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The Lone Wanderer is the player character and protagonist of Fallout 3.


Young Madison Li

Madison Li helping James during the delivery


The Lone Wanderer was born on July 13, 2258, to James and Catherine at the Jefferson Memorial, where they worked on Project Purity, a complex operation centered on using a highly-technological water purifier to cleanse the sealed-off Tidal Basin of radiation and make it drinkable once more. James' colleague and friend Dr. Madison Li acted as nurse during the delivery.[Non-game 1] Unfortunately, Catherine experienced sudden cardiac arrest and passed away shortly thereafter.

James suspended the endeavor and traveled to Vault 101 via Megaton with the help of Star Paladin Cross who defended James and the baby from mutated creatures and raiders along the way. James and Cross also stayed at the saloon in Megaton owned by Colin Moriarty briefly, where they discussed the future of Project Purity. Colin mentions that the baby Lone Wanderer would not stop crying. Dr. Li somehow helped James relocate to Vault 101.[Non-game 1]

MTG You're Special tall crop

The Lone Wanderer's childhood on the surface was kept a secret in order to shelter them from the outside world, and to keep up the pretense of the social experiment for which the vault was constructed. James would often tell his child about their mother's favorite passage from the Bible, Revelation 21:6, which mentioned the waters of life. The Lone Wanderer lived comfortably in the Vault. At a young age, they befriended Amata Almodovar, daughter of the overseer. They also bonded with Jonas Palmer, Vault doctor and close friend of James.

Fo3 LQ Diner

When the Lone Wanderer was ten years old, they had a birthday party organized by Amata and their father, although they were antagonized by a boy named Butch. During the party, they were gifted a Pip-Boy 3000 by the overseer, along with a BB gun from their father and Jonas Palmer. Between the ages of ten and sixteen, the Lone Wanderer pitched four strikeouts in the Vault 101 baseball games.[5]

When the Lone Wanderer was sixteen, they took their Generalized Occupational Aptitude Test exam to help them determine their role in the Vault.[6] They remained friends with Amata, who was antagonized by Butch and his juvenile gang, the Tunnel Snakes.

Escape and Project Purity[]

For 19 years, the Lone Wanderer lived in Vault 101 without incident, but in 2277, James disappeared without any explanation. The young Lone Wanderer, with Amata's help, was forced to leave the safety of the vault to look for James in the ruins of Washington, D.C.[7] In order to find him, the Lone Wanderer had to travel across the wasteland following James' trail and visiting all of the locations that James had been to, gathering to eventually locate James' whereabouts.[8] During their journey, canonically they disarmed Megaton's namesake atomic bomb and helped collect data for Moira Brown's Wasteland Survival Guide,[9][Non-game 2] whereas many other activities of theirs are subject to rumor and speculation.

After eventually finding James trapped in Vault 112's Tranquility Lane simulation by Stanislaus Braun, the scientist and his heir returned to the Memorial to put Project Purity back on track, but the reunion was cut short when the Enclave's regional commander, Colonel Autumn intervened and demanded ownership of the project in his bid to cement the Enclave's power over the wasteland. James, unwilling to allow the project to fall into the hands of the Enclave, sacrificed himself by filling the control chamber of Project Purity with deadly amounts of radiation, hoping to kill Colonel Autumn and the other soldiers, though he managed to express a final farewell to his child just before passing. However, Colonel Autumn managed to survive, and the Enclave ultimately took control of the purifier, however, James' sacrifice left them unable to operate it.[10]

After fleeing from the Jefferson Memorial building with the remainder of the Project Purity staff, including Dr. Madison Li, the Lone Wanderer took refuge within the Citadel, enlisting the help of the Brotherhood of Steel led by Elder Owyn Lyons to retrieve a G.E.C.K. from Vault 87 with the intent to use it to fully restore Project Purity and defeat the Enclave. At the Vault, because the G.E.C.K. was contained in a highly irradiated chamber, the Lone Wanderer had to choose whether to enlist the help of Fawkes, a friendly super mutant immune to radiation, or face the deadly amounts of radiation themselves to retrieve it.

Once the G.E.C.K. was retrieved, the Lone Wanderer was captured by Colonel Autumn in an ambush and taken to the Enclave's stronghold of Raven Rock.[11] There, President Eden secretly presented the Lone Wanderer with a canister of modified FEV to be inserted into the purifier, which would poison any genetically mutated creature drinking the purified water.[12] Shortly after, the Lone Wanderer escaped (potentially destroying Raven Rock themselves or leaving it intact), returned to the Citadel and rallied the Brotherhood to assault the Jefferson Memorial with the help of their secret weapon, the massive combat robot Liberty Prime, and take back control of Project Purity during the Battle of Project Purity.

FO3 FEV endslide 5

In one of the possible routes, the Lone Wanderer decides to protect Sarah and activate Project Purity themselves

Inside the control chamber of Project Purity, after finally stopping Colonel Autumn, the Lone Wanderer and Sentinel Sarah Lyons were faced with the dilemma of who would enter the radiation-flooded chamber and complete the project's activation. It was also possible that the Lone Wanderer could complete Eden's plan and infect the purifier with the modified FEV (though it's implied by an idle comment from Deacon in Fallout 4 that this canonically did not happen).[13] Upon activating the purifier and fulfilling the family legacy of restoring humanity's chances of survival, a burst of ambient radiation enveloped the Lone Wanderer.[14]

Other quests[]

Two weeks following the Battle of Project Purity, the Lone Wanderer awoke from the coma that the radiation knocked them into, finding themselves in the Citadel where Elder Lyons expressed his respect for the Lone Wanderer's actions, naming them as a knight of the Brotherhood and asking them to help in their new task of distributing the newly-purified water to wastelanders and to hunt down remaining Enclave holdouts. The mission ultimately led to the Lone Wanderer invading Adams AFB and hijacking an orbital satellite array to turn its missile payload against the mobile base crawler, destroying it and crippling the Enclave's grip on the East Coast permanently.[15]

At some point, the Lone Wanderer also met the Brotherhood Outcasts and participated in a simulation of the Anchorage Reclamation, changed the fate of the raider-controlled city of the Pitt, intervened in a centuries-old feud in the swamps of Point Lookout, and even ventured among the stars aboard an alien spacecraft named Zeta.[16]


  • The Lone Wanderer is named "Albert" in Fallout 3 previews. This is a reference to Albert Cole, one of the three preset identities for the Vault Dweller from the original Fallout.
  • While the Lone Wanderer can discuss their father's favorite Bible verse with Marcella in Point Lookout, and mention concerns about cults, they cannot discuss this with either of the priests in the Church at Rivet City.
  • The character is referenced in other entries of the Fallout series, such as:

Notable quotes[]


The Lone Wanderer appears in Fallout 3, all of its add-ons, and Fallout: Wasteland Warfare.

Behind the scenes[]

  • The Lone Wanderer as a baby was voiced by Jake Howard, the son of Todd Howard, on his first birthday.
  • In the Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Collector's Edition afterword, according to Moira Brown, "people can't even agree on whether the Wanderer was a man or a woman, much less a saint or a monster. But they all agree on one thing: the Lone Wanderer changed the Capital Wasteland."[Non-game 2]
  • In Fallout Shelter Online, which is set about 10 years after Fallout 3 but before Fallout 4, Fawkes refers to the Lone Wanderer with male pronouns. Fawkes mentions that traveling with the Lone Wanderer taught him to think before acting. When suggested he should see the Lone Wanderer, Fawkes replies, "Maybe... he has gone missing for long." Madison's Hero Biography also has the line, "...with the help of James's son..." However, Fallout Shelter Online was developed by a different team and does not regard the official canon in any way, so this is not considered a certainty of their identity.



  1. Pip-Boy date during Growing Up Fast, minus ten years
  2. Pitt raider: "Hey, if it isn't quickdraw."
    (Haven Pitt raiders' dialogue)
  3. Tranquility Lane simulation and Anchorage Reclamation simulation
  4. The Lone Wanderer: "Is there any way I can help?"
    Owyn Lyons: "Indeed, we can use every able body available to us. To that end, I am going to circumvent our standard recruitment procedures and declare you a Knight of the Brotherhood of Steel. Before you do anything else, please speak with Scribe Rothchild. I'm sure he'll be pleased to see you again. He can brief you on the details of the last few weeks, as well as where our efforts are focused now. I understand that you've been through quite an ordeal, but the sooner you can talk to him, the sooner we can put an end to all this."
    (Owyn Lyons' dialogue)
  5. Jonas: "That was amazing, sport! Four strike outs in a row! I'll tell ya, doc, I think we're looking at the new Vault 101 MVP!"
    (Jonas Palmer's dialogue)
  6. Events of Future Imperfect.
  7. Events of Escape!
  8. Events of Following in His Footsteps.
  9. The Wasteland Survival Guide appears in Fallout: New Vegas as a skill book.
  10. Events of The Waters of Life.
  11. Events of Finding the Garden of Eden.
  12. Events of The American Dream.
  13. Deacon: "I miss In-game spelling, punctuation and/or grammar Capital Wasteland. You can actually drink the water there."
    (Deacon's dialogue)
  14. Events of Take it Back!
  15. Events of Who Dares Wins.
  16. Events of Operation: Anchorage, The Pitt, Point Lookout, and Mothership Zeta
  17. The Lone Wanderer: "[Child at Heart] You know what? Your face looks like my butt."
    Mayor MacCready: "Oh yeah? You must like having such a good looking butt."
    (Mayor MacCready's dialogue)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.82: "Lone Wanderer
    Born to mother (Catherine) and father (James) inside the Jefferson Memorial, and moved to Vault 101 shortly afterward with the help of acting nurse Madison Li, this mysterious roamer has been spotted at numerous locations throughout the Capital Wasteland, and as far away as Point Lookout. Great tales of the Wanderer's combat prowess, interesting methods of problem-solving, and great cunning in the purchase of strategy guides to help navigate this great wilderness have been whispered both far and wide. The Wanderer's exploits can be heard by turning in to Galaxy News Radio."
    (Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition Wasteland Census)
  2. 2.0 2.1 The afterword from the Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Collector's Edition.