Fallout Wiki
Fallout Wiki

Don't you understand me? I killed them, okay?! My mother and father are dead because of me!Ian West

Blood Ties is a Fallout 3 side quest. It is also an Xbox 360 and PC achievement, and a PlayStation 3 trophy.

Quick walkthrough

Side Quest: Blood Ties
Speak to Evan King in Arefu about their troubles with the Family.
Speak to Lucy West in Megaton and agree to deliver her message.
Check on the residents of Arefu and find the Wests dead.
Report back to Evan King, where he gives you four possible locations for the Family.
Investigate Hamilton's hideaway.
Investigate Moonbeam Outdoor Cinema.
Investigate Northwest Seneca Station and find manhole to Meresti service tunnel.
Investigate Meresti trainyard.
Locate the Family, negotiate your way past Robert and search for Ian West.
Speak to members of the Family to get the terminal password.
Convince Vance to give you the terminal password.
Research the Family's ways and speak to Vance.
Kill the Family.
Speak to Ian.
Ian decides to leave the Family.
Ian decides to stay.
Inform Vance of Ian's decision and arrange a truce with Arefu.
Reward: Schematics - Shishkebab
Return to Evan King and finalize the truce.
Reward: 300 XP and good Karma

Detailed walkthrough

Quest start

The quest can be started by speaking with Lucy West in or around Moriarty's Saloon in Megaton, by talking to Evan King in Arefu or by reading "Regarding the Arefu Incident" in the Family's terminal in the Meresti Metro Station.

Deliver Lucy's Message

Lucy West asks the Lone Wanderer to deliver a letter to her family in Arefu. If the quest is accepted, Lucy will give the player character an envelope, and mark the location of Arefu on the Lone Wanderer's Pip-Boy 3000.

Report to Evan King

Evan King will toss a grenade as the player character approaches Arefu. King then apologizes and explains that the town has been under repeated attacks by The Family. Evan will ask the Lone Wanderer to check the Ewer, Schenzy, and West residences to make sure everyone is all right (this starts the quest for the player character if he/she did not pick it up from Lucy).

When checking in on the residents, the Lone Wanderer discovers that the Ewer and Schenzy families are safe, but further investigation finds the dead bodies of Lucy and Ian's parents; further examination shows they have bite marks on their necks (requires 30+ in Medicine skill) with no significant blood amount on their bodies (50+ Medicine skill), that the marks are from human teeth (70+ Medicine skill) and that there is train yard residue on the bodies (90+ Medicine skill).

When the player character reports back to Evan King, he will ask about Lucy's brother, Ian West. Upon discovery that he is missing, Evan will mention having seen Ian with Vance, the leader of the Family. He will also add three markers to the map if prompted: Hamilton's hideaway, Moonbeam Outdoor Cinema and the Northwest Seneca Station - none of which are correct, though Murphy in the Seneca Station will tell the player character to follow the sewers if they ask about the Family. If the player character noticed the train yard residue, it will be possible to ask Evan if there are any train yards in the area. This will allow Evan to add a marker for the correct location, Meresti trainyard.

If one has the Scoundrel perk, before finding Ian, one can return to Lucy and demand caps before going to look for her brother. She gives 100 caps, with no Karma penalty.

Locate the Family

The Family resides in the Meresti Metro station which can be reached easiest via the tunnels under the Meresti trainyard, or much more inconveniently, through the tunnels found under the radioactive barrels in the back of Murphy's place in Northwest Seneca Station. There are various traps, including bear traps, frag mines, a rigged baby carriage and an assortment of tripwire traps that set off rigged shotguns, grenade bouquets and even a pitching machine.

If the player character enters by Northwest Seneca Station, they will find Murphy's chem lab operation. To the right, in the back of his office one will find a hatch leading to the Meresti service tunnel. The player character will encounter two mirelurks there. After going through the cave one will enter the old train trail, then make a left at the first train wreck with the dead mirelurks. The debris here conceals many traps: frag mines on either side, two bear traps in the middle. Heading left comes to two miniature tripwires between the carriages and walls. The first has a rigged shotgun straight ahead, the second a heavy weight that falls from the ceiling.

The front gate to the Family's hideout is guarded by Robert, who will allow the player character into the Family's home for 100 caps, or for free if the Lone Wanderer has Lucy's letter for Ian. The player character can also gain peaceful entrance by passing a Speech check with Robert, or by using a speech option from the Cannibal perk, which also opens up many more speech options making the whole quest much easier. Alternatively, the player character can kill Robert and hack the terminal adjacent to his post to unlock the station door, although this and the option of sneaking past Robert will turn the family hostile.

Locate Ian West

The next task is to locate Ian West to determine if he is still alive. Several members of the Family will reveal Ian's location and the password to unlock the room where he is meditating. These are the possible scenarios:

  • The leader of the Family is Vance - a mysterious and charismatic man who is trying to help the members of his "Family" overcome their hunger for human flesh by drinking human blood akin to the mystical vampires in the stories from before the Great War. If the player character fails a Speech check, Vance will advise the player character to learn the rules of the Family by asking other members and reading from the terminal in the main lobby. If the player character passes the Speech check, uses the Cannibal perk, or reads the rules and explains they understand the Family, Vance will give the pass code that allows entry into Ian's meditation room.
  • Alan notices that Justin has been trying to befriend Ian and suggests the player talk to Justin about him.
  • Justin believes that Ian belongs with the Family, having witnessed the murder of his parents and done nothing. If the player suggests that Ian needs an 'outside voice' to help and passes a Speech check, Justin will reveal the pass code that allows entry into Ian's meditation room. The Impartial Mediation perk gives a similar dialogue option with an identical result (even if one does not have neutral Karma when asking the question).
  • Karl will become annoyed if asked about Ian. Karl can be seduced by a female Lone Wanderer if they have the Black Widow perk or convinced with high Strength (both sexes). In either scenario, Karl gives up the pass code to Ian's meditation room.
  • Brianna also feels that being with the Family is the best for Ian but that he could use an outside friend. If the Lone Wanderer is male and has the Lady Killer, Brianna can be seduced into handing over the password to the room where Ian is. The Scoundrel perk or a high Charisma will work as well.
  • Holly, Vance's wife, can be persuaded to reveal the pass code with the Scoundrel perk or a high Charisma.
  • Vance can simply be killed and the pass code looted from his remains. This will cause the rest of the Family to become hostile towards the player character, attacking on sight. Each family member killed will result in negative Karma at this point. Ian will be angry that Vance has been killed but will give the player character the same options regardless, as long as one does not respond flippantly to his death. (Responding with "Well, he's worm food now." results in Ian turning hostile and the quest to fail.)
  • One may also goad Vance with certain conversation options, finally calling him a "psycho", and he will order the Family to attack - this will allow one to follow the above option but result in no negative Karma from killing them. (Note: This path must be taken before Ian comes to any decision. See Bugs.)

Talking to Ian will confirm he was not kidnapped but voluntarily joined the Family after killing his parents. After a childhood encounter with a threatening wastelander, Ian has craved human flesh and blood, even that of his own mother and father. One is then faced with the choice of convincing Ian to leave - which requires either the letter from his sister Lucy or passing a Speech check if Vance is still alive - or leaving him with the Family.

Settling accounts

Ian's decision must be relayed to Evan King back in Arefu. Depending on which choice Ian made, the appropriate parties will react with enthusiasm or disappointment. Reporting the news of Ian's decision to King will result in a sizable amount of good Karma regardless of Ian's ultimate choice. After Ian's decision, the Family and the residents of Arefu are considered to be the same faction even before the deal is made with Vance.

Vance may also be convinced to either not attack or to defend Arefu if he and the family are not already dead. If one simply asks Vance to stop attacking Arefu, he will agree. Through a successful Speech, Medicine, or Intelligence check, the player character can also convince Vance to enter into a deal to use blood packs instead of attacking the residents of Arefu. Regardless of the conversation choice, Vance will award the player character with the Shishkebab schematics, after the initial conversation about the deal is over.

If one has brokered a deal between the family and Arefu, they can return to Vance after the deal is relayed to King and ask to be shown the ways of the vampire. one will then be taught to drink blood and awarded the Hematophage perk which modifies blood packs to heal 20 HP instead of 1 HP.

If one suggested the Family guard the town in exchange for blood, Alan will be dispatched to Arefu, fulfilling their end of the deal. At that point, one can enter Alan's residence in Arefu (located at the entrance to town, near the Brahmin pen) to find a copy of Pugilism Illustrated on a table in the corner.

After successfully dealing with the problem of Arefu, each of its inhabitants will show their gratitude in the following ways:

Quest stages

10 Deliver Lucy's message to Arefu.
15 Discover what the Family did in Arefu.
20 Check the West Residence.
21 Check the Ewer Residence.
22 Check the Schenzy Residence.
25 Report to Evan King.
30 Locate The Family.
40 Locate Ian West.
50 Speak to Vance about Ian's decision.
60Quest finishedReturn to Evan King.
65 Return to Vance to confirm deal (if applicable)


  • If the Lone Wanderer goes straight to Arefu and does not talk to Lucy West, he/she may not be able to convince Ian to leave the Family later in the quest.
  • If one decides to strike a deal with Vance and tells him to defend Arefu in return for blood packs, the Lone Wanderer can 'donate' their blood packs for 15 caps each.
  • If the player character convinces Ian to remain with the Family, there may be only three options when telling Evan King about his fate - that Ian was not found, that he is dead, or that he has gone to live with Lucy. All three options are listed as lies in the dialogue box, but any of them work to complete the quest and reward XP and positive Karma.
  • If one chooses to complete the quest by giving Ian Lucy's letter, she will react very nonchalantly about what happened. She even says "I almost forgot about it", even though if one earlier told her about her parents death and missing brother, she worriedly said "I've got to know if he's still alive!" If one leaves Ian with the Family (the letter will still be in one's inventory) the letter cannot be given back to her, although if one speaks to her before completing the quest by speaking with Evan King, one can give Lucy some information as to Ian's fate.
  • Upon leaving Ian with the Family and finish the quest, one can still give Lucy's letter to Ian. He will like the letter, but he will not leave the Family. Lucy will thank the player character.
  • Killing any resident of Arefu will automatically fail the quest.
  • Ian cannot actually go live with Lucy in Megaton.
  • If one takes Lucy's note directly to the Family's hideout without going to Arefu first, Robert will still let the player character in if they tell him they have a note for Ian from his sister, despite the fact that one does not know Ian's whereabouts at this point in the plot. If one kills Vance and uses his password to open the door to Ian's meditation room, he is not even there. Talking with Vance can still provide access to the Family's terminal and find out the true nature of the Family. Also, the objective will be updated to "Find out what happened in Arefu." Once in Arefu, one will have an extra dialogue option with Evan King, but the quest proceeds as normal from this point.
  • One can kill all members of the Family, and then give the letter to Ian. He will still decide to leave, but upon returning to Arefu, the citizens will become hostile and the quest will be failed.
  • If the player kills any member of The Family after Ian makes his decision, the inhabitants of Arefu will turn hostile even though no one from the town was directly attacked or killed. This is due to the fact that Arefu and the Family become one faction after Ian makes his decision, rather than after the deal is struck between Evan and Vance. If the player attacks The Family instead of talking to them initially, this can be a problem if Robert is not killed before speaking with Ian. When one leaves, Robert will be hostile but if the player character kills him, the quest will be failed. If one kills all residents of Arefu, the quest will also fail. One can work around this problem by simply sneaking past Robert without killing him.
  • If one returns to Lucy after discovering the bodies of her parents but before visiting the Family, one will be able to tell her about the deaths of her parents, and she will ask one to find out what happened to Ian. If the player character chooses not to tell her before speaking to Ian, they will never get to tell her, and upon returning to her later one will only be able to tell her that the letter has been delivered to Ian. If the player character does tell her that her parents are dead, they will be rewarded later with an additional string of dialogue, following the string in which she says she almost forgot about the letter, in which she thanks the player character properly.
  • If one completes the quest in favor of Ian returning to Arefu using the speech check and Vance defending Arefu while using blood packs, one can deliver the message to Ian at his parents' home after completing the quest by speaking with King.

Behind the scenes

  • "Vespertilio", the password to Ian's cell, is a genus of bats.
  • When you speak to Karen Schenzy in Arefu, she mentions how the Family "taunt us to open our doors, throw bottles at our houses and scream at us." This was the behavior of the vampires in the novel I Am Legend.


  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 Upon first approaching Arefu, Evan King may run past the player character to attack an enemy if they led them there. If this happens, the explosion will still occur and one will be frozen in place as the game waits for the encounter to occur. You can either load a previous save from when not on the bridge and kill the enemy, or wait for Evan King to come back, which can take a while. Eventually, he will return to his usual position, in which the dialogue sequence will then initiate. The game may freeze. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 If the Family is inexplicably hostile, Vance may never appear in the game, making the quest impossible due to the lack of password for the terminal. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 If Robert or another member of the Family has already been killed, but one has not yet received the message that this faction is now hostile, you can restart this by repeatedly pressing the "wait-button". Doing this, one can still talk to Evan and finish the quest successfully. Waiting for 24 hours seems to work the best. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 While the Family's terminals are not read when highlighted (it will be your regular HUD color, as if open-use), being seen hacking into them by any member of the Family will result in the Family turning hostile as soon as one exits. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 While checking on the residents of Arefu, after the player character checks on one, the door is locked. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 Sometimes, after getting Ian West to return to Arefu, the residents of Arefu will turn hostile for no reason and the quest will fail. [verified]
  • PCPC Xbox 360Xbox 360 Rarely, upon starting the quest normally from Lucy in Megaton then talk to Vance, giving the letter to Ian when talking to him will not remove it from one's inventory. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 After checking in on the Ewers, one will sometimes find Evan King in combat with a mirelurk outside. The mirelurk will easily kill Evan, thus making the quest impossible to complete. This can be fixed by reloading the previous save. [verified]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 In the entrance area to the Family's hideout, just behind the guard, there is a radio that is marked in red upon hovering over it, which is tuned to Enclave Radio. If the radio is turned off without being hidden, the guard will immediately turn hostile. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Xbox 360 Sometimes, Lucy will die inexplicably. This means one cannot get a reward from her for completing the quest. [verified]