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Constructed under the sprawling metropolis of Bakersfield, Vault 12 was billed as "built with every amenity in mind for the prospective Vault Dweller," and that it had "been fitted with the newest in Vault Water Purification Systems. Able to take even the waste located in the sewers of Bakersfield, this system is able to deliver over 15,000 gallons of pure, refreshing drinking water every day." Those who signed on for this particular Vault took their preparedness very seriously, earning the "Pressed Vault Suit" award for their efforts. The Vault's true purpose, however, was to study the effects of radiation on the residents. To ensure this, Vault-Tec designed the Vault door not to close.[Non-canon 1]
On October 23, 2077, the populace of Bakersfield learned that the other Vaults had been sealed. In desperation, they took to their local shelter, forcing their way in to protect themselves and their families. The door worked as designed: the radiation flooded in; those who survived suffered from ghoulifcation.[Non-canon 2] In the summer of 2083, the survivors would leave the shelter. Those that chose to stay[Non-canon 3] founded the city of Necropolis.
By the spring of 2084, Set took control of Necropolis, wresting control from the original overseer. He, not wanting to be killed, was driven north and lost to history. For the next seventy-three years, Set would lead the city unmolested from outside parties. Instead, internal political strife caused some to leave, while a much more peaceful group was forced to take shelter underground. Despite Set's disgust for the group, he reluctantly sent them whatever water they needed, fearful that he wouldn't have enough people to defend the city if it ever needed to be.
In February of 2162, the Vault Dweller recovered the water chip in Necropolis, but Ian was killed by a super mutant and reduced to a cinder during the fight.[Non-game 1][Non-canon 4] In March of the same year, the mutant army attacked Necropolis out of vengeance for some mutants that the Vault Dweller killed; this forced most of the ghouls to flee, and those who stayed were not spared.[Non-canon 5][Non-canon 3]
This Greek word meaning "city of the dead" refers to this strangely silent ghost town. Travelers report that no one seems to live there, and people who arrive to settle it either end up with radiation sickness or simply disappear. The truth of the matter involves a small population of ghouls beneath the city's streets.
Necropolis can be found six squares east and twelve squares south of Vault 13. Necropolis suffered extreme destruction. Debris litters the streets and makes navigation practically impossible. The sewers serve to connect the various sections of town. Necropolis is divided into three districts and three sewer sections.
|Watershed||↖||Watershed sewers||↘||Vault 12|
|Hall of the Dead||↖||Hall of the Dead sewers|
|Necropolis motel||↘||Motel sewers|
This district is a virtual shooting gallery, filled with ghouls. They are easy experience pickings for the distance shooter. The ghouls will become hostile easily if the Vault Dweller tries to converse and/or rifle through their storage. There are manholes which lead to the city's sewers.
Hall of the Dead
The last district (accessed through the sewers) and the home to:
- Children of the Cathedral medics
- The broken water pump
- A ghoul prisoner
- The super mutants with rhyming names
- The entrance to Vault 12
Three sections of tunnels connecting Necropolis districts.
The ghoul population was divided into three groups:
- The surface dwellers were what could be called the public face of Necropolis, as they were by far the most numerous of the three groups, and controlled most of the city's surface. They were typically the first thing outsiders encountered in Necropolis and were likely the cause of the aforementioned rumors surrounding the City of the Dead. Their operations were based out of the Hall of the Dead, where their leader Set did his business. Paranoid and intolerant of outsiders and non-ghouls, the surface dwellers were often violent, attacking strangers on sight and harboring a particularly deep hatred of super mutants. This was most likely due to the super mutant garrison newly established around Necropolis' important watershed. Though Talius mentions heated resistance to the super mutant presence in the city by Set's surface dwellers, by the time the Vault Dweller arrives there appears to be a sort of stalemate between the two groups, though Set does not hesitate in employing the outsider to eliminate the super mutants garrison.
- The glowing ones were heavily irradiated ghouls who lived in the old Vault 12, shunned by even their own kind, who disliked the other ghouls as much as they did the normal humans.
- The so-called underground ghouls, who were forced to live in the city's sewers, were ironically by far the most peaceful of Necropolis' residents and were much more tolerant of outsiders than either of the other groups.
The Vault Dweller could have saved Necropolis from their slaughter by killing the Master before the Lieutenant, and doing so before March 25, 2162 (after 110 days have passed). To get the good ending, the player character should never return to the city after the date has passed.
Necropolis appears only in Fallout and is mentioned by multiple characters in Fallout 2 and by Raul in Fallout: New Vegas (referring to it as Bakersfield). Wagner from the canceled Fallout 3 project Van Buren was originally from the city.[Non-canon 7]
Behind the scenes
- In Fallout, according to the Vault-Tec Vault locations holodisk, Vault 12 was located in Bakersfield. However, while Necropolis lies to the northeast of Los Angeles, the actual city of Bakersfield is not far to the southwest of the Lost Hills bunker. The location of Necropolis roughly matches the town of Barstow.
- In ancient Greek, a necropolis (νεκρόπολις) literally means, a "city of the dead," in this case referring to the ghouls that inhabit the ruins of the city.
- Vault Dweller: "Necropolis"
Tycho: "The City of Death is well named. It lies in what used to be the little town of Bakersfield. Now, though, it's home to ghouls and worse."
- Vault locations v34.129
- The Vault Dweller: "Set"
Ghoul leader: "He tries to control Necropolis, and has forced us underground."
(Ghoul leader's dialogue)
- Ghoul leader: "Thank you for not shooting first. Can I help you with anything?"
The Vault Dweller: "Yes, I'm looking for water."
Ghoul leader: "The surface of Necropolis and the water is controlled by Set and his Ghouls. We are a much more peaceful group - which disgusts Set."
The Vault Dweller: "How do you survive down here without water?"
Ghoul leader: "He does not speak of it, however Set is afraid of not having enough people to defend Necropolis if it ever needed it. So, he gives us what water we need."
(Ghoul leader's dialogue)
- The Chosen One: "Lenny, have you ever heard of something called a Garden of Eden Creation Kit?"
Lenny: "A G’garden of Eden C’creation K’kit? I heard that Vault City had one of those. That’s the only one I’ve ever heard of, though."
The Chosen One: "Well, my ancestor, the Vault Dweller, said that Vault 13 owes us one. I need to find it."
Lenny: "W’well. I didn’t actually m’meet the V’vault Dweller. But I saw them. Once."
The Chosen One: "You saw the Vault Dweller? Where?"
Lenny: "I’it w’was a long time ago. In a place called N’necropolis. A lot of us g’ghouls lived there. One, day I saw someone running through the city."
The Chosen One: "Running?"
Lenny: "Yes, running. You see, we ghouls c’can’t run too much anymore. So, I knew it was an outsider when I saw them. They ran by so close I could have touched them. I wish that I had joined the Vault Dweller.…"
The Chosen One: "You wanted to join my grandsire?"
Lenny: "Yes. I h’had the chance of a lifetime and I blew it."
The Chosen One: "What do you mean?"
Lenny: "L'later, I h’heard that the Vault Dweller had fixed our water system. The V’vault Dweller saved us -- all of us. Do you understand? It didn’t matter that we were ghouls. For once it didn’t matter. We w’were people again. W’worth saving."
The Chosen One: "My ancestor was the founder of our tribe. That memory is revered amongst my people."
Lenny: "Later, I heard that the Vault Dweller destroyed the source of the m’mutant army. The Vault D’dweller saved all of us. Human and ghoul alike… I could have been a part of that, but I lacked the c’courage. I’ve never forgiven m’myself."
- The Vault Dweller: "What happened here?"
The ghoul refugee: "The super mutants attacked. We were slaughtered. They had guns and bombs, even some steam trucks. They killed my friends. The mutants just butchered us."
The Vault Dweller: "How did you survive?"
The ghoul refugee: "I hid until most of the mutants left."
The Vault Dweller: "Do you know why?"
The ghoul refugee: "I heard they was pissed that some human killed their men here."
(Ghoul refugee's dialogue)
- Vault Dweller's memoirs p.10: "Life on the Outside
The Hub was a larger city than both Junktown and Shady Sands combined. You could drop the Vault in there, and you probably would not notice. But the people of the Hub had no life, and it was a desolate place just the same. It eased my mind, however, to hire some merchants to bring water to the Vault. Looking back, it was probably a mistake to do so, but I was still innocent of the evils that lurked through the ruins of civilization. A small clue led me to the city of the ghouls, the place they called Necropolis. It was there that I encountered large mutants, armed with weapons of an unknown origin. It is with heavy sadness that I say that Ian lost his life in the city of the dead. A super mutant burned him to death with a flamethrower. The passage of time is no proof against the memory of burning flesh. His sacrifice was not in vain, as I did find the water-chip buried beneath the city. It was with easier steps that I returned to Vault 13."
- Fallout Bible p.11: "VAULT SYSTEM"
"Vault 12: In order the study the effects of radiation on the selected population, the Vault Door was designed not to close. This is the Necropolis Vault... and the ghouls were the result."
- Fallout Bible p.22: "TIMELINE REPAIR: SECOND STRIKE"
"2077 October 23: Necropolis Vault [Vault 12] never closes. Once it becomes known that the other vaults have sealed, people within Bakersfield attempt to force their way into Vault 12 to protect themselves and their families."
- Fallout Bible p.6: "ANSWER ME THESE QUESTIONS HERE"
"1. Why was it that so many ghouls left necropolis between Fallout 1 and 2 to settle in Broken Hills and Gecko? Is necropolis empty now? Also, why was it that Harold joined the ghouls? I remember him talking as if he weren't a ghoul; When you type in "ghouls" in the question box in the first Fallout he refers to the ghouls as "them".
- Ghouls still have the human need to expand and move on - and in the 80+ years between Fallout 1 and 2, the ghouls spread out from Necropolis in all directions... and some had even left before the events in Fallout 1.
- Necropolis is not empty now; ghouls are still said to reside there, though Set is no longer their leader. It is not clear whether he is alive or dead.
Harold joined the ghouls in Fallout 2 because Harold is a kindly sort who likes to help people - when he sees a group of people trying to make their way in the wasteland, he tries to step in and give them a leg up, especially when it can benefit life for everyone.
- Harold is not a ghoul, but he is a mutant. What happened to him inside the military base during his assault with Francine, Mark, and Richard Grey is unknown, but it is likely he was exposed to the FEV virus and changed. His last known memory after the attack was passing out then waking back up in the wasteland... changed."
- Fallout Bible p.26: "TIMELINE REPAIR: SECOND STRIKE"
"2162 February 13: Vault Dweller recovers the water chip in Necropolis. Ian is killed by a super mutant and reduced to a cinder, ending his tendency to shoot the Vault Dweller in the back with SMG bursts."
- Fallout Bible p.84: "THE VIPERS"
"X. You said in the Fallout Bible, that Ghouls still live in Necropolis, but in the manual, it is written that the city was completely wiped out (The bad thing that happens if you don't take out the Military Base in time.) I find this odd since I assumed FO2 continued with the assumptions that the Vault Dweller more or less did everything the "Best" way possible in Fallout 1 (Such as taking out the base in time) Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something here, which is not too unlikely considering how long it's been since I've had time to play the game, so anything to help clear up this little question of mine is appreciated.
I am wrong. Most ghouls were forced to leave Necropolis, leading to the Great Migration across the wastes. I will print retractions later."
- Fallout Bible p.50: "QUESTIONS"
"14. One thing - what's happened to Junktown? Was it just too little to be it's own state? Or maybe it has managed to survive as an independent enclave inside NCR, a hive of scum and villainy, so to speak. And what kind of folks would live in Glow? After all, that place must still, well, glow, at least somewhat. Ghouls?
Junktown became part of NCR as part of the state of Shady, and it was one of the first provisional states, considering it was one of the first (and most trustworthy) of the Shady Sands trading partners during its early formation. Its alliance with Shady Sands did cause some alarm from the caravans in the Hub, but it didn't hurt the Hub communities any... and the Hub eventually became part of NCR as well.
As for the Glow (or the state of Dayglow), most of the state is actually north and west of the glow, but they are still able to see the Glow from their borders. A number of ghouls are rumored to live there now, as part of the Great Migration from Necropolis - once the ghouls learned of West Tek, they were eager to see if they could scavenge technology from the abandoned center. Some ghouls formed partnerships with scavenging companies from New Adytum and the Hub and have built quite a profitable corporation from their salvage efforts. At least one super mutant, a refugee from the Cathedral, was also rumored to be working with the ghouls and humans in Dayglow."
- Denver design document p.45: "SALV/WAGNER"
"A salvager ghoul. Formerly of the Necropolis, made his way north to Gecko, left Gecko after a few months. Lived as a traveler, selling supplies and working as a light mechanic/electrician to towns. Friendly-looking (big happy grin), goggles."