The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
Vault 87
Icon vault.png
Vault 87 loc.png
Map MarkerVault 87
Other ExitsMurder Pass
QuestsFinding the Garden of Eden
Cell NameVault87Ext (exterior)
Vault87a (test labs)
Vault87b (living quarters)
Vault87c (reactor chamber)
ref id00000fd2 (exterior)
00018527 (test labs)
0001852a (living quarters)
00018537 (reactor chamber)
TerminalsVault 87 terminals:
Peter Stevens Personal Journals
Engineering Section
Medical Records
Medical Wing Maintenance Terminal
Test Chamber 01
Test Chamber 02
Test Chamber 03
Test Chamber 04
Chief Physician's Terminal
Isolation Room 05
Isolation Room 01
Isolation Room 02
Isolation Room 03
Isolation Room 04
Lab Technician Terminal
Chamber Terminal

Vault 87 is one of the Vaults constructed by the Vault-Tec Corporation in the Capital Wasteland. It is located northwest of Little Lamplight and southwest of Broadcast tower KT8. It's the place of origin for the super mutants and centaurs in the Capital Wasteland.


Construction on Vault 87 began in May 2066 and finished in December 2071. The primary computer system was Cyberbrain v2.3, while energy was provided by a General Atomics nuclear reactor, with a backup Versicorps fusion power generator. Non-standard equipment included four stasis chambers, a plasma containment field, six food processing stations and a Garden of Eden Creation Kit.[1]

Around 2076, the original Vault experiment was scrapped and the Vault was converted into a secondary research center that would study the effects of the Forced Evolutionary Virus on humans, exclusively for Dr Wayne Merrick and his staff. Using batch 11-111 as basis, the team attempted to create a virus batch that would result in reliable creation of humans adapted to the post-nuclear environment, the Evolutionary Experimentation Program. However, despite the efforts of the science team, only inferior mutants were created: despite a substantial increase in size, strength and practical immunity to environmental hazards, the subjects suffered from considerable mental damage and extreme aggression towards their surroundings.[2]

The Overseer and his security guards were well aware of the nature of the experimentation[3], they were following their orders from Vault-Tec.[4] Unfortunately, the standard security measures were not enough. A year after the Vault was sealed (following a disastrous nuclear detonation right on top of the entry cave), some test subjects broke free, overwhelming the security force, and beginning a haphazard dipping process.

Since then, the mutants are effectively a staple of the Capital Wasteland. They are obsessed with the preservation of their species, due to the fact that they are all irrevocably sterile. Super mutants kidnap humans from all over the Capital Wasteland and bring them to the vault to be mutated. They have been doing so for nearly 200 years, until their source of FEV started to run out. Because of the shortage of the "green stuff," there are now super mutant bands searching all over the Capital Wasteland for a new source of the virus.[5][6]

By 2277, the Vault is in a state of disrepair. Lack of maintenance led to advanced deterioration of subsystems and even the very structure of the vault. Parts of it have collapsed entirely. The mutants, owing to their low intelligence, have adapted various sections of the bunker in an ad hoc fashion. For example, medical recovery rooms were turned into makeshift prison cells meant to store experiments deemed a failure (like Fawkes).[7][8]

Original occupants

[read more...]



Above ground, the radiation near the entrance to Vault 87 peaks at well over 3,000 rads/second, which is fatal in a third of a second. According to information obtained from the G.E.C.K., the Overseer's terminal states, "I'm quite sad to report that due to a direct hit from what I presume to be a nuclear weapon on the entry area of Vault 87, we will be unable to provide the Scouting Reports as outlined in Vault-Tec's Operations Manual. The main door to Vault 87 is damaged beyond repair and we are detecting extremely high levels of lethal radiation outside and in the entry tunnel."

It is possible to reach the entrance through the extensive use of RadAway in combination with clothing providing radiation resistance and Rad-X. However, as the Overseer's message mentions, the door is inaccessible, making the Vault impossible to enter from above ground. The map marker will activate near the entrance. There is a dead scientist in a radiation suit that can be found near the Vault door, as can RadAway and Rad-X, presumably carried by the scientist but not enough to prevent his/her death by radiation poisoning.

Super mutants have built a barricade of broken girders and wrecked cars around the entrance. If you do decide to venture into this one-way death trap, be sure to defeat them before going in. Remember that super mutants can enter into a dense area of radiation without suffering any effects, like the possible companion Fawkes.

Strangely, you can fast travel from the vault's entrance despite the heavy radiation which normally prevents fast travel. Though, almost always, you will arrive dead.

An Enclave eyebot is usually seen patrolling south of the entrance.

Accessing Vault 87

Before you can access Vault 87, you must complete The Waters of Life, a part of the main quest line, by speaking with Scribe Rothchild in the Citadel. You will then be sent there to recover the Garden of Eden Creation Kit also known as the G.E.C.K.

Vault 87 can only be accessed through Little Lamplight. The player will have the option of questioning Mayor MacCready about how to access it. The mayor will suggest taking Murder Pass. However, he will also inform the player that there is a broken computer terminal in Little Lamplight that will allow direct access to the Vault via a different, safer route. If you have the ability to access this route, it is highly recommended to take it, as Murder Pass is difficult to traverse without injury and will result in significant ammunition usage.

To access the terminal, the player must speak to Joseph (as directed by MacCready). Joseph can fix the broken terminal, allowing it to be hacked, but he will only do so if the player has rescued Penny from Paradise Falls, if the player has a high enough science or speech skill, or through the Child at Heart perk. Joseph can be found in the Little Lamplight schoolhouse in the morning. The player must have a Science skill of 50 to actually hack the computer to get into the Vault.

If Penny is not rescued, Joseph becomes upset through dialogue, by failing the speech check, the science check is not available, or not having the Child at Heart perk, entrance through Murder Pass will be the only option to get to Vault 87. Located north of the souvenir building, Murder Pass houses several super mutants armed with heavy weaponry like missile launchers and miniguns. There are also a number of traps, so a careful approach is recommended. Mayor MacCready will open the gate for you if asked. Murder Pass is a good choice for earning experience. It also contains several medical cabinets, a decent amount of ammunition, and a Nuka-Cola Quantum.


Vault 87 is very similar to all the other vaults a player may visit during the game, with narrow, confusing corridors and small rooms connected by the main lobby. Once inside the dimly lit Vault, the player will encounter super mutants, centaurs, super mutant brutes, masters and super mutant overlords (if Broken Steel is installed). Super mutants take pride in mutilating the corpses of humans they kill in combat, hence the many skeletons and gore bags found throughout the vault. The player can also find the remains of failed FEV subjects.

Eventually, the player will encounter a friendly super mutant named Fawkes, who was sealed in a test chamber and left there decades before. Fawkes, via the intercom, will offer his services in acquiring the G.E.C.K. in return for the player freeing him from his cell. Though the player need not free Fawkes, the super mutant (if freed) will indeed honor this bargain, and will help the player acquire the G.E.C.K. by serving as a guide, as well as attacking any future enemies encountered, and finally, retrieving the device itself from its highly irradiated resting place. Further, if the player has good karma, Fawkes can be recruited as a follower later on. It's highly recommended to free him, because after the next quest (The American Dream) when you are in Raven Rock, he is practically invincible and wields a Gatling laser.

There are two methods to free Fawkes. First, in the room at the end of the right hallway, you can set off the fire alarm in a room inhabited by two super mutant variants, which will open all five isolation rooms. However, this is not recommended, as in the process, two centaurs and a hostile non-player character will also be freed. It is advisable that the player instead should hack the average-rated terminal located next to the fire alarm to unlock an individual chamber, of which Fawkes' cell is the fifth.


Notable loot

  • This is the only time Fawkes' super sledge can be acquired; you must either kill Fawkes or trade weapons with him to get it.
  • A copy of Nikola Tesla and You can be found in a wooden box at the feet of a mannequin in the southwestern-most dead-end tunnel of the Reactor Chamber, along with four bottles of whiskey (from the Murder Pass entrance, turn left and go downstairs, turn left again, then through the door at the end of the corridor).
  • A copy of Pugilism Illustrated is on a shelf in the storage room behind an average locked door on the southwestern side of the catwalk level of the living quarters. There is also a Nuka-Cola Quantum, AER9 laser rifle, microfusion cells, and a safe with random loot in this room.

Related quests


  • If you try to get in through the main entrance, you will meet levels up to 800 rads before you even get to the door.
  • The highest rad detected is 2475 rads per second, in the central area: if you get to door then it will reduce to approximately 2100 rads per second.
  • If you stand a step behind the door where the G.E.C.K. is, your Geiger counter will go silent and you will not receive any more rads until you move from that spot.
  • It is possible to trigger the G.E.C.K by going into the chamber before Fawkes and selecting the right option. However, the activation will cause an explosion from the G.E.C.K., and will kill you.
  • Fast-traveling to the Vault 87 map marker does not put you near the irradiated vault entrance; instead, it deposits you safely outside the south-by-southwest gate that's guarded by super mutants.
  • Although the maintenance tech's computer says his wife Mercia was taken by the EEP program and killed, her cause of death in the Medical Records computer is listed as 'Cancer Type I', as opposed to the 'unexplained' designation that victims of the EEP have.
  • Ironically enough, while the outside of the vault has lethal amounts of radiation, sinks and toilets inside the vault have less rads than normal ones in the Capital Wasteland. The most probable cause for this is that the water purifier may still be functioning.
  • Inside the vault, there are several locked doors that contain RadAway, ammunition, and other various things such as Rad-X and radiation suits.
  • A complete list of all individuals who died in Vault 87 before the Super Mutants took over can be found on a terminal in the medical bay.
  • On the way from Fawkes' isolation room to the G.E.C.K. storage room, there is a door that says "Requires Key," but the game designers did not intend for the player to be able to open it. Using console commands to either unlock or walk through this door leads to an empty room containing the closed main vault door for Vault 87, complete with an "87" logo on the outside. The player can "use" the door, and it will be opened/closed via a mechanical arm (just like in other vaults with working doors); however, there is nothing on the other side except for a small platform that opens into empty space. Walking off the edge of the platform into the empty space will cause the player character to be redeposited in front of Fawkes' isolation room.
    • Also, when you inevitably get captured by the Enclave when you have the G.E.C.K, you can return to the vault finding the door marked "Requires Key" open, as Colonel Autumn ambushed the player from this room. You can again open the vault 87 front door but there is just an empty place that when walked to will put you back at the start of vault 87.
  • In the room where the G.E.C.K. is located, you can receive as much as almost 400 rads/second. If you have enough items that prevent radiation and you can see where the G.E.C.K. is, take a right.
  • In the main area, there are two locked doors requiring 100 Lockpick to open. They are nothing else but shortcuts.
  • Before setting off the fire alarm, you can terminate your foes by hacking the terminal near the isolation room door. Same goes to Fawkes's room (75 Science skill points required).
  • Retrieving the G.E.C.K. is possible by yourself, without the help of console commands. Since it will take you about 10–15 seconds to get killed by radiation poisoning, you should have enough rad-prevention items for 8 minutes at the most, along with a high Medicine skill, and some rad-friendly perks.
  • It is unknown how the super mutants get in and out of the vault. The irradiated external entrance and the entrance to the room with the main vault door are both marked as inaccessible. The back doors through the terminal passage and through Murder Pass are both closed off when you first get to Little Lamplight. The Enclave is somehow able to enter the vault from what seems to be the main entrance, and it is unlikely that they came through Little Lamplight, so it is possible that the external door can operate under some circumstances.
  • The number of undefined deaths on the medical terminal is 87.
Icon cut content.pngThe following is based on Fallout 3 cut content and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
  • Five holotapes were planned to be added throughout the vault about Fawkes' original identity, and as you got closer, the tension of pre-Fawkes got more intense, until finally, on the fifth holotape, Fawkes all mutated, smashes the holotape. (See Fawkes for more info)
Icon cut content.pngEnd of information based on Fallout 3 cut content.


Vault 87 appears only in Fallout 3.


  • PCIcon pc.png PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png It is possible that companions following you through the Vault (other than Fawkes) will be killed or misplaced when you are arrested by the Enclave.
  • Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png Sometimes when a companion is lost while you're arrested, when you go back inside the Vault with another companion they will disappear, and they will be found dead in the position that your lost companion was in, just to the north of the T-junction where you were captured. This companion will be lost, and after a few days, you will receive a message that they have died.
    • If you leave your follower outside, you will find them teleported to the same room, alive. This may be related to having more than one follower at a time.
  • PCIcon pc.png PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png When passing the cells containing centaurs, it is possible for the first centaur, in the cell on the left, to appear outside the cell as the player passes and being able to attack the player. Once it is killed, it's top half may appear back in the cell while its bottom half is stretched across the ceiling of the corridor, or it may disappear into the floor entirely upon being killed. The centaur may also pass through the wall between its cell and Fawkes' cell, resulting in Fawkes killing it.
  • PlayStation 3Icon ps3.png Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png If you go to the door in Little Lamplight that requires the broken terminal to be repaired, you may find it is already open and you can get into Vault 87 with no problems.
  • Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png Upon re-entering the Vault with Fawkes after completing the quest, if you select the "Kill subject" option on the terminal outside of Fawkes' old cell, he will instantly die if he enters it, even if he is not in the room when the fire is released. You will also lose karma for doing this.
  • Xbox 360Icon xbox360.png If you have Dogmeat as a companion, and you go into the test labs, he will stand idle in front of the living quarters' door. Interacting with him will instantly put you on an empty item menu. Dogmeat will then be found back in the test labs, in the same position. This can be fixed by loading a previous save. Note: Loading the Auto-save that it defaults to will have him up for a split-second, but he'll just fall onto his side.



  1. Vault-Tec Terminal, Vault 87
  2. Chief Physician's Terminal
  3. Medical Records, All Employees Must Read!
  4. Medical Records, Death Code Definitions
  5. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.42: "Super Mutants
    The Super Mutants that infest the urban ruin of Washington D.C. originated in Vault 87. Those unlucky enough to have reserved space in Vault 87 soon found themselves forcefully taken to a secure part of the vault, where they were locked in airtight chambers and exposed to a concentrated form of the F.E.V. The Overseer and his security force had no real idea what to expect; they were simply following the "plan." When the exposed vault dwellers started transforming into Super Mutants, nearly the entire vault population had been exposed. Those who hadn't yet metamorphosed knew what was coming, and, didn't end well for humanity.
    The dwellers of Vault 87 were turned into Super Mutants in 2078, and have been a presence in the Capital Wasteland ever since. Most of those original Super Mutants have long since been killed. But whether it's because of the nature of the F.E.V. they were exposed to, or a simple underlying human instinct, the Super Mutants of the Capital Wasteland are obsessed with the preservation of their own species. Super Mutants are asexual and incapable of procreation, so their only way of reproducing is to kidnap other humans, drag them back to the Vault 87 chambers, and infect them with F.E.V. And so they have done, for nearly 200 years.
    Super Mutant society is loosely hierarchical, with the weaker (most recently transformed) Super Mutants generally giving way to the stronger. The Super Mutant hierarchy, as defined by the Capital Wasteland contingent of the Brotherhood of Steel, is as follows: Grunt, Brute, Master, and Behemoth. Generally speaking, the Super Mutants of the Capital Wasteland get bigger, stronger, and dumber as they age. The Behemoths are so strong and savage that they’re the only thing feared by the other Super Mutants."
    (Fallout 3 Official Game Guide faction profiles)
  6. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.337: "DEAD MONSTROSITIES"
    "This is a place where F.E.V. experiments have led to unspeakable breeding programs and the creation of new Super Mutants. Humans began experimenting on one another in order to gain a jump forward in evolution. What they achieved was a plummet into a realm of monstrosities. Seen as the Eastern "birthing" place of the Super Mutants, this is the closest the Muties have to holy ground. The central hot spot of the radiation has been measured at up to +2910 RAD/SEC. this means instant death, and the exterior entrance is inaccessible. There's a .32 Pistol and a dead scientist with a Radiation Suit, but you'll never live long enough to reach them. The only way to enter is via Little Lamplight."
  7. The Lone Wanderer: "How do I get you out?"
    Fawkes: "At the end of the hallway to your right is a maintenance room. Inside, you'll find the fire control console for the medical area. Trip the alarm on it, and I'll be able to get out. A word of warning though. Tripping the console activates a failsafe and will open ALL of the recovery rooms in the medical area. So, what do you think? Can you do it?"
    (Fawkes' dialogue)
  8. The Lone Wanderer: "Why have you been imprisoned?"
    Fawkes: "Because I'm a curiosity; an anomaly. They don't know why I'm different than they are and I think it fascinates them. All of the locked rooms in the medical wing contain failed experiments that they created."
    The Lone Wanderer: "How come they've kept you alive?"
    Fawkes: "I think when I was created, something went wrong and I didn't come out like they planned. Just like the other things in this makeshift cell block, we're the results of what they would call failed experiments if they were smart enough."
    (Fawkes' dialogue)
Vault 87