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"Underground Troubles" (Fallout)

"City of the Dead"
Unfortunately, we were crowded and life was very bad. There was a schism, and many people left, taking with them the best equipment. Still, some of us tried to stay in the Vault. But then we were attacked. I was hurt, and I ended up here. Now I try to help people..."Katrina of Shady Sands

Vault 15 is a location in New California in 2241. Vault 15 can be found nine squares east of Vault 13 (Fallout) or six squares east (Fallout 2).


This large underground shelter is one of the few Vaults whose construction went smoothly and without delays, despite additional work poured into reinforcing the third level of the Vault to ensure protection against earthquakes.[1] As part of the social experiment conducted by Vault-Tec, only people of radically diverse ideologies and cultures were granted places in the Vault, to gain data on their interactions and potential failure over the 50 years it was planned to stay sealed.[Non-canon 1] When the Great War came on October 23, 2077, the dwellers reported to the Vault and entered it. The shelter was sealed. Contact with other Vaults was lost.[2]

There was a schism among the dwellers and the Vault was finally opened. Most of the dwellers marched out, stripping the shelter of the best equipment, including the Garden of Eden Creation Kit. A small group stayed behind, trying to continue living in the now gutted Vault.[3] The dwellers that left the Vault would eventually form distinct communities. The most significant of these was the village of Shady Sands, created with Vault 15's GECK.[4] The rest would band into raider tribes (the Khans, Jackals and Vipers), terrorizing the area for years.[Non-canon 2] The Vault itself continued along until it was invaded.[5] The attackers breached the Vault door, and the Vault itself was subsequently abandoned. Its condition deteriorated as the tremors caused the second and third level walls to give way to tons of rock, burying vital sections of the Vault. Wildlife and scavengers completed the destruction. When the Vault Dweller set out to find a replacement chip for Vault 13, the buried Vault was their first step and first disappointment.[Non-canon 3]

Even as the New California Republic formed in 2189, the Vault was left abandoned. The primary reason was arguments over the excavation rights between the Republic and salvage teams, raiders, people worshipping the Vault, ghoul scavengers, etc.[Non-canon 4] The largest problem manifested in the early 2240s. After the NCR abandoned Vault 15 following another excavation operation a few years before 2241, their old base was claimed by a group of wastelanders with nowhere to go, who formed a squat on the surface. When the NCR tried to reclaim the Vault and the vital computer parts within, they were stopped by the squatters.[6][7]

The reason for their obstinacy was twofold. First, Vault 15 was the only home they knew.[8] Secondly, they were actually covering for a group of raiders, the New Khans under Darion. Darion promised the squatters that the Vault was being repaired by his men, to provide them with shelter, food, and water. However, in reality, all food and water were coming from Khan raids on caravans. The Vault was dead.[9] Darion also managed to plant a spy in the NCR congress, giving him near-perfect intel on the NCR.[10]

The situation was resolved by the Chosen One. Hired by President Tandi to retrieve the computer parts from Vault 15, they also managed to broker a deal between the squatters and the NCR. They would kill Darion and retrieve the parts, while the squatters would grant NCR access to the Vault in return for annexation, education, and supplies necessary to survive.[11] Successful in their mission, the Chosen One also vindicated President Tandi's policies of peaceful expansion, gaining the NCR a foothold in the northern wastes, while the squatters learned self-sufficiency and became productive members of society.[12][Non-canon 5]



Just a shack in the middle of nowhere?

A small building sitting in the middle of empty space. This entrance will be guarded by a radscorpion if one is unlucky.


Into rats' den

This area has the same layout as Vault 13's entrance. In the first corridor, the player character will find a mole rat. At the end of this area, they will need a rope to go further down into the Vault.

Loot in Entrance

Living quarters

Rats, rats and more rats!

This area has a layout much like Vault 13. Here most people will get their first armor. The player character will again need a rope to go down further at the end of this area. In the third room counting from the left, one can find a locker with a rope in it.

Loot in Living quarters

Command Center

Chip ain't here...

Much of this level is buried under tons of rock and rubble, including the command and control center. The rest of the Vault's equipment has been ruined or destroyed. There are a lot of pig rats, rats and one mole rat.

Loot in Command Center

The Squat

Main article: The Squat

Some grumpy squatters for welcome

A grouping of tents, small buildings and some trees up against the side of a cliff. There are squatters wandering the area.

Eastern entrance

Main article: New Khans encampment

Lift & shack

Raiders built a lift to have an easy access to the Vault, bypassing the squatter residents and built a shack for its protection. This shack is the place where Chrissy is kept.


Raiders' hole

This area has almost the same layout as Vault 12's entrance, except that the outside section is a cavern instead of a sewer, and the main entrance elevator with a tunnel leading to it is present. This is completely different from what the Vault Dweller saw there in 2162. After the player character repairs the power generator on level 2, they need to deal with a force field to proceed.

Living quarters

"Hey, look -- the lights came on. What the..."

This area has no rubble. There is also (with a good repair skill and a tool) a generator that can be repaired, this turns on the lights and the console to activate the level 1 force field. All three levels are connected by a single elevator, which is different than the two shafts seen in Fallout. The presence of a wall locker in one of the rooms bears a resemblance to Vault 12.

Loot in the top, left most room

Command center

Darion, Baddog and a lot of guards

The command center is in control of Darion, the leader of the New Khans. Though most of the computers have been destroyed, there are a few of them that work, barely.

Loot in Storage room
Loot in Command Center





Related quests


Fallout 2


  • The Vault-Tec elevator decal has a spelling mistake, saying Vaul Tek.


Vault 15 appears in Fallout and Fallout 2 and is mentioned in the Fallout Bible.

Behind the scenes

  • The in-game maps in the first two Fallout games show different locations for Vault 13, Shady Sands (later NCR) and Vault 15. In the first game, Vault 15 is near the Death Valley in Nevada. In the second game, it is considerably farther to the west, in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.
  • Areas of Vault 15 which were blocked off by fallen rocks in Fallout are accessible in Fallout 2.
  • In the entry tunnel in Fallout 2, there is a ladder that leads straight to the exit grid in "The Squat." Though the Squat does not grant access to the tunnel until they have joined the NCR. This ladder becomes accessible through Zeke's house.
  • The Fallout Bible states that the vault opened in 2141.[Non-canon 6]


  • Fallout may sometimes crash if one chooses to travel to the location.[verified]
  • Certain raiders in the Vault are bugged. Some have incorrect ammo or ammo in their item slots which confuses the AI and prevents them from using their weapons correctly. Darion will not use his flamer and will run away from the player character once combat has started.[verified]



  1. Vault locations v34.129: "Due east from Vault 13, construction on this Vault has gone extremely smoothly. Much work was done to reinforce the walls of the third level of this Vault, to make all the future Vault Dwellers more secure in the knowledge that in the event of even a major earthquake, the regulatory computers of the Vault would continue to function. Recent tours of the newly constructed Vault, have had many a potential Vault Dweller walking away with a new found awe of the improvements done to this already impressive Vault."
  2. The Vault Dweller: "{138}{}{Where was this Vault of yours?}"
    Katrina: "{140}{}{It was Vault-15. It is due east of here. We tried to make contact with some other Vaults, but we always failed. I think it was the raiders who attacked my fellow dwellers. Be careful!}"
  3. The Vault Dweller: "{130}{}{Tell me about yourself.}"
    Katrina: "{137}{}{My life was very boring. I was raised in a Vault. I lived there for many years. Unfortunately, we were crowded and life was very bad. There was a schism, and many people left, taking with them the best equipment. Still, some of us tried to stay in the Vault. But then we were attacked. I was hurt, and I ended up here. Now I try to help people . . .}"
  4. The Chosen One: "{117}{}{Do you have a GECK?}"
    Mikey Frazier: "{119}{}{A GECK? Well, that's old history, so what the hell. You mean the old Garden of Eden Kit. We had one - I mean our grandparents had one. Used it when they came out of Vault 15. Got this place started, they say. It's all used up now.}"
  5. The Vault Dweller: "{129}{}{Tell me about the rest of the world.}"
    Katrina: "{136}{}{I know very little of the outside world. I escaped from a Vault when it was attacked. Unfortunately, I was very hurt and do not remember much of what happened. But Dharma was watching over me, and I was found by the people of Shady Sands. I live here now. Have you spoken with Ian, yet? He is a merchant guard who was hurt. He is recovering in the guardhouse over there. [She points to the east] He is more widely travelledIn-game spelling than I.}"
  6. The Chosen One: "{123}{}{Excellent, how can I help you?}"
    Tandi: "{124}{tand4}{We need some computer parts from our old base - Vault 15. Problem is there's squatters there who won't let anybody by. Somebody has to convince 'em to let us in - or just bring back the parts. Up for the job?}"
  7. The Chosen One: "{156}{}{What can you tell me about vault 15?}"
    Tandi: "{166}{tand8}{It's just east of here, an underground shelter from the war. Most families in NCR came from it, so it's rightfully ours.}"
    Chosen One: "{168}{}{Go on.}"
    "{169}{tand9}{A couple of years ago some squatters moved in and built a shantytown on the surface. They call it 'The Squat.' They're nothing but dogs in the manger. They can't get into the vault but they keep us out.}"
  8. The Chosen One: "{121}{}{Anything else go on here?}"
    Zeke: "{137}{}{There's a city west of here called NCR. They claim Vault 15 is their ancestral home and they want it back. They've been sending people here trying to talk us into leaving but we aren't going for it. This is the only home we know.}"
  9. The Chosen One: "{109}{}{I'd like to know who you are and what is going on here.}"
    Chrissy: "{120}{}{In a nutshell, my name is Chrissy and I'm from the Squat. I was out exploring last week when I found that entrance out there. I thought it might be an abandoned mine or something, so I decided to check it out. Well, it's not a mine; it's a secret entrance into Vault 15. The vault is being used as a base for a band of raiders called the Khans. They caught me snooping around and their leader, Darion, had me locked up in here.}"
    "{135}{}{The people of the Squat are protecting these guys by helping them keep the vault a secret, but they don't know what's really going on here. Darion told us that the vault was being repaired so we could have a safe place to live with lots of food and water, but it's all a lie. I've been in there and looked around. The vault is dead, and the food and water machines don't work. Our food and water's been coming from the spoils of raids against caravans.}"
    "{136}{}{Look, I've got to go home and warn everyone about what's really going on here. We can't help these monsters. Will you take me home?}"
  10. The Chosen One: "{261}{}{I'm afraid you have another problem. If you'll look at this holodisk you'll see that you have a spy in the NCR.}"
    Tandi: "{264}{tand35}{Damn, the only person who knew all this was Feargus! I'm not suggesting anything, but maybe Gunther should know about this.}"
  11. The Chosen One: "{139}{}{Would you consider making a deal with NCR?}"
    Zeke: "{140}{}{That all depends. What did you have in mind?}"
    The Chosen One: "{142}{}{Join NCR, let them annex your territory, and give them access to the vault. In return, they can teach you all the skills you need to survive on your own and offer you their protection.}"
    Zeke: "{143}{}{Not bad... I like it. You've got yourself a deal if you can get NCR to agree to it as well. But... Look, someone has to take care of Darion and his cronies. It should be done now before they realize what has happened and have time to prepare for an attack. Why not get this over with and take Darion out now? You'll have the element of surprise on your side.}"
  12. Fallout 2 ending: "With the support you secured from the New California Republic, the Vault 15 squatters soon become self-sufficient and productive members of society."


  1. Fallout Bible 0: "Vault 15 Intended to stay closed for 50 years and include people of radically diverse ideologies. Gathered from what you hear from Aradesh in Fallout 1, he has quite a bit of multi-cultural flavoring to his speech."
  2. Fallout: The Roleplaying Game Rulebook p.57: "Whether through design or poor planning, many of the vaults were not well stocked or prepared for the long wait until nuclear fallout had reached safe levels outside, and many fell into disrepair or out of supplies. Due to these shortcomings, many vault dwellers sought help from the surface, and many vaults opened in order to allow supplies to reach them. By opening their vault doors, the isolated societies inside opened themselves up to mixing with the survivors above, and established a permanent connection with the surface—the most notable example being the residents of Vault 15, who split up and went on to establish the settlement Shady Sands, as well as the raiding gangs of the Jackals, Vipers, and Khans when their vault opened."
  3. Fallout 2 manual: "With their knowledge, and the help of a man called Ian, I continued on my way to Vault 15. The ruins of Vault 15, to be more specific. Ravaged by the elements, scavengers, and time itself, Vault 15 was no help for my people. The control room that contained their water-chip was buried under tons of fallen rock, and I had to move on."
  4. Fallout Bible 6: "The NCR's relationship with their old Vault has undergone some violent upheavals over the years. From nests of monsters, raiders, Vault 15 worshippers, ghoul scavengers, to more innocent (and not-so-innocent) Squatters and Salvage Teams and the Republic arguing over excavation rights, it seems to be difficult for the government or any other inhabitant of the wasteland to leave the area alone... because, well, it's a Vault."
  5. Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.458: "Important Dates
    2248 President Tandi takes ill and dies at the age of 103. Her presidency has lasted 52 years. Vice-President Joanna Tibbett assumes office."
    (Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide; Behind the Bright Lights & Big City)
  6. Fallout Bible 0:
    Fallout Bible 3: "2141 Spring Vault 15 opened."
Vault 15