|For Harold in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, see Harold (Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel). For other uses, see Harold (disambiguation).|
Harold in 2161 (left) and 2241 (right)
Harold in 2277
How did you survive the mutant attacks?Didn't. Got killed. Love that joke.
Harold is one of the most unique denizens of the wasteland. Born five years before the Great War, in 2072, Harold survived it in a Vault and witnessed many of the pivotal events and met the most influential people of the wasteland. Rising to prominence as a caravan master in the formative years of the Hub, he would later meet the future Master, travel to Mariposa Military Base, undergo a change into a ghoul-like mutant through exposure to FEV, lose everything, then become a wasteland traveler, leading Gecko into a new future, and eventually becoming an unwilling god for the Treeminders in the Capital Wasteland, on the opposite end of the continent.
While he appears to be a ghoul and is treated as such by everyone he meets (save for the few exceptional individuals who look beyond his horrifying appearance), Harold is technically not a ghoul, but a special kind of mutant created through his limited exposure to FEV. Due to his birth before the War and subsequent growing up in a Vault, shielded from the high amounts of radiation that flooded the world, he was largely untainted and qualified for full transformation into a super mutant, given the right levels of exposure. However, the relatively low amounts of exposure coupled with a number of random, uncontrolled factors, resulted in his transformation into an unique, special kind of mutant. Harold is Harold, just like Talius is Talius. Although hesitant to self-identify as a ghoul at first, Harold eventually embraced his identity and worked to aid his brethren.
- 1 Background
- 2 Interactions with the player character
- 3 Inventory
- 4 Notable quotes
- 5 Behind the scenes
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Appearances
- 8 References
Born in 2072 , Harold was only five years old when the War started and he entered Vault 29. He still remembers the sirens on that day and the terrible days that followed, living in an overcrowded Vault with not enough food and water to go around. The reason was that his shelter, Vault 29, was populated with young children separated from their parents, and placed under the care of Diana, a human scientist immortalized by merging her human brain with a supercomputer controlling the Vault and the Nursery, a repository of seeds and genetic records preserved in case of a global thermonuclear war. Diana would control the unrest by periodically releasing young dwellers to scout the surface and report whether it was safe to settle. They never returned, as Diana would take them to the Nursery, where they'd either be able to join her or leave, after being conditioned to be unable to speak of the Nursery or the Vault. Harold was selected by Diana and initially agreed to stay, before escaping. He kept the Nursery a secret, believing it his duty to protect it from those who would exploit it.
He left in 2090, at eighteen, and began to make his fortune as a trader, making the circuit between survivalist communities that emerged throughout New California. Over the next twelve years, he made a tidy profit, rising to prominence in the Hub. Unfortunately, all things come at a cost and Harold's success ran up a hefty bill due to attacks by gangers, scavengers, and mutant creatures that made it necessary to employ entire armies of guards just to keep them at bay. This was all the more apparent to him since he became the head of his own caravan outfit in 2096.
Eventually, he had enough and on May 22, 2102, financed one of the first adventuring parties in New California together with Richard Grey, a mysterious scientist and doctor from the Hub. the expedition set out from the Hub and tracked the mutants to the northwest, deep into the Californian Central Valley. After fighting through what seemed like an endless stream of mutants, they finally reached Mariposa Military Base on June 23. Penetrating the base's defenses proved no small feat and eventually, the entire group was whittled down to just Harold and Richard Grey. Francine was wounded and Mark was sent to the surface, never to be heard from again. The two of them penetrated all the way into the base's central core, where the vats of FEV was located. The expedition was finally routed when the robotic crane crashed into them, sending Grey into a vat of FEV and badly injuring Harold. He passed out, only to wake up in the wasteland days later, in the throes of change due to exposure to FEV, when he handled a contaminated item in the base. He was found by traders four days later, on June 27, and taken back to the Hub. His horrifying transformation caused him to lose his business, as employees and partners turned away from him. Soon, he was left a beggar, living in a derelict ruin in the Old Town.
No country for old mutants
His resolve and hardiness allowed him to survive despite the poverty. By the time he met the Vault Dweller around 2161, he was the oldest person alive in the whole wide Hub, known for his stories and knowledge, not just about days long past, but also contemporary events. For example, he knew how to find the deathclaw suspected of attacking caravans and was aware of the fact that Decker's men captured Brother Jonathan of the Brotherhood of Steel recently, and would happily share that knowledge for a modest amount of bottle caps to keep himself afloat.
Harold left sometime after 2162, having managed to bring a measure of equality between the impoverished population of Hub's Old Town and the rest of the city. He traveled north, accompanied by a sapling (Bob) that took root in his head. By 2238, he arrived in Gecko and noticing that the careless way the power plant was managed, he decided to stick around and do his best to help the ghouls with the running of the facility, becoming the de facto mayor and leader of the local community. He would be one of the key players in the struggle between the ghouls and the bigoted inhabitants of Vault City to solve the Gecko powerplant problem. After the conflict was resolved, he started to travel again. The tree growing out of his head continued to grow larger and bear fruit. Its remarkably tough seeds are able to withstand even the toughest environments and thrive.
Harold's tireless legs eventually carried him all the way to the opposite end of the continent, to the Capital Wasteland. Overwhelmed by Bob, he stopped to rest, only to realize that he was unable to move anymore, rooted to the ground by his companion. He became part of the tree, sustained by its photosynthesis and nutrients taken from the ground. He took root in the northern Capital Wasteland and was found by a wanderer in the late 2250s. This wanderer, later taking the name Birch, beheld the glory of Harold and knew other wanderers would seek to do the Great One harm. He founded the Treeminders, a group of pure-hearted individuals that would protect the Great One as his last line of defense. Once Harold and Bob truly became a part of the environment, a verdant vale of growth spread from the tree, washing the barren hillside over with life and greenery, and enticing animal life to inhabit the area.
With the Treeminders' care and attention, Bob started to take root further; over time, his root system carried away Harold's internal organs far throughout the cave system below, making it plain that short of a merciful death, Harold would remain forever in one spot. Harold used his ability to spread Herbert's seeds to attract wanderers, at first to amuse himself, and then to find a solution to the problem he was in. The key issue was that the purification ceremony necessary for outsiders to gain access to Harold involved drinking hallucinogenic sap derived from Bob, resulting in psychosis and other severe mental problems in most who came to the Oasis.
He kept trying, hoping to attract someone capable of helping him through his ordeal. Finally, in 2277, he managed to attract the Lone Wanderer. Upon their acceptance into the cult, Harold requested that they kill him, to spare him the agony of being rooted in one spot for all eternity. Suffering from depression, he pleaded with the Lone Wanderer to end his life, something the Treeminders could not do. His requests for them to end his life wound up interpreted as tests of their moral and spiritual aptitude, rather than genuine pleas for mercy.
His sole real companion was Yew, the youngest of the group, who listened to him without reservation. Others, treating him as a god, always looked for hidden meanings… Or worse, had their own designs for him. Tree Father Birch and Leaf Mother Laurel held two opposing views of what should happen: Birch wished to contain Bob's spread to protect Oasis and Harold, while Laurel desired to share their god's gift with everyone. It was up to the Lone Wanderer to decide whether to fulfill Harold's wish and euthanize him or persuade the god to live on and either have Bob spread out or be contained.
Interactions with the player character
|This character is involved in quests.|
- Find the missing caravans.: Harold can direct the player to Uncle Slappy to pursue the trail of the missing caravans.
Tell me about
|Harold's Fallout 1 Tell-me-abouts|
|Richard, Grey||Brilliant guy. A doctor and philosopher. Long ago he lead the expedition where I got changed into a mutant.|
|Master||Who? Is he some sort of sex therapist? I could use one, you know.|
|Ghouls||Mutants. Doesn't matter what they call themselves.|
|Loxley||Him. He leads the Thieves Circle. Thinks he's Robin Hood. [cough] He's alright, I guess.|
|Cathedral||I've seen religions come and religions go, and I hope this one goes. Soon.|
|Vault||Yeah, I came from a Vault. Too many people, not enough food and water. But you wouldn't know anything about that, would you?|
|War||Horrible. The world just went insane. Long ago, but I'll never forget it. Never.|
|Decker||[Cough] Trouble. Nothing but trouble.|
|This character starts quests.|
- Solve the Gecko powerplant problem.: Harold is the primary driver of the ghoul side of the quest.
- If the player repairs the power plant, they can pursue a conversation about their ancestor with Harold, to receive a minor reward (two super stimpaks).
|This character is involved in quests.|
- Oasis: The player has to decide Harold's fate, whether to honor his wish and kill him, do what Birch wants and contain Bob's spread, or follow Laurel's request to make him bloom and restore the Wasteland.
- Harold's inventory is empty in every game he appears in.
Drops on death
- "See Herbert, now that's a nice person for you. Why can't you be more like that?"
- "Please, I can't very well speak to you when you're back there."
- "Come around, to where I can see you (coughs and splutters)."
- " Oh, don't get me started on them. I'm liable to talk about them all day! It even drives poor old Bob crazy."
- "They won't listen to me at all. If I tell them something simple, then it gets done. Otherwise, Birch spends a week looking for a hidden meaning. Plus, he just pops in whenever he wants and starts chanting this nonsense. Sometimes I just sit there silently just to make him mad. That was fun for a while, but even that's getting boring now."
- "<Sigh> I wish I was [dreaming] too. Then me and Herbert could be the best of friends and live side by side. He's the tree, you see. We're old pals... the best of buddies and we know each other inside and out; literally. Well, his name's really Bob. I think it's funny to call him Herbert. But I don't think he thinks it's that funny."
- "I know they mean well... and for awhile it was nice to be needed. But I'm not sure I want to be a giant tree anymore. Well, truth be told it's Herbert that's the tree. He sorta just took over, you know? Probably to get back at me for calling him Herbert all the time. His name's really Bob. I think it's funny when I call him Herbert though."
- "Well, I suppose you could look at it that way. See, Bob used to ride around on top of my head, sunk his roots right in there, ya know? Well, eventually he got bigger than me, and then I pretty much ended up inside."
- "Whoa-ho! Check out the brain on this guy! It was a long time ago... I tend to lose track. I was exploring some sort of a military base with some other people... I think it was called Mariposa. We were pretty deep inside and we found some weird vats of this nasty green goo. Right when we were about to leave, I think we were attacked. Last thing I remember before blacking out was something knocking my friend into the stuff."
- "No, no. Herbert is the tree... Bob is his real name, but I call him Herbert cause I think it's pretty funny. But I'm still in here too, what's left of me. The name's Harold."
- "Oh no, don't worry about them. When you decide to go down there, I'll have a little chat with Birch and the rest of the gang. They usually don't understand a word I say, but I'll make them come around."
- "[Why don't you just kill yourself?] Now how exactly am I supposed to do that? I can barely move anymore. Thanks to Bob, I'm obviously not going to be doing anything for a very long time."
- "Of all the Wastelanders I had to bump into it has to be one with a conscience. Let's keep it an open invitation then. I don't want to wait until the next person visits, it could be years. Just think about it, okay?"
- "Oh, no no no no! Fire would be too painful for me and poor old Bob. Keep that stuff away from us! The heart would be just fine... I won't feel a thing."
- "Glad to see you're finally awake. I can't believe they made you do that stupid ceremony. They listen when I talk, but they don't hear... know what I mean?"
- "Now don't get crazy on me and start wearing branches..."
Behind the scenes
Van Buren storyline
- Harold's story would come to a radically different end in Van Buren. By the 2250s, Bob would come down with an unknown disease that would be slowly killing the tree and its host, Harold. To find a cure, Harold would return to the Nursery through the Twin Mothers. This tribe, descended from Harold's own Vault 29, would have taken him in and healed Bob with a special, foul concoction. Hoping to return the favor, Harold would be granted an audience with Diana Stone, their goddess, and then be taken back to the Nursery, a moment of joy for Diana and Harold as they were reunited. Harold would settle down and live out the rest of his days in the tranquility of the Nursery's gardens. Bob would become instrumental in developing a cure for New Plague, if the Prisoner gave Diana the information on F.E.V. and New Plague from the Boulder ZAX, providing genetically engineered fruit that would heal the afflicted.
Fallout 3 concept art by Adam Adamowicz
Additionally, Harold was to appear in both Black Isle's cancelled Fallout 3, Van Buren, as well as Interplay's cancelled Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2. A cult called the Church of Harold was set to appear in Project V13 (Interplay's canceled Fallout Online).