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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
Big Trouble in Big Town
Big Trouble in Big Town.png
14 Big Trouble in Big Town.png
Red in her cell
Quest data
LocationBig Town
Given ByAny resident of Big Town
Reward300 XP
300 caps
200 more caps or good karma
AchievementBig Trouble in Big Town
Xbox Live gamerscoreIcon gamerscore.png20PlayStation 3 trophyIcon ps3trophy.pngBronze
Editor IDMS01
Base ID00014e94
Related quests
Strictly Business
A Sticky Situation

Big Trouble in Big Town is a side quest in Fallout 3 as well as an achievement/trophy.


Big Town is in big trouble, and its future relies entirely on either the creativity of outsiders, or their dismissal towards the plight of the town's apathetic and inexperienced inhabitants. In the first part of this quest, two of the town's inhabitants have been kidnapped by the local super mutants, and are in need of rescue. In the second part, the town is in dire need of a creative solution to solve the super mutant problem for good.

Walkthrough - Saving Red

  1. Ask the Big Town residents about their recent plight, and it will be mentioned that its residents have been being harassed by the local super mutants, in which the super mutants have kidnapped a couple of the town's residents, and have recently taken them to the Germantown police HQ. The kidnapped residents include Red, the town doctor, and Shorty. Alternatively, this quest can be started by speaking to Red at the Germantown police HQ.
  2. Travel to the Germantown police HQ, in which there are two possible entrances to get inside through: the first is found by using the higher door on the north side of the building. If the Lone Wanderer has a Lockpick skill of 100, the lower door on the west side may be entered as an alternative, and puts them very close to Red's location. If the former is chosen, a few hallways filled with super mutants, and the occasional trap will need to be traversed before reaching the lower level.
  3. Red is located within a jail cell on the ground floor, and her cell door can either be lockpicked, opened with a nearby terminal (accessible with a holotape located upstairs), or opened with the Germantown jailors key, found on one of the super mutants inside of the station.
  4. When spoken to, Red will thank her rescuer for coming for her, which will grant good Karma, and then she will mention her friend, Shorty, who is being held in the kitchen downstairs.
  5. As an optional objective, the Lone Wanderer may travel down through the basement in order to rescue Shorty. He can be found in the kitchen, trapped in a macabre conversation with a nearby super mutant who wishes to eat him. If the conversation goes on long enough (usually only 10–20 seconds), the mutant will start shooting at Shorty. Saving him will provide the Lone Wanderer with additional good Karma, and he will travel back to Big Town with Red.

If Red Dies

If Red dies at any point during this quest, the quest will not immediately fail. The objective will update, sending the Lone Wanderer back to Big Town in order to explain her death. When speaking with any of the residents about their friend's demise, they collectively award 200 caps, stating that the town will not be needing the money anymore. The quest will then fail at this point.

Walkthrough - Saving Big Town

  1. Once Red (and Shorty, should it be chosen to save him) have been rescued, return to Big Town and speak to Red again to be thanked and updated. The reward can be refused for good Karma, or a reward can be requested in order to receive 300 bottle caps. 200 more can be obtained through a Speech check, which, when successful, is accompanied by bad Karma. Should a reward be asked for, the caps can be returned afterward to gain the Karma back.
  2. While the quest is technically over at this point, Red will immediately warn her rescuer that super mutants plan to attack the town yet again. Lacking substantial combative skills, Red asks for help in the town's defense (choose the "I can teach you to defend yourselves" chat option). Depending on the Lone Wanderer's skill levels, the townspeople may be taught a variety of countermeasures in the town's scrapyard, or in the case of mine-laying, by the bridge entrance.
    1. With at least 50 skill in Small Guns, the townspeople may be taught how to use conventional firearms, where they will practice shooting at a makeshift shooting range of bottles. These bottles must be shot at a number of times before they are effectively trained in this manner.
    2. With at least 50 skill in Sneak, the townspeople may be taught how to effectively hide from the super mutants. To effectively teach them all to sneak, the Lone Wanderer must go into sneak mode and show them personally how it is done.
    3. With at least 50 skill in Science, the townspeople may be taught how to build robots to use as bodyguards. A nearby sentry bot and protectron in the landfill must be activated in order to fulfill this strategy. If only one is reactivated by the Lone Wanderer, the residents will reactivate the other robot by themselves.
    4. With at least 50 skill in Explosives, the townspeople may be taught how to set up an effective minefield. This method can be achieved by placing a mine on the bridge leading into the town. Afterwards, the residents will booby-trap the town further, which, at times, can cause collateral damage.
  3. Alternatively, the Lone Wanderer may choose to not teach them anything, and either leave them to their fate, or help fight the mutants by themselves. Shortly after preparations are made, a number of super mutants (this varies depending on the Lone Wanderer's actions, as explained below) will attack the town. If the stealth method was not chosen, the super mutants must be defeated in order to complete the quest. However, if stealth was chosen, two super mutants will enter, try to find the townspeople, and if uninterrupted, will eventually leave of their own accord.

Quest stages

10 Ask the people of Big Town about their captured friends.
20 Rescue the Big Town captives from the Super Mutants.
25 Rescue Red.
30 Escort Red safely back to Big Town.
40 [Optional] Rescue Shorty.
45 Escort Shorty back to Big Town.
49Quest finishedExplain Red's death to the people of Big Town.
50Quest finishedSpeak to Red about your reward.


  • If Red is enslaved as part of the Strictly Business quest before this quest has been concluded, she will either need to be killed or her slave collar needs to be removed before the quest can progress any further.
  • If the town is defended with one of the special options above, the townspeople will start buying supplies to continue what was taught to them. A new random encounter with a scavenger will occur at this point, in which they will mention that Big Town is now a good place to make money selling said respective supplies.
  • Likewise, the town may also be wiped out in a renewed super mutant attack, which is much more likely to happen if they are not taught how to defend themselves. If this happens, a lone super mutant will be seen wandering around the now uninhabited town. The aforementioned scavenger will mention the town's demise in his dialogue, and will mention that they will be going there to loot the remains. Upon entering the Big Town city hall, the corpses of Red and Shorty can be found laid beside the entrance. Other Big Town residents corpses will be scattered randomly around Big Town.

Behind the scenes

The title of this quest pays homage to a film called Big Trouble in Little China.


  • PCIcon pc.png PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png When presented with the option to defend the town by repairing the damaged robots, the robots will not be in the town, due to the flying creatures and items glitch. This renders this section of the quest unable to be completed. On the PC, entering the console and typing prid 2d934, kill, resurrect, disable, enable, prid 2c11b, kill, resurrect, disable, enable should restore the bots. If they fail to appear, you may need to enter one more command: moveto player. Also, by chance if you walk out of Big town and fast travel back and wait a couple of hours the protectron may appear back, repaired.
  • PCIcon pc.png PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png If the quest is completed without looking for Shorty in the Germantown Police HQ, the player can later return and find Shorty still alive in the basement with one super mutant. After killing the super mutant, Shorty will converse with you normally, but no option to cut his bonds and set him free will be presented, forcing the player to walk out, leaving Shorty kneeling on the floor with his hands tied for the remainder of the game.
  • PCIcon pc.png PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png When returning to Big Town after the rescue is completed, moving items in or out of Red or Shorty's inventory may cause them to stop following you altogether and remain standing still, despite being prompted to follow you. Fast-traveling to a different location and returning to where you left them will cause them to disappear completely, leaving the quest impossible to complete.
  • PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png When leaving the building after saving Red from the super mutants, and freeing her from the cell, she disappears completely. Fast traveling to Big Town will fix this.
  • PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png If the sentry bot appears but the protectron does not, the quest can complete at the stage of speaking to Red about your reward - though with no experience points. The residents will still speak to you as if the mutant attack is imminent, but it will never arrive. Waiting (tried up to 48 hours) does not help, and the protectron does not appear. If you then leave Big Town and return, you will find the sentry bot still wandering around, but all the residents will have gone leaving no bodies.