Vipers design document

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Vipers design document
FO1 design document.png
AuthorScott Campbell
Release DateJuly 10, 2002
Downloadsee Fallout Bible 6
Fallout design documents

The Vipers design document for the original Fallout, written by Scott Campbell, was first published in Chris Avellone's Fallout Bible 6, where you can also find Avellone's expansion of the Vipers' background. The Vipers did not appear in the final game, but since they are mentioned a few times, this document is assumed to be canon.

Document start icon.png The following is the original document or a transcript thereof.

Raiders in general

The second clan, the Vipers, are mysterious followers of an ancient religion (or so they claim). They usually only come out at night to hunt for food or to conduct raids. They are very ruthless when it comes to combat. They prefer stealth to strength. They usually carry bone knives dipped in Pit Viper venom. This poison, when in the blood stream, paralyzes the victim. Most victims captured in this way are taken back to their hideout.


The leader of the Vipers, Asp, conducts their ceremonies and administers duties. The members of the clan will follow his orders even if it meant death. Asp is usually in the same type of bone armor as the others, save he wears a snake skull as a helmet adorned with feathers and snakeskin as a cape.

The Vipers are always dressed in bone armor. This armor, as the name implies, is made from strips of bone bundled around the body with strips of leather. All viper clan members have crude tattoos all over their bodies. Exotic piercings are not uncommon. The Vipers usually carry bone knives, bone spears, and sometimes pistols.

The Vipers hideout, or as they call it "The Shrine," is many small adobe buildings surrounding a large pit. This pit is where they conduct their religious ceremonies. The sacrifices are placed within the pit and several huge Pit Vipers slither out to claim their meal. Although it has never happened, if anyone were to escape the pit, the Vipers would let that individual go, claiming it was the will of the great Snake.


64 years ago, a man named Jonathan Faust led his group of about 200 people from the overcrowded Vault into the wastes of the outside. It was there that his small band came to a small oasis in the middle of the desert. In the middle of this oasis was a large pit, almost like a crater. While resting and setting up camp, Faust decided to look into the pit. Darkness greeted him.

When a member of the band called out to him, Faust turned, startled, and slipped into the Pit. He slid down twenty feet and then fell another 20 and broke his leg in the process. As he lay there dazed, a half dozen gigantic Pit Vipers slithered toward him. Not knowing what these things were, Faust was terrified. The group above heard one loud scream and then nothing. Three others went to look for him, but never came out.

The small band, leaderless and stuck in the desert with no food and water, decided to stay at the oasis, at least for a little while. They covered the pit with a tarp and nailed spikes around it to keep whatever horror lived there encased there. They then set up their camp as far from the Pit as possible. Whatever was down in the Pit never bothered them. Days passed. The more influential of the group argued about what they were to do. There was talk of joining up with others from the Vault. There was talk about going back to the Vault.

During these four days, almost ¼ of the group was either dying or already dead. Those who survived the radiation poisoning were too weak to travel, while those who survived either left or stayed and helped defend the little settlement against the desert creatures.

Finally, after a week, the remaining members of the group decided to move on. They started to pack their belongings when an almost spectral figure emerged from the shadows. It was Faust, except this was not the strong leader they remembered. He was wan, pale, and emaciated, and there was a feverish gleam in his eyes. He told them that when he was down in the pit, a god visited him and told him the True Way. They would make sacrifices to the Gods of the Pit, and wealth and happiness would be theirs.

Of course, everyone was skeptical. Some were even violently rebellious, saying that Faust was crazy. After Faust patiently listened to them, he then whistled, and from behind him, came two very large Pit Vipers. Without warning, they struck. They attacked everyone in the group, including Faust, but he just laughed as they bit his flesh.

As the sun rose the next day, the two snakes lay dead by Faust's hands. Half of his people were dead, the other half were on the brink of death as the Pit Venom started to sink into their systems. By that afternoon most would be dead, but the forty or so survivors of the venom were half crazy with the aftereffects of the venom. Faust, himself immune to the venom, helped the remaining few through this time, which has come to be known as the Great Awakening. He whispered things to them, told them how the Great Snake has spared their lives, so that they would fight for His mighty cause.

And thus the Viper clan was born. They decided to make the Pit their Shrine, and to go out into the wastes and take what they needed from those blasphemers that did not follow the Winding Way of the Great Snake.

When Faust (or the Great Snakekeeper, as he was called), grew too old to rule, his son, Asp, was given the sacred role of leader and High Priest. He has ruled ever since.


Vipers typically dress in bone armor with a red sash, and their elite warriors are called the Crimson Tongue.


Once a month, the Vipers fall into a deep trance through a dangerous mixture of alcohol and snake venom (anyone who doesn't awake is considered to have been found unworthy by the Great Snake).

When the Vipers reach manhood, they are given a special mixture of the Pit Viper venom. Those who die (or are in a coma for more than seven nights) are given as sacrifices to the Children. (The snakes in the Pit are officially called the Children of the Great Snake.) Those who survive the week-long delirium become Warriors of the Snake (also called Chosen Ones).

There is also a monthly ritual, where the Venom is taken by the High Priests and Priestesses of the tribe in small quantities, which causes bizarre dreams. This is called the Time of the Summoning, because many claim to see the Great Snake come to them in their dreams.

When it is time for a captured prisoner to be sacrificed, he is typically hurled into the Pit at midnight.

Camp Breakdowns

The Pit

This is the large pit that lies in the center of the Viper's camp. It currently holds four giant Pit Vipers. Each one is old and very well fed, but they are still very deadly. The Pit itself branches off into many tunnels, where the player can find Faust's old staff, as well as many nests of rats. One of the tunnels opens up into a secret exit near the mountains, so a resourceful player could use it to escape after being hurled into the Pit.

The Sanctuary

This is where Asp sleeps and attends to the governmental duties of his people. His mate, the High Priestess of the Great Snake, is always close by. They have no children. The meeting room itself is long and lined with torches. The throne Asp sits on was made from the skulls and bones of the two snakes that Faust killed during the Great Awakening.

The Cages

Where the prisoners are kept. Located at the very edge of the Oasis (they cannot taint the snakes with the unbelievers), these pits are dug into the ground. Their entrances are made of iron grates set into the stone ground of the oasis. They are usually guarded by the Crimson Tongue, the special elite warriors. The reason they are used to guard this is because a lot of the time the Cages are used to hold the sacrifices to the Children.

The Hall of Ascension

This is the ceremonial lodge used in the Time of Summoning. This is also used for all religious purposes, except the Snake Sacrifice, which is done on a platform set up over the Pit.