|For the Lonesome Road quest, see The Courier (quest).|
For a list of player characters, see character.
You're playing the hand you've been dealt, but you don't let it rest, you shuffle and stack, and a gamble... a gamble that may pay off? But how?Forecast: Rapidly changing conditions.”— The Forecaster
Most of the Courier's past is shrouded in mystery. What is known is that sometime before taking the fateful contract to deliver the platinum chip, the Courier lived as a drifter, earning a reputation as a veteran of the trail who had traveled all over New California (according to Ulysses the Courier has been to Circle Junction, New Reno, Vault City, Fort Abandon and on brahmin drives at the Big Circle). Yet the Courier had some sort of connection to the budding community of the Divide in southern California (Ulysses claims that the Courier regularly traveled through the area, and contributed a great deal in keeping it alive).
After the New California Republic attacked and sacked Navarro, they recovered a piece of tech they did not fully understand, but they recognized several symbols (such as the Old World flag). They later linked these symbols to similar markings they saw in the Divide. The Courier took on the job to return it there, perhaps because the markings reminded them of home. But after making the delivery, the package turned out to be a detonator that contained missile launch codes. According to Ulysses, the package "woke up" and sent the detonation signal to missiles locked in the silos, resulting in massive earthquakes and powerful storms wiping out the community in its infancy, leaving Ulysses as the only survivor.[Non-game 1] The Courier was apparently not present when the destruction happened, and therefore did not know of it.
In 2281, the Courier was one of six messengers hired by the Mojave Express to deliver packages to the New Vegas Strip, with the Courier carrying the parcel containing the only item of worth: Robert House's platinum chip, delivering it all the way from near Hub, California.[Non-game 2] The Courier got the job after Ulysses pulled out when he learned that the Courier's name was next on the list. The Courier was intercepted by Benny, who then shot the Courier in the head twice and left them for dead, buried alive in a shallow grave in the Goodsprings Cemetery. The Courier was dug out by Victor, a friendly Securitron under Mr. House's control. The Courier was then nursed back to health by Doc Mitchell, the resident doctor of Goodsprings.
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 non-exhaustive list of elements of the character's past which can be explicitly expressed during 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.
- Dialogue with Little Buster suggests that the Courier was 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 the Brotherhood of Steel from Hidden Valley have not made contact, the Courier has heard of them when conversing with Veronica for the first time and, upon passing an Intelligence check, when interacting with Christine in Dead Money. The Courier is also aware of their technology obsession, the Codex, and their hostility with the NCR and Legion.
- 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, it is stated that the Courier does not know what FEV is 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.
- The Courier knows the Dead Horses' and the Sorrows' languages, as a Dead Horse stalker notes.
- Dialogue choices throughout Honest Hearts state that the Courier has 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.
- The Courier has 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 has 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.
- An intelligent Courier can understand and speak Latin, as during the unmarked quest Silus Treatment, the Courier can deceive Silus into thinking that they are a Legion assassin by speaking Latin phrases. However, their knowledge of the language may be limited as they do not understand one of Arcade Gannon's Latin phrases.
- An intelligent Courier has knowledge of ancient Roman mythology and American history, as they recognize that Ulysses took his name from Ulysses S. Grant, not the mythological figure Ulysses, by his pronunciation of the name.
- Dialogue with Raul shows that the Courier has at least a passing knowledge of Spanish.
- 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 a dialogue with Keith, the Courier claims to have once been a con artist.
After Hoover Dam
- It is stated in the endings for Old World Blues, that in the years following the Second Battle of Hoover Dam that the Courier returned to Big MT and watched 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 male version of the caravaneer outfit with a light-colored cowboy hat, along with some tan work gloves.
- The Courier in promotional images is shown as being a Caucasian male with blonde hair.
- The Courier is slightly more physically customizable than the Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3, with the option to set an age.
- In one of the endings of Dead Money, the Courier can become trapped within the Sierra Madre vault and eventually die there. However, since the events of Dead Money must take place before the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, this ending is non-canon, as the Courier's true fate sees them taking part in the battle.
- 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.
- In one of the Fallout: New Vegas teaser trailers, it appears that the Courier is being buried in a cemetery without a water tower.
- 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.
- Even though most of the endings show the Courier as being a white male/female, the NCR ending slide is the only one that shows the Courier's skin as African American.
- The Courier and the Chosen One are the only protagonists throughout the main Fallout series to date to have not lived in 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 bases of reworking armor and weapons for each race. Obsidian followed Bethesda's advice and left the Courier human.[Non-game 3]
- Description of organ related perks (Brainless, Spineless, Heartless, Big Brained, Reinforced Spine, and Cardiac Arrest)
- The Courier: "Why would I have brought it here?"
Ulysses: "I've walked the East. Circle Junction. Reno. Vault City. Word of you at Fort Aradesh... Fort Abandon. Even further West than that, Brahmin drives on the Big Circle. Whatever you saw out there, wasn't enough to make you stay.
- The Courier: "Aren't you that singer from New Reno? I think I saw you play the clubs there."
Bruce Isaac: "Oh, so you have heard of me. Yeah, that's right. I was the big draw at the Shark Club, people used to pay hundreds of caps to see me."
(Bruce Isaac's dialogue)
- The Courier: "I've been known to hunt a few bounties, myself."
Little Buster: "Well hey, the field's wide open, now that I'm gone. Probably lots of people looking to get in, once they hear I quit."
(Little Buster's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Why were you following me?"
Malcolm Holmes: "It started off innocently enough. I was travelling, as I often do, and happened to observe you picking up one of those blue-star caps. You didn't show any reaction to it, so I figured you didn't know what you'd gotten your hands on."
(Malcolm Holmes' dialogue)
- The Courier: "No, wait, I want to hear this. You were bald before?"
Christine: "[She nods with an exasperated look, then makes a circle with her hands, repeats it twice more, then raises her hands and waves them like wings.] [She puts both hands in front of her, then makes a motion with her hands as if writing something.]"
The Courier: "[Intelligence 7] Wait... that's a Brotherhood of Steel symbol, right? You're a Scribe?"
Christine: "[SUCCEEDED] [She nods, looks impressed.]"
- Veronica Santangelo: "No offense, but you look like you've traveled a long way down some bad roads. Where'd you come from?"
The Courier: "I'm not entirely sure."
Veronica Santangelo: "Yeah, guess the roads must've been long, then, if you forgot where you started from."
(Veronica Santangelo's dialogue)
- The Courier: "What the hell is a fish?"
Rose of Sharon Cassidy: "It's this... slimy, scaled thing, like a Lakelurk, except no legs. Well, most times. They're like birds, except they stay underwater. Anyway, I've seen pictures. One guy even had one above his bar in Redding, except it was made of Pre-War plastic. Used to say it could sing, but I figured he was on a Jet rush."
(Rose of Sharon Cassidy's dialogue)
- The Courier: "[Intelligence] I'm familiar. Do *you* know what a fish is?"
Rose of Sharon Cassidy: " "
(Rose of Sharon Cassidy's dialogue)
- The Courier: "What's FEV?"
Father Elijah: "A long story. FEV... a virus with an even longer story... it gave birth to the docile one, turned him into a super mutant long ago."
(Father Elijah's dialogue)
- The Courier: "I've never heard of the place you're talking about."
Elijah: " The Holorifle, the Saturnite alloy... the hologram technology, hibernation chambers, Securitrons, the collars... ...even the suits attached to those things stalking the Villa... that's only the surface of what's there. "
- The Courier: "I haven't been through Utah recently - what's the situation like?"
Jed Masterson: "Well, it ain't good, I'll tell you that. It's not like the Mojave or the NCR - hell, even Arizona under Caesar is safer. You got raiders all over the damn place, tribes of degenerates that'll eat you as soon as look at you, regional warlords... the works. Not too many decent places to stop and trade. New Canaan's one of the only ones left I know about."
(Jed Masterson's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Am I... looking for Joshua? Yes, I am. Can you tell me where he is?"
Dead Horse stalker: " Joshua in high place of cave. You show respect, utman! Joshua is greatest warrior. You show him no respect, he show you thunder and fire!"
(Dead Horse stalker's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Pray? God? What are you talking about?"
Joshua Graham: "I am a New Canaanite. We believe we are the heirs of a spiritual tradition given to our ancestors thousands of years ago."
(Joshua Graham's dialogue)
- The Courier: "But there must have been other signs of a larger world."
Doctor Mobius: "There have been other visitors to make them doubt their perceptions, but you are the one who dialed back their monitor-micro-magnifiers. You were irrefutable proof that there was a world outside. And then there was the whole 'brain' fiasco, which forced me to take steps. See, your brain had a special kind of... uh... wrinkle, a unique-ity that they had never thought to try in all their countless escape attempts."
The Courier: "The bullet that went into my brain? Doc Mitchell tried to patch me up, but..."
Doctor Mobius: "[SUCCEEDED] Yes. Very good. I should have Mentats ingest you instead of the other way around. Mmm. Mentats."
(Doctor Mobius' dialogue)
- Descriptions of the perks Big Brained, Cardiac Arrest, and Reinforced Spine.
- X-8 research center ending
- The Courier: "
Boone: "Hnh. Yeah. Working on your own, you're a lot less effective. I've been there and paid for it. But this isn't gonna end well."
(Boone's dialogue) "
- The Courier: "Wait, Montana? You wouldn't happen to be 17, would you?"
The Lonesome Drifter: "No sir, I'm 28. Why?"
(Lonesome Drifter's dialogue)
- Arcade Gannon: "I'm enthusiastic about helping people, but nihil novi sub sole."
The Courier: Nihi-what?
Arcade Gannon: Oh, sorry. "There is nothing new under the sun."
- The Courier: "
Ulysses: "[SUCCEEDED] Ulysses walked a hard road. A general, like Caesar and Oliver. He was Brahmin-stubborn, gave him strength on the battlefield. He led his side to victory, turned two flags into one. Lesson there, if history's to be believed. One you should heed."
- Thanks, baby
- The Courier: "Hegelian Dialectics? What are those?"
Caesar: " The fundamental premise is to envision history as a sequence of 'dialectical' conflicts. Each dialectic begins with a proposition, a ...which inherently contains, or creates, its opposite - an antithesis. Thesis and antithesis. The conflict is inevitable. But the resolution of the conflict yields something new - a synthesis - eliminating the flaws in each, leaving behind common elements and ideas."
- The Courier: "Sometimes I feel the same way. Why do you think I became a courier?"
ED-E (Lonesome Road): " "
(ED-E (Lonesome Road)'s dialogue)
- The Courier:
Keith: "[SUCCEEDED] You know how they say you make your own luck? Let's just say I make mine with a little extra ink on the cards."
- 743.00Hz ULF radio signal: "What the hell is 21 doing now... hnh."
- 743.00Hz ULF radio signal: "Good thing the new recruit had a Pip-Boy, too, probably stole it from a Vault 21 dweller. , a thief's just what I need for this."
- Chris Avellone on his blog
- "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
- "Fallout: New Vegas was once Fallout: Sin City and had three playable races" Eurogamer