Constructed in secret by the Vault-Tec Corporation from 2072 onwards, Vault 79 was built with no expenses spared for concealment; a different contractor to the other Appalachian Vaults was used to supply concrete, and land was acquired from local farmers by government agents claiming the land was radioactive, offering large sums of money as compensation.
Its stated capacity was 120 dwellers. The number in Vault 79's designation was chosen in reference to the atomic number of gold, the precious resource that the Vault was designed to store and protect. All the gold from the bullion depository at Fort Knox was secretly transferred to Vault 79 by military forces (such as Captain Fields' team) to act as safe storage and to be used as the basis to rebuild the United States of America and the economy.
Orders given to the soldiers watching over it included treating all intruders as hostile agents and to be dealt with as such, all shift logs were to be packaged and delivered to the officer of the watch, activate the contingency plan when ordered, not to smoke away from the designated smoking area and to stay out of sight.
The secrecy of the Vault was put in jeopardy in July 2072 when a group of soldiers guarding the installation stole millions of dollars and went to gamble in Las Vegas. They were subsequently engaged in a shootout at the Ultra-Luxe casino by the local police forces in an attempt to silence them, and were all killed despite their attempts to surrender, with the sole survivor being Sergeant Kathryn Montgomery, who had been staying in the Lucky 38. Branded as a Chinese spy and dubbed "Shanghai Sally," she escaped the city but was killed trying to flee Galveston, Texas, her boat being destroyed by the USS Wade.
Montgomery was not the final witness to be silenced however, as her partner C. Rutkowski and others who remembered the group from bars around Berkeley Springs disappeared soon after. The dramatic shootout and cover-up attracted the attention of Flavia Stabo, who began investigating Montgomery and the other soldiers and found the Vault shortly before the Great War. Stabo was buried in a shallow grave near its entrance for her troubles, one of the last pre-War casualties of the Vault's need for secrecy.
After the war, the Vault remained sealed, awaiting orders from the outside that the Vault’s gold deposits were needed. At an unknown point, there was a mutiny led by a Secret Service agent nicknamed "Shorty" among the inhabitants, which killed many of them, and the numbers dwindled further over the years as at least three others took their own lives.
By 2103, rumors of the Appalachian treasure drew people seeking it out to the region, and they enlisted the help of a Vault Dweller to obtain it. After they breached Vault 79, the remnants of the Vault's Secret Service detachment allowed them to leave with some of the gold.
The main entrance to Vault 79 is inside of the Mysterious Cave north of the Bailey family cabin. A keypad can be found on a wall inside the cave, which reveals an elevator. There are two ways to obtain the randomized code for the elevator:
- Complete the quest Treasure Unknown in the Grafton Pawn Shop. Enter the six digits read (from the board in the pawnshop) from left to right; the first three digits being on the top row and the last three digits on the bottom row.
- Start the quest Buried Treasure. One gets the code from the Raiders to enter Vault 79.
The elevator leads to the large cavern in front of the signature cogwheel door of Vault 79. Once inside the cavern, one will see a small trailer, a small warehouse section, a truck trailer with goods, and a platform including the Vault 79 entrance terminal. The Vault door could not be opened until the Wastelanders update when the interior became accessible.
Another entrance to Vault 79 is inside of a shack also north of the Bailey family cabin (but not as far north as the mysterious cave). A call button can be found on a wall inside the shack, but the laser grid cannot be opened until after completion of the main Vault 79 quest, Secrets Revealed, when you can pass through the laser grid and take the elevator to the gold storage Vault.
A wide variety of hostile robots and automated turrets inhabit the main areas of the Vault, while the reactor area contains feral ghouls and a single wendigo.
- First days in Vault 79 - Holotape, on the desk in the overseer's office.
- Shooting range password - Holotape, in a cupboard in the overseer's office.
- Chase Terrier's journal - Note, on a table in the sleeping area of operations.
- Cole Carver's journal - Note, in the kitchen on a table.
- Garrison's journal - Note, on a corner console to the left of the laser grid.
- Reginald Stone's journal - Note, on the left console behind Digger in the reactor room.
- Reginald Stone's journal, entry 712 - Holotape, side room slightly north of where one first encounters Slick.
- Mercedes Stern's journal - Note, on a desk next to a small set of stairs in operations.
- Vault 79 facilities management keycard - Keycard, obtained during Buried Treasure. Accesses ID card reader.
- 1000 gold bullion - In the gold processing room, west of the reactor.
- Potential magazine - On the right table in the barracks.
- Vault 79 was first added in patch 14 on October 23, 2019.
- The Vault elevator code is randomized for each character and may only be solved at the Grafton Pawn Shop by finding all the map fragments and placing them on the board in Flavia Stabo's apartment above the shop.
- After completing the Secrets Revealed quest, the Vault's interior apart from the gold Vault operations becomes inaccessible. Any items the player character wishes to obtain must be acquired before entering the elevator, which will take one to Appalachia instead of the Vault after the quest is complete.
Projector slides & plans
Prior to Wastelanders