Vault 21 is a Vault-Tec Vault that was once hidden under Las Vegas, Nevada. It has since been converted into a hotel/casino and acts as one of many sources of income for Mr. House and his young New Vegas empire in 2281.[Non-canon 1]
Located in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, Vault 21 was one of the few Vaults that successfully protected its inhabitants while fulfilling the parameters of its experiment. Everyone in the Vault was equal, it was created with a perfectly symmetrical layout, and all conflicts and problems were solved through gambling. Chosen representatives gambled against each other in the main atrium and the winner earned the right to settle the dispute as wished by the collective. Sarah describes it as "pure New Vegas" as "everyone has a chance and lady luck smiles if you play your odds right."
In 2274, Robert House contacted Vault 21's residents with an offer of inclusion in the resurrection of Vegas. While most of the Vault dwellers wanted to refuse the offer, some residents were in favor of it. As a result, residents in favor of Mr. House's offer challenged each level's representative who was in favor of staying isolated. After a game of Blackjack that lasted for many hours, those in favor of opening to the outside won in an extremely risky move. Soon after, Mr. House ordered the Vault to be filled with concrete. But at the request of Sarah and Sheldon Weintraub, he left some of the upper levels intact and allowed Sarah to establish a hotel there, which became another source of income for Vegas's growing economy. After their emergence, many of the Vault dwellers went on to live new lives in the outside world, such as Doc Mitchell.
A Vault door sign advertises the hotel, on the western end of the Strip, "Vault 21" emblazoned with neon lights. The Vault entrance is an above-ground building that opens to a lobby serving as a gift shop. It is run by one of the only Vault residents to have remained, Sarah Weintraub, who runs the establishment and utilizes a terminal network to communicate with patrons. Stairs lead from the gift shop down into the Vault.
There is a central atrium with two Blackjack tables, a hallway with living quarters, including Sarah's room and a guest room that the player character can rent. Another door leads to the cafeteria/diner. The lower levels were filled with concrete by Mr. House and are inaccessible except for the maintenance level, which is accessible from the basement of The Tops. This level consists of a long hallway with a few small rooms branching off of it. The elevator in Benny's suite leading to it is locked unless he is attacked in the Tops presidential suite, and the tunnel ends in another locked door.
- The Strip snow globe - Behind an Average locked door in the northeast-most room (Sarah's room). In the same room, there is a Hard locked dresser beside the bed with 270 caps and several articles of clothing.
- An oversized toy car and a sensor module - In the hotel lobby.
- Strip letter 1 and Strip letter 2 - In the guest rooms to the southeast.
- Strip letter 3 - In the guest room just west of the inaccessible door to the south.
- Vault lab uniform - Occasionally sold by Sarah.
- The background music is Serenity, which was originally used for Modoc in Fallout 2.
- If the quest The Finger of Suspicion has been started, then there will be three Omerta thugs threatening Martina Groesbeck in one of the rooms.
- The Tops houses an elevator that goes down to the basement and connects via a blown open wall to the service areas of Vault 21. This elevator is normally locked and unable to be picked, but is automatically unlocked if Benny is given the chance to flee when confronting him at The Tops. There is a locked door at the end of a hallway in the Vault that can be unlocked using console commands. An invisible part of the Vault will appear by walking a little forward. There are no lights and this part ends with two staircases leading to nowhere.
- The doormat at the main entrance of the gift shop is the same as seen in Fallout 3's Vault 112, located in front of Stanislaus Braun's Tranquility Lounger and in front of houses in Tranquility Lane.
- No doors in this Vault feature a gold stripe and the number 21, but instead are all marked "No Access." The same is true for Vault 3.
- A picture showing James and Catherine (the parents of the Lone Wanderer from Fallout 3) can be found beside a bed in Sarah Weintraub's room.
- The lights in the Vault are the models seen in ruined Vaults, such as Vault 34.
- The eastern billiards room contains a jukebox named "Jukey The Jukebox." Other than the name, it is not unique.
- If the player character leaves items in the locker of the room and later gets the reputation of "Wild Child" for the Strip, then the room cannot be rented and the items cannot be retrieved.
- Player characters may make this their personal Vault/home once they are given a room by Sarah.
- Vault 21 is the only known Vault that does not still possess its cog-shaped blast door.
- Looking to the right when entering, Vault 101's bulletins can be seen on the wall with only a couple of changes made to them, such as the Vault 101 bake off ad being changed to Vault 21.
- There is a working light switch in the player character's hotel room.
- The sub-basement hallway tunnel appears incomplete when seen in the GECK, there's also a door that supposedly leads to the hallway, but it's blocked by a large piece of rubble.
- There is a slightly undersized terminal in the gift shop.
- In the Fallout: New Vegas add-on Dead Money, the vault is mentioned by the rogue Brotherhood Elder Elijah. He believed that the Courier had stolen the Pip-Boy they utilize from a Vault 21 resident.
Behind the scenes
- Vault 21 was designed by Jorge Salgado.
- Vault 21 is geographically situated in the same real world location as the former Las Vegas Hilton, now Westgate Las Vegas, which contained a municipal fallout shelter in real life.[Non-canon 2]
- Josh Sawyer stated that House cemented the Vault to avoid former residents from retaking it, keeping it limited to a tourist attraction and small-scale residence.[Non-canon 3]
- Vault 21's lower levels being filled with concrete is a subtle reference to the Silver Slipper Casino, as it was rumored that the mechanized slipper at the front of the casino was filled with concrete by Howard Hughes, the man who was the basis for Mr. House.
- James Garcia created the 3D model of the neon sign letters.[Non-canon 4]
- The computer in Sarah Weintraub's room contains an email from a Charlene Tann who mentions her husband Biff Tann. This is a nod to the Back to the Future trilogy, in which the antagonist is named Biff Tannen.
- The Vault guest terminal advertises pool sets in the gift shop with the line "Hustle it like Minnesota Fats!" This is a reference to the novel The Hustler by Walter Tevis and its 1961 film adaptation, starring Jackie Gleason as Fats.
- If you take the tour with Sarah Weintraub, your companions may disappear and not reappear when you exit the Vault.[verified]
- Sarah may not recognize Vault 21 jumpsuits as Vault gear, but will trade for them normally at the usual price.[verified]
- Sometimes when you take the tour with Sarah Weintraub, she will walk with you out of the gift shop and then stay still above the stairs leading to the hotel part of Vault 21 and will be unable to talk to.[verified]
- Vault 21 has a high probability of causing the game to freeze during loading screens.[verified]
- The Courier: "Are you the owner of this hotel and shop?"
Sarah Weintraub: "Well... it is my vault, all right. I mean, yeah. That is, no. I take care of it but I suppose you could say that it belongs to Mr. House."
(Sarah Weintraub's dialogue)
- Sarah Weintraub: "All right! Please, follow me. We'll head into the vault right away. This bunker protects the entrance to the vault - solid stone outside and thick steel on the inside! Above us there's the control center for this level of the vault's life-support systems, electric grid, radioactive shields and all that jazz. Don't get lost! My vault has many corridors and rooms - although it is no longer symmetrical, after Mr. House threw us out. This is the main game-hall. Here we settled the big disputes among the vault's levels. Chosen representatives gambled against each other here. The winner earned the right to settle the dispute as wished by the collective. We used to have such parties in this diner! A bitch to clean later... but well worth it! This hall leads to our guest rooms. You can use the first room on our left. But no snooping next door! That's my room, always was. Down there is the game room! Each side of the vault had one... but the other is filled with concrete now. Okay, that wraps it up. I'll see you soon!"
(Sarah Weintraub's dialogue)
- The Courier: "What is so special about this vault?"
Sarah Weintraub: "My vault is pure New Vegas. Everyone has a chance and lady luck smiles if you play your odds right!... Okay, it was like that before we had to leave. Vault 21 had very smart ways to help people get along. All arguments and fights got solved through gambling. I'll give you a quick tour of my home! Oh, yeah, if you like."
(Sarah Weintraub's dialogue)
- Vault 21 terminal entries' Vault 21 guest terminal, History of Vault 21
- The Courier: "What does Mr. House have to do with Vault 21?"
Sarah Weintraub: "Mr. House has everything to do with Vault 21. He tried to get us out before he filled it with concrete. I almost went ape! So, we convinced him - okay, Sheldon and I, right? We convinced him to leave the top level mostly intact!"
(Sarah Weintraub's dialogue)
- Vault 21 terminal entries; Vault 21 Guest terminal, Mail Messaging
- 743.00Hz ULF radio signal: "Good thing the new recruit had a Pip-Boy, too, probably stole it from a Vault 21 dweller. Still, a thief's just what I need for this."
- Vault 21 terminal entries; Vault 21 reception terminal, Our Influential Friends.
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.349-350: "[2D.06] Vault 21
A vault where its dwellers used to settle their differences via games of chance, is now hotel and gift shop. The top floor is just the gift shop and front desk for the hotel. Visitors can buy Vault 21 jumpsuits, toasters, and other souvenir items, and view displays and read authentic details about the history of Vault 21. The vault itself is in pristine condition, aside from the subterranean eastern section, which was sealed by Mr. House; much to the annoyance of the last remaining residents Sarah (and her brother Michael) Weintraub. Aside form the ostentatious signage, the initial kiosk welcoming visitors to the vault lacks the spectacular nature of The Strip's other venues. But step inside, and you're transported back in time."
(Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition Tour of the Mojave Wasteland)
- Clark County Nevada Fallout Shelters
- Formspring January 2, 2012:Why in the world would House cement in that Vault? It makes no sense.
Joshua Sawyer: He doesn't want it to be able to return to a fully-functional vault because he doesn't want its former residents to attempt to retake it. I.e. he wants to motivate the Vault 21 dwellers to leave the area. If he had simply sealed off areas or electronically locked portions of it, enterprising smarties like ex-vaulters might attempt to work against him and eventually restore it. With the majority of the vault filled with cement, it can only function as a tourist attraction and small-scale residence.
(Josh Sawyer Formspring answers)
- James Garcia's portfolio