|The following is based on Van Buren and is not canon.|
The Reservation was a top secret military and nuclear research facility before the bombs dropped. It was tasked with developing and building the nuclear missiles that went into the B.O.M.B. satellites. The Reservation was nestled deep in the rocky hills of northern New Mexico where the U.S. government felt that no enemy satellites or spies would ever think to look. But nuclear bombs and missiles don't usually discriminate. During the flurry of falling bombs and missiles from the holocaust, the area around and near the Reservation was annihilated – it would seem that someone had a hunch about the Reservation's whereabouts. However, even though the area around the Reservation was destroyed and rendered radioactive, the Reservation itself remained relatively intact thanks to most of the facility being underground. In fact, many people who worked at the Reservation survived the attacks, but over time many succumbed to radiation poisoning and died. Out of fifteen-hundred people who were at the underground facility when the bombs fell, only forty "survived," and eventually became ghouls. Due to fear, these "survivors" did not venture out of their impromptu bomb shelter for nearly ten years.
After about a decade of wandering about within the maze-like corridors of The Reservation's sub-levels, the surviving ghouls eventually ventured topside. It was then that about a dozen ghouls were tasked with braving the radioactive wasteland and seek out other "survivors." Among these brave ghouls was Dr. Willem Clark, a lead Reservation scientist and part-time thrill seeker. Willem eagerly hit the wastes not only to seek out other survivors but also to see what could be salvaged. Of the twelve ghouls who went into the wastes, Willem was the only one to return after almost a year. Willem was accompanied by fifty or so other ghouls that he found in his travels; ghouls who wanted a safe place to live, away from not only the hardships of the wasteland but also away from the persecution ghouls experienced from smooth skin humans.
Willem's return was celebrated among the ghouls, but Willem himself was unable to celebrate. He witnessed first hand the prejudice and reprehensible treatment ghouls received in the wastes, and he vowed to make a difference. With near-religious fervor, he proclaimed the Reservation a sanctuary for what he called the Children of the Wastelands; the ghouls. He preached his version of the truth about ghouls and their rightful place as rulers of the Promised Earth. Willem became the unchallenged leader of the growing ghoul community and mandated that all the knowledge and research that was archived and stored in the Reservation's libraries and laboratories should further the ghouls' cause. Research once again blossomed in the Reservation, and over the course of nearly two centuries, weapons and war materials were hacked together to one day not only beat back what they thought would be an inevitable invasion by smooth-skins, but eventually to overtake and conquer the "chosen peoples" lands.
The Reservation ghouls are not planning an immediate invasion, at least not yet, but are actually a very paranoid group that believes it is inevitable that either the smooth-skins or the mutants will invade their precious facility and try to wipe out the ghouls. This paranoia feeds the ghouls' desire to scavenge, create, and build new weapons with whatever they can find in the "gold-mine" of a research facility. In addition, the labyrinth of underground tunnels makes hiding the ghouls' accomplishments and numbers from prying eyes easy. In fact, the casual passer-by on the surface of the Reservation would only see one ruined one-story office buildings, two dilapidated aircraft hangers with decaying aircraft, and roughly two dozen ghouls meandering about. Surrounding this decaying mess is a large stretch of barbed wire and sheet metal (probably from destroyed planes in the hangers) that keeps trespassers away and the ghouls on the surface feeling more secure. No other organization or faction is aware that deep underground this ruined community there is a multitude of ghouls living and working.
One of Willem Clark's immediate plans is to find a way to disable a potential threat to the Reservation. On the third level of the Reservation, there is a powerful gun called a Nuclear Nellie, capable of firing a nuclear shell some thirty miles away. However, Willem lacked sufficient uranium to make a complete nuclear weapon, so he used what was left to make a dirty bomb. He figures that a dirty bomb delivered in the heart of an enemy's town will be enough to devastate their growth. This type of bomb, Willem felt, would buy enough time for him and his ghouls to increase their combat prowess, and, more importantly, find a source of uranium so he can build actual nuclear weapons to complete the process of turning the Earth into his Promised Earth.
Since the area surrounding the Reservation is highly radioactive, the only safe way to approach the makeshift surface community by a human is with a lot of Rad-X, or a radiation suit. Since there is trade on the surface, the player would be able to come across traders who sell radiation suits, or the player could mug a group of traders for their suits. When the makeshift gate guards are approached by someone wearing a radiation suit, the ghouls will be civil, but not necessarily friendly. Mention that you're here for trade and they will let you into a holding area just big enough for perhaps two-dozen people. Here the player will find a couple of old husks of Army trucks posing as trade tents, an actual tent used for slave trading, and about three ghouls to communicate with and trade.
Trading Post Locations
The Trading Post is pretty much the only locale non-ghouls will ever see of the Reservation; that is, any free non-ghoul. The ten-foot outer wall is comprised of steel paneling from automobiles, tanks, helicopters, and whatever other metal sidings the ghouls could find, and meshes into the surrounding jagged, rocky hills. It literally looks like a junkyard exploded to form this wall, but it is effective in keeping out undesirables, especially when the two Gatling gun towers are taken into consideration.
Another natural (depends on how you look at it, really) safeguard against intruders is the high level of radiation in the area. During the Great War, several nuclear bombs fell within five miles of the Reservation, but never actually hit it. Because of this, the region still glows with radioactivity even after two-hundred years. Also, since this region is still highly radioactive, all non-ghouls visiting the Trading Post must either wear a radiation suit or be stocked to the gills with Rad-X and Rad-Away. Failure to do so will result in high doses of radiation, sickness, and death within a week.
If the gate guards deem the player worthy of trading (and most likely they will since they always seem to be interested in new folks who might have something interesting to offer, especially services), they will allow the player entrance into the Trading Post, but nowhere else. Upon entering, the player will see two beat-to-hell husks of what used to be Army supply trucks. Mended with spit and gum (some places literally), the cargo beds and tarps now serve as makeshift stores. The store to the north is run by a ghoul named Hank. Hank is a friendly enough ghoul who seems to be in complete social contrast to the surly ghoul guards at the gates and looming inside the Trading Post. Hank's little shop specializes in weapons and ammo and seems to have a very good supply of both. As it turns out, Hank is the master weapons smith of the Reservation and oversees all scavenging of materials, and manufacturing and forging. If Hank doesn't have the conventional weapon the player wants, it might not exist anywhere else in the wasteland.
Hank is also accompanied by a human female dressed in a radiation suit who seems to be doing the brunt of the physical work. As it turns out, this female is Jillian McKinley, one of the escaped prisoners and current slave for Hank. It seems that Jillian was an exceptional mechanic and had a gift when dealing with guns and ammo. The ghouls were impressed with her abilities in this capacity and gave her to Hank. Hank eagerly accepted the help and quickly grew fond of Jillian. Over the course of a few months, this fondness turned into a crush, though he never made any advances on Jillian knowing that a beautiful, smooth skin woman would never shack up with a drippy, smelly ghoul (and he'd be right, in this case). However, Jillian does not mind working for Hank, as slavery goes, especially since the alternative was too horrible to imagine. This horrible alternative is something the player can investigate further if they so choose.
The store to the south is run by Betty, a female ghoul who has a way with armor, if not congeniality. She does not like humans and likes even less that she must deal with them in order to trade. In addition, her surly attitude is coupled with the fact that she has a crush on Hank. She might actually act on the crush, but his affection towards Jillian is so obvious that she just does not see the worth in trying. Normally she would just kill the human, but Jillian is Hank's property and Betty would be kicked out of the Reservation if she did.
On the east side of the Trading Post is a large Army tent. This tent is used specifically for slave trading and is run by a very intimidating ghoul named Horatio. Before becoming a ghoul, it looks like Horatio must have been a very large athlete of some sort, something akin to a football interior lineman or professional wrestler. In either case, it looks like a lot of the size carried over to his present ghoul form. Horatio mainly stays inside the Army tent where he can watch over his newest slave acquisitions and bargain with the members of Caesar's Legion, the main suppliers of the slaves. A large bargaining table rests on the south side of the tent, and along the eastern wall are two cabinets filled with Rad-X and Rad-Away, which will be used on the purchased slaves before taking them into the Reservation proper. At different times during the day, the north end of the tent is occupied by sickly slaves suffering from radiation exposure. Also at different times in the day, the slaves are taken through the heavily guarded Town Gate in the north, never to be seen again.
Some things get better with time; the Reservation Town is not one of those things. Upon entering through the homemade steel gate, it becomes apparent that the Reservation, though it missed most of the Big War and the after-effects, it did not miss all of it. The player is immediately walking through chunks of debris that looks every bit the two-hundred years it is. The asphalt road that goes north and west is cracked, bleached from sand and sun, and full of potholes, some of them as big as a car. On this road can be found several abandoned husks of what were once fine quality jeeps, cars (with 50' wings, no less), and a couple of tanks here and there. With a bit of close examination, the player can find that a lot of parts have been salvaged from these abandoned vehicles, but for what use, that's a mystery – for now.
Going west, the player will run into two helicopter hangers that are pretty much destroyed. There's not much to look at here, except the careful scavenger might find some useful parts from the helicopter wreckage there. There are some ghouls living in the less exposed sections of the hangers, but for the most part, these are just big ruins.
To the east, after entering the town proper is a dilapidated office building. Several sections have caved in from either an old bomb blast or time – or both. However, in the offices that have not collapsed, several ghouls have taken up residence. All the ghouls here are very standoffish and will try to avoid conversation. All, that is, except for Florence, a very old ghoul who was old even when she was human before the bombs dropped. Florence was the disgruntled janitor for the office building, but the day the bombs fell she was in sub-level 1 cleaning a particularly stubborn commode. "Luckily" for her, she survived the war but became even more cantankerous over the last couple of centuries. However, even though she is a fungus-grump, she is more than willing to chat the player's ear off (if she isn't tempted to eat it). If the player gained access to the town proper through sneaking, Florence is a good primary source for the player to discover how to get into Sub-level 1.
Down the dusty road and further into the Reservation Town, the player will come across a true shanty town, complete with holey, rank tents and holey, rank ghouls living in them. In the center of this shantytown is a large Army tent occupied by the commander of the Reservation guards, Colonel Green. The Colonel is another ghoul who was around when the bombs first dropped. He was assigned security duty at the Reservation and was in Sub-level 2 when the war started. He will not give away any information about the sub-levels, but he will speak to the player to find out his/her intent. However, if the player sneaks into the town proper, he and his men will immediately try to capture the player to find out how he/she got in, and how the ghouls could make good use of the player. It's up to the player to decide if he/she wants to go along with being captured.
The last stop for the player is at the railroad cars, Main Access Elevator, and Equipment Lift. This area is heavily guarded by the ghouls and would represent quite the challenge for the sneaky player type. In fact, sneaking into the elevator and using it is pretty much impossible without the guards noticing. If the player gets captured, he will be brought before Measles and questioned, in which case, depending on how cooperative the player is being, Measles will contact Dr. Willem Clark, via direct comm. link, and consult. Negotiations can start from this point.
Based on either the negotiations or the player's actions within the Trading Post, there are several ways the player can get authorized access to the sub-levels - which will be explored in more detail in the Quests section. But as a primer, a couple of ways is to foil a scam being placed on Horatio by Caesar's Legion slave traders. Another way is to turn in Hank for being a dissenter. And another way is to seek out and kill a caravaner who managed to steal some shotguns, ammo, and a couple of human slaves. Bringing back his head and the loot will make Measles very pleased, who will, in turn, contact Willem Clark about the deed. Willem Clark finds it interesting that a human would care so much as to help ghouls, so he decides to meet with the player. Measles will then escort the player to Sub-Level 1 and introduce the player to Willem Clark through the General Computer. Only a mouth appears in the computer monitor (obviously Willem's), and the owner of the chewed up mouth will ask some questions of the player. It is here that Willem will offer Measles as a companion and will give the player access to Sub-Level 2, the level where all the ammo and arms are manufactured.
If the player gains access to the sub-levels, this is more than likely his first stop. Built pretty much like a typical vault, this level is the main sleeping area for the sub-level ghouls. This level is clean, crisp, and very well taken care of, unlike the Reservation Town. The contrast between the two should be somewhat shocking. The floors of the level are sparkling, the walls show no sign of wear, and the sleeping quarters are very well maintained, with two beds each and toilets in pristine condition. Depending on the time of day, half the beds and/or rooms will be occupied by ghouls in clean white lab coats, and the other half of the rooms will not. In addition, each room will have two chests for the ghouls to store stuff.
The conversation is pretty limited here to just floats and such, except for Marty. Marty is a disillusioned ghoul who has the same type of thinking that Hank has; all is not right in paradise. If Marty feels like he can trust the player, he will divulge some of the things he's working on. One of those things is the assembly of dirty bombs on sub-level 3. The player will get the opportunity to eventually help or hinder Willem Clark and his diabolical plans based on info from Hank and Marty. Of course, one of the best ways to earn trust from Measles is to snitch on Marty about his rebellious thoughts, but I'll get into more detail in the quests section.
In addition to speaking to Marty, the player can hack into the General Computer on this level and find out little tidbits about the Nuclear Nellie, the dirty bombs, and just the very slightest hint at the ghoul procreation experimentation.
Once the player has access to Sub-Level 2, he will have access to mechanics labs engineered for weapon, armor, and ammo-smithing. However, the player may be in for a bit of shell shock once he enters Sub-Level 2. This level is very dirty, akin to an early 19th century English machine factory. The floors and walls are covered with soot and the air is a thick fog of mixed fumes generated by large boilers and burners. Evidently there is not a good air filtration system on Sub-Level 2, not that the ghouls would really need one. The player would be wise to use a gas mask down here (radiation is not as big a factor as on the surface. The sub-levels were well enough insulated during the Big War to keep out most of the radiation from above, but obviously not all).
However, the people who do need protection from the fumes are the human slaves working in the large, but smog congested smithing rooms. All of them have scarf-like materials wrapped around their faces as a weak form of protection, though every one of them frequently coughs. Though one might expect to see a few large slaves handling the brunt of the shoveling, the opposite is true. All the slaves lurking about are quite frail. At first assumption, one might think that their frailness is a result of long term exposure to the level's fumes and poor treatment of the slaves. However, a bit of investigation will reveal that all the working slaves are usually the weakest of the crop purchased. Evidently, the strongest human slaves are carted off to a room that emits a strange green glow through the door cracks on Sub-Level 3A slave or two may mention that at night, when they are resting in their holding cell, that they can hear screams coming down the hall where the "Green Room" is.
The first room the player will run into is the firing range directly north. It looks like a standard indoor firing range, except for the filth, comes complete with three ranges and, at any given time, a couple of ghoul guards trying out a new conventional firearm. Since the guards have a bit of an ego, they are anxious to challenge the player to a contest of skills. Best of ten shots at the maximum distance in the range wins the contest (prize is TBD).
To the northeast of the level is a large room used for armor manufacturing. Inside, there are two large furnaces next to makeshift anvils and tables. A couple of ghouls bang away at stretching leather and forming metal to make suits of armor. Several slaves toil away at moving around the scrap materials and shoveling coal into the furnaces from large piles of coal along the northern wall.
Just south of the armor-smithing room is the weapon and ammo-smithing room. It looks very similar to the armor smithing room, except that there a lot of medium-sized crates filled with ammo and guns (a lot for the FO3 world, anyways). One side is filled with crates of non-functioning weapons, and another, guarded by four ghoul guards, is filled with functioning guns and ammo, though this side is much smaller than the non-functioning side. The two weapon smith ghouls toil away at dismantling the non-working guns to either piece together the different parts into a functioning weapon or melt down the metal to forge new components. The slaves cart coal from the stockpile in the armorsmith and shovel it into the furnaces in the weaponsmith facility. Again, these slaves are frail and look like they are going to keel over at any moment. Even though the slaves are frail, the floating toxins do not help their health conditions. The slaves rarely live longer than a couple of years before the toxins kill them. The player will have the opportunity to either find proper gas masks or devise a makeshift air filtration system.
Running the whole show on Sub-Level 2 is Milt the Foreman. He can be found walking from room to room, making sure things are running smoothly. He's a no-nonsense ghoul who tells it like it is, and he'll waste no time telling the player what he thinks of human scum. In any event, Milt will serve as a focal point to augment current weapons and armor for the player to make them more deadly, provided the player has the blessing of Dr. Willem Clark. If not, he'll call the guards and they will lay the smack down!
There's also a Chem Lab on this level where the player can use the chem.-mechanic's table to concoct stim packs, Rad-Away, and other such things. There is a science techy in here every once in a while, but he only comes in to get supplies and such – nothing to buy here. But if the player follows said techy, he will see that he takes a different elevator than the one the player came. This elevator is the only way to Sub-Level 3 and its big mysteries.
There's also the requisite sleeping chambers for the ghoul workers, as well as a bathroom/locker-room complete with lockers for the player to pick.
The last place of note on this level is the Incinerator Room. Periodically during a given day, a techy will come up from Sub-Level 3 with a large, covered trash can. He will head into the Incinerator room and dump the contents into the very large incinerator. The player may try to investigate the ashes and such around the incinerator to determine what was thrown in there. A good Perception will uncover human bone in the ash.
Sub-Level 3 used to be the meat and potatoes of the Reservation back in the day. Little has changed in that regard. While Sub-Level 2 maintains the manufacturing of armor and arms for trade on the surface, the true research and development, and the means by which Willem Clark fulfills his dream, occurs on Sub-Level 3.
The only way for the player to access this level is through the southern elevator on Sub-Level 2. The use of this elevator requires the visual approval of Willem Clark himself. The player's options to gain entry are to earn the trust of Willem Clark through completing quests, going Rambo and killing everyone topside and the first two sub-levels – this brings Willem and his cronies to the player for a final showdown, and by doing this Willem forgets to reset the security on the elevator, or the final way is to sneak down the elevator using deception. However, since Willem visually checks everyone in and out of the elevator through a heavily protected camera over the elevator, and he is personally familiar with all who works for him, the player would need a very high Deceive skill to pull off the scam.
As Sub-Level 1 is sharply contrasted in appearance and feel to Sub-Level 2, so is Sub-Level 3 to both previous levels. Not only is Sub-Level 3 very clean and tidy, but it is also eerily dark and cold, both figuratively and literally. The halls are permanently lit by red power back-up lights, and the purple glow of the force field at the end of the hall accentuates the dark mood. During the daylight hours, the entire level is deathly silent, save for the hum of the force fields. During the night, inconsistent screams of terror and pain can be heard coming from within a room; a room known to the slaves only as the "Green Room."
The first room to the right from the elevator in Sub-Level 3 is a long room consisting of three smaller rooms. The rooms are regular, square rooms each with a single bed and a cabinet against the wall. If the player has entered this area during the day, the rooms will be empty. However, at night the rooms will be occupied by their respective owners getting ready for a good night's rest. These rooms, as it turns out, belong to the successful results of the ghoul procreation experiments. Like Measles, these three ghouls are born ghouls. However, only Belle will give the player the time of day, the other two will brush the player off.
- Reservation Town
- Reservation Town Gate
- Dilapidated Helicopter Hangers
- Decrepit Office Building
- Central Street
- Shanty-Town Shacks
- Railroad and Railcars
- Equipment Lift & Main Access Elevator
- Reservation Trading Post
- Trading stores
- Slave trading tent
- Trading Reservation Main Gate
- Gatling Gun Towers
- Reservation Town Gate
- Learn the Scaven-picker's gibberish language
- Teach the Scaven-pickers to make their own Rad-X
- Learn the Scaven-picker's unarmed fighting style, "Powpapa"
- Learn the Scaven-picker's melee fighting style, "Shinkpapa"
- Eliminate the Scaven-picker pests
- Sell "smooch" to the Scaven-pickers
- Gain entrance into the Reservation Town
- Hook up Betty and Hank by freeing (acquiring) Jillian
- Acquire Jillian
- Player acquires Measles as a companion
- The trouble with Florence
- Colonel Green's Quest; or "How the hell do I get into the Sub-levels" quest
- Smooch dealer
- Blackmail Marty
- Fetch the cable for the heavy lift
- Get Hermes XIII launch codes
- Fix air filtration device
Behind the scenes
This area was designed by Damien Foletto.
- Reservation design documents, page 2: "The Reservation, formerly known as the Los Alamos Nuclear Testing Facility, was a top secret military & nuclear research facility before the bombs dropped."