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FalloutVault 13
Fallout 2Vault 13

Heard about some of these places before, but never been in one. Seems nice and clean... a little too clean for my taste.Ian

Vault 13, known as the Vault of the Holy 13 among Arroyo tribesmen,[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-game 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-game 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 a 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-game 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-game 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-game 3] Some time prior to the water chip crisis, Ed was sent out for unknown reasons, and died in the immediate area outside the Vault.

Water chip crisis[]

Fo1 Intro Water system

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. Talius was sent out to search for a replacement chip, but was captured by nightkin at Necropolis and later dipped, only to mutate into a ghoul-like mutant like Harold. He wound up with the Followers of the Apocalypse, far away from the Vault.[4][5] The final dweller selected by the overseer for the mission was the future hero simply called Vault Dweller. On December 5, 2161 at 07:21, they left the Vault with a 10mm pistol, some supplies, and the location of Vault 15. The water chip finally failed at that point, leaving the Vault with just 150 days worth of water reserves. After braving the dangers of New California, the Dweller finally returned with the chip in February 2162, recovering it from Vault 12 beneath Necropolis succeeding where Talius failed.[Non-game 4]

The overseer was pleased, in particular because of the rebel faction rising in the Vault, demanding to leave.[6] Upon reviewing the Vault Dweller's report, in particular the mutants at Necropolis, he calculated that the mutant population was far too uniform to be the result of random chance, and concluded that there had to be a factory producing them at a startling rate. Determining it was a threat to the Vault, the Overseer once more sent the Dweller into the wasteland as 13's most capable agent. The Vault Dweller succeeded, locating and assassinating the leader of the mutant army, the Master, and destroying his command center, the Cathedral, in March 2162.[Non-game 5] On April 20, 2162, the Vault Dweller completed his mission, killing the Lieutenant and destroying the Mariposa Military Base containing the FEV vats used to create the mutants.[Non-game 6]

The Vault Dweller returned to Vault 13 on May 10, 2162. The Overseer met them outside the Vault blast door, and rather than let them back inside as a hero, banished them into the wasteland. He was convinced that the Dweller's presence would convince his fellow dwellers to seek their fortune in the wasteland and abandon the Vault (endangering the control group). He believed that he was saving the Vault.[Non-game 7] However, the Vault 13 population was disgusted by the Overseer's decision. A faction under Theresa and Lyle rebelled against him. Many left the Vault in protest. Those who remained believed that those who left perished in the wastes, and arrested the Overseer. He was tried and sentenced to death, and the position was abolished.[7][Note 1]

Rise of the Enclave[]

With the death of the Overseer and abolishment of the position after the betrayal that the Vault Dweller suffered, Vault 13 dwellers commissioned the Brotherhood of Steel to acquire and install a mainframe computer, to automatically control and regulate Vault 13.[8]

The Vault Dweller and his group journeyed north, into the wilderness of North California and Oregon, where they ultimately founded a small village called Arroyo, protected by an extensive network of badlands and canyons. Rather than try to rebuild a town, they created a new community with a tribal culture. Over the span of three generations (or eighty years), Vault 13 turned into a myth, known as "Holy Thirteen." In 2241, the grandchild of the Vault Dweller, the Chosen One, was sent to find Vault 13 and retrieve the G.E.C.K. to save the dying village during a historic drought.[9]

Vault 13, however, was seized by the Enclave earlier that year. On May 15, it sent a coded sequence to Vault 13, activating its central computer with an All-Clear signal. Martin Frobisher, spokesman for Vault 13, promptly went through the emergence protocol, playing the Leaving the Vault training video provided by Vault-Tec for the gathered dwellers and ensuring other preparations were complete. A day later, on May 16, 2241, the Vault was opened, only to be met by two Verti-assault squads. Enclave troops opened fire, killing three Vault dwellers on the spot and stormed the Vault. The dwellers were rounded up and removed to the oil rig. On May 17, 2241, a pack of intelligent deathclaws was deployed to the now-empty Vault by Enclave animal handlers to cover up the operation.[Non-game 8]

The pack did not obey orders. Gruthar, the pack leader, organized a proper community in the confines of the Vault, using the voice recognition on the mainframe to provide for the pack. A small community of humans eventually emerged, typically refugees rescued from the wasteland or volunteers. Problems started later in 2241, when a random wastelander stumbled onto the Vault and decided the intelligent deathclaws were the greatest threat to humanity, damaged the mainframe, and bombed Kerith, the matriarch. Taken into custody, his actions forced Gruthar to order thefts of livestock in the surrounding area, preying on NCR brahmin herds to help his pack survive.[10] Eventually, the Chosen One discovered the Vault and recovered the GECK. At the same time, the deathclaws were deemed a security threat and a team under Frank Horrigan returned to Vault 13, wiping the deathclaws and their human cohorts out. The Vault was left empty.[Non-game 9]



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

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


Fo2 Vault 13 Entrance

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

Fo2 Vault 13 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

Fo2 Vault 13 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


Fo2 Guardian of Forever Vault 13

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.
    • However, this can be noticed on all vault elevator panels in Fallout, not only in Vault 13.


Vault 13 appears in Fallout and Fallout 2.


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

See also[]


  1. The Chosen One: "{175}{}{Yes, It was eighty years ago. How did you know that?}"
    Martin Frobisher: "{176}{}{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 Chosen One: "{177}{}{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. Vault City central computer's information: "{238}{}{According to the archives, there is no GECK currently in stock at Vault City's Amenities Office. The people of Vault City seem to have used the only one they had to help establish the place when they came to the surface.}"
    "{239}{}{Scroll through the remaining information.}"
    "{240}{}{From what you can make out in the archives, two GECKs were part of every Vault's standard inventory package. Only one was shipped to Vault 8, however.}"
    "{241}{}{Cross-reference the GECK shipment information.}"
    "{244}{}{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.}"
    (VICENCOM.MSG) Note: Another major instance of mismanagement, a shipping error related to an essential service.
  3. The Chosen One: "{227}{}{What about Vault 13? What was it's purpose?}"
    Dick Richardson: "{228}{prs37}{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: "{138}{}{Where were you from originally?}"
    Talius: "{140}{}{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: "{166}{}{What was the name of this Vault?}"
    Talius: "{184}{}{My vault had no name. It was merely numbered 13.}"
    (Talius' dialogue)
  6. Calm rebel faction
  7. The Chosen One: "{129}{}{Are you the Overseer?}"
    Martin Frobisher: "{172}{}{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)
  8. The Chosen One: "{128}{}{Isn't this the vault overseer room?}"
    Jimmy: "{151}{}{Normally the vault overseer would be stationed here but Vault 13 has been fully automated.}"
    The Chosen One: "{154}{}{Why? I mean, isn't that unusual?}"
    Jimmy: "{156}{}{I don't know the full story but at one point in the vault's history there was a rebellion. The overseer was either killed or overthrown, I'm not sure which. 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.'}"
  9. Arroyo elder: "{174}{aeld19}{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)
  10. Gruthar: "{103}{}{Do not fear me, human. I do not intend to harm you. I am Gruthar, leader of this deathclaw pack. Why have you come here?}"
    The Chosen One: "{111}{}{I'm investigating raids on the local brahmin ranches. Do you know anything about this?}"
    Gruthar: "{164}{}{(Gruthar pauses and seems to be carefully considering his response to you) I am sorry to say that I ordered the raids on the human lands. I am responsible for the lives of many here. We are running out of food, water, and other supplies. Until I can get the situation corrected, I need to take what I, a deathclaw, can not ask humans for.}"
    The Chosen One: "{166}{}{I'm sorry to hear that. Is there some way that I may be able to help you so that you can stop the raids?}"
    Gruthar: "{139}{}{(Gruthar stares at you intently for a moment.) You would be interested in helping us? Yes, I sense little evil in you. Very well, I shall place my trust in you.}"
    The Chosen One: "{141}{}{Thank you.}"
    Gruthar: "{145}{}{There are many machines here, machines built by humans. Deathclaw hands can not use these machines. However, there is one machine that understands questions. I ask it to run the other machines and it obeys. This machine no longer listens. It will no longer run the other machines. We are running out of food and water. I have ordered raids on the human lands so that we may survive. I am not proud of this and I would put an end to it. If you repair this machine, I will be able to feed my people once again. I will gladly stop the raids. Will you agree to this?}"
    The Chosen One: "{148}{}{Hmm... sounds like the voice recognition module has gone bad on you. Let's go take a look.}"
    Gruthar: "{152}{}{Thank you. The machine is in the vault control center on the third level. If you can repair it, please do so. I am placing my trust in you. Please do not betray it. You are welcome here.}"
    The Chosen One: "{153}{}{I won't let you down, Gruthar. You have my word on that.}"
    (Gruthar'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 4: "9. Do YOU guys know what that ending of the Hub with ghouls and humans uniting is all about? It says Harold and the VD unite the ghouls and humans of the Hub. Anybody seen more ghouls than Harold in the Hub? Can't be about Necropolis, because it's the ONLY good ending for the Hub."
    Although there weren't any ghouls shown in the Hub in Fallout 1, there may have been a handful wandering around in Old Town (kind of like Talius the ghoul in the Boneyard). The ending is more appropriate if you just mentally change the word "ghouls" to "skags." Basically, peace and harmony reign supreme. It's possible several ghouls traveled to the Hub during the Migration after they formed their engineering development house in Necropolis."
  5. Fallout Bible p.26: "TIMELINE REPAIR: SECOND STRIKE"
    "2162 March 3: Vault Dweller kicks the Master’s ass."
  6. Fallout Bible p.26: "TIMELINE REPAIR: SECOND STRIKE"
    "2162 April 20: Vault Dweller destroys the Military Base. Dogmeat dies defending his master."
  7. 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."
  8. Fallout Bible 0: "2242 May 17 Enclave animal handlers drop a Deathclaw unit into Vault 13 from a safe distance to kill anyone investigating the Vault and cloak the Enclave's presence. Other Deathclaws are sent into the desert surrounding Vault 13 to check for any escapees or witnesses."
  9. 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.


  1. The overseer may be killed following the goodbye speech if the player has the Bloody Mess trait or enters combat by hitting A.