|For the Lonesome Road quest, see The Courier (quest).|
For a list of player characters, see character.
Before taking contract to deliver the platinum chip, the Courier had traveled across New California, on the Long 15 to Primm, to Circle Junction, New Reno, Vault City, Fort Abandon and on brahmin drives at the Big Circle. They were also hired to deliver a package to a community near Death Valley, the technology contained within the package resulting in underground nuclear detonations after their departure, creating a hostile area known as the Divide.
In 2281, the Courier was one of six messengers hired by the Mojave Express at Robert House's behest to deliver packages to the New Vegas Strip. The Courier was carrying the only item of worth, House's platinum chip. In order to steal the chip, Mr. House's protégé Benny intercepted the Courier, shot them in the head twice, and buried them in the Goodsprings Cemetery. The Courier was dug out of their grave by Victor, a Securitron under Mr. House's control. They were operated on by Doc Mitchell, the resident doctor of Goodsprings, who then monitored the Courier's recovery over the following days.
Information through dialogue
The player character can make several statements about their past through in-game dialogue options. They do not form part of their background until they have been selected. Below is a list of elements of the character's past which can be learned through gameplay:
- During a conversation with Bruce Isaac in Novac, the Courier can state that they have been to New Reno before and attended one of his shows at the Shark Club.
- When talking with Little Buster, the Courier can suggest that they worked as a bounty hunter at some point.
- The Courier is initially unaware of the rarity and value of the Sunset Sarsaparilla star bottle caps as Malcolm Holmes says the Courier did not express any reaction upon finding their first one.
- Even if one has not made contact with the Brotherhood of Steel at Hidden Valley, the Courier can state they have heard of the Brotherhood when conversing with Veronica for the first time and, upon passing an Intelligence check, when interacting with Christine in Dead Money. The Courier may also be aware of their technology obsession and their hostility with the NCR.
- During the dialogue with Veronica, the Courier may mention not knowing where they came from.
- The Courier can tell Cass that they [the Courier] do not know what a fish is. Or, on the contrary, an intelligent Courier may test her knowledge about fish.
- In Dead Money, the Courier can express unfamiliarity with FEV through their interaction with Father Elijah.
- When Elijah mentions the "Big Empty," the Courier may claim that they have never heard of it before.
- Before setting off to New Canaan, the Courier can tell Jed Masterson that they have not been to Utah in some time, suggesting that they have been there before.
- In Honest Hearts, after passing a speech check, a Dead Horse stalker may express surprise with the Courier's knowledge of the Dead Horses' and the Sorrows' languages.
- In conversation with Joshua Graham, the Courier may imply that they have never heard of Christianity, or at least the Mormon faith.
- In Old World Blues, the Courier is revealed to have a special brain condition due to being shot in the head in just the right spot and surviving.
- After Old World Blues, the Courier becomes a cybernetically augmented human. Even if they get their brain, heart, and spine back, there will still be some advanced technologies that remain in place.
- A skilled Courier may have a high understanding of RobCo technology. In Honest Hearts, a Courier with a high Science skill can call out Ricky's incompetence with his locked Pip-Boy. In Old World Blues, the Courier can recognize the RobCo signals that Doctor 8 transmits. The Courier is also apparently able to understand ED-E's incomprehensible beeping and is even able to tell the difference between its emotions through its beeping.
- One of the epilogues of Old World Blues states that the Courier knows very little about communism or high schools.
- According to Ulysses, the Courier has been to Circle Junction, New Reno, Vault City, Fort Abandon, and on brahmin drives at the Big Circle.
- The Courier has very limited knowledge of the Midwest, as when ED-E from the Divide plays the log from when a child found it, asking it where that occurred will have ED-E respond with Chicago, Illinois. The Courier knows about Illinois if they have met the Mojave ED-E ("Illinois? So that's where you got that plate. The other you, I mean."), but is unaware of it if they have not ("Illin-what? Come on you're making that name up."). Regardless of if they have met the Mojave ED-E, the Courier does not know about Chicago, asking "What's a Chicago?"
- An intelligent Courier may have at least passing knowledge of snipers and spotters, as Boone can be recruited by simply noting that snipers are supposed to work in pairs.
- A male Courier with the Lady Killer perk can ask if the Lonesome Drifter is 17 and then express relief when he says he is 28, implying the Courier impregnated (or believes he impregnated) a woman in Montana.
- The Courier may not understand one of Arcade Gannon's Latin phrases, indicating unfamiliarity with the language.
- An intelligent Courier can have knowledge of ancient Roman mythology and American history, as they can recognize that Ulysses took his name from Ulysses S. Grant, not the mythological figure Ulysses, by his pronunciation of the name.
- Dialogue with Raul indicates that the Courier may have at least a passing knowledge of Spanish, using the word "vaquero."
- A female Courier knows how to use the heels of her feet in a sexually gratifying way, according to potential partner Benny.
- When Caesar mentions the concept of Hegelian dialectics, the Courier can claim to be unaware of that concept.
- After hearing one of the ED-E clone's recordings and discovering that the ED-E clone is trying to find their way home, the Courier can remark that they feel the same way and adds "Why do you think I became a courier?"
- In dialogue with Keith, the Courier can claim to have once been a con artist.
- In the endings for Old World Blues, the Courier returns to Big MT and watches over it, keeping a close eye over the sciences and goings-on of the facility while gradually reintroducing sciences both forgotten and new back into the wasteland as needed.
Fallout: New Vegas
Narrated by Ron Perlman
|#||Slide||Voice-over narration||In-game condition|
|1||The Courier, fair and even-handed in his/her dealings throughout the Wasteland, was honored by the NCR for his/her support of the military at Hoover Dam. He/she was presented with the Golden Branch, the highest civilian decoration given by the Republic.||Good Karma, NCR Victory|
|2||Though the Courier's agenda was debated by many, he/she was honored by NCR for his/her support of the military at Hoover Dam. He/she was presented with the Golden Branch, the highest civilian decoration given by the Republic.||Neutral Karma, NCR Victory|
|3||With brutal methods that few in NCR would approve of, it was the Courier who secured NCR's victory at Hoover Dam. Despite his/her extreme actions, he/she was awarded with the Golden Branch, the highest civilian decoration given by the Republic.||Bad Karma, NCR Victory|
|4||Though the Courier himself/herself was just and forthright in his/her dealings throughout the Wasteland, he/she helped the Legion achieve victory. Caesar honored him/her with a golden coin, minted in celebration of his/her contributions and distributed throughout the wasteland.||Good Karma, Caesar's Legion Victory, do not allow Caesar to die in Et Tumor, Brute?|
|5||The Courier, a mercenary at heart, helped the Legion achieve victory at Hoover Dam. Caesar honored him/her with a golden coin, minted in celebration of his/her contributions and distributed throughout the wasteland.||Neutral Karma, Caesar's Legion Victory, do not allow Caesar to die in Et Tumor, Brute?|
|6||The Legion marched over the Hoover Dam with the help of one who was as brutal and merciless as the worst of them: The Courier. Caesar honored him/her with a golden coin, minted in celebration of his/her contributions and distributed throughout the wasteland.||Bad Karma, Caesar's Legion Victory, do not allow Caesar to die in Et Tumor, Brute?|
|7||Though the Courier himself/herself was just and forthright in his/her dealings throughout the Wasteland, he/she helped the Legion achieve victory. Caesar honored him/her with a golden coin, minted in celebration of his/her contributions and distributed throughout the wasteland.||Good Karma, Caesar's Legion Victory, allow Caesar to die in Et Tumor, Brute?|
|8||The Courier, a mercenary at heart, helped the Legion achieve victory at Hoover Dam. Caesar honored him/her with a golden coin, minted in celebration of his/her contributions and distributed throughout the wasteland.||Neutral Karma, Caesar's Legion Victory, allow Caesar to die in Et Tumor, Brute?|
|9||The Legion marched over the Hoover Dam with the help of one who was as brutal and merciless as the worst of them: The Courier. Caesar honored him/her with a golden coin, minted in celebration of his/her contributions and distributed throughout the wasteland.||Bad Karma, Caesar's Legion Victory, allow Caesar to die in Et Tumor, Brute?|
|10||The Courier, fair and kind-hearted to those in the Wasteland, ensured that Mr. House would keep New Vegas stable and secure for future generations. Mr. House afforded him/her every luxury at his disposal in the Lucky 38, out of gratitude - and a quiet sense of pride for his choice in lieutenants.||Good Karma, Mr. House Victory|
|11||The Courier, who had a mixed history in the Wasteland, kept the status quo at Hoover Dam. Mr. House would keep New Vegas stable, if not free, for generations. Mr. House afforded the Courier every luxury at his disposal in the Lucky 38.||Neutral Karma, Mr. House Victory|
|12||The Courier, cruel and merciless, had ensured that Mr. House would maintain complete control over New Vegas and everyone in it. Mr. House afforded him/her every luxury at his disposal in the Lucky 38, partly out of gratitude, and partly out of fear.||Bad Karma, Mr. House Victory|
|13||Supporting the ideals of independence, the Courier was recognized as the man/woman responsible for a truly free New Vegas. He/she ensured Mr. House's tyranny was broken and neither Caesar's Legion nor NCR would ever gain control over New Vegas.||Good Karma, Independent New Vegas|
|14||Preferring neither the best of the NCR nor the worst of the Legion, the Courier was the man/woman responsible for a truly independent New Vegas. He/she had removed Mr. House from power over the Strip and broken the influence of the NCR and Caesar's Legion in the Mojave Wasteland.||Neutral Karma, Independent New Vegas|
|15||Supporting all the chaos that comes with independence, the Courier was the man/woman responsible for a truly free New Vegas. He/she ensured the fall of Mr. House and the end of the Legion's and NCR's influence over New Vegas.||Bad Karma, Independent New Vegas|
Narrated by Ulysses
|#||Slide||Voice-over narration||In-game condition|
|1||As for the Courier... he/she turned his/her back on his/her home for the second time and made his/her way back, navigating the treachery of the Divide. Tunnelers and the Marked Men... avoided the lone figure, as if recognizing the Courier's right to passage... or out of fear.||Complete Lonesome Road.|
|2||The Courier walked until he/she stood again upon the edge of the Divide, the last road he/she would walk before the second battle for Hoover Dam. There, beside his/her feet, was a final package, from one Courier to another - a footlocker, bearing a gift, and a message. But that message - it is something for Couriers to carry, and for them alone. The lights flickered across the Divide, reminders that the Old World histories persist, and find meaning in the present.|
|3||It's said war - war never changes. Men/women do, through the roads they walk. And this road - has reached its end.|
|#||Slide||Voice-over narration||In-game condition|
|1||In the years that followed, the legend of the Sierra Madre faded, and there were no... new visitors to the city. Years later, when a mysterious blood red cloud began to roll across the Mojave, then West toward the Republic, no one knew where it had come from. Only that it brought death in its wake. Attempts to find the source of the toxic cloud failed. The Mojave was cut off. Through the Cloud, lights were seen from HELIOS One. There were stories of ghosts immune to gunfire, who struck down anyone they saw with rays of light. The last chapter of the Mojave came when a modified REPCONN rocket struck Hoover Dam, releasing a blood-red cloud, killing all stationed there. All attempts to penetrate the Cloud and re-take the Dam failed, and both the NCR and Legion finally turned away from it, citing the place as cursed. In the years that followed, communities across the West began to die as traces of the Cloud began to drift over lands held by the NCR¹. Only two remained alive in the depths of the Cloud, at the Sierra Madre, waiting for their new world to begin again.||The Courier sides with Elijah.|
|#||Slide||Voice-over narration||In-game condition|
|1||The Courier, lured by the promise of the Sierra Madre, could not escape. Once inside the vault, the casino did not let go. When the Courier finally passed away, the casino created a new Hologram to walk with the other ghosts that filled its casino. It was a pre-programmed homage intended for another. It assumed a new meaning in the likeness of the Courier. A means of allowing even the dead to begin again.||Courier is trapped in the vault.|
- In the opening cutscene, the Courier can be briefly seen wearing a recolored version of the caravaneer outfit with a light-colored cowboy hat, along with tan work gloves.
- In one of the endings of Dead Money, the Courier can become trapped within the Sierra Madre vault, which results in a game over slide.
- The Courier was shown wearing an armored Vault 21 jumpsuit during Fallout: New Vegas previews and in the ending. However, this item does not appear in-game, and can only be obtained using console commands.
- One of the ending slides in Lonesome Road shows the Courier wearing the "Yes Man" variant of the Courier duster. This will happen no matter which side was nuked, or even if the nukes were stopped.
- Along with the Chosen One, the Courier is the only protagonist throughout the main Fallout series to not begin the events of the game from a vault.
- As mentioned by Elijah on his radio frequency in Dead Money, the Courier carries Collar 21, assuming the Courier had stolen a Pip-Boy from a Vault 21 dweller.
Behind the scenes
- Originally, the player would have been able to choose the Courier's race. Obsidian planned for the options of human, ghoul, and super mutant. However, Bethesda strongly advised against on the basis of reworking armor and weapons for each race. Obsidian followed Bethesda's advice and left the Courier human.[Non-game 1]
- The Courier is the Joker in the deck of Vault playing cards included with the Collector's Edition of Fallout: New Vegas.
- Josh Sawyer stated that the developers "intentionally left the Courier's origins and the exact nature of the initial transaction vague" but carried their "delivery from southern NCR, toward the Hub."[Non-game 2]
- Chris Avellone describes the story of the Divide as beginning with the NCR finding Enclave technology, recognizing symbols of which match a different location, subsequently hiring the Courier to take it there, the future Divide.[Non-game 3]
- "Fallout: New Vegas was once Fallout: Sin City and had three playable races" Eurogamer
- "The Courier carried his/her delivery from southern NCR, toward the Hub. We intentionally left the Courier's origins and the exact nature of the initial transaction vague." - J.E. Sawyer
- Chris Avellone on his blog