The Bethesda ruins are located northwest of Washington, D.C. in 2277. They are inhabited by raiders and ghouls, and are divided into three sections: Bethesda offices west, Bethesda offices east and Bethesda underworks.
Prior to the Great War of 2077, Bethesda was a major town in the Washington, D.C area. There were metro and city liner services for this city, and north of Bethesda is an old monorail train. As the west-east highway ends in the city, another highway traveling north passes through the area. The city has a local park, named after the largest employer in this city, where baseball was regularly played.
The raiders have barricaded most of the streets leading to the ruins with crudely constructed structures and derelict vehicles. There are also some mines in a small, grassy area to the south, next to Bethesda offices east.
In between the two office buildings is a walkway connecting them, with a raider carrying a sniper rifle near two ammunition boxes containing a random amount of .308 caliber rounds. Further east (roughly east by southeast) is the metro entrance to Bethesda underworks. West of the entrance to the Bethesda offices west, at the Red Rocket gas station in the outskirts, there is a random encounter location.
Bethesda offices west
Mostly reception and office space, Bethesda offices west is home to a considerable number of raiders. The cramped confines of the building render most long-range weapons ineffective, as they become unwieldy when turning corners and investigating small rooms.
In the reception area, there are two raiders and a Mark VII automated turret in the center of the room. On the semi-circular desk next to the turret terminal lies a Big Book of Science. Upstairs, there are at least three shotgun traps that are activated by the same pressure plate and aimed at the same place, as well as two grenade bouquets. The Lone Wanderer may encounter a raider with a flamer sleeping in the bed within this room.
Bethesda offices east
Much of the east building is made up of small offices, with more cramped fighting conditions as a result. Extensive damage to the building also includes large gaps and holes in the floor. In the small room with two cubicles, the Lone Wanderer can find a Chinese Army: Special Ops Training Manual laying on top of the desk in the left cubicle. There is a raider boss here, armed with a flamer and carrying a U.S. Army: 30 Handy Flamethrower Recipes skill book in their inventory, as well as the Lockpick bobblehead behind them. There is also a workbench in the room with some miscellaneous supplies. The raider respawns after 72 in-game hours.
Bethesda offices west
- Big Book of Science on the first floor on the reception desk, near the turret control terminal.
- A Stealth Boy on the same floor to the east, in a crate near the drinking fountain.
- Two pre-War books on top of a filing cabinet on the second floor.
- Dean's Electronics on the top floor, in the room with the rigged shotguns, in a crate sitting on a desk, hidden under a steam gauge assembly and other miscellaneous items.
- A Stealth Boy in the same room, on the shelf next to the door by the fridge.
- A mini nuke in that same top-floor room, under some crates next to an open freezer with body parts in it.
Bethesda offices east
- Lockpick Bobblehead is located on a desk next to the turret control terminal (second level, southwest corner of the room with the turret) next to a wall safe (Easy).
- Bottlecap mine on the workbench in the room with the turret.
- Chinese Army: Special Ops Training Manual in the first cubicle to the left on the second floor, on a desk next to two missiles and a typewriter.
- A mini nuke near the exit to the connecting bridge, on a filing cabinet in a pile of rubble from a collapsed ceiling.
- U.S. Army: 30 Handy Flamethrower Recipes and safe key held by the raider group's leader.
Bethesda offices exterior
- In Bethesda offices west, in the room with the shotgun trap, there is a refrigerator filled with chopped up wastelander body parts. A chopping board and bucket nearby are filled with meat.
- If the Lone Wanderer accesses the sewers, ghouls may spawn above ground in the ruins, leading to a fight between them and the raiders.
- The location has a workbench that one may use, but also includes enemies that respawn.
- The city's name and state can be seen on holotags found in the Mojave Wasteland.
The Bethesda ruins appear only in Fallout 3.
Behind the scenes
- All the ghouls in the underworks may spawn right outside of the tunnel entrance, remaining inactive unless the player engages them. [verified]
- If a map marker is placed on the Bethesda ruins, it will lead southeast of the Bethesda ruins, instead of going there directly. [verified]
- Big Guns skill book. [verified] The raiders of the Bethesda ruins respawn, as well as the one with the flamer with the U.S. Army: 30 Handy Flamethrower Recipes book included, providing an infinite source for the