Vault-Tec designed Vault 111 to observe the effects of long-term cryogenic suspended animation on unsuspecting test subjects. Vault 111's staff consisted of an overseer and a small team of scientists, security guards and facility maintenance personnel employed on a short-term basis. Test subjects were lured to Vault 111 from the nearby neighborhoods of Sanctuary Hills and Concord and were placed in stasis pods after being told deceitfully that the purpose of the pods was for decontamination.
According to Vault-Tec standard operating procedures, Vault 111 was to remain sealed for a minimum of 180 days, after which the Vault could be opened upon receipt of an "All-Clear Signal" from Vault-Tec, or at the overseer's discretion. However, after the 180-day mandatory shelter period elapsed, Vault 111 received no signal, and its staff faced dwindling supplies. Despite requests from the security staff, the overseer refused to unseal the Vault door, concerned that the radiation outside the Vault had not declined enough to be survivable.
Shortly after, a faction led by the Vault's security and support staff engaged in mutiny against the overseer in an effort to unseal the Vault door and leave the Vault. In response, the overseer placed the Vault on lockdown and demanded all staff to hand over any food, weapons and medicine. There is no further account of events to be found, as the logs end here on both the security terminal and the overseer's terminal.
In 2227, the Institute had discovered the location of the Vault, along with the fact that it contained an infant whose DNA would be completely uncorrupted by post-War radiation. Seeking a source of pure human DNA to form the basis of their generation 3 synths, they sent their agent Conrad Kellogg and two scientists to retrieve the infant. However, the child was in a cryo-stasis pod with one of his parents. When that parent wouldn't relinquish their hold on their son, Kellogg murdered them while the Sole Survivor watched helplessly, trapped in their own pod, before being placed into stasis once again.
After witnessing the murder of their spouse and the kidnapping of their child, the Sole Survivor awakens in Vault 111 after being held in cryogenic stasis for 210 years.[Non-game 1] Upon accessing the Vault 111 monitoring terminal, they learn that all of the other subjects that had entered the Vault, except for themselves, their spouse and their child, had died of "asphyxiation due to life support failure." In the Dangerous Minds quest, the Sole Survivor discovers that Kellogg had been directed not to reactivate the life support for the other residents and not to release them. Sixty years later, due to an "error" in Vault 111, the Sole Survivor is released from cryo-stasis and escapes. However, it is later revealed that the release was, in fact, a personal choice made by Shaun, now director of the Institute, and not an error of the Vault as initially thought.
Unlike other Vaults, the entrance to Vault 111 not only has an atypical pneumatic hull but also acts as a hatch which gives way to an interior elevator. The inner door opens first, followed by the hatch opening. While painted in the prelude, the Vault door is rusted and dull after the Great War. There was also a security checkpoint, a feature that most other Vaults lacked. Most of the other rooms in Vault 111 include a reactor room, a recreational area for Vault staff and the overseer's office. The Vault is significantly smaller as compared to other Vault-Tec Vaults, due to the nature of the experiment.
After the release of the Sole Survivor, the Vault shows obvious signs of neglect. Frozen mummified corpses are in the pods, skeletal remains of some of the killed occupants are scattered around the interior with signs of violence and much of the machinery is no longer in proper working order. Radroaches have also invaded the Vault and serve as the Sole Survivor's first encountered enemies. However, despite the complete lack of maintenance for nearly 210 years, the Vault interior is in good condition compared to other abandoned/fallen Vaults encountered in the Capital Wasteland, the Mojave Wasteland and even some of the other Vaults within the Commonwealth.
- Cryolator - In a display case in the overseer's office behind a Master lock.
- Pip-Boy 3000 Mark IV - On skeletal remains of a Vault 111 scientist next to the Vault door.
- Red Menace - Minigame holotape, in the recreation area terminal.
- Vault 111 jumpsuit - On a table to the right in the second cryopod room and another near the skeleton in the entrance hall (where they were handed out upon entry).
- Wedding ring - On the corpse of the Sole Survivor's spouse.
- Re-entering the Vault is done by pressing the red button within the command station next to the Vault entrance. From here stand on the platform again.
- In Survival mode, the water fountain can be used to fill any type of empty bottles with purified water.
- Two security batons and two 10mm pistols can be found in Vault 111. What makes these weapons unique is that they will always automatically be equipped when picked up, even if they are modified and renamed at a weapon modding station.
- Four stimpaks can be found in Vault 111. What makes these stimpaks unique is that they will automatically be favorited immediately when picked up.
- Attempting to open any of the cryo pods other than the Sole Survivor's spouse's pod or attempting to close the Sole Survivor's pod will cause the Vault 111 computer to say "Malfunction in cryo pod manual release override."
- Items that are placed in Vault 111 will save, so the location may be used as another home. However, the beds and seats in this location cannot be used to sleep or wait in this location.
- When returning to Vault 111, one can still interact with the skeletons and pods and the Sole Survivor will act like they did the moment exiting the cryo pod. Commenting the same things, such as, Am I the only one left?, What happened here?, etc.
- Vault 111 is very small compared to other Vaults and lacks many design features that are standard in other Vaults. As dwellers were placed in cryogenic stasis, less space was needed for the additional supplies and amenities needed had the dwellers been awake.
- There is actually an empty cryo pod in the same room the Sole Survivor and their family were cryogenized, besides the one in which the Sole Survivor was frozen. It is the first one on the left from the entrance of the room. The terminal next to it states "Occupant Status: Not Applicable" regarding it, and all the other pods were already occupied before their inhabitants died. However, the overseer's terminal states all enrolled residents made it to the shelter before the bombs dropped.
- In the second cryo chamber, the pods are numbered C9 - C14 but the occupation status in the terminal has entries on B1 - B6.
- On the overseer's terminal, it lists pod C3 as a female. However, pod C3 actually holds Mr. Callahan.
- There is a small makeshift observation post to the southwest of the Vault that has a Railsign indicating the presence of a nearby ally.
- Vault 111 uses a different design for its corridors giving them a more tube-like appearance, and the doors look bulkier than the doors in other Vaults.
- During the pre-War portion of the game, the news anchor on the TV notes that there are still openings in Vault 111.
- When at this location, companions make comments, which are activated at the cryonic stasis room. Those companions without a comment are Curie, Deacon, Dogmeat and Strong. No add-on companion like Ada, Porter Gage or Old Longfellow have Commonwealth location comments.
Behind the scenes
- The Top Ten list on the recreation terminal in Vault 111 contains a list of shorthand versions of some of the console commands that are available to use in game.
- The cryogenic experiment for Vault 111 was first conceived when Emil Pagliarulo visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and saw a cryogenics lab with giant cryotanks in a side tunnel. He sent selfies to Todd Howard posing with them, and described that as the point where "the story started to take a life of its own."[Non-game 2]
- Nora's/Nate's pod and retrieve their wedding ring before leaving the Vault during Out of Time, going back will still trigger the same dialogue ("I'll find Shaun") even if you have already completed the game. This is the same with all the dialogue from activating the pods, and the Sole Survivor shouting if they're the only one alive, why Vault-Tec would do this, etc.[verified] If you didn't open
- 000330c3.SendAnimEvent "Stage2".[verified] The Vault door may not open. The alarm will come on and lights flash but nothing else happens. On PC, this can be fixed with the console command
- Dogmeat may grab the Cryolator when tasked to fetch any useful items in the overseer's room, even if the case is still locked. It may take several attempts for him to get it though.[verified]
- The Vault elevator may not open. Using console commands to teleport outside Vault 111 and walking to the elevator point will start the starting animation, but you will not be able to edit your character, name, SPECIAL Stats or use V.A.T.S. There is no known fix for the bug.[verified]
- Vault 111 terminal entries; security terminal, VAULT 111 SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS
- Fallout 4 loading screens: "Those who reserved spots in Vault 111 had no idea they would be cryogenically frozen. In fact, almost every Vault was actually a secret social experiment conducted by Vault-Tec."
- Vault 111 terminal entries; overseer's terminal, Preparations
- Fallout 4 loading screens: "Vault 111, constructed by Vault-Tec, was built to serve the residents of Sanctuary Hills and Concord in the event of an atomic war."
- Vault 111 terminal entries; security terminal, Mandatory Shelter Period
- Vault 111 terminal entries; security terminal, All-Clear Message
- Vault 111 terminal entries; security terminal, LAST ENTRY
- Vault 111 terminal entries; overseer's terminal, October 23
- Non-game sources
- Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide Collector's Edition p. 257: "[1.01] VAULT 111
Vault-Tec Calling! We are pleased to reveal your new home underground. Despite an initially chilly reception, you may find this location to be the safest around, especially as the population has thinned out quite considerably since you were frozen."
(Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide Map)
- The History of Bethesda Game Studios - Emil Pagliarulo: "Y'know, the whole cryo hook of Fallout 4 - I was wandering in a side tunnel down this corridor in MIT, there's this cryo lab with these giant cryotanks. And I sent these, like, selfies and sent them to Todd and was like [thumbs up and a smile]. And then I knew back then, the story just started to take on a life of its own..."