Fallout

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This is about the game series; if you're looking for radioactive fallout see The Deadliest Mushroom.

It has been many decades since the winds of the apocalypse blew in over America and took the old world with it, leaving only the Wasteland in its place. The event, known as "The Great War", was the culmination of a long and bloody struggle between USA and China over the last oil in the world. It came in the form of a massive global nuclear attack, which in two hours bathed the Earth in fire and radiation and ended all human civilization. But the human race is stubborn, and not so easily eradicated, and now small societies are starting to pop up all over the North American mainland, and you, the player, can either help them prosper or take away their hope, and watch them wither and die.

Arguably one of the best examples of how to make a nonlinear RPG ever, the original two Fallout games are loved by a small but passionate audience across the world, who laud the game's intuitive turn-based action and detailed world building, which takes its atmosphere from The Fifties' pop-culture and Weird Science stories from Pulp Magazines. The biggest draw is the way the games - particularly Fallout 2 - allow the player to do pretty much whatever they want.

Character creation is very flexible, letting the player specify their age, race, sex, physical and mental statistics, known skills, and special talents. The player is then dumped into a post-apocalyptic wasteland with a distant end goal, no clear means of how to reach it, and a map that gives directions only as far as the one nearest settlement.

It quickly becomes clear that Fallout is very flexible when it comes to completing goals. For example, upon entering a crime-ridden area, the player can help the sheriff to take down the crooks, help the crooks take over the town, or Take a Third Option and mindlessly slaughter every living thing in sight. (Hey, at least there's no more crime!) A Karma Meter tracks the player's behavior, and affects the reaction of other NPCs; if you're too good then criminals won't trust you with their missions, but being too evil means the same for law-abiding folks. If you ever gain "child killer" status you'll be ostracized by almost everyone.

Fallout 2 takes this even further, with the player able to gain all kinds of different statuses. They can be deputized into the police force, become a porn star, join the Slavers and sell captured tribespeople (or their own NPC friends!), join "The Brotherhood of Steel," go grave robbing, or become made men in the post-apocalyptic Mafia. They can even choose to play with an Intelligence score of 1, which makes them barely smart enough to speak, and completely changes the way the game plays.

Sadly, the multitude of options made the sequel incredibly buggy and virtually unplayable without patches (included in today's jewel case versions, so you have no excuse not to play it). Still, despite isometric 2D graphics that look distinctly crude by today's standards, the Fallout games continue to appeal to thousands worldwide because of their incredible depth.

The original Fallout games were followed by a pair of non-RPG spin-offs. The PC-based Fallout Tactics was a tactical strategy game that used settings, characters, graphics and the turn-based combat engine from the Fallout games. Fallout: The Brotherhood of Steel was a 3D, above-viewed shoot-em-up that challenged the player to wipe up the wasteland as a member of one of the clans from the RPGs. They both received variable reviews, although Fallout Tactics has built up a cult following, the console games never gained all that many equals.

Producers Black Isle had nearly completed a third game in the Fallout series, code-named "Van Buren", when parent company Interplay went bankrupt and shut them down. After spending several years as Vaporware, Interplay sold the rights to the series to Bethesda Softworks, best known for The Elder Scrolls, to save themselves from bankruptcy.

Bethesda chose to start development of Fallout 3 from scratch; their game was released October 2008, and is a fully-three-dimensional game with light FPS elements. It follows a Vault Dweller from Vault 101 as he or she searches for a lost father. The FPS elements were integrated well into the experience, and character advancement is far more enjoyable than in the Elder Scrolls games.

On April 20, 2009, Bethesda Softworks announced Fallout: New Vegas, with Obsidian Entertainment as the developers. The game came out on October 19, 2010 in North America and October 22 in Europe (the days the bombs fell) on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Somewhat ironically, Obsidian is run by Black Isle refugees, the developers of the first two Fallout titles, and several Obsidian employees worked on Black Isle's original Van Buren project. Fan reaction is perhaps best described as "a tiny spark of hope shining through lots and lots of cynicism."

List of Fallout titles:

  • Fallout Brotherhood of Steel: Another linear spinoff, this one developed for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Received mixed to terrible reviews and sold poorly. One of the last games produced by Interplay before they went bankrupt. Acknowledged as non-canon.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: An RPG by Obsidian very much in the same vein as Fallout 3, released in October 2010.
  • Fallout 4: Another RPG in the vein of Fallout 3 by Bethesda , released in November 2015. The game is mainly set 10 years after Fallout 3 in the region around Boston known as the Commonwealth.
  • Fallout Extreme: Working title for a canceled project briefly developed by 14 Degrees East which would have been a sequel to Fallout Tactics released on the Xbox. It would have apparently been a first-person/third-person squad-based tactics game with strategic overworld management similar to Jagged Alliance, but never got past the concept stage.

Interplay, during its financial difficulties, proposed an MMO based on the Fallout franchise. They had been going forward with it, but then as of January 9, 2012, gave up the rights to carry on after a settlement with Bethesda.

See Also Wasteland, the series' Spiritual Predecessor, and Arcanum, the series' Steampunk sister game.

Note: Tropes relating to the series and the Fallout Universe in general goes here. Please put tropes that applies to individual games in the series on their respective pages.

Tropes used in Fallout include:
  • Abdicate the Throne: So to speak. Sometimes the diplomatic solution in regime-change type quests involves the officeholder stepping down willingly.
  • Abusive Precursors: The Enclave, the remnants of the United States Government, the main antagonists of the second and third games.
  • Action Girl: Any female PC can choose to be an Action Girl. There's even a Perk with this name for female characters (and Action Boy for male).
  • Action Pet: The dog companions.
  • An Aesop: The tentative aesop of the whole series, and especially Fallout: New Vegas, is to let go of the past, no matter how wonderful it seems. The point is even made explicit in a speech by Moira Brown and (through reverse example) President Eden in Fallout 3.
    • This extends into the backstory as well: the prewar United States was obsessed with the cultural norms and standards of an idealized utopian version of the 1950s, clinging almost religiously to the memories of the past. As a direct result of this obsession, America was a dystopian hellhole under a thin veneer of happiness, where the government actively used mind control and brainwashing to control the populace, political dissenters were sent to concentration camps to be used as test subjects for horrific genetic experiments, safety regulations were virtually nonexistent, and free, independent thought was seen as a menace to be stamped out at all costs. In short, America's obsession with the past led directly to its downfall.
      • This is all epitomized by the Enclave, who claim to be the official remnants of the US Government (although there are more than a few hints of there being an Enclave/Wall Street Cabal controlling Washington before the war as well). Their obsession with the legitimacy of their authority and their mission to reconstruct America just like it used to be leads them to (repeatedly) attempt to scour the continent of all life that was touched by even a hint of mutation (which sums up to around 95% of all living things). They also refuse to acknowledge the reconstruction efforts of the NCR, even though the NCR itself is "based on the values of the Old World".
    • And of course, war never changes. Regardless of how different situations may be, conflicts and fights for survival will go on as long as there is life.
        • And then expanded with New Vegas's 'Lonesome Road': if war never changes then people must.
    • Dead Money has one too, of course, concerning human greed and how it changes people. Spoiler: greed is bad.

"You've heard of the Sierra Madre Casino. We all have, the legend, the curses. Some foolishness about it lying in the middle of a City of Dead. A city of ghosts. Buried beneath a blood-red cloud... a bright, shining monument luring treasure hunters to their doom. An illusion that you can begin again, change your fortunes. Finding it, though, that's not the hard part. It's letting go."

      • Which leads right back to the "Let go of the past" theme.
  • After the End: Nobody knew who fired the first missile that triggered the apocalypse. By the end of the day, nobody cared....
    • Fallout's opening sequence deconstructs this. Everyone considered it would be the end of the world. But humanity still survived, mutated, blood thirsty, and completely shattered, but still the world moves on. The Great War isn't the end, simply one more sad chapter.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: Mostly averted in the first two games—in fact, on multiple occasions the A Is you encounter in prewar facilities are the only things that aren't malfunctioning. Played straight with President John Henry Eden, who turns out to be a computer, and also considers himself a far greater president than any human because of this. Also played straight in Fallout Tactics - the Big Bad is an insane AI and his army of robots, in a Shout-Out to Wasteland.
    • Actually, Tactics has several interesting subversions. Originally, the Calculator was going to be a perfectly rational computer, still soullessly following orders after its superiors were dead. This was changed in the game, where the Calculator is now not a computer, but several dozen insane disembodied brains. The (completely sane) computer itself, which oversees the brain's actions, offers the protagonist the chance to upload his own, sane mind into the machine. This returns the calculator to sanity, and to your control. Depending on how nice you are, this could be an Earn Your Happy Ending or a Bittersweet Ending. Simply destroying it works too, and that gives you the slightly good canon ending. Or you could shove the Jerkass's brain into it, creating the worst ending.
    • Also, robots without their inhibitor pack attack whoever happens to be nearby. Which just so happens to be almost any robot not tied to a specific location.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Insofar as the idea of "crime" can exist in a society with no more centralized legal structure, any sort of wrongdoing will typically be met with the same sort of response.
    • This may mostly be because of the game's programming in the third game. It's the same reason the guards pull swords running to arrest you in Oblivion for simply picking up a cup that happens to be owned, even accidentally. Since Fallout 3 has neither a jail system nor any form of fine to pay for your crimes, it practically only leaves one option: attack the perpetrator. This can become especially tricky if you do this kind of stuff in places like Paradise Falls, since all non-prisoner NPCs will turn hostile permanently.
      • Then again, Paradise Falls is that kind of town where everyone who's not a slave is so evil that you literally get good Karma for massacring the town's residents and, naturally, freeing the slaves.
    • In certain towns in the first two games the situation is similar - in Klamath, for example, if you do so much as insult someone the entire town tries to kill you. Note that the towns in question are frontier settlements with little or no government - once you get to more 'civilized' areas there are militias, sheriffs, and even outright organized police forces, all of whom typically have jails of some sort, and dispense means of justice other than 'shoot everyone'.
    • Largely averted in the first two. For example, child-killing carries specially negative consequences, also depending on the town/city different crimes will be met with different outcomes (carrying counterfeit papers or prohibited drugs may get you banished while other crimes arrested and others, shot down). All the different crimes will also have different values for the karma system.
  • The Alleged Everything: 80% of the tech you find is literally falling apart, broken, or trying to kill you. However, that doesn't mean that technology is useless.
  • Alternate History: The Fallout timeline diverges from the real world just after World War II, with the social, political, and technological status quo of The Fifties enduring well into the late 21st century. The changes are minor at first but continue to cascade as the decades go by. Some of the changes include: NASA being replaced by the United States Space Agency (U.S.S.A.), American astronaut Captain Carl Bell becoming the fist human in space instead of Yuri Gagarin (though the game mentions that Russia and China dispute this), the first lunar landing occurring a few days earlier then it did in Real Life and with a different module and crew, the states are divided into thirteen commonwealths in the 1960s and the American flag is changed to reflect this (it now depicts thirteen stars, twelve in a circle and one in the middle) and then there is the divergent technological development.
    • Note that it's rather strongly implied that this 50s Stasis was limited mostly to the United States, and even in the US there were some slight changes (the band Ratt, and thus presumably the rock and alternative rock genres, are confirmed to exist in the Fallout universe, for example). Also, there's also a running undercurrent that the optimistic happy cheerful retro-futuristic utopia was teetering on the brink of collapse and massive social upheaval by the time the bombs finally fell (a few months before the Apocalypse, for example, the President was unanimously impeached for annexing a sovereign nation).
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: The picture of Uncle Sam with a huge sack of loot from the Fallout 1 opening movie is based on an actual, real-life WW 2 U.S. propaganda poster, and not originally made for the game to parody U.S. imperialism. Of course, the image had a much different context back in WW 2 than in the modern era.
    • If you look closely you can see Uncle Sam is in fact carrying a flag and pole, but the way it's bunched up makes it look like a sack with stars and stripes.
  • Exclusively Evil: The majority of the Vault 87 Super Mutants in the third game (likely Justified by the FEV there having different properties). Averted with the Super Mutants created elsewhere in the first and arguably more the second, as well as New Vegas.
    • The nameless Raider factions in DC definitely count, as well as the Fiends and Jackals and Vipers of New Vegas.
      • The Great Khans also qualify during the time of Fallout 1 and 2, but by New Vegas they have suffered significant Villain Decay to hardly qualify for this trope anymore, and can even be convinced to make a full on Heel Face Turn.
  • Ammunition Backpack: The Minigun, Grenade Machine-gun, Flamer, and Gatling laser from Fallout3 onwards.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Vaults were never meant to save anybody. The Enclave, a cabal of members of the government and some powerful MegaCorps, were considering colonizing an entirely new world once Earth got nuked to hell and back, but wanted to know if people could handle generation ships. So the Vault Experiment was hatched: except for a handful of "control" Vaults, every supposed shelter would have a flaw that would test the population inside. One was deliberately overcrowded, one's door would never close all the way, one was inhabited by a thousand men and one woman (another had the same setup, but flipped the roles), one would pump hallucinogenic gas in the air systems, one was a test to see how an all-powerful Overseer would behave, and so forth, with cameras and uplinks sending all the data to a secret command and control Vault. Suffice it to say that your character, by comparison, got off light.
    • Though one has to wonder, other than for invoking the Rule of Funny, what the purpose of Vault 43 was, which contained twenty men, ten women, and one panther. Yes, it was from Penny Arcade, but it's canon.
      • To see which of the men would be willing to protect the women from the panther. Obviously.
    • Then there's Vault 77, you know, the one with the guy and all those puppets? Total complete waste of space, but at least Penny Arcade got something to make fun of.
      • Not useless at all, but rather quite pertinent to spaceship issues—it's an excellent experiment in the psychology of long-term total isolation, such as would be entirely likely in a risk prone spaceship or lone shuttle out scouting. The puppets were obviously to see if primitive simulacrums of companions would be enough to stave off total madness.
    • Some of these are probably intended to give the impression that despite the seemingly logical explanation, the leaders of the Enclave were in the process of being driven insane by the impending end of the world.
  • Apocalypse How: The Great War caused a Planetwide Class 2. Fortunately, by the time of Fallout: New Vegas, some governments such as the NCR have gained a foothold in the world and re-established civilization.
    • Actually, civilization was re-estabilished all the way back in mid-22nd century, as the original Fallout showed. It just got bigger and better from there. Not so much elsewhere.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Being set After the End there are many in the game series.
    • Also a series of log entries on a terminal in Vault 92 that demonstrate the failing mental capabilities of the owner as she succumbed to some poorly implemented mind control.
    • In Fallout Tactics, you find data on the vault network scattered all over the game. Turns out that doing the robots AI on the cheap was a bad idea...
    • The Enclave soldiers in Mariposa Military Base in Fallout 2 left several holotape recordings of their last moments.
    • Subverted in Operation Anchorage. The player can find a log recorded by a soldier whose hopes for survival gradually fade, but later it is revealed that he was rescued by friendly forces (though badly wounded and heavily shell-shocked).
    • The logs of a nurse called Nancy Kroydon, found outside the Germantown Police HQ. Literally apocalyptic, a few passages are made about the war, a few scribbles of the actual event and further updates of supplies dwindling and people dying of radiation sickness.
    • Honest Hearts also has a literal apocalyptic log, which progresses to a post-apocalyptic log. A former soldier and survivalist left journal entries spanning the 47 years he lived in Zion National Park after the Great War.
    • "Have a happy Holocaust."
  • Arc Words: "War. War never changes."
  • Artificial Stupidity: Stop shooting me in the back with your Uzi, Ian! (Somewhat corrected in Fallout 2, where you can adjust the combat A.I. of your party NPCs.)
    • Stop getting in the way of my shots, Dogmeat!
      • And also, get the fuck away from the force field that will kill you! There's a doorway, right over here! No! Bad dog!
        • Hey, Dogmeat, when I tell you to wait over there, would you stay there, and NOT charge towards the 50-foot tall Behemoth when I'm about to nuke it to death with the MIRV?!
    • Stop charging recklessly at those Plasma Turrets in Navarro, Goris!
    • Stop throwing grenades into the middle of the party, Marcus!
    • Where's Cassidy? - Ask that big green guy behind me.
    • Dammit, Sulik, why the hell are you eating my surgically-removed sixth toe in the middle of combat?
    • Everybody, just because you accidentally shot a friendly does not mean you have to finish the rest of them off!
    • For the love of God, Fawkes, it's a rock! Jump over it! Or hell, step over it! It doesn't go up to your shin!
      • Fawkes, was shooting up the entire of Megaton really necessary? I know Moriarty is kind of a dick, but really?
    • Dammit Charon, it's a two-foot drop into a trench, just climb down... no, don't run away looking for another way down! And he's gone; alright, he'll come back eventually when he finds a way... wait, he died!?
    • For Christ's sake, Dad! There's a wall here, and a fire there, and that turret is not on our side!
      • Whoa, Dad, I guess I underestimated you, where did you get that flamer? Well, there are a couple more Raiders in our way, let's- NO DON'T DROP THE FLAMER AND START USING A TIRE IRON AGAIN.
        • That's not Artificial Stupidity. He'll only do that if the flamer breaks or runs out of ammo.
        • Darn Deathclaws. Okay, Dad, if we just stay behind this—wait, what are you -- oh crap.
    • Sydney, I do not care how awesome your SMG is, you cannot beat the Super Sledge-wielding Super Mutant Master at point-blank range.
      • Jericho... keep up the good work.
    • Hey, Smiley. Do me a favor and STAY OUT OF THE GOO YOU TOLD ME TO STAY OUT OF.
    • ED-E, please STOP ramming into those Cazadores while playing your annoying guitar sound!
      • And you know being quiet is part of sneaking, not blasting your little music clips whenever you see a Deathclaw?!
    • Boone, you know I like your shooting, but that doesn't mean you should shoot every enemy we pass by, especially if we're trying to sneak and they haven't seen us yet!
      • Goddamnit Boone, don't switch to your Machete damnit.
      • BOONE! I know you probably know a bunch of these NCR guys here at Camp Golf... BUT COULD YOU NOT RUN OFF WITHOUT TELLING ME?! ESPECIALLY as I'm about to leave when there are Cazadores nearby?!
    • Veronica, there's a reason I'm trying to snipe the Deathclaw Mother with the Anti-Materiel rifle at a hundred feet!
    • Woah... the Raiders have a Super Mutant Behemoth locked up in Evergreen Mills? That's pretty badass... Wait... Where's Star Paladin Cro- NO DON'T OPEN THAT GATE YET... Goddamnit Cross, could you at least use the Assault Rifle and shoot it through the fence instead of trying to Super Sledge it?
    • Ted (Gunderson), can you at least try to sneak?! I'm trying to save your life from a crazy cannibal, for Dog's sake.
    • Butch, for some strange reason, the Super Mutant Overlord is not scared of your switch blade, no matter how many times you threaten to 'rumble'.
    • For Fallout 1: "Alright guys, you've locked me in a corner, and I really don't want to reload, so would you mind moving... that's it. Good... wait, no, TYCHO! Stop getting in front of me! There are only so many hexagonal spaces to click on! Damn it!"
    • Let's just say that most of the NPCs are Too Dumb to Live.
      • And not just the friendly ones. Even most enemies, regardless of what kind of they are or what kind of weapons they have, are limited to a single combat tactic: "CHAAAAAAARRRGE!!!"
      • This troper has noticed, with a feeling of irony, that Bloatflies are amongst the smartest NPCs - if only by the fact that they avoid melee combat.
  • Art Major Biology: Somewhat justified since the Fallout laws of physics are literal interpretations of 1950s pulp comic "SCIENCE!"
    • Super Mutants are mentioned to have a quadruple DNA helix; they are formed by exposing adult humans to a virus. Radiation (and exposure to trace amounts of Forced Evolutionary Virus in the air) turns those heavily exposed into zombie-like Ghouls, or gives them odd mutations, such as regeneration or harmless DNA screwups. These absurdities are entirely intentional, though. Quadruple DNA helices are real and known to happen in nature, even in humans. However, unlike in Fallout, this doesn't cause fantastic mutation; rather, these quadruplexes are generally found at the ends of chromosomes to protect them from damage.
      • It's a bit more complicated than that. The FEV virus is derived from an earlier project called the "Pan-Immunity Virion Project" whose purpose was to protect people from biological weapons by synthetically inducing quadruple helixes in DNA strands. The side effect of the project was that the subjects grew stronger and larger - this became the FEV virus we see in the Fallout universe as the focus shifted to creating super soldiers. The other side effect of the quadruple helix scenario became that of sterility, and that becomes a plot point. The Ghouls, however, have mostly been RetConed away from FEV exposure, and now play this trope straight by being created only by Radiation.
    • The Ghouls - humans deformed by exposure to intense radiation - can live for hundreds of years, implying that radiation gives you magical immortality rather tha just, y'know, killing you. Excused by the world working the way scientists believed it did during the 1950's. Of course, most people who are exposed to lots of radiation just get cancer and die, like the rest of us. Very few actually go through ghoulification.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Robots take more damage when hit in the head with a targeted attack—but then again, so does every other enemy in the series.
    • Not the Sentry Bots! Nope, the mechanized terror of the Capitol Wasteland take half damage from headshots, and only take full damage from torso shots. The only reason to aim for the head is to cripple their sensors so their gatling machine guns LASERS and rockets aren't so frighteningly accurate.
    • You may be an all intelligent mad scientist bent on dominating the Mojave, Mr. House, but please explain why you thought building robots with ONE leg supported by a TIRE was such a good idea?
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Seen in Fallout 1 with the Lieutenant and the Master. Averted in Fallout 2 with President Richardson, who's a standard unarmed civilian, and in Fallout 3 with Colonel Autumn, who is only slightly tougher than a normal enemy soldier. Played straight in Fallout 3 with Bonus Boss Commander Jabsco of Talon Company (who has a rocket launcher and more health than almost any other character in the game), and Chinese General Jingwei in the Operation: Anchorage DLC expansion (who has an insane amount of health which, combined with his body armor, makes him the 2nd toughest enemy in the entire game next to the 15-foot tall Super Mutant Behemoth, possibly to encourage the player to convince him to surrender instead, or maybe just an example of Executive Meddling on the part of General Chase). Both seen and averted in New Vegas. The NCR President and General are both bog-standard humans, while Caesar himself is only about as tough as an Elite Mook. Legate Lanius, however, is a frickin murder machine (for reference, the guy can take multiple anti-tank rounds to the face and still have more than 3/4ths of his health left).
  • Auto Doc: The Trope Namer. For the most part, they seem to work pretty well, but AI Is a Crapshoot is still in full affect here.
  • Badass Bookworm: Virtually any character build in any of the games that relies heavily on intelligence. The intelligence attribute contributes to skill points granted per level. As a result, high level intelligent characters will almost certainly have mastered a wide variety of skills, including ones related to direct combat.
  • Badass Normal: The Vault Dwellers and the Chosen One all perform some pretty amazing feats.
    • The Lone Wanderer and their Dad, especially Dad, are quite amazing for wastelanders.
    • The Courier. Getting shot in the head almost at point-blank range, twice, and buried while still alive? Meh, some sleep, a tiny scar and he/she's good.
    • Arguably, Dogmeat from Fallout 3; he has absurd amounts of regenerating health and a very powerful melee attack. For a Non-Human Sidekick, he's a veritable Disc One Nuke, since he can be obtained very early on and will f*ck up every single enemy low- and mid-level enemy without any help. Band of Raiders? No problem. Horde of Mirelurks? Enjoy the show. Brigade of Super Mutants? They'll be running scared. He's either a seriously mutated canine or the Chuck Norris of dogs. Honestly, you're his sidekick.
  • Ballistic Discount: You can kill pretty much anyone and take their stuff, shopkeeper or not, which includes killing them with a gun they just sold you and taking back your cash.
    • In fact, if you're trying to stay Neutral, killing random traders you encounter is a very effective karma management strategy!
  • Before the Dark Times: Pre-War United States. While it was better than the Wasteland, in reality, it was really a Crap Saccharine World, and an Eagle Land type 2.
  • Berserk Button: Set from the first game has a very short fuse, and tends to act violently when it's out.
    • Apparently Brick from the third game has one too. Her mercenary colleague Reilly relates a story in which she nearly creates a bloodbath when a merc from rival Talon Company spits on her boot.
    • Rhombus is slightly better than Set, as he at-least forgives you, albeit still as harshly.
  • BFG: The "Big Guns" skill determines how well you can use them. Without question, any given game in the Fallout series has many more BFGs than any other video RPG.
    • Big Guns was removed in New Vegas, with the weapons being assigned to either the Guns, Explosives or Energy Weapons skills as appropriate. However, strength requirements are reinstated, and the formerly Big Guns weapons all have 8+ STR requirement to use effectively.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Actual quote from the museum of technology Vault tour: "Concerned about security? Our eye-on camera allows the Overseer to watch your every move. You'll never be alone again!" Yay?
  • Bittersweet Ending: Fallout ends with the player banished from the Vault forever despite saving most of West Coast humanity. Depending on the choices you made in Fallout 2, a lot of places can end up badly despite your best efforts (or more likely, because of them). In Fallout 3, Lyons' Heroic Sacrifice ending probably falls here, as it's your ally sacrificing herself to activate Project Purity to provide clean, fresh water to the Wasteland. It doesn't solve everything, but it's a start. Of course, you're a cowardly bastard for not doing it yourself. The Corrupt and Coward Endings are even worse. Finally, one of the third game's optional sidequests is a setup for a Shout-Out to the ending of the first (and it hurts just as much).
    • Although you can run into an old cohort from Vault 101 if you make Amata the Overseer, and chat about old times and let them know you're doing okay and still watching out for them, which takes the edge off a bit.
    • Pretty much every ending for New Vegas has some negative consequence to it.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The main purpose of the Bloody Mess trait, which causes your enemies to die in the most horrific ways from even the lightest of death blows. At its best, your enemy may spontaneously be reduced to bloody chunks from being hit by a teddy bear. Fallout 3 made it both amusing and helpful by tacking on a + 5% damage bonus. Even without Bloody Mess, you still get this effect if you score a kill in the right spot using VATS.
    • To elaborate: it is always possible in the first and second games to get a gruesome splattery death, especially with overkilling something. The bloody mess perk means that it happens every time. Its only real drawback was that you had to individually pick up the loot off the ground instead of getting a neat loot window. Fallout 3 fixes this problem, too. The loot window pops up for any chunk you care to click to. Sorting through piles of gibs can be a pain at times, but it's wonderful when Jerkass enemies stand on rafters where you can't rob them.
  • Blown Across the Room: Most guns simply poke holes in enemies until they fall down, but the Gauss Rifle from Operation Anchorage will send enemies flying on a critical hit. It's a good idea to knock the particularly tough enemies down to render them temporarily out of action. Plus, sending giant scorpions flying around ass over teakettle is hilarious.
    • In the original two games, certain critical hits with most weapons will blow enemies (or you!) right off their feet and send them tumbling across the room, sometimes knocking them unconscious.
      • With the right stats and perks, the Super Sledge in the second game can easily send someone flying across the map. This can actually be a problem when the corpses fly offscreen, and become unlootable. Looking at you, Sulik.
  • Body Horror: Several, but none come close to The Master.
  • Boring but Practical: In all games, Small Guns is the combat skill that will get you through with the least fuss. A hunting rifle acquired fairly early on will serve you well for a very long time.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Deathclaws are the Devil. In all five games.
    • The Broken Steel expansion DLC adds Super Mutant Overlords, Feral Ghoul Reavers, and Albino Radscorpions. A single one is way tougher than almost any of the original game's boss-like characters, and there are several locations (such as Vault 87 or the President Metro) where you're expected to fight several at once if you're at high enough levels.
      • The Ghoul Reavers are the worst of the bunch as they're often bugged to where they only take splash damage. At least Overlords and Albino Radscorpions are coded correctly.
  • Bragging Rights Reward
  • Brain In a Jar: Professor Calvert, the Big Bad of the main questline of Point Lookout, is one of these. Additionally, the robobrains (a fairly weak robot enemy) use human brains as processors. Unlike Calvert (who's egotistical and meglomaniacal), the robobrains seem... overly cheerful. While announcing their programming is to keep trying to kill you.
    • It's implied that the brains used as processors were taken from unwilling victims who are still conscious and aware, but unable to go against their programming.
    • Also, the recruitable NPC Skynet in Fallout 2, who can use anything from a chimpanzee brain to an advanced cybernetic model.
    • Several brains in jars serve as advisers to the Calculator of Fallout Tactics.
    • Oh, and in Point Lookout part of your brain is removed and placed in a jar which you can get back when the quest is over.
    • Rex from New Vegas is a cybernetic dog whose brain is in a jar. It can even be swapped out for a new brain.
      • The Think Tanks of Old World Blues, which come with monitors to simulate eyes and mouths. Even more preposterous, there's your brain, who's quite the dick to you.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Despite having almost no inconsistencies with previous games, Brotherhood of Steel isn't considered canon by Bethesda, likely due to the negative fan opinion of the game. Fallout Tactics is considered Broad Strokes canon due to design inconsistencies with the rest of the series.
  • Canine Companion: A dog is a staple companion character in all the Fallout games. Dogmeat serves as one for the player in the first two Fallout games. His desendent with the same name serves as the canine companion in Fallout 3. New Vegas has cyber-dog Rex. Dogs are a recruitable race in Tactics. A dog can be obtained in Brotherhood of Steel with a perk. Non-player characters such as merchants and raiders occasionally have a canine by their side as well. The NCR and Caesar's Legion also join in with the puppy love.
  • Captain Ersatz: Say "hi" to Riddick in Tactics.
  • Cartography Sidequest: In Fallout 3, you can map out the Wasteland for Reilly after you've saved her squad in exchange for caps.
    • Two smaller ones appear in Fallout 2. Vault City asks you to map the grid squares surrounding Gecko and to find a route to NCR. Technically, you just have to get to NCR. It doesn't matter if you go by way of New Reno and San Francisco.
  • Chainsaw Good: The 'Ripper' weapon is, quite literally, a chainsaw stuck on a one-handed sword hilt.
  • The Chosen Zero: When you have a character with low intelligence, pay a visit to your Vault or your native village and the locals will all express various levels of horror that your drooling moron of a character is the only thing standing between them and total destruction.
  • Church of Happyology: Hubology. See the trope's page for details.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Used quite a bit. In Fallout Tactics there is an option so that the offensive words are bleeped out and/or replaced with less offending words.

ALARM! Intruders in the camp! Wake up you piss ant sons of bitches! I'll swear I'll cut the balls of anyone I don't see fighting! Get up you curs! If they escape, God help me, I'll burn you motherfucking still to the ground!

  • Cool Shades: equipping a pair of these gives a + 1 to Charisma.
    • There's also a unique pair of Lucky Shades, which give the wearer a + 1 to Luck.
  • Corrupt Politician: There aren't many elected officials, but for those there are, this trope is usually in full effect.
  • Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: A rather hilarious example, as some dubious journalists saw a Fallout 3 promo shot of a ruined Washington, D.C., without a watermark and assumed it was created by terrorists as a warning. Seriously.
  • Crapsack World: The world is a ruined, post-apocalyptic wasteland, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. It only gets worse, folks. There are giant radioactive insects and arachnids, really unsociable mutants, proto-zombies of every flavor and variety, mass starvation, dehydration, radiation sickness, rampant slavery, murder on a scale that can potentially reach genocide, and generally life itself only continues to remind the human race of how royally they screwed up the planet. Sure, there are examples of civilization trying to rebuild itself, but that results in places like the den of vice New Reno and fascist communities like Vault City. Still, the player can - should they so choose - leave the gameworld a little better than they found it. Or just make it massively worse, of course...
    • Note that the prewar world wasn't much better - both the United States and its main enemy China were repressive borderline-Dystopias with few civil or political rights and highly jingoistic, paranoid civilian populaces with witchhunt tendencies. And by the time the bombs fell, these two were the only fully-functioning governments left on the planet.
    • The developers seem intent on keeping it in the crapsack state by stomping out anything that starts to look too hopeful. The Brotherhood of Steel in the first game was a mostly sensible haven of pre-war technology which could help others rebuilt society. Come the sequel, it's been forced to scatter and go underground by the threat of the Enclave, a group with better technology, organization and much more destructive goals. Meanwhile the New California Republic was heading up to be the best bet at rebuilding the area. In Fallout: New Vegas they are engaged in a war for expansion, and display much more internal corruption and dissension.
  • Creator Backlash: Chris Avellone has apparently come to despise the more comedic aspects of the series, to the point that he unceremoniously destroyed many of them in the Fallout Bible, and has threatened to do the exact same thing to the New Vegas canon.
    • Something to note about New Vegas is that many of the more humorous elements are only accessable through the Wild Wasteland trait. Meaning the player can decide at the beginning if they want the comedy in their nuclear dystopia or not.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Played straight in general: everything, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral, fights just as well at 1 HP as at 100. However, critical hits to a specific location (usually eyes or a limb) can cripple that part and reduce stats or fighting ability.
  • Critical Failure: You can drop your weapon, lose your ammo, lose your turn, injure yourself, and so on. At the extreme end, energy weapons can blow up in your hands. This can also apply to non-combat skills, jamming locks and triggering traps. Oh, and the Jinxed trait in the first two games made it happen to everyone around you, which could make the early game very very challenging since every miss had a good chance of being a critical miss. You could, however, make up for most of the negative effects of the trait by having a high Luck Stat, and you furthermore chose Unarmed, which does not have very harsh punishments for failures, as your primary combat skill, you suddenly have a very effective character build.
  • Critical Hit: Each game has its own Critical Hit mechanics:
    • The Sniper perk for ranged weapons in Fallout and Fallout 2. It made a separate roll for a critical (equivalent to your Luck * 10) after rolling for a successful hit depending on the character's Luck Stat. If Luck was maxed to 10, every single successful hit would automatically roll critical. Even more damage could be applied through the use of targeted shots.
    • The Slayer perk, only in Fallout and Fallout 2, was the Sniper perk equivalent for hand-to-hand characters. Instead of rolling for a critical, every hit was automatically upgraded to a critical.
    • All the main games allowed for a type of critical that would trigger if the target was struck while the player was undetected. Fallout 1, 2, and Tactics had the Silent Death perk, which would enable a critical when sneaking an from behind, and only while unarmed.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Arguably the ghouls are. Sure, they make third degree burn victims look pretty, but they are immune to radiation and can't apparently die from old age. In fact, if they were able to breed they might be considered an improvement over humanity.
    • Super Mutants were specifically designed to be superior to humans in coping with the harsh Wasteland, but it came at the cost of them being sterile and not very bright (with a few exceptions).
      • These exceptions are much more common on the West Coast, especially with the Nightkin, who are generally intelligent, stronger than the average Super Mutant, and are invisible thanks to Stealth Boys. However, due to overuse of Stealth Boys, most Nightkin have gone insane
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Vault Dweller, in his memoirs.
    • Every protagonist.
  • Deconstruction: The first two games (and, to an extent, New Vegas) deconstruct the Idiot Hero. Generating a hero with an Intelligence score of 3 or less makes you have hilarious conversations with the world, true, however you get fewer skill points from leveling-up, you are locked out about from about 90% of the quests, most of the people don't give you anything for your efforts and treat you like a joke. Furthermore can't really make a lasting impact on the Wasteland in general. Sure, you save your hometown, but everyone else is pretty much screwed.
  • Defector From Decadence: the talking Deathclaws in Fallout 2.
    • The Capital Wasteland branch of the Brotherhood of Steel deviated from their original mission (gathering up old technology) to helping the inhabitants of the wasteland. This change lead to a significant number of BoS members claiming Lyons was a defector. So the Defectors from the Defector from Decadence became the Outcasts, who are a lot less altruistic, especially if they see you handling any piece of technology more sophisticated than a gun.
    • This is actually the origin story for the original Brotherhood too, they started out as U.S. soldiers that discovered the horrific FEV experiments happening in the Mariposa Military base which they were set to guard. They executed the scientists and defected from the military, however as this was happening the bombs were dropped and news of their defection was never received by the Government.
  • Desert Skull: The series loves this trope.
  • Dirty Communists: Going by Pre-War propaganda, the entire nation of China. You get to fight a simulation of them in the Operation: Anchorage DLC. Likewise, Liberty Prime figures anyone who gets the receiving end of one of his nuclear footballs is a communist, regardless of what he's actually fighting. Then again, that just makes it better.
  • Disaster Democracy
  • The Ditz: Harry, who is easily the dumbest Super Mutant in the entire series.
  • Doomed Hometown: The first two games start out with the player having to stop their hometown's impending destruction.
  • Downer Ending: If you agree to help the master in Fallout.
    • On the upside, it could also be considering a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the Overseer since he not only went out fighting, he also managed to take down at least one super mutant before getting killed.
  • The Dragon: Lieutenant to the Master in 1, Horrigan to Richardson in 2, and Colonel Autumn to Eden in 3. In Vegas, Caesar's right hand is Legate Lanius, while President Kimball's number two is General Lee Oliver. Benny was this to Mr. House (and you can take his place), and Yes Man is this to you, if you choose the Independent path.
  • Dragon Their Feet: In Fallout 2 and 3, you don't confront Enclave superweapon Frank Horrigan or Enclave military commander Colonel Autumn, who will "spare" you with a successful speech check until after you've already killed the Big Bad President and wiped out the Enclave's main base. Likewise, in Fallout, the final two missions are to kill the Big Bad and to destroy the Super Mutant vats (guarded by The Dragon), and you can tackle them in any order you want (Although canonically The Dragon and the vats were destroyed after the Master's death). Averted with Autumn because ...it's easy to make him go away.
    • Justified for Autumn. By the time you kill President Evil, Autumn's already turned on him.
    • Likewise, in Vegas, Legate Lanius and General Oliver lead the Caesar's Legion and NCR forces during the game's final battle, despite Caesar himself and President Kimball both likely having died earlier in the game.
  • Drive-In Theater: You find a few in 3 and New Vegas. In the latter, it's where you start off the Old World Blues DLC.
  • Drop the Hammer: Sledgehammers and Super Sledgehammers.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Performance-enhancing drugs (Mentats, Buff-Out, Psycho, Med-X, Jet, UltraJet) are all over the place in each game, but also can cause addictions each time they're used - and the withdrawal symptoms that result affect a player's statistics in a negative manner until cured (or unless you keep taking the drug). There are also characters like Cassidy in the second game who can die if they use drugs, and Super Stimpaks can be used as a covert method of assassination as the side effects will cause enough damage to kill President Dick Richardson (or any other 'friendly' NPC), allowing you to take their items without fear of the reprisals that direct action would cause. One particular NPC (Councillor Westin) will explode if you use one on him!.
    • Also the reasoning for Fallout 3 being initially banned in Australia, before Morphine was renamed to the more generic 'Med-X'. This only added to the Hatedom for the yet to be released game.
    • This is spectacularly inverted in Fallout 3 and New Vegas, where addiction is a non-issue if drugs are taken in moderation (ie no more than once every 30 to 48 in-game hours) but alcohol always has a chance of addiction. Considering Bethesda has a habit of making alcohol the bad item in the Elder Scrolls series while making in-universe illicit drugs useful, this isn't surprising.
      • New Vegas features the Fiends, an entire gang of junkies who are undeniably the biggest scumbags of the game.
  • Eagle Land The prewar United States was heavily into Type 2, so much so that they were pretty much outright villainous. The Enclave continues this trend.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Fallout 2 and New Vegas, especially.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Vaults themselves. And let's not forget the ever so expansive Raven Rock. Both justified, as some of the Vaults are supposed to hold hundreds, and in a few cases thousands, of people, and Raven Rock is based on the actual Raven Rock government complex.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Prolonged FEV exposure can mess you up in an impressive manner. The Master began as a human who got dipped in an FEV vat for an unusually long time, and emerged as a formless, tormented mass of flesh that expanded throughout the entire base, merging with its electronics and computer systems, and absorbing any other life form it found into itself, becoming a demented Hive Mind that viewed itself as a perfect being.
  • Elite Mooks: Fallout 1 had the cloaking-device-equipped Nightkin as the Super Mutants' Elite Mooks. Fallout 2 had the Enclave Soldiers in the Poseidon Oil Rig, wearing Advanced Power Armor, equipped with energy weapons and full of stimpaks.
    • Broken Steel includes the Enclave's elite Sigma Squad. And the Hellfire Troopers.
    • New Vegas has NCR Rangers and Centurions.
  • Escort Mission: Fairly common in this series.
    • At the very end of Anchorage, you have to help McGraw and Olin fight a group of Outcast rebels led by McGraw's traitorous lieutenant. Though, the only reward this gives is a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Oh, and an extra repair spot.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: And not just regular Pintos, nuclear-powered Pintos. Broken down, nuclear powered Pintos. That produce a mini-nuclear explosion, complete with mushroom cloud, when you shoot them.
    • It's mentioned at some point that the vehicles' tendency to explode is the result of volatile, radioactive fuel elements having leaked out over centuries of neglect, so it would probably have taken more than a fender-bender to set one off when they were in active use. Then again, maybe not much more, given the cavalier attitude to Health & Safety issues hinted at in some of the old corporate records you come across...
  • Executive Meddling: The reason why two of the Multiple Endings in the original game were cut, because of the Grey and Grey Morality content. It's also the reason for Fallout 2 having the worst Justified Tutorial ever.
  • Expansion Pack: Bethesda Software added a lot to the main questline of Fallout 3 with the downloadable addons, including one module that revisits a key battle in the background of the Fallout world (the Battle of Anchorage), another that allows players to visit a city mentioned in passing by another NPC, and one that promises to address the brevity of the main questline by allowing players to continue the game after the controversial ending.
  • Extremity Extremist: It is possible to play this way in all games.
  • Expy: In Fallout 3, the Enclave Officers greatly resemble the Imperial Officers of Star Wars.
  • Eye Scream: Eyes can be targeted, as can the groin, and is in fact a better target (blinding, one-hit kills). Get your accuracy with any weapon class up to a high enough level, and shots to the eyes can and will solve most of your combat-related problems. Eyeballs are also part of the gibs in Fallout 3, and if a critical hit to the head is scored they will fly out at high speed, sometimes hilariously towards the camera in VATS mode.
    • Even lampshaded by one character's combat taunts: "There's nothing wrong with you that a critical to the eyes won't cure."
  • Fantastic Drug: Jet, Mentats, Psycho, and Buffout, the series stand-bys.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The most blatant is Caesar's Legion, which was modeled in-universe on The Roman Empire and is sometimes hard to tell apart from the real thing. The New California Republic is very much like the pre-war United States. The Shi Empire is pretty much Imperial China reborn. And while probably not deliberate, the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel has a lot in common with early Prussia.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: This has been the case since the first game and was used for its Talking the Monster to Death option. The handful of talking Super Mutant NPCs in the first two games occasionally mention it.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Technically the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system is classless. However, in the first two games there are three character templates that are implied to be optimal for completing the game: the "warrior", "thief" and "diplomat" templates. The three premade characters in both Fallout 1 and 2 always fit these templates.
    • Though in Fallout 1.. It's hinted in future games that the diplomat was canon.
  • Final Death: Once a team member is killed, they're dead forever. This is Earth, not Toril, and there are no such things as resurrection spells. In the first two games, every NPC (including essential quest killers) is killable. In Fallout 3 every character except children and those deemed essential are, meaning you can always progress in the game but can screw yourself out of a lot of potential loot and XP.
    • In New Vegas, your allies are just KOed for a few seconds in normal mode. In Hardcore, though, it's Final Death.
  • Five-Token Band: Your party can include humans, ghouls, a Super Mutant, assorted robots, various dogs, and even a friendly neighborhood Deathclaw!
    • During the Fallout 2 era, the NCR military is a diverse mix of humans, ghouls, and Super Mutants, making NCR squads some of the most powerful units in the Wasteland. By the New Vegas era, though, social attitudes in the NCR have regressed significantly under men like President Kimball; Super Mutants are apparently no longer welcome, and ghouls are only grudging tolerated (although several ghouls still serve in the more progressive Rangers). The NCR military is significantly weaker as a result.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Deathclaws. What pre-war animal did they mutate from? Jackson's Chameleons.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Loads of them
    • Strength. Perception. Endurance. Charisma. Intelligence. Agility. Luck.
    • Generalized.Occupational.Aptitude.Test.
    • Garden of Eden Creation Kit.
    • Vault-tec Assisted Targeting System.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Fawkes is a Super Mutant, and also a potential follower. Naturally, Super Mutants are not exactly well-liked, but because Fawkes is a follower, no one will bat an eyelash in even the most heavily populated of places. Even the Brotherhood, which makes a living hunting these monsters, will not care. Fawkes lampshades this by commenting on how surprised he is that people won't shoot him on sight simply because he is in your company. It is subverted in one instance, though; if you bring Fawkes along for the Reilly's Rangers quest, the Rangers on the roof will turn hostile the second you hit the steps. They've been fighting Super Mutants for a while now, after all, and the sight of another isn't helping. Of course, if you tell Fawkes to hang back, greet them, then pick him up, they will not care.
    • Fridge Logic: Fawkes can only be recruited if you have good karma. The reason no one shoots at him is because they trust you that much.
  • Gatling Good: Miniguns are generally pretty good weapons, though not particularly reliable against heavily armoured opponents. They tend to veer between Ludicrous Gibs and just bouncing off.
    • In Fallout 1 and 2, the game calculates a critical hit for every shot fired, so the burst of a gatling gun can still tear you to pieces if you're wearing the best armor in the game and have a crazy amount of HP.
    • They also tend to hit folks you weren't aiming for, such as other enemies, innocent bystanders, and your own party members.
    • And are oddly terrible in New Vegas, where Damage Threshold subtracts flat damage from each individual bullet, meaning anyone with armor takes minimum (20%) damage. And by the time you can afford both the 'gun and the mountain of ammo you'll need, most enemies WILL have armor.
  • Gay Option: Only for lesbians in the first game, but in Fallout 2 there are options for both sexes, though slightly more for women than men (though only men can have kids, by sleeping with female NPCs; one area has not one but two alternate endings because of this). Fallout 3 mostly avoids the issue altogether by not even including a straight option. Male and female player characters can hire Nova, the town prostitute in Megaton, and Bittercup, the town goth in Big Town, develops a crush on the player regardless of gender (though her crushes are mostly her turned into a Perky Goth and giving you whatever crap she found in the patrols). You can also nail one ghoul chick in Necropolis, she gives you a stimpack.
    • New Vegas adds 2 new perks, Confirmed Bachelor for men, and Cherchez La Femme for women, which will give special dialogue options when dealing with an NPC of the same sex, (and a 10% damage bonus against the same sex) much how the Black Widow and Lady Killer perks function when dealing with the opposite sex. If you have this perk, you can recruit one follower (which one depends on your gender, there's one for each) bypassing the usual skill check needed by flirting with them, essentially giving you a same sex romantic option. If you are a man with the perk, you can also get all your stuff repaired for free any time you want by flirting with an NPC and asking him to be "friends." Unrelated to the perk, but you can also hire same-sex prostitutes, male or female, in New Vegas if you should so choose.
  • Generation Xerox: Everyone from the original Vault 13 Dweller's bloodline seems to have pure Badass embedding in their genes. First there is the original Vault Dweller, who stops a plot to turn the population of the Wasteland into super mutants by destroying 2 underground lairs, saves quite a few communities along the way, and ends up as the chief of a tribe, before going adventuring again in old age, presumably dying somewhere out in the wastes. Then, 80 years later, his grandchild, The Chosen One, stops a plot to commit a holocaust on the Wasteland by blowing up an oil rig, again saving some developing communities along the way, and ends up becoming head of a new civilization. And then there is the Chosen One's illegitimate bastard-child he had with one of the women from the Bishop crime family, who, already at age 13, takes control over the family, and leads it to victory over New Reno's other crime families and, despite been a powerful mafia boss in crime ridden city at a time where the average lifespan is about 35 years, manages to live the age of 73, where he dies peacefully in his sleep.
    • There is also the widely-held belief among the Fallout 3 community that the protagonist of said game is in fact a descendant of the original Vault Dweller. Why? Well, because he had been born in Rivet City and not Vault 101 and moved there as a baby after his Father abandoned Project Purity. Nobody knows where his mother, or his father for that matter, come from. If he is related to the Vault Dweller, then that means that one of his parents is too and with that amount of badass in your blood the trek from NCR across the irradiaded heartland of the USA to the east coast seems like a cakewalk.
      • The fact that daddy can take down supermutants with his fists after you get him out of Tranquility Lane would be solid evidence.
      • Oddly enough, in Fallout: New Vegas you can find a picture of the Lone Wanderer's parents in Vault 21. This is looking more and more likely...
    • Likewise, the Cassidys are also hardasses with a tendency to associate with legendarily awesome people.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: The "forced evolutionary virus," although it doesn't quite work as intended.
    • In this case, literally the new nuke, as it was intended to supplement nuclear warfare.
  • Giant Robot: Fallout Tactics features a few as enemies towards the end of the game. Best dispatched at long range with volleys of plasma/laser fire.
    • Liberty Prime.
  • Global Currency: Bottle caps in the first game, endorsed by the Water Trader's Union, which also mints them (many of the 'caps' are not actually caps but rather cap-shaped coins). New California Republic Dollars in the second, as the NCR is the dominant power in the region. Ring pulls in Tactics. Caps again in Fallout 3, since it takes place 3000+ miles away from the NCR and there is no group big enough to mint money on the East Coast. Caps again in New Vegas because the NCR lost the gold it backed its dollars with. (There is NCR paper money and Legion coin, but those are treated as barter items in most cases.)
    • NCR money being abandoned in favor of caps is more political in New Vegas (a loading screen mentions that NCR currency is now backed in purified, radiation-free water, which is arguably more valuable than gold), as New Vegas is independent from NCR, in some cases aggressively so (note the billboards with "FUCK NCR!" spraypainted on them littering the wasteland).
    • Also somewhat subverted in Fallout 2: there is a quest to help a treasure hunter find a great and valuable treasure, which ends up being a bag of tens of thousands of bottlecaps - which would have been a godsend around the time the first game took place, but at this point they are, of course, completely worthless. There's also Redding mine scrip, which only has value in the town of Redding and isn't even worth the paper it's printed on anywhere else.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Brotherhood of Steel in general, though it does have a few genuinely kind members.
    • Despite being one of the nicest major factions in the series, many of the New California Republic's actions in Fallout 2, such as hiring raiders to attack Vault City and having dealing with the crime families at Reno, are morally questionable. There are also certain political elements within the government who are attempting to turn the alliance into more of fascist police-organization.
      • They're not all sweetness and light in New Vegas, either.
        • As one NPC puts it, "their heart is in the right place, but their head is up their ass!"
  • Grenade Tag: Planting explosives on someone via pick-pocketing.
  • Groin Attack: The first two games featured the groin as a legitimate target on any creature. Yes, you can punch rats in the groin. Even better, you can sledgehammer a rat in the groin. Which is still nowhere near as twisted as firing a rocket at a child's groin.
  • Hegemonic Empire: New California Republic have annexed regions by military force, but they prefer to expand through peaceful settlement and inviting existing frontier settlements to join them. By the time of Fallout: New Vegas, it is engaged in a three-way power struggle over control of New Vegas, a very advanced, prosperous, and independent settlement.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: The Vault Dweller, the Chosen One, the Lone Wanderer and, most recently, The Courier. The Brotherhood Initiate is an aversion, since he/she is one of three available characters.
    • Characters in the first two games refer to you by your name so long as they are not voice acted.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Many dialogue options in invoke this character trope.
  • Hero of Another Story: Many, but especially your companions.
    • Harold, who has lived for almost four centuries, been in every game but Tactics, has wandered almost the entire United States Wasteland, was buddies with the Master before they were both mutated, and may eventually bring life back to the world.
  • Hide Your Children: Majorly averted in Fallout 1 and Fallout 2. Kids are a regular part of the civilian population, and you can freely blow them away in a variety of gruesome ways. The game even produces funny * wink* * wink* * nudge* * nudge* combat dialogue if you do so. Further, in one town, you are practically encouraged to do so, as the little bastards hang around in front of quest-critical stores and attempt to pickpocket you (and no matter how high your steal skill, it's nigh-impossible for you to take what they have back; you have to buy them from the merchant they report to). Note, however, that actually killing children will mark you as a "Child Killer," which causes pretty much everyone except the most evil characters to hate you on sight. This was taken literally in the European releases of both games, in which the children were simply made invisible (they're still there - they will steal from you and occasionally say things and can be killed with explosives). Fallout 3, though used the "children are present but invulnerable" variant (though you can at one point help a slaver kidnap one and sell another into slavery yourself).
  • Horror Hunger: Cannibalism is a mutation. Ordinary humans who eat human flesh too often sicken and die, but a subset have a natural hunger for human flesh and an ability to eat it without getting fatal rad poisoning (at least not as fast). Several organizations of cannibals exist who have either kicked the habit, tried to, or found a substitute.
  • Human Resources: In Fallout 1, your character could discover through simple investigation that the meat used by Iguana Bob, the local fast food vendor, was secretly made out chopped up human cadavers. If the player has high enough stats they can blackmail Bob. By Fallout 2, his great-grandson has built an entire franchise...
  • 100% Heroism Rating
  • Humanoid Abomination: Frank Horrigan, the genetically engineered synthetic cyborg homocidal maniac specially created by the Enclave, who is forever sealed in a suit of power armor that continually pumps him with life support.
    • Dead Money, Fallout: New Vegas DLC, has the Ghost people. The Cloud apparently changed normal human beings into feral, nocturnal, gas proof, limb-regenerating, and hard to kill abominations sealed in hazmat suits, with their only purpose now being to stab, throw a spears, and chuck bombs.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Played straight, eating nets you a few HP. This can also be gained as a perk, it increases your vulnerability to poison and radiation, but increases the health you get back from food and medicine.
    • Builds favoring the Survival skill over Medicine in New Vegas can actually heal gunshot wounds better by eating than by using stimpacks. There's even a drug ("Hydra") that can regrow broken limbs!
  • Hypocritical Humor: Liberty Prime has a few choice slogans that fall into this category. "Democracy is non-negotiable!"
  • Identical Grandson: Confirmed by Fallout: New Vegas; the Chosen One from Fallout 2 looks almost exactly the same as his grandfather. And is just as Badass.
  • Idiot Savant: Your character can be mentally retarded to the point of being incapable of forming coherent speech, but can still learn to hack advanced computers and repair complex machinery. Lampshaded by Loxley in the original:

Loxley: Bloody fine job making it through the defenses, mate! I'm rather impressed. Toss me your name!
You: Nuhhh?
Loxley: Well, "Numa-numah-num-nuhhh", how did a total moron, such as yourself, get past my defenses? Sorry, no idiot savants allowed, we like good conversation here. Jasmine, show our drooling friend the door please.

  • I Love Nuclear Power: Both subverted and played straight. Most of the wildlife has been hideously mutated by the Forced Evolutionary Virus, which has itself been mutated by the radiation, which is what results in the weird mutations. This, of course, leads to giant cockroaches, flies, and scorpions, provides ghouls with immunity to radiation poisoning and a nasty skin condition, as well as giving the player character a few perks, rather than premature baldness, brittle bones, sterility, or a slow death. On the other hand, an excess of radiation will kill you and ruin your stats until you deploy the RadAway. Oh, and make you grow an extraneous toe in Fallout 2.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The cannibal perk, along with some stuff in the first and second. Andale in the third.
    • New Vegas even adds the option to harvest dead bodies for a snack later. On top of that, cannibalizing a corpse is the ONLY way to instantly regenerate health in Hardcore mode.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers / Multi Melee Master: If you have a high enough MELEE score, you can use anything from a steak knife to a flaming lawnmower blade to a chainsaw to a genuine Masamune katana.
  • Inescapable Ambush: Having a very good or very bad (karmically) character is a good way to have a price put on your head. A very good character is less likely to encounter an ambush that's inescapable, though, particularly with a high level of Outdoorsman. The ambushes in general start being (somewhat) escapable in Fallout 3, as long as you don't Fast Travel, or exit from underground too often. That game decides to add a separate and special Inescapable Ambush set by the Enclave right after you get the G.E.C.K., but that's a cutscene rather than combat-based.
    • And if you switch your karma during your career, you'll end with both side hunting you (and shooting each other).
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Alien Blaster and the Fat Man in the third game. They're so powerful they will kill anything in one shot (except Behemoths, who can tough out a few hits). The fact they have a finite amount of ammo keeps them from being a Game Breaker.
    • And there's the Infinity Plus 1.5 Sword, the Firelance, a unique Alien Blaster spawned by a random trigger.
    • Don't forget the Infinity Plus Two Sword, the experimental MIRV which is just a Fat Man that fires 8 mini-nukes at a time.
    • Operation Anchorage gives you a literal Infinity Plus 1 Sword: General Jinwei's Shocksword. A sword with a taser built-in. It hurts. A lot.
      • Which is unfortunately beaten by the handmade flaming sword, provided you have the pyromaniac perk...
    • Also, the Gauss Rifle from Fallout 2. In Fallout 3 and New Vegas, it is more of an Infinity-1 Sword to the Alien Blaster and YCS/186 respectively.
    • Fallout 1 had an Infinity+1 Sword in the form of the Alien Blaster pistol, the game's most powerful weapon, which used energy plasma ammo and thus (theoretically) had potentially unlimited usage. However, it only appeared in a rare random encounter (a literal Luck-Based Mission, meaning your Luck stat - it influenced your chance of positive random encounters, and the Alien Blaster required a very high Luck to even have a chance at getting) that didn't occur in every playthrough. It also had the downside of relatively limited range, but most characters could still fry a Deathclaw before it laid a finger on them.
    • The Gauss Pistol in Fallout 2 was always potent, and with the right build had the potential to regularly kill 6 enemies each turn.
    • The Terrible Shotgun in Fallout 3 was capable of truly obscene damage when combined with sneak attacks and Perks that increased critical damage, in some cases able to kill the mighty Super Mutant Bohemoth in a single shot.
    • Similarly, the YCS/186 from Fallout: New Vegas is also extremely ridiculous. It's a unique gauss rifle with a scope that is accurate at all ranges, and can deal a ton of damage with the right perks and skills. In fact, it's possible to completely take down the final boss in one shot quite easily.
    • The MF Hyperbreeder Alpha, a laser recharger pistol added with the Gun Runners Arsenal DLC. An automatic laser pistol that fires three-shot bursts in VATS mode, recharges its own ammo quickly, and does some significant damage. While not apoclyptically powerful, it's reliable enough to keep you safe against all but the most overpowering opponents.
  • Instant AI, Just Add Water: At least one in each game... ZAX in Fallout, SKYNET (no, not that SKYNET) in Fallout 2, and President Eden (also of the ZAX series) in Fallout 3. Interestingly, ZAX and SKYNET are mostly benevolent (although it's suggested SKYNET is not to be entirely trusted), although Eden ends up as the game's Big Bad.
    • At the end of Fallout Tactics, after defeating a army of cold, merciless robots and exploding the front door of Vault 0 with a nuke, you came face to face with the Calculator, a super-powerful AI that's pretty much Instant AI, except you had to add... BRAINS. Human brains, if possible, but rat brains worked as well. Some other robots are also powered like that, like the Robobrains, SKYNET and Protectons.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The constant insurmountable piles of concrete scattered around downtown D.C. that prevent any sort of easy movement through the city are very irritating, forcing the player to use the sewers to get around. Especially annoying, considering similar piles of concrete that have the advantage of not being located at the edge of an area are quite easy to climb.
    • The earlier 2.5D games, particularly Fallout 2, had several. They're generally not annoyingly placed to move the player character down an arbitrary path, but at least one does keep him or her from reaching a stash of juicy items.
    • The player encounters the Highwayman early in Fallout 2, only to have the other Highwayman (with the parts required to fix the first car) require a lengthy battle through the sewers to reach , despite being roughly 20 feet away to begin with.
      • Fallout: New Vegas has some particularly lazy examples of this; the overworld is cut into cells to ease loading times, and one can only transit between cells at passes. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell this to the designers who made the visual landscapes, meaning the Courier is often unable to climb two-degree slopes at the edges of cells. In particularly buggy areas such as the area aound Nelson, the Courier can end up several dozen feet off the ground by skimming a cell edge.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: In the first two games, all characters were killable by the PC, but were never subject to random deaths by other objects in the gameworld outside of battles that put NPCs in harm's way, such as the large Regulator shootout in the Boneyard in Fallout 1.
    • Also, NPCs accidentally hitting (usually shooting) other NPCs in combat would often cause the injured party's AI to retaliate, along with other NPCs on the injured party's computer-defined "team." In a densely populated area such as the Den with many "teams" a few stray bullets or molotov cocktails can easily result in the townspeople all but wiping each other out with no input from the player. Very not invulnerable. And also amusing.
  • It Got Worse: In Fallout 1, the shattered post-nuclear war civilization seems pretty bad. However, it's downright civilized compared to Fallout 2, where prejudice, slavery, drug abuse, and rampant crime become virtually endemic everywhere except the New California Republic (The NCR, meanwhile, can become something of an imperialist police state depending on the player's actions). This actually makes sense; in Fallout 1, most people are still just decent folks trying to survive, crime is the exception rather than the rule, and everyone is less than a generation removed from pre-war civilization, so old civilized values still linger. By Fallout 2, everyone has been living by "the law of the jungle" for several generations, with the values of pre-war civilization not even a memory except in the NCR. In Fallout 3, civilization seems to have settled somewhere between the state of the world in the first two, at least where D.C. is concerned.
    • Subverted in New Vegas, the most recent and the chronologically latest game. The Outer Vegas area mostly escaped nuclear attack, and the Vegas Strip itself is still running and open for business. The NCR and the Legion provide stable, functioning governments in their respective territories (although the former is open to corruption and bureacratic incompetence while the latter is prone to brutality, slavery and misogyny and beholden to the whims of an insane dictator). The Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel have retreated, and the only real threats left are petty bands of raiders.
  • It Just Bugs Me: The ending of the third game prior to Broken Steel bugs so many people that it has the dubious honor of having its own page.
  • I Want My Jetpack: Nuclear cars were a big thing in the 50's, and were thought to be replacing gas-powered ones. They obviously didn't work out. The retro-future of Fallout began to gradually phase out gas engines in favour of miniature reactors in the mid-2070s, because by that point the world's supply of gasoline was nearly exhausted. This is a major part of the backstory - the Resource Wars that eventually led to the whole nuclear apocalypse were fought over petroleum, and uranium once the world's petroleum was depleted. In the first two Fallout games nuclear-powered vehicles were extremely rare, with most vehicle wrecks you find being of conventional, non-explodey gasoline-powered cars. Nuclear-powered cars were presumably more common on the East Coast because either the factory producing them was closer or they were simply more widely distributed there, although the most likely explanation is simple Rule of Cool.
    • Note that the Highwayman of Fallout 2, the only driveable vehicle in the main canon, is an electric car and is charged using the same power cells as laser weapons.
  • Jerkass: It probably has something to do with the fact that their entire civilisation has been reduced to rubble and every day is a struggle for survival, but even setting aside the various raiders, slavers and other such Complete Monsters, there sure are a hell of a lot of assholes wandering around. Almost every single person you meet has some kind of chip on their shoulder.
  • Jossed: According to Word of God, Fawkes is and was always male.
    • Fawkes could have been determined to be male from the start by the seam patterns on his tattered vault jumpsuit: they match the Male vault suit.
  • Karma Meter: Not displayed on screen, but as a number in your character information in the first two (and abstracted into five terms in the third, each referencing a different amount). It affects NPC reactions, and can cause hostiles opposed to your philosophy to ambush you.
    • It's also slightly broken in every game in the series. Remaining neutral is virtually impossible - you can be a heartless profiteer who only helps people if they can pay well enough and still end up revered as a living saint. Actually being neutral requires you to actually go out of your way to do some evil things to balance out your good ones or vice versa, because virtually every quest in the series gives you either good or bad karma, with practically no karma-neutral options. Choices are usually limited to Mother Theresa or baby-eating except in a few select situations.
    • Hilariously, killing Fiends (violent drug addicts) in New Vegas grants an obscene amount of Good Karma, meaning that wiping out their den in Vault 3 has a very good chance of bringing a Very Evil character to Very Good.
  • Killer Robot: Robots in general are fairly homicidal in this series, but special mention has to go to Cerberus, guard dog of the Ghoul city Underworld. He will extol the virtues of his Ghoul masters, then curse the "pansy zombie programming" which prevents him from slaughtering them. If you have the Robotics Expert perk, you can remove his combat inhibitor. Hilarity Ensues, since Cerberus by himself can slaughter the entire population unaided in some cases. Of course, he'll try to kill you given the chance, too, but he's not that strong compared to you.
    • Indeed, every robot, at least in 3 anyway, seems to have the potential to become this; a mere Combat Inhibitor is all that stands in its way of going on a blood-soaked rampage.
  • Knight Templar: The Enclave, at least in Fallout 2. All mutants must die for the 'true' humanity to rise again. 'All mutants', at this point, is basically all of the surviving humans.
    • The Brotherhood of Steel's dogma maintains that they're the guardians of the all the old world's advanced technology. They therefore hoard all the tech they have without sharing, and steal tech from their neighbours to "keep it (the technology) safe from abuse". They help you against The Enclave because the latter are a threat to their technological superiority.
    • The Mid-Western Brotherhood of Steel, based in Chicago, are a little better in that they interact peacefully with the tribals around them and help them. They are still a fascistic militant group and their 'interaction' is basically a glorified protection racket "for your own good", but they at least seem intent on including outsiders in building a better tomorrow.
  • Lampshade Hanging: There's a lot of this, whether it be by NPCs or by the main character him/herself, particularly the Chosen One from the second game, provided he/she isn't an idiot.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Red Ryder Limited Edition BB Gun. It does virtually no damage to enemies... unless you hit them in the eyes, in which case it becomes the most powerful weapon in the entire game and has a near 100% crit rate, regularly resulting in Ludicrous Gibs even against Super Mutants and Nightkin. It is, however, useless against enemies that don't have eyes.
    • The same BB Gun makes it's return in New Vegas. The weapon has an extremely high critical damage multiplier and perfect accuracy, and while hidden, with the right perks, its damage output surpasses everything short of an Anti-materiel rifle with a sneak attack critical.
  • Living Legend: By the end of any given game, the protagonist will have been everywhere, met everyone, changed everything for better or worse, and become a legend. Or maybe you just skipped right to the end, because you can do that.
  • Living Relic: Despite the nuclear annihilation and the 200+ years that have passed since then, there are still several characters that serve as living remnants of pre-war America. There are a significant number of pre-War ghouls (most prominently Lockhart from Point Lookout, Raul from New Vegas, and Dean Domino from Dead Money), a handful of sentient computers (ZAX, SKYNET, Button Gwinnett (possibly), and President Eden), a few Brains In A Jar (Professor Calvert, the Think Tank), and a few pre-war individuals who were preserved in suspended animation (Mr. House, the Tranquility Lane inhabitants, and the prisoners aboard Mothership Zeta). Of them all, most have either adapted to the new world (in the case of the Ghouls), or are cripplingly insane (in the case of Calvert and the Think Tank), with only Mr. House and President Eden really holding onto the vision of pre-war America and trying to restore it in the Wasteland in their own way.
  • Look on My Works Ye Mighty and Despair: An underlying theme of the game. Especially prevalent in Fallout 3, where you see the ruins of Washington, DC. Several landmarks are crumbling shadows of what they once were. The White House is simply gone. And it's eerie and nearly empty despite a few survivors and a plethora of things (human or otherwise) that want to kill you.
  • Luck Stat: Puts the L in SPECIAL. Increases your chances at critical hits, positive Random Encounters and all sorts of other nice things. In New Vegas, one dialogue option for characters with high enough Luck lets you successfully guess a password off the top of your head. And it's not even "swordfish"...
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Will happen after taking the Bloody Mess perk/trait, which does exactly what it says to your enemies. A starting-out character with the trait can punch a hole in a gecko, or kick a rat and make it explode.
  • Made of Iron: The hillbillies in the Point Lookout DLC for the third game are absurdly hard to kill for no explainable reason. The Enclave should ditch their power armor project and just make armor out of hillbilly hides.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Allegedly Van Buren was going to have one as a companion NPC. He is referenced pretty often in New Vegas when dealing with Caesar's Legion and appears in the Honest Hearts DLC as The Atoner.
  • Mascot: Both in-world and out-of-world, the Vault Boy - the wavy-haired, perpetually smiling figure in the jumpsuit whose picture accompanies all Skills, Traits, and Perks. In-world, he was the mascot for Vault-Tec. Out-of-world, he serves the same purpose for the series.
  • Match Maker Quest
  • Medieval Stasis: From 1823 to 1950, there was a world of difference, from technology to culture to politics in the span of 127 years. From 1950 to 2077? Not so much. Still holds true for after the Great War, with over 200 years having passed and very little actual rebuilding being witnessed.
    • Unless its California, then there's a ton of rebuilding.
  • The Messiah: You, should you decide to play your character this way. However, you can run the full morality gamut from this all the way to Complete Monster.
  • Money Spider: Justified. You can find random loot on ghouls and centaurs, but that's the stuff they were carrying before getting zombified/dipped in FEV.
  • More Dakka: Everyone loves Miniguns, and you should too. Speaking generally, the best guns in the games are either a minigun of some type or Energy Weapon of some kind. (See also Beam Spam.)
  • Multiple Endings: Yet another staple of the series. The Dev Team Thinks of Everything is in full effect here, though the best endings are always canon. Except for Tactics...
  • Mushroom Samba: Vault 106, and the Walking With Spirits quest in Point Lookout.
  • The Musketeer: Enemy too close? Drop the sledgehammer.
  • Mysterious Protector: the "Mysterious Stranger" perk in 2,3 and New Vegas, with the Miss Fortune Perk added in the last.
  • Mythology Gag: In Fallout, recruitable NPC Tycho mentions he's a Nevada Ranger. The Nevada Rangers were the protagonists of Wasteland, the game to which Fallout is a Spiritual Successor. The Big Bad of Fallout Tactics also seems to be a subtle Shout-Out to the Big Bad of Wasteland. Also, some Rangers holed up in the Capital Wasteland. Interestingly, Tycho's description is "a man in dusty leather armor with a trench coat and gas mask"... and that's exactly what the NCR veteran Rangers wear in New Vegas (and are prominently featured on the box art).
  • Name's the Same: Europeans may be confused by repeated references to the Great War - the nuclear holocaust that nearly wiped out the human race in the 21st century - as they are more familiar with this moniker being used to describe World War One.
  • Necessarily Evil: Lord Ashur from The Pitt addon.
  • New Old West: Certain elements of the Capital Wasteland (bounty hunters, travelling traders beset by robbers, a heroic (or villainous) drifter, etc.) hearken back to Westerns, but with places like Rivet City or the Vaults, its mixed in with Sci-Fi.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in New Vegas. A good part of the first act is spent in towns such as Goodsprings and Primm (Goodsprings being more rural, Primm being slightly more advanced). Escaped convicts also show up, and they can take over Goodsprings (with your help), and they have already taken over Primm when you arrive there.
    • California has a smattering of this as well. Especially in FO2, where the New California Republic is expanding its borders, and there are several mining and 'frontier' type towns (although they were there long before the NCR formed, they just give that vibe). This would've gone a step further in the "Van Buren" version of 3 with a subplot about the establishment of railroads.
    • New Vegas takes this and runs with it all the way to the finish line, down to their being a Perk called "Cowboy."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Fallout 2 a special random encounter sends you back in time to Vault 13 shortly before the beginning of the first game... where you do a nice job breaking their water chip. You cannot return to your own time without doing so. You can drop a (entirely useless) replacement water chip if you happen to have it, but the game doesn't recognize this.
  • Nice Job Guiding Us Hero
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Subverted. Ghouls are actually the most peaceful "race" in the Fallout universe - implied to be because while they may be tough, they're really not good fighters - although you do very rarely have random encounters with Ghoul bandits and psychotics. They're also immortal unless they die by violence, which provides a strong incentive to avoid it.
    • Also, Roy Phillips and his crew and how they subvert the "good" ending of the Tenpenny Towers quest. Just because you're an oppressed minority DOESN'T mean you're not also ungrateful, murderous assholes. In fact, if you complete the quest for him, he suggests to any ghoul who got his letter to kill any human who knows about Tenpenny. And for some reason, blowing him away gets you bad karma.
    • Also with Mr. Crowley, who gets the player to decapitate a quartet of anti-ghoul bigots except only one of them hates ghouls, the lot of them worked with him on a merc job a while back, and the three who aren't bigots have the keys to a top-secret research lab in a ruined military installation. Crowley is also an arse, although not to the degree of Roy Phillips. You don't actually have to do it, though, he just has to think you did (or at least get their keys).
      • The tipoff here that nobody in this quest is really likeable is that the names combined give you "Aleister Crowley."
      • You don't even have to make him think you did it, you can quite easily go to the military base yourself and get the T51-B Power Armor yourself. Afterwards, he knows you did it and you can't cash in on the keys (nor killing Tenpenny if you did it)
    • Additionally, your potential party member Charon. Being raised from birth to serve anyone with his contract, he's one of the toughest party members you can have. Being a ghoul also makes him immune to radiation, though it doesn't help you... until Broken Steel.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The final boss of Fallout 2, Frank Horrigan, is described as a "genetically engineered cyborg psycho secret agent."
  • No Canon for the Wicked: All the games officially end on a happy(ish) note.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Sheriff Killian Darkwater bears an astounding resemblance to Clint Eastwood.
    • And, for that matter, to Richard Dean Anderson, who voices the character.
    • Not to mention Dragon Frank Horrigan.
    • There's also the Hubologist cult members Juan Cruz and Nikki Goldmann from Fallout 2.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Dogmeat.
    • Fawkes, Charon, RL-3, Goris, K-9, Skynet.
    • Also Lenny, Marcus and Robodog from Fallout 2.
    • Lily, Raul, ED-E, and Rex from Fallout: New Vegas
  • Nonstandard Game Over: If you sell out your people to the first game's Big Bad, and if you attack anyone in the starting village in the second.
    • Though it should be noted that you can kill them later in the game, when they're in the Oil Rig, if you complete the game quickly.
    • In the third, you will get one for revealing the code to the purifier to Colonel Autumn. Idiot.
  • One-Gender Race: Justified with Super Mutants since they're asexual thanks to the FEV mutation.
    • In the first two games, there were female Super Mutants; they used the same sprites but their description and dialogue clearly pointed out that they were female.
      • Justified in that East Coast mutants were formed by a different strain of FEV. New Vegas has been confirmed to contain both gray-skinned multigendered West Coast mutants and the green asexual East Coast mutants of the third game.
        • Actually, there's only Mariposa mutants here. The Fallout 3 mutants in early screens were placeholders.
  • One-Hit Kill: In Fallout 1 and 2, if a targeted shot rolls an extremely high critical (101+ ), it will result in an instant-kill, even if the actual damage is not enough to fell the enemy. This can happen only on targeted attacks to the head, torso, or eyes.
    • This caused a number of glitches when armor absorbed all the damage, meaning a character died from a critical hit that dealt no damage.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Agility and Intelligence share this status since the original combat system relied on Action Points tied to agility and combat skills, which were partially tied to Intelligence. Dialogue options were also dictated by Intelligence.
  • The Great Offscreen War: The Great War that created the setting.
  • The Order: The Brotherhood of Steel, deliberately modeled after medieval knightly orders.
  • Pacifist Run: Possible in all the games, to an extent.
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: The first two games have this issue in the very late game, where opponents with power armor are almost incapable of doing even a single point of damage except in critical blows, so combat basically boils down to watching “0 Points Of Damage” bullets bounce off each other until “Critical Hit for 999 HP” obliterates somebody.
  • The Pennyfarthing Effect: 1 and 2 have this in spades. Most prominently, you won't get any description of a usable object in the environment or even any indication that it's usable without first switching to the "look" cursor.
  • Planimal: Spore plants, one of which becomes sentient.
  • Post-Peak Oil: Before the Great War, peak oil was the cause of the Resource Wars that devastated both Europe and the Middle East. Gas prices reached up to $1450.99 per gallon for regular. The United States (and possibly China) were only saved by going to an all-nuclear society, while the rest of the world ended up collapsing. It was all made moot however, when everyone started to sling nukes at each other.
  • Powered Armor: Iconic to the series. Some variant of it is always the best armor in the game—whether Hardened Power Armor in 1 or Advanced Power Armor Mark II in 2—providing excellent protection from firearms and environmental hazards as well as a significant strength boost. Worn by both the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave.
    • In the third game, however, it loses a little of its luster as all forms of it excluding the Infinity Plus One Armor decrease Agility, which is the primary statistic for VATS (unless you hate VATS, which just makes that a null issue). On top of that, other armor types nearly match the T-51b in protection, while being far lighter. And it still doesn't do you any good in the end. The Operation Anchorage DLC fixed this unintentionally with the glitched Winterized T-51b, which is essentially indestructible in addition to having the highest damage reduction available.
    • Fallout: New Vegas makes power armor awesome again. The base model still has an Agility Penalty, but you don't have to put up with that for very long if at all. The better models all have entirely positive benefits.
      • Unfortunately, outside of power armor found in dlc, all the Power Armor in the game are linked to a faction. Hope you are with the NCR or a faction that is on good terms with Brotherhood of Steel (i.e. the NCR only after making peace between the two.) So basically House and Legion players are screwed. Wildcard is fine since everyone is gunning for you anyway.
  • Power Fist: Infinity+1 Sword for characters using the Unarmed skill; can be upgraded to a Mega Powerfist in some games.
  • President Evil: Big Bad U.S. President Richardson in Fallout 2, who also serves as President Exposition.
  • Press X to Die: Several examples. In Fallout, a nuke timer can be set to 30 seconds. Suffice it to say you're going to get a front-row seat.
  • Previous Player Character Cameo: The player character from the first Fallout game reappears in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel games as an NPC.
  • Punched Across the Room: Requires a very good damage roll if fighting barehanded, but it is possible to hurl someone a fair distance (a couple hexes, depending on damage, in the first two games) if you do more than 10 points of damage in melee. The sledgehammer weapons greatly increase the distance traveled.
  • Punch Clock Villain: One recurring theme throughout the series regarding the major evil organizations; the leadership is damn ruthless if not outright Complete Monsters, and the rank-and-file have their share of True Believer fanatics and sadists, but many of them are actually just regular joes who think they're doing the right thing, simply obey because they've never known of any other alternative, or are trying to make the best of a bad situation. Members of the Big Bad faction of one game often show up in later games as friendly supporting characters, having mellowed out in the interrim after the downfall of their leaders.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Enclave are very similar to Nazis, goals and methods wise.
  • Ragnarok Proofing: Averted in the first two games, which pretty much assume complete destruction of every identifiable landmark that hasn't been constantly maintained (one location, appropriately called Junktown, is apparently constructed entirely out of scrap wood, stone, and metal).
  • Random Encounters: Justified in that you are watching your GPS too closely to notice anything around you. Your first warning is a lightning bolt. Then you get YOU HAVE ENCOUNTERED A RADSCORPION/ PEASANT HERDING BRAMIN/GROUP OF RAIDERS/ETC./ETC.
  • Rare Guns: Desert Eagle, G11s, the automatic shotguns of Fallout 2, and several others from the list.
  • Raygun Gothic
  • Real Is Brown: Very much so.
  • Recurring Element: Harold.
  • Recycled in Space: The Enclave are essentially Nazis IN AMERICA.
    • Which wouldn't be special. They are more extreme then the real life US-american Nazis though...
    • Caesar's Legion are Romans IN THE WASTELAND.
  • Refuge in Vulgarity: The second game on has occasional gags like this. To its detriment, Brotherhood of Steel is absolutely buried in it.
  • The Remnant: Where to start? You've got the remnants of the Master's Army and the Enclave (the remnants of the US government) in Fallout 2 and Fallout 3, as do the game's ghoulified Chinese soldiers on U.S. soil, still waiting for the war to end.
    • In New Vegas, you get the Enclave Remnants, making them the remnant of the remnant of the US Government.
  • Robot Buddy : Skynet and K-9 in Fallout 2, RL-3 in Fallout 3, ED-E and Rex (technically, it's a cyborg dog, but still...) in New Vegas.
  • Romance Sidequest: One of the few Western RPG tropes not used in the series. In Fallout 2 you could get married, but it was a Shotgun Wedding with a one-night stand treated mostly as a joke, and you couldn't have any meaningful interactions with your spouse after the marriage anyway. An optional romance subplot was planned for New Vegas but it was ultimately scrapped.
  • Scavenger World: The earlier games in the series avert this - it's been seventy years since the bombs fell in Fallout, and about 150 years since they fell in Fallout 2, so everything useful has already been scavenged, and people survive by farming, fishing, hunting, mining, or manufacturing.
  • Schizo-Tech: People before the war had AI, antigravity, robots, computer-assisted driving, pocket computers, satellite-based weapons, and powered armor, but color TV and mobile phones? Hell, they weren't miracle-workers. Justified somewhat in that pre-War society is supposed to represent the Raygun Gothic image of the future popular in the 1950s, not necessarily the future of our world.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Plenty of opportunities to do this in all the games since they keep track of the multiple factions.
  • Shout-Out: Everything from Monty Python to Star Trek to half the post-apocalyptic science fiction ever made.
    • A certain piece of armor makes the character sprite look like Mel Gibson's character in The Road Warrior, and wearing it in the presence of a dog named "Dogmeat" causes it to join your party.
    • You can also come across the TARDIS in the middle of the desert. Or a crashed whale and a potted plant that seems to have fallen from a great height. Or... well, you get the idea.
    • In the second game hurting Dogmeat when he's not of your party summons a leather jacket-wearing man with an Aussie accent named Mel who immediately attacks you.
    • Fallout 1 is very similiar to first Mad Max, Fallout 2 is very, very similiar to Mad Max2 (a stranger (protagonist of Fallout 1) founds a tribal culture (Arroyo, but Max literally founded them) and becomes something of a messiah to it. Plus, Hakunin bears striking resemblance to that shaman kid from the second film.
    • The mission "Those!" involving ants who have been enlarged by use of radiation, refers to the 1954 film Them, with the same plot.
    • The intelligence-boosting chems featured in almost all of the games are called "Mentats".
    • Many of Three Dog's antics are tributes to a multitude of radio personalities. The "fortified bunker in the middle of the DC hellhole" sounds an awful lot like Mark Levin's "underground command post deep in the bowels of a hidden bunker" (you have to hear the cadence to believe it). His howling is likely a tribute to Wolfman Jack. The real radio junkies among us could probably point out far more.
    • Sifting around one of the computers in the Museum Authority Building will bring up a memo concerning the transfer of a young marine biologist named Gillian Taylor being transferred to San Francisco Aquarium.
    • PRIME CUT IS MADE OUT OF PEOPLE! IT'S PEOPLE I TELL YOU!!!!!!!
    • One of your possible allies is named Jericho.
    • The Abominations of mothership Zeta are implied to be humans altered by alien experimentation. When they see you, they point and shriek in a manner reminiscent of the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It's scary as hell.
    • In Fallout 2, one of the possible companions Cassidy will say, "Wish I had a Limit Break" in combat.
    • Three Dog occasionally says "Hello chiiiiiildren!"
    • When hacking average difficulty computers, one of the possible passwords can be "DURASTEEL", a metal building material from Star Wars.
    • A particularly "slow" NPC in Fallout 2 will occasionally say "Zugzug" when you click on him.
    • Cut content from Fallout 2 (available through the restoration project mod) includes a toaster which constantly asks if you want toast.
  • Shown Their Work: Fallout 1 featured a detailed description of cell division, and how a mutagenic artificial virus interfered at the anaphase stage. In many ways, the result of this interference is the single most fantastic element of the story; everything else follows.
    • Myron's explanation for how Jet was discovered, although somewhat fantastical, is quite complex.
  • Sickly Green Glow
  • Skippable Boss: The Lieutenant and the Master in the first game, General Jing-Wei and Colonel Autumn in the third. All of them could be skipped by either a stealthy or a diplomatic approach - and only diplomatic for the last two. New Vegas brings in Legate Lanius, capable of surviving multiple antitank rounds to the forehead, who can be convinced to step down with a maxed-out Speech skill.
    • Potentially everyone in the second game, with the partial exception of the Final Boss. You can't avoid entering combat mode, but you can get others to do some or all of the fighting for you. Specifically, you can turn an Enclave team against him by pointing out he's blocking their escape too, and you can potentially use the counterinsurgency auto-turrets too.
    • You can potentially do this to Legate Lanius in New Vegas. For the DLC, you can with a bit of work skip fighting Father Elijah, the Think Tank, and Ulysses. The first is a bit tricky, though, as you have to both succeed at a skill check to convince him to enter the vault, and then sneak out of the vault without him seeing you, and get to the elevator before he closes the forcefields. Screwing up at any point activates the forcefields and forces you to fight Elijah.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Slightly towards idealism, unbelievably - if you're a good or neutral character. There's a reason why tropes like Earn Your Happy Ending exist.
  • Sliding Scale of Turn Realism: Action by Action by virtue by the action point system.
  • Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration
  • Social Darwinist: Capital Wasteland Super Mutants. One of their battle quotes is even "WE ARE THE FUTURE!" Considering they have no reproductive organs and can only reproduce by turning normal humans into more Super Mutants, this seems unlikely... but they are pretty stupid.
    • This is actually the key to an alternate way to win Fallout. If you find proof of their sterility and tell The Master about it he'll kill himself, making this a good option for nonviolent characters. In Fallout 2, though, if you have the Super Mutant Sheriff Marcus in your party and decide to buy him some tail at the Cat's Paw Brothel in New Reno he'll mutter "I hope she doesn't get pregnant." If you ask him about this he'll tell you that, "It takes a few years to get the juices flowing again," but that Super Mutants can reproduce. So so much for that. It's not divulged if the child would be a Super Mutant, thought, and when the game takes place Marcus will at the shortest have spent 80 years after being dipped.
      • Chris Avellone has confirmed that Marcus was joking.
      • Fallout Tactics had a Super mutant working on a cure for their sterility, and if you didn't destroy it, you could then recruit super mutants.
  • Solo Character Run: Extremely common throughout the series due to Artificial Stupidity. In Fallout 1, companions did not level up, could not change their starting armor, and were generally liabilities due to friendly fire and obstructing doors or corridors.
    • Fallout 2 companions, also liabilities, added a lot to the game, thus making the decision to do so harder.
    • Fallout 3 companions, still liabilities, were less interesting characters and did not significantly add to game content, so the decision was easier as the player wouldn't be missing out on much. With the Broken Steel DLC, three companions were turned into Nigh Invulnerable Game Breakers due to bad scaling. Having 1.2 to 7.5 times the health of a Super Mutant Behemoth, they are no longer at-risk of dying, but they're still dumb.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the 1988 game Wasteland.
  • The Sponsor: The player becomes this for NPCs with whom he will spend a grand total of four minutes in conversation. (In contrast, if the player character gets addicted in Fallout, the only moral support they get is a shot of detox meds and a stern reprimand.)
  • Stealth Run: Possible in all three games.
  • Stock Footage: One piece of promotional art for New Vegas was just concept art for Paradise Falls from Fallout 3, with the sign in the background changed.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Each Definitely Final Dungeon inevitably ends in this, in every game. In Tactics, you choose whether it does or not. Canonically, however, it does.
    • In New Vegas, there is neither a definitive Big Bad nor a definitive Definitely Final Dungeon, so instead you get Ulysses, who is a Foil to the main character, and the fact that he is willing to nuke all of civilization back to the stone age marks him as one of the main antagonists of the game. Even if you stop the launch, the nukes still go off.
  • Super Soldier: The original and current point of creating Super Mutants, Deathclaws, and Power Armor. This was the US's hat before the war.
    • As for the far extreme of Super Soldiers in Fallout; Talking Deathclaws and Frank Horrigan.
  • Survivalist Stash: All over the place, with varying degrees of loot. Some have their locations hinted at by notes or dialogue, and some are just lying in the middle of nowhere. And, of course,you're likely to stockpile a few of your own once you start to exceed your encumbrance limit.
  • Take Your Time: Subverted in the first game. Played straight in all subsequent games.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: A viable means of defeating the Big Bad in Fallout 1, if your speech and science skills were high enough, was to show him that his plan was doomed to failure and thus convince him to commit suicide. There were, technically, three final bosses of Fallout 2. The traditional one, of the big bad with heavy armor and weapons, just ignored you if you tried this, but you could still convince many of his men to side with you against him. The second of the big bads was an empty suit who you don't have to kill but can make things easier when you take on the boss. The third you could talk into releasing a virus into the base which kills everyone but yourself, your companions, your villagers, and the other two big bads. New Vegas allows a character with maxed-out Speech to convince the nigh-indestructible Legate Lanius that he cannot hold both his target in the West (Nevada and eventually California) and his homeland in the east (Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Utah).
    • Additionally, the Chinese general who functions as the Big Bad of Operation Anchorage can be convinced to commit Seppuku rather than fight and be killed. Good thing, too, because he's ridiculously tough.
    • Nearly every final boss in this series can be talked down. Frank Horrigan, from Fallout 2, is an exception.
      • Horrigan can't be talked down, but you can avoid fighting him. Shortly before the fight against him you can hire a goon squad of defected Enclave soldiers to occupy him and you can reprogram turrets to take care of him. All without ever firing a bullet yourself.
  • Techno Wreckage: The abandoned vaults, the Glow and the Sierra Army Depot.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The box for the Fallout Trilogy has a screenshot of the final boss battle for Fallout 2.
  • Universal Ammunition: All guns with the same caliber take the same ammunition. Perhaps most egregious with the .223 ammo in Fallout 2, which fit everything from a pistol to the Bozar.
    • Actually it is explicitly stated that .223 pistol is made from semi-automatic rifle and Bozar is nothing more than pre-war LMG.
    • Well, it's actually stated that the Bozar is "The ultimate refinement of the Sniper's art", and it was supposed to function like the Anti-Material Rifle in New Vegas. Though it was probably turned into a LMG because of the Gauss Rifle.
  • Useless Useful Spell: There are a few traits and perks in the series that are theoretically awesome but useless in practice, such as the third game's 'Nuclear Anomaly' perk (funny, and occasionally handy, but it doesn't discriminate between friend and foe and cannot be turned off), the first and second game's 'Skilled' and 'Night Person' traits and 'Presence' perk, and a few others.
    • In fact, with the exception of 'Gifted', 'Bloody Mess', and 'Small Frame' virtually all of the theoretically-awesome traits in the first two games were, in practice, mostly useless, or even actively detrimental. The perks were mostly useful, though.
    • Fast Shot (-1 AP to shoot, no aimed shots) + One Handed (Bonus to hit with one-handed weapons, penalty with two-handed) is a fun combination for role-playing purposes and not using Gifted. Pretty viable in Fallout 2 with some Melee/Unarmed skill and gets better once you get a .44 Magnum.
      • Fast Shot is incredibly awesome when combined with a high Agility, Action Boy and Bonus Rate of Fire, as it allows you to empty a .44 in a single round, or do two Bozar-bursts plus reloading. You can't aim your shots, yes, but that drawback is more than set of by the sheer amount of bullets you can unleash in no time.
    • Computer Whiz and Infiltrator in Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Respectively allows you to re-hack a computer if you locked it after failing to hack it and to pick a lock you've broken by trying to force it. Useless for two reasons : you can leave the computer and retry anytime as long as you didn't locked it and forcing the lock is an option.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The MO of quite a few villains throughout the series.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Five of them:
    • Fallout: A big Cathedral in the middle of the ruins of Los Angeles inhabited by strange cultists and a shadowy atmosphere. Bellow, there is a dark Vault filled with Super Mutant Nightkin elite troopers, mad scientists, mutated aberrations, cultists and crazy FEV-induced psykers. The walls are full of a grotesque biological goo that looks strangely alive. At the end of your way, you have to pass a corridor where your nemesis starts blasting you with his immense psionic powers. At the end, you meet what can be accurately called the strangest being of the wastelands: insane, super-intelligent, grotesquely mutated. There's also an old military laboratory in the remote badlands west of Vault Thirteen, guarded by strong mutant soldiers and robots. The base is brightly-lit, yet the atmosphere is dense and shadowy. In the depths of the base, big vats of bubbling green fluid contains, depending on the point of view, either the key to the evolution of the human race, or its eventual demise.
    • Fallout Tactics: Vault 0. For most of the first half of the game, you are just expanding the Brotherhood's influence, crushing rebellions, killing raiders, so on and so forth, but then you run into the Super Mutants, who were the reason the Midwestern Brotherhood was sent over the mountains in the first place. But even they're not the true enemy- they were merely mobilizing to fight an even more significant threat- robots, centered around Vault 0, and towards the end of the game you move further and further into Colorado and into the mountains, until you start seeing real snow (unusual in a setting without much weather) and finally end up getting into the heavily-guarded Vault 0... by blasting it open with a nuke. From that point on, all bets are off, and you can't go back to home base...
    • Fallout 2: The Enclave Oil Rig, the stronghold of the extremely well-equipped remnants of the United States Government, a massive fortress significantly larger than any other settlement or dungeon, populated by an army larger than all other armies combined, consisting of incredibly tough Powered Armor-wearing soldiers loaded with the best weapons in the game and lots of stimpacks. Indeed, unless you're an insanely tough, completely combat-oriented character, your only viable means of getting through is to disguise yourself by wearing one of their own armored suits and sneaking past everyone.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can be a sick, sick bastard if you so desire. Pimping your wife and then divorcing her, becoming a slaver, causing gang wars, murdering children... if you count post-end-of-game results, your actions can cause entire cities to fall apart.
    • A minor, but rather poignant, bit of cruelty is convincing Moira to give up on her Wasteland Survival Guide. Not only is this considered evil, but it gives you a perk called Dream Crusher and forever dampens her ordinarily cheery attitude. There are benefits, of course, but they really went out of their way to make you seem like a bastard for doing it.
    • In Broken Steel You can wipe the Brotherhood HQ right off the map, kill off any stragglers, and get a special Magnum if you do.
    • Mid- to endgame main quests in New Vegas requires you to screw over each main faction except the one you favor, and it's quite possible to have them think you're working for them up until the moment of betrayal. It's quite easy (and historically appropriate) to visit Caesar for a negotiation and stab him to death, and Mr House, well... given what a pitiful creature he's become, it's hard not to feel like a heel for ending his dream.
      • Even worse, a good portion of your companions are faction-aligned. If they're in your party when you perform the Face Heel Turn, they have to help you wipe out their allies, friends, and in Veronica's case, families.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you're a slaver, childkiller, or just an evil, evil bastard, a lot of folks won't take too kindly to you.
    • Wiping out entire towns for the fun of it tends to lock out access to quests and items. If you want an Infinity +1 Rifle, go ask Bob in Junktown... oh, you mercilessly slaughtered the settlement? Shucks, tough luck.
  • Villain Protagonist: Just one of the many possible playthroughs for the player character in Fallout.
  • Was Once a Man: Every ghoul and super mutant you encounter was a human once.
  • Wasteland Elder: A lot of towns have them. This includes Little Lamplight, whose "Elder" is about 12.
  • We Can Rule Together: The Master, President Eden, and Caesar all make similar offers to the player character. The Master is actually good for it, while Eden's plan will get you killed (though to be fair, Eden might not have known that), and Caesar doesn't exactly have the best track record of keeping his promises (especially if you're playing a female character, given Caesar's view on the place of women in society).
    • In Dead Money, the player can make this offer to the Big Bad, Father Elijah, but only if they have a negative relation with the NCR, whom Elijah wants to overthrow.
  • Web Games: Bethesda created a demake of Fallout 3 for browsers. The graphics are 8-bit style and similar to the early Dragon Quest games. The demake is currently only in Japanese, but it's fascinating: http://www.bethsoft.com/jpn/fo/fo_quest/index.html
  • We Have Reserves: The New California Republic defeated the Brotherhood Of Steel because the Brotherhood, being an elitist order, had too few members to conscript for troops. For years, they fought the war under the assumption that their technological superiority gave them the advantage, until it became clear that they were doomed because they could not replace their troops fast enough.
  • Weird Science: The Fallout 'verse runs on 50-style B-movie SCIENCE!
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Fallout 1's Master. The Vault 101 Overseer (Amata's Dad, at least, if you don't kill him) is one of these as well.
  • What Could Have Been: Originally, Fallout was going to be based on a licensed version of the paper RPG GURPS, from Steve Jackson Games, and would have published under the name Vault 13: A GURPS Post-Nuclear Adventure. But due to disagreements, including Steve Jackson disliking the appearance of Vault Boy on the character creation screen, and the execution of the insurgent from the intro, the deal was called off. Instead, Black Isle thought up the SPECIAL system, which has been used in every Fallout game ever since.
  • What's an X Like You Doing In a Y Like This?
  • A World Half Full: The series in general. Yes, its a post apocalyptic wasteland, but the remaining inhabitants are more or able to get through the day. Of course, playing a Good character makes it count even more.
    • Besides which, it turns out the War might have been actually beneficial to that Earth. Before, it was overpopulated, companies controlled nations, pollution and war were at an all time high, even as natural resources were reaching their end. After the bombs fall, there are now hundreds of peaceful communities, humanity has never been more technologically advanced, hundreds of new species have evolved, and life is generally more exciting.
  • Wretched Hive: New Reno, The Den, Paradise Falls, Evergreen Mills, The Pitt, Nipton before the Legion, anyway.
    • Paradise Falls is so bad that its the only town you can completely massacre (preferably with Lincoln's hat and Repeater for extra irony) with absolutely no repercussions.
      • Not just no repercussions, they actually reward you with positive karma for killing any named character that isn't a slave (except for Jones' two slaves, who count as slavers for mission purposes).
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Inversion- while searching Vault City's database for your vault in Fallout 2, your character will notice a Pip-Boy hole if his/her Perception is above or equal to 7. Shoving your Pip-Boy in will give you the location of nearly all the locations. (Normally, finding the vaults would be an ardous task with several middle men involved.)
  • Zeerust: The surviving pre-apocalypse architecture and technology is highly reminiscent of '50s Pop Art: complete with muscle cars, vacuum tube computers, and tin-can robots.
    • For good reason: the background establishes that America (and by extension, the world) never really moved beyond the 1950's in terms of values. There was no 60's revolution, no 80's technological shift, nothing like that at all. As a result, even though the world "ended" in 2077, culturally, it hadn't progressed a bit. Which also explains why significant structures in Washington D.C. and other landmarks (Los Angeles, for example) are still standing: modern nuclear weapons were never developed, and the bombs that dropped in 2077 were about as powerful as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs (that is to say, not very powerful and "dirty" as pigs). A global nuclear war using large numbers of primitive fission bombs would also produce much more radioactive contamination than smaller numbers of more powerful but 'cleaner' fusion bombs.
        • This is actually not entirely true. The hydrogen bomb was developed in the 1950s, and the vast majority of important events in the 1950s did occur in the Fallout universe, hence, the theme. We also see intercontinental ballistic missiles, with China possessing large numbers of them. Another essential thing to note is that the entire world did not freeze in the 1950s. Only the United States and possibly Europe have stagnated in that time. The culture of China, for example, seems to have frozen in the 1960s. The Soviet Union's theme seems stuck in the 1980s-early 1990s.
      • In addition, the government reinforced many landmarks and structures in case of nuclear war.
      • It isn't that the culture did not progress, it just progressed down a different path.
    • The series deliberately invokes this trope, showing what might have happened if technology had progressed as it had been predicted in the 50s and 60s.