Entrance to Vault 87 will be particularly difficult for you, I'm afraid. The area is highly irradiated; lethal levels are all around the entrance. Gaining direct access will be quite impossible.Scribe Rothchild

Vault 87 is one of the vault series of fallout shelters developed by Vault-Tec. It is located northwest of Little Lamplight and southwest of Broadcast tower KT8. It is the birthplace of the super mutants and centaurs in the Capital Wasteland.


Vault 87's assigned experiment was the Evolutionary Experimentation Program, a military experiment which involved the use of a modified strain of Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV) onto the Vault 87 residents. The experiment was done on the initiative of the Mariposa Military Base personnel as noted by a terminal entry written by Dr. Wayne Merrick, the vault's chief physician.[1] On the day of the Great War, the surface entrance was struck by a nuclear device, dooming it with deadly amounts of radiation and destroying the main vault door.[2]

The test subjects were locked into test chambers and exposed to the FEV, where the scientists would observe the changes the test subjects would go through. After their infection, the subjects underwent physical and mental changes over a period of about two weeks. Their form became genderless, more muscular, and their skin toughened. However, a great number of them died, either due to the loss of major brain functions which caused them to be unable to sustain their basic bodily needs (such as Mary Kilpatrik, mentioned on Merrick's terminal), or due to the security being forced to kill the subjects as they exhibited severe bouts of rage and anxiety, compromising the vault's security.[3] Due to the large number of deaths, the vault overseer ordered the medical personnel to list the test subjects as "unexplained" deaths as a cover-up. However, after some time, it appears that some of the residents became suspicious of the vault's activities, such as Daniel Koster, the vault's maintenance chief.[4]

The Vault 87 super mutants are obsessed with the preservation of their brand-new species. Since they are all sterile, they kidnap humans from all over the Capital Wasteland and bring them to the Vault to be mutated. They had been doing so for nearly 200 years, until their source of FEV started to run out. Because of the shortage of the "green stuff," there are now super mutant bands searching all over the Capital Wasteland for a new source of the virus.[5]


The Vault entranceEdit

The radiation near the aboveground entrance to Vault 87 is the highest in the game (as well as the entire Fallout series), peaking at well over 3,500 rads/second, which can kill in about 0.29 seconds.

Icon cut contentThe following is based on Fallout 3 cut content and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

The overseer's terminal states, "I'm quite sad to report that due to a direct hit from what I presume to be a nuclear weapon on the entry area of Vault 87, we will be unable to provide the Scouting Reports as outlined in Vault-Tec's Operations Manual. The main door to Vault 87 is damaged beyond repair and we are detecting extremely high levels of lethal radiation outside and in the entry tunnel."

Icon cut contentEnd of information based on Fallout 3 cut content.

It is possible to reach the entrance through the extensive use of RadAway in combination with clothing providing radiation resistance and Rad-X. However, as the overseer's message states, the door is inaccessible, making the vault impossible to enter from aboveground. The map marker will activate near the entrance. There is a dead scientist in a radiation suit that can be found near the vault door, as well as RadAway and Rad-X, presumably carried by the scientist, but apparently not enough to prevent her death by massive radiation exposure.

The entrance can also be found from within. The test labs section of the vault has a key-locked door near where the Lone Wanderer is captured and taken to Raven Rock at the end of the quest. Going in there will reveal the vault door, though nothing is behind it.

Super mutants have built a barricade of broken girders and wrecked cars around the entrance. If one decides to venture into this one-way deathtrap, they have to defeat them before going in, remembering that super mutants can be exposed to intense radiation without ill effects, like the possible companion Fawkes.

One can fast travel from the vault's entrance despite the heavy radiation which normally prevents fast-travel; though, almost always, one will arrive dead.

An Enclave eyebot usually patrols south of the entrance.

Accessing Vault 87Edit

Before Vault 87 can be accessed, The Waters of Life must be completed, a part of the main quest line, by speaking with Scribe Rothchild in the Citadel. The Lone Wanderer will then be sent there to recover the Garden of Eden Creation Kit, also known as the G.E.C.K.

Vault 87 can only be accessed through Little Lamplight, via two routes. These are revealed to the Wanderer by questioning Mayor MacCready.

The more dangerous route involves crossing Murder Pass. This is the initial option suggested by the mayor. However, he also informs the Wanderer that a broken computer terminal in Little Lamplight will allow direct access to the Vault via a different, safer route.

To access the terminal, one must speak to Joseph. Joseph can fix the broken terminal, allowing it to be hacked, but he will only do so if Penny has been rescued from Paradise Falls, or if the Wanderer has a high enough Science or Speech skill, or the Child at Heart perk. Joseph can be found in the Little Lamplight schoolhouse in the morning. The Wanderer must have a Science skill of 50 to hack the terminal to get into the vault. If Penny is not rescued, or if Joseph becomes upset through dialogue, entrance through Murder Pass will be the only option to get to Vault 87.

To access Murder Pass, the Wanderer must ask Mayor MacCready to open the gate, which is located north of the souvenir building. The pass houses several super mutants armed with heavy weaponry such as missile launchers and miniguns. There are also a number of traps, so a careful approach is recommended. Murder Pass is a good choice for earning experience, and also contains several first aid boxes, a decent amount of ammunition, a Stealth Boy, a Nuka-Cola Quantum, and a U.S. Army: 30 Handy Flamethrower Recipes skill book.

Traveling through the VaultEdit

Vault 87 test labs map

Test labs map, with Fawkes' and Sid's location

Vault 87 is very similar to all the other vaults a player may visit during the game, with narrow, confusing corridors and small rooms connected by the main lobby. Once inside the dimly lit vault, the Wanderer will encounter super mutants, centaurs, super mutant brutes, masters, and, if Broken Steel is installed, super mutant overlords. Super mutants take pride in mutilating the corpses of humans they kill in combat, hence the many skeletons and gore bags found throughout the vault. The Lone Wanderer can also find the remains of failed FEV subjects. Eventually, one will encounter a friendly super mutant named Fawkes, who was sealed in a test chamber and left there decades before. Fawkes, via the intercom, will offer his services in acquiring the G.E.C.K. in return for being freed from his cell. Though Fawkes does not have to be freed, the super mutant will indeed honor this bargain and help the Wanderer acquire the G.E.C.K. by serving as a guide, as well as attacking any future enemies encountered, and finally, retrieving the device itself from its highly irradiated resting place. However, the same goes for the door and there are three options for interaction. One of these choices has you activate the G.E.C.K., killing the player. Later, if the player character has good Karma, Fawkes can be recruited as a follower, after The American Dream.

There are two methods to free Fawkes. First, in the room at the end of the right hallway, a fire can set off the fire alarm in a room inhabited by two super mutant variants, which will open all five isolation rooms. However, this is not recommended, as in the process, two centaurs and a hostile non-player character will also be freed. It is advisable to instead hack the average-rated terminal located next to the fire alarm to unlock an individual chamber, of which Fawkes' cell is the fifth.


Notable lootEdit

V87 RC and LQ map

Reaction chamber and living quarters map

  • A Garden of Eden Creation Kit can be found in the G.E.C.K chamber located deep into the Test Labs.
  • This is the only time Fawkes' super sledge can be acquired; Fawkes must either be killed or have been traded weapons to get it. Sometimes, while fighting to get to the G.E.C.K., Fawkes may be disarmed and will not pick his super sledge back up, meaning it can be taken.
  • A copy of Nikola Tesla and You can be found in a wooden box at the feet of a mannequin in the southwesternmost dead-end tunnel of the reactor chamber, along with four bottles of whiskey (from the Murder Pass entrance, turn left and go downstairs, turn left again, then through the door at the end of the corridor).
  • A copy of Pugilism Illustrated is on a shelf in the storage room behind an average locked door on the south side of the catwalk level of the living quarters. The room is on the top part of the catwalk in the south hallway.
  • A Nuka-Cola Quantum is located in the same room as the Pugilism Illustrated skill book.

Related questsEdit


Vault 87 peak radiation

The ground zero spot, with the maximum amount of radiation, 3617 rad/s at 8% resistance

  • The highest radiation level detected when approaching the vault is upwards of 3600 rads per second, in the center, and presumably ground zero. At the vault's doorstep, it reduces to approximately 3000 rads per second.
  • Fast-traveling to the Vault 87 map marker does not put one near the irradiated vault entrance; instead, it deposits one safely outside the south-by-southwest gate that's guarded by super mutants.
  • An Outcast Patrol spawn point is located on the road due south of the Vault 87 map marker, near a ruined car.
  • Standing a step behind the door where the G.E.C.K. is, the Geiger counter will go silent and one will not receive any more rads until moving from that spot. Being careful to avoid the major radiation spills by staying near the walls means one can avoid the most intense radiation and the far corner of the room is relatively radiation free if chosen to retrieve the G.E.C.K alone one may wait there while the chamber opens.
  • It is possible to trigger the G.E.C.K by going into the chamber before Fawkes and selecting the right option. However, the activation will cause a fatal explosion from the G.E.C.K..
  • Although the maintenance tech's computer says his wife Mercia was taken by the EEP program and killed, her cause of death in the Medical Records computer is listed as 'Cancer Type I', as opposed to the 'unexplained' designation that victims of the EEP have.
  • Oddly, while the outside of the vault has lethal amounts of radiation, sinks and toilets inside the Vault have less rads than normal ones in the Capital Wasteland.
  • Inside the vault, there are several locked doors that contain RadAway, ammunition, and other various things such as Rad-X and radiation suits.
  • A complete list of all individuals in Vault 87 can be found on a terminal in the medical bay.
  • On the way from Fawkes' isolation room to the G.E.C.K. storage room, there is a door that says "Requires Key," but the game designers did not intend for players to be able to open it. If one returns to the vault after escaping the Enclave, it is left open (does not apply for G.O.T.Y. version). Walking through this door leads to an empty room containing the closed main vault door for Vault 87, complete with an "87" logo on the outside. The door can be "used", and it will be opened/closed via a mechanical arm (just like in other vaults with working doors); however, there is nothing on the other side except for a small platform that opens into empty space. Walking off the edge of the platform into the empty space will redeposit the player character in front of Fawkes' isolation room. The fact that said door gets open only after Colonel Autumn's squad ambush the player implies that the Enclave entered the Vault through the main entrance.
  • In the room where the G.E.C.K. is located, as much as 145 rads/second can be received upon walking the first few steps. If having enough items that prevent radiation and can see where the G.E.C.K. is, take a right.
  • In the main area, there are two locked doors requiring 100 Lockpick to open. They are nothing else but shortcuts.
  • Before setting off the fire alarm, foes can be terminated by hacking the terminals near each isolation room door (50~75 Science skill required). Each terminal also provides the option of unlocking its respective door. One exception is the terminal to Fawkes' room which can be hacked, but cannot be used to unlock the door. There is also a console to the right of the fire alarm. It has medium difficulty and allows the player to individually open the test subject doors, including Fawkes' door.
  • Retrieving the G.E.C.K. is possible alone, without the help of console commands. Since it will take about 10–15 seconds to die from radiation poisoning, one should have enough rad-prevention items for 8 minutes at the most, along with a high Medicine skill, and some rad-friendly perks.
  • Due to the fact that companions may be lost when arrested by the Enclave, they will have to be rehired. If having two companions, aside from Dogmeat, only Dogmeat can be rehired and one other companion.
  • The number of undefined deaths on the medical terminal is 87.
  • The above-ground entrance is guarded by super mutants and the path to that entrance is guarded by Centaurs and Radscorpians.


Vault 87 appears only in Fallout 3. It is briefly mentioned by Robert MacCready in Fallout 4. Paladin Danse also shares this as the place of Cutler's death in Fallout 4.


  • PCIcon pc Playstation 3Icon ps3 Xbox 360Icon xbox360 If you go to the door in Little Lamplight that requires the broken terminal to be repaired, you may find it is already open and you can get into Vault 87 without problems. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Icon ps3 Xbox 360Icon xbox360 Upon re-entering the vault with Fawkes after completing the quest, if you select the "Kill subject" option on the terminal outside of Fawkes' old cell, he will instantly die if he enters it, even if he is not in the room when the fire is released. [verified]
  • Xbox 360Icon xbox360 Exiting the test labs area, Charon might randomly "die". Highlighting him will say "Talk Charon", but pressing A will open up his inventory. This may also occur with Jericho. [verified]
  • PCIcon pc Playstation 3Icon ps3 Exiting the test labs area, Star Paladin Cross will "die". She drops dead on the floor at the other side of the doors. Her body will follow you at every door. If you asked her to wait for you before exiting, she will drop on the floor where you left her. In any case, highlighting her will say "Talk Star Paladin Cross", but pressing the dialogue button will open up her inventory. This can also happen to Dogmeat. [verified]
  • PCIcon pc Sometimes after retrieving the G.E.C.K. yourself, a super mutant will follow you into the room where the Enclave ambushes you. After you fall to the floor, the Enclave and super mutants will not attack one another, and since you are hidden from the super mutants, you will neither be attacked nor escorted to Raven Rock, but will be stuck on the floor. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Icon ps3 When returning to the Test Labs area in Vault 87; both Butch and RL-3 will not follow through the door and will "die". However, Fawkes & Dogmeat can traverse the Test Lab.



  1. Dr. Wayne Merrick's terminal: "We hope to have a breakthrough in this strain as the continual pressure from Vault-Tec and the military at Mariposa is becoming most bothersome."
  2. Mission Suspended: "I'm quite sad to report that due to a direct hit from what I presume to be a nuclear weapon on the entry area of Vault 87, we will be unable to provide the Scouting Reports as outlined in Vault-Tec's Operations Manual. The main door to Vault 87 is damaged beyond repair and we are detecting extremely high levels of lethal radiation outside and in the entry tunnel."
  3. Chief Physician's terminal
  4. Service Issue Entry V87-007: "My wife, Mercia was "diagnosed" by the Medical section as having some sort of disease they wouldn't identify. She's dead now, and those sons-of-bitches won't even tell me why. From talking to people, I've discovered that many are dead or missing. Checking this with the Medical Records section gets me nowhere."
  5. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide
Vault 87
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