The Vault - Fallout Wiki

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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
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For a list of player characters in Fallout games, see player character. For the memoirs of the Vault Dweller, see Vault Dweller's Memoirs.
Vault Dweller
Into the desert.jpg
Exiled from the Vault
Biography and appearance
AffiliationVault 13
Gametitle-FOBOS.png Brotherhood of Steel
RolePlayer character
RankInitiate (optionally)[2]
LocationNew California
FamilyPat (wife)
Village Elder (daughter)
Morlis (daughter)
Chosen One (grandson)
Miria (potential granddaughter-in-law)
Davin (potential grandson-in-law)
Nagor (grandson)
Mr. Bishop (great-grandson)
Unnamed great-great-granddaughter
Mentioned inFallout 2
Fallout 3
Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout Tactics

None could stand in my way. I had a mission. I had a goal. I had a really large gun.

Vault Dweller's memoirs

The Vault Dweller is the player character in Fallout, and one of the pivotal characters of wasteland history.

The player is free to create a character of either gender, aged between 16 and 35, and focusing on any of the skills in the game. However, in subsequent games, certain facts have been established as canonical and this article serves as a summary of these facts: The canonical history of the Vault Dweller.

Canonical history

The quest

Originally, the Vault Dweller was just one of the hundreds inhabitants of Vault 13. Born in 2141[3] in the creche and raised by the community and one of the robotic caretakers, he left an unremarkable life in the Vault. His history was changed forever the day the water chip decided to give up the ghost and simply die. There was no spare parts or a possibility of a workaround system. With no better plan, Overseer Jacoren gathered everyone between the ages of 16 and 35 and made them draw straws. The Dweller pulled out the short one and was sent out to find the water chip.[4] He left the Vault the next day, on December 5, 2161.[5]

The Vault Dweller struggled for the first few days, fighting off rats and the elements. With only the location of Vault 15 to guide him, he struck out eastwards. On his way, he happened upon the small settlement of Shady Sands. He aided them and earned their trust. Tandi and Aradesh helped him, sharing their knowledge. After hiring Ian, the Vault Dweller continued on to the buried Vault. Exploring the ruins, he realized that it would not help his people: The control room and the water chip were buried under tons of rock. He moved on.[6] After fighting and saving Tandi from the Khans (inadvertently paving the way for the New California Republic's rise),[7] his travels took him to Junktown. His memories of the town would be tainted forever, as he learned the most important rule of the wasteland: Doing a good thing sometimes means being a very bad person. Yet he felt no remorse for his actions. The city of traders and traitors taught him many lessons, but it wasn't those that counted to him the most. It was Dogmeat, the loyal mutt who would be his most trusted friend for the time they were together.[8]

The Dweller continued on to the Hub, the largest city of New California. Bigger than both Junktown and Shady Sands combined, it was the most prosperous place he has seen outside the Vault, yet he felt that the citizens of the metropolis had no life, leading a desolate existence under the shadow of the powerful merchant companies. These same companies would help the Dweller, however, providing water to the Vault and extending the deadline for finding the water chip. A clue he acquired in the city led him to the Necropolis, the city of ghouls. There, he fought the super mutants and learned how it is to lose a friend, both for the first time. One of the mutants unleashed his flamethrower on Ian, burning him to death. The memory of his burning flesh would forever be etched into his mind. But Ian's sacrifice was not in vain, as the Dweller found the water chip and returned with it to Vault 13.[9]

Enemies of the Vault

The happiness of his return was marred by the report he logged with the archives. The Overseer ran calculations and determined that the mutations witnessed by the Dweller at Necropolis were too regular to be the product of random chance. He also berated the Dweller for sending the water caravans to the Vault, as in doing so, he revealed the location of the shelter to the wasteland. Combined with his knowledge of the mutants, the Overseer sent the Dweller out again. This time, he was tasked with wiping out the super mutant threat. In hindsight, the situation should have made the Dweller realize the true nature of the Overseer and the dwellers. But he soldiered on, loyal to the Vault.[10]

He picked up the trail, heading to the Hub. In the process of unearthing clues, he discovered Decker and the shady Underworld he led. Though he tried to manipulate the Dweller, the hero of the Vault managed to turn the tables on him and use him instead. In the process, he also saved brother Jonathan from Decker's goons in the city's old town. After leaving the town, he journeyed to the Brotherhood of Steel. Figuring they would have the knowledge he needed, he tried to join them, only to be sent on a fool's errand to the Glow. Faced with the horror of the atomic devastation, he refused to break and recovered the ancient Brotherhood disk sought by the reclusive order. Shocked to see him returning alive and well, they shared their knowledge and technology with him. Richer, the Dweller journeyed to the Glow, making a short stop at the Necropolis. He thought to visit old friends, but as soon as he entered the city, he realized that something went wrong. The super mutants attacked the city shortly after he left. A single ghouls survivor revealed that they were looking for the Dweller, right before he died.[11]

The ruins of Los Angeles stretched forever, skeletons of buildings baking in the hot desert sun. Within the city, he found many enemies and a few friends, learning more about the nature of the super mutants and the true foes. On March 3, 2162, he entered the Cathedral.[12] Stealing the robes of one of the Master's servants, he penetrated the depth beneath the monumental building. In the old Vault, walking among the misshapen ones, he confronted the most terrifying sight yet: The Master. He killed him in open combat.[13] All evidence of the Master and his plan was incinerated shortly afterward in nuclear fire.[14]

Only one target remained: The Vats. On April 20, 2162,[15] the Dweller invaded the Mariposa Military Base with support from the Brotherhood and Dogmeat, fighting his way to the heart of the facility. Though one of the forcefields claimed the life of Dogmeat, the Dweller managed to trigger the self-destruct sequence and put the Vats out of commission. With their destruction and the fall of the Lieutenant, the Unity was no more and he could return to Vault 13 a hero. On May 10, he returned. The Overseer met him outside the Vault door, thanking him for his service... And exiling him forever. All in the name of protecting the Vault. Bitter and angry, the Dweller turned his back on the 13 and never looked back. A group of Vault Dwellers, disgusted with the Overseer's decision left, led by Lydia, Theresa, and Lyle. They were never heard from again, leading the remaining dwellers to remove Jacoren from power and abolish the position of Overseer.[16][17]


The exile.

Stricken with grief, the Dweller wandered the desert surrounding the Vault. He screamed. He cried. But slowly, he came to terms with his exile, but never forgave the Overseer for his betrayal. He cut all ties to the Vault, removing his jumpsuit on May 12 and never wearing it again.[18]But his concerns quickly faded, as he upon the group of dwellers that left Vault 13. He helped them survive in the harsh wasteland, saving their lives in the process.[19]

On July 10, the Dweller and his group, which now comprised both Vault dwellers and regular wastelanders, moved north. In the inaccessible canyons of southwest Oregon, they founded a village. The Dweller deliberately chose a location beyond a dry valley, surrounded by barren lands that would deter visitors.[20] Scouts were sent at first towards the old Vault, but gradually, that stopped in favor of strengthening the village.[21][22]

On August 18, 2167, the village was completed and named Arroyo.[23] The Vault Dweller, now the Elder of a tribe, taught his followers the basics of hunting, farming, and other skills. He also taught them the basics of engineering and science, so that they could maintain their homes and craft more to survive. And he found love: Pat. [24] On October 2, 2188, they were blessed with a daughter, the future village elder.[25] Twenty years later, on January 16, 2208, the Vault Dweller left Arroyo. He left behind his Vault suit, folded on the bed, and the memoirs. Nothing tied him to the village anymore after Pat's death several years earlier. A monthly cycle of mourning was declared, while his daughter prepared to take up the role of the village elder.[26]

The final years and legacy

Appearance of the Vault Dweller in 2208.

The Vault Dweller was 67 years old by the time he left the village. As a veritable ancient, he was presumed dead by his fellow tribesmen and eventually died in the wastelands. Gray paragraphs are based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and were not confirmed by primary sources However, before his death, he traveled as far as the town of Carbon. As the wasteland stranger, he helped the people of the town avoid the raiders that attacked the city before continuing on with his travels. He always kept the Vault 13 flask with him, out of sentimental value, and even traded with the Initiate for it, on top of providing them with a Red Ryder BB gun.

Eventually, after a lifetime of influencing the wasteland, the Vault Dweller died. But whether it was by old age or by gun (or claw, or fang, or explosion...) is unknown. His legacy would live on in Arroyo, but more importantly, in the form of the New California Republic. A statue was erected to honor his role in saving President Tandi and securing Shady Sands, while the stories and legends about Vault 13 would become a core part of the folklore. Children and adults alike would search for Vault 13, the former as an imaginary play, the other to benefit from the riches within.[27] President Tandi would humor some of the expeditions, even. However, she never forgot how her father, Aradesh, and Seth perished in the wastes looking for the Vault.[28]


Vault Dweller
Village elder
Unknown man
Unknown man
Chosen One
Leslie Anne Bishop
Angela Bishop
Chosen One's brother
Unknown woman
Mr Bishop
Unknown woman
Mr. Bishop's daughter

Behind the scenes

I always thought of Fallout's story of drawing straws was something the Overseer thought of. "Look, someone has to go outside, and they may die out there, so let's draw straws". Someone, probably not the Overseer since he wouldn't have gone outside no matter what, demanded that EVERYONE draw a straw in order to be truly fair. But to be honest, the vault dwellers were simply terrified of going outside, and terrified people do not always make the wisest decisions.

Anyway, when big dumb Larry drew the straw, maybe the Overseer saw a way to rid their limited gene pool of some really bad alleles.



The Vault Dweller is the player character in Fallout. He also makes a cameo in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and can be unlocked as a playable character.

Mentions of the Vault Dweller and repercussions of his actions are referred to in subsequent games and echo throughout the years.


  1. Book of the Elders
  2. Become an Initiate.
  3. Fallout Bible 0: "2141 Vault Dweller born. [This will vary according to your player character's age in Fallout 1.]"
  4. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "For several generations, your ancestors and mine lived within the Vault. As best as they could figure, it was too dangerous to try and leave the Vault. They grew their own food, recycled their waste, read, worked, slept, had families, and even purified the necessary water within the Vault. I was born in the creche, and was raised by the community (and a robot). It was a good life, but all good things come to an end. About three generations after the War, the water-purification chip the Vault relied on to create the fresh water broke down. All the spare parts were missing or busted, and without the water-chip the Vault was doomed. Something had to be done.
    The Overseer gathered the healthy of us between a certain age and made us draw straws. Guess what? I drew the short one. Wouldn't be much of story if I didn't, would it?
    I left the Vault the next day."
  5. Fallout Bible 0: "2161 Dec 5 Fallout 1 Begins: Vault Dweller is kicked out of Vault 13 to find a replacement water chip."
  6. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "My first few days were harrowing to say the least. I fought off some giant mutant rats that were more interested in eating me than they should have been. My only clue was the location of another Vault, number 15. I spent a couple of days stumbling through the desert before I came upon a small settlement. I stopped there for help, and encountered the little town called Shady Sands. I helped them, and they helped me. Understand that survival requires that you work together, even with people you may not trust. I did earn the trust, however, of two prominent citizens of Shady Sands - Tandy and her father, Aradesh.
    With their knowledge, and the help of a man called Ian, I continued on my way to Vault 15. The ruins of Vault 15, to be more specific. Ravaged by the elements, scavengers, and time itself, Vault 15 was no help for my people. The control room that contained their water-chip was buried under tons of fallen rock, and I had to move on."
  7. The Chosen One: "{182}{}{Statue?}"
    Tandi: "{183}{tand14a}{That's right. For scaring off the raiders. They kept clear of Shady Sands afterwards we got time to get ourselves set up. We made him a hero... even if we didn't believe a word about him coming from Vault 13.}"
  8. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "After a small problem with some raiders, who would continue for years to plague not only myself, but the Tribe, I found myself in Junktown. It was here that I learned the most important rule of all: doing a good thing sometimes means being a very bad person. My memories of Junktown are tainted, and I feel no remorse for my actions in that place. It was there that I came across a dog, who adopted me and was my faithful friend from there on. I miss Dogmeat to this day.
    While Junktown was a city of traders (and traitors), it did not have a water-chip. I was not desperate yet, as there was still time for me to recover the chip and return to my home, but I needed to move on. Fortunately, they pointed me in the direction of theHub, the largest city in the wasteland."
  9. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "The Hub was a larger city than both Junktown and Shady Sands combined. You could drop the Vault in there, and you probably would not notice. But the people of the Hub had no life, and it was a desolate place just the same. It eased my mind, however, to hire some merchants to bring water to the Vault. Looking back, it was probably a mistake to do so, but I was still innocent of the evils that lurked through the ruins of civilization. A small clue led me to the city of the ghouls, the place they called Necropolis. It was there that I encountered large mutants, armed with weapons of an unknown origin. It is with heavy sadness that I say that Ian lost his life in the city of the dead. A super mutant burned him to death with a flamethrower. The passage of time is no proof against the memory of burning flesh. His sacrifice was not in vain, as I did find the water-chip buried beneath the city. It was with easier steps that I returned to Vault 13."
  10. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "While the Overseer was obviously happy to see me returned to the Vault, alive and with the necessary water-chip, he was distrought at my description of the super mutants. It is here that I realized the mistake I had made with the water-merchants. I had pointed them, and others, in the direction of our home. Without the protection of anonymity, the Vault could easily have been destroyed. The knowledge of the fate of Vault 15 did not help. The Overseer tasked me with a new mission. Find and destroy the danger of the super mutants. Once again, I left the Vault. This time, it was easier on my heart. Looking back now, I realize it was also the first time I should have seen the true hearts of the other vault dwellers and the Overseer."
  11. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "I returned to the Hub, looking for clues. Some time was spent there, and I discovered a shady underworld amongst the hustle and bustle of that large city. They thought they could manipulate me, but I proved them wrong and used the crooks instead. I did rescue a young man who belonged to the Brotherhood of Steel. A few trouble-makers tried to stop me, but I learned much about survival since leaving the Vault.
    It was in my best interest to leave town for a while. I journeyed to this Brotherhood. Thinking they would have the knowledge I sought, I tried to join them. They required me to go on a quest before they would let me in. Thinking it would be a short and easy quest, I agreed and set off for the place they called the Glow. The horror of atomic war was never so obvious to me until then. The Brotherhood was surprised to see me, and even more surprised to see that I had not only survived their quest, but succeeded. They gave me the information I required and some of their technology, and I set off in search of the Boneyard. On my way, I took a detour and stopped by Necropolis in order to see some old friends. Unfortunately, that place was now truly the city of the dead. All the ghouls had been slaughtered. Large mutants roamed the streets. I found one survivor who told me that the mutants had attacked shortly after I had left. Before he died, the ghoul told me that the mutants were looking for pure strain humans, and one in particular. The ghoul's description of the mutants' special target fit me perfectly. It was with a heavy heart and a cold burning on my soul that I continued on to Boneyard."
  12. Fallout Bible 0: "2162 March 3 Vault Dweller kicks the Master's ass."
  13. Vault Dweller's memoirs illustration depicts the dweller fighting the Master in open combat.
  14. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "The city of Los Angeles must have been the largest in the world before the War. The LA Boneyard stretched forever, the skeletons of buildings lying under the hot sun. Not even the wind entered this dead city. I found many enemies, and a few friends, in the Boneyard. I killed when necessary and learned more about the nature of my true foes. Deep under the ground, I found an evil that was behind the mutants and their army. Within a dark and forbidding Vault, where the walls dripped with human flesh, and the screaming of dying echoed through the halls, I found many evil creatures and mutants.
    Walking among the misshapen ones, I killed one of their servants and took his clothing. Hidden from casual searches, I made my way to the bottom of the Vault. The deeper into the Vault I went, the more gruesome the journey. More and more flesh was to be found, integrated into the very walls. The worst part of it was that the flesh was still alive, and even aware of my presence.
    After a while, I found myself in the presence of the most hideous sight yet. I still cannot bring myself to write of this discovery, but let it be known that when I left, the Beast was dead and the Master of the mutant army was no more."
  15. Fallout Bible 0: "2162 April 20 Vault Dweller destroys the Military Base. Dogmeat dies defending his master."
  16. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "My job was still not finished, for I still had one task remaining. The Master had literally built his army one mutant at a time. Humans, preferably with little radiation damage, were to be captured and sent to the Vats. There they were dipped in something calledFEV, which transformed them into the large, grotesque mutants.
    I had to find these Vats, and put them out of action as well, lest another take the Master's place and continue to build the mutant army. Fortunately, my friends at the Brotherhood had a few clues, and helped me reach my goal. Invading the Vats, I came across more mutants and robots. None could stand in my way. I had a mission. I had a goal. I had a really large gun. It was here that Dogmeat fell, a victim of a powerful energy forcefield. I miss that dog. I destroyed the Vats that day, and with it, the mutant army. The last I heard, they splintered and disappeared into the desert.
    My Return to Vault 13
    I was not treated to a hero's welcome when I returned to Vault 13. The Overseer met me outside the massive Vault door, and told me point blank that while my services to the Vault will always be remembered, he could no longer trust me or what I had become. He said something along the lines that I had saved the Vault, and now I must leave. Bastard."
  17. Fallout Bible 0: "2162 May 10 Fallout 1 Ends: Vault Dweller returns to Vault 13, only to be told "you're a hero, and you have to leave." Some members of the Vault (led by Lydia, the head of the "return to the surface" faction, and including her supporters, Theresa and Lyle) follow soon afterwards."
  18. Fallout Bible 0: "2165 May 12 Vault Dweller removes the Vault suit and from this day forward, never wears it again. "
  19. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "So, I left.
    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."
  20. Book of the Elders: " The Vault Dweller was the one who seected the location of our village, behind a large, dry valley. The surrounding lands are barren and of little interest to the casual traveler. Often, the best way to remain safe is to be in a place that excites little interest in the eyes of others."
  21. Fallout Bible 0: "2165 July 10 Vault Dweller heads North with a small group of Vault-dwellers and wastelanders and founds the small village of Arroyo."
  22. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "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.
    The Tribe
    Over time, our ragtag group turned into a tribe. I fell in love with one of them, and we raised a family, like all of our tribes people.
    We founded the Village, beyond the great cliff. It is a secure home thanks to our hard work. We would send scouts back towards the Vault, to help others who thought like ourselves, but that slowly came to an end. We no longer head in that direction. I often wonder what became of Vault 13, and the other Vaults, but I never had the time to go exploring again."
  23. Fallout Bible 0: "2167 August 18 Construction of Arroyo completed."
  24. Vault Dweller's memoirs: "I taught the others the skills they would need to survive and grow strong. Hunting, farming and other skills to feed us. Engineering and science to build our homes. Fighting to protect what was ours.
    My love and I led the village and the Tribe. The Tribe grew, and grew strong with our help. But all things come to an end. Our sons and daughters are now the leaders. I'm sure that the Tribe will continue to grow strong under the leadership of our children.
    My love perished years ago, and not a day goes by that I do not think of Pat's face. I see it everytime I look at our children. This journal is our legacy to them, to their children, and to the rest of the Tribe. That is my story, and I am sticking to it."
  25. Fallout Bible 0: "2188 October 2 Vault Dweller has a daughter (who becomes the Elder in Fallout 2)."
  26. Fallout Bible 0: "2208 January 16 After writing the F2 manual memoirs, Vault Dweller vanishes from Arroyo and is presumed dead. The Vault Dweller leaves the Vault Suit behind, folded on the bed. Some say the Vault Dweller was taken by the sky spirits, others say that the Vault Dweller felt it was time to move on and leave the Elders to guide Arroyo to its destiny."
  27. The Chosen One: "{126}{}{I'm looking for Vault 13. Ever hear of it?}"
    Slave overseer: "{135}{}{Everybody's heard of Vault 13. When I was a kid, me and my friends used to go prospecting for it. Supposed to be east of here, so we searched everything but never did find it.}"
  28. The Chosen One: "{182}{}{Statue?}"
    Tandi: "{183}{tand14a}{That's right. For scaring off the raiders. They kept clear of Shady Sands afterwards we got time to get ourselves set up. We made him a hero... even if we didn't believe a word about him coming from Vault 13.}"
    Tandi: "{315}{tand14b}{My dad and Seth searched for years trying to find Vault 13. They died looking - always said it was west of here. If somebody were to find Vault 13, that'd do us even better than 15.}"
  29. Leonard Boyarsky interview at RPG Codex