The Dunwich Building is a ruined office building in the Capital Wasteland in 2277, located at the southwestern most point of the map, south of Girdershade and far west of Tenpenny Tower. It is a medium sized office building with three interior sections.
Before the War, the building was owned by Dunwich Borers LLC, a company that manufactured rock drills for tunneling and drilling. A locked computer terminal midway through the building contains audio transcripts of a company executive. The transcripts record an announcement about the release of a new drill, the sounds of the nuclear bombs exploding and what appears to be the effects of the radiation on unknown persons as they are turned into feral ghouls.
The immediate vicinity of the Dunwich Building is a barren area marked by jagged rocky terrain and steep cliffs. Immediately due west, in line with the north face of the building at the base of the cliffs, is a booby-trapped baby carriage accompanied by a dead raider. There is no road leading to the parking lot.
The building is a dark set of interior ruins populated by various types of feral ghouls. A number of audio-logs and computer terminals provide visitors with some background on the building and an unfortunate wastelander named Jaime. Beyond the main entrance separate levels lie below. The deepest level is a cavern with an eerie obelisk - a woman emerges/reaches out from the obelisk; vines entangle the obelisk and skulls run up its back. It is also rather highly irradiated, reaching up to 20 rads at the top. Several feral ghouls appear to worship it, and although similar, it is not connected with the statue in Underworld.
The building is broken up into three parts: the Dunwich Building entrance, the forsaken Dunwich Ruins and the virulent underchambers. The deeper one goes into the Dunwich Building the darker it becomes. One can only access these areas in respective order, but there is a shortcut back to the first room from the virulent underchambers. The shortcut is one way only.
When the player character passes through a certain doorway, early in the forsaken Dunwich Ruins section, they will have a hallucination that flashes back to pre-War times. In it, a man will appear wearing pre-War clothing as if it is just another day in the office. The player character will then come back to reality and see it is a glowing one.
Near the entrance, one will find a set of five audio logs left by an unfortunate visitor named Jaime. As one proceeds further into the building, they can find four additional audio logs documenting his transformation into one of the building's deranged inhabitants. The final audio log found within the building, though mostly rambling by an insane, ghoulified Jaime, mentions the name "Alhazred."
In the virulent underchambers, the player character can actually discover the creator of the increasingly demented audio logs (who has now fully mutated into a ghoul) and a handful of feral ghouls worshiping the obelisk. As Jaime stands facing the obelisk with arms upraised, it appears that he is somehow summoning ghouls out of the mist-shrouded recess in the rock wall opposite. Killing Jaime (who is armed with a Chinese assault rifle) counts as a positive Karma act (if the player character previously chose the Lawbringer perk, Jaime will also drop a finger). The obelisk in the center is irradiated about halfway up, and emits levels of radiation that max out at 20 rads per second. As a side note, once the player character crosses the threshold of the doorway into the cave with the obelisk, an "eerie voice" can be heard if the volume is up high enough (along with the "effects" sound setting). One can only access these chambers via the forsaken ruins.
There is also a log on a terminal made by an unnamed scavenger who wandered into the ruins, hoping to find it abandoned. Upon finding the ghouls, he holed up in the room with the terminal and as paranoia set in, he remembered his friend Billy who was supposedly coming with ammunition and grenades. Using this cheerful optimism he logs off the computer and survives for an unknown period of time. A second set of remains just inside the Dunwich Building entrance, accompanied by an ammunition box and a grenade box, suggest that his friend was ambushed and killed shortly after entering the building.
If one has the Point Lookout add-on, they can burn the Krivbeknih book in the virulent underchambers obelisk as an optional part of The Dark Heart of Blackhall quest. (One can also burn the Krivbeknih outside of this quest, although there is no apparent effect other than the item being removed from the inventory.)
- Bobblehead - Melee Weapons located in the Virulent Underchambers, on the ground right at the end of the zone (at the shortcut door leading back to the Dunwich Building).
- Dean's Electronics located in a side room with cleaning/maintenance supplies in forsaken Dunwich ruins. The room is upstairs off the southern hallway at the center of the map (halfway between the Dunwich Building and virulent underchambers exits on the map). The book is located to the right of the toolbox on the shelf.
- Nuka-Cola Quantum located on the ground floor, northeast of the entrance, in a closet at the bottom of the stairs.
- Jaime's personal journal entries #1-5 on the table to the left when entering the building. Entry #6 is on the same floor, in the western chamber, on a desk with a radio. Entry #7 is on a blood-covered table just outside the door to forsaken Dunwich ruins. Entry #8 is on the first level of the ruins section, in the center of the large chamber where the hallucination takes place, on a desk with the computer terminal (easy) containing dictation records. Entry #9 is on a desk just inside the entrance of the virulent underchambers.
- Various supernatural phenomena include:
- In the Dunwich Building entrance, one will find a "self-opening" door (upper area in the south corridor), but one needs to come from the east.
- The hallucinated flashback happens in the beginning of the forsaken Dunwich ruins, after some stairs and a left path (the only way to continue to this part of the building).
- Upon entering the room where the unknown adventurer refers to "Billy" a coffee pot is thrown to the floor and a fan on the desk is knocked over.
- Ronald Laren from Girdershade can be asked about anything interesting in the area: he tells the player character that they are at the "ass end of the Capital Wasteland" and warns them to "stay the hell away from the Dunwich Building," saying that it is "bad mojo." He also states that he hears "weird shit" going on in there.
- When entering the flashback, the walls and ceiling appear to be in bad condition and chipping, even though the flashback is pre-War, before the building was abandoned and deteriorated.
- Footsteps can be heard in the Dunwich Building even when no one is there. It's not the companions or the feral ghouls. The footsteps always sound right on top of the player.
- Occassionally the screen may flicker.
- A severed head can be found on a table on the first floor of the Dunwich Building, just before the forsaken ruins. It is placed upright on the table with Jaime's seventh log. However, exiting to the forsaken ruins and returning causes it to disappear.
- When facing the door to the entrance, the player character will be pointed south. After entering, they will be facing north.
- A similar location can be found in Fallout 4, in the location Dunwich Borers which includes similar cases of possible paranormal activity and some apparent references.
Behind the scenes
- The story told in the personal logs found in the Dunwich Building, the name of the building, the whispering obelisk found in the virulent underchambers, and many other facets of this location refer to H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos; see especially "The Dunwich Horror."
- The strange voice near the Obelisk is actually repeating the name "Alhazred," which is also the name Jaime repeated several times in his last audio tape. Sometimes the voice may instead repeat the name "G'yeth," also repeated by Jaime in his last audio tape. In the stories of H. P. Lovecraft, Abdul Alhazred is the author of the Necronomicon, while G'yeth is presumably a homage to R'lyeh, the underwater city in which Cthulhu, an Old One, "waits dreaming."
- Springvale school, when in fact the building is located on the southwestern corner of the map. [verified] During The Dark Heart of Blackhall quest, when you are told to go to the Dunwich Building in order to destroy the book, the World Map will target the location to be near
- In the mutilation room just prior to the door to the virulent underchambers, a head will appear chattering on a desktop. This happens when you access a trap computer terminal on the floor directly above the "chattering head." Upon a secondary explosion (caused by a frag grenade, for example), the "chattering head" will leave the desktop and reveal itself to be a dismembered torso with a head, which had previously clipped on the desk. [verified]
- It is possible that the obelisk will not emit any radiation at all. [verified]
- If you are exiting Dunwich with a companion, they will often spawn around the back (south) of the building, whereupon they can be attacked. This may prove to be a big problem if you are at a high level, due to this often being a spawning place for albino radscorpions. Even if you run back to defend the companions, it is likely that one or both will be killed. One way of avoiding this is fast traveling right away, though sometimes the radscorpion will travel with you. Another possible way is to keep reloading till the enemy spawns away from the follower. You will then have enough time before the enemy gets to the follower to run and save them. [verified]
- In the room leading into the forsaken Dunwich ruins there will be two heads. One of them is on the desk, and one on the floor. If you grab on to the desk head you can make it look up and down. You can also grab the one on the floor and drag it around the room with you. [verified]