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The thermic lance is a weapon in Fallout: New Vegas.


It is heavy, but deals considerable damage because its continuous penetrating action allows it to bypass the target's Damage Resistance and Damage Threshold. It is very durable, and also resists damage to itself if hit when used defensively (taking only 0.5% of normal durability damage). Due to its automatic attack-type, it will degrade at a faster rate than other weapons when used.

Unlike most melee weapons, holding down the attack button when wielding the thermic lance will cause continuous damage to targets in contact with the tip. While it has a low critical damage rating and critical chance multiplier, its automatic operation allows for 5 chances for a critical hit per second.

Special attack

It has a special Scrap Heap attack that does 50% damage in V.A.T.S. at the cost of 20 less action points (requires a Melee skill of 50).

Type of attackSkill requiredDamage per attack in V.A.T.S.Action point costDamage per action point
Scrap Heap50100452.22
Note: Melee weapons do double normal damage in V.A.T.S.

It is not possible to execute Scrap Heap outside of V.A.T.S. as power attacks do not apply to continuously damaging melee weapons, such as the Chainsaw or Ripper.


The thermic lance can successfully strike about 9,995 times from full condition before breaking.



  • The thermic lance's V.A.T.S. attack animation is unusual, due to the automatic nature of the weapon type. The attack is initiated but the automatic damage is not applied, nor does the target act as if harmed, until the end of the attack when the damage is finally applied. It also has a slight knockback effect.
  • This weapon can make full use of poisons.
  • The damage and DPS displayed is counted for 1 second of continuous attacking. The critical damage, however, is counted for every damage tick. These ticks occur 5 times per second and, because of this, the thermic lance, along with other "continuous attack" melee weapons, is extremely strong with critical chance/damage bonuses. With no critical damage bonuses, the difference between 0% and 20% critical chance is double the amount of damage displayed. With a 100% critical chance, the damage seems to be seven times the basic amount.
  • With a high critical chance setup and all 3 critical damage boosting perks, the thermic lance is the most damaging melee (and more damaging than any unarmed) weapon in the game.
  • This weapon, like all other continuous attacks (automatic) close combat weapons, has only its "start-up attack" animation sped up by attack speed bonuses, while damage dealing and DPS is completely unaffected.
  • Due to an engine bug, the Ignore DT/DR effect does not apply correctly and because of this, Piercing Strike gives a marked improvement in DPS.

Behind the scenes

Thermic lance is another name for a thermal lance, a real-world metalworking tool.


Thermic lance icon.png