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"Stay the hell out of the Mojave..."
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Fallout: DUST Survival Simulator is a Game Mod for Fallout: New Vegas that could be described as New Vegas meets DayZ minus actual zombies.

Set 20 years after the events of the game, the Mojave is definitely not an okay place to live, not anymore. It is a dog-eat-dog ruin; where tribals, cannibals and survivalists battle it out for their very lives against the hostile wasteland (and each other), Hoover Dam is all but spent, New Vegas is nothing more than a ruin infected with the same Cloud that plagued the Sierra Madre and the NCR's remaining outposts in the region are shooting just about everyone on sight. But instead of someone like the Courier, the player is nothing more than just another survivor lucky to be alive. All you could do is find a way out, alive...if you can.

Most of the difficulty comes from an overhaul in game's balance, and DUST plays much more like a survival game than Vanilla. Ammo and supplies are rarer, low quality ammo are much more common than standard bullets, equipment is usually found in very poor state and wears quicker, carry weight capacity is greatly reduced, limbs are crippled quicker, the hardcore needs raise much faster, food and water are much harder to find (almost no harvestable plants, no more functional plumbing inside, many of the natural water sources are dry), NPCs and critters (both neutral and hostile) don't show up on the compass, and there's now a sanity meter.

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Has a spiritual successor in the form of Fallout Frost; a similar Survival Horror inspired Fallout mod made by the same author, this time taking place only a couple of years after the bombs dropped.

An official trailer can be found here.


DUST contains the following tropes::

  • Action Survivor: Unlike in the game itself, you're not a badass like the Courier, but just another survivor trying to get out in one piece. Neither can you ever hope to redeem the Mojave. This extends as well to how much easier it is for you to die if you're not careful.
  • After the End: While a bit redundant given it's a Fallout mod, the Mojave of DUST is all that's left of a second apocalypse that wiped practically everything living in it out.
  • Anti-Villain: Most of the survivors you'll face are struggling to get by, just like you are.
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  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Inverted with extreme prejudice. The fall of the Mojave has forced the remaining survivors to adopt (often literally) a dog-eat-dog mentality and made them very hostile.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0 (Regional, Societal Collapse). The Fall has resulted in the complete collapse of civilization in the Mojave Wasteland but it is implied that other places such as California were not affected.
  • Apocalypse Not:
    • Inverted hard with the Mojave Wasteland. In New Vegas the Mojave was one of the safest and most prosperous places in post-apocalyptic America, rivaled only by the NCR. However, twenty years after the Fall, civilization in the Mojave has completely collapsed and the future of the few survivors that still remain looks incredibly bleak.
    • Played straight with the Divide which has developed into a stable tribal society over the last 20 years.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Everywhere. You'll scrounge notes from survivors torn apart by hostile tribes, The Cloud, abominations and oftentimes even each other. Some of these notes are from individuals directly linked to the death of the Mojave.
  • Arc Words: "Let Go" and "Begin Again" come up constantly, referring not just to insanity but to the main goal: 'Letting go' of the Mojave to 'begin again.'
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • DUST greatly ramps up enemies' Perception and field of view. While this makes stealth more important, it also has the effect of invalidating it at times. Enemies have a tendency to loop in-and-out of alert status unless you're well enough away from the immediate area. It isn't uncommon for you to have hid from an enemy only for them to suddenly re-investigate and flush you out of an otherwise-perfect hiding spot.
    • Tunnelers and Ghouls are horrid climbers. Find a high-enough rock/car and you can peck at them all day.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: You can cure insanity with Thorazine, an actual anti-psychotic drug. Thorazine as depicted in DUST isn't addictive, while withdrawal effects have been observed in real life.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Energy Weapons are miracles to find in-and-of themselves and their ammo even more so.
    • NCR/Legion-based armor (as well as the patchwork equivalents worn by Tribals and Cannibals) has impressive stopping-power...and ranges from 12 to 25-or-so pounds; almost a third of your total capacity. The maximum weight a Survivor can start with is 70. Lighter armors with almost as much defense can be scavenged easily and take up less of your space.
    • Mines are way stronger than they are in the base game. However, due to enemies' increased perception and reactivity, you'll never really be in a position to lay them without getting caught; making them nigh-useless as anything other than a spiteful get-away response.
    • The Ghost Hunter perk allows you to kill Ghost People properly, as they're invincible otherwise. But said enemies are consigned to very specific areas of the gamenote  and are very easy to outrun. Unless you're pursuing the McCarran Vertibird ending, there's not much of a reason to take this perk over something more beneficial.
  • Backtracking: Survivors that open Zion's Pine Creek Tunnel have to go through The Long Dark twice; once to get to the marked cabinet with the Key they need, then back the way they came to unlock the door to safety with said Key.
  • Bad Future: The mod takes place in one, set After the End of an NCR victory whose experiments went gruesomely haywire and destroyed the Wasteland.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Not for DUST proper, but for Dead Money. The state of the Mojave is Father Elijah's plan going off in such a way that his goals are met in a slightly different way than he intended. The NCR accepted the Cloud samples he provided and destroyed the Mojave, with even some parts of NCR proper becoming affected. The slate in the Mojave is wiped clean as a direct result of Elijah, as he wanted. Granted, he's not alive to see it, but still.
  • Beef Gate: After a fashion. The presence of cannibals, tribals, Tunnelers and trigger-happy survivalists mean that certain areas of the Mojave are nigh impossible to access unless you're properly equipped or leveled up. Also, a pair of Deathclaws stalk the road near the 188 Train Overpass.....Just in case the Deathclaw Promontory hasn't scared you away yet.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Successfully escaping the Mojave is this. The Survivor has finally reached safety but they had to go through absolute hell on earth to get there and may have gone irreversibly insane in the process. Not to mention that the Mojave is still doomed.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • It's possible to succumb to insanity. But while it opens up unique perks, drawbacks include significantly reduced Intelligence and Charisma as well as hallucinations. Not to mention being irreversible.
    • Most Perks are this now, possessing a Necessary Drawback that comes with the benefit they provide.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • The Courier can be found in an out-of-the-way cave. He will one-shot you if you don't take initiative first.
    • The Legendary versions of the Mojave's big-name predators survived The Fall and will happily rip apart any Survivor unlucky enough to stumble on them.
  • Boring, but Practical: Scarcity of ammunition makes sticks, spears and Good Old Fisticuffs much more of a go-to option. Within reason.
  • Cannibal Larder:
    • Implied in the kitchen in the Cannibal Camp Bunkhouse building. It doesn't contain any graphic gore, but you can find four human corpses lying between the shelves, while the fridges are stocked with strange meat and strange meat pies.
    • The "Meat Lockers" on Primm's western side house piles of Strange Meat and corpses robbed of their skin respectively.
  • Cannibal Tribe: A whole faction of them, populating various places that were inhabited in New Vegas. Cannibals can be notably be encountered in the former Mojave Outpost, in Novac, in Primm, in a fort inside Freeside, in Vegas' sewers...
  • Cast from Sanity: Invoked by a few perks, which cost you Sanity to take.
  • Chopper on Standby:
    • The planes at Jean Sky Diving and Searchlight Airport are in relatively good condition. You can repair them and escape the Mojave if you have the parts.
    • The Vertibird at Camp McCarran is just sitting at the center of the camp...waiting to be piloted. If only there were a way inside...
  • Civilization Destroyer: Not just one but several:
    • The weaponized version of the Cloud which absolutely destroyed the Strip and Freeside.
    • The tunnelers that have dug their way to the Mojave and now terrorize the Mojave Wasteland.
    • A mysterious plague that has wiped out the entire population of Goodsprings
    • And to nail the last nail into the coffin, there is almost no water in the Mojave at all as the Hoover Dam has completely dried up. It is implied that the water has disappeared because it was teleported to the Big MT.
  • Color Wash:
    • The Mojave's climate has also gone to hell. Survivors are met with blood-orange daytime skies and nights that greet them with sickly purple clouds or absolute darkness. As you approach The Strip, the sky often becomes an ominous red.
    • Zion now enjoys a sickly green fog that overtakes it at night courtesy of the killer spores in the air.
    • The skies of the Big Empty are a dark violet. Whether this is due to radiation or energies from the various technologies in the crater reacting is unknown.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Tunnelers retain all of the stats they had from Lonesome Road, an end-game campaign even Level 50 characters in the vanilla game would have issues with. This means they can detect you from immensely long distances, even easier if you're sneaking due to a bug, and ambush you at any moment.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In New Vegas, one of the dialog option when talking with Cass prior to unlock her as a follower is to point out the Mojave Outpost would turn into a deathtrap for its inhabitants if the place is invaded by the Legion. It seems this is roughly Cass' fate in DUST, as cannibals invaded the Mojave Outpost and now inhabit the place; Cass' corpse can be found in the kitchen, another room of the building she can initially be found in New Vegas.
    • One of the endings for Old World Blues imply the Sink Computer floods the crater in an effort to sterilize it. In DUST, the entirety of the Big Empty is a techno-punk swamp courtesy of said flood.
  • Crapsack World:
    • The Mojave Wasteland has definitely become this over the 20-year Time Skip. Outside of the handful of NCR outposts and garrisons as well as the Brotherhood of Steel-controlled Camp Searchlight, there's next to no order or civilization left, the landscape now a twisted mix of the Capital Wasteland and the Divide.
    • On top of that, don't expect the faction-controlled areas to be any less hostile to you than anywhere else in the wastes; everyone's paranoid and armed, factions won't change that. To the point that the number of people who don't shoot on sight that can be encountered in one game could be counted with one hand.
  • Crazy Survivalist: There are still quite a number of survivalists holding out in the wasteland who aren't tribals, cannibals or trigger-happy NCR personnel. And in general they're no less hostile to you either.
  • Darker and Edgier: The mod in a nutshell, which makes even Lonesome Road's Divide seem more preferable.
  • Deadly Gas: The Cloud which is now present at the Strip and Freeside. It's just as deadly as it was in Dead Money being capable of killing the Survivor in seconds.
  • Death World:
    • Nearly everything is dead and abominations are picking at what's left. To hammer home how bad the Mojave is now, notes you can find imply survivors were fleeing to The Divide.
    • NCR remnants and Spore Carriers are the only things that still exist in Zion National Park. The Mordicana infection and The Wendigo it's produced have seen to that.
  • Disaster Scavengers: You (as well as anyone that hasn't up and left the Mojave yet) are pecking at whatever...or whoever's...left to get by.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Newer versions of Dust require the base game's downloadable content. Without supplementary mods accounting for it, the Courier's Stash will get you by for a very long time.
  • Do Unto Others Before They Do Unto Us: The current modus operandi of The Tribals residing in The Divide. Their war with the tribes fleeing Zion Canyon (itself caused by the White Legs invading them beforehand) has convinced them that the best gift anything coming from the Tunnel can receive is a bullet to the head.
  • Downer Ending: Not for the Survivor but for the Mojave Wasteland. The Survivor's mission to escape the Mojave ultimately does nothing to save it and it still remains a smoldering ruin by the end.
  • The Dreaded:
    • The lore points to The Courier becoming this, with implications that he became a Fallen Hero.
    • The Wendigo, who was already the extremely dreaded Joshua Graham, stalks Zion Canyon and is feared by just about every living thing there. For good reason.
    • The player character themselves, to a tribal chieftain who has visions they will come to kill them. Whether you fulfill said prophecy is up to you.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The "Nightmare" level you may visit once suffering from insanity represents a hallucinatory episode where the player character blacks out and regains consciousness elsewhere without remembering how they got there; ingame, you leave Nightmare through one-way doors which sent you to various places of the Mojave. One of those exits is located inside the Gomorrah, allowing to bypass the sewers to enter the Strip.
  • Dump Stat:
    • Charisma. The huge majority of persons you'll meet are hostile, and DUST features literally only four merchants. Let just say Charisma and its related skills Barter and Speech have very limited use.
    • To a lesser extent, Perception. Perception's mostly hot-wired to your compass, which has been nerfed to heck in DUST. The Perks attached to it aren't especially useful and Explosives/Lockpick can both be accounted for with Skill Point allocation.
  • Dwindling Party: The fate of Butch's party in Zion, according to the accounts you can find there. They were picked off one-by-one by the Spore Carriers.
  • Early Game Hell: Your starting arsenal's gonna be pretty dinky no where you start at. Most of the time, you'll average at about two bullets, maybe a piece of armor if you're lucky; all of which are in horrible condition and won't last long. That's before taking in your immediate surroundings filled with enemies that can shred you. The Brotherhood of Steel safehouse is the worst about this: You start with a scythe, no armor and the game's three deadliest enemy types camped out along the immediate area. Good luck.
  • Elite Mook: Tunnelers are already terrifying dangers. They also come in Hulking and Venomous flavors too; just in case you wanted your reptilian deathtraps to have defense and poison.
  • Empathic Environment: The closer you get to The Strip, the worse the dusty climate gets. Reaching the Strip's outskirts treats you to a constantly raging dust storm.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: If dealing with tribals, cannibals and other fellow survivors aren't enough, the Tunnelers from Lonesome Road and a new generation of Ghost People in the Cloud-infested New Vegas ruins are also in town. Don't expect help from the NCR however, as its remaining forces in the region are more likely to shoot you on sight too. Same goes for the Brotherhood of Steel too.
  • Evil Is Easy: Downplayed with cannibalism. Becoming a cannibal has the benefit of providing the Survivor with an additional and abundant food source. However, consuming human flesh hurts the Survivor's sanity.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: The NCR, in the years leading up to DUST, were engaging in unethical experiments with samples of the Sierra Madre's Cloud and the creatures that lived in it. An attempt to sabotage these experiments caused an even more toxic Cloud to consume The Strip and convert anyone using Hazmat suits to save themselves from the storm into Ghost People.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The Survivors holed up in the former Crimson Caravan Company debated on whether or not to explore Freeside and The Strip to see if they were habitable. An outlier named Blake figured The Strip for just another dead ruin and the mission of curiosity a pointless one. He was correct.
  • Fallen Hero: The Courier has become, by the start of DUST, a deranged and brutal survivalist who tortures those who come down into his hideout while shouting that he did everything "for Vegas." Though the lore seems to imply that the Courier was a Nominal Hero from the start.
  • The Famine: The fall of the Mojave means that there are almost no food sources left, forcing people to either scavenge for whatever scraps that still remain or resort to cannibalism.
  • Fan Sequel: DUST is set in the Mojave Wasteland two decades after New Vegas ending and imagines how things went after the conclusion of the Second Battle of Hoover Dam.
  • Feel No Pain: Inverted hard for Cloud Victims, who are in near-constant physical agony.
  • Fog of Doom: The Strip is consumed by one, being an even more destructive variant of The Cloud permeating the Sierra Madre. Entering it without any protection will kill you in actual seconds.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Mojave is implied to have become this for the NCR, those left behind or with the "misfortune" of manning the remaining outposts being on their own for the most part.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • How the backstory unfolds. Over the course of 20 years, growing unrest in New Vegas, the drying up of the Dam, the arrival of Tunnelers from the Divide, increasingly desperate measures on the NCR's part to contain the damage and eventually, the fall of New Vegas to the Cloud conspire to turn the Mojave into a desolate ruin.
    • This extends to escaping the nightmarish wasteland. Going to Zion just puts you in the middle of a battlefield between an NCR expedition and the horde of fungal-infected husks whittling them down. Taking the Vertibird out of the Mojave just sends you crashing in the Sierra Madre, which is still laden with Ghost People and the original Cloud. This latter path also happens to be the correct one in order to escape once and for all.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The Abandoned Home starting point near Westside has an explosive-rigged Mailbox in front of it that's destined to go off the moment you leave since you spawn right next to it. If you somehow manage to survive it, the Tribals scripted to always appear in front of the house will finish you off. Expect a constant state of taking shrapnel to the face then getting sniped as you try to flee. The only way out is to exit the game and restart it, as opposed to simply re-loading your save.
  • Game Mod: While most New Vegas mods will conflict with DUST due to the gameplay/setting/characters overhaul, a few mods specifically made to modify DUST mechanics are available, like bugfixes, removal of owned label on items, re-enabling fast travel, slowing down the hunger/thirst meters' decrease, turning the Courier into a follower, fixing an oversight making stealth useless against Tunnelers...
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Some of the new race options introduced in DUST are lifted directly from the Tribals the Survivor can confront in the Divide.
    • Joshua Graham's traumatic experiences with fire have carried over into his second life as The Wendigo, which is why it's just as scared of fire as other Abominations.
    • Lore repeatedly stresses the lethality of the experimental radiation treatments created by Royst and Bernard. Sure enough, Experimental Rad-X/Radaway will destroy your health without something to counter it. It's really good at purifying beverages, though...
    • Butch Deloria and Jess guard the entrance to Zion National Park because they'd already escaped from there.
    • It's difficult to get proper sleep in Zion when you're being hunted by a Botanical Abomination and the infectious spores in the air.
    • The hallucinations resultant from being Driven to Madness don't go away even if you manage to claw your mental state back to neutral. Regaining one's mind means having to live with one's actions.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Lore found in Camp Golf indicates that members of the NCR at Camp McCarran have begun opening fire on even other NCR forces, such as the rogue Royst-Bernard Expedition. In-game they're all marked as part of the same NCR faction and will not fire on one another.
    • Breathing in the infectious spore-filled air in Zion doesn't effect you personally.
  • Genre Shift: DUST turns New Vegas into a survival simulator more akin to DayZ. The mod's creator admits as well that this was made because of how the Mojave seemed too tame and didn't seem "post-apocalyptic" enough.
  • Glass Cannon: Due to the reworked damage system (and scarcity of ammo), you and your enemies are this. Most guides online encourage stealth-oriented builds that take advantage of critical hits. To bring it all home, there's little difference in defense between a survivor wearing 6 DT armor and a survivor wearing nothing at all.
  • Going Native:
    • Happened to Novac, which has become The Land of Mo-Tel in the intervening years. A Legion Centurion occupied the town during the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, only for food to become an issue. The obvious solution led to the tribe devolving into a mad cult that worships the town dinosaur by the time of DUST. Most of the Legion identity has leaked into the current cult-gospel, though the Centurion has a shrine dedicated to him in a shack at the edge of town; the only proper remnant of what the tribe used to be.
    • There's a note from a Legionaire in Nipton who fell into a tribe after the Battle of Hoover Dam. He greeted an old friend with the Legion's signature 'Ave,' only to get a strange look.
    • Whatever cohesion that held the remaining NCR forces in the Mojave together is steadily declining by the time of DUST. Not only have the remnants adopted a paranoid shoot-on-sight policy for any wastelander, letters left behind by disgruntled soldiers imply barbary has become the norm inside the army too. One unit was shot at by their own superiors simply because they didn't have their uniforms on.
  • Gonk: The new race options note  feature caved-in faces and mis-aligned eyes typical among the Tribals and Hunters you're sure to encounter.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Edwin Royst and Lydia Bernard are the catalysts for everything that went wrong in the Mojave. The poster-children for Ambition Is Evil, they became so consumed by their personal quest to cure radiation poisoning, they became Mad Scientists that mutated many innocent people into abominations and were also second-hand in the experiments whose subsequent sabotage unleashed The Cloud on The Strip.
    • Father Elijah is also this as he made sure that the NCR would get its hands on a sample of the Cloud which resulted in the complete destruction of the Strip and Freeside.
  • Happy Ending Override: A certain sort of "happy ending" at least, which seems to incorporate elements from both the NCR and Independent endings. What backstory the player can uncover implies that the mod takes place following an NCR victory in Hoover Dam that in turn led to the Mojave becoming integrated with the NCR. Things don't exactly turn out as was hoped.
  • Hero of Another Story: While the Survivor rushes to escape the Mojave, Butch Deloria and some surviving locals were scrambling to flee the spore-polluted Zion.
  • Hyperlink Story: The story of DUST is told through packets of random lore found throughout the world. While seemingly disconnected, gathering enough starts to paint a clearer picture of the Mojave's fate.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: It's an option to resort to cannibalism, though doing so does make you more liable into becoming insane.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Makeshift Scythe is the second-highest damaging melee weapon in the mod that can be crafted back to full health at practically any time. While the Makeshift Axe is also self-sustaining and has more DPS, the Scythe has a reach advantage no other melee weapon can boast. Skillful movement (or running speed-related Perks) on the Survivor's part makes every close-range engagement a joke.
  • Improvised Weapon: DUST introduces a new "Makeshift" weapon type: crude killing implements cobbled together from random junk (belonging to the Melee Weapons, Guns, and Energy Weapons classes). For instance, the Makeshift Scythe is just a crutch and a lawn-mower blade crammed together. These weapons aren't the strongest, but are relatively easy to repair. Some of the makeshift weapons can be created via crafting.
  • Informed Kindness: Enforced. The Tribals residing in The Divide are said to assist refugees migrating from the Mojave. Approaching them won't get you to freedom, it'll get you shot. They've been betrayed by so many outside parties it's forever tainted their view on anything beyond their territory.
  • Interface Spoiler: Entering The Divide will display a text-message saying "quest complete" upon entry, referencing the main objective. However, the quest itself does not actually complete and nothing important happens, making it very obvious that this is not the sanctuary you're seeking.
  • Intrepid Merchant: There are still a few hardy merchants around, though it's implied that these folk just happen to be lucky.
  • Invincible Boogeymen: The Wendigo that stalks The Survivor throughout Zion cannot be taken down. All you can do is scare it with fire and pray.
  • Irony: The Mojave Wasteland, once a beacon of hope for the Wasteland, is now a festering corpse with survivors ekeing out their last days in squalor and death. The Divide, a borderline-Death World full of insane Marked Men and abominations, has grown into a prosperous tribal society not unlike the one Zion once had.
  • Kaizo Trap: There are quite a few.
    • Expecting relative safety in an area after a particularly rough encounter is a good way to wind up being gunned down by survivalists or mauled to death by Tunnelers.
    • Applies way more in settled areas like Primm and Mo-Tel. Just cleared out the town and figure it's a good time to scavenge houses for goodies? Enjoy being swarmed by the people that were hiding inside!
    • Mines are real fun when they're placed right in front of a door with no way to avoid them while you're spawning in, aren't they?
  • Karmic Death: Lydia Bernard is holed up inside the Black Mountain radio station. One of the people that brought insanity and death to the Mojave can be gunned down by a potentially insane survivor of the Death World her and her colleague made.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite whatever went down in the Mojave and some of the sketchy projects done in the Strip, it's strongly implied that the NCR is still doing well in California and that Kimball is still President, riding on the triumph over Hoover Dam. And the ending suggests that the NCR saves the day and takes you to safety.
  • Kill and Replace: Implied with Hill Town, formerly Camp Forlorn Hope. Already left to its own devices by the NCR's new scientific priorities, the dust storms and the Cloud they brought with them removed the camp's ability to call for reinforcements. Cannibals whittled the place down over time and eventually purged it completely; posing as the men they'd killed.
  • Kill on Sight:
    • What the average Survivor wants to do to you.
    • The Tribals of The Divide shoot down anything that comes out of the Vault 74 Tunnel due to the White legs massacring Vault 74 and their following battles with the Zion tribes displaced by the Mordicana spores; misunderstandings that got them all of the latter tribes exterminated.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Right before boarding the Vertibird in Camp McCarran, a prompt will pop up that cites how much of a Fallen Hero the player has become and gives you the opportunity to turn down using it. Choosing not to will give you a fair amount of experience in exchange for permanently locking you out of that ending.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The Survivor finds himself stranded in the Mojave Wasteland more than 20 years after the Fall which has completely destroyed any semblance of civilization in the region.
  • Leitmotif: Vera Keyes' "Begin Again" from the Dead Money add-on (the distorted version played inside the Sierra Madre Casino) serves as the unofficial theme song for Dust; heard during initial character-creation as well as from a jukebox in Vault 74 and for when an insane Survivor's hallucination takes them to the Nightmare.
  • Level in Boss Clothing: The entirety of the Survivor's trek through Zion is a cat-and-mouse game between them and the unkillable Wendigo. You can't fight the creature so much as scare it off with fire. You only "win" by snatching the key to the Pine Creek Tunnel from the NCR forces stationed in the Sorrows Camp and getting the hell out of dodge.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Tunnelers and Deathclaws move as fast as trains and hit like them too.
  • Militaries Are Useless: Played With. The NCR's authority in the Mojave is non-existent by the time of DUST. You'd expect the units left behind to organize. They can't even do that, pecking at each other (as one Camp Golf squad learned the hard way) and organizing against everyone else. The NCR will shoot anyone else on-sight just like any paranoid survivor and have no interest in peacekeeping Vegas.
  • Monster Lord: The Deathclaw Alphas still reign supreme over the Deathclaw Promontory even 20 years later.
  • Multiple Endings: Your only real goal is to get to safety but there are multiple ways of going about that, each of which get more complex.
    • The least-obvious ending. With a Repair skill of 75, a Workbench and a number of required parts listed by a dead Brotherhood Scribe, a Survivor can repair one of the abandoned airplanes stationed inside Searchlight Airport OR beside Jean Sky Diving. The plane will fly the Survivor to Camp Adytum and safety.
    • If a Survivor follows the train tracks southward from the former town of Nipton or manages to stumble onto the Legion Safehouse, (one of the possible starting locations) they'll find a tower of rubble they can interact with. It can be cleared away if one can secure 5 very-rare C4 Charges. If this happens, the Survivor can find themselves in the flooded warzone that was once the Big Empty. The last step is to yank a Tampered Transportalponder from Elite Mooks (either within Little Yangtze or The Cuckoo's Nest) which will take them to safety.
    • There's a Vertibird inside Camp McCarran, but the entrance to the Camp is barricaded. The only way in is through the monorail system VIA The Strip. Getting into the Strip is a challenge in and of itself,note  but once inside, a Key to the Monorail should be on someone's person in the Embassy. If the Survivor manages to make their way to the Vertibird from here despite the absurd number of hostiles inside the Camp, the plane frees them from the Mojave....and crashes them into the Sierra Madre. Luckily, a corpse in the fountain has a key one can use to enter a grate near the crash-site and actually make it to safety.
    • Survivors that stumble onto the Northern Passage near the Followers Safehouse may have noticed graves out front. With a shovel, some digging and mopping up of two stragglers inside the passage border-cave, they'll obtain the means to enter Zion Canyon. If the Survivor manages to scare off The Wendigo and make it to The Sorrows Camp, they'll get a Key off of the NCR forces there that can let them into the Pine Creek Tunnel linked to The Long Dark. The door to Safety is right there, but needs a Key. At the end of The Long Dark is a cave linked to the Vault 74 Overseer's Office and a marked cabinet with the final object needed to make it to safety.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The enemies in DUST are seemingly unaffected by the reduced amount of ammo as they can keep shooting at the Survivor forever.
  • Necessary Drawback: Many of the perks carried over from the base game are now saddled with these. For example, the Gunslinger and Commando perks now have, as a drawback, an accuracy penalty on the type of weapon covered by the opposing perk (eg. Gunslinger's penalty affects weapons that benefit from Commando, and vice versa). Another example is this mod's version of Shotgun Surgeon. It now adds a drawback of reduced damage when using non-shotgun firearms. Also, two of the three perks which are unlocked by insanity themselves add new drawbacks on top of insanity's consequences (for instance, "Communistic Wisdom" increases xp gain rate but raises prices by 1000%).
  • Nerf:
    • The utilities of Strength and Endurance get massive cuts in DUST, halving your Carry Weight and HP from the get-go and increasing at lowered rates. Backpacks (though rare) mitigate the weight problem in exchange for Agility cuts.
    • Perception's numbers stay the same but most of the compass-functions it's designed around are gone, making it practically a Dump Stat.
    • Weapons and armor decay much faster in DUST. To say the Repair skill is a requirement is an understatement.
    • The December 2020 Update to Manan's Tweaks removes the ability to auto-repair the Makeshift Scythe/Axe on-the-spot. Breaking these down now gives you a Dull Blade you need to re-sharpen with a Whet Stone first before you can re-craft them.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A Vault 21 employee stumbled into the horrific experiments being conducted in The Strip and sabotaged them. As opposed to getting the experiments canned, it instead formed a worse Cloud that consumed The Strip.
  • Nintendo Hard: The mod's merciless, relentless and oppressive atmosphere extends to the gameplay.
  • No Antagonist: The Survivor's only mission is to get out of the Mojave. You'll face other Survivors and abominations galore but no actual villain is attempting to stop you.
  • No FEMA Response: Zig-zagged. The NCR have essentially disowned the Mojave, leaving all units and camps stationed there to its mercy. A Survivor that escapes however will be rescued by NCR (or Followers allied to them) willing to help.
  • Noodle Incident: The "Nightmare" you can arrive in after an Insane hallucination represents one; leaving how The Survivor ends up at their new location entirely to the imagination.
  • No Name Given: Subverted. Most NPCs (even those important to the plot) are ever recorded in-game as some variation of "Survivor" or "Cannibal," with only lore-bits near them giving you anything to work with. Which makes sense, as you aren't the Courier and wouldn't know them anyway. This is enforced with the Researcher stationed on Black Mountain, who lore heavily implies is Lydia Bernard. There's also the Survivor that attacks you in the North Passage cave to Zion. The note on his person identifies him as Fallout 3's Butch Deloria.
  • Not Completely Useless: The intimidating Ghost People are too rare to take the Ghost Hunter perk eight times out of ten. If you're eyeing a specific ending thoughnote , it's nice to have.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: New Vegas residents closest to The Strip when The Cloud spread outward that didn't turn into Ghost People were robbed of their skin and instead became a new type of Ghoul that lives in constant physical agony. While the majority of these Cloud Victims are half-Feral hostiles that will lash out at anything in range, some have retained their mental faculties and try to carry on the best they can. Emphasis on try.
  • Painting the Medium: Many of the loading screen blurbs reinforce the new state of the Mojave and how Reputation and Karma don't matter anymore. Borders on Deadpan Snarker at times.
  • Posthumous Character: Father Elijah inadvertently kicked off the events of DUST by giving the NCR samples of the Cloud, yet he's little but a decayed corpse by the time you find him. In fact, nearly everyone important to the plot is dead by the time of DUST. The only exception is Lydia Bernard, who's hunkered in Black Mountain. You're given the chance to add her to the list.
  • Posthumous Villain Victory: The Mojave ultimately becomes the "clean slate" Father Elijah wanted. Not that he's around to enjoy it.
  • Predecessor Villain: Father Elijah helped the NCR get their hands on the Cloud during their expedition to the Sierra Madre, helping set the events of the entire mod in motion. Unlike Royst and Bernard, he is long since dead.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: The Courier (who looks like a bald, ghoulified version of Vanilla's Ulysses) can be encountered in a cave named "The Tomb" (formerly Lake Mead Cave). He's hostile.
  • Protagonist Without a Past: Beyond immediate context clues about events in their starting location, nothing about The Survivor as a person is ever revealed.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: The remaining NCR forces in the area, in addition to manning the remaining outposts in the Mojave, are for the most part forced to deal with the chaotic wasteland on their own and with little to no chance of being relieved soon.
  • Red Herring: Quite a few, in part to trick you. Even the escape via Vertibird is one.
  • Remixed Level: DUST reuses the whole New Vegas worldmap, both outside and inside (including the DLC-specific areas), with less visibility (the atmosphere is full of dust), different NPCs, and some places have a different name (for instance, Nipton is now "Burned Bulls Camp", the Yangtze Memorial becomes "Sacrificial Altar", the Mojave Outpost becomes "Cannibal Camp"...).
  • The Remnant: Multiple groups are remnants of one or more factions from the time of the Second Battle of Hoover Dam.
    • The tribals in general seem to have their origins in survivors hailing from Caesar's Legion and the Great Khans, who over time devolved into scattered tribes just to survive.
    • Most of the NCR soldiers still operating in the area are stragglers who didn't make it out of the Mojave in time and have no choice but to hold out as long as possible. The rest are what's left of the Royst-Bernard Expedition, a rogue force sent in to continue the NCR's research that's been gradually scattered and whittled down by the forces of the Mojave.
    • Members of the Freeside Uprising are scattered across the wastes (including the Kings in Boulder City) after their Revolution was put down.
    • What's left of the Mojave Chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel has taken up residence in Fort Searchlight. (Thanks to the NCR demolishing the Hidden Valley Bunker during The Fall) There's also a contingent fighting within the Big Empty, but it isn't clear which Chapter they're part of.
    • It's implied at one point that Tribals descended from Caesar's Legion were present in Zion National Park; fighting the NCR stationed there. By the time The Survivor arrives however, there's barely any NCR left - everything else assimilated (or destroyed) by Vault 22's Mordicana Spores.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Inverted. The durability of all weapons and armor in DUST has been significantly reduced compared to the base game.
    • Played straight with the Mojave Music Radio which is somehow still operational 20 years after the fall.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Downplayed. Feral Ghouls are now significantly harder to damage... Except for their now significantly-squishier heads.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Ghosts are impossible to kill unless you have the perk that allows you to dismember them.
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot:
  • Sanity Meter: Your sanity (Replacing the Karma Meter of vanilla game) has a numerical value attached to it. Doing things like consuming human flesh, getting addicted to drugs, and murdering people cause it to steadily lower. You can regain sanity by consuming alcohol and Thorazine (the latter is by far the most efficient sanity-drug available, and isn't addictive compared to alcoholic beverages). Once it gets low enough, you'll be permanently Driven to Madness.note 
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • The Mojave is much worse for wear after two decades, looking like a twisted blend of the Divide and Capital Wasteland, with New Vegas itself shrouded in radiation and the Cloud from the Sierra Madre.
    • Zion isn't much better, having become a battlefield between a horde of ravenous Mordicana Spore-zombies and an NCR expedition hanging by a thread.
  • Schmuck Bait: If there's a sizable cache of supplies and ammo close by, expect it to be either heavily defended (and rigged) by trigger-happy hostiles or swarming with killer wildlife.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Your one and only objective.
    • It's mentioned that many Rangers deserted their posts once the NCR forces in the Mojave were cut off from official support. This also explains why some of the cannibals and hostiles wear torn NCR uniforms.
  • Sequel Logo in Ruins: DUST's title screen is an eerie shell of the base game's - a gloomy, washed-out variant of the vanilla image whose edges are corrupted with blood red; all while ominous music plays in the background.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To New Vegas, despite being a sequel. In New Vegas, the Mojave is settled by various factions (and is becoming more and more civilized), the storyline consists in joining a faction to resolve the conflict around Hoover Dam, and in general dialogs and alliance play a big role in the game. In DUST, the area has devolved into barbary, the storyline solely consists in fleeing from the Mojave, and almost all people in the area are on "shoot on sight" mode.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Some of the tribals still use the remains of Legionnaire armor and equipment, hinting at their past as part of Caesar's Legion. A number of cannibals meanwhile are apparently former NCR soldiers who went AWOL when the Mojave took a turn for the worst.
    • An interesting case is Cottonwood Cove, which has become a cannibal camp renamed to "Aurelia", still lead by Aurelius of Phoenix who has gone mad and become a cannibal himself. Despite this, he still wears his Legion armor, and governs as if he's still giving Legion-style orders, although said orders are completely insane and arbitrary.
    • A corpse in the sewers wearing Legion armor has a note where he still writes a bit in Latin and laments the death of Caesar. After seeing the NCR's mutants loose in the sewers, he felt that the Legion would have never let that happen had it taken over. Possibly related to him, or possibly an independent Legion group, there is a shrine with the Legion flag surrounded by gore and a couple of NCR sacrifices, complete with a sacrificial knife.
  • Stone Wall:
    • The few remaining Super Mutants in the Mojave are this. Their attacks only hit about as hard as a typical gunshot, but even the best weapons in the game barely scratch them that much. Nearly every FAQ's answer to dealing with Super Mutants amounts to "don't."
    • Evolved Centaurs have thick skins and are helpless to chase after you if you're not in their face.
    • The immortal Ghost Peoples' twitchy jumping prowess belies their inability to get anywhere. Outrunning them is not hard.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The game has a number of these all linking back to major concerns people had for the future of the Mojave.
    • Ulysses warned the Courier the Tunnelers would overtake the Mojave Wasteland within years (if not less). That problem was left tantalizingly unresolved by the end of Lonesome Road and without a solution they've swarmed the Mojave twenty years after.
    • Without Caesar to lead his army, his Legion inevitably collapsed, with many former members reverting back into a number of smaller primitive tribes in the two decades since his absence.
    • The NCR's interest in Vault 22 released the infectious Mordicana Spores into the air exactly as Dr. Keely was afraid it would; making its way to Zion rather than infecting the Mojave. The infection has destroyed nearly all wildlife and driven out its residents, turning Zion Canyon into a desolate swamp that makes the Mojave look lush.
    • The Mojave Chapter of the Brotherhood were livid at the Elder's restrictive bunker lockdown and was afraid it would destroy them. Said lockdown inspired the NCR to suffocate everyone inside with toxic waste during The Fall. Only a few stragglers of the Valley chapter remain and it's implied they've become just as paranoid as the rest of the wasteland.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Auto-Material and Grand .50 rifles are the strongest rifles the mod has to offer. Their ammo is also so rare (and so heavy), you'll probably never use them - much less carry them around.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Potentially, you could graduate from just being an Action Survivor into a certified badass, but it's a challenge in and of itself.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • The NCR, who are the only real "civilized" presence left in the Mojave. But given how much of a mess the wasteland's become and the botched attempts to restore order to the point of blocking the passage into California via the former Mojave Outpost, their shoot-on-sight cynicism might be justified. Not that they weren't jerkasses in the intervening 20 years; they are possibly responsible for the clouds in Vegas, as they were working on a bio-weapon before pulling out and evacuated themselves mere hours before the cloud hit, locking the Vegas residents in. All to stop a rebellion which was mostly fueled because of fear the NCR would do something like that.
    • Likewise, it's implied that the Mojave Chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel has devolved into glorified bandits with Father Elijah's twisted mentality.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • The NCR in California is run by good guy faction Followers of the Apocalypse. Resources are spent on bringing the people responsible for what happened in the Mojave to justice, as well as dispersing the cloud from other places and taking care of refugees from such places. On the other hand, it's mentioned that Kimball is still President of the NCR, implying that he managed to cash in on his war hero credentials while also swaying the Followers to support his rule. One ending nonetheless has you end up in a friendly, NCR-run refugee camp.
    • Zig-zagged with the Divide Tribals, who were originally savages until Junaid re-organized them into a society - after which they started helping refugees from the Mojave. Then Zion's Tribals invaded them due to various misunderstandings and they've been xenophobic since.
  • Truce Zone: For a definition of "truce" in the paranoid Mojave, granted. The Emergency Services Rail Yard is one of only two places in the game where the local authorities (IE: The BoS soldiers there) won't attack you on sight, the other being the hidden food shelter in Freeside.
  • Unlucky Everyman: In essence, you.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • The Divide Tribals tamed the region's wild Deathclaws and used them to chase the Tunnelers out of the Divide...sending them right into the Mojave and worsening The Fall.
    • Daniel sealing the doors to the Pine Creek Tunnel (so he could fight a losing battle against The Wendigo without endangering the Zion Tribes) had the unfortunate result of trapping them in a suicidal Last Stand against the Divide Tribals, who wiped them out.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Inverted with the Jury Rigging perk. The perk provides the ability to repair any item with items belonging to the same category which is not very useful in the original game since you can just pay for repairs. However, the lack of vendors that can repair your items in DUST along with the reduced durability of items makes this perk extremely useful in DUST.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: It is possible to kill non-hostile survivors.
  • Villain of Another Story: You, should you fight your way through The Divide. You might just be a survivor defending yourself exploring new territory. To the Tribes within, you're yet another invader who could (and perhaps will) wipe them out.
  • Viral Transformation: Joshua Graham was infected by the Mordicana Spores the NCR introduced to Zion Canyon. Rather than kill him, it mutated him into the Wendigo.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The mod reveals that most named characters are either dead, hostile or otherwise hostile and insane.
    • The former Mojave Outpost in particular contains the corpse of Cass, who's implied to have been killed when the Outpost was overrun by cannibals.
    • Arcade Gannon is dead in the New Vegas Sewers, killed alongside many of the other Followers Of the Apocalypse.
    • Raul Tejada is heavily implied to have been dead by the time of DUST, though we never learn how he died.
    • In the Sierra Madre, Father Elijah's skeletal corpse is worshipped by the Ghost People as "The Father."
    • The Courier is implied to have become a Fallen Hero and renegade wanted by the NCR. He's found to still be alive and holding out in a survivalist cache near former Lake Mead, albeit ghoulified and heavily armed.
    • Zion's tribal leaders Daniel and Joshua Graham remained at-odds as The Fall progressed and the Mordicana infection plagued Zion. The tribes they led were massacred by the Divide's Tribes after being driven out while Daniel died at the hands of Graham, who was transformed by the infection into the horrific Wendigo.
    • Colonel Cassandra Moore can still be found inside the (now useless) Hoover Dam along with the remaining NCR forces.
    • The King (along with the Rebels) has managed to escape Freeside during the Fall and helped to evacuate several civilians in the process. Unfortunately, he dies from blood loss not too long after reaching Boulder City due to being mortally wounded by NCR soldiers.
  • Zerg Rush: Survivors traversing Freeside will inevitably be swarmed by an absolute mass of Feral Ghouls.

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