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While traveling through the many landmarks of The Commonwealth, the Sole Survivor can experience some random encounters.

NOTE: VDSG is short for the book: Vault Dweller's Survival Guide

These are separated into different types of encounters:

  • Static encounters - which occur in an large area of the map
  • Fluid encounters - which occur on the roads, general- which occur anywhere in the Commonwealth
  • General encounters - encounters almost anywhere in the Commonwealth
  • Campsite encounter - which only occur at a campsite (one is east of Concord in the parking lot)
  • Choke point encounters - which occur in "areas with limited maneuverability, such as a bridge crossing
  • Animosity encounters - which involve two factions fighting each other
  • Treasure hunt encounters- which start with finding a dead person
  • Companion encounters where, if you have an particular companion with you, you could expect one related to the companion to occur.

Static encounters[]

"These usually occur in a specific area, which could be anywhere in the Commonwealth" - Vault Dweller's Survival Guide.

Deceased Fellow[]

"You chance upon a dead guy. Check his pockets for a note mentioning treasure in a [random] location" - from the book; Vault Dweller's Survival Guide (VDSG for short)

Raider versus Farmers[]

"A farmer runs to ask for help as you witness a fracas" - VDSG

Wounded dog[]

Why not patch this Dog and name her?


You encounter a wounded dog somewhere in the Commonwealth which, could be a non-hostile mongrel or attack dog. If you patch up the wounded dog & name her, the dog might appear again to help you in a fight.

Mole Rat Ambush[]

Whack these pesky mutations when they pop out of their holes.


Wild Pack of Dogs[]

during an exploration, you chance upon a resting pack of dogs


Gene and his Dog[]

Gene and his Dog.

IF you own a settlement with a workshop, you may chance upon this trader. User your Charisma & he'll sell you a dog.


While traversing the wasteland, one may encounter a man named Gene. He will offer to sell his dog for 250 caps, but is then hesitant. Convincing him to sell the dog will allow it to be sent to a settlement, granting that settlement +5 to Defense. Gene can be encountered multiple times, and a new dog can be purchased from him each time.

Super Mutants and Prisoner[]

A Victorious raiding party of green skins return with a victim. free the victim if you wish


If the super mutants are killed, the freed prisoner will sprint off and, if followed, will eventually end up in Sanctuary Hills. They seem to lack the scripting to assign them to jobs, though they can be assigned to a supply line.

Deathclaw Duels[]

Two Deathclaws fighting, In-game.

It's Deathclaw against Deathclaw. Do not spectate too long, or they will bring the fight to you.

There is a chance that two deathclaws will spawn and begin fighting one another until one of their health runs low and the losing deathclaw retreats. Be careful because, once the fight ends, both deathclaws will turn hostile and attack. Also, groups of deathclaws will sometimes be found fighting a behemoth in more dangerous, southern regions of the map.

Vicious dogs and Farmer[]

Three Vicious dogs are attacking a farmer ill-equipped to defend himself


Successfully saving the farmer will net the player 250 caps.

Raiders and the Pink Paste[]

Three dead raiders.

A dead Raider or two have some strange paste on them. Apparently this came from Suffolk Country Charter School. Why not visit there?


While wandering the Commonwealth, the Sole Survivor may come across three dead raiders in what appears to be a failed intervention. On one is an note, in which one unnamed raider attempts to stop their friend Hank from eating food paste, which is making him act more and more harsh and insane. This encounter is repeatable. Upon reading the note, Suffolk County charter school is marked on the map.

The strange pink paste itself is a government experiment conducted at the school for some time before the bombs dropped.

You've Got Crabs[]

Mirelurks occasionally scuttle around and ambush you. Time to crack a few shells


The Dead Postman[]

He did his duty proudly.

You find a dead settler wearing a postman uniform. On the settler's body are three random letters. some reveal locations to explore. This may be a reference to the post-apocalyptic novel The Postman, by David Brin, in which the main character acquires a postman's uniform and begins traveling the former United States posing as a representative of the reformed government.

Super Mutants Raiding Party[]

What's worse than a super mutant that hates humans...? A [group of missile launcher welding Super Mutants]

Up to 4 super mutants (all wielding missile launchers) can be encountered , upon seeing the Sole Survivor, the super mutants will all start wildly firing their missiles at the Sole Survivor with horrible accuracy. the leader of the group carries the supermutant's orders.

Escaped Synth[]


An Escaped Synth is looking for Bunker Hill


If the Institute is still active & the Railroad Quest: Boston After Dark hasn't been completed, the Sole Survivor may spot a male synth Timothy,who's wearing an Institute jumper, asks you to provide him the location to Bunker Hill. Should they have visited Bunker Hill, they have the option to point him in the right direction, or ask for caps.

Mac's Bar[]

Need a drink out in the Wasteland? Best hope you find Mac soon

Occasionally, the Sole Survivor may find a bar set up in random places which belongs to a man named Mac. The Sole Survivor can purchase drinks and initiate a conversation with him about the bar location.

Fluid encounters[]

The entities you may encounter are moving, and the location cannot be pinpointed. Expect a higher chance of these occurring if you stay on the roads


All below are fluid encounters

Smiling Larry[]

Smiling Larry.png

While walking along the road you may happen to encounter this trader who, when interacted with, will sell you some items. You can recruit this trader if you have a Level 3 Weapons emporium & more than 30 settlers in a settlement (includes those living in settlements connected to the one you are sending him to) once you assign him to the emporium, you could buy the legendary Ripper, Reckoning .

The Scribe[]

The Scribe.png

Another Level 4 merchant that you could send to one of your settlements. Like Larry, you will have to stick to the roads to spot him, but unlike other settlers you might come across, he is easy to spot since he wears a BOS uniform. To recruit him, you need at least 10 settlers in an settlement & a level 3 armor emporium.

Preston Garvey Impersonator[]

Preston Garvey impersonator

You meet a man claiming to be Preston Garvey of the Minutemen. Is he really?

While wandering, the Sole Survivor may come across a smooth talking man claiming to be Preston Garvey. He will request a donation of 100 caps for the Minutemen. If the Sole Survivor tells the impostor that they know Preston, or that they are the general of the Minutemen, the impersonator will run away.

A Girl and Her Robot[]

You stumble upon child merchant, Kat, and her domestic Sentry Bot, Gus, with whom you can trade if you want.

Kat and Gus, In-game.

While wandering, the Sole Survivor may come across a little girl, Kat, and her sentry bot guardian, Gus.

Runaway Settler[]

A settler is tired of being on the run & wants to settle down. Why not point him/her to one of your settlements?

The settler may or may not be under attack, but once the settler is safe, the player can assign the settler to a settlement, where they will relocate to.

Manta Man[]

The Silver Shroud's fellow character, Manta Man, has surfaced in the Commonwealth. Does this bode well for our hero?

The Sole Survivor may encounter a delusional wastelander who calls himself Manta Man, after a comic book character.

  • If dressed as the Silver Shroud, he'll refer to the character as such and talks similar to how the Sole Survivor could talk in-character.


Someone's cooking up something intoxicating nearby. See the fruits of their labor

The Sole Survivor will hear an explosion in a nearby shack. Inside they will find a chemistry station with several bottles of alcohol on it and a dead moonshiner. This is a possible reference to the "Exploding Scientist" random encounter in Fallout 3.

Two Faces. One Synth[]

ファイル:Art v Art.jpg

Art and Art, In-game.

Two people both claiming that the other is a Synth. You can believe them both.

The Sole Survivor can come across two men, identical in appearance and both named Art. One Art is a human and the other is an identical synth. One Art has the other on his knees and is preparing to execute him with a shotgun. Both Arts will claim to be the real one and state the other is an Institute synth sent to kill the other and take their place. If the Sole Survivor decides not to interfere, the human Art will execute the synth and walk away. A very difficult speech check can convince the kneeling Art to admit to being a synth, at which point he will encourage the Sole Survivor to assist him in killing the real Art. A simple speech check can convince the standing Art to lower his weapon, at which point the kneeling Art will draw a weapon and attack him. Alternatively, the Sole Survivor can simply attack one of the Arts. The synth Art will have a synth component on their body, indicating whether or not the Sole Survivor has chosen correctly. If the standoff is interrupted, the two Arts will begin shooting at each other, turning the event into normal combat. If the Sole Survivor has the Awareness perk, the synth will have significantly higher resistances compared to Art. This encounter is a possible reference to a movie called "The Island" where a clone is held at gunpoint by the person he is a clone of and the man hunting the clone has to figure out which one is which. Oddly, this encounter is repeatable regardless of the outcome; if the Sole Survivor has previously attacked one of the Arts, that Art will be hostile in all subsequent encounters (as a result, the two Arts will immediately engage in a firefight instead of the normal dialogue).

  • In V.A.T.S. the real Art's name will always show in green [and most of the time, will be holding the shotgun], while the Synth Art will always highlight in red.

Self Admitted Synth[]

Self Admitted Synth.png

A Group of settlers has discovered that one of their own isn't as "fleshy" as once thought.


The Sole Survivor may happen upon a man (Fred) and a woman (Angie) holding a third man (Jules), a self-admitted synth, at gunpoint. Jules claims he ran away from the Institute and only wants to get to Bunker Hill. The Sole Survivor has four choices on how to resolve the issue. Saving him using any of the three possible medium speech checks results in him fleeing away in gratitude. This encounter does not add Bunker Hill's icon to the Pip-Boy map, but if you catch up to Jules after saving him and talk to him twice, he'll give you a variable, but small, amount of caps.

  • If coming upon on this encounter with Jules already dead, Fred and Angie will be hostile to the Sole Survivor.
  • The Quest: The Nuclear Option must not be completed.

Malfunctioning Robots[]

Some malfunctioning Assaultrons meet you on the road, and see you as a beauty. Is that a good thing?

The Sole Survivor can sometimes happen across a few assaultrons spouting random nonsense. Upon noticing the Sole Survivor, they will all charge, screaming, "WHAT A PRETTY BOY".

Named Feral Ghouls[]

The old days are still living. And have rotting skin. And want to tear your limbs off.

The Sole Survivor can sometimes stumble across a pack of named feral ghouls. Their names are Mr. Donoghue, Mrs. Donoghue, Mr. Sumner, Mrs. Sumner, Mr. Parker, Mrs. Parker, Rosa and Rosa's son. These are all the names of the Sole Survivor's neighbors in pre-War Sanctuary Hills. Strangely, this is a repeatable encounter and can be seen many times, even if the ghouls have been killed.

This may be an reference to the Sole Survivor's neighbors from before the Great War.

The Farmer and the Vicious Dogs[]

You can help the poor farmer being attacked by three dangerous dogs.

Occasionally, the Sole Survivor will come across a farmer being attacked by three dogs. If the Sole Survivor kills the dogs in time to save the farmer, he will reward them with 250 caps. This encounter can occur multiple times.

The Farmer and the Raiders[]

Help the farmer survive a raider attack. Or end this misery yourself.

Like with the vicious dog encounter, the Sole Survivor can find a farmer being assaulted by up to three raiders. If the Sole Survivor interferes and kills the raiders before the farmer is killed, they will be rewarded 250 caps.




Righteous energy leads a member of the Atom Cats to scavenge for parts. He might point you in the right direction.

A member of the Atom Cats wearing a full suit of power armor will be scouring a wrecked car for parts. If spoken to, he will helpfully mark the Atom Cats garage on the Sole Survivor's map, then walk off. In addition, if you are able to pickpocket his fusion core, he will exit the power armor and walk off, and you can take the armor after he walks out of range.


A hardened survivor meets you on the road... and wants to kill you.

A hostile sniper wearing full combat armor will attack anyone he comes across, including the Sole Survivor; similar to Sam Warrick from Fallout 3. this may occur at the crash site of an massive airliner south- west of Tenpines Buff.

Kelly and her Brahmin[]

Kelly has the Brahmin. You have the caps. Feel me?

A woman named Kelly can be found traveling the wasteland with a brahmin. She will offer to sell the brahmin for 100 caps. It can be sent to a settlement to improve the efficiency of farming at that settlement. If asked whether the brahmin is stolen, Kelly will become evasive, with her tone ambiguous as to whether she's feeling guilty or merely thinks it's a stupid question.

Advertising Eyebot[]

Unemployed in a post-apocalypse? This Eyebot will point you in the right direction.

While wandering the Commonwealth, the Sole Survivor may come across an eyebot who advertises employment opportunities at the Cambridge Polymer Labs. If investigated, this opens up a quest.


Somebody let the rats out... and stuck one of them with live grenades.

Upon exploring the Commonwealth, the Sole Survivor may run into a small pack of mole rats, one of which has a few fragmentation mines strapped to its back. As evidenced by the mines, these mole rats may have come from Kendall parking garage.

Gassy Settler[]

It was probably the bad meat he ate...

An unnamed settler is found in random locations in the Commonwealth using a cooking station during encounter. As the Sole Survivor approaches, they are warned not to come any closer. Upon further questioning the settler will announce that they are gassy from eating some bad cans of meat they got from a man named Lukowski, and will mark the location Longneck Lukowski's Cannery on the Sole Survivor's Pip-Boy.

Vault 81 Prisoner[]

Lend a hand to your fellow Vault dweller.

A Vault 81 prisoner can be encountered in the wasteland being held by 2 raiders. Freeing the prisoner will mark the location of Vault 81 on the Sole Survivor's Pip-boy.

Settlers in Trouble[]

A hero of the people is always there. Even when they're not a hero.

One may come across three or four settlers fighting a group of hostiles (Most likely raiders). If the Sole Survivor assists and keeps them from being killed, the survivors will join you and you may send them to any settlement you choose.

One may encounter Children of Atom fighting a few Gunners. The Children of Atom will be using gamma guns.

The Seven Frag Mines[]

The lucky number 7. Not here, though...

At various locations, one will sometimes find a group of seven live fragmentation mines.

Highway Robbery[]

Only thing that could make this better is if one of them is named Max and is suffering from insanity..

A group of three raiders can be seen trying to shake down a pair of farmers for money. After some back and forth between the two groups in which the farmers state they have nothing of value, the raiders will decide to just kill the farmers and turn hostile. If the Sole Survivor kills the raiders and saves the farmers, they will thank the Sole Survivor. If the Sole Survivor approaches too closely while the raiders and farmers are talking, the raiders will immediately turn hostile and attack.

Three Albino Radstags[]

The majesty of radioactive nature..

The Sole Survivor may encounter three albino Radstags marching down a road. One of these locations is outside Med-Tek Research.

General encounters[]

You can find these encounters almost anywhere in the Commonwealth - VDSG

UFO Crash Site[]

(Not a random encounter as it happens at level 20-24, south east of Oberland Station & south of the Beantown brewery. The UFO flying overhead is only to show the player the general direction of the crash site, relative to the player's current location)

Three Dead Raiders[]

Joined with the article; "Raiders and the Pink Paste"

A Scavenger and a Refrigerator[]

ファイル:Scav and fridge.png

Ever wonder what the inside of a fridge looks like? So does this guy...

The Sole Survivor may encounter a scavenger attempting to open a novice locked refrigerator. If approached, they will become hostile. Inside the refrigerator is a random gun, some caps, and matching ammo. This is possibly a reference to an identical encounter in Fallout 3.

With the Intimidation perk, it is possible to pacify the scavenger, open the refrigerator and leave. Once far enough away, he will take the gun from the fridge and will use it if approached again. However, this seems related to the AI always picking nearby weapons, as he will not leave and act as if it's still locked, additionally any caps inside will remain there.

Scavenger and the Hatch[]

What's beneath may not be worth the effort of opening that hatch...

The Sole Survivor may encounter a hatch and a scavenger in the wasteland. Upon talking to the scavenger, he will state that the hatch is "his". Putting the cursor on the hatch will prompt "detonate", and doing so will result in a mini nuke-like explosion, after which the player character can enter the bunker to find a skeleton and some minor loot in what seems to be a collapsed fallout shelter.

Alternatively, the Sole Survivor can wait for the scavenger to detonate the hatch. After which, the scavenger will excitedly shout that it work and enter the shelter. He will become hostile if the player follows him into the bunker.

The Water Beggar[]

Got water?

The Sole Survivor may encounter a settler kneeling by the side of the road. If talked to, she/he will claim they are tired and ask for water. If the Sole Survivor is currently carrying any purified water, they may offer it to the settler. They will thank them, and if talked to again, will say that they just need to rest for a bit longer before moving on. There is no option to send them to an owned settlement after giving them the water.

Irradiated Woman[]

Got Rads?

Similar to the water beggar, the Sole Survivor may encounter a woman who claims to be dying from radiation, and asks for RadAway. It's even possible for this woman to be generated as a ghoul, who are supposed to be immune to radiation. If you give her some, she thanks you and says she needs to rest before continuing. There is no further option for interaction. If one returns to the location at a later date she will be smashed by a safe.

  • If you refuse to give RadAway to the woman and return later, she will be replaced with a dead ghoul.

Blasted Away Safe[]

Dynamite wasn't enough?

One can sometimes come across a locked chest (from novice to master) in a small crater, suggesting it was probably thrown away by a rather powerful explosion.

Vault-Tec Van[]

If anyone knows the whereabouts of Larry, last seen heading to an Commonwealth Vault, please inform the Documentation Department. He has an note regarding the Vault in person. -Vault Dweller's Survival Guide

The Sole Survivor can find a fairly unique van in quite a good shape, but empty. On its right side is a skeleton in rags and a torn note that reads: "M. Henderson. I hate to remind you again, but you failed to meet your quota last month. We still have spots to fill in Vault 95 and you have not been pulling" The rest is torn and the other side reads: "...are making people uncomfortable. This is your last warning. If you don't reach your target this month, you're out. Ralph Jones." Part of the signature is torn, but the last part reads: "... Manager, Vault-Tec"

Settler Burial[]

A moment of remembrance... then it's back to surviving to the next day.

Occasionally, the Sole Survivor will witness a preacher and three settlers gathered around a fourth buried settler. Upon approaching, the preacher will say a short eulogy, followed by the settlers. First (male) one mourns a good friend, second (female) one mourns the person she loved, third (male) one declares it's not fair, that he is "the asshole of the group" and should have "bitten it" in his place. Then follow a few more words from the others.

  • None of the four can be talked to, they just answer with the generic greeting for dialogue-less NPCs.

Campsite encounters[]

"Expect these encounters at any camp-sites you might stumble upon" -vdsg Some occur only at night time.

The Walking Wounded[]

This is where you encounter another lvl 4 workshop trader called Doc Anderson having just patched up a settler.

Two Men Arguing About Sandwiches[]

The Sole Survivor may encounter two men, Mikey and Moss, debating what the definition of a sandwich is. This is a long-standing debate in epistemology. It might also be a reference to the decision of the Massachusetts Superior Court White City Shopping Ctr., LP v. PR Rests. LLC, 21 Mass. L. Rep. 565 (Mass. Super. Ct. 200), where the court ruled that a sandwich consisted of at least two slices of bread, and therefore "under this definition, this court finds that the term 'sandwich' is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice, and beans".

Choke point encounters[]

Often happens in places where there is limited movement, like underneath a bridge.

Mandatory/Mr Gutsy's Curfew[]

This robot demands you to return to your home -VDSG

The Sole Survivor may encounter a Mr. Gutsy attempting to enforce a mandatory curfew created by Provisional Governor Graham. If the Sole Survivor agrees to return home but remains in the area, the Mr. Gutsy will become hostile, stating that you have broken curfew. If one persuades him by claiming to be on military business, the Mr. Gutsy will state you are 60% confident and let the Sole Survivor pass. Also, if you have luck 7 or more, you get an additional option labelled:"Will you comply" by repeating the "Will you comply?" phrase enough times, He will be forced to initiate a self-destruct sequence due to looping error, or he will simply attack.

None Shall Pass![]

Pay the fine, or meet the gun. Which choice is yours?

A trio of Gunners/Raiders will approach the Sole Survivor and demand a "toll fee" of either 500, 1000, or 2000 caps. Saving just before they talk to you and reloading can result in a different start price of those three. Refusing to pay up or sprinting past them will cause the Gunners to turn hostile and attack. The Sole Survivor can use persuasion to attempt to lower the toll fee. Starting at 2000, you can persuade them down to 1000, 500 and 400. Starting at 1000, you can persuade them down to 500, 400 and 350. Starting at 500, you can persuade them down to 400, 350 and 250. As the Gunners will follow the Sole Survivor in order to speak to them, they can be lured into an ambush with nearby monsters or other hostiles. if you have enough luck though, you get the option to "fake it" and the Raider (or Gunner) will take whatever caps you (claim?) to have.

Synth Relay Ambush[]

Kicked out of the Institute? You may get attack by teleporting synths and a Courser you while you are near a chokepoint.

Unhappy Scavengers[]

If you have you completed the quest: Last Voyage of the U.S.S. Constitution, you might be stopped by some unfriendly looking scavengers who say you jumped their claim of the ship. They immediately turn hostile afterwards.

Nervous Famers[]

A group of farmers ask you to holster any weapons you're carrying. Comply and you can pass. If not, expect hostility. -VDSG

Animosity encounters[]

Typically involves two factions with no diplomatic relations to each other, in other words, they are at war.

Active Sniper[]

Some Lunatic with a sniper rifle enjoys shooting up the location you're entering.


Child of Atom vs Gunners[]

Feel free to watch both these enemy factions make (lightly irradiated) mincemeat of each other


A violent fight occurs between the Children of Atom and the Gunners that you can simply spectate.

Brotherhood Soldiers/Vertibird Fighting Enemies[]

Once the Brotherhood arrives in the Commonwealth, you may notice a Brotherhood of Steel Vertibird flying around and suddenly land to drop off forces. The forces dropped off are either field scribes, or Brotherhood of steel knights in T-60 power armor. Often they will come into conflict with raiders, super mutants, deathclaws, or even gunners. You can assist in the fighting, or let it go on and let them fight each other. The same can happen with a random patrol you find wandering the wastes. note: attacking the field scribes will have another pair of Knights in T-60 power armour drop off at your location to defend them. If the encounter happens in the Boston ruins, it will be an (very) small skirmish to an (ever smaller) one v one battle.

Minutemen vs Enemy[]

You will need to be allied with Minutemen after which you will see some of them defending a settlement or an area against a number of enemies. However, you can only encounter the Minutemen fighting another faction if the faction attacking is enemies with you.

Feral ghouls vs Super Mutants[]

Sit Back and watch infected bony fingernails scrape against overly large green hides - VDSG

Scavengers versus Robots[]

Just a bunch of scavengers fighting an loosing battle against a few Protectrons with maybe a Mr Gutsy, who is yelling patriotic insults. If you fire a shot near any of the scavengers or robots, they will turn hostile and attack you.

Gunners versus Behemoth or Mirelurk Queen[]

a trio of Gunners are making impressive inroads against one of the Commonwealth's true giants.

Ricky Dalton and the Raiders[]

Once Railroad Quest: Tradecraft is complete, you may see him fighting off Raiders. -VDSG

Treasure hunt encounters[]

All starts with you finding an dead corpse with an note on it.

  • All below are Treasure Hunt encounters

A Dead Raider's Note[]

Gets you Caps.

A Dead Junkie's Note[]

Gets you Chems.

A Dead Gunner's Note[]

Gets you a gun and a mod.

Three Dead Scavengers[]

You will find some scrap and some junk.

A Dead Farmer's Note[]

You find a synth with a modded gun, junk and some scrap.

Hadrian’s Note[]

starts Miscellaneous Quest; Treasure of Jamaica Plain.