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Settlers are the common people of the Commonwealth. They can include wanderers, former residents of Diamond City or Goodneighbor, scavengers, former raiders or Gunners, and even Gen 3 synths who are covertly working for the Institute or have been rescued by the Railroad, trying to integrate into normal life. Even wastelanders trying to scrape out a living will sometimes give up their solitary life as a wanderer and move into a soon-to-be-thriving settlement, sometimes under the protection of the Commonwealth Minutemen.
After taking up residence, new settlers can serve a variety of roles in the community to earn their keep. Some help to actively defend the settlement, grow crops, serve as shopkeepers, or scavenge. In the event that a settlement is attacked, all its inhabitants will gather to protect it. A few settlers willing to put their lives on the line for their loved ones may leave their simple life as a farmer to join the Minutemen to fight for the common good.
Interactions with the player character
|This character is a temporary companion.|
|This character is involved in quests.|
|This character is a doctor.|
|This character is a merchant.||Sells: various wares, if assigned to a store.|
- Able to trade equipment.
- Able to heal a player character, cure radiation, and cure addiction if assigned to a first aid station.
- Able to equip gear, including weapons, armor, and grenades.
- Become merchants when assigned to settlement stores.
- The leader of a settlement can give the player character radiant quests, which commonly involve exterminating nearby ghouls, raiders or super mutants, or dealing with a kidnapping.
- Killing or injuring a settler will turn the entire settlement hostile if not done covertly.
- If one has an arena (Wasteland Workshop add-on), settlers can be killed there with no repercussions other than a happiness drop.
Settlers in allied settlements
Speaking to a settler from one of the Sole Survivor's settlements will allow them to access their inventory and select their equipment much like they would a companion. They can be armed with better weaponry than their default pipe pistols, but don't consume ammunition provided they have at least one unit of the correct ammunition for their weapon. The same holds true with grenades. The only exceptions are the missile launcher and Fat Man, as these are tagged with "NPCs Consume Ammo."
Settlers assigned as shopkeepers have additional dialogue options when spoken to, similar to other merchants. Select "trade" from the dialogue tree to access their inventory. Speaking to a shopkeeper settler outside of their operating hours will go straight to their personal inventory as normal. Doctors seem to be an exception: A settler assigned to a clinic will not have a trade dialogue option when spoken to during business hours. To access their inventory, either wait for the shop to close or unassign and reassign them from/to their shop.
Settlers assigned to a guard post will man that post as well as up to two other unmanned guard posts. They will walk in a patrol circuit between such posts, making it pragmatic to place groups of three in relatively close proximity. They rarely leave these posts, to the extent that they do not sleep when the player character is visiting (like any settlement resident, they still require a bed).
Unassigned settlers default to gathering any unassigned crops should there be a deficit of food. Assuming the player character is present, during daylight hours these settlers, as well as those assigned to a scavenging station, will patrol the settlement when not working, and if chairs are present will periodically stop to sit and eat. At night, settlers will gravitate towards the most well-lit parts of town, particularly around a food stall, if built, regardless if occupied or not. Thus, the strategic placement of chairs and lights can allow these settlers to assist in monitoring a settlement's perimeter for intruders or, conversely, herd them towards a settlement's center.
Sometimes, as the Sole Survivor wanders the wasteland, they may come across a small band of settlers, often in groups of three or four, fighting against a band of enemies, from raiders to super mutants. Should the Sole Survivor save these settlers, it gives them the option of going to one of the allied settlements.
|Apparel||Weapon||Other items||On death|
|Random wastelander clothing||Pipe gun
(sometimes carried by hostile synth settlers during Defend)
|Covenant house key (in Covenant)
Random food or ammo
|Synth component (Synth settlers only)|
- They are typically equipped with a pipe pistol or, less frequently, a double-barrel sawed-off shotgun along with a token amount of the requisite ammo. Most appear with basic clothing such as flannel shirt and jeans, but sometimes appear wearing more protective gear such as a drifter outfit, spike armor, or cage armor. It is also common for them to have a bobby pin, a handful of caps, and a food item.
- Settlers on the Island wield pipe rifles and occasionally wear coastal armor.
- Gen-3 settlers will turn hostile during an attack on a settlement by the Institute and can be killed without any penalty.
- A settler or provisioner is not protected from death in the same manner as a companion. They cannot be killed by other hostile enemies and will be merely knocked out, except for a human settler against a synth infiltrator after having recently been banished from the Institute, if any. However, they can be killed by the player character, and should one be knocked out, any damage done to them by the Sole Survivor will kill them.
- In settlements that are already populated by settlers prior to being acquired by the player character (such as Tenpines Bluff, Greentop Nursery, County crossing, Oberland Station, etc.), the original settlers usually have significantly less health than settlers recruited via a recruitment beacon. Original settlers generally only have 40 health, while recruited settlers often have 100 health. This does not apply to named settlers (such as Preston Garvey's group, the Abernathy farm family, the Finch farm family, etc.), who usually have more health than unnamed settlers.
- Food in inventory does not count towards settlement food for the day when it is in red.
- They will use a Stealth Boy if one is in their inventory upon entering combat.
- They will not use stimpaks unless in power armor with the medic torso mod.
- When in combat, they may take and automatically equip better weapons from any accessible location or container in the settlement, including the workshop. This always applies to melee weapons, but they will only pick up ranged weapons if they already have its ammo type in their inventory or can acquire it from another location or container in the settlement.
- When wearing a suit of power armor, they will walk through water; this is useful for supply routes to Spectacle Island.
- Settlers may use unoccupied power armor if there are enemies nearby. They can be ordered to exit the armor once combat ceases.
- Some settlements come with named settlers, and once the settlement is unlocked, they can be used like any other settlers. However, most of them are restricted to their default settlement and cannot be moved to other settlements, nor can they be used as provisioners. The minuteman settlers (including Ronnie Shaw) in the Castle also count as these. Some of these settlers may also be merchants by default, even without assigning them a vendor stall.
- Child settlers that come default in some settlements have some limitations. They cannot be traded with and cannot be assigned to guard duty. But they can be assigned to some duty, such as farming. The exception is Meg who cannot be assigned to anything.
- Some settlers will drop a synth component when killed by the player character. This can happen before even entering the Institute.
- Synth infiltrator settlers might sabotage generators at settlements and engage in combat with other settlers. A synth infiltrator will precede an attack by Institute synths. Immediately prior to the attack, any synth infiltrator(s) will damage settlement defenses to aid the synth attackers.
- Synth infiltrators may show strange stats and behavior (randomly pulling out their gun and staying awake, or having natural energy resistance) but this is not necessarily consistent (a settler may have 0 natural energy resistance but will have a synth component on their body if killed, and they will side with Institute forces if they raid the settlement or attack other settlers that aren't fellow synths).
- Settlers native to the Island have different appearances, stats, and dialogue from the settlers of the Commonwealth or Nuka-World.
- It is possible to send settlers in the Commonwealth to settlements in Nuka-World or the Island, and vice-versa.
- Ghoul settlers will sometimes say "Gotta get back to Diamond City one of these days," even though ghouls are forbidden from Diamond City.
- Due to limitations in the game engine, there is a chance one could end up with more than one settler looking exactly the same.
Settlers may spontaneously stop working. They can be reassigned to resources temporarily but they will revert back to their unassigned state after a short time. Leaving the area and returning before reassigning the settlers to their resources appears to fix this.[verified]