Discovered in the late 19th century, Lamplight Caverns was converted into a tourist attraction during the 1920s. Due to the location's strong government ties, Vault-Tec achieved ownership of several portions of the caves, for the purpose of Vault 87's construction.
On October 23, 2077, 82 students from Early Dawn Elementary went on a field trip to Lamplight Caverns with a couple of teachers (including the fourth grade teacher, Carrie Delaney and a few parent chaperones). There the group spent many hours touring the deep caverns. Just as they were packing up to leave, the caverns began to shake. The kids began to scream as the lights went out, and one man from the group went out to see what was going on. Upon his return, he informed those within that the entire Washington, D.C. area was covered in mushroom clouds.
The adults slowly died off or left, some leaving the cavern, others being injured by accidents inside. Eventually, Carrie Delaney, being the last of the adult survivors, decided to go scavenging and never returned—leaving the kids to fend for themselves. One of the older kids, Jason Grant, assumed the position of mayor after no one else would step forward. Within the next month of exploring the caves, the children came upon Vault 87, where they pounded on the door for hours, pleading for assistance.
Finally, one of the adults inside Vault 87 told the children to go away (saying that they were "already dead"). This was likely Peter Stevens, a vault technician stationed near the door to Little Lamplight, who thought that the children were hallucinations of his dead son. As a result, the kids turned against all "mungos," kicking out residents once they turned 16. Most, if not of all, of these adults then head to the settlement of Big Town, after being told that a "good life" awaits them there.
As of 2287, the settlement's fate is unknown, although MacCready is alive for the events of Fallout 4, meaning he would have been forced to leave by 2281 when he turned sixteen. Considering the age of MacCready at the time the Sole Survivor meets him most, if not all, of the children who had appeared in Fallout 3's Little Lamplight would have likely been kicked out.
A small cave descends to the town's entrance area, which is protected by a fence with a large front gate. Beyond the fence, a small area with the Little Lamplight office building, the town's medical office and school, opens into two small corridors. The first corridor leads to the restaurant Spelunkers, situated in a cave with pools of water, and the Great Chamber beyond. The second tunnel leads to a medium sized cave which contains the Lamplight restrooms, and the souvenir shop, the town's store. Another access to the Great Chamber can be found here, as well as a small path to the town's back gate, leading to Murder Pass.
The Great Chamber
The Great Chamber area is a huge cavern, with wooden walkways connecting various suspended rooms. It serves as the main living area for the Little Lamplighters, containing a number of beds. The floor of the cave is partially filled with rubble and slightly-irradiated water. Besides the two exits leading to Lamplight caverns, there are two cavities in the chamber's wall; one contains a workbench, and the other leads to Vault 87's Reactor Chamber.
Buildings / sections
- Schematics - bottlecap mines, sold by Knick Knack in the souvenir shop.
- Wazer Wifle, carried by Biwwy.
- Bottlecap mine in the Great Chamber, in a niche in the northwest side of the cave (see map).
- Five holotapes, two My diary, by Jason Grant in the souvenir shop, January 26, 2077 -- Little Lamplight! over the pool table in the Great Chamber and two Journal of Carrie Delaney in office building.
- Blast Off pajamas - Worn by Bumble.
- Kid's cave rat outfit and Murray the mole hat - Both worn by Zip.
- If the Lone Wanderer has the Child at Heart perk, they may play an impromptu game of tag with some of the unnamed Little Lamplighters. When engaged in dialogue the lamplighters will say, "try to catch me, new kid" and run away. When caught and selected/talked to, they'll say things like, "that didn't count" or, "man, now I'm it." The Child at Heart perk will also grant the Lone Wanderer an easier time gaining entrance to the caverns.
- The children don't mind if the Lone Wanderer kills Sticky during his going-away party, and some may even remark, "Do it again!"
- Sticky comments that only people "under 18" can occupy Little Lamplight, though it is clearly stated in several other places that the age is 16.
- If the player character has bad Karma, dialogue with the kids in Little Lamplight will say, "I bet you're so bad because your mom didn't love you."
- Some kids mention sending raiding parties into the vault, but several doors in the vault are locked, and a lot of loot still remains.
- The cave fungus found in the caverns (or received from trading it for strange meat) has the highest quantity of consumable items found in one static location than all other consumables combined.
- On the topside of Little Lamplight, level dependent creatures may spawn near the entrance, including super mutants, deathclaws and hostile military robots.
- It is possible to encounter Mister Crowley in Little Lamplight.
- The question of how Little Lamplight's population of children is replenished is left unaddressed.
- Followers accompanying the Lone Wanderer in the Great Chamber can easily fall off the walkways to their death.
- When the children cross the pools of water on the floor of the Great Chamber, they sink to the floor and swim.
Behind the scenes
- In an interview with 1UP.com, Emil Pagliarulo stated that Little Lamplight's location was loosely based on Luray Caverns in Virginia.
- Nathan Purkeypile, who designed much of Little Lamplight's layout, lighting and cluttering, stated on Twitter in October 2019 that the inspiration for the settlement's circular light sources came from glass floats, which were once used by fishermen to keep nets and other items afloat.
- Princess and the other child guarding Murder Pass may spawn on the other side of the gate. This most commonly happens when using the "Wait" option in front of the door. [verified]
- There is a possible glitch where the door to Murder Pass will not open under any circumstance. [verified]
- Mayor MacCready will talk to the player, with the only option available being the Speech check asking to be admitted. MacCready no longer mentions Paradise Falls or gives such a quest option. [verified] Upon first entering the caverns to Little Lamplight, the gate is pulled up and the children are fleeing. Going into Little Lamplight reveals super mutants are attacking, after dispatching the super mutants,
- Continuity error: Sticky states that this age is 18. Everybody else says it is 16.
- Emil Pagliarulo, "Fallout 3 Afterthoughts" on 1UP.com: "In the game, Little Lamplight was established in the remains of some tourist caves called Lamplight Caverns. This location was loosely based on Luray Caverns in Virginia. As for having a town of little kids? It just seemed like a good addition to the fiction, showing yet another way people in the Wasteland have survived over the years."
- Nate Purkeypile on Twitter: "Various settlements I have made on the Fallout series over time. / Also, to clarify, I did the layout, lighting and cluttering. So not just the world art side of things. I enjoy thinking about how a city is laid out and functions. Designers handled the actual NPCs, quests and dialogue."
- ArtStation - Portfolio, Nathan Purkeypile
- Nate Purkeypile on Twitter: "Did you know: The light sources in Little Lamplight are inspired by glass floats which used to keep fishing nets and other things afloat."