The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
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This is a lore summary, presenting intradiegetic or in-universe information about the subject. For game characteristics and similar data, consult the table on the right.
Game-specific articles
FalloutVault 13
Fallout 2Vault 13
Vault 13
Map MarkerVault 13
SectionsCavern Entrance
Living Quarters
Command Center
FactionsVault 13 Dwellers (2077-2242)
Intelligent deathclaws (2242)
LeadersOverseer Jacoren (2161)
Martin Frobisher (2242)
Gruthar (2242)
DoctorsVault 13 medic (2161)
Joseph (2242)

Find the Water Chip.
Find the Water Thief.
Calm rebel faction.
Destroy the Mutant leader.
Destroy the source of the Mutants.

Fallout 2:

Retrieve the GECK for Arroyo.
Fix the Vault 13 computer.
The navigation computer needs the NavComp part to work.
Central computer core
Water computer
Fallout 2Gametitle-FO2.png
Standard computer terminal, modified for voice commands
Vault door terminal
Water computer

Vault 13 is one of the Vaults constructed by the Vault-Tec Corporation. It is located in Southern California, due west of Vault 15 and the post-War settlement of Shady Sands.

For game-specific articles, see Vault 13 (Fallout) and Vault 13 (Fallout 2).


Construction and Purpose

Located in a scenic mountainous region, Vault 13 was designed to provide its inhabitants with an endless supply of pure water from a nearby underground river. In case of water table contamination, the government approved Vault Water Purification System would handle decontamination and purification, rated to work without significant loss of output for 250,000 hours (~28 years).[1] It was one of the last Vaults to begin construction in the west, with a cycle plagued by delays and problems.[2]

This Vault's construction began in 2063 and lasted six years, ending in March 2069, and making it the last Vault in the west to be completed. With an earthen cover of 3200000 tons of soil at 200 feet of thickness, the Vault offered plenty of capacity and protection. It was designed to hold 500 occupants in 100 comfortable quarters, with a maximum of 1000 occupants with hot bunking and double quarter assignments. A Think Machine computer control system was installed to coordinate the systems of the shelter and its power requirements. The latter were particularly important, as the facility required 3.98mkw per day to operate normally. The primary power source was a geothermal energy plant, with a General Atomics Nuclear Power system acting as backup.[3]

Vault 13 was also provided with a sizable store of gear and amenities, including complete construction equipment, hydroponic farms for agriculture, aforementioned water purification systems, defensive weaponry for ten security officers (Colt 6520 10mm pistols and Winchester Widowmaker shotguns; a prototypical Solar Scorcher was also rumored to be included),[4] communication systems, social and entertainment files, and more.[3] Due to shipping mistakes, it ended up with three Garden of Eden Creation Kits instead of two, with its supply of spare water chips sent to Vault 8.[5] Notably, Vault-Tec Industries chose the venerable Pip-Boy 2000 as the personal information processor for the Vault, passing over the Pip-Boy 3000 models.[6] All of this was accomplished at a budget of $645 billion, with a starting point of $400 billion.[3]

Within the Vault Experiment, the purpose of Vault 13 was to remain closed for 200 years, as a study of prolonged isolation. After the water chip forced Jacoren to improvise, the experiment was largely invalidated. However, it was then used as a control group for Enclave experiments.[7][8]

Water Problems and the Master

Vault 13's water purification system

Due to its late completion, the "cry wolf" effect security drills had on the populace was not as pronounced. People continued to show up at drills until the Great War, when the Vault was successfully sealed with a full complement, including Natalia Dubrovhsky's grandparent, a Soviet diplomat from L.A.[2] The Overseers followed the protocol, but rather than seal the Vault permanently, they attempted to contact the outside world. These efforts were in vain and only depleted the already limited stock of equipment over the years.[9]

Vault 13's water chip began to fail some years before 2161.[10] Overseer Jacoren sent out the first explorers to find a spare. Ed was one of the first and perished not long after stepping outside the Vault door. Another was Talius, sent out with a shotgun. He was lost to the wasteland after he was apprehended by super mutants at Necropolis and sent for dipping.[11] When the water chip broke in December 2161, the situation became an emergency. With an estimated 150 days worth of water reserves left, Jacoren sent out the Vault Dweller on December 5, 2161, 7:21 AM.[12] The Vault Dweller returned in February 2162, after salvaging the chip from the Necropolis Vault 12.[13] However, he was immediately sent back out to find the Master and destroy him and the production laboratory that was being used to create the super mutants. The Overseer calculated, accurately, that the mutations were too uniform and the numbers grew too fast to allow for Vault 13 to remain safe and undiscovered.[14]

Within a month, on March 3, 2162, the Vault Dweller destroyed the Master at the Cathedral, with extreme prejudice.[15] After another month and a half, on April 20, 2162, he killed the Lieutenant and destroyed the Mariposa Military Base along with the Forced Evolutionary Virus vats.[16]

After wandering the wasteland, the Vault Dweller finally returned on May 10, 2162. Jacoren greeted him outside the Vault. After congratulating him on his achievements, he brutally cast him out. Officially, it was to preserve the Vault. Unofficially, he was ensuring that the role of Vault 13 in the experiment would not be disturbed any more.[17]

The Vault Lives On

The exile of their hero turned the Vault against the Overseer. After a group of Dwellers left the Vault in outrage, the Overseer was imprisoned, tried, and sentenced to death. It was believed that he caused the exodus by his careless actions and irresponsibly caused the death of many of fellow dwellers.[18] In order to avoid giving anyone this amount of power again, the leaders of the revolt replaced the overseer with a mainframe computer complementing the existing Think Machine. They bought it from the Brotherhood of Steel, turning the shelter into a fully automated installation.[19]

However, the revolutionaries did not know that the dwellers found their hero and made their way north, founding Arroyo.[20] What bound these divergent bloodlines was their reverence of the Vault Dweller. While it took on the form of a tribal religion in Arroyo, Vault 13 instead honored his memory with a shrine dedicated to his name and the establishment of the position of Keeper of the Shrine, responsible for upholding the memory of their hero.[21]

The Enclave

Fo2 Vault 13 Ending.png

Life went on, but not without disturbances. On May 15, 2242, the Vault computer suddenly received a coded sequence and declared that it was time to leave the Vault. Martin Frobisher, the informal leader of the dwellers, gathered everyone to watch the Leaving The Vault instruction video.[22] A day later, the Vault opened. Instead of freedom, the dwellers were attacked and enslaved by two Enclave Vertibird assault squads. Three dwellers were killed resisting capture, while the rest was herded into Vertibirds and transported to Control station Enclave.[23] The operation concluded on May 17, 2242, when the Enclave animal handlers deployed a unit of intelligent deathclaws under Gruthar to obscure the Enclave's actions and patrol the nearby area for stragglers.[24]

However, rather than carry out their orders, the deathclaws turned Vault 13 into their home. They carved out a nest for the den mother, Kerith, and took in various humans, not as prey, but fellow inhabitants. Although most learned to accept their unusual neighbors, there was one person who did not get along: Matt. The hacker destroyed the voice recognition module used by Gruthar to operate the main computer and disabled keyboard input. However, he was caught when he tried to unsuccessfully bomb the nest.[25] He was placed in custody while the remaining dwellers tried to fix the computer. Without the voice interface, the systems began to shut down one by one, starting with food and water processors. If power failed, the Vault would become a giant steel and concrete coffin.[26]

It is in this state of affairs that the Chosen One happened upon Vault 13. In exchange for the GECK, he repaired the voice recognition module.[27] Soon after, Frank Horrigan and his team invaded Vault 13, massacring the deathclaws and the humans living inside. There were no survivors. Only Xarn and Goris remained of the intelligent deathclaws,[28] while the last Vault 13 dwellers were imprisoned in Control station Enclave. They were freed in fall of 2242 by the Chosen One and founded New Arroyo together with their relatives from the tribe.[29]

The future of Vault 13 is not known, though it is likely under NCR control.


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Entrance (Fallout)

Airlock, EML, elevator. All one needs for leaving.

The entrance floor features the Emergency Medical Lab, with a medic on standby around the clock. It also hosts the main air lock, leading into the mountain's caverns through a four foot thick steel door, and an elevator leaving into the depths of the Vault.

Loot in Entrance

Entrance (Fallout 2)

Deathclaws. Oh dear.

The facilities remain in roughly the same state as 80 years prior, deathclaws excepted, of course.

Living quarters (Fallout)

Standard pre-War design

The living quarters are where the dwellers sleep and relax after a day's work. The rebel faction under Theresa is here, plotting how to leave the Vault.

Living quarters (Fallout 2)

No major changes.

Eighty years later, the abandoned quarters are used by new tenants. One of the old technical sections was converted into a shrine to the memory of the Vault Dweller, maintained by a Keeper: Gordon.

Command center (Fallout)

Do you want to find a water chip? It does have to be a water chip.

The heart of all Vault operations. The terminals in the library can be used to gain 300 XP (Science may be necessary), while the security officer and Jacoren can provide access to the armory.

Loot in Command Center



Command center (Fallout 2)

Some changes are present

The rebellion that ousted Jacoren replaced the Overseer chair and quarters with an automated mainframe handling all of the duties. The wall in the armory has been removed, allowing the deathclaws to dig out a nest for their young and their mother.

The GECK is located in a locker in the storage room.


Fallout intro

Master ending in Fallout

Fallout 2 intro

Fallout 2


Vault 13 appears in Fallout and Fallout 2 and is mentioned in Fallout Bible, Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, Fallout: New Vegas, and Gun Runners' Arsenal.


  1. Vault locations v34.129: "Located in a scenic mountainous region northwest of Vault 12, this Vault offers an endless supply of pure water to the inhabitants. The rumors that the water table in the area could easily be contaminated in the event of a Nuclear War have been found by the Department of Water and Power to be completely unfounded. In the event that the water in the area were to become tainted, remote even though it may be, Vault 13 has been fitted with the government approved Vault Water Purification System. Rated to work without significant loss of output for over 250,000 hours, prospective Vault Dwellers should have nothing to fear."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Fallout Bible 0: "2063 August The construction of most Vaults completed, except for Vault 13, whose construction finally gets off the ground... heralding a development cycle that seems plagued with problems. Drills begin in the other cities with completed Vaults, but the increasing frequency of the drills has a "cry wolf" effect, and the turnouts for drills trickle off as the years go on."
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide p.1-1—1-2: Important Vault Statistics
    Vault Number ............................13
    Starting construction date .........August 2063
    Ending construction date ..........March 2069
    Starting Budget .........................$400,000,000,000
    Final Budget, with interest ........$645,000,000,000
    Total number of occupants .......1,000 (at capacity)
    Total duration ...........................10 years (at capacity)
    Number of living quarters .........100 (hot bunking required if at maximum capacity)
    Door thickness ..........................4 yards, steel
    Earth coverage .........................3,200,000 tons of soil, at 200 feet
    Computer control system .........Think machine
    Primary power supply ...............Geo-thermal
    Secondary power supply ..........General Atomics Nuclear Power backup systems
    Power requirements .................3.98mkw/day
    Stores .......................................Complete construction equipment, hydro-agricultural farms, water purification from underground river, defensive weaponry to equip 10 men, communication, social and entertainment files (for total duration)
  4. Guardian of Forever
  5. Vault City central computer's information: "{238}{}{According to the archives, there is no GECK currently in stock at Vault City's Amenities Office. The people of Vault City seem to have used the only one they had to help establish the place when they came to the surface.}"
    "{239}{}{Scroll through the remaining information.}"
    "{240}{}{From what you can make out in the archives, two GECKs were part of every Vault's standard inventory package. Only one was shipped to Vault 8, however.}"
    "{241}{}{Cross-reference the GECK shipment information.}"
    "{244}{}{Due to a shipping error, it appears Vault 8 received a box of surplus water chips intended for another Vault. The other Vault most likely received Vault 8's second GECK.}"
  6. Vault Dweller's Survival Guide p.4-20: "ROBCO PIPBOY 2000
    To help Vault Dwellers record information (and information is extremely valuable, in fact, it might be the most valuable weapon we have against the end of civilization, so pay attention!), Vault-Tec has selected the RobCo Industries RobCo PIPBoy 2000 as the Personal Information Processor of choice for its Vault Dwellers."
  7. Dick Richardson: "{228}{prs37}{Ahh. Vault 13 was a special case. It was supposed to remain closed until the subjects were needed. Vault 13 was, in scientific parlance, a control group.}"
  8. Fallout Bible 0: "Vault 13 Intended to stay closed for 200 years as a study of prolonged isolation, the broken water chip forced the Overseer to improvise and use the Vault Dweller as a pawn. Later study of the Vault 13 records by the Enclave led them to their current plan to end the war."
  9. Vault Dweller's Survival Guide p. 5-14: "Yeah, right. Who wrote this? What budget did they get? We already used most of the equipment on failed attempts to contact an outside civilization. And we've been in here a lot longer than ten years. We have little left to give you, but we will give you what we can."
  10. The Vault Dweller: "{141}{}{So you volunteered.}"
    Talius: "{145}{}{Yes. The overseer of the community gave me a shotgun and some shells. However, those were lost many years passed. Since I have never found anything, I could not return.}"
  11. The Vault Dweller: "{129}{}{What can you do? You are a mutant.}"
    Talius: "{135}{}{Once, I was as you are. But, through the interaction of the Nightkin in Necropolis, I was thrust into this state.}"
  12. Fallout Bible 0 Timeline repair: "2161 Dec 5 Fallout 1 Begins: Vault Dweller is kicked out of Vault 13 to find a replacement water chip."
  13. Fallout Bible 0: "2162 February 13 Vault Dweller recovers the water chip in Necropolis. Ian is killed by a super mutant and reduced to a cinder, ending his tendency to shoot the Vault Dweller in the back with SMG bursts."
  14. Fallout events.
  15. Fallout Bible 0: "2162 March 3 Vault Dweller kicks the Master's ass."
  16. Fallout Bible 0: "2162 April 20 Vault Dweller destroys the Military Base. Dogmeat dies defending his master."
  17. Jacoren: "{246}{Over_81}{You've done it! That's . . . wonderful. Amazing! I'm so proud of what you've accomplished, what you've endured. There's no way the people of the Vault can ever thank you enough for what you've done. You've saved all our lives. Who knows, maybe even saved the human race. [The Overseer sighs.] That makes the rest of this even harder. Everyone will want to talk to you. Every youngster will look up to you. And want to emulate you. And then what? They'll want to leave. What happens to the Vault if we lose the best of a generation? What if we are the only safe place in the world? You just gave us back all these lives . . . I can't take the chance of losing them. I've made a lot of tough decisions since I took this position. But none of them harder than this one. You saved us, but you'll kill us. I'm sorry. You're a hero . . . and you have to leave.}"
  18. Martin Frobisher: "{172}{}{We don't use that term anymore. There used to be an overseer, many years ago, but he did a bad thing and many of our people left the vault - only to die in the wastes, I'm sure. He was tried and sentenced to death for his crime. We haven't used the title since.}"
  19. Jimmy: "{156}{}{I don't know the full story but at one point in the vault's history there was a rebellion. The overseer was either killed or overthrown, I'm not sure which. Anyway, the leaders of the revolution didn't want to entrust the fate of the people to another overseer so they installed this mainframe. The records say it was purchased from... oh, what was that name... Ah, I remember, the 'Brotherhood of Steel.'}"
  20. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "The days and weeks that followed were hard on me. I had met few true friends outside the Vault, and they had died following me. Now, my family had kicked me out and said that I could never return. I screamed. I cried. Slowly I came to realize that the Overseer may have been correct. I had changed. Life outside the Vault was different, and now I, too, was different. But I have never forgiven him for doing what he did to me.
    I wandered the desert, but never moved far from the mountains that shielded the Vault from the rest of the world. Perhaps I wanted to return, and force my way in, or plead for them to take me back. Fortunately, it did not come to that. I found a few wretched souls, a small group of Vault dwellers, who upon hearing of what happened to me, had decided to leave the Vault and join my side. They knew little of the outside world, and would have died if it were not for my assistance.
    Together, our little group moved north, away from the Vault, and away from that old life. Slowly, I taught them what experience had taught me. And together we learned to thrive."
  21. Gordon
  22. Fallout Bible 0: "2242 May 15 Enclave sends a coded sequence to Vault 13, activating its central computer and declaring that is time to leave the Vault. Martin Frobisher gathers the Vault dwellers together for tutorial movie."
  23. Fallout Bible 0: "2242 May 16 Less than a day later, Vault 13 is opened, only to be greeted by two Enclave verti-assault squads. The squads kill three of the citizens who were "resisting capture," and storm the Vault, kidnapping all the inhabitants."
  24. Fallout Bible 0: "2242 May 17 Enclave animal handlers drop a Deathclaw unit into Vault 13 from a safe distance to kill anyone investigating the Vault and cloak the Enclave's presence. Other Deathclaws are sent into the desert surrounding Vault 13 to check for any escapees or witnesses."
  25. Matt (Vault 13): "{144}{}{Yeah. I destroyed the voice module and then I disabled all keyboard input.}"
  26. Jimmy: "{137}{}{The voice interface to the mainframe has failed so Gruthar can't give the system instructions for running the vault. The food and water processors have already shut down. The power systems could very well be next.}"
  27. Fallout 2 events.
  28. Fallout Bible 6 Talking deathclaws: "BTW, the talking deathclaws were destroyed at the end of Fallout 2. Xarn and Goris did not go on to create a new species. They are gone. Kaput. Goodbye. In fact, any mutant animal that talks can safely be assumed to have died at the end at the exact minute that Fallout 2 was over.
    Any last words, talking animals?
    I thought not."
  29. Fallout 2 endings