|For the attribute assigned to NPCs, see essential.|
In Fallout 3 and New Vegas, unconsciousness is a result of what would normally be a death that happens to a character who is flagged as "essential" or, in the latter, any followers while playing outside Hardcore mode. It sometimes also happens to non-essential characters.
When knocked unconscious, that person or creature will fall to the ground and lay there for a short period of time, then get back up. If the person or creature was knocked unconscious by the player character, they may be hostile when they get back up.
- At some points in the story, the Lone Wanderer will be knocked unconscious, such as when captured by the Enclave or by the raiders in the Pitt.
- An unconscious NPC cannot be looted/eaten/interacted with, but they can be pulled along the ground for a short time until they regain consciousness.
- Certain NPCs, such as Doctor Li or James are usually friendly, and will never turn hostile, no matter how many times they are "killed." However, witnesses and corresponding allied faction members may turn hostile for a short time.
- If an essential NPC is hostile, rendering them unconscious will usually cease it when they wake up.
Fallout: New Vegas
- Companions will fall unconscious if they lose all their health, except in Hardcore mode where they permanently die.
- A few special weapons (such as boxing tape or a shotgun loaded with bean bag shells) inflict fatigue damage on enemies, which can lead to a similar unconscious state.
- During the quest G.I. Blues, Orris will shoot some Freeside thugs. The shots are scripted to inflict immense fatigue damage on the thugs, which will knock them unconscious as if they were essential.