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Revelation, 21:6. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.— James reciting "Revelation 21:6"

James, also known as Dad, is the father of the Lone Wanderer and Vault 101's physician in Fallout 3.


Project Purity[]

James was always an inquisitive, meticulous and determined man; this personality led him to form or join a group of like-minded scientists, who were set on changing the wasteland for the better. Before the Lone Wanderer was born, James led an ambitious scientific endeavor known as Project Purity.[Non-game 1][Non-game 2][2] He and his group of scientists, including wife Catherine and Dr. Madison Li, aimed to build an advanced water purifier within the ruins of the Jefferson Memorial, which would serve to purify the water of the Potomac.[Non-game 2]

Under the protection of the Brotherhood of Steel, research was well underway when Catherine and James discovered they were expecting a child.[3] Catherine was determined to finish the project before welcoming their child, spending all day in the lab and refusing to rest despite James' objections.[4] The project began to lose momentum, lacking concrete results while having to compensate for lost time due to super mutant attacks.[5] The number of mutants was steadily increasing, and protecting the project was becoming increasingly difficult for the Brotherhood.[5] After losing two members with three injured in one week, the relationship between the chapter and the scientists began to strain.[5]

Before the project could reach fruition, Catherine delivered their child but passed away due to complications of childbirth.[6][Non-game 2] Distraught, James weighed his options, recognizing the lack of progress on the project, alongside several super mutant attacks per day, and continued challenges working with the Brotherhood.[7] He decided that regardless of how much the project meant to him and to Catherine, the location was not safe for an infant, choosing instead to leave the project, putting the needs of his child before his own.[Non-game 2][8]

Vault 101[]

Escorted by the Brotherhood's Star Paladin Cross, James pressed onward with his child, traveling across the D.C. ruins to Vault 101.[9] Along the way, James and Cross also stayed at the saloon in Megaton owned by Colin Moriarty briefly.

After successfully reaching and entering the large underground vault, James began his service as the vault's new physician. Soon after he took up residence, his research into Project Purity began again, this time consisting of sneaking into the restricted areas of the vault each night, searching for anything relevant or helpful towards the project aims.[5] Amidst advanced technology, James sought any information within the Vault-Tec facility that could potentially prove useful.[5] Having no luck, he broke into the overseer's office and hacked the terminal, gaining access to restricted files. James found a promising lead by way of information regarding prominent researcher and technological genius Dr. Stanislaus Braun.[5] James learned of Braun's involvement in a social preservation program, and his research into a piece of technology called a GECK, or Garden of Eden Creation Kit.[5]

The information regarding this piece of technology was completely foreign to James, who mentioned that it seemed as if it were nothing short of a miracle.[8] The device was a terra-forming module, capable of producing life from within a barren ecosystem.[10] He was skeptical of such a device being a reality, expressing that the entire idea sounded like pure fantasy, even for someone of Braun's capabilities.[10] He learned that not only did it exist, it was distributed to several vaults to be used after an atomic war.[10] James discovered that Braun had secured a place in Vault 112, considering the possibility that Braun's research information could be held within, surmising that if he could gain access to only a fraction of Braun's genius, Project Purity could become a reality.[10]

Years passed and James continued to serve as the vault's physician, all the while caring for his child as they progressed through each stage of their childhood and young adulthood.[11] The lingering drive to move forward on Project Purity never left James' sight, however, and he was confident that Braun's research may serve as Project Purity's missing puzzle piece. The Lone Wanderer having reached the self sufficiency of teenage years, James decided to attempt an escape from the locked down facility.[12] In the interest of his child's continued safety, he intended to have them remain behind in the vault, unaware of his plans or destination.[13]

Return to the Capital Wasteland[]

In the morning hours of August 17, 2277, James left the vault and returned to the surface. His assistant and friend Jonas who helped him escape was killed. The act of leaving the vault caused a crisis within, and the overseer considered the Lone Wanderer complicit in their father's plans.[10] Forced to flee from the hostile security forces, James' child also escaped from the confines of Vault 101, intent on following him to Braun's vault.[14] James made his way to Megaton, Galaxy News Radio, and then the GNR building plaza, meeting with old acquaintances Colin Moriarty and Three Dog along the way. His old friends encouraged him onwards, and he decided that he would need Dr. Madison Li to join the project once more if he hoped to see it through.

James tracked Madison's whereabouts to Rivet City, and approached her with a request to join forces once again.[12][15] However, it had been nearly 20 years since Madison and James had worked side by side on Project Purity, and unable to reconcile what had happened previously, she declined.[4][16]

Vault 112[]

Undeterred, James traversed to Vault 112 in hopes of tracking down Braun or his research. There was still a study being undertaken, but it was not what James anticipated. Braun was engaged in research revolving around the oversight of several families trapped in virtual reality pods in a simulation entitled Tranquility Lane. James, unaware of these plans, became ensnared in Braun's trap as well. Braun turned James into a dog within the sim, unable to communicate with anyone else in a recognizable way.

James' child had followed him to Vault 112 and into the sim, and was able to break the two of them free from its trap.[17] James was unaware that his child was even able to leave Vault 101, let alone find him and free him.[17] James took a moment to express his feelings on the events having transpired recently, speaking briefly with his child before agreeing to meet up in Rivet City.[17] Despite the experience, James had acquired the research information he sought, and armed with this last crucial element, agreed to meet up with the Lone Wanderer in Rivet City in an attempt to recruit Dr. Li.[15]

As James had hoped, information about the GECK was enough to convince Madison of the project's continued viability.[10][15] Madison brought her research team along to the memorial and the group commenced work on Project Purity after nearly 20 years.[3]

Enclave interference[]

Shortly after James and Madison began work once more on the project, a large Enclave force arrived at the Jefferson Memorial. Soldiers under the command of Colonel Autumn stormed the activation room where the scientists were working. Autumn declared the Enclave was taking over the project and demanded James turn over all materials related to this project. James assured the colonel that the facility was not operational and never had been, so taking over it would be a waste of their efforts.[18][19]

Autumn, losing patience, executed one of the scientists, Janice, and repeated his demand for James to immediately hand over all materials related to the project and aid the Enclave in making the purifier operational at once. James instead caused a radiation leak in the control room, killing everyone inside except Autumn. James collapsed and died, telling his child to run with his last words.[18][19]

Interactions with the player character[]

Interactions overview[]

Perk nociception regulator color
This character is essential. Essential characters cannot be killed.
Icon quest starter
This character starts quests.
FO76 ui icon quest
This character is involved in quests.
Icon severed ear color
This character drops an ear upon death (Contract Killer).

Related quests[]

  • Baby Steps: James puts the one-year-old Lone Wanderer in a playpen in their room which contains the You're S.P.E.C.I.A.L.! book. After a brief absence, James returns and shows the child their mother's favorite Bible quotation, and takes his child to see Amata.
  • Growing Up Fast: James has a small conversation with the Lone Wanderer at the beginning of their tenth birthday party, and later in the party gives them a BB gun as a birthday gift, and tasks them with killing a radroach.
  • Future Imperfect: James has a brief conversation with his now 16-year-old before their G.O.A.T. exam.
  • Escape!: James' unexpected absence from Vault 101 prompts a security crisis and propels the Lone Wanderer out into the wastes.
  • Following in His Footsteps: The Lone Wanderer searches for their dad. They can either go straight to Vault 112 (where he is being held); or they can follow the questline, by going to Megaton, which directs them to Galaxy News Radio, which directs them to Rivet City, which directs them to the Jefferson Memorial which then leads them to Vault 112.
  • Tranquility Lane: James finds himself in Vault 112, held prisoner in the form of a dog in a virtual neighborhood created and controlled by Dr. Braun.
  • The Waters of Life: Father and child make their way first to Rivet City, then to the Jefferson Memorial, the site of Project Purity. As the Enclave storms the Memorial, James refuses to cooperate with Colonel Autumn. In the end, James floods the room with radiation, attempting to kill Autumn but killing himself in the process and with no success in his objectives.

Effects of player's actions[]

  • When the Lone Wanderer is doing tasks to make Project Purity work, James will say that he heard of their actions. His reaction will change depending on the quest the Power of the Atom's outcome. If the bomb was disarmed, he will ask the Wanderer if they truly did it, and will be proud of them if told a yes. If instead it was Megaton's destruction and it is admitted to James, he will express disappointment (he can be lied to, but he will not believe it without very high Karma).
  • If the Power of the Atom quest was not resolved at all, or if James is spoken to again after he comments on the aforementioned quest, he will instead comment on the Lone Wanderer's current Karma level. Good Karma yields, "You're a good person, and it shows." While bad Karma makes him instead comment on the Wanderer "seeming troubled, like there is a cloud hanging over you," and a neutral Karma results in him providing a default greeting.

Other interactions[]

  • James' appearance depends on the face created by the player during character creation. The script for CG00 (the birth and face creation sequence) first matches the player character's chosen ethnicity to all four James characters (for each stage of the character generation and the final, main quest James) through MatchRace, then modifies the geometry of James' face through MatchFaceGeometry with the global variable CGMatchFace (set to 50 by default) to avoid making a simple copy.


1 Only while in Vault 101.
2 On his way back to Rivet City.


  • James's face is hidden by a surgical mask during the birth scene until the Lone Wanderer's appearance has been configured, after which his race will match the character's.
  • The birth scene and Baby Steps is the only time in the game that James is clean-shaven.
  • A holotape "Better Days" of him making advances on the Lone Wanderer's mother underneath the Jefferson Memorial can be found.
  • James counts as a companion and will use up ammunition on any non-companion weapon unlike most non-player characters, who have infinite ammunition.
  • After freeing him from the Vault 112 simulation, the Lone Wanderer can ask their father whether he enjoyed being a dog. James replies that it had its moments but that he missed having opposable thumbs.[20]
  • James seems to have a preference for Scotch whiskey. According to Project Purity personal journal #5, he mentions having downed "half a bottle of Scotch" the night he broke into the Overseer's computer. When visiting his living quarters at Project Purity, the player can find a number of empty Scotch bottles around James' living area.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Courier can find a picture of James and Catherine in Vault 21, near the Strip snow globe.[Non-game 3]

Notable quotes[]


James appears in Fallout 3, Fallout Shelter as a legendary vault dweller, and Fallout Shelter Online. A photograph of him appears in Fallout: New Vegas.

Behind the scenes[]

  • James is voiced by actor Liam Neeson, after whom the character is also physically modeled. "This role was written with Liam in mind and provides the dramatic tone for the entire game. Liam is absolutely amazing to work with," said Todd Howard, executive producer of Fallout 3. "It’s been a pleasure bringing the father to life and working with the wonderfully talented people at Bethesda on Fallout 3," said Neeson. "I hope the fans of the franchise and the game will be excited by the results."[Non-game 4]
    • In localized versions of the game, James' voice is dubbed by Junpei Morita (Japanese), Grzegorz Wons (Polish) and José Antonio Ceinos (Spanish).
  • The unused skin of the dog "Doc" looks like a German Shepherd. The dog's right eye is brown, while his left eye is blue, similar to Dogmeat. This is known as complete heterochromia.

Early story drafts[]

A really large change concerned Dad's fate after leaving Vault 101. In the original script, the player never worked with Dad to restore Project Purity, and Dad didn't honorably sacrifice himself to save his child and colleagues from Colonel Autumn's troops. Instead, the player found Dad in Vault 87, where he was in the process of being turned into a Super Mutant, and begged his child to end his life. It was a potentially moving moment, but the fact that Dad could have turned into a Super Mutant and fought his child felt really clichéd, and honestly much too close for my tastes to a similar plot twist in Prey. When that scene underwent revision, we realized how great it would be for the player to actually work with Dad in Project Purity, even if just for a bit, and the final version was superior in just about every way.Emil Pagliarulo, Fallout 3 Official Game Guide
  • At one point in development, the story of Fallout 3 was different, and James would have become a super mutant.[Non-game 5] The Lone Wanderer was originally never planned to be involved in Project Purity and was to encounter James in Vault 87, who would be in the process of becoming a mutant and would ask the Lone Wanderer to kill him.[Non-game 6]


  • Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 On the way back to Rivet City from Vault 112, he will sometimes get stuck while traveling with him. If this occurs, fast travel to Rivet City and wait 24 hours in the science lab. He will appear and start talking to Doctor Li. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 James might disappear if you fast travel to the Jefferson Memorial from Vault 112. [verified]
  • PCPC Xbox 360Xbox 360 If the player glitches into the Citadel and completes the quests Finding the Garden of Eden and The American Dream, they can still go to Smith Casey's garage and take him to Rivet City. Upon arrival, he will state "give me a moment to speak with Madison." At this point, the quest Take it Back! is already started making him unkillable and the quest The Waters of Life will be impossible to complete.[verified]
  • PCPC Xbox 360Xbox 360 James may not follow the player character to the Jefferson Memorial by fast traveling.[verified]


Fallout 3[]

Fallout Shelter series[]

Magic: The Gathering[]


  1. Events of The Waters of Life
  2. Lone Wanderer: "I've been to Project Purity. He wasn't there."
    Madison Li: "Well I know he was going there. Perhaps there's some indication of what he was up to. Did you find any notes? James was always taking notes. Recordings, holotapes... that sort of thing. Go back and search for something like that if you're so determined."
    (Madison Li's dialogue)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Project Purity Journal: Entry 1
  4. 4.0 4.1 Project Purity Journal: Entry 3
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Project Purity Journal: Entry 5
  6. Project Purity Journal: Entry 7
  7. Lone Wanderer: "What was my father like back then?"
    Madison Li: "James? He was very driven. Determined to change the world. Well, we all were back then, I suppose. He was focused on two things, really. Making Project Purity work, and your mother. When she died, I think... I think he gave up. I know he wanted to keep you safe, but I think part of what he did was run away. But it seems that he never really was able to get over the idea. I'm frankly shocked that he waited all this time, and wants to try again."
    (Madison Li's dialogue)
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Lone Wanderer: "What exactly is this "Project Purity"?"
    James: "It started as an idea, really. Remember the Bible passage your mother loved so much? Free, clean water for everyone. What a difference it could make in the lives of everyone here in the Wastes. Over time, that idea took the form of a purifier. Not like the one in the Vault, though. This one was gigantic, capable of purifying millions of gallons of water at once. We used the old Jefferson Memorial for the location, right on DC's Tidal Basin. Someday soon, I hope you'll see it work."
    (James' dialogue)
  9. Lone Wanderer: "You knew my father?"
    Cross: "I did. And you as well! Long ago, I helped guard the water purifier against the Super Mutant horde. When your father left, I escorted the two of you to Megaton. He was... a noble man. I was saddened to hear of his passing. But from what I've heard, he died with honor. He died for you. I only pray that my own death has such meaning."
    (Cross' dialogue)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Project Purity Journal: Entry 8
  11. Lone Wanderer: "You've got to be kidding me..."
    James: "You must understand. As much as I love you, this project has been my responsibility since long before you were even born. Too many people have made sacrifices to give up on it now. Your mother... If you'll let me, I'd like to show you what we've accomplished. I want you to be there when we change the world. After so many years, I can finally see it through to the end. I can't stop now."
    The Lone Wanderer: "What about me? What am I supposed to do?"
    James: "Yes, what about you? Why, in fact, are you outside the Vault at all? I don't even want to know HOW you got out. As much as I appreciate your help, you were supposed to stay there, to make a life for yourself there, not out here!"
    The Lone Wanderer: "What the hell is wrong with you? Why did you just leave me like that?"
    James: "That's where you belonged. You were an adult, capable of fending for yourself, and you had a good life ahead of you. What's out here is my task, my responsibility. I never wanted you to have any part of this insanity."
    (James' dialogue)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Project Purity Journal: Entry 10
  13. Project Purity Journal: Personal journal (Zero)
  14. Lone Wanderer: "How could abandoning me be the right choice?"
    James: "For almost twenty years now, I've done everything I can to see that you have a good life. The Vault wasn't perfect, to be sure, but it was the safest place in the Wasteland. That's why I took you there in the first place. I didn't see it as abandoning you. I saw it as moving on, knowing you were safe."
    (James' dialogue)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 The Lone Wanderer: "Did you get the information you needed?"
    James: "I did indeed. Braun's work, the G.E.C.K., was designed to re-adapt environments for living after a nuclear war. It's not entirely stable, but I'm sure that components of that technology are just what we need, what we've been missing all this time. I need to return to Rivet City. Once Madison knows about the G.E.C.K., I can get her to see that it really will work."
    (James' dialogue)
  16. Lone Wanderer: "Where's my father? Tell me now!"
    Madison Li: "Calm down, calm down! What are you doing here? James said you were still in the Vault. Look, this is all terribly irrational. Your father just shows up here as if nothing happened... He walked out on us. I know he had his reasons, I know it was to protect you, but still. Project Purity was our life. It was the only thing that mattered, and then he just gave up. He abandoned us, and we were forced to move on. I've already told him that it's over. There's no going back. Project Purity was a failure, and he needs to move on."
    (Madison Li's dialogue)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 James: "You've saved me. I was afraid I'd be trapped in there forever. It's so good to see you, but... What are you DOING here?"
    James: "Son... You've saved me. I was afraid I'd be trapped in there forever. It's so good to see you, but... What are you DOING here?"
    The Lone Wanderer: "What are YOU doing here? You could've been killed!"
    James: "Well I didn't expect Dr. Braun to be alive and insane. I thought I'd just find notes, or holotapes. I needed information about Braun, and his work on the G.E.C.K."
    The Lone Wanderer: "Good thing I showed up to save you."
    James: "It certainly is! It's nice to feel like I'm on two legs again. And thanks to Doctor Braun, I know that Project Purity isn't lost after all."
    (James' dialogue) Note: The first line in this series differs whether the Lone Wanderer is male or female.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Colonel Autumn: "By the authority of the President, this facility is now under United States government control. The person in charge is to step forward immediately, and turn over all materials related to this project."
    James: "That's quite impossible. This is a private project; the Enclave has no authority here. I'm going to have to ask you to leave at once."
    Autumn: "Am I to assume, sir, that you are in charge?"
    James: "Yes, I'm responsible for this project."
    Autumn: "Then I repeat, sir, that you are hereby instructed to immediately hand over all materials related to the purifier."
    James: "I'm sorry, but that's...."
    Autumn: "Furthermore, you are to assist Enclave scientists in assuming control of the administration and operation of this facility at once."
    James: "Colonel... Is it Colonel? I'm sorry, but the facility is not operational. It never has been. I'm afraid you're wasting your time here."
    Autumn: "Sir, this is the last time I am going to repeat myself. Stand down at once, and turn over control of this facility."
    James: "Colonel, I assure you that this facility will not function. We have never been able to successfully replicate test results..."
    Autumn: "I suggest you comply immediately, sir, in order to prevent any more incidents. Are we clear?"
    James: "Yes, Colonel. I'll do whatever you want; there's no need for more violence."
    Autumn: "Then you will immediately hand over all materials related to this project, and aid us in making it operational at once."
    James: "Very well. Give me a few moments to bring the system online."
    James: "Nearly finished..."
    James: "...run... Run!..."
    (Autumn's and James' dialogue)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Lone Wanderer: "What the hell just happened?"
    Madison Li: "James... Your father caused an overload. He sacrificed himself to keep the Enclave from getting the purifier, and to buy us time to escape. There'll be more of them coming. We need to get out of here before they find us, or else your father died in vain."
    (Madison Li's dialogue)
  20. Lone Wanderer: "What, you didn't like being a dog?"
    James: "Well, I suppose it had its moments. But in the end, I much prefer having opposable thumbs. And now that I'm back, I can get back to work. I need to tell Madison what I've learned."
    (James' dialogue)


  1. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.67: "Dad (James)
    Before your birth, your father was the leader of an impossibly ambitious scientific endeavor—Project Purity. Leading a group of scientists, he planned to turn the ruins of the Jefferson Memorial into the most technologically advanced water purifier ever imagined. But when you were born (your mother dying in childbirth), your father had little choice but to abandon Project Purity and get you to the only safe place he knew—the underground fallout shelter known as Vault 101."
    (Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition Wasteland Census)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Fallout 3 Official Game Guide p. 358-05: "Before your birth, your father was the leader of an impossibly ambitious scientific endeavor-Project Purity. Leading a group of scientists, he planned to turn the ruins of the Jefferson Memorial into the most technologically advanced water purifier ever imagined. But when you were born (your mother dying in childbirth), your father had little choice but to abandon Project Purity and get you to the only safe place he knew-the underground fallout shelter known as Vault 101."
  3. Jason Fader's Reddit AMA
  4. Bethesda Softworks Announces Award-Winning Actor Liam Neeson to Play Lead Role in Fallout 3
  5. Flickr photos
  6. Imgur photos