General information

Special encounters in Fallout 2 are varied and eclectic. They tend to include no combat; exceptions include 'The Unwashed Villagers hunting a spammer'. Often they contain non-canon pop culture references, sometimes internal references to the Fallout series and setting; a few are just plain weird.


Some special encounters can be revisited; a map circle the same size as minor locations such as Toxic Caves and Golgotha appears on the World Map where it was found. While an encounter map location is nametagged "Unknown", the location is in flux; the encounter can be 'rolled' again, making a new map circle in that map location. If you want to 'lock down' a map location and display its name, reenter it. The exception is the 'Cafe' location, which will be 'rerolled', its location moving to the new encounter site, even though it has been named. Map locations where an encounter was declined will of course be marked Unknown.

Both encounters that leave a map circle and those that do not will have to be reactivated in another map area once you decline to enter them. The game keeps track of previous locations, and will not spawn the encounter there again. All special encounters in Fallout 2 are desert locations, other than 'Bridge', which is a mountain map. So no special encounters can ever be found on the coast or in a city square.

Observation indicates that Game Difficulty settings affect the likelihood of a special encounter while travelling. In Fallout 1, the chance was based on the player's Luck. It seems likely that Luck is again used in Fallout 2. Additionally, since normal encounter chance and type are modified by the Outdoorsman skill, that may also be involved.

Unlike running out of fuel for the Car on map squares with a City circle in them, the "Out of Fuel" circle will be accessible properly if it is near a random encounter circle, even the permanent ones.

Random special encounters

The Cafe of Broken Dreams

Minimum level to visit: 1. Map Circle name: Cafe of Broken Dreams. Encounter remains on the list for randomization, and its location will change to the new encounter site.

Fallout Class Reunion. Non-player character Dogmeat can be recruited here. Wear Vault suit, i.e. remove armor, unless wearing Bridgekeeper's Robes, which lack the tag that denotes them as being armor being worn over the Vault suit for the purposes of non-player character reactions. Lynette in Vault City reacts similarly to the robes. Clicking on any non-player character speeds up their dialogue; you'll want to see all of it, here.

Enticing Dogmeat to join your party with the iguana-on-a-stick found in one of the Cafe's rooms may crash your game. You could try Meat Jerky, but the computer friendly way is Vault Suit recognition. Plenty of time to feed him later. The Cafe of Broken Dreams contains a minor code variation that affects the level at which you can visit it, and makes it possible for it to be encountered in a completely different part of the map than where it was first encountered, even after its name is displayed. Its map circle moves to the next location it is encountered in.

A crashed shuttle

Minimum level to visit: 6. Map Circle name: Federation Shuttle. Loot: Three Hypos (HP + 75-100). Some Star Trek personnel in a shuttle came down with Red Shirt Syndrome, went through a time/space distortion, and crashed.

A Guardian Portal

Minimum level to visit: 8. Map Circle name: Guardian of Forever. Circle on map remains marked "Unknown" until after second visit.

Map resets each visit; dropped items will be deleted. Loot: chests, lockers, Solar Scorcher on floor. XP: 1000, for causing the water chip malfunction.

A time loop paradox. The stone ring is a reference to the Star Trek episode, "City on the Edge of Forever". The Chosen One cannot leave Vault 13 until, messing around with a computer, he causes its water chip to fail, thus beginning the Vault Dweller's quest.

A giant stone head

Minimum level to visit: 10. Map Circle name: Talking Head. Loot: Monument Chunk (Strength +3, Agility +3 and Damage Resistance +50).

Who created these giant stone heads? Perhaps they created themselves. This one is more talkative than the one in Arroyo, although not more animated. Where would it go, and how would it get there? And listening to it talk, perhaps it has been everywhere and seen everything anyway. Listen to it long enough, and you get a Monument Chunk. Steal from it with Steal tagged or at 95% +, and get three more Chunks. Steal from it with less, and instantly, before even getting a chance to attempt the actual theft, thousands of points of damage will be inflicted. It talks for 12 hours, long enough to have a little rest with the aid of your Pipboy. Don't feel bad, it won't mind. The head, that is. Not the Pipboy.

A herd of brahmin

Minimum level to visit: 6. Map Circle name: Mad Brahmin. XP: Combat. You know you have at least thought about cow tipping. They know, and they're out to settle the score.

Saving on this map may corrupt the save and render it unloadable.

Brahmin wander towards the Chosen One and/or party members and explode. In combat, they headbutt for relatively low damage. Once a brahmin has exploded or died from combat damage, another spawns. Brahmin that spawn during combat do nothing until combat ends.

Combat here will benefit from a lot of running, and using the 'a' button to initiate combat. Setting party members Distance to 'Stay Close to Me' can keep them on a shorter tether to pull them away from the spawns. Melee or unarmed characters have an obvious disadvantage against an enemy that is coded to explode at close proximity.

King Arthur's Knights

Minimum level to visit: 10. No Map location. Loot: $500 for pointing. You speak the King's English, or at least read it. And you know where the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is, right? -wink- Just point out its direction to the royal guard over there in power armor, the ones with the Gatling lasers, and after they similarly point out the direction of the G.E.C.K. to you, you part ways, $500 richer.

King Arthur's Knights fighting a rabbit

Minimum level to visit: 10. Map Circle Name: Vorpal Rat Cave. Mountain terrain map. Loot: Holy Hand Grenade. Requires the prior visitation of the special encounter, "King Arthur's Knights".

A reference to the battle between King Arthur's knights, armed only with the Holy Hand Grenade, against a killer rabbit. The knights lost. "Run away!" - King Arthur's knights' official battle cry when retreat is to be called for.

This unimplemented special encounter still exists in the game files, and can be extracted. Immediately upon entering the map, Knights and Rat become locked in mortal combat. Each of the Knights, including King Arthur, carry $500 and around 200 microfusion cell ammunition. This is handy for running the Highwayman as each Knight effectively allows you to charge the car fully twice. However, "If you do nothing, the rat will sometimes kill the knights, though they often manage to get in an instant kill critical first."[1] The cave in the cliff face contains the Holy Hand Grenade, which will automatically kill the rat, for 7,500 XP. Survivors, knights or rat, will remain on the map; neither has anything to say to the player. It is a reference to the Monty Python's movie Holy Grail where the Knights, not expecting a challenge from a rabbit until it killed several men, must kill it with the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch". Also, when King Arthur was supposed to count to three until detonation, he accidentally counted five and had to be corrected. This is referenced in a Wild Wasteland encounter in Fallout: New Vegas. NOTE:This encounter is not obtainable because of a glitch.

A lone surviving dog

Minimum level to visit: 10. Map Circle name: Pariahs.

The only location where the only possible (non exploitative) reward is to prevail in the struggle for survival, and the risk is great.

A great misfortune has befallen those who fell here, and you would do well to leave before it falls upon you.

Leave before 10 seconds have elapsed, and you should miss the Luck check. They are repeated every 10 seconds. Fail a check, and that harmless looking skinny dog will join your party, over the party limit. It reduces your luck to one, or two if you have the Gifted trait, and gives you the Jinxed special perk, with an effect indistinguishable from the Jinxed trait. The pariah dog will use all of its seven AP to run to the nearest exit of any map once combat starts, and it has 750 HP. Once it dies, both the perk and the stat decrease disappear, except in the truly rare case of it being killed with a zero damage critical.

The pariah can be killed by luring him onto the electrified floor on level two of the Sierra Army Depot; his finely tuned survival sense only works in the specific context of combat. Or extract his brains, for this process yields two brains, in the organ extraction chamber on level 3, for a -200 to Karma.

Like the Masticator boxer in New Reno, the Pariah dog gives a stat decrease that can actually be used exploitatively. Gain Luck and the mutually exclusive Hubologist zeta scans, if they are received before encountering the dog, stop the decrease in Luck, but the increase in Luck that would normally occur to restore Luck, when the dog dies, instead adds Luck. NCR's zeta scan gives +2 Luck / -1 Luck, SF's, +1 Luck and +1 Intelligence / -1 Luck, depending on...luck. Save / reload.

A man guarding a bridge

Minimum level to visit: 10. Map Circle name: Bridge. Loot: Bridgekeeper's Robes (purple). XP: 500, for answering "the questions three". Alternatively, 7500 combat xp for killing the Bridgekeeper. Mountain terrain map.

"For some reason I feel like I should save my game in a whole new slot" -The Chosen One.

If you miss the Arroyo rope bridge, here is another. If you miss your car, and the World Map, you'll have to get past the robed figure guarding the bridge. "You must answer me these questions three, ere the other side you see". Sound familiar? The Keeper's dialogue, and the best solution to this puzzle, make this encounter one of three Monty Python references, all from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", another being the "King Arthur's knights" encounter, and the third being the unimplemented, supposedly because of a code error, "King Arthur's Knights fighting a rat". Save and reload to see all three Fallout lore questions.

The Bridgekeeper's Robes are the same as combat armor minus radiation resistance, and lighter.

Pretty much only critical hits harm the Bridgekeeper; he summons exploding cows remarkably similar to those in the "Mad Brahmin" encounter. If he is killed with a zero damage critical, the robes will not drop, and no combat XP is given. See Pariah Dog for a more detailed explanation of zero damage criticals. Combat ends each time the Bridgekeeper summons a new brahmin, and he will be quite willing to take up conversation with you at this point as though nothing had happened.

This has the highest probability of the Special Encounters.

If you have Intelligence < 4: as usual, the conversation will be...confusing? When the Keeper asks the Chosen One's name, naturally, he asks back. That's only polite. Obviously this isn't enough to fling the Bridgekeeper shrieking into the ravine for lack of a reply. The next dialogue choices are garbled so...choose carefully? Save/reload.

He may ask "How much can a person carry if they have 7 strength and strong back" if you answer with "What level of strong back?" the bridge-keeper will explode

The remains of a whale

Minimum level to visit: 6. Map Circle name: Crashed Whale. Loot: Pot of Daisies. Or you might just leave them be.

"Oh, no, not again" -the Bowl of Petunias. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

You find byproducts of the use of the Improbability Drive starship propulsion system: A whale which has seen better days, or perhaps one should say minutes, from the time it was instantly created in low orbit above the planet up until just before it became part of the planet.

The bowl of petunias' (Daisies) story continued on later in the Hitchhiker's series, where it was discovered that the unfortunate vegetable was merely one incarnation of a spirit doomed to be perpetually killed by one of the main characters, Arthur Dent.

A tin woodsman

Minimum level to visit: 6. No Map location. Loot: 150 microfusion cells. The Tin woodsman has no drops.

A reference to the guy who had a heart all along, from The Wizard of Oz

Don't let this happen to you. When your power armor rusts up, apparently all you can do is stand around gasping "Oil!" at any Good Samaritans who might happen to pass by. Word.

Unique to this map: Cola Fridge, Stove design.

Toxic waste dump

Minimum level to visit: 6. Map Circle name: Toxic waste dump. XP: Combat XP, if you don't actually die just from the radiation while killing the fire geckos.

The Exit grid is to the right, assuming you don't want to take just a little time to learn to better appreciate the fine points of the splendour of Mankind's achievement.

The Unwashed Villagers hunting a spammer

Minimum level to visit: 1. No Map location. Loot: 6 stimpaks and a fruit 600 rounds of 10mm JHP on the Unwashed Villagers. XP: Combat (optional).

A reference to a real life flamewar between a Fallout internet community and a forum 'troll'. Normally, the villagers will take turns shooting the Spammer, all the while issuing triumphant battle cries, while he attempts to placate them with floating text apologies. They run off the map after he dies. If the Spammer lives to the end of the battle, he continues to stumble about the map, continuing his comments.

Scripted encounters

A band of ruffians led by a Morton Brother

Requirements: the Chosen One completed the Redding quest: Kill Frog Morton

There are three brothers, consequently there are three encounters. They become progressively more challenging. The second brother uses and drops a Light Support Weapon, the final brother, a H&K G11E. The brothers are accompanied by enemies of the New Reno area Gang type. The game code places this 'gang' on a different 'team', initially neutral to the brother, and the player. If the brother has a higher Sequence than any gang member, and attacks first, the 'gang' will only engage the player after combat with the brother is over, and vice versa.[2]

A herd of brahmin

(Bess) Requirements: the Chosen One freed Bess and the other brahmin in Modoc. The encounter only occurs near Modoc.

The luckless Bess and her herd seem doomed to die. Dead brahmin lie strewn about.

"Are God and Nature then at strife, / That Nature lends such evil dreams? / So careful of the type she seems, / So careless of the single life;" - Alfred, Lord Tennyson, from the poem, influenced by contemporary ideas of Survival of the Fittest, that included the famous line "Nature, red in tooth and claw".

A trader and guards

Requirements: Occurs only in the map squares surrounding the map square at the top of the map, directly north of Modoc.[2]

Trader Willy's spiel is less inspiring than it ought to be. The player falls asleep, and must choose to buy a weapon sight unseen, and without even knowing what it is. The list of available items is level-based, and includes power fist, sniper rifle, alien blaster, and minigun.

Some people in the wrong place at the wrong time

See Timeline#2241 for the identity of the giant armored figure

Requirement: Aug 30 or later.

Chosen One happens upon a confrontation. On the one side, three armored and heavily armed figures, one of them huge. On the other, a man, a woman, and a child. The man rejects the giant's demand that his party accompany the giant, saying, "I would rather what knowledge I have disappear with me into the grave", and the three are executed. The giant waves the Chosen away, saying, "This is none of your affair. Turn around and walk away."

This occurs as a Desert type special encounter, but the game code makes this event happen when particular conditions, notably the date, are met. The script does not include, or overrides, the terrain requirements for random special encounters, i.e. even if the encounter is a Desert encounter, the player can be travelling over mountain terrain on the large scale map.



See also


  1. TNUF2G: Addenda How to find and use the Holy Hand Grenade Part 2
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Nearly Ultimate Fallout 2 Guide by Per Jorner: Encounters