Traps (devices)

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Traps (devices) can be found all over the wasteland.

Types of traps

Cars, trucks, and motorcycles

Screenshot needed

More properly to be considered obstacles to avoid, rather than being actual, purposeful traps, a large number of decaying vehicles can be found around the wasteland. These nuclear-powered vehicles, suffering from two centuries of neglect and outright abuse, will almost assuredly catch fire and explode if sufficiently damaged. When an intact vehicle takes enough damage, they will release a small explosion and catch fire, giving warning to those nearby, in which they have several seconds to escape to a safe distance. Once that period has elapsed, vehicles will go up in a much larger and more damaging nuclear explosion, similar in appearance and potency to a mini nuke; alternatively, the meltdown process can be hastened by continually firing upon already deteriorating vehicles.

An exploding vehicle can be deadly to most everything nearby, and frequently, in cases of other, nearby vehicles, the first explosion can set off a chain reaction, which commonly has the potential to set off a massive, immediate explosion that can engulf a large radius, where the shrapnel sent flying out can also be just as deadly as the explosions.

Though intact vehicles are not inherently traps, they are used as such in Minefield, a location which the Lone Wanderer might visit on their own, or while working for Craterside Supply or Paradise Falls. The sniper Arkansas will deliberately fire upon the cars from a distance should interlopers traverse through Minefield, in which the cars are scripted to explode as the Lone Wanderer reaches certain areas of the town, leading up to Arkansas' crow nest.


Frag mine

Placed mines

Frag mines are weapons created for military use, and are commonly placed and armed in areas occupied by hostile forces, or in order to protect an area of high to moderate value. They have a very sensitive sensor that registers vibration through the ground, and once the vibrations exceed a certain level, the mines will begin their detonation process. A grace period that delays the detonation process is based on the Lone Wanderer's explosives skill, although it should be noted that potential companions and other entities will still set off mines as normal. Fragmentation mines require a minimum explosives skill of 1 to disarm, meaning that the Lone Wanderer can inherently disarm them from the start under legitimate means. Upon disarming a fragmentation mine, they will be automatically picked up, in which they can then be used as thrown weapons, sold for moderate value, or used to complete a quest for Moira and her Wasteland Survival Guide.

Concealed mine

Hidden frag mine in the abandoned camp

Concealed mines typically appear as small, raised areas, resembling tiny concrete or dirt colored mounds. However, concealed mines can also be found hidden under world objects such as traffic cones, buckets, and even under boxes. The disarm option for concealed mines requires an explosives skill of 28, in which concealed mines can be disarmed in the same manner as regular mines, and the Lone Wanderer will receive a regular frag mine upon a successful disarming.[1]

Unlike regular fragmentation mines, a menu will appear during the disarming attempt, that gives the Lone Wanderer the option to disarm and collect the mine, or leave it alone. Should an entity get within 16 distance units (distance in feet/inches here) from the mine, it will explode. As a further note, concealed mines share the same id as regular fragmentation mines, meaning that they cannot be added to the inventory via console commands.

Pulse mine

Plasma mine

Bathroom scale

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Bear trap

Armed and disarmed bear trap

Bear traps are spring-operated pairs of spiked jaws that snap shut on the legs of their victims, should the pressure switch in the center be pressure triggered, and can easily cripple limbs at lower levels. A repair skill of 25 is required to disarm them; alternatively, shooting the pressure switches, or dropping an object on them also works. Bear traps can be reset after being triggered, but this action requires a repair skill of 55.

Swing object

Swing objects are heavy objects (often a girder, automotive engine, or rotting brahmin), that are chained to the ceiling, and are held up by a trip wire. When the wire is broken, the object swings down and impacts the interloper for a moderate amount of damage with a direct hit, or a minor amount of damage should it clip them. The trip wire requires a repair skill of 25 to disarm, or the object itself can be grabbed and manually moved to a safe position without any required skill; alternatively, with a powerful enough weapon, the objects can be shot at a distance to trigger them. Because of the nature of the trap, it can remain dangerous even after the initial trigger, and at certain angles, especially if walked into, it will still continue to cause damage, often several times in quick succession.

Grenade bouquet

Grenade bouquet

Grenade bouquets are clusters of three frag grenades that are hung from the ceiling. When triggered, either by walking into them, shooting them, or walking through the nearby trip wire/pressure plates connected to them, the pins are pulled, and the three grenades will fall to the ground and explode shortly after. Both the trip wires and the grenades themselves can be disarmed, the latter of which requires an explosives skill of 30. Doing the latter adds the three grenades to the Lone Wanderer's inventory; however, should the Lone Wanderer lack the required skill to disarm the traps, they may be able to shoot the rope holding up the grenades to make them fall and detonate prematurely. These traps are extremely dangerous, as the combined force of three grenades can be deadly, even to heavily equipped wastelanders. They make a tell-tale rattle noise as they fall, alerting those nearby, should they have failed to notice the trap beforehand.

Trapped pipe

Beware – two of these ducts are trapped

Similar to the grenade bouquet traps, some ventilation pipes have a grenade bouquet installed inside of them, in which their payload is primed and deployed by the activation of a nearby pressure plate or tripwire. This trap is rather rare, but can be found in locations such as the ruins of Fairfax, the Arlington Public Library or the steelyard of The Pitt. They cannot be disarmed, though the trip wire or pressure plate can be. Once activated, the grenades inside will begin bouncing down through the pipes, before exiting just in time to explode.

Pitching machine

Pitching machine

A common raider trap, pre-War pitching machines have been rigged to shoot misc. items, and even explosives, at nearby intruders, or even at nearby objects that will explode once hit by the machines. A nearby pressure plate or trip wire activates these contraptions, in which they will then begin to fire their payloads in the direction that they are pointed, and will shut down once said payloads have been expended. Either the activators can be disarmed, or the contraptions themselves, which will render them permanently useless. Typically, these machines are not a huge threat in themselves, unless explosives are involved; however, the noise that they make is rather loud, and will alert nearby enemies to the activator's presence.

There is a unique modification of this trap that can be found in the add-on Point Lookout – a pitching machine that shoots eight baseballs and two fragmentation grenades, making it a deadly trap against anyone or anything that falls within its sights.

Gas leak

Screenshot needed

Gas leaks are found in areas which have filled with natural gases, that ignite if any sort of combustion occurs within the area of the leaks. They are usually found in sewage or metro tunnels, and can be visually detected by noting a wavering distortion in the air. When a gas leak is ignited, anything in the immediate vicinity takes a small amount of damage, is set on fire, and is knocked down for a few seconds. This can be particularly dangerous in combat situations, as being knocked down will expose those caught in the blast to nearby enemies that were not exposed themselves. Ballistic weapons will set off a gas leak if fired within a cloud, but not when fired from the outside. Energy weapons, however, will set off the leak if the shot intersects with the cloud at any point (this is noted by a user manual for the laser pistol found in the metro-central station). The detonation of any kind of explosive, such as seen with frag grenades, will also set off leaks. Finally, any item with an open flame, such as the flamer, heavy incinerator, or shishkebab, will ignite the gas if it comes into contact with the cloud, regardless of whether or not they are actually used, since the pilot lights used to ignite them, are still active (holstering them will prevent this). To safely remove gas leaks, ignite them from a safe distance, which will permanent render the areas safe from future gas leaks.

Pinkerton, in his hidden lab within Rivet City, utilizes gas leaks in combination with a grenade bouquet: by triggering a tripwire, the grenades will drop, and the explosion will ignite the gas and flood the nearby hall and connecting rooms.

Radiation trap

Radiation trap

Radiation traps were added with the Broken Steel add-on, and, as the name suggests, they release critical levels of radiation when activated. They require a repair skill of 60 to disarm, and only two locations in the game feature them: the Holy Light monastery, where they can only be activated manually; and the Olney powerworks, where they are triggered as a security measure, and must be shut down using a nearby terminal.

Rigged shotgun

Fallout 3

Rigged combat shotgun

Rigged shotguns are a simple but dangerous trap consisting of a combat shotgun wired to a nearby pressure plate or a trip wire. When triggered, they will fire off a single blast at the position of the trigger. A repair skill of 45 is required to disarm the shotguns, which will award the combat shotgun, four shotgun shells, and ten microfusion cells.

Unlike other traps such as the grenade bouquets, rigged combat shotguns can be disarmed after having been triggered already.

Fallout: New Vegas

Rigged single shotgun

Rigged shotguns in the Mojave Wasteland are also seen to be simple, yet dangerous traps, and consist of a single shotgun, wired to a nearby pressure plate or a trip wire. When triggered, these shotguns will fire off a single blast at the position of the trigger. A repair skill of 45 is required to disarm the gun itself, which will award a single 20 gauge shotgun shell; the shotgun itself will be removed from the trap, but will not be awarded.

Unlike other traps such as the grenade bouquets, rigged shotguns can be disarmed after having been triggered already.

Rigged baby carriage

Rigged baby carriage

A particularly devious and complicated trap, rigged baby carriages consist of a baby carriage, containing a toy baby head with a bomb and several frag mines strapped to it. Upon approaching the carriage, a proximity sensor will cause for the toy to emit a crying sound, before detonating shortly thereafter with a fair amount of force. This is a rare trap, however, with trapped variants being discerned through an adequate view of the front of the carriage, by looking for a baby head within, with its blinking left eye.

These trapped carriages require an explosives skill of 60 to disarm, and unlike most other explosive traps, their frag mines cannot be salvaged. Once disarmed, the carriages can be rearmed as a time bomb, or as a proximity bomb. These traps can also be grabbed and moved to a more useful position before re-arming, or they can be disarmed by shooting them at a distance. An example of this trap can be found in the Meresti service tunnel.

Rigged mailbox

Rigged mailbox

The rigged mailbox is an ordinary pre-War mailbox that has been rigged to explode if anything ventures too close to them. If disarmed (with an explosives skill of 45), the fragmentation mine within is awarded in turn. Afterwards, the mailboxes can then be rearmed on either a timer or a proximity fuse. All rigged mailboxes have a small metallic antenna poking out of the top of the letter receptacle, which helps in distinguishing them in good lighting conditions.

Rigged terminal

Terminal trap
Trapped terminal.jpg
See: Trapped terminal

Rigged computer terminals can be found uncommonly across the wastes, and attempting to access them triggers their traps, causing a slight electrical shock followed by the detonation of a fragmentation grenade tucked away inside. These trapped terminals can be recognized by the antenna sticking out of the back, as well as the warped rear panel. These traps can be deactivated by defusing the back panel, which will award the fragmentation grenade in turn. These terminals can then be rearmed, as either a timed explosive, or a proximity based explosive. An example of this trap can be found in the drainage chamber near Jocko's Pop & Gas Stop, or near the entrance to Pinkerton's hideout within Rivet City. Note that these terminals act only as a trap, and do not actually contain an interface; attempting to use them after they are disarmed only displays a dialog box explaining that they must be rearmed to function, which must be done using the rear panel. Shooting these devices will set off the explosives, rendering them permanently destroyed.

Rigged door

Screenshot needed

Randall Clark created a unique electrified door trap, in which, upon touching it while activated, will release an electrical shock. Furthermore, activating this trap will not render it inert, forcing anyone looking to get around it, to cut the power, first.[2] If it is touched before the associated generator is disabled, it produces a moderately damaging electric shock.

Toilet trap

A toilet trap

Toilet traps are a simple electrical trap designed to shock anyone who decides to use the toilets in any fashion, and can be disarmed by standing on the bowls of the toilets, and removing the microfusion cells from the tanks. 35 microfusion cells are in the tanks, which provide the charge, all of which are awarded upon defusing the traps. Two wires leading from the tanks to the bowls, indicate rigged toilets, both of which will disappear once the traps have been disarmed. One example of this trap is found in the Tenleytown/Friendship station's bathroom nearest the Chevy Chase North exit. A skeleton lying near the bowl serves to warn those of the danger. Others can be found in the robot repair center, The National Archives, the Museum of Technology, and in the Statesman Hotel.

Tesla arc

Main article: Tesla arc
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Makeshift bomb

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Rigged weapon

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Hidden gun ports


Radios and speakers

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Assaultron Totem

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Firing mechanisms and initiating actions

Trip wire

Screenshot needed

Trip wires are thin, easily broken wires suspended a few inches off of the floor, just out of sight on a pathway; those placed just behind doors do not trigger when the door is opened. They are used to trigger some sort of device to harm or kill trespassers, and will remain permanent broken once tripped.

Fallout 2, Fallout 3, and Fallout: New Vegas

Player characters with the Light Step perk can walk over these wires without fear; otherwise, they require a repair skill of 25 to disarm. Should a trip wire be disarmed, the process must be done from the posts that they originate from, and the wires themselves can only be interacted with by tripping them.

Fallout 4

The Sole Survivor must obtain the second level of the Sneak perk to no longer trigger trip wires when walking over them.

Laser trip wire

Found only in areas that utilize advanced technology, laser trip wires function by detecting when their projected beam of light becomes interrupted, and respond after a one-second delay with a puff of flammable gas, and a burst of flame to ignite the gas. The trip wires themselves are not a weapons-grade laser beam, and will not deal damage nor ignite the gas by themselves. The laser trip wire emitters can be disarmed with a repair skill of 85, or a science skill of 67.

Pressure plate

Pressure plate FO3 FONV Activator.png

Pressure plates are weight-activated mechanisms that are set off when enough pressure has been applied to them, such as by stepping on them or dropping an item onto them, thus triggering their associated traps. The Light Step perk will allow player characters to avoid triggering either variety; otherwise, pressure plates require a repair skill of 25 to disarm. The bear trap version can be triggered with a direct gunshot or an object, although they will reset by themselves after a time.

Proximity fuse

All mines, including the rigged mailboxes and baby carriages, work off of a proximity fuse. The Light Step perk will negate ordinary mine fuses, but not the fuses of rigged carriages or mailboxes. Thus, the choice comes down to attempting to disarm the explosive before it detonates, simply avoiding it, or to detonate it; preferably at a safe distance.

Tension trigger

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Rigged equipment such as computer terminals, are triggered by any attempt to utilize them. A separate area on the objects must be interacted with, in order to disarm them

Remote detonator

The Preacher in Seward Square, sets off his mini nuke minefield remotely. Mines and other destructible objects can also be detonated remotely by shooting them, such as seen with Arkansas in Minefield, in which he is scripted to snipe the nearby cars, causing for them to explode.


  1. >"Quest NQlvl, Quest Stages, 1, Result Script, set NQlvl.TRAPMineSkillReq to 28 ;disarm, expl; The script attached to the item refers to NQlvl.TRAPMineSkillReq"
  2. Year: 2084