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"The Vault of the Future" (Fallout)

Vault 13 (known as the Vault of the Holy 13 to some members of Arroyo,[1]), is a Vault-Tec Vault located in southern California. Its precise location is west of Shady Sands and Vault 15, and east of Mariposa Military Base. It was the home of the Vault Dweller.


Located in a scenic mountainous region northwest of Vault 12, this Vault offers an endless supply of pure water to the inhabitants. The rumors that the water table in the area could easily be contaminated in the event of a Nuclear War have been found by the Department of Water and Power to be completely unfounded. In the event that the water in the area were to become tainted, remote even though it may be, Vault 13 has been fitted with the government approved Vault Water Purification System. Rated to work without significant loss of output for over 250,000 hours, prospective Vault Dwellers should have nothing to fear.Vault locations v34.129

Construction of Vault 13 started in August 2063 and was completed in March 2069, which was the last Vault on the West Coast to be completed, covering 3,200,000 tons of soil at 200 feet. The starting budget for Vault 13 was $400 billion, although it eventually totaled to $645 billion. It was planned to operate for a duration of 10 years.[Non-canon 1] The Vault supported up to 1,000 occupants in its 100 designated living quarters. At maximum capacity, ten people would be assigned to a single living quarter, practicing a hot bunking system.[Non-canon 1]

Vault-Tec assigned the dwellers the Pip-Boy 2000 and also equipped the Vault with a Solar Scorcher, an experimental photo-electric weapon harnessing sunlight as an energy source. In addition, Vault 13 housed heavy-machinery for construction projects, sustainable hydro-agricultural farms and a water purification system sourced from an subterranean river. Dwellers enjoyed equipment for social gatherings and enough entertainment material to last the projected duration. Communication equipment kept Vault security effective despite their limited armory.[Non-canon 1] Vault 13 was also supplied with an extra Garden of Eden Creation Kit (which, when added to the Vault standard complement of two, makes three kits in total), instead of the extra water chips that made their way to Vault 8.[2] Due to its late completion, the "cry wolf" effect that hurt the other Vaults is not as pronounced in Vault 13.[Non-canon 2]

Vault 13 was a control group for the Societal Preservation Program, intended to be sealed until the subjects were needed by the Enclave, according to Dick Richardson.[3] According to the Fallout Bible, however, the purpose of Vault 13 was to remain closed for 200 years, as a study of prolonged isolation.[Non-canon 3]


The Vault 13's water purification system

Sometime prior to December 5, 2161, Vault 13's water purification chip began to malfunction. The overseer began to send out Vault 13 dwellers into the wasteland to find a replacement chip.

Amongst those sent out to search for a replacement chip was Talius.[4][5] Supplied with a Winchester Widowmaker and some 12 gauge shotgun shells, he searched unsuccessfully for the water chip for some time before hearing of Necropolis' water pump. With the help of the Necropolis ghoul leader Set, he was able to kill some of the super mutants before being knocked unconscious by nightkin, and promptly taken to the Mariposa Military Base. He was dipped in the FEV vats, which led to a rare transformation into a ghoul-like mutant similar to Harold, and was later rescued under ambiguous circumstances by the Followers of the Apocalypse. He joined them as a full-fledged member shortly afterward and remained in the Boneyard Library in the Boneyard, abandoning his initial mission.

The last known Vault 13 dweller selected by the overseer was a person later known as the Vault Dweller. On December 5, 2161 at 07:21, the overseer gave the Vault Dweller a 10mm pistol, some ammunition, and the location of Vault 15 and sent them out into the wastes to find a new water chip, a task finally completed ​in February 2162. The replacement chip was eventually found in Necropolis in Vault 12.

The overseer was pleased to see the Vault Dweller return alive and with the vital water chip, but was concerned or frightened by the Vault Dweller's report, particularly the description of the super mutants encountered in Necropolis. After doing some calculations, he came to the conclusion that the super mutant population was far greater than could be expected by natural growth or mutations and that someone must be producing new mutants at a startling rate. This posed a new threat to Vault 13. Due to the Vault Dweller's proven ability and knowledge of the outside world, the overseer tasked the Vault Dweller with a new mission: find and destroy the danger of the mutants. He suggested that the Vault Dweller begin their search to the west. Once again, the Vault Dweller left the Vault.


The overseer was right, and the Vault Dweller soon found and killed the source of the mutant army, the Master, and destroyed his base, the Cathedral in March 2162.[Non-canon 4] On April 20, 2162, the Vault Dweller found and killed the Master's second in command, the Lieutenant, then destroyed the Mariposa Military Base containing the FEV vats used to create the Unity.[Non-canon 5] After the defeat of the Master and the Unity, the Vault Dweller returned to Vault 13 on May 10, 2162. After the Vault Dweller had called to the Vault 13 communicator and announced their victory, the Vault door opened and the overseer appeared. The overseer said that even though the Vault Dweller was a hero for saving the Vault, they were no longer allowed to stay there (thinking they would ruin the Vault experiments by convincing people to leave the Vault).[Non-canon 6]

It is not clear what happens to the overseer after the Vault Dweller's exile. According to Vault 13 records, the overseer was allegedly convicted for a great crime and was put to death.[6] The overseer can also be killed by the hand of the Vault Dweller after his goodbye speech.[7]

After this event, the overseer's choice backfired and many people chose to follow the Vault Dweller into the wasteland. Those people who had not left Vault 13 were wary to appoint a new overseer. To replace the overseer, they commissioned the Brotherhood of Steel to build a mainframe computer, a fully-automated mainframe to control and regulate Vault 13.[8] As for the Vault Dweller and followers, they trekked north and founded a small village called Arroyo. Over the ensuing generations, the people of Arroyo developed a tribal culture and revered Vault 13 as the "Holy Thirteen." Eventually, the grandchild of the Vault Dweller, known as the Chosen One, was sent to find Vault 13 and bring the G.E.C.K. to Arroyo, to save their dying village.[9]


On May 15, 2241, the Enclave sent a coded sequence to Vault 13, activating its central computer and declaring that it was time to leave the Vault. Martin Frobisher, the leader of Vault 13, gathered the Vault dwellers for the "Leaving The Vault" video, a tutorial movie from Vault-Tec about the rules to follow when Vault dwellers left their Vault. On May 16, 2241, Vault 13 was opened and greeted by two Enclave squads with Vertibirds. The squads killed three of the Vault dwellers who were "resisting capture" and stormed the Vault, kidnapping all the inhabitants. On May 17, 2241, the Enclave dropped an intelligent deathclaw unit into Vault 13 from a safe distance to kill anyone investigating Vault 13 and cloak the Enclave's presence. Other intelligent deathclaws were sent into the desert surrounding Vault 13 to check for any escapees or witnesses.

The intelligent deathclaws, led by Gruthar, began to make their home in Vault 13. Despite their objectives given by the Enclave, the intelligent deathclaws allowed many humans to live in relative comfort and safety with them in the confines of the Vault, displaying a strong pack mentality. After the visit of the Chosen One and before the destruction of the Oil Rig, the intelligent deathclaws were wiped out by the Enclave and Frank Horrigan, leaving the Vault empty.[Non-canon 7] When the Enclave Oil Rig was destroyed in Fall of 2242 by the Chosen One, the survivors from Arroyo and Vault 13 re-founded Arroyo with the G.E.C.K.



Cavern entrance

The link between Vault 13 and outer world. Remains of Ed are a good warning. There are 20 rats in the cave.



The link between Vault 13 and the outside. Here Vault Dwellers can find medical treatment.


Living quarters

The Vault Dwellers sleep here (around 19:00 to 8:00). Also, some are using the rooms for private meetings, like the rebel faction.

Command center

The command center where the overseer is located, as well as the Vault library. It is where the overseer maintains the Vault. Nearby is the library, armory, and water supplies room. However, the water guard gives the supplies because there is a thief who steals water. One can "spend some time researching important information" using the Science skill on the westernmost computer.




Fallout 2:

Cavern entrance

FO2 Vault 13 cave.png
The link between Vault 13 and outer world. Nothing is here.


Some intelligent deathclaws as a welcome

Intelligent deathclaws have moved in, however, they allow humans (who they found in the wasteland) to live among them. They are first brought to Joseph, the herbalist for medical treatment.

Living quarters

Who needs to be eliminated?

The Living Quarters serve now more as a prison for those who disturb the law in Vault 13. Also, a shrine to Vault 13's champion is being built here and it is being tended by Gordon.

Command center

One mother and one computer

The Command Center is now a place where the deathclaw matriarch lays her eggs. The main computer is broken and a computer voice module is needed to repair it.



Cindy Ed The overseer
Lyle Medic Officer
Theresa Vault Dweller
Water guard Water thief Upset vault dwellers
Fallout 2
Ariel Dalia Dar
Dave Jimmy Joseph
Jul Kerith Gordon
Goris Gruthar Matt
Sandy Thearn Valdis

Related quests

Find the Water Chip Find the Water Thief Calm rebel faction
Destroy the Mutant leader Destroy the source of the Mutants
Fallout 2
Retrieve the GECK for Arroyo Fix the Vault 13 computer The navigation computer needs the NavComp part to work


Vault 13 command center before 2161, seen in the Guardian of Forever special encounter (Fallout 2)

  • The Vault will be inaccessible when starting the game. However, it can be entered after one day has elapsed in-game.
  • A random, special encounter in Fallout 2 - find a strange giant time stone portal named the Guardian of Forever. After passing through it, they arrive in Vault 13's command center and break the water purification chip in 2161 before returning to the world map screen.
  • The background music "The Vault of the Future" is re-used for Vault 22 in Fallout: New Vegas.
  • If the Chosen One leaves a companion inside the Vault, leaves, allows the deathclaw massacre to occur, then returns, said companion will still be alive.
  • The Vault-Tec elevator decal has a spelling mistake, saying Vaul Tek.


Vault 13 appears in Fallout and Fallout 2.


Concept art
Vault 13
A GURPS Post-Nuclear Role Playing Game


  1. Martin Frobisher: "Eighty years ago, a hero saved our vault and then the Overseer exiled him. Others followed him into exile and they were never heard from again. We remember the event with shame."
    The Vault Dweller: "Hey! You're talking about *my* ancestor and the people who founded my village. They all came from the Vault of the Holy 13."
    (Martin Frobisher's dialogue)
  2. "Due to a shipping error, it appears Vault 8 received a box of surplus water chips intended for another Vault. The other Vault most likely received Vault 8's second GECK."
    (Vault 8 central computer's information)
  3. The Chosen One: "What about Vault 13? What was it's purpose?"
    Dick Richardson: "Ahh. Vault 13 was a special case. It was supposed to remain closed until the subjects were needed. Vault 13 was, in scientific parlance, a control group."
    (Dick Richardson's dialogue)
  4. The Vault Dweller: "Where were you from originally?"
    Talius: "Some time ago, I lived in a place far to the north of here. They were having a problem with the water supply and sought out people to find a way to fix it."
    (Talius' dialogue)
  5. The Vault Dweller: "What was the name of this Vault?"
    Talius: "My vault had no name. It was merely numbered 13."
    (Talius' dialogue)
  6. "We don't use that term anymore. There used to be an overseer, many years ago, but he did a bad thing and many of our people left the vault - only to die in the wastes, I'm sure. He was tried and sentenced to death for his crime. We haven't used the title since.""
    (Martin Frobisher's dialogue)
  7. The overseer may be killed following the goodbye speech if the player has the Bloody Mess trait
  8. Jimmy (Vault 13): "Anyway, the leaders of the revolution didn't want to entrust the fate of the people to another overseer so they installed this mainframe. The records say it was purchased from... oh, what was that name... Ah, I remember, the 'Brotherhood of Steel.'"
    (Jimmy's dialogue)
  9. Arroyo elder: "Chosen One, things are not well here. We need the GECK if our village is to survive. Our people grow weak with hunger and our food reserves will not last much longer. Please, find the holy Thirteen and return to us. Go now."
    (Arroyo elder's dialogue)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide p.1-1: "IMPORTANT VAULT STATISTICS
    Vault Number ............................13
    Starting construction date ....August 2063
    Ending construction date ......March 2069
    Starting Budget ........................$400,000,000,000
    Final Budget, with interest ..$645,000,000,000

    Total number of occupants ....1,000 (at capacity)
    Total duration ..........................10 years (at capacity)
    Number of living quarters ......100 (hot bunking required if at maximum capacity)
    Door thickness ..........................4 yards, steel
    Earth coverage..........................3,200,000 tons of soil, at 200 feet

    Computer control system ......Think machine
    Primary power supply ............Geo-thermal
    Secondary power supply........General Atomics Nuclear Power backup systems
    Power requirements................3.98mkw/day
    Stores ..........................................Complete construction equipment, hydro-agricultural farms, water purification from underground river, defensive weaponry to equip 10 men, communication, social and entertainment files (for total duration)

    Note: If the "m" in the figure "3.98mkw/day" stands for million, then the power requirement would be equivalent to 3.98 GWd.
  2. Fallout Bible p.20: "TIMELINE REPAIR: SECOND STRIKE"
    "2063 August: The construction of most Vaults completed, except for Vault 13, whose construction finally gets off the ground... heralding a development cycle that seems plagued with problems. Drills begin in the other cities with completed Vaults, but the increasing frequency of the drills has a "cry wolf" effect, and the turnouts for drills trickle off as the years go on."
  3. Fallout Bible p.11: "VAULT SYSTEM"
    Vault 13: Intended to stay closed for 200 years as a study of prolonged isolation, the broken water chip forced the Overseer to improvise and use the Vault Dweller as a pawn. Later study of the Vault 13 records by the Enclave led them to their current plan to end the war."
  4. Fallout Bible p.26: "TIMELINE REPAIR: SECOND STRIKE"
    "2162 March 3: Vault Dweller kicks the Master’s ass."
  5. Fallout Bible p.26: "TIMELINE REPAIR: SECOND STRIKE"
    "2162 April 20: Vault Dweller destroys the Military Base. Dogmeat dies defending his master."
  6. Fallout Bible p.26: "TIMELINE REPAIR: SECOND STRIKE"
    "2162 May 10: Fallout 1 Ends: Vault Dweller returns to Vault 13, only to be told "you're a hero, and you have to leave." Some members of the Vault (led by Lydia, the head of the "return to the surface" faction, and including her supporters, Theresa and Lyle) follow soon afterwards."
  7. According to John Deiley, who designed Vault 13, the inaccessible good ending where the deathclaws survive was intentionally scrapped because the Enclave plot required the slaughter of the deathclaws.

See also

Vault 13 (Fallout)
Vault 13 (Fallout 2)