So I recently passed 400 hours in Fallout 4. Yes, I do have a problem. But my addiction to that game aside, I decided to celebrate a little bit by diving deeper into the Fallout universe and share some of my favourite characters and their stories. Here are a couple of the stories that I find interesting!
Harold the ghoul
Harold is a ghoul that just keeps giving. Technically an FEV mutant, he is closer to ghouls in size and appearance and could easily be confused for a non-feral. He’s actually appeared in all of the Fallout games to date, with the exception of New Vegas and Fallout 4. In Fallout, you find him in The Hub where he brought himself after he lost his old travelling buddy. That buddy was Richard Grey. The two of them stumbled upon the FEV virus in a military base, and Grey was knocked in. While we know this led to him becoming The Master, Harold assumed he died and resigned himself to a life at The Hub now that he was alone. At this point he has a small tree sprouting out of his head in an odd side effect of the FEV. By Fallout 2, Harold moved onto Gecko, a ghoul community. He has taken over from the old leaders and revitalized the power plant they were living in into a functional reactor. The tree has grown, and began sprouting seeds and fruit. Then in Fallout 3, we find Harold again and this time the tree situation has gotten desperate. He is in fact more tree than person, and is actually rooted to the spot. He’s been there for decades, long enough for people to discover him and the mysterious grove that has flourished around him due to the mutated seeds he is secreting. They form a cult called the “Tree Minders” and they worship Harold as a god. This character is hilarious to me due to the slow growth of the tree taking over his life. Unfortunately, the resolution of his quests in Fallout 3 don’t have a canonically sound ending (he can live or die), so I doubt we will see him in the future. Still, I enjoy his story and I’ve included him because although many people have at least met him in at least one game, less people know the connection between his appearances.
Sammy and Pauline Wins
Now these are a pair of geniuses. As basically every player knows, the Primm casino was actually robbed, despite the denial of this by the security bot. The display cases dedicated to Vikki and Vance, crime bosses from pre-war, are missing the original outfits and guns that they once held. Using Science checks, you can alert the security bot to the missing items, but that seems to be all there is to it. However, an unmarked quest would bring you to a shack near H&H Tools. There you find Sammy and Pauline Wins, a couple that fancy themselves budding criminals who plan on heisting through New Vegas. If you convince them that they are far too inept to pull something like that off, Sammy will give you the code to their safe, where they were keeping their weapon they planned on using. Lo and behold, it’s Vance’s 9mm in the flesh! I love these two because they have such big plans for themselves, but as soon as you bring up the fact that robbing casinos is, you know, difficult and dangerous, they immediately change their tune. A look at Sammy’s notable quotes on the Fallout Wiki shows how hard of a 180 they pull.
Fluffy and Jitters
The cutest radroaches out there! Fluffy and Jitters are two tiny little radroaches that have been confined to a cage in a remote sniper’s shack. This is a location in Fallout 3 where the player can reliably use as housing and storage, and I love the little touch that you also now have two pets that greet you every time you enter by jumping up at the bars excitedly! Granted, they’re jumping like that because they want to attack and eat you, but never mind. I just love the idea that someone in post-war wasteland isn’t quite aware that radroaches used to be cockroaches, a strictly disgusting pest. Instead they might have thought, those are roughly house cat sized, maybe I can domesticate them! To be fair, they are some of the least dangerous creatures wastelanders have tried to domesticate, but still not the best idea.
The Mystery of Dunwich Borers
Another story spanning several games is the enigma of Dunwich Borers LLC. In Fallout 3, you can visit their office building, but it’s a very dangerous place. Even raiders and scavengers are afraid of entering. Screens flicker, footsteps can be heard, and random objects fly across the room. Exploring deeper into the building reveals a dark under chamber with a large obelisk that multiple ghouls seem to be worshiping. Meanwhile, in the Point Lookout add-on, a man by the name of Obadiah Blackhall asks you to look for a mysterious book by the name of The Krivbeknih. You find this in another mysterious ritual site. You can give the book to Obadiah, or bring it back to the Dunwich Building to be destroyed. Very spooky and supernatural indeed.
In the Commonwealth, there is a mining site again named after this corporation. Exploring the interior brings you past several raiders who made their home there, but beyond them things get spooky again. The walls seem to shake and you begin to have mysterious visions. You enter a final room where you hallucinate a group of sacrifices bowed before a lectern. Returning to reality, you are attacked by named ghouls. Seems strange, and many move on after this encounter. If you instead elect to dive into the pool in the center of that room, you come across an alter with a very ritualistic looking knife named Kremvh’s Tooth. Dive deeper and you seen the beginnings of a statue that they were seemingly unearthing. Was is that statue causing the rumbling from below? Why were they worshiping this area? What power were they unleashing? I love these areas because they are very creepy and supernatural, and a different type of scary than I usually find in Fallout. Usually, if something scary is happening, it’s a jump scare and a boss fight. I prefer the mysterious, stalking around, not getting the complete story in the end. Also, H.P. Lovecraft mythos is always a fun time.
Herbert “Daring” Dashwood
While exploring the Capital Wasteland, you may have heard the radio drama telling the stories of a man named Herbert and his ghoul manservant Argyle. They go on many misadventures, fall in love with Penelope Chase, brings her to their secret home of Rockopolis, get betrayed by Penelope as she is a slaver, and then are chased out by the betrayed citizens of the city. Herbert and Argyle are separated and Argyle meets his fate in a cave-in during their escape. Quite the wild story! But as it turns out, it’s all true! Well, at least the characters are real. Herbert is currently living in Tenpenny Tower having retired after a long life of adventuring. As for Argyle, the entrance to Rockopolis can be found to the west of Smith Casey’s Garage. If you look into the rubble blocking access to the city proper, you can find the corpse of Argyle himself. I love this addition. I remember listening to those radio snippets and thinking it would be cool if it was a secret location, and there it was!
The Hardest Obstacle Course Ever
In Fallout 4, there is an unmarked location that I always make a priority. It’s inside the parking garage next to Milton General Hospital and Fallon’s Department Store. Enter the door with all the arrows pointing to it and you enter a weird make shift maze. The first floor is pretty tame, with a couple of radroaches and an interesting door puzzle. On the second floor, the traps begin, with dozens of tripwires, scales, and cars just waiting to explode. Then there are many ferals that have broken free and are waiting to eat you. After that you have a choice to make between three doors with pain waiting behind two of them. Ultimately, you come to two cells with quite a bit of loot in both of them. Each have a button that opens the door. However, once you choose your prize, the other one explodes and is lit on fire. Of course, people have figured out exploits to get both, but I usually stick in the spirit of the thing and choose one reward. This is such a fun and different location. I imagine some raider went a bit mad and got bored, so they decided to set up the most brutal obstacle course ever conceived. They also seem to have a pretty sick sense of humor as you can tell from their choices of decor.
The Mysterious Stranger
More than just a perk that can help you out in combat, it seems word of this enigma has spread across the wasteland. Our favourite synth detective, Nick Valentine has been looking into the history of this man, as we learn from a case file under Nick’s bed. He confuses Nick greatly because he has been appearing all over the US, with no describable pattern or motive. He also disappears without a trace after a kill. Nick has managed to receive reports, or at least rumors, of sightings of the Mysterious Strange in coincidentally all the locations that the Fallout games take place. The only other thing we can infer about this person’s history is that we may have met his son. In Fallout: New Vegas, there is a man know as the the Lonesome Drifter. He hangs out with his guitar under the shade of a billboard, unless the Courier hires him to sing at a New Vegas bar. Talking to this guy will reveal that when he was a boy, his father left him and his mother behind and since then, he’s always felt a bit lost in the world. When his mother passes away, he takes to the wastes to find his father; whether to kill him or reunite with him still undecided. However, he mentions that all he knows about his father is what his mother told him, and his mother told him that his father was a “mysterious” person and always a bit of a “stranger.” If that’s not enough to convince you, when you get him that job at The Tops, he will give you a unique gun called The Mysterious Magnum, a gun he received from his father. Not only is that the same gun type as the Mysterious Stranger carries, it also plays the same guitar rift when it’s drawn that is played when the Mysterious Stranger makes his appearance in V.A.T.S.. I love these little touches, because even though in Fallout 3 and beyond The Mysterious Stranger seems almost like a special feature of V.A.T.S alone, it reminds you of his appearance in the earlier games where he was a full character that appeared in combat or random encounters. He could become aggressive to the player if hit with a stray bullet, and he had an inventory and outfit. I like that he’s just this urban myth that has more truth to it than we know.
So there are some of my favourite bits of lore from the Fallout franchise. I love the amount of detail that can be found in these games if you just look in the right places. You could play these games completely without coming across most of these details, but I think that it’s a great way to reward the player for exploring the world more thoroughly.
Now I know I barely even scratched the surface of these games massive lore. There are thousands and thousands of side quests, characters, unmarked quests and locations, and terminal entries that continue to tell the stories of the people of the wasteland. So share some of yours down in the comments. I almost guarantee there are some I’ve never even heard of yet, and I love learning more about this universe. Thanks for reading and later days!