as they began their own "crime spree" two days before Bonnie and Clyde began theirs. The pair's crimes were, however, pretty low key, and consisted mostly of shoplifting and con artistry. Their story still ends in a tragedy as they were unfortunate enough to caught in the massive crossfire between the police and a bunch of bank robbers, which resulted in them getting shot to pieces.
    • A couple of idiotic poseurs with embarrassingly Ironic Surnames try to emulate them by stealing their clothes and gun and formulate a rather Darwin-Award-worthy plan to rob all the casinos at The Strip, but it's pretty easy to convince them how badly this will go.
  • Outlaw Town: The NCR Correctional Facility run by the convicts who took it over. There is also Vault 3, occupied by the drug-crazed fiends.
  • Outscare the Enemy:
    • This can work against Caesar's legion on one occasion. There's a quest where you can be hired by the NCR to help interrogate a Legion officer they've captured. If your character has a high enough intelligence or charisma, then the best solution is to convince him you're a Legion assassin sent to punish him for allowing himself to be captured. He's obviously more afraid of the Legion than the NCR, and in his panic and indignation he lists everything he'd done for the Legion lately, which is exactly what the NCR wanted to know.
    • With the Terrifying Presence perk, you can intimidate hardened badasses in cowering like children. Of note, you can scare the crap out of Caesar himself, turn Jean-Baptiste Cutting (a murderous psychopath who vaped a dude for fun) into whimpering wuss, and scare an entire team of Brotherhood soldiers into submission when they both outnumber and outgun you. It may be a largely useless perk, but it's easily the funniest.
    • Terrifying Presence is essentially made of pants-shittingly terrifying speech checks. Like scaring the dog-helmeted Vulpes Inculta, right after he slaughtered the entirety of Nipton.
      Courier: "I'll wear your heads like you do that dog's."
      Vulpes: "Legionnaires! We have a problem!"
    • Also of note is convincing some mercs to leave quaint, idyllic, Super Mutant owned Jacobstown alone, because if they don't, instead of dealing with a village of pissed off Super Mutants, they'll have to deal with you.
    • North Vegas has a similar instance with a Speech check. You need to scare off some squatters. After you ask nicely and they refuse, you can inform them that you only ask once. Later on in the same mission, squatters in the sewers can be made to fear a mob bearing down on them if they continue to make trouble.
  • Out with a Bang: Killing Benny is easy with the Black Widow and Mister Sandman perks.

  • Pacifist Run: It's possible! Here is a playlist for it It may be easier if you get someone else to do the killing for you.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: All plasma weapons have this trait. There's a mod for the plasma rifle that speeds up its projectiles. Gun Runner's Arsenal adds a similar mod for the plasma pistol.
  • Painting the Medium:
    • Obsidian addressed complaints about Dead Money in regards to personal item whereabouts and the ability to return in the newest DLC, among others:
    In-Game Warning: You get the premonition that while you'll be unable to return to the Mojave until you solve the mysteries of the Big Empty, you WILL be able to take anything you can carry with you, and you WILL be able to return to the Big Empty any time after completing this adventure.

    Courier: If you stole my brain, then how the hell am I still functioning?
    • The Old World Blues epilogue actually calls the player out if they rush through the main quest, since several of the good endings rely on you reaching every location and finding every single upgrade for the Sink personalities.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Partially averted with the faction disguises. Coming near enough to interact with members will reveal you to any, even to the lowliest mooks if your infamy is high enough. But still, you're wearing the same hat, tailed by the same companions, and they don't seem to take notice of a female wearing legionnaire armor.
  • Paranoia Fuel: invoked Vault 19 was designed to induce paranoia in its citizens through purely psychological methods. The vault is split into Red and Blue sides with an Overseer for either side, and the actions they undertake to drive the residents insane include making the air vents turn up for five minutes at a precise time every night, making lights outside corridors blink in apparent Morse code, and assuring residents who notice these little anomalies that it's just their imagination and nothing is wrong. The vault being split into two sides naturally makes them suspicious of the other as well, and as the journal entries and computer logs will attest, it spirals into total insanity. One resident notices how another of the opposite color had found a Sunset Sarsaparilla Star bottlecap and immediately ran off with it. That resident didn't know what was so special about that cap, but he knew he had to have it for himself. The resident who found it, wracked his brain trying to figure out why this bottle cap had a star on it. It was special, but WHY?
    • Interestingly, unlike most other vaults, it isn't revealed just what the final outcome of the inhabitants was. There aren't any corpses found anywhere, and the vault itself is dilapidated and unkempt, but not trashed or ruined. Not even with the fire geckos inhabiting the caves below the vault. By the time you get there, the Powder Gangers are using it as a hideout from their recent prison break, and no mention is made of where the inhabitants went or what happened to them.
  • Party of Representatives: Each of your companions represents one of the factions of the Mojave, granting you a degree of insight into their beliefs and flaws. Veronica is a journeyman scribe who helps secure food and supplies for the Brotherhood of Steel, Arcade is a humanitarian aid doctor with the Followers of the Apocalypse and was born into the Enclave to one of the few officers who survived the destruction of the oil rig, Lily was one of the Master's elite operatives and lets you witness firsthand the mental degeneration which affects all nightkin, and Raul is a pre-war ghoul, originally from Arizona, and the only party member who has actually lived in a region under Legion control — and he says the Legion and NCR are Not So Different for the average civilian living on the ground. Boone and Cass are both proudly NCR, but Boone is jaded ex-military (though he seems to blame himself more than anyone for the incident that led to his departure) while Cass is a civilian business owner who loves her country even though she sees it as deeply flawed.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish":
    • Every password you steal is always something very silly or at least words that can be found in a dictionary. Such as 123456789 for Raul's cell (though that one is justified as his boss ordered him to lock the terminal with some password, and he didn't care about the actual security). All hackable terminals all have passwords in the form of words which can be found in most dictionaries.
    • Seemingly averted on the HELIOS ONE terminal passwords, where the two terminals have super long passwords with seemingly random letters and numbers, until you find out that the number sequences can be converted from hexadecimal into ASCII, producing the phrases "My voice is my passport" and "Too many secrets" — both encoded phrases from the movie Sneakers.
    • It is implied the reason the passwords are so simple is because of your own hacking skills essentially resetting the password into a guessing game.
    • You can get past the REPPCON HQ security on the top floor by guessing the password, 'Ice Cream', by being lucky or stupid enough.
    • Many passwords set by technicians are good (even if they are common words they at least have non-standard capitalization or elements of 1337 sp34k) and common passwords are more than likely a reference to Real Life practices. The hacking minigame can be also considered a Story and Gameplay Segregation designed to convey the 'vintage' feeling of the hex editor.
    • In Vault 11, the password to a computer is kept in an unlocked footlocker in the same room. The note simply reads "This password was found shamefully close to its user's terminal."
    • In the same Vault, backstory reveals that the original Overseer was undone by this trope. As the only person to enter the Vault knowing that one citizen would have to be sacrificed yearly or the entire Vault would be wiped out, he is naturally voted to the position of first sacrifice by the pissed-off citizens. He might have gotten out of it, since he was also the only one who knew the password to the sacrifice chamber... except that the password was his wife's first name.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The 'best' path for the 'Eye for an Eye' quest (which gives you the best NCR rep boost) involves showering Cottonwood Cove with radioactive waste, to give the unfortunate Legion personnel there the Karmic Death for what they did in Camp Searchlight. Before doing this though, hopefully you remembered to get the family in the slave pen out first. The strung-up Great Khan on the outskirts of town will live through it just fine.
    • If you chose the Causeless Rebel route for Veronica, one could consider destroying the Brotherhood as this. The Brotherhood chose to slowly die instead of adapt, and their death throes are harming others outside their group, as evidenced by the cold blooded murder of the Followers outpost (on top of general glorified banditry).
  • Percussive Maintenance:
    • When a low-condition gun jams, the Courier smacks it once or twice during the reloading animation.
    • The quarry foreman at Sloan will also, if you ask him about the machinery he uses at Quarry Junction, note that since it's pre-War tech, "you need to thump it once in awhile to keep it running".
  • Permanently Missable Content: Assuming one doesn't use console commands to spawn items or objects, change quest objectives, or move to different cells within the world, there is a ton of potential content that can just be completely lost if the Courier makes certain choices or if glitches ruin a run.
    • Averted when it comes to the guns, especially the unique Gun Runner's Arsenal DLC guns, with most of the unique inventory of the dead merchants going to Vendortron (the un-killable Gun Runners robot salesman). If you kill the Van Graffs, for example, their inventory will appear in Vendortron's list.
    • As in Fallout 3, potential companions can be killed in New Vegas if Hardcore mode is enabled. Unlike Fallout 3, though, some companions are found outside, where they're at the mercy of whatever may wander in. A particularly bad spot is Jacobstown, where you meet Lily, which happens to have a Cazador spawn point near the front gate. Another bad spot is the 188 Trading Post where Veronica is found, which is near a Legionary Assassin spawn point. Also, choosing the wrong dialogue or quest options will turn certain groups hostile and prevent you from doing their quests.
    • Craig Boone's companion quest can be lost forever by triggering too many non-repeatable "trust point" events before recruiting him, and a bug may cause Loyal to disappear after the completion of "Volare!", breaking Raul's "Old School Ghoul" quest. Though Loyal can be brought back using the console commands on the PC to relocate him to the player, console players will have to revert to an old save or start a new game file. The reason he disappears is because he's stuck in an old cell in the Nellis Base Hanger. After the quest "Volare!" is completed the hanger becomes a whole new cell after a few game days to add the B29 bomber in it. Raul's quest will also be lost forever if you have been declared a terrorist by the NCR, as you will no longer be able to talk to two of the required people, even if you have a disguise.
    • Anything the player doesn't take out with them from the Sierra Madre in Dead Money is lost forever once the player leaves, as there's no way to get back (as pointed out by the game itself just before you try to use the exit gate). The other DLC areas are exempt from this, as the player can return whenever they want to grab what they missed the first time around. Honest Hearts in particular they took care to avoid this with - since the people you can trade with are gone if you ever return to Zion Valley, the new stuff added in the expansion is added to the inventories of most merchants in the Mojave from the second you finish it. However, sidequests are missable, and the unique yao guai gauntlet She's Embrace cannot be obtained since White Bird is missing.
    • There are a few "safehouse" locations around the Wasteland that you can get access to. They universally have some of that faction's signature armor and equipment, but nothing invaluable. With one exception — the Lucky Shades, which raise Luck by 1, await you in the Legion Safehouse. If you kill the person who gives you the key, you can never get them without console commands on the PC.
    • Veronica's companion quest requires to find one of three macguffins, all of which can be nullified before even recruiting her:
      • One of those is finding the Euclid's C-Finder, which becomes impossible if you already completed the "Lucky Old Sun" by choosing one of the options which don't power on the Archimedes killsat.
      • Another is to find the farming technology from Vault 22, but prior completion of "There Stands the Grass" by deleting the project from Vault 22 computer's will obviously render this option moot.
      • Last, the third option consists in finding the Pulse Gun in Vault 34. While no other quest involve the item itself, it's possible to enter Vault 34 without starting Veronica's quest (the vault is involved in a few other sidequests), pick up the Pulse Gun, and sell it or lose it.
    • At the end of Lonesome Road, entering Ulysses' Temple is a one-way trip until you finish the quest. Entering the elevator to Ulysses' Temple without retrieving EDE first will lock you out of the option to cancel the nuke launch, forcing you to choose whether you will nuke NCR or Legion territory (or both).
  • The Peter Principle: Chief Hanlon mentions that the NCR government repositioned a good number of their strongest rangers to Baja California after dealing with a very minor skirmish with locals, despite knowing that they would be better put to use at the Hoover Dam.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Stripe, a miniature Deathclaw that shows up in Old World Blues if you have Wild Wasteland. Despite only coming up to the Courier's knee, he's just as powerful as an alpha male Deathclaw.
  • Plasma Cannon: Plasma weapons come in a variety of small arms sizes. FO3-style plasma pistols are the entry level weapon, followed by the FO3-style Plasma Rifle, and then by the Multiplas Rifle and Plasma Defender heavy pistol, and then the classic Fallout-style Plasma Caster. Unique weapons include the Q-35 Matter Modulator plasma rifle and the Smitty Special plasma caster. As is typical, they do heavy damage per shot, but take a while to cycle shots and are not insta-hit/quick-traveling projectiles.
  • Playing Card Motifs: One of the promotional items that shipped with the Collector's Edition of the game was a deck of cards, which assigned each suit to a major in-game faction/ending and each card to a character or minor faction, with each suit's king being that faction's leader. Clubs are reserved for Caesar and the Legion, diamonds represent House and the Strip, hearts are the NCR, and spades the rest of New Vegas.
  • Plotline Death:
    • Companions can only be knocked unconscious in Casual mode, with two exceptions: Jean-Baptiste Cutting blasting Cass with his laser rifle if the player complies with the Van Graffs' orders in "Birds of a Feather", and locking your human companion in a freezer to be fed to the White Glove Society in "Beyond the Beef".
    • In the Honest Hearts DLC, the members of the Caravan you take to Zion will always die in the White Legs ambush, as one of the attackers is invincible until the whole caravan is dead.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: Normally played straight, but averted in Hardcore mode - going too long without sleep (or food or drink, for that matter) will increasingly weaken your character, and ultimately kill them if allowed to get bad enough.
  • Poe's Law: A funny situation with Legate Lanius appears during the final battle at Hoover Dam. If you choose the speech options and continue talking to Lanius, you spin the incompetence of the NCR around and make it seem wholly deliberate. Because Oliver is such a terrible leader and leaves a massive gap in the supply line; you can actively convince Lanius that this is not an accident. It's such an egregious fault on the part of the NCR that Lanius ends up believing that there is no way this isn't some sort of trap.
  • Poisoned Weapon: A Courier with a decent survival skill is able to concoct poisons of varying lethality, then apply them to melee weapons. It's more of Awesome, but Impractical as the poison is removed after one strike, but it's worth it to stealthily toss a throwing knife at a deathclaw and watch its health bar drain completely.
  • Point of No Return:
    • Once you choose to undertake the attack on the Hoover Dam mission, there's no turning back, though the game does at least warn you about this, unlike the corresponding situation in Fallout 3. However unlike Fallout 3 there are four ending paths to New Vegas and each ending montage varies greatly depending on your actions throughout the game. Trying to program a Playable Epilogue that takes all of these factors into account would be an entire game in itself.
    • There's also a lesser Point of No Return in the form of which faction quest you choose to pursue. There's a lockout point in each questline which alienates you from the other three. The only two questlines that can be played concurrently are Yes Man and Mr. House, since the objectives involved are mostly the same up until near the end, where you still have to choose one prior to the final mission.
      • Yes Man is the only one you can never alienate, and if killed he will just respawn in another Securitron. This is to make certain that the player cannot render the game unwinnable.
    • The Dead Money DLC is covered in this. Firstly, once you activate the campaign by approaching the radio, you cannot go back to the Mojave Wasteland as Elijah has a explosive collar on you and he can blow it up at any time if you don't cooperate, so make sure your level, skills, and perks are in order because you're stuck with your character as is. Once you complete the Dead Money DLC, you may stay as long as you like, but you can't return to the Sierra Madre casino once you do leave so it might be worth going back and getting everything you want.
    • The next two DLCs, Honest Hearts and Old World Blues also don't allow you to go back to the Mojave until you finish their main quests, but differ from Dead Money as you can return to the area of those DLCs whenever you want after you've completed them. It's somewhat justified in Old World Blues, as the Deflector Shields around Big MT are impeding everyone inside from leaving, but in Honest Hearts the excuse for it (you don't have a map to know the path to go back) is a small plot hole, as the main reason the caravan hired you was because of your Pip-Boy (which has maps on it).
      • The last DLC, Lonesome Road, averts this as you can leave the Divide at any point. This is actually a plot point that the Arc Villain comments on, that you could have left any time but chose to stay.
    • One exists In-Universe and is mentioned by Ulysses. He describes the Big Empty as being so remote in the desert that there is no turning back. Once you're on the way to the Big Empty by foot, you come across a point where you have to reach it or you'll die of thirst or exposure.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Caesar's Legion makes no pretense about it: they think women are inferior to men physically and mentally, and should Stay in the Kitchen. Also, they think of Ghouls and Super Mutants as nothing more than savage beasts, even though the majority of them actually aren't so bad. Just one more reason to remember they represent sociological regression, not progress. This is arguably part of the idea, though. Caesar is trying to turn back the clock, and values have to come with that package.
  • Poor Communication Kills: According to Boone, this was a major cause of the massacre at Bitter Springs. NCR soldiers were sent to attack what was believed to be a camp of Great Khan raiders. When they got there, they found the camp populated mainly by women and children. The soldiers radioed their commanding officer about the situation, but seemingly they did not manage to communicate it properly, and only answer they received was an order to keep attacking. So they did, massacring helpless civilians and everyone involved has been regretting that decision ever since.
  • Post Apocalyptic Gasmask: In the first DLC, "Dead Money", the main enemies are the former inhabitants of the casino, heavily mutated and still wearing their (presumably ineffective) gas masks and hazmat suits.
  • Power Fist:
    • The Power Fist makes a comeback, but the big daddy of them in the game is the Ballistic Fist: a glove with a shotgun attached to it which triggers on contact. Awesome.
    • Power Fists and other brawling weapons are Veronica's Weapon of Choice.
  • Power Perversion Potential: A memo describing a shipment of Stealth Boys with some missing is followed by another memo alluding to regulations regarding sexual harassment and the unauthorized use of military hardware.
  • Power-Up Letdown: Wouldn't be a Fallout game with a couple useless perks. The usual toppers of the list are In Shining Armor (bugged and doesn't work), Junk Rounds (crafting formula is incredibly inefficient and unfavorable), either of the XP-boosters (you don't need them to hit the level cap pretty easily), and Elijah's Last Words (Veronica doesn't use melee weapons).
  • Praetorian Guard:
    • Caesar's personal guards; they are even called that in the game.
    • The Centurions, Caesar's elite, wear armor made from pieces scavenged from defeated enemies. This armor includes pieces scavenged off of Brotherhood soldiers and Super Mutants. Badass Army indeed...
    • The Veteran Rangers serve in this capacity for President Kimball and General Oliver.
  • The Prankster: Private Davey Crenshaw
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • This exchange:
      Benny: The cleaners will knock twice. Tell them to be thorough.
      The Courier: Yeah, it's a real mess here - four bodies.
      Benny: ...what the fuck!?
    • Also:
      Benny: Don't do that, baby. Not crucifixion. I could be up there for days with those twisted creeps laughing and pointing.
      The Courier: Pass the time thinking over your mistakes.
      Benny: You sick, vindictive fuck!
    • Let President Kimball finish his speech at Hoover Dam for a classic Is This Thing Still On? Moment.
  • Prepare to Die: Done as a joke by Caesar, of all people. After either recovering the Platinum Chip from Benny or being duped and having him run off with it, you will receive an invitation to meet Caesar in person. It's quite possible that you will have made his life difficult in any number of ways before this, from digging out his moles to slaughtering his garrisons. He will ask you why, despite all this, you still chose to accept the offer to meet him in person. The conversation proceeds like this:
    Courier: You guaranteed my safety.
    Caesar: And you fell for that? Really? Because I'm going to have you killed now.
    Caesar: ... relax, I'm fucking with you.
  • Press Start to Game Over: Once you start out in Goodsprings, try heading directly north to New Vegas through clearly marked deathclaw infested territory. See how far it gets you.
    • As he warns you, refusing to obey Father Elijah in the opening dialogue of Dead Money will also have predictable results.
  • Press X to Die: In Dead Money, the player is warned beforehand that the terminal inside the Sierra Madre Vault offers the option to apparently access Sinclair's secret notes, but this option is actually a trap meant specifically to ensnare Sinclair's old rival, Dean Domino, and choosing it will lock whoever picked the option inside the Vault forever. The player can still go ahead and pick the option anyway, but it triggers a Non-Standard Game Over wherein the Courier starves to death inside the Vault and their likeness becomes a hologram in the Madre.
  • Promotion, Not Punishment: Vulpes Inculta has this as part of his backstory. During a skirmish between Caesar's Legion and a hostile tribe, Vulpes broke ranks and led a charge through a hole in the tribe's defences, captured the tribe's chieftain and forced the rest of the tribe into surrender. Vulpes' Centurion petitioned Caesar for the right to execute him for disobeying orders, but Caesar recognised Vulpes' cunning and tactical knowledge and instead had him transferred into the Frumentarii, the Legion's network of spies.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Mr. House believes that it is only a matter of time before the NCR betrays him and use military force to annex New Vegas. The NCR on the other hand thinks that Mr. House will use his robot army to betray the Republic and drive them out of the region after they defeat the Legion at Hoover Dam. They were both correct.
    • In this case it was a self-fulfilling prophecy since both side's mutual paranoia is what led to the events that led to them betraying each other.
    • His half-brother Anthony was improperly paranoid about a lot of things (like germs, foreigners, and people trying to steal his "thought energy"), but he was bang on the money in thinking that RobCo was trying to drive him out of business. It was...because it was secretly controlled by Mr. House, who was looking for revenge for Anthony stealing their father's company from him.
    • One of the Vaults has its citizens sectioned off into "red" and "blue" factions and is filled with HAL-9000-looking security cameras. Most of their journal entries display paranoia towards the people on the other side, but one person believes that the entire Vault is part of a psychological experiment, and they've all been drugged to forget that they used to be patients in a mental institution. He's right about the experiment, but it's using paranoia inducing methods and fake medical reports, not drugs.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: The holograms in Dead Money will do this before attacking.
  • Psycho for Hire: Jean-Baptiste Cutting.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: If you read the fluff text in the back of the collectors edition guide, it's revealed that Caesar is pretty much this. He also has a pretty impressive moment if you bluntly refuse to serve him.
  • Punched Across the Room: If you have high enough Unarmed skill, this can be one of the death animations. Veronica frequently does it as well. If you're using the Power Fist or Ballistic Fist, this will happen to everything you punch to death. The Greased Lighting from the GRA DLC, with its boosted attack speed, will frequently uppercut enemies into the air.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: It seems every Vault Overseer loyally went ahead with their experiment protocols, despite knowing full well that the world had ended and they were on their own, even in cases where it should have been obvious to anyone with any common sense that the experiment would not only kill the Vault inhabitants, but likely result in the Overseer's own death as well.
    • For Vault 34 though this is the case of the inherent flaw (there were just too many guns around and the vault was overpopulated), and even when the Overseer has no interest in the vault experiments, not much could be done. It was probably designed to be a power keg waiting to blow.
  • Pyromaniac: Cook-Cook, one of the Fiend Bosses, loves burning things. And brahmin. And people.

  • Quality Vs Quantity:
    • The Brotherhood of Steel is mostly using the Quality, with the best energy weapons available in the Wastelands, power armors, and intense military training.
    • Caesar's Legion is relying on massive, organized assaults, even if they do have some special units.
    • Subverted with the NCR, who actually use both. Even if their troopers are mostly making use of their massive numbers and weapons, they have different elite groups, like the Rangers, who are renowned for their tactics, training and/or equipment.
  • The Quisling:
    • Papa Khan to the Legion. You can show him how that's a bad idea.
    • Regis as well, if you think about it. He takes leadership of the Khans if you assassinate Papa, agrees to a truce with the hated NCR and aids them against the Legion.
  • Ragnarök Proofing:
    • An integral part of the Fallout universe, but the example that truly shines is the Lady. This universe's WWII-era engineers must have been remarkable, since a B-29 can sit on the bottom of Lake Mead for 300 years and not only be raised intact, but made to fly again by repairing her with spare parts from a museum piece.
      • A B-29 really did crash into Lake Mead on July 21, 1948, and according to reports it's still mostly intact. There are numerous wrecks at the bottom of freshwater lakes and some rivers, and due to low corrosion and few animals living that deep they do tend to remain in fairly good shape, although the in-game B-29 is still in far better shape after 300 years than the real one was after only 50. It's also worth noting that Courier just needed a "rebreather" mask to reach The Lady. The real plane was only reached by SCUBA divers.
    • Averted with most other Pre-War stuff left behind in the wasteland, which are either so decayed they're useless or on the verge of breaking down entirely. With the exception of those still being maintained, like the Las Vegas Monorail, most tech (including firearms) is by this point produced long after War ended. Even household appliances that are seemingly intact are no longer functional.
    • It is also lampshaded by the Enclave Remnants, who are a bit surprised to find that their bunker is still in more or less good condition and not caving in after years of neglect. This is further demonstrated by how their power armor has far less durability than the armor used by the Brotherhood, presumably to show the effects of lying in storage for decades instead of being regularly used and maintained.
  • Raiders of the Lost Parody: With Wild Wasteland, you can find a skeleton with a brown fedora in a refrigerator just outside Goodsprings, in a Take That! to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • Railroading: The game is noticeably more plot-driven than Fallout 1, 2 or 3, and gameplay progression follows this. Getting to New Vegas from Goodsprings either requires you to brave a Beef Gate of Deathclaws or follow the counter-clockwise road through Primm, Nipton, Novac, and then Freeside before reaching The Strip. The questlines for Mr. House, the NCR and Caesar each lock you out of the other two when you get to a certain point in one, forcing you to either see your chosen faction through to victory or jump ship to the Wild Card route. There are also many fewer optional areas compared to Fallout 3, and a lot of the locations in the game are either bases of the three major factions, locations relevant to their questlines such as a secondary faction, or a location relevant to a secondary faction's questline, so it's hard to just go off exploring without the plot jumping in again.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • Corporal Betsy. Unlike usual for this trope, nobody tiptoes around what happened, except possibly Betsy herself, and she does it through pure macho bluster.
    • Cook-Cook is a notorious rapist, so much so that a male bounty hunter and even a lot of NCR soldiers are afraid of him. Killing him will earn you the thanks of some of his victims, some of which only regret that they weren't there to see him die.
    • Siri, a slave in the Fort, implies that this is the lot of almost every woman under the Legion. And if you play a female Courier, that some legionaries plan on doing it to you.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The Greased Lightning power fist from the Gun Runners' Arsenal DLC has a ridiculous attack rate at the cost of reduced damage. With the right perks, you can hit roughly three times per second.
  • Rare Candy: Magazines temporarily increase your skills by 10 points, while Skill Books permanently increase a given stat by 3. The Comprehension perk doubles magazines' boost and gives an extra point with skill books.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Hardcore Mode, which requires you to eat, drink, and sleep regularly, and keep track of your ammo and money's weights. Crippled Limbs must be healed by either a trip to the doctor or using a Doctor's Bag or Hydra item rather than just pumping stimpacks into it, and companion deaths are permanent.
    • The NCR and the First Battle of Hoover Dam served as a reality check for the Legion. Conquering a bunch of disorganized tribes one by one is quite different from trying to take on an actual country that has a (comparatively) well-trained and well-equipped professional army. Also, human wave tactics worked very well in the past against tribals who focus on close combat, but against people with access to semi-automatic firearms and explosives, not so much.
    • The Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel got a similar lesson during the battle for the HELIOS One Solar Power Plant. The NCR was able to wipe out most of their forces simply because they had the ability to trade blows and replace lost manpower, while the technologically superior, but far smaller, Brotherhood could not. The fact that the Brotherhood's Elder and commander was a scientist who had no knowledge of military tactics, and a personality that made him completely unfit for command certainly did not help.
    • With the Wild Wasteland trait, you will get attacked by murderous grannies wielding rolling pins coming straight from a Monty Python sketch at one point. They last roughly as long as you'd expect violent grannies with improvised weapons would when attacking (without provocation even) a wastelander with a body count numbering in the hundreds wielding anything from a Boring, but Practical Handgun or combat knife to a Gatling Good or Frickin' Laser Beams whom Would Harm a Senior (even if only in self-defense) and probably is a Combat Pragmatist to boot.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Old World Blues starts off with a conversation between the various different members of the Think Tank, but due to engine limitations you can only face and speak to Klein. All other characters are voiced through his model too, it is hand-waved as him using a "conference call" function. At the end of the conversation, Dr O asks if they're allowed to move again since his biogel is starting to "crampagulate", pointing out how the engine makes everything except the person you talk to freeze up.
  • Real Is Brown: New Vegas plays around with this; there's a surprising amount of color in the Mojave Wasteland, especially New Vegas itself but as you approach Camp Forlorn Hope the color is leached out of the setting, making everything appear in shades of dull brown and grey. As you complete quests to restore hope to the place, the colors fade back in.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Paladin Ramos. When two initiates under his protection went hunting without authorisation he watched them on remote monitors the whole time and was ready to intervene if things got too nasty, but didn't because they made it out intact.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: For her war crimes at Bitter Springs, Major Gilles was demoted to Captain and shunted off to a desk job in the middle of nowhere. It also overlaps with The Atoner, as her posting is as commander of the Bitter Springs Refugee Camp.
  • Reconstruction: The game reconstructs the idea of Vendor Trash. Fallout has always had useless items with no purpose but to be sold for a few pennies, but this game's wide variety of crafting options makes it more beneficial than ever to hoard them. Not to sell them, though, but because eventually you can use crafting to turn those useless items in something practical. The DLCs particularly rely on the player collecting crafting agents due to limited resources in the DLC areas; Old World Blues lets you collect scrap appliances, old clipboards and books, and useless plant matter, among other items, in order to break them down and reconstitute them as things that you can get more use out of.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!:
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Caesar's Legion wears red and black uniforms, and are arguably the most evil of the four main factions you can join in the game.
  • Red Herring: A number of computer terminals give the option of "Lucky 38 Executive Override", but performing the operation does nothing and no other part of the game ever references it. According to the Word of God, this was originally part of the quest, "The Moon Comes Over The Tower", but was cut.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • For the NCR, Colonels Cassandra Moore and James Hsu are red and blue, respectively. For example, Colonel Hsu prefers to resolve the problem with the Kings peacefully by providing them supplies, while Colonel Moore would rather kill them all.
    • In Honest Hearts, Daniel is the blue while Joshua Graham is the red.
    • Veronica calls attention to this between the Followers of the Apocalypse and the Brotherhood of Steel, though it can be difficult to tell which is red and which blue. The Followers have a good cause but a woeful lack of resources, while the Brotherhood is practically second only to the Enclave in resources, but lacks any legitimately good cause.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Frederick Sinclair commissioned and underwrote the invention of Matter Replicator he could build "self-sufficient" vending machines for his casino.
  • Refuge in Audacity: You, Boone, and ED-E storming Caesar's fort and killing everyone inside, Caesar included. Boone even comments on it. Lampshaded by Mr. New Vegas later, though he was rather surprised on how the assassins evaded heavy security, even though the truth is you just storm your way in, killing anyone that gets in the way.
  • Regenerating Health:
    • You can regain health if you just wait around via in-game time or using the Wait command. At Endurance >= 9, you heal .66 HP every hour, Endurance 6-8 has you heal .33 every hour, and Endurance 5 or less means this variant of this trope is not in effect.
    • There are several Perks and implants available to more or less slowly regenerate health over time. The Solar Powered perk, which lets you regenerate health in sunlight, returns from Fallout 3, and it also has the Monocyte Breeder implant, which slowly regenerates health over time (including time spent sleeping and waiting).
  • Regional Redecoration: Over the course of the Courier's travels through the Divide in the Lonesome Road DLC, in order to move forward they launch a nuke and inadvertently create a mile-wide crater Ulysses refers to as the "Courier's Mile".
  • The Remnant: The remnants of the Master's Super Mutant army, which has split into the State of Utobitha and Jacobstown. In addition to them, there is the Enclave remnant, composed of the scattered handful of remaining members. Play your cards right, and you can get them back together and fighting with you. The Brotherhood of Steel chapter you find hiding in Nevada is also a Remnant and a shadow of their former power.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: The "Thought You Died" perk from Lonesome Road.
    • Many NPCs in the main game will make comments about how they'd heard you'd been shot in the head (which is, admittedly true) and assumed you'd died (which is not).
  • Repressive, but Efficient:
    • Life under the iron rule of Caesar's Legion is brutally harsh and rife with slavery and rape, where women are chattel, the infirm are to be disposed of and mutants exterminated, but even Cass admits (however grudgingly) that Legion trade caravans are the safest out there: not even the craziest raiders want to make an enemy of the Legion. Raul spent some time living in Arizona before the Legion conquered it, and while he's completely honest about the fact the Legion are a bunch of ruthless tyrants, it's still a huge step above a lawless hellhole where raiders prey on the vulnerable with impunity.
    • The Las Vegas Strip under Mr. House is the closest the Mojave has to a utopia: clean streets managed by an incorruptible robot police force, food and clean water in abundance, electricity, total safety from criminals and raiders. The city belongs to Mr. House outright however, he believes democracy to be a patently ridiculous form of government, and any citizen who threatens his power (knowingly or not) is swiftly removed, and he cares little for anyone outside the Strip's walls.
  • Retcon: Used to explain the significant departure from the plasma rifle as seen in previous games to Fallout 3. The classic Plasma Rifle is now the "Plasma Caster," while the new truly rifle-shaped plasma rifle is a format encouraged by a Colonel Moretti. You see the name turn up on the "Future Weapons Today" cover on a loading screen: "Colonel Moretti slams the venerable P-94!" And in several terminals in the Repconn HQ you find a weapons project that was authorized by the same Colonel Moretti and resulted in the Q-35 Matter Modulator, which appears to be the first functional prototype iteration of the Plasma Rifle as seen in Fallout 3 and as a low-mid tier energy weapon in New Vegas. The explanation for why it shows up on the east coast is easy: The Enclave refined it to field-deployable status it and produced it over there. The reason for its appearance on the West Coast since Fallout 2 could be explained by the Van Graffs or other energy weapon manufacturers salvaging the field-ready plasma rifle design from ruined Enclave bases.
  • Retired Badass: You can recruit a squad of them to aid you in the final battle. They're ex-Enclave, so they're also Retired Employees of a Complete Monster.
  • Retired Badass Roundup: The entirety of the quest "For Auld Lang Syne."
  • Retro Universe:
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: When an old cowboy-style revolver badly outclasses a plasma pistol that was cutting edge before the Great War, you know this trope is in effect.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The Mayor of Nipton. According to Vulpes, he really had it coming; if you read his personal terminal, it turns out Vulpes was right.
  • "Ride of the Valkyries": Plays during the launch at the end of "Come Fly With Me", though not as part of the game's soundtrack. It plays through speakers in the REPCONN Test Labs, implying that the employees decided that, if they're going to shoot off some rockets, they had better play some appropriate music.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Courier, if they so choose, and Boone, in two of his endings. Ulysses, as well, though most of it occurs off-screen.
  • Robot Buddy:
    • ED-E. Flies, allows you to spot enemies from really far away... And kick some ass with his laser while playing a bugle sound.
    • Invoked with the MkII Stealth Suit's AI from Old World Blues, a slavishly loyal and eager to please Robot Girl, who whines when you put her away and sadly asks "Will you love me if I help you hide?" when you put her on. She also feeds you Stimpaks and Med-X when you're hurt. From the same add-on is the K9000 Cyberdog gun, a dog's Brain in a Jar on a triple-barreled machine gun firing .357 Magnum, which growls when it detects enemies and whines when you put it away, and can be upgraded to the .44 Magnum "FIDO".
    • The appliances in the Big MT "Sink" facility can all speak and offer useful services, at least once you find their personality backups.
  • Robosexual:
    F.I.S.T.O.: FISTO reporting for duty. Please assume the position.
  • Robosexuals Are Creeps: James Garret, a casino and brothel owner who hires the Player Character to recruit new staff for him, claims that some "disgusting robot fetishists" have been pushing him to add a sexbot to his roster, and that he wouldn't normally anything to do with such things. He is very obvious protesting too much. If you do manage to find and recruit one for him, he is stoked to see how it works, and forgets to hold up the "for those weirdo clients" pretence.
  • Rock Beats Laser: a rebar club, with a concrete-based head, is more powerful and has a higher monetary value than a self-recharging laser rifle.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Caesar's Legion (Romanticism) versus NCR (Enlightenment).
  • Rousseau Was Right: Vault 11. The mainframe requires one resident to sacrifice themselves each year, or all life support will be turned off, dooming the others. As it turns out, given the nature of vaults and their designers, it's almost certain Vault 11 was simply a social experiment. The designers added the option that once the residents refused to play along, they would be congratulated for their conscience and the vault would be opened. The population kept on sacrificing each other for years, especially as the politicking to choose the leader/sacrifice made the voting blocs powerful, until (after the sacrifices were made random and a civil war between power blocs broke out) only a handful were left and they decided to just have the Vault kill them. Most committed suicide at the (now open) Vault door when they realized what they had done... except one, who escaped into the wastelands.
  • Rule of Three: Barring a Yes-Man supported Courier, there are three major power blocs in the Mojave — the NCR, the Legion, and Mr. House. Within House's sphere of influence, there are three families that run casinos on the strip (the Chairmen at The Tops, the Omertas of Gomorrah, and the White Glove Society at the Ultra-Luxe).


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