Vault 3 is one of the Vaults constructed by the Vault-Tec Corporation in the Mojave Wasteland. It was constructed in the southwestern part of Las Vegas, on the outskirts of the city's industrial sector. Save for some flooding in the lower levels, the Vault is still in working condition in 2281. It is occupied by the Fiends, who killed all of the Vault's original occupants. The Fiends use Vault 3 as a secure fortress and drug den.
Vault 3 is one of four Vaults in the Mojave that contains living human inhabitants, the others being Vault 19, Vault 21, and Vault 34. Nestled within the South Vegas ruins, Vault 3 was one of the seventeen control Vaults, resulting in it not having an experiment.[Non-canon 1] All was going well in the Vault until a water leak occurred sometime in the 23rd century, forcing the residents to open the Vault to find help. The original Vault 3 inhabitants opened their doors and began to trade with people outside of the Vault. For a couple of weeks, it went well and the inhabitants made a good living. However, this also brought the Vault to the attention of the Fiends.
Exploiting the Vault dwellers' naivety and lack of security, the Fiends successfully conned themselves into the Vault, upon which they killed the inhabitants and claimed the Vault for themselves. Using the vault as an impenetrable base of operations, the Fiends have since grown steadily stronger, becoming a serious threat to the people living on the outskirts of southwestern New Vegas as well as a constant nuisance to the New California Republic Army command stationed at Camp McCarran.
In many ways, Vault 3 was the ideal post-apocalyptic community. The Vault's isolation did not affect the residents for generations, they maintained an orderly, democratic society and, unlike other Vaults (in particular Vault 101), the overseer was not a dictator or megalomaniac.
The Vault is located under a building in the South Vegas ruins and is the base of operations for a gang known as the Fiends. Its location can be gained from the colonel at Camp McCarran after volunteering to help with the gang problem, from Elder McNamara of the Brotherhood of Steel during the quest Still in the Dark, from Diane during the quest Aba Daba Honeymoon or from Private Ortega in the barracks at the NCR sharecropper farms.
The Vault door, which is opened by the adjacent control panel, is connected directly to the South Vegas ruins and therefore provides no loading point for the Vault interior. This explains the lack of a door opening sequence.
Inside the entrance is a Fiend guard, who will question the Courier on what they are doing there. If the Courier successfully passes a Speech check of 64 or if they are wearing Great Khan armor, they can navigate the Vault without being attacked. The Courier can remove the armor after the initial dialogue with the guard. This guard levels with the Courier, and will have a high HP at higher levels, with a maximum of 260 HP at level 30.
The walls of the Vault are covered with graffiti, presumably done by the occupying Fiends. Much of the graffiti in the Vault is the same as that which can be found on the Brotherhood's bunkers in Hidden Valley. In one of the toilets, there is graffiti on the wall of a stick man and woman. It's an enlarged version of the one in Hidden Valley. Overall, there are about five hackable terminals inside the Vault, which contain information about the Vault's history.
Vault 3 consists of three areas:
Vault 3 seems to have a much larger recreational area than the other Vaults. The recreation area also includes several pool tables and some minor loot. There is a locked door containing multiple Nuka-Cola bottles, one Nuka-Cola Quartz, and one Nuka-Cola Victory. Within the recreation area, there is a locked door leading to the maintenance wing.
On the main floor of the living quarters, there is a cage holding three captives, including Rick Lancer, Rachael and Dennis. The cage also holds the body of the fourth captive, Carter, who managed to escape to search the Vault for weapons before being caught and subsequently killed. Daniel, the Fiend who holds the key to the cage can be found in one of the southernmost rooms of the living quarters. Alternatively, the cage door can be picked without Karma loss, and no Fiends will become hostile regardless of detection. In addition, the captives will leave the cage and walk in the crouched "sneak" position past all of the Fiends in the Vault to the front entrance, and the Fiends seemingly pay them no mind.
Two of the rooms in the living quarters each have a deceased Fiend on a bed, surrounded by empty syringes, Jet and Psycho. Around the southern part of the living quarters is a bedroom containing a terminal with an administrator "Billy boy" and a function called "Compose Automated Blast Message." However, this does nothing, stating that the system is offline. Some of the Vault is flooded, and the flooded areas are long and difficult to swim through with enough time to return for air before taking drowning damage. In addition, the water is irradiated at 1 rad/sec. The rebreather or Turbo will aid in searching these areas.
Previous Vault dwellers
If the Fiends are non-hostile, looting will not make them hostile, nor will it impact Karma.
- Behind a Very Easy locked door (northwestmost room) connected to the main part of the recreation area is a room with a Nuka-Cola Quartz, Nuka-Cola Victory, and 20-30 pool cues.
- Several bobby pins in front of every locked door, lying on the floor. They are barely noticeable due to their size and low visibility.
- 90 empty Nuka-Cola bottles and 17 milk bottles spread throughout the area.
- A Chinese Army: Special Ops Training Manual on the bookshelf, in the large bedroom behind a door secured with an Average locked terminal, immediately opposite the entrance to the living quarters from the recreation area. The book is on a shelf immediately to the right upon entering.
- Sunset Sarsaparilla star bottle cap on a desk in a room next to a bottle of Sunset Sarsaparilla in a southern room of the living quarters, one floor above the flooded area. It's in the room across the hall from the room with a terminal that says "Hello Billy boy!" when accessed.
- A pair of binoculars are on the bookshelf outside the overseer's office. Another pair are on the shelf next to the observation window in the overseer's office.
- There's a 25% chance of finding a Vault 3 utility jumpsuit in the 25 lockers spread throughout the living quarters and maintenance wing.
- Motor-Runner's helmet - Worn by Motor-Runner.
- The reverse pulse cleaner for the Brotherhood of Steel quest Still in the Dark can be found in a locker inside Motor-Runner's throne room.
- If the Courier stands outside the Vault door with Veronica as a companion, it triggers a point for her companion quest.
- If the Courier enters the cafeteria area of this Vault with Lily Bowen, she will comment about herself when she was a small girl and will reminisce about her first kiss.
- Due to the many bugs associated with the quest Aba Daba Honeymoon, including quest outcomes which conflict with related quests Still in the Dark, Bounty Killer and I Love Bananas, it is highly recommended that the Courier does not interact with Motor-Runner prior to starting Aba Daba Honeymoon. When entering the room that Motor-Runner is in for the first time, he will automatically engage in dialogue with the Courier. This is the player character's only time to engage in direct dialogue with him, as once that conversation is finished the Courier cannot engage in dialogue with him again. If the player character wishes to complete all related quests successfully, it is recommended to use the following progression:
- Aba Daba Honeymoon - Progress to the point of ready to deliver Motor-Runners package.
- Still in the Dark - Progress to the point of ready to enter Vault 3.
- Bounty Killer - Progress to the point of sending the Ranger back to Camp McCarran.
- I Love Bananas - Progress to the point of secretly freeing the hostages.
- Complete Aba Daba Honeymoon, then complete Bounty Killer, then complete Still in the Dark.
- Once Aba Daba Honeymoon is complete, the Courier may return to the Vault and the Fiends inside won't be hostile. This makes it possible to stealth-kill Motor-Runner and not have to fight all of the Fiends.
- If the Courier kills Motor-Runner before finding the Ranger Bryce Anders, they will meet him back at Camp McCarran. The dialogue will be the same as if they had met him in the Vault.
- If the Courier talks to the ranger, tells him to stay put, and then leaves the Vault, the ranger sometimes triggers his own mine boobytraps and dies on the stairs leading to his hiding place.
- If the Courier searches Mick & Ralph's in Freeside, they will find that their dressers, located in the upper portion of the complex contain several Vault 3 jumpsuits.
- None of the doors feature a gold stripe and a number, instead they are marked "No Access." This is also true of Vault 21.
- If the Courier stealthily kills a Fiend when they are non-hostile and isn't detected, the other Fiends comment on how someone is targeting them.
- It would appear the Fiends tried but failed to access some of the restricted areas of Vault 3, as many bobby pins are dumped together in large clusters near the doors that require lockpicking.
Vault 3 appears only in Fallout: New Vegas.
Behind the scenes
- Vault 3 was designed by Akil Hooper.
- One of the rooms in the Vault contains graffiti of the name "Germaine" crossed out with the name "Bret" written above. This may be a reference to the musical comedy act "The Flight of Conchords," whose band members' names are Bret and Jemaine.
When entering the Vault, the Fiend will talk to you. If you pass the Speech check or are wearing Great Khan clothing, she will tell the other Fiends not to attack. Regardless of that happening (even on previous visits) the Fiends may still randomly become hostile and attack. This appears to be due to the companion code still highlighting some Fiends as enemies, and happens even if you tell them to wait outside the Vault. Instead, send them back to the Lucky 38 and go on completely alone. Note that killing the attacking Fiends in the Vault does not always cause other Fiends to attack you. Usually, the Fiends in the entrance room of the Vault will never attack if you passed the Speech check and you don't attack them. Motor-Runner will also never become hostile unless you attack him.[verified]
- Running to access living quarters and fast-access the door many times, the recreation area Fiends will become friendly again, and exiting Vault 3 will fix this bug.
- Occasionally when you save inside the Vault, the save files will spontaneously become inaccessible, leaving them useless. [verified]
- The entry on the overseer's terminal that unlocks the two submerged storerooms doesn't always work, and sometimes leaves both doors locked with a Hard lock.[verified]
- If you go to the jail cells, look in the cell, and press 'sit bench' you will appear inside the locked cell. To get out either pick the lock or do the same thing on the bench outside the cell.[verified]
- Sometimes the ghoul Dennis will spawn outside of his cell and move freely throughout the Vault, or a Fiend will spawn inside the cell with the prisoners.[verified]
- Captain Curtis walks into the Vault and starts talking to you as if you were in Camp McCarran.[verified] After finding Bryce Anders' body and hacking the computer to open the door,
- If you pass the Speech check to enter Vault 3 and immediately go to talk to Motor-Runner, sometimes if you go to look for Bryce Anders afterward, he will not be there and the secret door will be open. If you return to Captain Curtis he will talk to the player as if Anders had been rescued.[verified]
- Great Khans will appear, or "pop in" and will bug your character and make them seem like they are floating, leaving the crosshairs slightly up from where they should be and 3rd person mode will result in a slight zoom as if transitioning to this mode but will not complete the full transition. This seems to resolve itself once all the Great Khans have loaded. Sometimes when inside the living quarters,
- At the bottom of Vault 3, there is a door that is too low for ED-E to go through. Sometimes ED-E goes further into the Vault, but cannot get back through the door and is therefore stuck. Loading a new game and telling ED-E to wait on one side of the door fixes it. [verified]
- The Courier: "Can you tell me what happened to the residents here?"
Motor-Runner: "I guess it isn't a secret. Yeah, the residents of the Vault are all dead. We killed them. Funny thing is, they just let us in. We didn't have to force the doors or anything.
- The Courier: "What can you tell me about what happened here?"
Bryce Anders: "The Fiends killed everyone living here, and now they are squatting in their home."
(Bryce Anders' dialogue)
- The Courier: "What is this place?"
Bryce Anders: "This was Vault 3, but I'm sure you can tell that by all the 3s all over the damn place. Now it is a drug den for the goddamn Fiends."
(Bryce Anders' dialogue)
- The Courier: "What can you tell me about Vault 3?"
Bryce Anders: "The inhabitants of the Vault were simple traders. They made a good living for themselves for a couple weeks. Then they caught the Fiends attention. I don't think they set up any kind of security, stupid fucks. They all got themselves killed. "
(Bryce Anders' dialogue)
- The Courier: "Who are the Fiends?"
The Courier: "The Fiends?"
James Hsu: " They've set up shop in Vault 3 to the west. Every day they attack our positions and my men repel them. But every day there's more of them and less of us. I sent one of my rangers after their leader to try and destabilize them. He didn't return. Hell of a thing, losing a ranger. You come to depend on them. And they come through for you so often, you forget it can happen."
The Courier: "I'll go to Vault 3 and see if I can find your ranger."
James Hsu: "That Vault is a hornet's nest. If you have second thoughts, no one would think less of you for it. But if you can get him home, it'd mean a lot. Watch for civilians, too. The Fiends have been kidnapping locals. They just walk right into people's homes in the middle of the day and take them. But the man you're looking for is Bryce Anders. Anders was trying to find the leader, Motor-runner. "
(James Hsu's dialogue)
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition pp. 316-318: "[2.24] Vault 3
Vault 3, which is now completely within South Vegas Ruins (AKA "Fiend Territory") was once an ordinary, happy vault. It wasn't built above a sulfur cave, or to feature Vault-Tec "experiments" that could drive dwellers mad. In fact, the place was functioning normally until a slight water leak turned the lower chambers soggy and forced the inhabitants out to the surface, in search of humanity on the topside. Instead, they met the Fiends."
(Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition Tour of the Mojave Wasteland)