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The Vault - Fallout Wiki
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For the full edition, see Vault Dweller's Survival Guide.

Vault Dweller's Survival Guide: Pocket Reference Edition is a booklet published by Vault-Tec for the inhabitants of Vault 101. It is shorter than the original edition of the guide, which was available in Vault 13.

You can download a copy here.

Viewable file


Vault Dweller's Survival Guide


VDSG PRE VTB-003-101 Pocket Reference Edition

Washington, DC © 2077 Vault-Tec Industries

Issued by Vault-Tec Documentation Department

All visual representations and projections have been developed through the use of Science.

So... You're thinking about going aboveground


As responsible American citizens, we implore you to remain underground in the safety of your vault until the all-clear signal is given. There's no need to be impatient. The authorities will contact your Overseer the moment it is safe to return to the surface.

On the other hand - and this is the important part - should you leave the vault, there is a slim chance of survival. Beyond one half-mile away from the vault, only one in ten will survive. The others will die a frightening, unspeakable death. If you still feel it necessary to venture out of the cocoon of safety provided to you by Vault-Tec, make sure you have completely read the following material. After several readings, we are confident you will understand why staying underground is the best option.

Adapting to the outside world


You've left the safety and comfort of the vault. What now? The moment you exit the vault, you will notice a piercing bright light. Like a creature of the night, your eyes are not accustomed to the bare sun. Make sure to shield the retinas with tinted goggles.

If protective eyewear is unavailable, press your index fingers and thumbs together and place your hands over
your eyebrows in an open and horizontal fashion, thus shielding yourself from the most harmful rays.

Blending in


Ideally, you want to feel at home in the wasteland. Learn to mimic the people around you. Do what you see. This will put them at ease about interacting with a stranger. But – and this is crucial – do not lose your head. Blending in does not mean undermining your ethics. Say no to disagreeable situations. Trust your instincts.

Finding friends


Your neighbors will be an acquired taste. Simulations show drastic changes will occur in the human psyche due to the constant anxiety of daily survival. You will find neighbors whose very existence seems a sheer nightmare. But remember, while those aboveground will be seasoned by the horrors of the Wasteland, they are people just like you. Give them no reason to be hostile, and they will remain amiable.

Don't learn the hard way


There will be hidden danger. It is assured that you will encounter secret traps meant to snuff out your life. These insidious contraptions should be avoided. What may seem like a harmless item – a common toilet, box of ammunition, even a baby carriage – may in fact be a nefarious tool of harm. Once you have identified these pitfalls, take notice. You will often have the chance to use them against the very foes who set them.

Assessing the situation


Use the right tool for the job. Once you are able to see this harsh and violent world without attachment and anxiety, you will have the opportunity to fine-tune your skills. Without fixating on your enemy’s terrifying intentions, combine armaments and strategy. Some situations might call for a laser rifle, while others just a simple metal pipe.



Roughly one in one hundred test subjects has been found to stay calm in the face of gnawing fear. The very nature of living aboveground after a widespread nuclear event will create anxiety. It helps to focus on the moment at hand, asking yourself what you can do right now. Do not wander into daydreams of the past or worries about the future.

If panic does set in, admit that you are panicking. Have something close at hand that will calm your senses:
a soft blanket, a child’s toy, even a favorite rock. Anything to get you out of your thoughts.

Watch your step


The world you may remember hearing about will be rendered unrecognizable. All that will remain of that more tranquil time will be decaying ruins and fallen landmarks. Negotiate this world with care, as the exposed rebar and damaged stairways of unstable buildings may lead to grievous pain. If you suffer an injury, but can dust yourself off and walk away, consider the experience a lesson learned.

Secure your place in Wasteland society


As a stranger, every person you meet will cause a ripple throughout the social structure. The way others perceive you and the way you perceive them will open and close the doors of possibility. In many cases, your survival will depend on friendships. Be sure to help as many people as possible. Only turn away those who pose an immediate and obvious threat to your personal safety. Remember – you are your actions.

The unappetizing truth


Consider the source of your food. You may have heard rumors that the Wasteland will have no safe food or drink. This is so much bunk. Science shows fresh produce and safe water will be available. However, you will likely encounter the need to eat irradiated food like raw chunks of two-headed Brahmin meat. And, in your darkest of moments, when all options are spent, you may shamefully choose to eat the flesh of your own kind.


Certain images from the VDSG appears as part of the Fallout 3 manual, just like the original Vault Dweller's Survival Guide was included in the Fallout manual. The booklet was given out by Bethesda Softworks at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) 2008 along side other promotional items. The official Fallout 4 site also incorporates entire excerpts from the guide and cleaned-up images as part of its promotion.

See also