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That's going on your record - and I'm not a marine... Just, get out of my sight,

Lieutenant Colonel James T. Oberlin is a former U.S. Army officer who served as the Chief Army Scientific Advisor to the ATLAS Program.[1] After the ATLAS Program was shuttered due to its purchase by Hugo Stolz, Oberlin was kept on as the security chief of Vault 63, where he survived the Great War and became a ghoul. He appears in person in Fallout 76, introduced in the Skyline Valley update, and depending on the actions of the Vault Dweller, he may become the new overseer of Vault 63, or he may be killed by Audrey Stolz.



Oberlin was born on February 5, 2025. He is allergic to shellfish and peanuts. He was 52 years old at the time of the Great War, and is now aged 80 as of 2105.[2]

In late January 2076, Oberlin replaced the previous advisor of the ATLAS Program, Major Kirk Bentley, after the program fell behind schedule and Bentley was deemed unfit for the role.[3] Oberlin was given a deadline of April to produce scalable results for weather control, or the project's funding would be cut.[3]

Under Oberlin's supervision and the threat of cut funds, the project produced significant localized area effects, and it was granted continued funding under the condition that more research is invested in high-energy weather conditions. The project met its goals, even producing near-whiteout blizzard conditions in mid-August. Oberlin was impressed with the project's progress and had hoped it would become a valuable asset in the war against China.

However, the program was supposedly shut down shortly after being approved and funded for military purposes, and Oberlin was subsequently ordered to falsify all of the ATLAS Program's data to make it appear as if it had failed.[4] While the program director, Dr. Isaac Hammond, was greatly angered, he could do nothing to stop it: what he did not know was that the program had been purchased by Hugo Stolz of Stolz Enterprises for his own ends, purely as a last-minute sales pitch to help convince the Vault-Tec board to make him an overseer. For reasons unclear to Oberlin, Stolz considered him important for the transition and kept him on as Vault 63's chief of security.

Oberlin made it clear to Stolz that he was loyal first and foremost to the U.S. Army and only second to Stolz's business, and would be reporting on Stolz's progress with the machine to his associates in the Army. Stolz did not mind this, and so Oberlin stayed in Vault 63, where he survived the onslaught of the Great War.


Because much of Vault 63 was left incomplete at the time the nuclear bombs struck, Oberlin was transformed into a ghoul like all others in the Vault. He has since been trying to make the best of a bad and deteriorating situation, including the Vault's desperate research to stop feralization, and later the weather accident and subsequent earthquakes which left the majority of the Vault population as Lost, cut off most of the Vault's sectors from each other, and left their entrances exposed.

What Oberlin has not told anyone (apart from a select few members of his team) is that he believes he is still in contact with remnants of the U.S. military, reporting on the Stolz family's actions in and around Skyline Valley, both positive and negative. He is willing to bring in military intervention if he deems that the Stolz's have gone too far, and regularly has trusted subordinates send out reports to U.S. Army remnants using High Knob Lookout as a drop site. However, he does not know that even this is a lie: no such Army remnants exist, and the subordinates Oberlin sends simply take a break at the lookout and then bring his reports back to Stolz himself.[5] Stolz claims that he runs the deception in order to keep Oberlin focused and prevent him from breaking down mentally.

Interactions with the player character[]

Interactions overview[]

FoS ghost costume
This character ignores combat and cannot be damaged.
Icon quest starter
This character starts quests.
FO76 ui icon quest
This character is involved in quests.


  • The Calm Before: For their first job, Hugo Stolz tasks the Vault Dwellers with meeting Oberlin and retrieving a situation report from him.
  • Housekeeping for Hire: Oberlin is swamped with work and orders the Vault Dwellers to deal with the menial tasks of Margaret, Laurence, and Julio so that he can focus on issues outside the vault.
  • The Powerhouse of the Cell: After dealing with the menial tasks, Oberlin decides the Vault Dweller can be trusted with more sensitive tasks. He orders them to respond to a distress call from the organics sector and bring back Hilda Stolz.
  • Double-Crossed Wires: Now that he deems the Vault Dwellers trustworthy, Oberlin reveals his U.S. Army connections to them and asks them to find Daniel Smith, one of his men who was sent to meet his supposed U.S. Army contacts at the High Knob Lookout. After discovering the truth about these "Army remnants," the Vault Dwellers can tell Oberlin the truth or lie to maintain Stolz's facade.
  • Gathering Clouds: Oberlin, Hilda, and Audrey send the Vault Dwellers out on an experiment that could decide the fate of the Lost, with the hypothesis that Hugo's cells can help stabilize the Lost. When it turns out Hugo can actually control the Lost, Oberlin goes to arrest him but finds he has already escaped.
  • The Eye of the Storm: With Hugo having fled to the meteorology sector intending to reactivate the weather machine, Oberlin orders the Vault Dwellers to stop him once and for all. Audrey wants her father dead so that he can never manipulate the Vault again; Oberlin instead wants him captured alive so that he can be experimented on to try and find a solution to the Lost.
    • If Hugo is spared and imprisoned, Oberlin will become the new leader of Vault 63, moving from the security office to the overseer's desk.
    • If Hugo is spared and let go, Oberlin will be transformed into a Lost.
    • If Hugo is killed, Audrey will backstab Oberlin by killing him off-screen.


Apparel Weapon Other items On death
Vault 63 security outfit
Burnt Vault 63 security outfit (Lost)


  • Oberlin is the writer of the paper note current orders and the holotape Oberlin's report.
  • Oberlin keeps a deathclaw egg in a small drinking glass, on a shelf behind his desk in the Vault 63 atrium.
  • There is a key on a wall shelf in his office. Outside the manor, west on the map, is a small shed it can unlock containing some supplies such as ammo and a magazine spawn point.


James Oberlin appears in Fallout 76. He was first introduced as a mentioned-only character at the game's release, and was mentioned again in the Steel Dawn update. He was implemented as a full character by appearing alive in the Skyline Valley update.

Behind the scenes[]

The deathclaw egg that Oberlin has on his shelf is never explained in dialogue, but the egg appears to have been the basis for an in-joke between lead designer Carl McKevitt, Oberlin's voice actor Brian Fairlee and voice director Phillip Reich.[Non-game 1]




  1. Carl McKevitt on Twitter: "@PhillMReich @brianfairleevo A promise fulfilled… Behold THE EGG."