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This is part 2 of the Boulder design document for Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios.


1 Main page of document
3 Part 2
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The Locations section of the document will probably be a series of entries, each one describing each location within the area. Designers will determine what format and procedure works best for them. Each location section should probably cover the following information, however:

Remember that most of Boulder is irradiated and subject to toxic clouds and acid rain.

Within the dome there are health & hygiene posters everywhere.

  • The physical aspects of the locations, so artists can get a feel for the area's art requirements.
  • The feel and tone of the area for audio. Include any description you think would help them get a better handle on the area. Emote if necessary. Do interpretative dance. I don't fucking care, but don't omit important details.
  • The area's purpose.
  • The major characters you expect to be found in the location.
  • Any adversaries you expect to be encountered in the location.
  • A brief description of quests likely to be found in the area.
  • For now, assume that we will not be having separate building interior maps, and that we will have pop-off roofs like in Fallout 1 and 2.
  • Brief note on any optional or associated locations you think might be cool for an expansion pack.

VB DD03 map Boulder flowchart.jpg

Boulder Train Station

The NCR train is here in part 1, but not in part 2 (you can find it moved down an unused spur in the south with a good Luck roll), or maybe they drove it back here after dropping everyone off as close to Bloomfield as they could.

Jackals are all over the place, trying to figure out what the train is and what it means. If the PC pulls up in their own train and the Jackals are present, they'll attack.

Presper's train, the General, is here in part 1, rigged with explosives. It also has a radio detonator on it. This is a hard thing to open, possibly more of a part 2 sort of thing.

There's a terminal with the schematic for the Quarantine Center still on display, plus some hacker code left on file to hack into the QC. It's actually a fake code-virus left by Presper to mess with the PC's PipBoy.

There's a trail leading west to the Quarantine Center.

Several blood pools and trails as if creatures were killed with one shot and then dragged to another area (where there's just bones). It was Pierce's guys killing the Jackals, who ate their dead.

Jackal Camp

Short-hair is an insult for these guys. They have long hair and grow long beards.

They live in holes dug in the ground or in old world basements. Males are the leaders, determined by Strength and fighting ability.

They've been moving east because of pressure from the unified tribes.

If you sneak in to talk to Crazy Bitch, you may be able to convince her to get them to leave.

Crazy Bitch "explained" to the Jackals that eating the flesh is the source of their fertility, and those that eat more are more likely to give birth more, and those who are less fertile must have eaten a person with a bad spirit.

Culture info can be learned by talking to the Jackals, Jimmy T, or Crazy Bitch.

Someone in fatigues won't be attacked on sight because they'll be mistaken for an ally of Larsen.

Years ago in the west they found and attacked Jimmy T, but he beat the crap out of them (and ate them). Then he healed one who tried to attack him later, and that one went back to the others and told them he had magic in his hands, so after that they welcomed him when he came around, and even shared food (since in a way he carried some of the tribe's strength with him). Then Crazy Bitch showed up and started talking her own medicine and talking smack about Jimmy, who left. Then Galenski's truck showed up....

Someone with a super mutant won't be attacked on sight because of Jimmy T.

They represent the Civ vs Anarchy theme.

Jackals Quote: "Gabble cackle! Eat, eat! Man, man! Good to eat! Cackle Gabble! Eat, eat!" (Quote from the book Rediscovery of Man).

They used to have dogs, but ate them when they got hungry. They'd prefer humans (humans give them the most strength). They prefer to attack outsiders, then other Jackal tribes, then members of their own tribe (weakest first).

The tribe leader eats first, and the others get the rest when he's done.

If a male is killed, his wife and kids are given to another male in the tribe, or (if he or they are disliked) eaten.

They like hit-and-run tactics, often firing once for the legs to slow down prey.

They like using sledgehammers in fights, clubbing foes like stlaughterhouse cattle.

They don't like ghouls (they think they're the risen dead) and will drive them away with ranged weapons.

Jackals will have no respect for bald characters.

The Jackals want to eat the people in Boulder, including the Sleepers, which would feed them for months.

The Jackals know other tribes despise and fear them.

They number about 100.

Crazy Bitch doesn't want the Jackals to go into Boulder because it holds the poison of the old world, and she was pissed when Larsen made peace with the tribe without her permission.

Script: If you're in the Jackal camp, the Jackal kids follow you around, sniffing at your heels. If you move toward them, they run away.

In combat, they run away if 25% of their number is killed, grabbing bodies before they go.

Dead Ghoul Graveyard

The north end of town where the glowbugs tend to show up. There are several dead glowing ghouls here, all shot with bullets. One of them looks somewhat eaten. Some are in rags, some are jackals, one is an NCR soldier. They have gear, but it's radioactive. All are full of bullet holes. There's a quest to bury them in cement or move them elsewhere so they won't contaminate stuff.

Boulder Dome Level 1/2

Presper jokes and calls the Jackals "humanitarians"

It's about five city blocks in diameter. Several apparent entrances, only three work. Science option: Quarantine Center or use radio. Stealth: hide in truck or via the Water Pump. Combat: fight through the garage. Speech: negotiate with Larsen's men or Helen.

Level 1

VB DD03 map Boulder Dome 1.jpg

1. East Truck Garage Entrance: This is what Galenski uses to get his truck in and out. Currently occupied by a bunch of Jackals (3 packs of 12). The Jackals have tried to block the engine with cars but the truck is big enough to bust through should it be going fast enough. A few junked cars are inside.

Normally they'd use the radioradio, but it was broken in the last Jackal attack. Using another means the door opens in 5 minutes. Honking the horn means it takes 15 minutes. Helen can tell you this. Door takes 2 rounds to open or close, and Jackals try to get inside while it's doing so. This leads to the antechamber, which cleans you with water and disinfectant before opening the inner door (only once the outer door is closed). Once through the antechamber, you're in a bigger room with three exits and a catwalk; it's a trap by Pierce and the other NCR guys. They just want you to surrender.

2. Galenski Family Quarters. Where Helen, Eddie, and their six kids live.

3 Lobby Entrance: Lobby: exit door with guard desk, poster that says "security is everyone's business", and a wall rack with some supplies (canteen, hypodermics from RadAway, flare, empty needler cartridges). All other cabinets here have been torn open, especially ones marked with medical symbols. The exit door leads to a tunnel that leads into the dome.

4. Baggers Quarters. The quarters of the now-locked-out RadAway-addicted soldiers.

5. Storage. Some medical supplies, some other misc tradeable stuff the scientists have set aside for Eddie to barter with.

6. Main Bathroom

7. West (Damaged) Truck Garage Entrance: Sealed closed because the dome is still in hibernation mode.

8. Cafeteria/Kitchen. Mainly a dispensary for the nutrient paste, as they don't really have any other foods.

9. Quarantine Center Entrance: This is how Presper got in, using passcodes he hacked. The grad students got in using the passcodes Presper gave them. If you go in through here you'll have to leave the truck behind, which Helen doesn't want to do. Plus, Larsen and the others may be hanging around here trying to get in, too.

The Jackals have a scout nearby, who'll run to warn his fellows if the PCs approach. Built like a hospital, but severely junked. There's a speaker console here that has been wrecked recently (by Larsen's group). If repaired and a radio is used on it, you can make a computers roll to hack in and open the door. Inside is a tunnel with vents. Once you're in it seals and sprays you with disinfectant. Ghouls or super mutants in the group mean the opposite door doesn't open unless you hack it, otherwise you're allowed in.

10. NCR Quarters. This is where Presper and his soldiers stay in part 1 when they've taken over the place.

11. Hydropontics Garden. Just a cement basin right now since they've had problems growing things. The PC can actually grow stuff here with the right combination of Science and Outdoorsman.

Water Pump Shack: This building has dials and pipes. There's a clog, but the gauges are broken so you can't tell (you can repair it). You can then use a tool to seal off water flow in one big pipe to allow you to go in through one of the two hatches. Going down is a one-way trip unless you use a rope.

Following the pipe takes you to a big water tank that's almost completely full. You can bust through a weak part of the tank wall or try to open a hatch.

Interior: Many places with indestructible glass/plastic walls so you can see stuff in other areas but not get to it. Clean and disinfected, like a hospital. Air is stale and warm. Very brightly lit (difficulty sneaking).

Many strange machines everywhere, some of them incomprehensible.

They still hold classes on repairing things so they can all do Boulder upkeep.

Air filtration system is broken, which is why the geeks are in suits. Zax may have flooded the air with something to keep them away?

Decontamination chamber to level 2 so the geeks can enter their living quarters and not have to be in the suits 24/7.

Still has vending machines that vend gum and cola.

Crackling 50's music is always on, and the noise of fans

Presper's group has taken most of the useful medicine, leaving weird stuff.

Medical log: notes on the Blue Flu, research on FEV, and how the super-mutants will probably survive it.

Event: Xian is rescued but they put her into decontamination along with the PCs because they don't know if she's been infected with something else. However, the scientists don't explain this to the PC, they just take her away and push the PC into a decontamination chamber. They keep their own infection a secret for a while, if possible.

Level 2

VB DD03 map Boulder Dome 2.jpg

1 Goddard's office

2 Agnes' office.

3 Residences

4 Main Bathroom

5 Physical Fitness Equipment.

6 Weapon Research Lab. It's connected to the Armor Research Lab by a common Mechanics Lab. The room to the south is a testing chamber.

7 Armor Research Lab. It's connected to the Weapons Research Lab by a common Mechanics Lab. The room to the south is a testing chamber.

8 Plague Research Lab. A generic science lab, used originally by the founders for plague research and now by the current scientists for the same thing. Contains a Science Lab.

9 Robobrain Operating Room. You can do the robobrain extraction procedure here if you want to, or use the operating table as part of the Medic skill. Connected to the CODE research room (so you can immediately condition the brains you extract.

10 CODE Research room. A series of wall-beds with monitors.

11 Sleeper Research. Some machinery, including two working Sleeper tanks. One contains Nina, one of the grad students sent here by Presper.

Robo-Brains: "We couldn't possibly fit a thousand people into the Vaults. But you could fit a thousand brains."

Robo-Brains: Where do you think those human brains for the robo-brains come from?

3-6 research chambers (you need codes to open them): see 27_Boulder_Labs document for info.

power armor research
particle beam research (see 0403_Boulder_Tunnels doc for info to summarize but not actually be able to replicate in-game). Had a link to the main Boulder power centers, but with that all destroyed there's not enough power to actually test-fire the thing (the dome generator isn't enough without killing ZAX, and there are several failsafes in place to prevent it). Works by steering a beam of accelerated atomic particles at a target, transferring their energy to the target atoms, which break apart in a strong boiling explosion. Beam is focused by magnetic field, has some spray/cone effect because you can't overcompensate with the field. This is radiation. There's a dead robobrain in this room, apparently used at one time to help with experiments. It can't be repaired and its brain is dead. This area might be quarantined and sealed off because of radiation leakage.
robobrain research/machine intelligence research. They found that machines could teach machines better than humans could. Robobrains were going to be the next wave in warfare but their costs made it slow to implement. There's a disposal unit and a series of storage tanks for bio-med gel in the surgery room.
sleeper technology: planned for space exploration
CODE tech (Challenge, Opportunity, Discipline, Ethics, cointed by the military). Initially developed for coma and seizure patients, adapted to "aligning" robobrains-to-be and programming them afterward, making them more likely to link properly with the CPU. Also researched was a way to treat PTSD, flash-learning, and Chinese brainwashing. The PipBoy has a related tech interface, consisting of fast-stream data at close range to the eye transmitted from a module (such as the PipBoy Speech Module). When used on normal (non-robobrained) subjects it can cause problems in long-term use (hallucinations, seizures, memory lapses)
Plague-combatting research particularly about the New Plague. Many serums and antibiotics were developed but they only seemed to generate a temporary reprieve, as it came back in different forms that affected survivors of the previous outbreak. Much propaganda was created about hygiene and inoculations, and that helped slow its progress. Outbreaks occurred in 2053-55, 2062-63, and again in 2077. Can go dormant in the cells, only to break out later, making seemingly "cured" people into carriers. Original versions didn't seem to cause sterility.

Well room (contaminated and sealed)

Dome Scientist Routine:

Waking Up.
Checking the Power Conduits to the Food Supply, Testing the Mix
Check for emergencies and task list.
Do a health check, blood samples, complete physical, log it into computer to study the disease.
Check the safety seals in their area.
Check the suits.
Climbing into the suits.
Checking each other's suits.
Check the PIPBoys, log the routine.
Doing a Perimeter Walk on Levels 1-3
Check on Bedhead, get a log of his activity.
Check on ZAX, get a report.
Check the fusion plant.
Check the perimeter for leaks or possible break-ins.
Try to spend an hour learning something about the Dome and the curriculum.

Boulder Dome Level Tunnels

VB DD03 map Boulder Dome Tunnels.jpg

You'll definitely be locked out of this area until Part 2. Toxic, radioactive. Need the suits to survive. A combination of storm drains and steam tunnels, very claustrophobic. Hot and humid. Sounds of water running and dripping everywhere. Some places have exposed wires and pipes; attacking them activates robobrain patrols to find and kill you.


1 Water Storage. A series of tanks. One of the tanks can be broken into and used as a tunnel to the secret entrance...

2 Don't know yet

3 Robobrain rechargers. They're here to guard the elevator access to ZAX level.

4 Don't know yet. Maybe storage

5 Sleeper Chambers. Rows and rows of sleeper tanks. Only one of these rooms is actually accessible to the PC, the others are just teasers. Sleeper chambers: room full of hatches in the walls, a sleeper in each. You're locked out by Presper's hacking, you have to beat it. You can also break open the door. Forcing the door attracts a robobrain squad. The sleepers are NCR scientists are nubile women Presper has selected to be part of his ruling elite/breeding elite. Presper has security programs keeping you from waking any of his sleepers, though someone with good skills can override it. Even if you get past the programs, you need an obscene level of Medicine to wake them without killing them. Each is numbered, with a console monitoring life signs. There's also an occasional CODE flash to correct irregularities in brain activity and give it proper stimulation so it doesn't atrophy.

Presper: "They're actually prototypes of some of the military medical cryogenic tanks that were in use before the war, though I think their malfunction rate was high... very high." [cite the sickness that Pvt. Dobbs was afflicted with when he jumped out of the tank during Fallout 1.] "What's the point of thawing out the troops when it just kills them anyway?"

6 Another Sleeper Chamber

7 Think Tank. Brains in the aquarium. These were the early people who were tested with CODE. Many went mad and were put into robobrains, conditioned regularly. Others were important people who were seriously injured, or they suffered post-cryonic disease but managed to salvage their brains. They still have consciousness, though they've been CODEd into sleep. You can connect them to ZAX to let him finish the problem but that means you're killing about 25 people's brains that still think like humans. They want to "taste" things in their aquarium, like Nuka-Cola, Mentats, etc. Presper plans to download ZAX's data (when/if ZAX fails) into the brains.

8 Reactor Access. Here's where you can fiddle with the main reactor for the dome, and even fix it if you're skilled enough.

9 Purification Center. Handles water, air, and temperature. Damaged. Flooded with toxic gas (used to treat the water and then filtered out, but these rooms are all toxic. Filtration chamber has broken open and toxins from the water system are building up. Three separate subchambers, all filled with poison gas, all three need to be repaired. If you're good at mechanics/computers you can route the poisons from room to room so one room is mostly clean to work in.

VB DD03 deco 1.png

Tri-Hydrox-Dioxide [Biohazard]

It's the sulfur-like smell that tipped you off, but you have a horrible feeling the gas is something called "Hydrox-Dioxide," a hazardous substance you've read about in the computer library in your vault.

Hydrox-Dioxide was used by several pre-War companies in treating animal wastes and was outlawed by the EPA in 2066. The chemical was used in recycling certain nutrients and extracting moisture from raw sewage, but it required careful storage measures and was both toxic and flammable. If inhaled, it can cause extreme nausea, and if you have the misfortune of being exposed to a large dose, it can be lethal.

If you're smelling it now, you know it's only a matter of time before you all keel over - the best protection is to get some covering over your face and get out of the contaminated area as quickly as possible.

10 Morgue: many dead bodies with brains extracted, dating to pre-war times. Some are in better shape than others.

Boulder Dome Level ZAX

VB DD03 map Boulder Dome ZAX.jpg

Robobrains patrol these halls for intruders. Robobrains will also step in to stop you from reaching ZAX's databanks and such if you are carrying radioactive equipment.

A Elevator

B ZAX AI. Here's where you go if you want to have a personal conversation with ZAX.

C Emergency Generator. Nonfunctioning. Needs to be repair to do any major work on ZAX or the reactor.

D-R Mainframe Databanks. long blocks of databanks, most of which are dark, only a few left. There's rattling noises from the vents. Then a room of long blocks of tape reel machines. Kinda maze-like, guarded by robobrains. Has some recharging bays. Zax's inner core is where its machine intelligence is stored; he welcomes you as you approach. He may ask the PC to activate and deactivate some of its databanks and tape reels, or change how some are connected.

Bonus/Secret Tunnel Entrance

Leads you to where Xian is, almost dead due to lack of oxygen.

Bonus/Baggers Camp

A camp used by Larsen's crew.

Emotional Porn


It's a race against time: ZAX is dying, and if you don't save him, a ton of knowledge will be lost.

Threat of the Plague: Do you stay and try to help the scientists with their disease, knowing (or not) that you are infected as well? Do you destroy the dome so the scientists' contagion cannot escape?

Presper: Here's where you meet him for the first time. That bastard is up to something. And it turns out those NCR guys who freed you from Tibbits Prison weren't the good guys after all....

ZAX vs. ODYSSEUS: While ZAX is fighting ODYSSEUS, ODYSSEUS can neither control the robots here in Boulder or take over the factory (Box) in Denver. So keeping ZAX alive is in your best interest.

Problems With Addiction: Larsen's addicted, and it's not really his fault—he had to take RadAway to keep the Dome safe, and now he's paying for it. He's still an asshole, but not an entirely unsympathetic one. Do you help the addict, despite that he's used the threat of violence against the scientists? Or do you let him suffer, even though he's in his state because he was following honorable orders? Does his alliance with the cannibals affect this in any way?

Unrequieted Affection: Agnes, Helen, and Xian are NPCs that could fall for the PC in some way. All three are already infected with the New Plague in one form or another. If Agnes or Xian stay out of their suits, they'll die. Helen won't leave without her kids, and dragging the kids everywhere is definitely bad Karma.

Angry Authority: Goddard doesn't want the PC around because it interferes with what they're trying to keep working at the dome. But he knows Presper wants the PCs dead for some reason, so he has a reason to keep them alive (the enemy of my enemy, and all that). It's a question of how long the PC can tolerate his control and condescension, and how long Goddard can put up with his rebelliousness.

Crazed With Hunger: Are the Jackals evil? No, they're doing what they have to do in order to survive. You can't change their minds over the course of the game. Is it OK to kill them just because they're attacking you? Don't these poor bastards—humans, like you—deserve something better?

Other Role-Playing Tests and Epithets

Mad Scientist: If you extract the brain of one of your NPCs and put it into a robobrain, you get this epithet. Perhaps it gives you a bonus to Medicine but a penalty to Persuasion, since you come off as kinda creepy and crazy.

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