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Vault 76 is a Vault-Tec Vault located in the Forest region of Appalachia. It is located north of Flatwoods, West Virginia, and was designated as the "Official Vault of the Tricentennial" by Vault-Tec, under the tagline "Vault-Tec Salutes America."
Vault 76 was one of 17 control Vaults, part of the overarching Vault experiment. It debuted in 2076, seven years after its construction ended, in honor of the United States' Tercentenary. The maximum capacity was stated to be 500 occupants, and construction blueprints record a capacity of 88. The Vault was slated to open to the outside world 20 years after nuclear war so that the individuals within could emerge to recolonize Appalachia.
Construction of Vault 76 began in February 2065 and ended in October 2069. The Vault was designed with LightLife geothermal for its primary power supply, and General Atomics nuclear generator as a secondary power supply, but in the end was provided with a pair of super reactors. Its computer control system was Brainpower 4.
|Construction begins||February 2065|
|Construction ends||October 2069|
|Months sealed planned/actual||240/300|
|Computer system||Brainpower 4|
|Primary power supply||LightLife geothermal (planned)|
Super reactor (implemented)
|Secondary power supply||General Atomics nuclear|
The overseer was instructed to ignore standard operating procedures, as Vault 76 was deemed a special project essential to rebuilding the United States in the wake of nuclear war. The occupants were some of America's finest, including students from Vault-Tec University, military members and former White House Chief of Staff. Occupants were provided fully furnished apartments including a bedroom, living room, bathroom, and color television.
The Vault was successfully sealed on October 23, 2077. The Vault-Tec security team ensured compliance and defended the individuals as they entered the Vault, authorized to use lethal force to ensure only those authorized would enter. Everyone else was considered an enemy combatant. They succeeded in their mission and the Vault door was sealed for the next quarter of a century.
This was only the beginning of the project. The occupants were a diverse group selected from every walk of life, and apart from the Vault staff, all were highly accomplished before the war and possessed competitive personalities. As such, Vault-Tec expected the Vault dwellers to present unique challenges in maintaining order. As a last resort, the overseer was granted the ability to lock down each domicile and imprison dissenters for any duration deemed appropriate, with the note to account for the fact that enforced solitary confinement can lead to psychological issues. Furthermore, the security team was provided with less-than-lethal devices to ensure compliance. Firearms and other munitions were stowed after the amended entry period.
For the next 25 years, Vault 76 continued to operate as planned. The overseer found order easy to maintain, though the impressive pedigree of those the Vault sheltered and their competence led to the aforementioned unique challenges, most often challenging her authority. To provide them with an outlet for their competitiveness, the overseer instituted a number of awards for the Vault dwellers to obtain, as award ceremonies were a great way to placate even the most hardened egos (altercations aside; one lost a tooth fighting over the Best Dental Hygiene award). The high point of the program was the Vault 76 World Cup, even if it nearly broke the jukebox. The overseer credited the success to the "exemplary" service of her "loyal and dependable" senior staff.
Meanwhile, outside of Vault 76, the survivors of the Great War were aware of the Vault's existence and wondered why it was still closed years later. In particular, the Responders wanted to know if they could open the Vault somehow. The Vault's sealing led to the perception from outsiders that the residents of Vault 76 are cushy and privileged, while the rest of the world adjusted to wasteland life.
However, Vault 76 also had another objective: the Vault's overseer was ordered to find and secure three nuclear silos all on her own after its opening. If these sites were still nuclear-capable, she was to ensure no one except Vault-Tec could access or launch nuclear ordnance. Any other authorities, government, militia or otherwise, were to be ignored, to ensure that Vault-Tec alone controlled these silos and could deny their use to any third parties. However, Vault-Tec may have known that the task was impossible for her to accomplish on her own, especially since they purposefully picked someone young and inexperienced for an overseer.
As the Vault neared the end of its duration and approached Reclamation Day, the situation started to slowly deteriorate. In 2100, the Vault was over capacity, with hydroponics struggling to keep up with the demand and mandatory rationing instituted by the overseer. Six individuals had to be placed under disciplinary lockdown (up from four at the end of the previous year), with the morale officer tasked with pacifying rumors about Appalachia around the clock. Nobody wanted to emerge into Appalachia to fight cannibal mutants and brave burning rain.
Regardless, tensions were running high, especially with some people being quite difficult to handle. Jake, an arrogant pre-War lawyer, was detested by the security team so much that only one officer could be trusted to be sent down and not strangle him. Furthermore, the "Ressies," as the security team called them, started hacking into terminals to learn more about the Reclamation and the Activation Notices. Although the security team made a token effort to curtail unauthorized access, they all knew trying to keep geniuses out of the files was a lost cause.
As a result of these mounting concerns, 2102 and Reclamation Day was met with relief from all parties; some were so relieved they even broke into the stores to enjoy it early. The overseer mandated a Reclamation Day party the day before the Activation Notice, opening up restricted alcohol stashes and the remaining food supplies. The happiness and cheering in the atrium as the overseer counted down to midnight were second only to the time when the first Vault child was born. The party continued well into the night when the overseer called lights out and had security help stragglers into their beds. Then, she and her team went through the final checklists. Standees and supplies were placed along the exit route to the Vault door to provide a last refresher course for the ressies, while the security team went through their duties with record speed: Wiping logs, securing non-essential gear and acquiring Reclamation Packages for themselves.
Those who were sheltered by Vault 76 ultimately had no other choice as the Vault itself was designed to cease functioning and be rendered inhospitable 24 hours after opening, a feature intended to force those within to commit to reclaiming the outside world and prevent them from becoming dependent on the Vault's amenities. Studies showed that dependency was common, so the killswitch was established and set to kick in after the All-Clear message was received after the aforementioned delay. Air circulation would shut down last, giving everyone enough time to leave the Vault, but rendering it hazardous for habitation. Only robotic stewards would remain to preserve the remains, while the former inhabitants focused on rebuilding America.
Vault 76 successfully opened on October 23, 2102, 25 years after the Great War and five years after the intended date, in a much-celebrated event known as Reclamation Day. The Vault opened and the inhabitants emerged into an unknown world, transformed by nuclear war and a quarter-century of the ensuing chaos. Nobody knew what to expect, as the bombs knocked out all of Vault 76's external sensors except for the Geiger counters. Still, some on the security team were more concerned with internal threats than external ones, as rumors were flying high of who would team up with who after leaving the Vault. The competitive inhabitants were already making alliances and pacts before exiting, and anything could happen without some sort of guiding force. The team feared that the Ressies could go off the rails, breaking the respectable record of 25 years without casualties. Although some argued for arming everyone before they leave the Vault, using the surplus stocks, the overseer denied the request. They received the standard survival packages and were told to run fast and far away from Vault 76 and complete their mission.
Vault 76 is the game's starting and tutorial area, providing a direct route to the exit with few branches. The player character awakes in their apartment and has the opportunity to explore their surroundings and collect the Nuka Tapper game holotape from their personal terminal. They are only allowed to exit the apartment once they collect the Pip-Boy 2000 Mark VI.
Upon exiting, they enter an atrium area with traces of the last day's party. The atrium is large, complete with tables, a diner, and a soccer field in the middle. There is a note that cannot be taken sitting on one of the tables in the diner on the upper level, called the love note. The upstairs levels of the atrium contain accommodation for the Vault Dwellers.
As the Vault is in the process of shutting down, side routes are sealed off and inaccessible. However, the player character can access a few areas and terminals, including the personnel files in the room with the projector and perk pack and the security office just by the entrance. The overseer's office is also accessible via going slightly off route while following the trail of equipment stations.
Several Mister Handies are positioned throughout the Vault on the route to the exit and man stations at which the player character can acquire their C.A.M.P. and a few other basic necessities as they prepare to leave. The robots provide some basic tips for survival.
|2||Health & Medication||Cavendish||Stimpak|
|3||Power is Key||Higgenbottom||Cloth x5,|
|4||Join a Team||Merriman||Party hat|
|5||Camping Made Easy||Crowley||C.A.M.P.|
|6||Get a Job||Poole||Black-rim glasses|
The Vault's main systems, including life support, were to be shut down shortly after Reclamation Day. After leaving Vault 76, no one can return to the interior, however, new characters created will always start in the Vault.
- Vault Dwellers - The player characters.
- Vault 76 overseer - The Vault's overseer, left the shelter early on a secret mission from Vault-Tec.
- Mister Handies
- Orders from Maria Chavez - Note, outside, on a Responder corpse down the stairs from the Vault.
- Overseer's log - Vault 76 - Holotape, inserted into the overseer's terminal in her office, or obtained from Pennington outside the Vault.
- Scouts' Life issue #01
- Nuka Tapper - Holotape game, inserted into the terminal in the player character's domicile (fixed spawn and is otherwise not obtainable outside of randomized magazine spawns).
- In the Capital Wasteland's Citadel, Vault 76 is mentioned in a terminal entry, listed under D.C. area Vaults.
- Aboard Mothership Zeta, a recording of an individual abducted by the Zetan aliens can be found, an assistant CEO of Vault-Tec Corporation named Giles Wolstencroft. He records that he was captured while inspecting the construction site of Vault 76.
- A newscaster reporting before the Great War in the Commonwealth mentions the debut of Vault 76 the previous year, in honor of America's Tercentenary.
- Reuben Gill and ZAX 1.3c within Vault 51 discuss the opening of the Vault on Reclamation Day, where ZAX refuses Gill's command of opening their Vault so that he could travel to Vault 76.
- Vault 76 cannot be nuked in the quest I Am Become Death.
- The door and surrounding decoration of Vault 76's entrance are designed to resemble the Vault-Tec logo.
Behind the scenes
When reaching the first checkpoint, the "celebration" music from Fallout Shelter plays.
|Player character apt|
|Concept art and signage|