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General information

Special encounters in Fallout 2 are varied and eclectic. They tend to include no combat; exceptions include 'The Unwashed Villagers hunting a spammer'. Often they contain non-canon pop culture references, sometimes internal references to the Fallout series and setting. A select few are just plain weird. As these encounters are included purely for humor and are random events that may or may not happen, they should not be considered canon.


Some special encounters can be revisited; a map circle the same size as minor locations such as toxic caves and Golgotha appears on the world map where it was found. While an encounter map location is nametagged "Unknown," the location is in flux; the encounter can be 'rolled' again, making a new map circle in that map location. If you want to 'lock down' a map location and display its name, re-enter it. The exception is the 'Cafe' location, which will be 're-rolled,' its location moving to the new encounter site, even though it has been named. Map locations where an encounter was declined will of course be marked unknown.

Both encounters that leave a map circle and those that don't will have to be reactivated in another map area once you decline to enter them. The game keeps track of previous locations, and will not spawn the encounter there again. All special encounters in Fallout 2 are desert locations, other than 'Bridge,' which is a mountain map. So no special encounters can ever be found on the coast or in a city square.

Observation indicates that Game Difficulty settings affect the likelihood of a special encounter while traveling. In Fallout, the chance was based on the Luck stat. It seems likely that Luck is used here once again. Additionally, since normal encounter chances and types are modified by the Outdoorsman skill, that may also be involved.

Unlike running out of fuel for the car on map squares with a City circle in them, the "Out of Fuel" circle will be accessible properly if it is near a random encounter circle, even the permanent ones.

Random special encounters

Café of Broken Dreams

Fo2 Cafe of Broken Dreams.png

Minimum level to visit: None. Map Circle name: Café of Broken Dreams. The encounter remains on the list for randomization, and its location will change to the new encounter site, even after its name is displayed on the map.

Fallout Class Reunion. Dogmeat can be recruited here as a companion. Be sure to remove your armor unless wearing the Bridgekeeper's robes (see Bridgekeeper's robes#Bugs). Clicking on any non-player character speeds up their dialogue, but you'll likely want to see all of it.

Enticing Dogmeat to join your party with the iguana-on-a-stick found in one of the Cafe's rooms may crash your game. Meat jerky might work as an alternative. The best way to recruit him is to wear the Vault jumpsuit.

A crashed shuttle

Federation FO2.jpg

Minimum level to visit: 6. Map Circle name: Federation Shuttle.

Some Star Trek personnel in a shuttle came down with Red Shirt Syndrome, went through a time/space distortion, and crashed here, in the middle of the desert. The Chosen One can find hypos in their corpses, which heal anywhere between 75 to 100 health.

A Guardian Portal

Fo2 Guardian of Forever.png

Minimum level to visit: 8. Map Circle name: Guardian of Forever. Circle on map remains marked "Unknown" until after second visit.

The area's map resets after each visit and dropped items will be deleted. Amongst other loot, one can find the unique weapon Solar Scorcher on floor. Causing the water chip to malfunction awards 1000 XP.

Entering the portal causes the Chosen One to transport back in time into Vault 13. The stone ring in the map is a reference to the Star Trek episode, "City on the Edge of Forever". The only way to leave Vault 13 is to use the computer in the area. The Chosen One causes its water chip to fail, thus beginning the Vault Dweller's quest.

A giant stone head


Minimum level to visit: 10. Map Circle name: Talking Head.

A mysterious gathering of rocks and stone heads. Perhaps they created themselves? This particular one is more talkative than the one in Arroyo. Listening to the stone head for long enough awards a monument chunk, which awards a temporary bonus of +3 to Strength, +1 to Agility as well as 50 extra damage resistance. One can also steal from it to get three more chunks. However, stealing from it without the skill tagged or below 95%, thousands of points of fatal damage will be inflicted. The head talks for 12 hours, long enough to have a rest with the aid of your Pip-Boy.

Mad Brahmins

Mad Brahmins.png

Minimum level to visit: 6. Map Circle name: Mad Brahmin. You know you have at least thought about cow tipping. They know, and they're out to settle the score.

Warning: saving on this map may corrupt the save and render it unloadable.

Brahmin wander towards the Chosen One and/or party members and explode. In combat, they headbutt for relatively low damage. Once a brahmin has exploded or died from combat damage, another spawns. Brahmin that spawn during combat do nothing until combat ends.

Combat here will benefit from a lot of running, and hitting the 'A' key to initiate combat. Setting party members' Distance to 'Stay Close to Me' can keep them on a shorter tether and pull them away from the spawns. Melee or Unarmed characters unfortunately have an obvious disadvantage in this encounter.

King Arthur's Knights

Fo2 King Arthur's Knights.png

Minimum level to visit: 10. No Map location. Loot: $500 for pointing. You speak the King's English, or at least read it. And you know where the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is, right? Just point out its direction to the royal guard in power armor (the ones with the Gatling lasers), and after they similarly point out the direction of the G.E.C.K. to you, you part ways, $500 richer.

King Arthur's Knights fighting a rat

King Arthurs Knights fighting a rat.png

Minimum level to visit: 10. Map Circle Name: Vorpal Rat Cave. Mountain terrain map. Loot: Holy Hand Grenade. Requires the prior visitation of the special encounter, King Arthur's Knights.

A reference to the battle between King Arthur's knights, armed only with the Holy Hand Grenade, against a killer rabbit, which the knights ultimately lost.

This unimplemented special encounter still exists in the game files, and can be restored. Immediately upon entering the map, Knights and the Rat are locked in mortal combat. Each of the Knights, including King Arthur, carry $500 and around 200 microfusion cell ammunition. This is handy for running the Highwayman as each Knight effectively allows you to charge the car fully twice. However, "If you do nothing, the rat will sometimes kill the knights, though they often manage to get in an instant kill critical first."[1] The cave in the cliff face contains the Holy Hand Grenade, which will automatically kill the rat, for 7,500 XP. Survivors, knights or rat, will remain on the map; neither has anything to say to the player character. It is a reference to the Monty Python's movie Holy Grail where the Knights, not expecting a challenge from a rabbit until it killed several men, must kill it with the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch". Also, when King Arthur was supposed to count to three until detonation, he accidentally counted five and had to be corrected. This is referenced in a Wild Wasteland encounter in Fallout: New Vegas. NOTE: As probably stated before, this encounter is normally unobtainable because of a glitch.

A lone surviving dog

Fo2 Pariah Dog.png

Minimum level to visit: 10. Map Circle name: Pariahs.

The only location where the only possible (non exploitative) reward is to prevail in the struggle for survival, and the risk is great.

A great misfortune has befallen those who fell here, and you would do well to leave before it falls upon you.

Leaving before 10 seconds have elapsed should let you avoid the Luck check. They are repeated every 10th second. Failing a check means that harmless looking skinny dog will follow you, passing the party limit. It reduces Luck to one, or two for those who are Gifted, and gives the Jinxed trait as a perk. The pariah dog will use all of its seven AP to run to the nearest exit of any map once combat starts, and it has 750 HP. Once it dies, both the trait and the stat decrease disappear, except in the truly rare case of it being killed with a zero damage critical.

The pariah dog can be killed by luring him onto the electrified floor on level two of the Sierra Army Depot; his finely-tuned survival sense only works in the specific context of combat. Alternatively, extract his brains: this process yields two brains, in the organ extraction chamber on level 3. Be wary, as the latter action gives -200 points of Karma.

Like the Masticator boxer in New Reno, the pariah dog gives a stat decrease that can actually be used exploitatively. Gain Luck and the mutually exclusive Hubologist zeta scans, if they are received before encountering the dog, stop the decrease in Luck, but the increase in Luck that would normally occur to restore Luck, when the dog dies, instead adds Luck. NCR's zeta scan gives +2 Luck / -1 Luck, SF's, +1 Luck and +1 Intelligence / -1 Luck, depending on...luck. Guarantees need of save-scumming.

A man guarding a bridge


Minimum level to visit: 10. Map Circle name: Bridge. Loot: Bridgekeeper's robes (purple). XP: 500, for answering "the questions three". Alternatively, 7500 combat XP for killing the Bridgekeeper. Mountain terrain map.

For some reason I feel like I should save my game in a whole new slot.— The Chosen One's uncertainty

If you miss the Arroyo rope bridge, here is another one. To get to your car, and the World Map, you'll have to get past the robed figure guarding the bridge. The Keeper's dialogue, and the best solution to this puzzle, make this encounter one of three Monty Python references, all from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", another being the "King Arthur's knights" encounter, and the third being the unimplemented "King Arthur's Knights fighting a rat". Save and reload to see all three Fallout lore questions.

The Bridgekeeper's robes are the same as combat armor minus radiation resistance, and lighter.

Pretty much only critical hits harm the Bridgekeeper; he summons exploding cows remarkably similar to those in the "Mad Brahmin" encounter. If he is killed with a zero damage critical, the robes won't drop, and no combat XP is given. See pariah dog for a more detailed explanation of zero damage criticals. Combat ends each time the Bridgekeeper summons a new brahmin, and he will be quite willing to take up conversation with you at this point as though nothing had happened. The Bridgekeeper can also die as a result of the Chosen One asking him a counter question (with an IN > 6).

This has the highest probability of the Special Encounters.

If you have an IN < 4, the conversation will again be confusing. When the Keeper asks the Chosen One's name, naturally, he asks back. That's only polite. Obviously this isn't enough to fling the Bridgekeeper shrieking into the ravine for lack of a reply. The next dialogue choices are garbled so, again, choose carefully. Save/reload.

The remains of a whale


Minimum level to visit: 6. Map Circle name: Crashed Whale. Loot: Pot of Daisies. Or you might just leave them be.

"Oh, no, not again" -the Bowl of Petunias. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

You find byproducts of the use of the Improbability Drive starship propulsion system: A whale which has seen better days, or perhaps one should say minutes, from the time it was instantly created in low-orbit above the planet up until just before it became part of the planet.

The bowl of petunias' (Daisies) story continued on later in the Hitchhiker's series, where it was discovered that the unfortunate vegetable was merely one incarnation of a spirit doomed to be perpetually killed by one of the main characters, Arthur Dent.

A tin woodsman

FO2 Tin Man.png

Minimum level to visit: 6. No Map location. Loot: 150 microfusion cells. The Tin woodsman has no drops.

A reference to the guy who had a heart all along, from The Wizard of Oz.

Don't let this happen to you. When your power armor rusts up, apparently all you can do is stand around gasping "Oil!" at any Good Samaritans who might happen to pass by.

Unique to this map: Cola Fridge, Stove design.

If triggered by the Outdoorsman skill, the game will ask "Do you wish to encounter: Error". [verification overdue]

Toxic waste dump


Minimum level to visit: 6. Map Circle name: Toxic waste dump. XP: Combat XP, if you don't actually die just from the radiation while killing or fleeing from the fire geckos.

The exit grid is to the right, assuming you don't want to take just a little time to learn to better appreciate the fine points of the splendor of mankind's achievement.

The Unwashed Villagers hunting a spammer

Fo2 Unwashed Villagers.png

Minimum level to visit: 1. No Map location. Loot: 6 stimpaks and a fruit 600 rounds of 10mm JHP on the Unwashed Villagers. XP: Combat (optional).

A reference to a real-life flamewar between a Fallout internet community and a forum 'troll'. Normally, the villagers will take turns shooting the Spammer, all the while issuing triumphant battle cries, while he attempts to placate them with floating text apologies. They run off the map after he dies. If the Spammer lives to the end of the battle, he continues to stumble about the map, continuing his comments.

Scripted encounters

A band of ruffians led by a Morton Brothers

Requirements: the Chosen One completed the Redding quest: Kill Frog Morton

There are three brothers, consequently there are three encounters. They become progressively more challenging. The second brother uses and drops a Light support weapon, the final brother, a H&K G11E. The brothers are accompanied by enemies of the New Reno area Gang type. The game code places this 'gang' on a different 'team', initially neutral to the brother, and the player. If the brother has a higher Sequence than any gang member, and attacks first, the 'gang' will only engage the player after combat with the brother is over, and vice versa.

A herd of brahmin

A herd of brahmin.png

Requirements: the Chosen One freed Bess and the other brahmin in Modoc. The encounter only occurs near Modoc.

The luckless Bess and her herd seem doomed to die. Dead brahmin lie strewn about.

"Are God and Nature then at strife, / That Nature lends such evil dreams? / So careful of the type she seems, / So careless of the single life;" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from the poem, influenced by contemporary ideas of Survival of the Fittest, that included the famous line "Nature, red in tooth and claw".

A trader and guards


Requirements: Occurs only in the map squares surrounding the map square at the top of the map, directly north of Modoc.

Trader Willy's spiel is less inspiring than it ought to be. The player falls asleep, and must choose to buy a weapon sight unseen, and without even knowing what it is. The list of available items is level-based, and includes power fist, sniper rifle, alien blaster, and minigun.

Some people in the wrong place at the wrong time


See the year 2241 for the identity of the giant armored figure.

Requirement: Date after Aug 30, 2241.

The Chosen One happens upon a confrontation between two opposing parties. On one side, there are three armored and heavily-armed figures, one of them huge. On the other a family of farmers: a man, a woman, and a child. The man rejects the large figure's demand to accompany him, saying, "I would rather what knowledge I have disappear with me into the grave", and the three are executed. The large man waves the Chosen away saying, "This is none of your affair. Turn around and walk away."

This occurs as a Desert type special encounter, but the game code makes this event trigger when particular conditions, like the date, are met. The script does not include the terrain requirements for random special encounters, i.e. even if the player is traveling over mountain terrain on the large scale map, the encounter is a Desert encounter.



  1. TNUF2G: Addenda How to find and use the Holy Hand Grenade Part 2