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I tell them to read and to learn and to make the most of their new home. I tell them I'm giving them Zion as a gift to make up for all the sorrows of their lives so far and all the sorrows man has visited on man. I tell them to be kind to each other and modest. I tell them never to hurt each other but that if someone else comes along and tries to hurt them to strike back with righteous anger.Randall Dean Clark, from Randall Clark's journal

The Sorrows are a tribe native to Zion Canyon in the former state of Utah and a faction encountered in the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Honest Hearts.


The history of the Sorrows has been closely tied to their religion. The original Sorrows were a group of children, the eldest born no earlier than 2109. They spoke English and were literate, said to have escaped from a place known only as "The School." Little is known about this place other than that someone called "The Principal" is related to it and who is used by the children as a boogeyman-like figure to scare each other.[1]

Less than a year after the children arrived in the Narrows in Zion,[2] notes and gifts began to appear from seemingly nowhere. At first, story books, later, medical books and weapon manuals replaced them; the sort of thing that would help the children survive the post-apocalyptic world.[3] All the notes were signed "the Father." Some contained practical advice, others provided spiritual guidance, advising them to read and learn, be kind and modest, to protect one another and fight only those who posed threats to them, and telling them that Zion was the Father's gift to them, as "an apology for the sorrows of their lives" and the sorrows of the Great War.[3]

Unbeknownst to the children, the notes and gifts were from Randall Clark, a former US soldier and survivalist who had been living in the canyon for decades and took it upon himself to see that the children survived the harshness of the world. He kept out of sight and allowed them to think he was a spirit because he believed they would be disappointed to find out their benevolent "Father" was just an old man. He gave away most of his possessions and hoped that they would discover everything else he had left behind when they grew older.[3] Eventually, Randall's mortality caught up with him as his health began to decline, and the gifts became fewer and far between, until one day one final note was discovered. It contained a personal message for each individual member of the group, an assurance that their kind natures had pleased the Father, and a message that the Father would step back from their lives, but keep a silent vigil.[3]

Most of the group's history over the subsequent 200+ years is unknown, save for that, at some point, the community formed by the original group was inspired by their "Father's" apologetic words to name themselves the Sorrows, and attempted to search the caves in the region for traces of their deity. However, one of them lost their lives to a trap that Clark had previously set, causing the tribe to think the "Father" was punishing their curiosity and so they declared all of the caves in Zion off-limits to enter. This grew to apply to any pre-War buildings as well, eventually ending up as a taboo in their religion.[4]

War for Zion[]

After the sacking of New Canaan in 2281, the surviving New Canaanites fled into Zion Canyon, inadvertently bringing the White Legs raider tribe with them as they were attempting to slaughter the New Canaanites at the behest of Caesar. Because the White Legs were indiscriminately attacking all tribes regardless, the children and elderly of the Sorrows were evacuated to the homeland of the friendly Dead Horses tribe at Dead Horse Point.[5] One of the Canaanites, Daniel has been in contact with the tribe for at least six years prior to New Canaan's fall, and he elected to remain in the canyon as a way to make amends with the Sorrows for bringing the White Legs' threat to their homeland of Zion and endangering their future.[6][7]


The Sorrows' culture is one of grace and communion with their natural environment, rather than a warrior-based one, though they are not completely pacifistic. Their rite of passage reflects this; a young Sorrow-to-be is sent to hunt and kill one of the predatory yao guai and fashion the tribe's signature yao guai gauntlet for themselves from its paw.[8][9] In accordance with this belief, the Sorrows have sensitive and innocent souls and mourn the loss of everyone, even those that would seek to hurt them like the White Legs.[10] The Sorrows also apparently have taken to domesticating geckos, since many can be seen in their camp and are non-hostile.

All Sorrow tribals tattoo themselves with the symbol of the Virgin River, meant to remind them of the suffering the tribe has had to face throughout their history to reach the point where they are now and to show their lasting connection to the Virgin River, and, in part, Zion and nature as a whole.[11]

The Ghost of She[]

The Ghost of She is a legend passed down through, and which embodies Sorrows culture. According to Waking Cloud, a clever and curious girl lived among the Sorrows tribe long ago. One day, she slipped away from the camp and went to play in the nearby caves, unaware that that yao guai slept in this cave, leading to her death. The tribe wept at the loss and because the girl died before her naming day, it's believed her ghost remained restless and continued wandering the earth. Many hunters tried to slay the beast that killed her, but were unsuccessful. The tribe's shaman remarked that because it was a yao guai that had killed the nameless girl, the two were now one.[12]

Notable members[]


The Sorrows' ancestral religion involved the exclusive worship of a spirit known as "The Father in the Cave" who helped the first Sorrows find their place in Zion and provided them with gifts to teach them how to survive in the recently destroyed world.[13] The caves that the Father dwelt in are considered sacred to the Sorrows; entering any of these caves is forbidden and considered taboo; the tribe believes those that seek them out are taken from this world.[13][14][4] To ensure these caves remain untouched, they are marked with white hand prints.[15]

Due to their contact with New Canaan, a missionary, Daniel has been trying to convert them to Mormonism over the last six years and has experienced some success due to the parallels between the two religions.[16][17] Daniel himself is apparently unaware of the reason for his failure to get his message across clearly.[18]


The language spoken by the Sorrows, like that of the Dead Horses, is a combination of Res and a language spoken by tourists who were visiting Res when the bombs dropped. What is heard seems to be a combination of English, Spanish and hints of Japanese.[19][20]

Examples of words and phrases[]


This section is transcluded from Honest Hearts endings. To change it, please edit the transcluded page.
# Slide Voice-over narration In-game condition
Nvdlc02 endingslide sorrows
Daniel succeeded in leading the Sorrows out of Zion, as he had wanted to do from the start. The Courier protected the Sorrows during the evacuation, ensuring that most reached their destination unharmed. Over the weeks and months to come, Daniel would see to the Sorrows' resettlement in Grand Staircase. Their adjustment to their new home was not without difficulty, but eventually the Sorrows came to accept the loss of Zion. Help Daniel evacuate Zion and complete Prisoners of War, Retake the Bridge and Sanctity of the Dead.
Nvdlc02 endingslide sorrows
Daniel evacuated the Sorrows from Zion, but due to the Courier's neglect, the White Legs butchered many along the way. Those who survived barely reached Grand Staircase, but once there, the Dead Horses and New Canaanites helped them settle. The unfamiliarity of their new surroundings, and the loss of loved ones, evoked a terrible and lasting grief among the Sorrows. For two generations, many would die still lamenting the loss of Zion. Help Daniel evacuate Zion without completing all optional quests.
Nvdlc02 endingslide sorrows
The Sorrows fought beside Joshua Graham and the Dead Horses, eradicating the threat the White Legs posed to Zion. Seeing the Courier convince Joshua Graham to spare Salt-Upon-Wounds, the Sorrows learned that retribution could be tempered by mercy. Though he despaired at the Sorrows' loss of innocence, Daniel took some small consolation in the Courier's lesson, and prayed it would take root. Help Joshua Graham defend Zion Valley and exterminate the White Legs, then convince Joshua Graham to spare Salt-Upon-Wounds.
Nvdlc02 endingslide sorrows
The Sorrows fought beside Joshua Graham and the Dead Horses, eradicating the threat the White Legs posed to Zion. Watching as the Courier encouraged Joshua Graham to execute Salt-Upon-Wounds, the Sorrows learned that New Canaan offered no mercy to the wicked. The Sorrows' transformation from a peaceful, timid tribe into a merciless, warlike people broke Daniel's heart. Over time, the Sorrows became ever more ruthless in their dealings - even with each other. Daniel traveled to and from between the New Canaanites and Zion, continuing to plead for a return to the old ways whenever he visited. Eventually, the Sorrows grew tired of his blather, and turned their backs on him. Help Joshua Graham crush the White Legs and then allow Joshua Graham to execute Salt-Upon-Wounds.
Nvdlc02 endingslide sorrows
The Sorrows fought beside Joshua Graham and the Dead Horses, eradicating the threat the White Legs posed to Zion. When the Courier and Joshua Graham felled Salt-Upon-Wounds, their victory was celebrated with a great feast. The Sorrows' transformation from a peaceful, timid tribe into a proud and warlike people broke Daniel's heart. He tried to take solace in the knowledge that they would remain in Zion, but it was a small comfort. The Sorrows' innocence was lost. Help Joshua Graham defend Zion Valley and exterminate the White Legs, then kill Salt-Upon-Wounds yourself.


The Sorrows appear only in the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Honest Hearts.

Behind the scenes[]

Developer quotes[]

[H]ow the DLC shipped was not how it was planned. The tribes in Zion are descendants of a mix of North American native people as well as other American citizens and European (of various non-native ethnicities) tourists/campers. This survives in the language of the Dead Horses, for example, who use a large number of German-derived words.

In the first design docs for HH, every tribe was supposed to have members from all of the F3/FNV ethnic groups. However, there was a complicating factor: body art. The various tattoos and body paints we needed to texture the bodies multiplied the number of required textures. They couldn’t simply be layered on (as they can in F4), but were entirely new body textures that dramatically increased the amount of texture memory being used. For that reason, each tribe wound up having only one body texture per sex. This compressed their ethnicities into homogenized blends, with Dead Horses being a darker tan, Sorrows a light tan, and White Legs (under the body paint) fairly pale.

As a minor point, Daniel was specifically supposed to be (and was, in data, for most of development) Asian. I don’t know when, how, or why he was switched to Caucasian, but that’s how he shipped. It’s frustrating, because those changes slot Joshua and Daniel as white guys among (mostly) brown folk when 1) they weren’t supposed to be white guys and 2) the tribes were specifically called out as ethnically and culturally mixed without any real-world analogues.

Regarding the “natives as aesthetic” criticism, the patterns we used for the three tribes’ body art are not based on any current or historical native American body art (AFAIK). There are in-fiction explanations for each tribe’s specific choices. The White Legs initially colored themselves white to blend into the Great Salt Lake (where they are from) and they dread their hair out of reverence for Ulysses. The Sorrows use the river pattern to reflect their suffering and their connection to the Virgin River in Zion. The Dead Horses mark various accomplishments on their skin and decorate their clubs with .45 shells out of their respect for Joshua Graham.
Joshua Eric Sawyer, Frog Helms Fan Club


  1. Year: 2123
  2. The Courier: "Tell me more about your tribe."
    Waking Cloud: "We have dwelt in the Narrows since the End That Came In Fire, when the Father in the Caves punished the world and made us forget the holy tongue. We have had good relations with the other tribes in the valley. At least, before Salt-Upon-Wounds brought his White Legs here. We have Daniel to thank for our continued existence. His advice and help has kept the White Legs from overrunning us so far. I do not know how long even he can protect us, though."
    (Waking Cloud's dialogue)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Year: 2124
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Courier: "Taboo?"
    Joshua Graham: "The Sorrows believe in a spirit that lives in the caves, say the spirit punished them once for trespassing. They put special marks around the cave entrances to keep people out. It doesn't work on the White Legs, of course, but the Dead Horses are spooked."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  5. The Courier: "What's your deal?"
    Waking Cloud: "Waking Cloud is my name. I am midwife to the Sorrows. It sounds ill-omened, no? "Midwife to sorrows.""
    The Courier: "Midwife? I haven't seen any children around."
    Waking Cloud: "The children and the old have already been evacuated from the camp. They are safe enough, unless the White Legs come for us in force."
    The Courier: "What do you do when you're not delivering babies?"
    Waking Cloud: "I tend to other hurts and sicknesses that afflict our tribe. I also scout the valley for the herbs I use in my medicines."
    (Waking Cloud's dialogue)
  6. The Courier: "Have you known him long?"
    Waking Cloud: "Six years. He attended the birth of my third child. It was a hard birth. The River nearly carried my water to the Father, and my child's with it. Daniel knew the ways of New Canaan's medicine. He stepped in and saved both of our lives. After the birth, I asked Daniel if he would teach me what he knew of childbirth. He agreed, and so here I am."
    (Waking Cloud's dialogue)
  7. The Courier: "You said you "used to" help the Sorrows with problems. What do you do now?"
    Daniel: "I'm trying to make amends for allowing our problem to become their problem. The New Canaanites, I mean. The White Legs have always fought with us, and with Joshua returning, Caesar has motivated the White Legs to stamp out the New Canaanites entirely. That means the tribes we work with, too. It's already hap- I just want to prevent something terrible from happening to the Sorrows."
    (Daniel's dialogue)
  8. The Courier: "Nice guns."
    Joshua Graham: "In the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau, all tribes are known for a specific weapon. White Legs are known for their big submachine guns, "storm drums." They broke into an armory near Spanish Fork and have been using them for years. Of course, the Dead Horses have their wooden war clubs and even the Sorrows have their Yao Guai gauntlets. This type of .45 Automatic pistol was designed by one of my tribe almost four hundred years ago. Learning its use is a New Canaanite rite of passage."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  9. The Courier: "I like your bear glove. Where can I get one?"
    Waking Cloud: "A Sorrow's Yao Guai Fist is a sacred symbol. It shows that we belong to the tribe and have willingly undertaken a dangerous quest to aid the tribe. Each Sorrow makes his own - and only after hunting and slaying a Yao Guai that threatened our people. Our shaman, White Bird, oversees the rites. Perhaps if you spoke to him, he would allow you to undertake such a quest."
    (Waking Cloud's dialogue)
  10. Daniel: "The Dead Horses told me details about the attack on your caravan. A stranger's sympathy might not count for much, but for what it's worth, I'm sorry. The Sorrows will mourn your friends, too. They mourn everyone, even the White Legs. They have sensitive souls. Innocent, if there is such a thing. In spite of what's happened, I hope that Joshua and I can help you out of here. But to be frank, we need your help, too."
    (Daniel's dialogue)
  11. Josh Sawyer's tumblr "The Sorrows use the river pattern to reflect their suffering and their connection to the Virgin River in Zion."
  12. The Courier: "Tell me about the Ghost of She."
    Waking Cloud: "That is a sad story. I do not like to tell it, but if you are asking, it must be at White Bird's request. That, I will honor. Long ago, a girl lived among this tribe. She was a curious child, and a clever one, and her mother had a devil's time watching over her. One day, the child slipped away from camp and went to play in the caves nearby. The girl did not know that a Yao Guai slept in that cave. The girl died. The tribe wept, for the girl had died before her naming day, and her ghost would remain restless and wandering upon the earth. Many hunters tried to kill the beast, but it eluded them, or drove them off. The shaman said that since it had consumed the girl, the two were one. So we call the beast Ghost of She, for the child had no name to be called. That is the story of the Ghost of She. It is a sad story. It is our story."
    (Waking Cloud's dialogue)
  13. 13.0 13.1 The Courier: "Who or what is the Father in the Cave?"
    Waking Cloud: "Have you not heard of the god of the New Canaanites? He is our protector and our judge. He helped our ancestors find their place here in Zion. He gave us many gifts, but we are not to seek him out. His caves are forbidden to us. Those who seek them out are taken from us."
    The Courier: "That doesn't sound like what I've heard about the New Canaanites...."
    Waking Cloud: "Perhaps you do not fully understand the New Canaanites. I have seen the Father's images. His holy bride and holy son were given unto the world to save it. They dwelt in the caverns of the mountains, caverns which can still be seen today. The people sinned against Him, and were punished with the End That Came in Fire and the loss of the holy tongue. Only the New Canaanites were spared."
    The Courier: "I see. That's fascinating."
    Waking Cloud: "I'm sure Daniel could tell you more. His knowledge of the Father is greater than my own."
    (Waking Cloud's dialogue)
  14. Waking Cloud: "These are places of the time before. We should not be here - it is forbidden!"
    (Waking Cloud's dialogue)
  15. Follows-Chalk: "See those handprints? Dead Horses and Sorrows mark them on taboo places, places from Back When. Good thing for you I don't buy into that stuff."
    (Follows-Chalk's dialogue)
  16. The Courier: "What do you do here?"
    Daniel: "I used to help the Sorrows with various medical problems and general issues they were having, but my bishop sent me here as a missionary. We New Canaanites believe that there is a path to salvation for everyone and it's important that we set people on that path if they are willing."
    (Daniel's dialogue)
  17. The Courier: "Give me some info on this Daniel. Who is he?"
    Waking Cloud: "Daniel is a wise man, and a great friend to the Sorrows. He taught me to speak the language of New Canaan - the English from the holy books."
    The Courier: "Holy books?"
    Waking Cloud: "Yes - the language of the New Canaanites is the holy tongue, for it is the language their sacred books are written in. The Father in the Caves brought it to them after the Judgment, but the ancestors of the Sorrows sinned against Him. They were denied the true tongue."
    The Courier: "Have you known him long?"
    Waking Cloud: "Six years. He attended the birth of my third child. It was a hard birth. The River nearly carried my water to the Father, and my child's with it. Daniel knew the ways of New Canaan's medicine. He stepped in and saved both of our lives. After the birth, I asked Daniel if he would teach me what he knew of childbirth. He agreed, and so here I am."
    (Waking Cloud's dialogue)
  18. The Courier: "What do you know about the Father in the Caves?"
    Daniel: "Father in the? Oh, right. He's some spirit the Sorrows used to believe in, watched over them from the caves in the valley. They marked some of the caves around here because they think they'll be punished for going inside. I think as more of them learn the teachings of the New Canaanites, they'll lose their old superstitions."
    The Courier: "Uh... you might want to have a chat with them. They think your "Lord" and the "Father" are the same."
    Daniel: "Oh. Ah. Of course. How stupid of me. They probably also think Mary is the mother and Jesus is the child. No wonder they picked up on things so easily. I guess it just goes to show how difficult it is to communicate sometimes."
    (Daniel's dialogue)
  19. The Courier: "Do they speak... our language?"
    Joshua Graham: "Most don't. It's been hundreds of years since the war. They've developed their own languages. Take the Dead Horses. We think they were originally refugees from a place called "Res," east of the Grand Canyon. They speak a combination of Res and a language spoken by travelers who were visiting Res when the bombs fell. Over time, the two languages blended. I was a translator years ago, but it's hard to keep up with all of the tribal variations."
    (Joshua Graham's dialogue)
  20. Question: "How did the Sorrows manage to forget how to speak and read English and all the knowledge and stories gleaned from the Survivalist's gifts in less than two hundred years?"
    Joshua Sawyer: "The Survivalist's notes may give an incorrect picture of how much English the Sorrows knew when he initially made contact. Even by that point, they were speaking a devolved pidgin language and many of them could not read."
    Joshua Saywer Formspring post May 19, 2011 (Archive)