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Big Trouble in Big Town

Red in her cell
location: Big Town
given by: Flash
reward: Medical supplies
300 XP
and optional
300 or 500 Caps
related: Strictly Business
A Sticky Situation
Ticking Timebomb
base id: 00014E94
Big Trouble in Big Town

requirements: Complete Big Trouble in Big Town
gamerscore: 20
trophy type: Bronze

Big Trouble in Big Town is a Fallout 3 quest. It is also a Playstation 3 trophy and a Xbox/PC achievement.


Objectives and walkthrough

The residents of Big Town have been constantly harassed by Super Mutants, who capture residents and take them off to the Germantown Police HQ. With the town doctor, Red, now gone, the town's hopes of survival are looking slim. When the player first enters, he/she may learn about the town's problems. One of the residents will give the player the quest if asked about their missing friends.



Once at the Germantown Police HQ, some Super Mutants and Centaurs will be roaming about. There are two possible entrances to the station: the first is using the higher door on the north side . If the player has 100 Lockpick, the lower door on the west side may also be entered, and puts them very close to Red's location. If the former is chosen, some hallways of Super Mutants, Radroaches, and the occasional trap need to be traversed.

Red is located in a jail cell on the ground floor. The cell door can either be picked, opened with a terminal (accessible with a holotape located upstairs) or opened with the Germantown Jailors Key, found on a Super Mutant. When spoken to, Red thanks the player for rescuing her, granting Good Karma and tells about her friend Shorty, in the kitchen downstairs. As an optional objective, the player may go through the basement in order to rescue him. He will be found in the kitchen, in conversation with a Super Mutant who wishes to eat him. If the conversation goes on long enough (usually only 10-20 seconds), the mutant will start shooting Shorty. Saving him will provide the player with more good Karma. Because of a bug, if he is going to be rescued, it should be done so sooner rather than later.

Note that there is lots of good loot to be found in the police headquarters. Most notably, one lock in the basement contains several conventional weapons, alongside a Fat Man. They can either be obtained now while the player is here, or later.

If Red Dies...

If Red dies at any point during the quest, it will not immediately fail. The objectives will update to tell the player to go to Big Town to explain her death. Shorty may still be rescued and returned if Red dies. When the player speaks with Flash and tells him about his friend's demise, he will give the player 200 Caps, stating that his town won't be needing it anymore. The quest will be failed at this point.

The Attack

Once Red (and Shorty, if the player chose to help him) has been rescued, the player is to return to Big Town. Speak to Red at this point to be thanked; if you ask for a reward, you will receive 300 Bottlecaps. 200 more can be obtained through a Speech Check with accompanied Bad Karma. Optionally, the caps can be returned afterward to gain the Karma back.

While the quest is technically over at this point, Red will immediately warn the player that Super Mutants plan to attack the town yet again. Not knowing very many combative skills, Red asks for the player's help in the town's defense (choose the "I can teach you to defend yourselves" chat option). Depending on the player's skill levels, the townspeople may be taught a variety of countermeasures in the town's Scrapyard, or in the case of mine-laying, by the bridge entrance.

  • With at least 50 in the Small Guns skill, they may be taught how to use conventional firearms, and a makeshift shooting range of bottles and cans appears that the player must shoot at.
  • With at least 50 in the Sneak skill, they may be taught how to effectively hide from the mutants. The player must go into sneak mode to show them this.
  • With at least 50 in the Science skill, they may be taught how to build robots to use as bodyguards. The player must interact with the Sentry Bot and Protectron there to reactivate them. If only one is reactivated, residents will reactivate the other robot themselves. Note that there are a few bugs associated with this option.
  • With at least 50 in the Explosives skill, they may be taught how to make a minefield. Demonstrate by throwing a mine on the bridge. Note that there is a bug associated with this option.

Alternatively, the player may not teach them anything, and either leave them to their fate, or help fight the mutants anyway. Although the residents are weak, weapons, ammo, and armor can be reverse pick-pocketed into their inventories to give them a better chance (especially if the Small Guns option wasn't chosen). Fast traveling from and to Big Town is required to get them to equip their new items. In addition, Red and Shorty may have items simply given to them whilst traveling with the player, and if the unmarked quest A Sticky Situation was completed, Sticky will be around to help with the defense as well.

The Super Mutants, likely arriving in pairs, are usually armed with nailboards or other melee weapons along with a few grenades that they will lob at medium range. If the muties target the kids with their grenades, it is a sure thing at least one of the Big Town gang will be blown to pieces.

Shortly after preparations are made, a number of Super Mutants (this varies depending on the player's actions, as explained below) will attack. If Sneak was not chosen, the Super Mutants must be defeated to complete it. However, if Sneak was chosen, two Super Mutants will enter, try to find the townspeople, and if uninterrupted, eventually leave.

Note: Whichever tactic you choose to teach the residents of Big Town, if you kill the pair of Super Mutants or if they die (from mines you have laid outside of town or radscorpions, etc...) before they launch their attack, another pair will spawn behind them. Later "waves" are armed with subsequently better armour and weaponry and even more grenades. Three waves is the reported maximum [unconfirmed] (there are usually 2 waves which is 4 Super Mutants), though this may be level dependant.


In addition to the 300/500 Cap reward, once the Super Mutants are dead/gone, the townspeople will thank the player character, naming him/her as their hero. Good Karma will be obtained for helping defend the town. Moreover, if Timebomb was healed in the unmarked quest Ticking Timebomb prior to the attack, and he survived it, he will give the player his Lucky 8 Ball. Red will heal the player for 50 caps, but once Timebomb has been healed she will heal the player for free.

  • You do not need to save Timebomb before the attack; if it is done after the attack, he will still give you his Lucky 8 Ball.
  • If the player chooses to get the 500 cap reward (and passes the speech check) the player will lose karma as the extra 200 caps were supposed to buy medicine for the town. You can then choose an option to return the caps for an equal amount of Positive Karma; meaning you keep your current karma level, settle for the 500 cap reward, and have the satisfaction of having passed another speech check.


  • This quest provides an opportunity for a lot of Good Karma. Those wishing to maintain Neutral Karma (e.g. to avoid Talon Company) may need to take a side-trip in the middle of this quest in order to keep their Karma in the desired range.
  • It is possible, for a loss of Karma (good if you are trying to keep Neutral or Evil), to reverse pickpocket any weapon (along with required ammo) onto the Big Town residents. If done before teaching the kids how to shoot, it is possible to arm them all with weapons against which the Super Mutants stand no chance. Dusty, being the lookout, is not present at the firing range and has the highest Perception of the group - reverse pickpocketing to him isn't recommended, unless you want to reload and try again. He will not use any weapon other than his Hunting Rifle. This is a good way to insure the safety of the Big Town residents, so that you can return for Bittercup's "rewards" if you were nice to her and to retain Red's free healing services.
  • If Red is mezzed as part of the Strictly Business quest before she is returned to Big Town and this quest completed, it will not be able to be completed until Red is either killed, or her slave collar removed.
  • When entering the Germantown Police HQ, two Super Mutants can be overheard in conversation about their plans to attack the town again. When they are finished, an excellent chance to hear two Super Mutants randomly conversing presents itself to the player, as they immediately start talking again.
  • The quest can be obtained even without interacting with any of the residents of Big Town. Simply entering the area triggers the quest. It can also be triggered without entering the town by rescuing Shorty or Red from the Germantown Police HQ.
  • While the hostages mention they don't know what the Super Mutants intend to do with them, Uncle Leo suggests the hostages are used to make more Super Mutants. This is supported by a Super Mutant if the Sneak option is chosen; if the player listens in on the conversation unsighted, one of the mutants asks the villagers to come out, with the offer, "Don't you want to be like us?"
  • If the village is defended with one of the special options above, the townspeople will start buying supplies to continue what you've taught them. A random encounter with a Scavenger may have him or her mentioning it is a good place to make money selling said supplies.
  • The village may also be wiped out in a Super Mutant attack, which is much more likely to happen if the player doesn't teach the town any means to defend themselves. If this happens, a lone Super Mutant will be seen wandering around the now uninhabited town. The aforementioned Scavenger will mention the town's demise in his dialogue, and say he/she is going there to loot. Upon entering the Big Town City Hall the player will find the corpses of Red and Shorty laid beside the entrance.
  • The town's residents may be attacked and killed, by either nearby Raiders or Enclave soldiers who may appear upon your arrival, before you can start the quest. If Timebomb is left alive, the quest may still be started and can be completed if Red and/or Shorty reach the town and survive the Super Mutant attack.
  • After preparing for the imminent Super Mutant attack, the quest may complete itself (recognized by the message that you have gained Karma). If this happens, it is possible the attack has been intercepted en-route to Big Town by another hostile NPC. Patrolling Outcasts may take on the Super Mutants. With the Broken Steel DLC the attack is also known to be neutralized by an Albino Radscorpion. Make sure the road to the North-East of Big Town's entrance is clear to prevent this.
  • Sometimes 4 Slavers can be found outside of Big town, with little dialoge and standing in place with either SMG's or Combat shotguns. The slavers might even kill the Super Mutants before they are able to attack the town.
  • The Super Mutants may also be seen fighting an aqua pura caravan after Broken Steel has been downloaded, however, the Super Mutants will most likely kill the caravan depending on the player's level.
  • Upon rescuing Red and Shorty but before travelling back to Big Town there is an excellent opportunity to take their equipment and/or replace it with other items without risking pickpocketing (or planting items). Simply choose "you look like you could use a weapon" dialogue option to access their inventories and modify as required.


  • When presented with the option to defend the town by repairing the damaged robots, the robots will not be in the town, due to the flying creatures and items glitch. This renders this section of the quest undoable.(confirmed all platforms)
    • This bug can be fixed on the PC version by accessing the debug console with the tilde (~) key and entering the following commands:
PRID 2d934, kill, resurrect, disable, enable, PRID 2c11b, kill, resurrect, disable, enable
The bots will now be operational but you will still have to "repair" them with the use command.
If the robot(s) in question fails to appear, you may need to enter one more command: "moveto player".
  • If you have the Broken Steel DLC, the Super Mutant talking to Shorty may actually be a Super Mutant Overlord. However, when using V.A.T.S., it is labeled as a generic "Super Mutant". (Confirmed, PC, Xbox, PS3)
  • If the quest is completed without looking for Shorty in the Germantown Police HQ, the player can later return and find Shorty still alive in the basement with 1 Super Mutant. After killing the Super Mutant, Shorty will converse with you normally, but no option to cut his bonds and set him free will be presented, forcing the player to walk out, leaving Shorty kneeling on the floor with his hands tied for the remainder of the game. (Confirmed, PS3)
  • There is a way to complete both Strictly Buisness, or Big trouble in Big town at the same time without having to free Red from the slaves. Simply put the collar on red, and have Shorty follow you. Travel to Big Town, and you will get the Big Trouble In Big Town quest completed. Then you will see red, with the collar on, run off towords paradise falls. Travel to paradise falls, and you shall reap both rewards.
  • If you elect to teach the residents shooting, leave before the target shooting begins and place a string of mines along the road such that the number and power of the mines will kill all attacking mutants near their spawn point, then return and start the target practice session: the residents will fire at the assorted targets indefinitely. The mines will kill all the mutants so far away from the bridge guard that he will never run over and announce the attack. The quest will continue to be active until you run away from the target practice area and toward the center of Big Town (near the fire in the barrel), where the quest completion trigger will activate and stop the target practice.
  • Red may somehow escape from her cell and get chased by her super mutant captors into big town completing the quest without you doing anything.
  • If you kill the Mutant talking to Shorty before he's stopped talking, sometimes the voice will still stay and Shorty will respond. This is solved by talking to him.
  • Red is found outside of her cell, standing next to the computer terminal. The jail cells still must be opened before she can be rescued. (XBox 360)
Quests in Fallout 3
Big Town

This article uses material from the "Big Trouble in Big Town" article on the Fallout wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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