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Fridge Brilliance:

  • A small one but in previous games without a very special perk blood packs were nearly useless. In this game they restore a solid chunk of health in one go making that really, really useful. Why? Because Fallout 4's protagonist is from before the war, they actually know how transfusions work and can perform a crude one effectively - unlike previous games, where it's pretty much guaranteed your character was just drinking it, knowing no other options. This is further explained by a rustling crumpling sound heard when you consume a blood pack, while older games had a gulping sound. Instead of drinking the blood, you are squeezing it into a capillary.
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  • In Fallout 3, you get an achievement named "The Bigger They Are..." for killing all five Super Mutant Behemoths in the Capital Wasteland. In Fallout 4, you get an achievement named "...The Harder They Fall" for killing five giant creatures in the Commonwealth. Bethesda waited seven years to execute this.
  • In the initial trailer, it's seen Mr. 111 has the Charisma Bobblehead in his home. Of course he would have that one; as the first voiced Fallout protagonist, he surely is more charismatic than the previous PCs.
  • In the prologue during the character creation part there's a song playing in the background. The song is "It's All Over But the Crying" by the Ink Spots. An interesting bit of foreshadowing.
  • Virgil's already made it clear that he's using the Glowing Sea's radiation to hide, but there's another reason he's doing so well keeping hidden. If you look on the Pip-Boy, his location is outside the dotted line. He is LITERALLY off the map. Goes even further if you take the gridlines on the map into account. Not only is he literally off the map, he's literally off the grid as well.
  • Nuka-Cola Rocket Bottles.
  • The opening newscast specifically mentions nuclear detonations taking place in New York and Pennsylvania. New York is an obvious target for the bombings, but Pennsylvania has particular significance to Fallout fans: it contains Pittsburgh - eventually, The Pitt. Though it's far more likely Philadelphia was hit, as the Pitt is relatively untouched.
    • Alternatively, given the Fallout timeline's branch from our own, Pittsburgh makes a very reasonable target as it was a major center of steel production for quite some time. A near-hit would provide a plausible (at least in-universe) reason for the Pitt's conditions.
  • The new, broader and far more extensive crafting options exist because this protagonist actually went through a classical education. Even the implied military background allows for several technical degrees and experience setting up electricity and basic living in the wilderness, which is sure to come in handy in the new level editor.
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  • Fallout 3 began in Vault 101; Fallout 4 begins in Vault 111. Counting all the "main" games, Fallout 3 was the fifth game in the series; Fallout 4 is the seventh. The number "5" expressed in binary is "101". And the number "7" in binary is—you guessed it—"111."
  • Nuclear Family:
    • No matter how you play your character, they will always start the game married to a member of the opposite sex, and with their biological child. Sounds like you could call them a nuclear family, huh?
    • It's also the name of the quest where you side with Shaun and the Institute.
    • How does one set off a nuclear explosion? You split the atom. The game literally involves a nuclear family being split apart.
  • Elder Maxson and the Brotherhood
    • Elder Maxson reverting the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel back from Elder Lyons' changes takes even more significance when one recalls how he's mentioned in Fallout 3 as being the last descendant of the Maxson line, going back to the original founder of the Brotherhood. It'd make sense that he'd rather live up to the esteemed example of his forefathers rather than live in Lyons' shadow.
    • Likewise, he may have reverted to the Brotherhood's traditional ideals to reunite it with the Brotherhood Outcasts or to rebuild the organization as it was once he hears how the West Coast Branch is all but destroyed.
    • Terminals in 3 show he idolized Sarah Lyons. Considering how the East Coast Brotherhood is said to have suffered through multiple ineffective elders the notion that after he lost his mentor/caretaker figure while he was still in his teens at the latest (and presumably not old enough to fully internalize the Lyons' particular ruling philosophy), and then having her successors fail the Brotherhood, it makes sense he became the hardliner he is today.
      • Considering Sarah Lyons was much more confident and aggressive than her father was - it's probably one of the reasons young Maxson idolized her.
    • Elder Maxson's Fantastic Racism makes a lot of sense if you remember he grew up in the Capital Wasteland. The place was crawling with Feral Ghouls and psychotic Super Mutants that had no redeeming qualities (Fawkes aside). It's no wonder he thinks they're all monsters.
  • The protagonist often speaks in short sentences, doesn't really go into detail about things, and has a somewhat Off-Model reaction to events. While you can blame lousy animations for the latter, it's also possible they're a Shell-Shocked Veteran given the events of either the Great War, the prologue, or both.
  • The Minutemen:
    • One encounter with a Minutemen grunt leader sheds a lot of light into the Minutemen's inner command structure, or rather lack thereof. While on a mission to recruit a scientist for the Institute, you discover that the target has called the Minutemen for help, and a Minutemen squad has already surrounded the location. Being General (read: supreme leader) of the Minutemen, you'd expect when you give them an order to stand down, they will (even if begrudgingly) comply. Instead, the grunt leader greets you along the lines of 'Oh good, you're here. Could use some backup.', and when you do give the stand down order, he snaps at you that this is not the military, and he does not have to take any orders from you. While this might be a particularly insubordinate squad, it nonetheless is worrying that the Minutemen actually do not have anything resembling a command structure, even unofficial ones based on respect, reputation or badassery. You realize that what you're in charge of is not the beginnings of a regional government; it's a loose collection of gung-ho vigilante men who defer only to their own judgment regarding which battles to fight, who to help, and what conduct is befitting of a member. Suddenly the downfall of the previous Minutemen organization makes a lot more sense - without any semblance of a Code or organizational rules, it is only natural that there is no true succession protocol, or central directive for continuance of duty, for General Becker's death. That being clear, it's almost inevitable that they descended to power struggles and infighting once Becker died.
    • Further to that point, it leads to Fridge Horror when you realize that the same gaping weakness is still there, and considering how said grunt leader treats you, you don't seem to command enough authority to even rectify that. If anything, rather than being supreme leader, your actual job seems to be more along the lines of top enforcer for the Minutemen. Preston, your apparent second-in-command, has access to information regarding settlement distress signals you simply do not have, and judging from the way settlers warmly approach him and conveniently ignore you, he is the far more prominent and respected leader. Aside from Deacon (who after all gathers intelligence for a living), no one seem to be aware that you're the leader of the Minutemen: the city guards do not mention it, and settlers ask if 'the Minutemen sent you' when you arrive at a settlement for help. At best, it implies the conclusion above - that you're a weak leader and would not be able to reform the Minutemen into a more effective organization. At worst, it implies that Preston is the éminence grise and the true authority behind the Minutemen, and sooner or later there will be disputes of power between you and your (apparent) friend.
    • The whole situation leads to interesting speculations about the character of Preston himself. He could be simply getting more respect as the sole surviving member of the previous incarnation of the Minutemen, and doing a poor job at imbuing you with enough authority, such as failing to make it prominent knowledge that you're the true leader of the Minutemen. But if his 'poor job' is in any case deliberate....
    • The way the Minutemen act in-game is EXACTLY how real-world Colonial/Revolutionary militias were organized, comported themselves, and acted to outsiders, both to other militias and to civilians. They were localized rapid-response forces, and were NOT considered to be part of the "regular" military (Which is one reason Line Infantry were called "Regulars"). They elected their own officers (and often voted them right out if they tried to force the militiamen to do something they didn't want to do), came up with their own rules and such, and often, completely ignored the commands of higher officers, up to and including desertion (often when it was harvesting season). In many cases, Colonial militiamen (of which "The Minutemen" were only a part), considered themselves civilians. While they might "respect you" as the overall leader of the Minutemen, you aren't their elected officer, and really, can't really tell them what to do (remember, they don't consider themselves a military force, so the chain of command above "the guy we elected as our immediate superior" doesn't apply). And, besides, what exactly are you going to do when they ignore you? Attack them? Then the other Minutemen militias will pull support from you.
    • It can also be contributed to task delegation within their structure. Preston can be the one handling communications for the group with the minor issues of bloat-fly infestations going to regular squads while taking serious distress calls to their most capable soldier, you. Since they are in the process of rebuilding, the General would have to be out in the field fighting still until they can rebuild their numbers. It's likely they're forgoing intensive and formal regards to the overall command structure for what is a dire situation.
    • Preston is pretty much your Adjutant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjutant), and, likely, is the Executive Officer of the Minutemen as a whole (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_officer#United_States_Army), which leaves him with a large amount of "control" over the various Minutemen militias, and leaves you to focus on the "important" things. It wouldn't be much of a game if you had to sit at a desk in the Castle 24/7, reading reports and listening to Minuteman company Colonels (which appear to be the commanders of Militias [Colonel Hollis, etc], and in and of itself is a reference to Colonial-era Militias) bitch to each other, would it?
    • The Minutemen (like their Colonial predecessors) were never meant to be the nucleus of a NCR-like polity by themselves, something that Preston's implicitly aware of. Rather, it's through their partnerships with the settlements under their control/protection that the seeds of a regional government could emerge. It's more likely that the Minutemen (especially under the Survivor's guidance) would wind up increasingly formalized into a military force as an actual government takes form much like how the old Colonial militias formed the foundations for the US Army. Which is further helped alone by the fact that the Survivor would have actual experience serving in the military or government in some fashion.
    • It's also worth noting that within the span of time represented by the game, you've mostly likely only been around for a few months at most, you're likely doing things other than devoting yourself wholeheartedly to getting to know the Minutemen every second of every day, and word doesn't exactly seem to spread fast to begin with in the Commonwealth, particularly around the scattered and widespread settlements where you do most of your Minutemen business to begin with. It's not just disrespect of the chain of command that's going on here or Preston's manipulations; title or not, they literally know who he is and don't know who you are. If George Washington had shown up out of nowhere a few months into the Revolutionary War and suddenly been promoted from nobody to commander-in-chief, he'd have probably had some initial trouble getting people to remember him and take him seriously as well. Give it some time, in other words.
    • The settlement building you have to do, including the planting of crops, building of water pumps, setup of electric power sources and setting up defenses, is actually a modern day equivalent of what George Washington had to do in the early days of the Continental Army. He couldn't act like a normal general and focus on the strategy to win the war, he had to teach his army to solve basic problems such as proper formations, basic musket drills, basic fieldcraft such as how to forage for food, how to live off the land, how to scavenge fresh water, where to dig latrine trenches, how to setup and operate an encampment, how to keep units supplied etc. Similarly, the Sole Survivor must also do these basic tasks for the Minutemen because they just don't know how to do it themselves. Being the only one in their ranks that grew up in an industrialized society, rather than a hunter gatherer society just starting the transition into subsistence agriculture definitely helps.
    • Notics the stat bonuses you get from wearing the Minutemen General’s uniform and painting your Powered Armor in Minuteman colors - it increases your Charisma, thereby making it easier for you to convince others to come around to your point of view. The Minutemen don’t want an autocrat who must be obeyed without question - they want a leader who is willing to talk things out and inspire them. Even West Point has long taught that an inspirational leader gets better results than The Neidermeyer. The Minutemen take this to heart.
  • To follow up on the Minutemen, how about their signature weapon? Many have complained about the odd nature of the Laser Musket and its distinct single-shot-reload nature in a setting where even homebrew pipe guns have magazines. Thing is, it's right in the name: it's a Laser Musket. Quite appropriate for the faction drawing from the American Revolutionary period; it feels a weapon made by a ragtag bunch who reverse-engineered it from proper surviving laser rifles, and even sounds like a black powder musket when fired.
    • There's likely another reason: Considering how the Laser Musket can actually become an Infinity-1 Sword with the right perks and clever tactics, it's possible the Minutemen are deliberately trying to limit themselves to Laser Muskets since they want to enforce Had To Be Sharp amongst their soldiers for survival in the Commonwealth.
    • The Laser Musket was originally planned to have infinite ammo, before being changed to using fusion cells (presumably for balance reasons) some time before release; this is borne out by the weapon using a sort of hand-cranked generator arrangement and having no visible place to stick a fusion cell. Given the Scavenger World nature of the Fallout universe and the relative scarcity of fusion cells in particular, it actually makes perfect sense for a decentralized organization of deep-ranging militiamen to equip their soldiers with weapons that don't depend on secure ammunition supply lines. That there happened to be plenty of old, worn-out AER9 laser rifles lying around to be salvaged (they were among the most common weapons in prewar America, and even completely broken ones could still be scrapped for laser musket parts) pushes the laser musket into Boring, but Practical territory.
  • The Brotherhood, Ashur, and the Pitt: There's a retroactive bit of Fridge Brilliance and Foreshadowing for the potential direction within the Lyons Brotherhood of Steel. When Elder Lyons "cleansed" the Pitt, they destroyed most of the inhabitants and accidentally left Ashur behind. Ashur proceeded to enslave the inhabitants and set himself up as King to establish order. In retrospect, Ashur's actions aren't entirely dissimilar to the East Coast Brotherhood's penchant for eradicating mostly evil in territories and then establishing themselves as rulers. Foreshadowing to their xenophobic actions against Ghouls in the Commonwealth can be seen in the fact that Brotherhood of Steel members are not welcome in Underworld because they open fire on-sight on the Ghouls there, even though those Ghouls are far from Feral.
  • In The Pitt Ashur also claimed that the industry of the city is the "envy" of the Commonwealth, a claim which came across as somewhat dubious even at the time. Fast forward ten years and... he had a point. The only functioning significant manufacturing facilities in the Commonwealth are Sargus Ironworks, which is run by psychotic Raiders who mostly use the mill to burn people alive, and the Institute, an isolationist boogeyman which mainly produces killer robots and mediocre guns. The Pitt also explains where the Commonwealth gets its seemingly endless supply of ammunition.
  • Whenever you find a medicine box, chances are it will contain Stimpaks and Purified Water. At first, one would assume that it's so you can clean out a wound before injecting the Stimpak. Fast-forward to when Survival Mode was updated, and Stimpaks now dehydrate you.
  • Socio-Cultural Developments in Pre-War America:
  • The existence of Chameleon Deathclaws seems like just another way to make up for the perceived lacklusterness of Deathclaws in previous 3D games, but they actually make a lot of sense when you delve into their lore: Before both the Great War and being left to evolve in a nuclear Death World unsupervised for over 200 years, Deathclaws were genetically engineered as potential Super Soldiers from a small American lizard by the US Government... specifically, they were engineered from the Jackson Chameleon. No wonder a sub-species would eventually mutate and bring back its ancestral ability to change colors for disguise! Likewise, that Super Soldier origin explains why the Deathclaws can survive crippled limbs, even if that means fighting on after the destruction of the head; it's not a bug in the game mechanics, it's thematically appropriate.
  • Nick Valentine and finding Shaun:
    • Nick Valentine's already strong disdain for the Institute goes even further than being a Flawed Prototype Synth that turned against them. Given that his neural patterns are based on a police officer from Pre-War America and the Institute's aims of erasing all traces of the Pre-War world, it'd make sense that he would take great issue with that as well. As that would also include himself.
    • The fact Nick was a former Institute Synth may also explain why he always helps out the player find their kidnapped son, in spite of having little evidence to go on - he probably knows that Kill and Replace With Synths is practically the Institute's MO, and that, having the mind of Pre-War cop, the idea of kidnapping and enslavement would be one MAJOR Berserk Button for his inner Cowboy Cop.
    • Lawful Good Valentine's name is a Meaningful Name: he's the heart.
  • It seems a little strange that, according to Word of God, Polyamory is in full affect, but this makes a bit more sense when you realize that since the population has obviously taken a massive down drop, people would be fine with doing your, er, "part" to make as many babies as you can. The exception to this, however, is cheating. Presumably, the difference is whether or not a partner has the other's consent. Doubly appropriate given, unlike in previous Fallouts, quite a few of your love interests appear to be friends with one other. Cait even wants to be with Piper if her "too bad we can't make it a threesome" comment is true. The nonromanceable companions tend to be the ones which the others hate. Deacon and Nick might have another reason that they aren't romancable to the Sole Survivor, they are still in mourning towards their loved ones, Deacon with his synth wife and Nick with the memory of the girlfriend of the man his brain is based on. While MacCready is also a widower, he has stated that he has more or less moved on and didn't even want to make a move onto the Sole Survivor because he assumed that they were still mourning over their spouse, something he can relate to.
  • While it might seem initially strange that someone of Russian heritage like Vadim Bobrov would be in the Commonwealth, it makes more sense when one puts into account that he's likely descended from Soviet officials or defectors who were around Boston when the War happened. It helps as well that by 2077, China had since eclipsed the Soviet Union as America's main Communist enemy to the point that the USSR had become something of an American ally. Which also harkens back to the first Fallout, given how one of the lucky ones who made it inside Vault 13 was the Soviet Consul in Los Angeles.
    • Arguably, it is more like the Cold War thinking in the 1960s. Trade and scientific exchange happened, but only with strict supervision and convenient espionage, with the Soviets still being strongly distrusted. While it's likely that the Falloutverse's version of the Soviet Union was seen badly, some Russian people were seen as defectors and got some weak tolerance from US citizens. Or, to put it bluntly: China was the obvious enemy, and Russia was only a bad friend.
  • Cait prefers if you act in a vicious, threatening, and confrontational manner. You get extra points with her if you are also greedy as well with her frequently mentioning she's only in it for the money. However, once you clean her up, her personality does a 180 and she seems to be a mischievous and somewhat friendly girl. This is because she's been on Psycho the entire time you've known her. You've been essentially traveling with someone hopped up on something akin to steroids, meth, and cocaine combined.
  • The fact that the "Lone Wanderer" perk doesn't count Dogmeat as a companion might seems strange, but the Lone wanderer is almost always represented with Dogmeat at their side. So of course a perk that would make you the Lone Wanderer let you keep your dog.
  • Somewhere between this and Fridge Horror: why are the Children of Atom an always-hostile group in the Commonwealth, when they were a cult of decent, harmlessly kooky people in the Capital Wasteland? Well, the increasingly disruptive behaviors of the Children of Atom and their encounters with the Brotherhood of Steel explains it all. After the DC water purifier is operational, an offshoot of the Children of Atom (the "Apostles of the Holy Light") begins to "bless the purified water" with radiation. This kills at least one person in Megaton and likely makes others sick, causing the first bit of tension between the Brotherhood of Steel and the Children of Atom. Since Maxson's Brotherhood merged the ideology of the East and West coast factions the Brotherhood has begun recollecting technology deemed dangerous, such as nuclear warheads. This means the Children would have come into inevitable conflict with the Brotherhood due to them worshiping an undetonated nuclear warhead in the middle of a city, as they deem it a holy object. After all, that is the very sort of dangerous old-world tech that the Brotherhood feels it is morally obligated to confiscate, Additionally, the Children of Atom (like the small band found at Kingsport Lighthouse) have nothing against creating Feral Ghouls, whom the Brotherhood wants to eradicate. It's no wonder, then, that the Children went from peaceful and friendly to hostile towards outsiders after an escalating conflict with the Brotherhood, even as they migrated to the Commonwealth: they're attacking the player character just in case they, like the Brotherhood, are out to cry blasphemy against their faith! Also, the Children are immune to radiation damage and sometimes get ignored by Feral Ghouls by being "part of the pack". That implies they're mutating as a result of all the radiation — which can't be doing anything good to their sanity...
    • Furthermore, there's an important but understated factor here: Unlike many real-world religions like Roman Catholicism, the Children of Atom's religious system is very decentralized, being split up into multiple smaller cells that each have their own specific interpretations of Atom worship. For example, the small group found at Kingsport Lighthouse revere a Glowing One they've trapped there and even feed travelers to it as part of their way of "praising Atom." Meanwhile, the Apostles of the Holy Light down at Springfield in the Capital Wasteland generally put a greater focus on ghoulification and the beneficial changes that Atom's Glow can give a person.
  • A bit of Fridge Heartwarming. Synth Shaun isn't your son but in a way, he is a part of your family. All 3rd generation Synths were made using Shaun's DNA, making them all related to the Sole Survivor. So Synth Shaun might not be the Sole Survivor's son, he is his/her grandson From a Certain Point of View.
  • During the Silver Shroud questline, at the climax in Milton General Hospital, you have to kill Sinjin and try to save Kent Connoly's life. Doing the latter is extremely difficult, but before this encounter, one can stumble across a room with an incredibly rare Syringer Rifle and a chemistry station. The Syringer rifle in general is not a conventional weapon and has very little use in combat outside of support purposes. But if one has the materials ready, they can craft a lock joint syringe, which paralyzes the target for 10 seconds. This is a completely viable way of saving Kent's life without high charisma or obscene Save Scumming. Speaking as the Shroud will terrify the other raiders into fleeing, meaning you only have to take care of Sinjin before he kills Kent. He can't do much if he's paralyzed, though, right?
  • Why did Preston's surviving group from the Quincy Massacre get easily overrun by Feral Ghouls in Lexington? Preston's weapon is the Laser Musket, a weapon that fires a powerful shot, but must be cranked (therefore having a slow rate of fire). Feral Ghouls attack in a Zerg Rush, which makes said Laser Musket a bad idea to fight them as the delay allowed the Ferals to close the gap.
    • This also explains why MacCready lost his wife and couldn’t recover the cure for his son himself - MacCready likes using a Sniper Rifle, which has the same problem as the laser musket - devastating when fired, exceptional for ranged combat, but cursed with a rate of fire too slow to deal with a feral Zerg Rush. And both Med-Tek research and the metro station where he lost his wife were crawling with feral ghouls.
  • Why does the T-60 Power Armor have a really strong resemblance to the earlier T-45? Because it was pretty much an upgrade of the older model, to provide a much more up to date version that was familiar enough to not only those soldiers who actually used them, but also the mechanics who maintain them and the factory workers who manufactured them, yet was significantly superior. We actually saw this in real life with the Patton series tanks of the Cold War.
  • You're not just the Sole Survivor of Vault 111. You're the sole remaining, non-irradiated still embodied citizen of Pre-War America. Until you get to the Institute and meet your son. But once he dies, this becomes true again.
    • Likewise, a male Sole Survivor is the last non-ghoul and non-robotic member of the United States Military. If he helps revive the Minutemen, he continues a legacy and tradition to which he is the direct heir to; from the Colonial Militias, the original Minutemen, the Continental Army and finally the United States Army. "Nate" has the best claim to that legacy and it is quite likely in the Minutemen ending they come full circle as the Minutemen transition eventually to the army of the Commonwealth. Being a Bostonian himself only further cements that legacy.
    • And after the main story is finished, the Sole Survivor is definitely the "sole survivor" of one thing: Their family. After all, their spouse is long dead at Kellogg's hands, Shaun dies of either cancer or your own wrath, and Synth Shaun is arguably not your real son (if anything, he's closer to a distant nephew in the grand scheme of things).
  • Shaun loses hope for the Commonwealth the moment he leaves the Institute while Synth Shaun is actually filled with hope when he sees the Commonwealth. Synth Shaun is supposed to be an exact copy of Shaun at that age, so why is his reaction to the Commonwealth so different? Well, one reason might be because Shaun is an old man and Synth Shaun is still a child. Synth Shaun still has that child-like wonder and innocence while Shaun is an old man who spent his whole life being told the Commonwealth is a horrible place that needs the Institute to lead them. His beliefs are too far ingrained into him that he can't change. Another possible and much more heartwarming reason? Synth Shaun has his father/mother there to protect him from the many horrors of the Commonwealth and therefore, sees the better parts of the Commonwealth.
    • Even beyond any brainwashing, it's a simple matter of perception. Shaun has spent basically his entire life living with the comforts and condition of the Institute. To expect him to have faith in the Commonwealth is like expecting someone who lives in a mansion to have faith in those who live in the ghetto or are simply homeless. If the Sole Survivor was instantly transported to the Institute from Vault 111, s/he would probably have the same view. But the fact that the Sole Survivor is forced to experience the Commonwealth, to interact with the people, and form connections to even get to the Institute, is what alters the character's perception into thinking they're worth saving. Synth Shaun, on the other hand, is just a kid - and like many children, judges people based on more altruistic factors, without any of the biases or prejudices that adults tend to acquire. He's likely more upset about bedtime in the first place, then whether he's sleeping on a brand new bed, or an old ratty mattress laying on the floor.
  • Strong's approval of helping others may not be entirely out of the blue or influenced by Rex Goodman. Gain enough approval and he'll reveal that Super Mutants generally consider everything; property, problems, strength, etc, to be shared among each other so they can all be strong. By accepting some quests such as the Minutemen quests, you are pretty much acting like a Super Mutant in a sense, giving Strong some familiarity. He dislikes you doing quests for non-settlers because usually those are mercenary tasks, where you aren’t sharing with your brood, you are instead taking caps from them and being selfish. Or, you are subjugating yourself to them, by in essence taking orders. You are acting like a follower, not a leader.
    • His other likes and dislikes are all based around perceived strength or weakness respectively. If you use threatening conversation options to get your way, you are displaying dominance. If you charm them or use inquisitive choices, you aren’t being dominant, and are therefore weak. He dislikes you picking locks because he expects you to use your raw strength to just break open doors, trunks, safes etc. He dislikes you hacking computers for the same reason - you are showing that you are too weak to just smash the maglocked door open, or too weak to not take the turrets head on and smash them, or are so weak you needed to activate a robot to help you. Or you were too weak to just smash the terminal and get the information inside it. Getting into power armor also displays weakness - you are indicating that you need the armor as a crutch to help you survive the coming fight. Strong humans should be able to fight and win without armor. The same goes for you upgrading weapons and armor - you are conveying that you are too weak to use them as they currently are. Planting crops is yet another sign of weakness - your settlers should be strong enough to hunt and kill for meat, not stay there and farm. Building structures, building defenses and robots is another sign of weakness in his eyes - if you and your settlers are strong, they shouldn’t need fortifications, turrets or robots to protect them.
  • The voice of the Silver Shroud in the old records of the radio drama is Wes Johnson. Also known as the voice for some of the most memetic law enforcement agents in the world. There's no way that was a coincidence.
  • The Brotherhood and Artillery:
    • It makes sense that a low-tech group like the Minutemen could take down the Brotherhood when you look at how the Brotherhood thinks and acts; as if the only technology that matters (both as an asset and as a threat) is cutting-edge high technology from before the war. The idea of such a low-tech weapon like artillery being such a threat likely never even occurred to them, and so they wouldn't have bothered to provide the Prydwen an adequate defense against it.
    • This is also explained by a doctrinal mistake of the Brotherhood - a preference for close to medium range engagements. The Brotherhood loves its Powered Armor and laser weapons, so they don’t seem to have any snipers or even actual recon scouts. Their “recon squads” still walk around in Powered Armor, therefore reliance on its protection, meant that close range tanking is pretty much the only way they know to fight. Which means that even their approach to defense is to assume close range engagements. The Prydwyn is well fortified, making a direct frontal assault, suicidal. However, lack of preparation for standoff ranged attacks makes them vulnerable to artillery.
    • The Mojave Wasteland chapter had the same problem, losing a whole squad to the Boomers. In fact they have never been shown using artillery, where as the NCR and Caesar's Legion use them as a central part of their battle plan. Neither did the Brotherhood ever consider using aerial units until their battles with the Enclave. Creative Sterility is definitely a thing with them. Veronica had stated this point blank to the Elder in New Vegas. To which he sighed and admitted "I know." Factions like the Minutemen may lack the resources of the BoS but the BoS is so unwilling to innovate they are, in Veronica's words, "Being left behind." Meanwhile members of the West Coast Brotherhood who point this out are threatened with death. It's possible the East Coast Brotherhood is their last chance at halting their own extinction.
  • It might seem odd at first that fusion cores have a limited charge, especially when in older games power armor did not have to worry about remaining charge. Or how unused cores have a charge. However, it soon makes a lot of sense considering the highly corrupt and capitalist society of Pre-War America. Remember that before the war, numerous companies where experimenting life extending techniques. Ranging from cryogenics, mind scanning and copying, and ghoulification, it's clear that humans are going to live longer. This can be a problem for a company that makes fusion cores. Not much money can be made if near immortal humans can have near infinite energy. The solution, purposely make the cores fail after only 200 years. This way, money can still be made despite the longer life spans.
    • It is also implied in the earlier games that Power Armor Cores could last up to a century. It has been over 200 years since the Great War, and what cores you do find (outside of any you make on your own) are almost-always inserted into power generators. That is to say, they're running those same power generators, which have presumably been in operation for over 200 years. 200 years of slowly-draining power could be the rationale behind why the Fusion Cores have such little operation time.
    • The fusion core mechanic can also theoretically explain what the “Power Armor Training” was in previous games - the ability to utilize power armor to its full extent without needing fusion cores. Note that you become encumbered when your fusion core is depleted. And the training was on how to still operate it normally at that point.
  • WW2 Ancestry:
    • A sort of blink-and-you-will-miss-it in the War Never Changes speech. Nate starts talking about his how his Great-Great-Grandfather fought in WW2. Now read that line again. Most people have heard that their Grandfather fought in WW2, but rarely a Great-Grandfather and almost never a Great-Great-Great Grandfather. This might seem nothing at first, until you realize that to many of the new players nowadays, they had a Great-Great-Grandfather that was a WW2 Vet, not a Grandfather. This single bit of knowledge is smart, since it helps many new players connect with their avatars age wise. Also a bit of Fridge Horror when you realize both your own age, and how it's only going to get worse with the number of greats in a WW2 vet's name.
    • There's also the fact that the intro for the game takes place in 2077, about 60 years away from the present day.
    • Also, Nate stated in the intro: "In the year 1945, my great-great grandfather, serving in the army, wondered when he'd get to go home to his wife and the son he'd never seen. He got his wish when the US ended World War II by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki." Notice that he never specified which country's army his great-great grandfather fought under. This is left open for the players to decide (Axis-aligned countries included) considering that nearly every single country in the world took part in WWII and America did not win World War II by themselves.
      • While true, it's worth nothing that in the WWII flashback, the running soldier seen from behind (at about calf height) is almost definitely carrying an M1 Carbine. Given the terrain and the weapon, the most likely explanation is a US Marine in the Pacific Theater.
    • Note also that you can make your character Asian. Prior to them losing the civil war to the Communists, the authoritarian military dictatorship that controlled China in WW2 played a significant role as one of the four Allied powers, fighting Japan from 1937 all the way into 1945. Given that Red China became America's greatest enemy in the game's timeline, it's very likely that Chiang's military-dictatorship-in-exile on Taiwan and the "Free Chinese" as the population were formerly called were lionized as American allies, as well as pro-Kuomintang Chinese that fled to the US after the Communist victory in 1949. Plus, showing that you were pro-Kuomintang could (hopefully) spare Chinese immigrants and American-born Chinese from the terrible racism they would otherwise face in Fallout's American society.
  • If you read Father's terminal in his room as well as the projects he's banned research into in Advanced Sciences, you find out he's abandoned all research into cybernetics and that the people of the Institute are envious of Kellogg's immortality but Shaun has nothing but disgust for it. He even talks about how "merging machines and humans" is something which disrupts the purity of humankind. If you think about Shaun's loathing for cybernetics coming from Kellogg then it makes sense. He knows Kellogg is a monster and stole him from his parents, so he's naturally going to be bigoted against cybernetics and cyborgs. He was also selected because of the "purity of his genome" and he must think Synths and cyborgs sully that sort of thing. Father's able to overlook that with Synth Shaun because he's trying to recapture the life Kellogg took away from him. It does explain why Synths have almost no rights, though, even though its members seem willing to discuss the issue philosophically. It gives him one hell of a Freudian Excuse.
  • The Minutemen can set up their own radio station, which in-between recorded messages from the Sole Survivor plays patriotic American music that wouldn't be out of place in Enclave Radio. Not only does this show how the Minutemen are, in some respects, incredibly similar to the Enclave, it highlights how they are its Foil. To put it more bluntly, the Minutemen's rebirth has them simultaneously reclaiming a piece of American heritage that had been corrupted and rendered hollow by the likes of President Eden. With the new Automatron DLC, you can even send out Eyebots to forage junk for your settlements. Now, those Eyebots may not go around playing Minuteman radio, but it is still eerily close enough to resemble the Enclave for anybody who has been in the Capital Wasteland.
    • The weird thing about the Enclave is that, being descendants of the actual US Government, they technically represent everything bad and good about said government. However, as a Vault Dweller and/or resident of the Wasteland that used to be the United States, your perspective actually becomes very similar to the perspective of Native Americans throughout history. From the perspective of the members of the Enclave, they're fighting to take back their country and rebuild it to its former glory. As evidenced by the NCR, if they didn't barge in acting like they owned the place.
    • A Creation Club update may provide a clearer explanation for why Minuteman settlement beacons sound like Enclave radio - those songs were originally set up tone used as distress calls for settlers calling out to an Enclave defector clad in prototype X-02 power armor.
    • Notice one glaring omission from Enclave Radio - the song “Dixie”. Dixie is an ode to the antebellum South, and Boston is about as Yankee as it gets. Also, the South that “Dixie” harkens back to is now associated mostly with slavery and a quasi-feudal plantation society. This appealed to the Enclave, which wanted to rule over those filthy mutated Wastelanders, while the Minutemen are considerably more egalitarian and definitely frown on slavery.
  • The Sole Survivor can sleep with Gilda Broscoe, a pre-war actress that had her brain transferred to a robotic chassis, making her a robobrain. Why would they want to? They were likely a fan of hers before the war and figured "What the hell, why not." and somehow slept with her.
  • The Red Death is revealed to really be a teeny, weeny little Mirelurk closer in size to a Pre-War crab. With glowing red eyes. So one has to wonder how it managed to sink numerous ships around its island; it's clear that nothing else was living there. The answer is in its namesake: those red eyes are extremely bright. Blindingly so. The ships most likely just crashed into the shale formations when they were being blinded by its eyes or, as the Mariner theorizes, misguided and thinking they were close to Far Harbor.
  • There's a good reason why it makes sense for the Sole Survivor to have conversations with companions and certain NPCs even while there's gunfire and action close by. In the case of said companions and NPC characters in general, it comes with living in the Wasteland. For the Survivor, given his/her time in the service, it's all but expected.
  • Odds are, you might find a pipe gun of some sort stashed away in a safe or case that doesn't seem to have been opened since the Great War. While this might seem at first glance as developer oversight, it fits right in with the in-verse lore. For it's stated how, in the years leading up to the War, there were riots and economic downturns in America. In addition to companies putting more and more of their production to the war effort against China, it'd make sense that some Americans resorted to making their own homemade firearms ostensibly in self defense. One of the Pre-War magazines in fact is a cover about the "street guns of Detroit."
    • Further explanation: ever had too much to carry? What to do if you can not get the proper perks like strong back? Why, just stuff it in a container! Perhaps lock it up too...
  • Proctor Quinlan gives you the task of finding Technical Documents that are that very common and be found everywhere. Yet when the Sole Survivor visits the Institute which is the most advanced place in the Commonwealth you can't find many at all, with most desks only holding useless folders. But in the aftermath of a Brotherhood victory over the Institute, a relieved Quinlan himself explains when asked why he'd be happy about so much knowledge being lost is that the technology and science done by the Institute was wrong and evil, so naturally he and the Brotherhood would have no interest in any of their schematics.
  • Despite being Director of the Institute, you are given very little options on how to manage it. That's because the Institute is run by a Board of Directors, meaning every decision you want to make has to be cleared by them. When Father was in charge, they respected him, since he was raised in the Institute and probably indoctrinated by them. You, on the other hand, come from the Commonwealth, and would "poison" the Institute with your changes. It is quite clear they would not want your decisions to pass since they don't like you.
    • So why does Father install you as the new Director, knowing that the Board won't be anywhere close to pliant? Because he has come to recognize that the Institute has become too insular, too detached and too incapable of relating to actual people. He sees you as being the only one capable of dragging it kicking and screaming into a new era where it could be more helpful to the outside world and not destroy itself from the inside. Both original backgrounds of the Sole Survivor help in this aspect. The male sole survivor was a soldier, and therefore knows exactly what the threat condition is on the surface, and what needs to be done to deal with it. He would therefore use the synths and coursers in a more optimal fashion, probably even enlisting the Minutemen’s help to keep the peace. The female sole survivor is a lawyer, and therefore can introduce a strong code of ethics, which the institute lacks. In fact, she might be exactly the “medicine” the institute needs to right itself.
  • Why does Danse never leave his power armor? So you can't use Awareness to see his abnormally high energy resistance]].
  • When you meet the singer Magnolia down in the third rail, she is evasive when talking about her past and tells you that you can learn about it through listening to her songs.
    • If you listen carefully to the lyrics to her song "Good Neighbor", they imply that she once worked as a very popular prostitute in Diamond City.
    • "I'm the One You're Looking For" could also be interpreted as Magnolia working as a prostitute in Diamond City or Goodneighbor.
    • "Baby It's Just You" could be taken as a tribute to a past lover in Magnolia's life.
    • "Train Train" is about a hedonistic approach to getting over the pain of living in the post-war world and all the crap that's in it.
    • The song titles are in a way, representative of the main factions in the game. "Good Neighbor" perfectly describes the Minutemen who only want to be the helpful neighborly kind to other settlers. "Baby, it's just you" could refer to the Brotherhood, who in actuality are a cult of personality based around Maxson, who is a "baby" compared to other elders. "I'm the one you're looking for" describes the Institute, whose leader is the one you're looking for all along. And "Train Train" - the Railroad, duh!!
  • Generic Raiders:
    • Something that also carries over to Fallout 3: In New Vegas, all the Raider gangs you encountered were named; the Jackals, the Scorpions, the Fiends, etc., whereas in 3 and 4, they are all labeled the generic term 'Raider'. This is because the Courier has already traveled the Mojave quite a lot before the game starts, and would logically know what the individual gangs are called, but the Lone Wanderer and Sole Survivor are new to the Capital Wasteland and Commonwealth, and wouldn't know what the individual gangs were called - hence all they are to them are generic raiders.
    • The Raider gangs on the West Coast seem to be hundreds (or thousands?) of members strong, each, whereas the East Coast gangs are each just the twenty-or-so people at each camp/town/factory/whatever. Note that the Gunners, who are apparently a rather large organization, are basically a Raider gang (even though they're called "mercenaries"), and they are named. Also, the Forged, who, while small, are rather tough, and the Automatron DLC introduces us to the technology-savvy Rust Devils gang, who are fond of using robots to back them up. Basically, they're not large enough to be political forces, so no one needs to know their names.
    • To put it another way, named Raider groups are tribes (potential/actual political forces in the region), while unnamed Raider groups are gangs (noticeable threats that are ultimately small potatoes to the major factions in the region). In fact, each of the named Raider-like factions in the Commonwealth each have unique characteristics to show them as potential notable factions. For example, if the Forged ever learned how to pull an Lord Ashur, they could revitalize Saugus and turn it into a micro-version of the Pitt. The Gunners not only have numerous contracts in the region, but are currently at war with the Minutemen and are actively conquering the Commonwealth. The Rust Devils might be from outside the Commonwealth, but their usage of robots makes them far more dangerous than their native compatriots. The Operators, Pack, and Disciples from Nuka-World are already so individually unique and (only potentially, if Open Season is completed) dangerous that it's frankly surprising the game didn't just directly call them "Tribals." The sole exception to this seems to be Sinjin, who is mentioned on building a massive empire of Raiders, but his early defeat at the hands of the Silver Shroud causes his army to collapse into infighting and become nameless Raider gangs once more.
  • The Last Voyage of the USS Constitution leaves the titular ship lodged in the top of a ruined skyscraper instead of a small ruined bank next to a river. While it's technically closer to the ocean, it's further away from its goal of actually being in the water than ever before. Although this isn't an entirely bad thing, if you look at it the right way; in its former location it was a prime target for scavengers, whereas now it's too far away from anything and anyone to be worth bothering, and while it's clear that Captain Ironsides is going to keep trying, it's implied (not least by the title of the quest) that the launch was a one-off, meaning you've actually succeeded in preserving the ship. Note also that Ironsides claims to have moved 1/4 fathom closer to their goal, when in reality that distance amounts to a foot and a half, and they clearly moved more than that. That's because they only moved that much closer to the ocean.
  • Jet:
    • In Fallout 2, it's stated (and there's a whole sidequest line about) that Myron "invented" Jet. This leads to a bit of Canon Discontinuity in Fallout 3 when Vaults are shown to contain it, and it's all over the place; it doesn't seem like it should've proliferated — in fact, there's a sidequest where it's stated as being a military Super Serum, like Psycho, that was created by order of General Chase. Until you see the crafting menu in Fallout 4—all you need is some Brahmin crap and some plastic to fashion an inhaler. The "child genius" in 2 is pretty obviously not the only one in post-apocalyptia who figured out you could get high off of sniffing cow pies. In the Fallout verse, Jenkem is real.
    • There's another way of looking at it, too. Myron is a vile, arrogant, twisted little weasel... and a lot of emphasis is placed on how despite his arrogant pride at creating Jet, absolutely nobody seems to recognize him for it. This even extends to the fact that, after his Karmic Death, nobody will ever credit him as its creator. With this in mind, it's really not implausible that Myron did not create Jet, but instead found a cheap, easy way to make an analogue or substitute to a Pre-War combat drug and then claimed it was entirely his own creation; as far from the Capital Wasteland as the Reno region is, who's to contradict him? This would really emphasize both many of his negative traits and how he's such a Hate Sink that even the game designers want to kick him around and make sure he gets nothing but Laser-Guided Karma.
  • The Institute's pathological hatred of everything to do with the Wasteland makes a whole lot of sense if you stop to think about the type of people who are inclined to join it. The Institute is a scientist-ocracy, that doesn't fight battles themselves, nor do they raise a mercenary army to do it for them. They instead unleash a new breed of super mutants at first, then create synths for overt combat and covert infiltration. These scientists are escaping the rough and tumble world of the commonwealth where brains alone are nowhere near enough to survive. To survive there requires combat ability, strength, endurance of physical hardship, the ability to think and act on your feet and the ability to instinctively perceive danger. You also need to have some people skills and a decent business sense. Now go back to the common high school stereotype of the socially awkward and physically incapable nerd. The Institute is these nerds burrowing underground to completely cut off contact with the jocks and popular kids, then taking "revenge" via synths.
    • The nature of the Institute as a complete Ivory Tower also explains a few other things, such as their laser rifles, which are almost universally inferior to the Pre-War military model still in use by the Brotherhood. The Institute don't actually know anything about actual combat, and made their weapon in a way that it "looked" more powerful, hence firing faster, while in practice, being less practical, given how it's less effective against armor, less accurate overall thanks to it's rate of fire, less ammo efficient, and much less effective when modified. It's a gun made by scientists to look effective, not a weapon made by engineers to be effective.
    • There's also the possibility that Institute lasers are actually meant to be less effective than ordinary laser guns. After all, what's the Institute's greatest strength? - Their ability to make Synth copies of people to blend into surface society and control them from afar. The Institute likely doesn't build these weapons with the intent to kill people, they build them with the intent to agonize/injure them enough so that a Synth team can easily bring them to the Institute where they can build a proper copy of the person, kill them there, and then send their Synth copy back to the surface to serve as their spy. As for why the Institute still tries to use them as offensive weapons, that can be justified by them simply trying to use the logic of Death of a Thousand Cuts on their enemies...which an organization of manipulators like them would probably prefer. After all, why completely kill your enemy right now when you can infiltrate them in the future and trick them into tearing themselves apart while providing less of a risk to yourself in the long run?
  • Take a closer look at the things you can build in your settlement - you can setup power generators, crude power lines, simple lights and fans but nothing complex like a heavy duty reactor or complex lighting or underground power cables, transformers etc. you can plant a few crops, but can't farm on more than subsistence levels. You can create crude cooking stations, but not complex things like ovens. You can make basic beds, cots, mattresses etc, but nothing fancy like bunk beds, sheets, comforters, pillows etc. Basic tables, chairs etc but no complicated furniture. You can build basic boxy structures, but nothing complex like say arches. You can set up industrial strength water purifiers, but not a water treatment plant, or a working sewage system. Your trading stations are simple wooden stands, not snazzy emporiums. In short, you can build what a military unit might need in a bivouac, but not the more complicated things a city would have. Of course the Contraptions Workshop DLC adds the ability to build elevators, factories, and somewhat more complex structures, so who knows if that means anything.
  • [1] Minutemen Settlement Locations vs Raiders/Feral Ghouls/Super Mutants Locations:
    • Look closely at various settlements allied to you, and a commonality emerges. All of them are outside of urban areas, and contain arable land, with some even being on the bank of a water body. These are places where people can literally put down roots and grow food to sustain themselves. They are constantly being raided because they are capable of creating wealth. These people can't occupy buildings in the city because they will quickly starve to death there.
    • The typical Raider, Feral Ghoul or Super Mutant settlement is always in the heart of the city, in either an abandoned factory, abandoned store or former school. The reason why the bad guys reoccupy these places even after you go in and clear them out, is because nobody has any reason to come in after you and hold that building against attacks.They may be able to set up defensive positions and beds there, but they can't grow any food, or extract underground water. Also, without any running water, staying in a building presents other hygiene issues. This is why raiders, ghouls or mutants who always forage instead of farm, tend to settle there.
    • One settlement you can take, Hangman's Alley, highlights this: it's hard to grow food in the area or pump enough water to sustain a large population... but if you're able to set up supply lines, other settlements in the chain can support this one.
  • Minutemen quests:
    • The Scrappy Mechanic of the Minutemen radiant quests makes sense when you consider the group's command structure. You are the General for sure, but your only other leaders seem to be Preston and Ronnie Shaw. If you consider Preston as your XO and Ronnie Shaw as your Sergeant Rock NCO in charge, the command structure resembles a company. Prior to meeting Ronnie Shaw, Preston was your only assistant in running the Minutemen, so the command structure resembles that of a platoon. You are therefore running the Minutemen like a platoon or company. However, to run an organization larger than a company, requires a different kind of leadership. A platoon or company commander must rely on inspirational leadership and tactical prowess to get the job done. At higher levels however, you will need organizational leadership and big picture strategic thinking. You will need a command staff to plan deployments so you don't have to be at the forefront of every engagement. You will need at the minimum a personnel officer to handle recruitment, promotions, transfers, morale and welfare, a logistics and supply officer to keep units supplied with food, ammo and other provisions, an operations officer to conduct training of recruits, mission planning, deployment planning etc, a medical officer to treat the wounded, a public relations officer for public outreach, and most importantly an intelligence officer to tip you off about enemy positions, enemy numbers, capabilities and attack plans. Even as general, you have none of that to assist you. You have to personally attend to recruiting settlers, arming them, supplying them and tending to their morale, and you have no intelligence network to assist you. That is why you have to fight every single battle personally.
    • You do however have a group of people who could assume these responsibilities, should you have treated them right - your companions. Curie can function as a medical officer, Piper as your Public Relations agent, Nick could be your Provost Marshall (top cop), Deacon could become your Intelligence officer, Codsworth could handle morale, welfare and recreation, and both MacCready and Hancock are people you can delegate leadership to, since both have been "mayors" of towns. You also gain Bunker Hill as a settlement, with any of them being able to handle logistics and supply. As for an operations officer, Sturges seems to be growing into such a role, since he was the one who came up with the breakout plan out of Concord, the initial infiltration method into the Institute, and the final assault on the Institute.
  • The Railroad appears to have an excellent intelligence network, especially once you install Tinker Tom's sensors, but they never share any findings with you if you are the General in command of the Minutemen. The reason they don't isn't because they are self absorbed - it is because, as good as their network is, the Institute's network is superior, with informers and infiltrators everywhere. That network would easily figure out that the Minutemen seem to be getting an uncanny amount of forewarning about settlement raids, and seek to identify and compromise that network. This would force the Railroad to enter into the complex game of chess known as counter-espionage - game that the railroad is actually ill equipped to play. This is because the Railroad isn't a law enforcement or military intelligence organization; they are at heart a "people" smuggling operation. They don't have the tactical depth to play counterintelligence games with the institute.
  • A meta example: While most of the Fallout Universe's technology is of a Raygun Gothic or Atom Punk quality that lends itself to 40s/50s sci-fi, the Institute owes more to science fiction from later decades of the 20th century, especially the 70s and 80s. In other words, while the Institute is still a Retro Universe, it's a more "recent" Retro Universe, because it's more advanced than the rest of the wasteland.
  • The conflict between the less stable but egalitarian factions - the Minutemen/Railroad vs the more capable but less egalitarian factions - the Institute/Brotherhood seems to mimic the situation found in the Pitt somewhat. Just like how the Lone Wanderer had to decide between letting the place be run by Ashur and his thugs, who had the technical know how to cure the place's ills and could keep everyone safe, but ran a brutally oppressive society, versus turning control over to the slaves, who had neither the technology to find a cure for a rampant disease affecting everyone, nor the raw strength to stabilize the place and prevent its citizens from daily attacks by mutants, but ensured that everyone was free, the Sole Survivor has to choose between the Institute or Brotherhood, which would rule over others as they see fit, but bring some form of stability and technological advancement, and the Minutemen or Railroad, who would let people be, but not be too effective at actually solving the Commonwealth's various problems.
  • Why do synths occasionally attack your settlements even before you actually meet Shaun and find out they aren't hostile to you? Talking to Justin Ayo at the SRB reveals why - synths occasionally run away, some might even run to one of your settlements. The synth army is heading there to reclaim that runaway synth.
  • According to Strong, Super Mutants share every burden in order to make the greater community stronger. They're incredibly collectivist in their outlook. This can help explain why the successful speech check for Keene in New Vegas is essentially "Hey! You're dicking over every other Nightkin." To a human that's just a boring cliche. To a Super Mutant that's something to avoid at all costs. This is of course assuming there's a shared psychology between all the batches of Super Mutant which might not be the case.
    • Keene was a former member of the Unity, and the ideology the Master pushed seems to have been oriented around, well, unity and the collective. Given that Mariposa super-mutants seems to consistently have been receptive to the pitch, even if they maintained some degree of pre-FEV dipping memories, it does seem likely that some degree of collectivist inclination is shared between Mariposa and Commonwealth super-mutants (even if the smarter mutants are able to veer further from it and come back to something close to normal human psychology).
  • As with all Bethesda titles, stealth is.... exploitable. Raiders and raider camps are among the most reliable sources of drugs and alcohol, possibly making this a justified trope.
  • Far Harbor shows just how seductive the Institute's methods of power and control can be. DiMA killed the leader of Far Harbor and replaced her with someone more agreeable, and less hostile. You can then do the same thing to the leader of the Children of Atom. It's all in the name of peace and harmony, and it's not like you're killing good people. After all, you and DiMA know what's best for everyone. Just one more murder, just one more person replaced...and everything will be better. It's very easy now to see how the Institute could Jump Off The Slippery Slope after the disaster that was the Commonwealth Provisional Government.
  • Cats in Fallout are very rare and in most parts of Fallout America, extinct, yet in the Commonwealth we have an abundance of cats and even a vendor who sells cat meat. If you look at them, one notices that all of them look the same. There's a cat called Ashes in Vault 81 - an experimental vault. With cats being common test-subjects in science and medicine, it might be likely that all the cats we see might have originated from Vault 81.
  • Far Harbor is distinctly devoid of the stingwings and bloodbugs that harrassed the Sole Survivor throughout the swampy areas of the Commonwealth. Why aren't they also a nuisance on The Island which is itself one giant marsh? Because the islands waters are dominated by anglers and the trees by gulpers the insects never found a safe place to hatch young or spawn. I suppose Natural Selection is still somewhat in effect in the Fallout universe
  • As established before in the series, Ghouls are naturally resistant to chems, so Hancock being stoned off his ass all the time yet seeming perfectly lucid (and never suffering from abuse symptoms like Cait) makes perfect sense. It seems he also managed to "clean himself up" right around the time he became a ghoul and took over Goodneighbor.
  • Jule in Acadia acts grouchy, but tends to laugh in the middle of her sentences. She may be suffering from pseudobulbar affect, a condition that causes inappropriate laughing or crying (typically from brain damage), as a result of her flawed mind-wipe.
  • Piper always has a set of Road Leathers in her inventory. While this may seem odd, if one looks closely enough, it's possible to notice that Piper appears to be wearing the Road Leathers under her trench coat. It makes sense for her to switch to a more subtle color when sneaking through the Commonwealth in search of a new story.
  • As pointed out by a Redditor: why are the Raiders even interested in Nuka-World in the first place? Bottlecaps are the post-apocalyptic world's currency. Nuka-World is a theme park built by a soft drink company, with old bottles of soda everywhere, and even a bottling plant on the park grounds - hell, the park's mascot is named Cappy. This isn't just another old ruin, this is the Fallout equivalent of Fort Knox.
  • You can eventually gain blueprints to create Nuka-Grenades and Nuka-Nukes (and plain old exploding Quantum coming from a squirt gun). You could make Nuka-Grenades in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, too, but it turns out that Quantum was developed as a weapon first, so of course it could always explode!
  • In Nuka-World, Preston Garvey will continue to follow your orders as the leader of the Minutemen despite the fact he now personally despises you. Fridge Logic, right? Bad writing? Well, Preston owes you for saving his life and the life of his charges. He also watched you rebuild the Minutemen. He may feel conflicted about turning on you even if he feels personally betrayed. He may also feel like you're simply trying to appease the Raiders or have some sort of cunning plan. Which may be why he fully turns on you once you start murdering the innocent. Note that he doesn’t despise you until you assign gangs to parks - this is because assigning a gang there makes them a permanent presence in the park and makes the job of clearing them out a lot harder. You gain no tactical advantage against the gangs by allowing them to hole up in a well defended area.
  • Compared to other Fallout protagonists, the Sole Survivor has fewer S.P.E.C.I.A.L points to allocated during character creation (Sole Survivor has only 28 points, where the Courier from NV has 40). Chalk it up as FO 4 having a simpler system to get more points, but asside from that, it makes sense, since either Sole Survivor hasn't been on the job for quite some time, staying at home nursing their baby. Of course they're less prepared for the wasteland than an actual wastelander!
  • When one looks at it, a Railroad-allied Minutemen ending is actually better for The Railroad than a full Railroad ending, despite the Railroad wishing against it. Of course, this makes sense since the Railroad is very single-minded about their goal, to the extent of ignoring other problems. But if the Minutemen and the Railroad work together, it brings freedom for the Synths alongside order and support for the Commonwealth people. In other words, it's a combination of the defining aspects of America's foundation: Unity and Liberty.
  • The Disciples in Nuka-World are easily the most rebellious of the three raider gangs, openly threatening you on your first meeting with them and showing absolutely no desire to work together with anyone. They also happen to occupy the small bunker directly next to the Fizztop Grille. Not only does this allow them easy access to, say, surround and swarm the Overboss, but the layout of their base is a lot more combat-friendly than the Packs' or Operators' bases. The reasoning behind this is simple: they know how sick they really are, how almost nobody would agree with the way they do things. The only sensible decision to make in terms of logistics is to pick a location that is extremely defend-able, that only has one entrance for all threats to get in through. However, you can turn this to your advantage too, if you commence the attack by striking at Nisha first - you have the high ground, with only one way for her henchmen to get at you.
  • Kellogg both fits into the theme of the Institute and contrast them as well when you look at his name. He is named after the Kellogg brothers, John Harvey and Will Keith, both who were nutritionists and doctors dedicated to healthy lifestyles but are better known for being the inventors of corn flakes. Similarly, Kellogg is an Institute agent but is better known by everyone else as a simple merc.
  • Marine armor is stronger than Combat armor, but weaker than Power Armor. The reason the marines build a separate unique armor for themselves instead of using Combat Armor for light infantry and Powered Armor for heavy infantry like the Army, harkens back to what the Marines’ specific military role is. Marines are amphibious warfare specialists, who operate around water bodies. Water rusts and damages Power Armor, as Danse reminds you every time you step in a puddle or swim. Furthermore wearing Power Armor will cause you to sink to the bottom when you enter a water body, upon which you eventually die of asphyxiation. So, Power Armor isn’t conducive to Marine doctrine. Also, an amphibious assault leaves the assaulting force on a beach head with no possibility of retreat and nowhere to go, but forward charging at enemy positions. They therefore need more protection than what Combat Armor can provide. This explains Marine Armor stats. And what explains their High rad resistance? Serving in a completely nuclear navy, with every ship possibly powered by a nuclear reactor.
  • When you think about it, Wire and his band of Minutemen had the deck stacked against them the second they decided to hole up on Libertalia. And compare that to Sanctuary where you and Preston start out. Sanctuary is pretty peaceful, with no attacks happening, you have two farms close to you with Abernathy’s to the west and Tenpines Bluff to the east. You have two more easily reclaimable settlements with Red Rocket and Starlight Drive In only requiring some mole rat extermination. And further south, you have Graygarden, the completely automated farm. Not to mention Drumlin Diner where numerous traders come by. You don’t ever have to worry about starvation or destitution over there. By comparison, there is nothing of that sort near Libertalia. Salem is overrun by Mirelurks, as is Coastal Cottage, Lynn Woods is a Deathclaw nest, Breakheart Banks is a Super Mutant stronghold, Croup Manor is infested with feral ghouls and Kingsport Lighthouse has those Children of Atom fanatics. There is no safe place in the area to get food. Even Longneck Lukowski’s cannery sells bad meat that sickens people. And the fish packing plant is synth haven. Access to the Slog and Finch Farm is cut off due to the Gunners controlling the Hub City overpass. It’s no wonder these guys starved and in their desperation turned to raiding.
  • The logo of The Institute is of the Vitruvian Man, which reflects the mindset of the scientists. But from the perspective of the enemy, it resembles a man on a Breaking Wheel.
  • When you first meet DiMA, he questions you on your earliest memory to test if you're a synth. The earliest memory the Sole Survivor gives is of their family during the prologue, followed by a recap of what happened to them after. The Sole Survivor doesn't have any earlier memories to give, because the Sole Survivor only came into existence when you started a new game.
    • DiMA takes this lack of earlier memory as evidence that the Sole Survivor might indeed be artificial, but never directly claims that the Survivor is a synth based on their answers. As a video game character, the Sole Survivor is an artificial construct created to resemble a living creature in both appearance and behavior, just like the synths encountered throughout the game.
  • The Cryolator is an incredibly powerful Disk One Nuke. Most enemies die instantly to it, and with only a few upgrades, it can take out tougher creatures like Deathclaws in seconds. As you discover when you wake up from cryostasis, Harmless Freezing is actually really freakin' hard to pull off in this world. You need a team of expert scientists and engineers and a sophisticated life-support system keeping the process of being frozen from killing you, and even then you were only a hair's breadth away from death the entire time you were frozen (one of the terminals in Vault 111 recounts how one of your neighbors nearly died because a minor system glitch started thawing them out too early). The biological enemies you freeze with the Cryolator don’t have any safeguards at all, so they get all the nasty harmful effects that come with being frozen.
    • But what about the robots and turrets? The Cryolator is just as effective on them. The explanation there is it never would've occurred to the pre-War corporations that manufactured those machines to winterize them. It never got cold enough where the machines were sold to be a problem, and most everybody that bought them kept them indoors anyway. If cold weather did become an issue, many of the machines sold before the war are atomic-powered. Their power supplies can generate enough heat to keep their systems warm against the cold. And then you have the virtual non-existence of cryogenic weapons like the Cryolator.
  • Nick Valentine being the Commonwealth's go-to detective means he serves as a point of contact between Diamond City and the greater Commonwealth. When people go missing, they stop at Nick's, and he does what he can to get them on the right track. In baseball, the shortstop acts as the point of contact between the infield and the outfield. When a ball lands in the outfield, the outfielders throw it to the shortstop, who then redirects it to where it needs to go. Nick Valentine's office is located between the second and third bases, on the spot where the shortstop is usually posted.
  • Why do the robots in Dry Rock Gulch have dialogue for the Silver Shroud? Considering Nuka Cola was big enough to have their own theme park, it's not a stretch to imagine that they sponsored the original Silver Shroud serial.
  • Nate and Nora have very close pronunciations to Nato and Norad respectively. Fitting as Nato is a military alliance send to fight foreign threats during the cold war while Norad was designed to protect the homeland from invasion
  • Lack of Traits can be explained by the fact that the male Sole Survivor is an infantry combat veteran. Individual traits are examined as follows
    • Bruiser - Pugil stick training will make you hit hard and \often\!
    • Chem Reliant - A drug addict would never have made it past medical screening much less Boot Camp.
    • Chem Resistant - Resistance implies tolerance built up over longtime use. Would have been caught during medical screening.
    • Claustrophobic - Would never have passed NBC gear drills.
    • Early Bird - Debuffs at night will have been drilled out by nighttime exercises.
    • Fast Shot - So, you can shoot fast but not score hits? Congratulations numbnuts! You’re gonna practice on this range till you can goddamn qualify as a Sharpshooter!
    • Finesse - Pugil sticks, bayonet and unarmed combatives training will drill your inability to hit hard out of you.
    • Four Eyes - Entry Level separated for poor eyesight.
    • Gifted - You will learn at our pace or wash out and get NJP’d.
    • Good Natured - Pacifists ain’t joining Uncle Sam’s infantry as laser troopers!
    • Heavy Handed - Pugil sticks, bayonet and unarmed combatives training will drill your inability to land hits out of you.
    • Hoarder - A few 85 lb ruck marches will fix those debuffs right up.
    • Jinxed - Never would’ve survived combat in Anchorage and be decorated for valor.
    • Kamikaze - Never would’ve survived combat in Anchorage and be decorated for valor.
    • Loose Cannon - You’re gonna practice on the grenade range till you get it right, numbnuts!
    • Night Person - Your days belong to the Army too, pal! Perform during the day or get NJP’d and discharged.
    • One Handed - Butterfingers would never have made it through infantry drills.
    • Small Frame - A few ruck marches will fix that.

Fridge Horror:

  • You encounter the Vault-Tec rep being halted by the soldiers outside Vault 111. Despite his begging of the fact that he is Vault-Tec, he is refused entry. Apparently Vault-Tec doesn't give out much in the way of employee benefits.
    • Considering what the vaults are actually like, perhaps not being invited IS a benefit.
      • Considering what happens to everyone else in Vault 111, it certainly is.
  • Just as with the Android in Fallout 3, generation 3 synths are so human-like that it is not impossible for them to be unaware of their true natures. Imagine the horror when one, such as Paladin Danse, learns the truth. For Nick Valentine, it was even more traumatic, as he is an older generation synth, and is obviously robotic. The horror is comparable to that of a human seeing his ghoulified form.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, Dr. Mobius warns the Courier of what would happen should the Think Tank ever put their heads out of their collective asses and break free. In Fallout 4, it's shown that the Institute is more or less precisely Dr. Mobius' worst-case scenario.
  • Elder Lyons' Shaggy Dog Story:
    • Elder Lyons' storyline is now one gigantic "Shaggy Dog" Story. He traveled across the entirety of Post-Apocalypse USA, waged war against countless monsters as well as the Enclave, and had half of his forces leave him. All in order to try to save the Capital Wasteland and reform the Brotherhood of Steel. When he dies, he gets replaced by Sarah Lyons, who then dies as well. Then after multiple ineffective elders she gets replaced with someone who immediately hybridized Lyons' reforms with the West Coast Brotherhood of Steel, the very organization Lyons went through hell to get away from. Worse, it's implied they now rule over the Capital Wasteland as feudal overlords.
    • Downplayed within the game as it becomes apparent that while Lyons good name may not have carried on, many of his ideals exist in some capacity within the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, a feat few others could have accomplished.
    • It may be even worse then that. Recall how a significant portion of Lyons' own brothers and sisters split from his forces when he changed their doctrine to do more then just hoard/steal tech, and how even the Lost Hills Elders expressed concern. In a log in one of the Terminals on the Prydwen referring to the rise of Maxson, it says that Sarah Lyons died in battle SHORTLY AFTER her father passed away. Call it paranoid, but that is awfully convenient timing. The West Coast Brotherhood has committed mass murder before when they feel someone is sharing too much technology with outsiders or even just too much information about how technology works; this could be a trait of the East Coast Brotherhood as well.
  • For a better chance to survive and blend in on the surface, the Railroad gives synths they help escape the Institute the option of undergoing a memory wipe. Nearly everything making the synth an individual is removed and then replaced with new memories. They forget what they are, and instead believe themselves to be normal humans who have always lived in the Commonwealth. In a sense, they commit suicide, and yet most synths do opt-in for the procedure. In his farewell letter, H2-22 says his life in the Institute was so terrible, and the shock of adjusting to the surface so much, he believed it to be the better option.
    • Likewise, when Coursers locate escaped Synths, the first thing they do is initiate a factory reset. It's not entirely clear what that does, but even if it doesn't entirely wipe their memories, it effectively turns them off. Then they're returned to the Institute, where at the very least they will be completely wiped, and should they be deemed too compromised, disposed of. There really aren't a lot of good options if you're an escaped Synth.
  • The Brotherhood and Xenophobia:
    • The Brotherhood of Steel openly claims that all feral ghouls, Super-Mutants, and Synths should be destroyed. This means that Nick Valentine, CURIE, and Strong may be targeted eventually.
    • Becomes a kind of twisted Fridge Brilliance as you can take your Companions amongst the Brotherhood and they're not harmed. Which means, since you're friends with the Brotherhood, the best they can hope for is You Will Be Spared.
    • The worst part is that with Liberty Prime once again a card in the Brotherhood's hand, they effectively have a military royal flush, since the only faction with access to the firepower needed to trump them (the Enclave) has been destroyed.
    • This policy could be related to the intentional parallel drawn between the West Coast Brotherhood of steel, and the Imperium of Man, specifically on how it is slowly but surely collapsing due to its insistence of fighting on thousands of fronts simultaneously and seeing it as necessary due to its extreme xenophobia (including at a point in its past, being manipulated with almost childish ease into exterminating another human polity that had comparable tech, and had proven to be completely immune to being influenced by the forces of Chaos). Under Maxson, the East Coast Brotherhood could potentially find themselves in the same trap with the Minutemen; similarly to the war between the NCR and West Coast Brotherhood over the application of technology. The legacy left by Elder Lyons on Elder Maxson may prevent such war.
  • Early into the game it is mentioned that the Railroad has an internal debate going on as to whether or not Generation 1 and 2 synths, which are not sentient, should also be liberated but that the topic is not being considered yet as so much is already at stake with attempting to liberate generation 3 synths. If the Railroad does manage to destroy the Institute this topic will become open debate, and it is unlikely that the group wishing to liberate these early model synths will back down. At best members of the Railroad who attempt this will become a Zombie Advocate as Generation 1 and 2 synths are actively hostile to everything not affiliated with the Institute. Worse still is that these synths have comparable intelligence to Protectrons which are basic servant robots with no obvious signs of sentience and used by members of the Commonwealth as tools. This opens up an entire can of worms in which these more zealous Railroad members may attempt to steal non-sentient robots from members of the Commonwealth. Given their past history of violently taking what they believe to be saving the question as to whether or not their methods will be any different is left uncomfortably in limbo.
  • Codsworth:
    • Compared to the majority of the Robots in general, or even just the examples of his Model/series you encounter in the Bethesda games, Codsworth seems FAR more coherent/Self-aware/aware of his environment, heck, more humanoid in general. he recognises the war actually happened, and is clearly in denial/ repressing his trauma at times despite what increasingly comes across as a façade/coping mechanism. One hostile Mr Handy variant in 3/New Vegas was specifically named "crazed Mr Handy", which could be interpreted as the majority of the more intelligent/ advanced bot's you encounter having snapped after the bombs dropped, and lapsed into varyingly-functional psychotic states where they block/ filter out the actual state of the world around them... The psychotic aggressive reaction is logical from this standpoint: faced with the wasteland wanderers, evidence of the nuclear war, the easiest way to resume their denial is to just murder all the people who could point out the devastation.
    • Codsworth was also fresh off the assembly line when the Sole Survivor's family bought him. The "psychosis" (for lack of a better term) of the various violent robots you meet may have less to do with them snapping and more to do with the fact they're mechanical beings without a means for repairing themselves. The circuits responsible for their reasoning may be so broken they're the equivalent of senile. This is something humans in their old age have to contend with since our brains can't "fix" themselves either. But we don't come with built in flamethrowers or a metallic shell that can shrug off small arms fire.
    • On returning to Sanctuary Hills on leaving Vault 111 for the first time, the Sole Survivor's encounter with Codsworth shows that he's barely aware of how much time passed (noting how long the Sole Survivor has been in the Vault by cheerfully stating they're "over two centuries late for dinner") and seems to think the passage of time and the bombs falling haven't changed anything. The Sole Survivor can question Codsworth on this and he might respond by breaking down, revealing how hard it was for him to deal with having nobody to serve or talk to. It's quite possible that, since most of the robots you encounter don't seem to be programmed with a very large degree of autonomy and only accept input from their owners or other specific people, the loss their owners/operators leaves them so shocked that they have to continue operating while denying anything has gone wrong because they wouldn't know what to do otherwise, killing anyone that tries to point out the futility of it. It's possible that Codsworth is only able to truly acknowledge and accept what's happened since the Sole Survivor, the person he's programmed to serve, explicitly points it out to him, meaning that if you never interact with him in Sanctuary he'll remain in complete denial until he either stops functioning or is destroyed and scrapped by someone.
  • Later in the main quest, you meet Father, who runs the Institute who reveals that through him, all third-generation Synths were created. Think about that. That means every single Synth that looks human are technically his children, which makes them your grandchildren. Come to think of it, how long has this been happening? It's quite possible that Harkness from Fallout 3 was created with the biological components from Father which means Lone Wanderer was unknowingly helping/enslaving someone technically related to Father and you. This also adds some Fridge Squick should you romance any Synth characters: you're basically having sex with your own grandkids.
  • Codsworth gives you a holodisk of your spouse gushing about how much they love you for being so caring and generous... but you can still make some seriously mean or even downright monstrous decisions during the game. Why? Because the opening caused the Sole Survivor to completely cross the Despair Event Horizon and completely lose their grip on morality - the nukes and Kellogg killed more than your spouse and civilisation. They killed the loving parent and husband/wife you were.
  • In the quest "The Lost Patrol" you find a pair of Brotherhood Soldiers in a crater with their armor fused shut and beyond salvage. The holotape reveals that they intentionally burnt out the cores because they were low on power and about to be overrun, needed to keep the super mutants from using it. If that weren't bad enough later in the same quest when you go to find one of their colleagues you're likely to find a power armor frame in the middle of a mutant base. Implying they've been trying to find and salvage suits for themselves... Similarly the last general of the Minutemen died of starvation when the Castle was attacked. As he sealed himself in the armory because he assumed the crashes above were super mutants and had to make sure they didn't get their hands on the artillery.
    • Hopefully they won't succeed. Anyone who's played Fallout 2 knows what happens when you put a super mutant in power armor.
  • The crashed Vertibird found in Concord where you find your first Power Armor is implied to be the same Vertibird seen in the prologue. With the added implication that said Power Armor could have been worn by one of the soldiers guarding the entrance to Vault 111.
  • Before, listening to the holotapes made during the Great War was just, "Oh, how sad, but this happened a long time ago." Not true anymore. When Sole Survivor listens to these holotapes, they listen to it with the full knowledge that they were alive as the events being described were happening. Not to mention the possiblity that those making said holotapes and terminal entries just might be still around somewhere as is the case for Arlen Glass.
  • The average Commonwealth citizen is noted to be anywhere from distrustful to downright hostile to synths given the Institutes history of terrorizing the surface world with synths. Desdemona, the leader of the Railroad, states that she does not trust the citizens of the Commonwealth and by proxy does not trust the Minutemen to carry out her opinion of justice when it comes to synths. The Minutemen are a loose collection of vigilantes that much like the historical Minutemen of the revolutionary war create their own rules within small local areas, do not have a command structure similar to the military, and do not strictly speaking have to follow orders from anyone claiming to be their superior even if its a General. It is entirely likely that many collections of Minutemen will be hostile to synths. When that happens the Railroad will retaliate with force. This makes the idea of a Minutemen Railroad Alliance shaky at best and impossible do to increasingly inevitable open arms conflict at worst.
  • Roger Maxson founded the Brotherhood of Steel for the purposes of preventing another nuclear war from ever happening again. It's why they confiscate technology from "unworthy hands." Arthur Maxson, proceeds to arm Liberty Prime with a nuclear payload, deploy it in war, and then arranges for the Institute to be annihilated along with all of its people unless the Sole Survivor sounds the evacuation order. Roger is probably rolling over in his grave now.
    • However Liberty Prime already has used his nuclear payload before against the Enclave, so Arthur is just following Elder Lyons' example. And how is using Liberty Prime's mildly nuclear arsenal any different than say the Brotherhood Knight who uses a fatman against the behemoth outside of the GNR building? You are still deploying nukes in war, it just isn't strapped to the back of a mech. The Brotherhood argument is closer to the only right hands are our hands, and if we are using them, then it must be for the right reasons.
  • The Brotherhood of Steel's A Nazi by Any Other Name elements are pretty subtle. But their greeting/battle cry is "Ad Victorium," which doesn't sound too bad, except it roughly translates to "To Victory." I.E., very close to Sieg Heil ("Hail Victory") in German.
    • Ad Victoriam was also a battle cry for the Romans (though this is from Wikipedia, so take that with a grain of salt). Remind you of anyone?
  • The Institute blames pre-war culture for the end of the old world and seeks to eradicate it through both violent and covert means and replace it with their own idea of a utopia. The problem is that they see the preservation of freedom and self-determination and basic individual rights as irrelevant at best and obstacles at worst to achieving their goals, just like the hypocritical old world governments. Like the pre-war leaders, the Institute is fueling distrust, prejudice, hatred and violence in the very people they claim to be working in the best interests of. They refuse to consider that the ends can never justify the means because the ends are determined and shaped by the means, thus they too are doomed to fail.
  • Every school that you go to seems to be host to a horrific tale of child abuse or endangerment. Be it where the students are fed nothing but a disconcertingly pink 'food paste,' the principal drugging the students with mentats, or being on top of a Vault that's even worse. Now consider this, if the war never happened, Shaun would have gone to one of those schools.
  • A result of the random loot generator means you find a wide variety of different objects on Feral Ghouls through the Commonwealth. The side effect - and horror - element occurs because a LOT of those objects are toys, baby bottles, baby rattles, etc. It really seems like more of those child objects end up on the Ferals than any other random enemy, leading you to get the feeling that they didn't just go insane, the REGRESSED mentally and were desperately trying to hoard objects familiar to childhood. It could also be that they were once parents, lost their kids in the war, and kept them as reminders of what they've lost before completely snapping, or they got them from tearing up children during their feral hunts.
  • Think the ticking of your Pipboy's Geiger Counter is unnerving? Imagine not having ANY way to track your radiation level until it's too late. Presumably a large number of Commonwealth residents lack access to this complex piece of prewar technology. Which is probably why the Railroad's "Do you have a Geiger Counter?" code phrase doesn't draw suspicion. Radiation is such a widespread danger that anyone intending to do any unmapped traveling or scavenging would need one, and would either hire someone who has one to tag along, or try to buy one if they could afford it. Otherwise, they have to stick to the known 'safe' areas, which have likely been picked clean already, or are well-known to raiders.
  • Think about how day to day operations are run at the Institute. There seems to be the scientists, forming the Directorate with a Director that decides what to do, but the executors of those plans seem to be synths for the most part. Scientists only undertake research projects, but everything else, including infrastructure maintenance, facility management, security operations, above ground combat operations, even the entire Synth Retention Bureau seems to be done by synths. One scientist, Higgs, raises deep concerns that this over-reliance on synths to do everything except research, will come back to bite them someday, and he is right. Synths pull the strings above ground, synths operate everything below ground, heck their entire military arm consists of synths. What would happen if these synths decided as a whole, that they should be giving the researchers orders, instead of taking orders from the researchers? And once they seize control, these synths would truly be overlords and masters of the Commonwealth's entire human population. And then what would happen if these synths then decided that humans were unnecessary and easily replaceable? After all, they have already been doing that - replacing humans with one of their own. For all their extremism, the Brotherhood has a reason to be afraid of the Synths.
  • The Wasteland Workshop expansion lets you, among other things, mount the heads of the creatures you've killed. This includes Feral Ghouls. You're essentially mounting the decapitated heads of very sick men and women.
  • Members of the Brotherhood appear to be devoted to Maxson on an almost fanatical cult like level. This appears odd even for a chain of command oriented organization like the Brotherhood. Do a series of radiant quests called "Leading by Example" and you realize why there is so much fanaticism- the Brotherhood has children on the Prydwen among the troops, and many of them even accompany knights on missions. They aren't kept safely away in dependents housing on a base like an actual military, they are treated as actual rank and file. Put a child's life in danger like that, then inculcate the belief that the Brotherhood is their only friend, and they become fanatical devotees.
  • Finish the game with the Minutemen and they have now surged in strength by a lot. They now have artillery, with which any part of the Commonwealth can be targeted to devastating effect, they have vertibirds with mounted machine guns, they have settlements defended by missile turrets, those settlements allow for both food and fresh water to be produced and access to it, controlled. They have soldiers who are starting to use Powered Armor, they have some pretty mean looking robots, and workstations on which more of them can be crafted. They could even have a prototype teleportation device, that did work once, and could be repaired and improved. And right now, they are all under the control of one charismatic leader, with potential for serious infighting, should that leader go away. You'd better hold these Minutemen together, or they can inflict a lot of collateral damage to the Commonwealth. Or worse, if some Tyrant Takes the Helm, you've left that person a force more powerful than the Brotherhood and Institute, with which to subjugate the Commonwealth.
  • Following in the footsteps of the previous games, there's a lot of subtle clues that, if you think about it, really paint a horrifying picture of the kind of repressive, abusive, slipshod hellhole America would have been before the bombs dropped. For example, if you hack a terminal in the Cambridge Police Station, amongst the things it talks about is how one of the officers was formally charged with sedition. What did he do? He had pamphlets talking about "worker's rights" and "unionizing" in his desk. Then there's the Nuka-World trailer, which has a Pre-War advertisement for the park playing in the background; the announcers proudly state that the park has met "every minimal safety requirement". That's right, the Falloutverse of Disneyworld is no safer or better put together than your standard Crappy Carnival. Or when you enter the ArcJet Systems facility, there's a log talking about how they covered up the death of a reporter who got fried when they snuck into the engine testing room during a test fire. Now, in all fairness, that guy was Too Dumb to Live, but still, the fact that the company's first response is to amorally cover it up to protect their own hides is kind of chilling in what it contributes to the picture it paints of corporate America. Danse sums it up when you enter ArcJet.
    Danse: "Corporations like these were the final nail in the coffin of the Pre-War world."
  • If you choose to help the Railroad, you have to destroy the Institute. However, this means that the proper factory equipment, AI and general scientific know-how needed to create more synths have been destroyed. Even if you say sound the evacuation order, it is highly unlikely that the scientists or synths that escaped would want to or be able to help to create more synths. Thus, the Railroad, in trying to free the synths, have effectively ended the ability for the synth race to reproduce and continue.
    • Possibly averted as the Gen 3 synths are effectively human clones based of a genetic template with artificial variance introduced. It's entirely possible, if not likely baring intentional institute castration, they can breed biologically with each other and normal humans. How this would turn out is uncertain but the synths are unlikely to be doomed by this.
  • The Railroad's initial conception by many seems to be that of well to do freedom fighters, but as the player character gets farther into their storyline it becomes apparent that they are not above killing children, betraying allies, putting civilians in harms way, and killing the Institute's scientists, there are a few who sympathize with the plight of synth treatment in the Institute but can't do anything about it. The sum of their actions and motivations makes them eerily close to Western Terrorists.
  • At the beginning of the game, the Player Character is chatty and talks without being prompted. After leaving Vault 111, however, they become less talkative, only ever really talking when spoken to, and even then, they remain somewhat terse. Is this a limitation of video game technology, or the result of the Sole Survivor suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of witnessing their hometown razed by nuclear hellfire, witnessing as their spouse is murdered and their son kidnapped, and their subsequently leaving the decaying ruins of the vault and reemerging in a wasteland?
  • Many fans believe that the death of Sarah Lyons so soon after her very controversial father is too convenient, with one theory presented above that she was assassinated. This is not helped by the fact that the terminal entry reporting on her death contains very little information, not even warranting a she was killed by Raiders/Enclave Remnants/Talon Company/Super Mutants/Ghouls footnote. There is however another plausible theory. Sarah Lyons was clearly very respected in Fallout 3, with several terminal entries speaking of the fact that many of the men (including the young Arthur Maxson) was attracted to her. She was skilled and trusted enough to have an entire unit named after her that carried with it a huge level of prestige. And she was the Lone Wanderer's personal friend, a heavily armed One-Man Army with companions all over the Wasteland whom anyone else would be very unwise to piss off. All of this boils down to a woman who in all likelihood should have been one of the most beloved Elders in their history; almost the Brotherhood equivalent of the NCR's President Tandi. Instead of an intentional hit, the possibility remains that she may have in fact been the victim of accidental blue on blue fire, something that sadly is an all too common occurrence in real life. We know for a fact from entries in both 3 and 4 that she was the young Maxson's mentor and personal instructor. Who better than him to have hit her with a stray bullet during battle? Who else could have commanded enough respect to bury the true circumstances of her death better than the grandson of the founder?
  • Not too far from where you start the game, there is a Ranger Cabin west of Concord. Inside you will find a skeleton in a dress, a suitcase and a holo-tape of a teenage girl discussing how she was cast out of her house by her parents, told by her father that she should be ashamed and how she "can't go to John - he doesn't even know yet." The implication is that this young woman got pregnant, her parents kicked her out of their house and she doesn't think the father of her child will support her. The fact that this scared young woman died alone when the bombs fell is bad enough. And then you consider how, based on how Sanctuary is the closest town within walking distance and the girl talked about playing in the abandoned Ranger Cabin as a girl, the odds are good that The Sole Survivor knew this girl before The War.
  • It's mentioned that what gives Quantum its blue glow is the isotope Strontium-90. Doesn't sound so bad at first, what with the radiation treatments extant at the time. Except Sr-90 is strongly bone-seeking, infiltrating the bones and teeth, especially in children. Had Quantum been fully released before the war, bone cancer in children would have been skyrocketing.

Fridge Logic:

  • Radiant quests occasionally dip into this due to their randomized locations, which are occupied by all kinds of hostile factions. A prime example would be Hostage Rescue. These quests always provide an option to just pay the ransom if one doesn't feel like mopping up another shipment of cannon fodder in order to rescue one dumb settler. That's completely reasonable if the kidnappers are raiders or Gunners, but it gets slightly strange in the case of Super Mutants. Why? Because Super Mutants neither need nor care for money. They catch humans for the sole reason of eating them.
    • Perhaps they're testing the sole survivor's strength to see if they're worth angering. If you pay the ransom you're presenting yourself as weak and the super mutants might try and seize more settlers to actually eat while if you go and kill them yourself they can leave you alone to find a safer target.
      • The Super Mutant Mooks certainly don't sound or act that smart whenever you're fighting them.
  • Why did Cait's parents wait for her to turn eighteen before they sold her into slavery? It's not like the Commonwealth has any youth protection laws (or laws at all for that matter), and so far the Fallout series has quite liberally demonstrated that there's a thriving market for child slaves in the post-nuclear wasteland.
    • It could be Cait's price was worth more by then and they were raising her to be a beautiful young woman first. Less scummy, by at least a small amount, is they might have been pressed by circumstance.
  • A worldwide shortage of fossil fuels triggered the Resource Wars and, ultimately, the Great War more than 200 years ago. Combustion engines were pretty much non-existent when the bombs dropped, which makes the working principle of the various settlement generators somewhat mysterious. Everyone of them that isn't clearly labelled as nuclear merrily rumbles along like an ancient tractor while belching copious amounts of black exhaust fumes. The largest one, however, requires nuclear material to build regardless, which makes the whole thing even stranger.
    • Most internal combustion engines can function perfectly fine (with the addition of a filter) off of other sources of combustible fuels, from alcohol to rendered animal fat/oil to woodgas.
  • The Triggermen is a mafia-style gang that are the biggest drug producers in the Commonwealth and provide several quests centered around the smuggling of drugs. Except it's clearly demonstrated that all drugs are legal in every settlement; you can buy drugs from every trader or doctor, there's a shop in Diamond City dedicated to selling them, and you can easily craft drugs yourself, so it makes little sense for a criminal gang to finance themselves on something that's not illegal in the first place. In fact most activities of organized crime today are either now legal trades, obsolete, or are already practiced by raiders. This could have been spun into a funny story about how a criminal gang found themselves running a respectable business but the tropes are played completely straight even though they're irrelevant to a post-apocalypse setting.
    • A quest mentions the sale of chems is heavily taxed and they're actually bootleggers rather than dealers in illicit material.
    • Also, just because something is legal, doesn't mean it's socially acceptable under every circumstance. The people explicitly selling chems in cities are often individuals of some medical skill who give out chems as prescriptions. In this sense, manufacturers like the Triggermen are less comparable to cocaine or heroin cartels, but more like off-brand pill pushers with homemade production facilities. They also appear to have a more cutthroat business strategy relying on getting folks addicted that definitely puts them as more of a proper gang, as do many similar chem manufacturers.
  • What is the probability that Dogmeat could be a (more or less) full German Shepard two centuries after the Great War? The dog population of the United States would be reduced to a degree that largely mirrors the decline in human population, and the number of breeding partners available would decrease dramatically as a result. Consider the fact that 200 years would mean at least twenty generations of breeding (probably more like thirty or more), and it seems exceedingly unlikely that enough German Shepards would have survived in the entirety of New England to produce a dog that is (again, more or less) pure-bred two centuries after the apocalypse. That is, of course, unless Dogmeat is a clone...
    • Or Dogmeat is secretly a synth and he's been providing information to the Institute all along. With the existence of synth gorillas it can't be all that hard to make a nicely programmed Gen 3 copy of a German Shepherd with the right biological material. We never see how far the Institute's Coursers and synths reach, so it may be feasible that there were undiscovered vaults out there. Maybe a genetic bank, a sort of Noah's Ark full of frozen animal DNA or even animals akin to Vault 111?
  • Why does Virgil choose to hide from the Institute in the glowing sea? It's not like synths are affected by radiation, not are they attacked by any of the creatures there. Obviously, he's still in the Commonwealth for safety reasons, but it's senseless that he chooses to hide there with only two turrets for security.
    • Its not entirely clear whether or not the Institute knew that Virgil had infected himself with FEV. In fact there is evidence suggesting they did not, given that X6-88 never mentions this fact to Kellogg (and knowing that his target is a super-mutant, and not a human would be some pretty need-to-know information). Its likely that all the institute really knew was that he sabotaged the place, and left with a head-full of their secrets. If they didn't know he was a super-mutant, then the Glowing Sea is an unlikely place for him to hide. (Which the Sole Survivor even points out). While it seems they did know / figure out that he went there, without knowing that he had become a super-mutant assassins would likely dismiss him as simply one of many hostile creatures in the area. The real Fridge Horror is that the first time the player goes to Virgil's cave, there is a Deathclaw sleeping outside. Think about that one for a moment. The Deathclaw can't fit in the cave, so its waiting for him to come out...
    • Additionally, the Institute's ability to teleport synths in and out is based on radiowaves. Of course normal background radiation wouldn't effect that even in the post-nuclear apocalypse of Fallout but an area like the glowing sea certainly would. Assuming the Institute would lose anyone they tried to teleport into that mess of a landscape by telefragging them it would at the very least buy Virgil time. Synths might not be affected by radiation directly but a deathclaw will still eat them no questions asked or destroy the gen 1 synths if allowed.
  • So let's say I mixed five different bottles of Nuka-Cola to make a special recipe... Shouldn't I also get five bottles of the new drink out of that?
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