Under the SPECIAL system, player characters are limited to a certain number of non-player character (NPC) companions in their group. This restriction is called the Party Limit. The number of NPCs following a character at a given time is usually referred to as the "party count."
There is no limit to the number of followers the player character can have in Fallout, other than by the total number of available followers in the game.
The party limit in Fallout 2 is
- , rounded down.
Mentats can be used to temporarily raise Charisma to recruit a companion.
Some NPCs can join regardless of the party limit. Usually, these are unwanted or temporary companions. They still count towards party count (i.e., with them, it may go above the party limit) and prevent recruiting regular companions until there's room. Additionally, these followers cannot be dismissed in the traditional way, as elaborated below. The exceptions are as follows:
- Spouses (Miria or Davin), only leaves party if killed, divorced, or sold into slavery.
- Laddie, the dog, for the duration of the quest to find Jonny.
- Pariah dog, only leaves party if killed.
Aside from glitches and modifications, the Lone Wanderer can only have one permanent companion, as well as Dogmeat, as company. An unlimited number of temporary type companions can be added in addition to Dogmeat and the permanent companion.
Fallout: New Vegas
Overall, the same rules are carried over from Fallout 3, as the Courier can have only one humanoid companion and one "animal" companion, the latter referring to Rex and ED-E. The main difference from Fallout 3 is companions cannot die when playing in Casual mode, instead companions can be only rendered unconscious with the exception of story branches that lead to a companion's death such as having a companion getting hostile and then killing them or leaving any companion in the hidden Valley bunker if the player decides to blow up the bunker. However, in hardcore mode, normal rules of death apply with a few exceptions.