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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 a Vault-Tec Vault located in the Capital Wasteland in 2277. 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 region.


Construction on Vault 87 began in May 2066 and finished in December 2071. The primary computer system was Cyberbrain v2.3, while energy was provided by a General Atomics nuclear reactor, with a backup Versicorps fusion power generator. Non-standard equipment included four stasis chambers, a plasma containment field, six food processing stations and a Garden of Eden Creation Kit.[1] Around 2076, the original Vault experiment was scrapped and the Vault was converted into a secondary research center that would study the effects of the Forced Evolutionary Virus on humans, exclusively for Dr. Wayne Merrick and his staff, starting the Evolutionary Experimentation Program.[2]

After infection, both male and female subjects initially change to an asexual state, with the males improving in upper body strength,[3] and both males and females receiving a thicker and more resilient skin after ten days.[4] However, the project ultimately failed, as one female died due to massive loss of her brain fuctions,[5] and all other subjects had to be terminated after fourteen days, after experiencing increased levels of anxiety and rage caused by mental changes.[6]

The overseer and his security guards were well aware of the nature of the experimentation,[7] as they were following their orders from Vault-Tec.[8][9] However, the standard security measures were not enough. A year after the Vault was sealed, some test subjects broke free, overwhelming the security forces.

Super mutants kidnap humans from all over the Capital Wasteland and bring them to the vault to be mutated.[10] They have 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.[Non-game 1][Non-game 2]

By 2277, the Vault is in a state of disrepair. Lack of maintenance led to advanced deterioration of subsystems and even the very structure of the Vault. Parts of it have collapsed entirely. The super mutants, owing to their low intelligence, have adapted various sections of the bunker in an ad hoc fashion. For example, medical recovery rooms were turned into makeshift prison cells meant to store experiments deemed a failure.[11][12][13][14]


The Vault entrance[]

Vault 87 peak radiation

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

The radiation near the aboveground entrance to Vault 87 is the highest in the game (as well as the entire Fallout series), peaking at nearly 4,000 rads per second in the center, and approximately 3,600 rads per second at the Vault's doorstep, which can kill the player character in about 0.29 seconds.

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."

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 87[]

Before Vault 87 can be accessed, The Waters of Life must be completed, a part of the main questline, 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 Lone 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 Lone 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 Lone 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 Lone 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 along the route. 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 Vault[]

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 corridors and small rooms connected by the main lobby. Once inside the dimly lit Vault, the Lone Wanderer will encounter various super mutants and centaurs. The Lone Wanderer can also find the remains of failed FEV subjects in addition to the mutilated bodies of victims and gore bags.

Eventually, the Lone Wanderer 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 Lone 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 the player 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, in the process, two centaurs and a hostile non-player character will also be freed. Hacking the Average-locked terminal located next to the fire alarm will make it so the player can unlock an individual chamber, of which Fawkes' cell is the fifth.


  • Kennard Alice
  • Marion Ann
  • Ella Archibald
  • Doron Baird
  • Ellis Barrett
  • Lessie Basmanoff
  • Carol Beck
  • Lorinda Bennett
  • Ormerod Biery
  • Roxie Blaine
  • Donnie Blair
  • Tallulah Bloise
  • Carolyn Blunt
  • Kelli Bowman
  • Hilda Brandenburg
  • Margery Brooks
  • Greig Burris
  • Denton Butterfill
  • Elwyn Cable
  • Adela Children
  • Ebony Coates
  • Hervey Craig
  • Laurelle Crawford
  • Trinity Dunlap
  • Burgundy Elder
  • Evette Errett
  • Kristy Eva
  • Lyle Field
  • Mallory Filby
  • Elise Finck
  • Maurice Fitzgerald
  • Matthew Fry
  • Ursula Fuller
  • Zoey Garland
  • Wiley Geddinge
  • Cindra Goldvogel
  • Bryan Hallauer
  • Jacqui Haverrman
  • Keshia Herrold
  • Griffin Heyman
  • Ludovic Hindman
  • Opal Holtzer
  • Becca Houston
  • Faith Howe
  • Kory Iseman
  • Wilton Isemann
  • Celeste Joyce
  • Normand Keppel
  • Laraine Kifer
  • Mary Kilpatrik
  • Diane Law
  • Grant Levelle
  • Allen Loewentsein
  • Deryck Lowe
  • Kendall Lucy
  • Nick Magor
  • Angelia Martin
  • Ruby Milliron
  • Darla Moberly
  • Tanika Monroe
  • Avila Morgan
  • Mortimer Moulton
  • Lynne Munson
  • Dudley Myers
  • Kristie Noton
  • Margaretta Pearson
  • Ilene Pheleps
  • Blake Porter
  • Breanna Ramsey
  • Xenia Read
  • Quentin Reade
  • Kurtis Rega
  • Godiva Rodacker
  • Donald Scott
  • Timotha Shafer
  • Lyndon Shaffer
  • Jason Stevens
  • Mamie Style
  • Sheenagh Tanner
  • Spike Tilton
  • Wyatt Todd
  • Oscar Ward
  • Lenny Warner
  • Maxine Weinstein
  • Kathie Welty
  • Hortensia Williamson
  • Janelle Woodward
  • Lewella Yonkie

Notable loot[]

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 quests[]


  • Vault 87 is mentioned by Uncle Leo in a random encounter.[15]
  • An Outcast Patrol spawn point is located on the road due south of the Vault 87 map marker, near a ruined car.
  • 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.
  • In the main area, there are two locked doors requiring 100 Lockpick to open, they serve as shortcuts.
  • The number of undefined deaths on the medical terminal is 87, a list of all inhabitants is found on the same terminal.
  • 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. There are more spills away from the walls, the far corner of the room is relatively radiation-free. If retrieving the G.E.C.K alone, one may wait there while the chamber opens.
  • If the player character reaches the G.E.C.K. on their own, the option is given to either take it or activate it. However, they will be killed upon activation.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Inside the Vault, there are several locked doors that contain RadAway, ammunition and other various things such as Rad-X and radiation suits.
  • Like all vaults, the sinks and toilets have less rads than ones found in the Capital Wasteland.
  • On the way from Fawkes' isolation room to the G.E.C.K. storage room, there is a door that says "Requires Key." If one returns to the Vault after escaping the Enclave, it is left open (does not apply for Game of the Year 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.
  • Before setting off the fire alarm, subjects 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.
    • These terminals can also be used to terminate the subjects in the isolation room they correspond to. Using this option will shoot two jets of flame from the walls towards the centre of the room, instantly killing the subject within. All the isolation room terminals, including Fawkes', have this option.
      • After the terminate option has been activated, and the isolation room purged with flames, the room will be filled with residual flammable gas.
  • Because companions may be lost when arrested by the Enclave, they will have to be rehired.
  • The aboveground entrance is guarded by super mutants and the path to that entrance is guarded by centaurs and radscorpions.
  • Discovering Vault 87 isn't impossible, however it is extremely hard and almost futile to escape from the heavily irradiated area, as even fast traveling is not fast enough to get out before dying of radiation poisoning.


Vault 87 appears only in Fallout 3, and is mentioned in Fallout 4.[16]

Behind the scenes[]

Level designer Philip Nelson worked on the creation of Vault 87.[Non-game 3]


  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 If the player character goes to the door in Little Lamplight that requires the broken terminal to be repaired, one may find it is already open and they can get into Vault 87 without problems. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 Xbox 360Xbox 360 Upon re-entering the Vault with Fawkes after completing the quest, if one selects 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 360Xbox 360 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]
  • PCPC Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 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 the player character at every door. If one asks her to wait for them before exiting, she will drop on the floor where the player character 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]
  • PCPC Sometimes after the player character retrieves the G.E.C.K., a super mutant will follow them into the room where the Enclave ambushes the player character. Once the player character falls to the floor, the Enclave and super mutants will not attack one another, and since the player character is hidden from the super mutants, they cannot be attacked nor escorted to Raven Rock, but will be stuck on the floor. [verified]
  • Playstation 3Playstation 3Playstation 3 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 and Dogmeat can traverse the Test Lab.



  1. Citadel terminal entries; Vault-Tec terminal, Vault 87
  2. Vault 87 terminal entries; chief physician's terminal, Entry 87-34190
  3. Vault 87 terminal entries; chief physician's terminal, Entry 87-34224
  4. Vault 87 terminal entries; chief physician's terminal, Entry 87-34265
  5. Vault 87 terminal entries; chief physician's terminal, Entry 87-34233
  6. Vault 87 terminal entries; chief physician's terminal, Entry 87-34335
  7. Vault 87 terminal entries; medical records, All Employees Must Read!
  8. Vault 87 terminal entries; medical records, Death Code Definitions
  9. Vault 87 terminal entries#Service Issue Entry V87-007
  10. Super mutant: "This is boring. We should be collecting more humans. We need more of us! The bucketheads have killed too many..."
    (Super mutant's dialogue)
  11. The Lone Wanderer: "How do I get you out?"
    Fawkes: "At the end of the hallway to your right is a maintenance room. Inside, you'll find the fire control console for the medical area. Trip the alarm on it, and I'll be able to get out. A word of warning though. Tripping the console activates a failsafe and will open ALL of the recovery rooms in the medical area. So, what do you think? Can you do it?"
    (Fawkes' dialogue)
  12. The Lone Wanderer: "Why have you been imprisoned?"
    Fawkes: "Because I'm a curiosity; an anomaly. They don't know why I'm different than they are and I think it fascinates them. All of the locked rooms in the medical wing contain failed experiments that they created."
    The Lone Wanderer: "How come they've kept you alive?"
    Fawkes: "I think when I was created, something went wrong and I didn't come out like they planned. Just like the other things in this makeshift cell block, we're the results of what they would call failed experiments if they were smart enough."
    (Fawkes' dialogue)
  13. Lone Wanderer: "How do you know the layout of this place?"
    Fawkes: "These hallways are familiar to me... I think I used to be a resident here in better times. I wish I could remember more, but I'm afraid it's all a blur. As for the G.E.C.K., it's always rested where it does now. The foolish Super Mutants don't even know what they have."
    (Fawkes' dialogue)
  14. Lone Wanderer: "How did you become so articulate?"
    Fawkes: "The terminal in my cell used to connect with Vault 87's mainframe. That gave me access to the history, literature, science and fiction book files. I used this extensive database of works to better myself and my understanding of everything around me. It was only recently the others caught me using the terminal and destroyed it to torment me."
    (Fawkes' dialogue)
  15. Lone Wanderer: "You said "before I became this." What did you mean?"
    Uncle Leo: "Maybe you don't know where we come from Super Mutants, I mean. We aren't born this way. We are created. In the cold, dark, metal place, where my brothers bring their captives, endlessly trying to make more of us. It was something I could not do. I tried to get them to stop. But they wouldn't listen. They would have killed me if I had not run away."
    (Uncle Leo's dialogue)
  16. Robert MacCready: "Used to live near Vault 87 back in the day. The stories I could tell..."
    (Robert MacCready's dialogue)


  1. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p.42: "Super Mutants
    The Super Mutants that infest the urban ruin of Washington D.C. originated in Vault 87. Those unlucky enough to have reserved space in Vault 87 soon found themselves forcefully taken to a secure part of the Vault, where they were locked in airtight chambers and exposed to a concentrated form of the F.E.V. The Overseer and his security force had no real idea what to expect; they were simply following the "plan." When the exposed Vault dwellers started transforming into Super Mutants, nearly the entire Vault population had been exposed. Those who hadn't yet metamorphosed knew what was coming, and, well...it didn't end well for humanity.
    The dwellers of Vault 87 were turned into Super Mutants in 2078, and have been a presence in the Capital Wasteland ever since. Most of those original Super Mutants have long since been killed. But whether it's because of the nature of the F.E.V. they were exposed to, or a simple underlying human instinct, the Super Mutants of the Capital Wasteland are obsessed with the preservation of their own species. Super Mutants are asexual and incapable of procreation, so their only way of reproducing is to kidnap other humans, drag them back to the Vault 87 chambers, and infect them with F.E.V. And so they have done, for nearly 200 years.
    Super Mutant society is loosely hierarchical, with the weaker (most recently transformed) Super Mutants generally giving way to the stronger. The Super Mutant hierarchy, as defined by the Capital Wasteland contingent of the Brotherhood of Steel, is as follows: Grunt, Brute, Master, and Behemoth. Generally speaking, the Super Mutants of the Capital Wasteland get bigger, stronger, and dumber as they age. The Behemoths are so strong and savage that they’re the only thing feared by the other Super Mutants."
    (Fallout 3 Official Game Guide faction profiles)
  2. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide Game of the Year Edition p. 337: "DEAD MONSTROSITIES"
    "This is a place where F.E.V. experiments have led to unspeakable breeding programs and the creation of new Super Mutants. Humans began experimenting on one another in order to gain a jump forward in evolution. What they achieved was a plummet into a realm of monstrosities. Seen as the Eastern "birthing" place of the Super Mutants, this is the closest the Muties have to holy ground. The central hot spot of the radiation has been measured at up to +2910 RAD/SEC. this means instant death, and the exterior entrance is inaccessible. There's a .32 Pistol and a dead scientist with a radiation suit, but you'll never live long enough to reach them. The only way to enter is via Little Lamplight."
  3. Pnelson's profile at the original GECK Wiki (archived)
Vault 87