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Fallout 3 bugs: Misc



Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From The Vault

This page lists all bugs in Fallout 3.
  • The content is not described in full detail on this page. For details, please see the respective articles.
  • For bugs in other Fallout games, please see "Bug".
  • For an overview of Fallout 3 content, please refer to "Portal:Fallout 3".


Add-on-specific bugs

For add-on specific bugs, please see the following pages:

NPC-specific bugs

  • For NPC-specific bugs, please see the respective NPC article page.
  • For bugs that apply to NPCs in general or to followers in general, please see the NPC bugs section below.

Quest-specific bugs

For quest-specific bugs, please see the respective quest article page.

Location-specific bugs

For location-specific bugs, please see the respective location article page.

General advice and notes

  • Make sure your game is patched to the latest official patch ( If your game is not up-to-date, do not report any bugs you may experience.
  • Save often and in different slots. Do not rely too much on autosave. A frequently overwritten autosave slot can become corrupted.
  • If you are playing on the PC, make sure your computer meets or exceeds the Minimum System Requirements. If any component of your computer falls below the minimum system requirements, do not report any bugs you may experience.


  • The Vault does not cover information concerning third-party mods for Fallout 3.
    • If you have any mods installed, do not report any bugs you may experience, even if it seems to you that your issue is not mod-related. Please visit the Bethesda mod forums for information.

Using the console

On the PC, many NPC, quest, and player-getting-stuck issues can be resolved through the use of console commands.

Crashing, freezing and other hardware- or software-related issues

Stuttering, crashing, freezing, and slow-down issues are often hardware- and/or software-related. Please visit the Bethesda Fallout 3 hardware forums for information regarding these issues. In particular, read through the stickied threads at the top of the forum pages.

Physics engine glitches

General solutions

  • Leave and re-enter the area.
  • Load a save from before the glitch occurred.
  • Exit the game, restart the game, and load a save from before the glitch occurred.
  • PC users may be able to fix some issues by using console commands.

Flying creatures and items

A Protectron Mid-air
  • Deathclaws and Protectrons frequently experience a physics engine glitch which sends them hurtling through the air. They can go quite far.
  • The disabled Protectrons in Big Town, in particular, are often subject to this glitch. This can cause a portion of the quest "Big Trouble In Big Town" to become undoable.
  • Jumping onto the Rivet City bridge when it is not in final position can cause the player character to be thrown into the air.

NPCs' body parts stretching

  • NPC's can become stretched out like chewing gum. Targeting limbs appears to target pieces of them that are smeared. Can be associated with incorrect one-hit-kills but the bodies remain alive and shooting, even to the point of the game thinking they are still moving around. VATS registers on the "dead" body, but the HUD indicator moves around (backed up by the crosshairs registering red and the voice of the actor also emenating from the indicator.) Occasionally it happens to live NPCs which can begin jittering and shooting off into the sky, however they are like a surreal 3-D kaleidoscope, rapidly changing shapes.


The player character is stuck

There are places in the game world where the player character can become stuck - in the landscape, behind furniture, etc. The following are commonly known places where the player character can become stuck.

  • My Megaton House - between the bed and the wall.
  • Various crevices in rock formations
  • Between alternating flights of stairs and other objects in the stairwell.
  • Underneath a ledge formed by the top car in a stack of cars. (esp. while sneaking)

In places where fast-travel is not an option, it is possible to become unstuck by utilizing frag grenades or mines to dislodge the player with force.

NPCs are stuck

  • NPCs occasionally experience pathing issues.
    • NPCs may continue to run up against an obstacle rather than finding a way around.
    • NPCs may get hung up on rocks or other low obstacles. NPCs cannot jump, so sometimes this is problematic.
    • Upon fast-traveling, NPCs may spawn inside rocks, behind walls, or in other inaccessible areas.

Commonly stuck NPCs include:

  • Mr. Crowley
  • Scribe Rothchild
  • Liberty Prime
  • Fawkes
  • Bryan Wilks

Floating in the air

Due to clipping and pathing issues, NPCs, creatures and items will sometimes appear to float in the air. Following are some common instances:

  • Dogmeat exhibits this behavior often when using stairs.
  • Super mutant behemoths, due to their large size, often exhibit floating behavior.

Falling out of the map

NPCs and the player character may occasionally fall through the map or into a wall or other object. Following are some commonly known places where this is likely to happen.

  • Vault 92 - overseer's office. Walk along the wall behind and to the right of his desk, you will clip through it and fall into the hallway below his desk. From there, you can go through the door into a locked room in the Sound Testing chamber. There are some useful items in this room, but there is unfortunately no way to get back, since the door ahead of you is jammed, and the hallway behind you is still covered by the overseer's desk.
  • If you revisit Vault 87 following completion of the main quest mission (accessing it via the Reactor Chamber), then open the vault door from the inside, there is no rendered exterior and you are confronted with a void.
  • Grayditch.
  • Bridges.
  • Craterside Supply.
  • In Seward Square, walk northeast behind the Capitol Building, past a spot where Talon Mercs and Super Mutants are in a firefight. You will come upon a set of buildings that are low-poly distant-land models with low-res textures. You cancontinue walking presumably indefinitely on completely flat land once you pass these buildings.


"Clipping" is the term for objects passing through one another. Clipping can lead to the flying creatures and items, the falling out of the map and the stuck glitches. Items with clipping issues may not be visible.

Armor and clothing

Some pieces of armor and clothing exhibit clipping when worn in conjunction with each other.


  • Sometimes when the player gives a large weapon to a follower, then the follower walks into a mine it can cause the weapon to be stuck through their bodies but still shoot as if they are still holding it in their hands.
  • Sometimes NPCs get stuck on path while advancing toward deployed Frag Mines then instantly appear as though they teleported through it's triggering area. Additionally, Frag Mines have also been observed warping nearby enemies onto the Mine.

Creatures and items

Creatures, items and NPCs sometimes spawn partially inside a surface. This can cause them to jitter, vibrate, or make noise. As a result, items sometimes cannot be picked up or moved. Common instances of this glitch follow.

  • Disabled Protectrons in the Robco Facility.
  • Certain weighted chain traps start spontaneously shaking, probably caused by the level not loading correctly. The heavy weight connected to the chain seems to float in mid-air while the chain violently shakes.
  • Protectron bot corpses outside the National Guard Depot do some bad jittering and falling if fast traveling to the location later, or exiting the Depot and returning back outside.

Graphics glitches

Heads spinning around

Sometimes NPCs' heads spin around and upside-down.

Multiple skin tones on NPCs

Sometimes NPCs' various body parts are of different ethnicities.

Upside-down gun

NPCs sometimes wield, fire and/or holster their gun upside-down.

  • In the case of followers, sometimes manipulating their inventory (e.g. giving them a Stimpak) will fix it.

Crashing and freezing

Crashes and freezes may happen occasionally to anyone. Crashes and freezes are only notable when they are repeatable (e.g. they happen under the same set of circumstances often). If the crash only occurs on one particular save, then the save itself is most likely the source of the problem. Please verify that crashes and freezes are repeatable on more than one save game before reporting.

Following are some reported circumstances under which crashing and freezing occurred.

  • After blowing up Megaton, attempting to reenter Tenpenny Tower results in a crash with exception 0xC0000005; a memory access violation.
  • Birth scene: Right after Doctor Li leaves and your Mother says "We did it", the game becomes idle; only the E button works making the baby cry.
  • Approaching the Jefferson Memorial.
  • When you get the reward from Burke on Tenpenny Tower.
  • When you get the Necrophage mission.
  • When using V.A.T.S.
  • In Shalebridge Hill when you attempt to pick up any of the 5.56 ammo magazines in the Ant Queen's chamber.
  • When receiving your first Pipboy.
  • When skipping NPC dialogue by clicking through.
  • When bringing up the PipBoy.

NPC bugs

Megaton residents missing or dead

Any NPC in Megaton may fall off the various high places in town and die or disappear from the town. Please seeRecovering_missing_NPC_in_Fallout_3 for more details.

  • They may fall somewhere where you cannot find their bodies.
  • They may be lost in the "void," the normally not playable area that exists if you climb over the Megaton walls.
  • They may have teleported to Springvale.

Lip-sync not working

  • NPC's mouth moves during dialogue but nothing is said. Subtitles at the bottom of the screen "fast forward".

NPCs referring to the player character or other NPCs by the wrong gender

There are many instances of spoken dialogue not taking into account the proper gender of a character. Common occurrences follow:

  • The dialogue for the first Enclave soldier who greets you in Raven Rock was not recorded twice; he refers to you as a "he" if you are playing a female character.

NPCs still talking after death

After an NPC dies, their voice may still play, especially giving the warnings about not stealing things.


Common issues with all followers

  • Duplicate weapons may appear in followers' inventories. Removing one weapon makes the duplicates disappear.
  • With multiple followers, sometimes they may not all follow you into a new area. If you save while this is the case, the save may be corrupted.
  • Followers may become inexplicably hostile toward other NPCs.
  • Followers may fail to arrive with the pc when traveling to new areas.
  • Followers may drop dead upon entering a new area.
  • Followers may exhibit glitchy behavior when told to wait - not waiting where they are supposed to, subsequent dialogue options being incorrect, etc.

Quest bugs

Quest items remain in inventory permanently

Any quest item may get stuck permanently in your inventory. However, even though the item displays a weight on the pipboy screen, that weight does not count toward your total carry weight.

Menu-, HUD-, inventory-, and radio-related bugs

Level up error

  • A rare level-up bug leaves the player with a negative number of skill points to allot, jamming the game in place at the skill point distribution page.
  • The game may freeze at the level-up screen, particularly when choosing perks.

PipBoy glitches

  • PipBoy moves up a little in the screen each time you view it. Repeatedly viewing and hiding PipBoy will eventually render the whole PipBoy screen invisible. Keep opening and closing eventually will reset to normal.
  • Using your PipBoy to repair many items at once may cause the PipBoy screen to become distorted and the text to dissappear. Upon going to the start menu the text will not appear or be distorted as well.

Common user errors

  • Pushing buttons too fast when in menus or in dialogue may cause the game to freeze.

Radio bugs

  • When you enter new areas, radio may be glitched because of loading. It repeats a part of the song/speak until the radio returns to normal.
  • Radio songs and news skip occasionally skipping to another song or another piece of news.
  • Freezing for 10 seconds or so whenever the radio tracks loop.

Loading and saving bugs

  • A game may load with the player stuck in firing mode.


Infinite ears and fingers

  • With the Lawbringer or Contract Killer perk, you can knock an unkillable NPC (e.g. Shrapnel or one of the children) unconscious as many times as you like. They will spawn an ear or finger each time they are knocked unconscious.

Infinte XP

  • With the Mister Sandman perk, you can knock a sleeping un-killable NPC unconscious as many times as you like. You get experience for the "kill" each time.
  • Knock Knock of Little Lamplight has an easy Speech Challenge that does not get cleared. Can repeat for infinite experience.
  • Listen to Bittercup rant about how she has been with all of the men in Big Town. In this rant you find out specifically about what happened with her and Pappy. End the conversation with her and talk to Pappy. A couple lines in you'll have a speech option that will never go away and can continue to gain 5 XP experience each success.

Free repair

  • When selling and buying leather armor to/from merchants (tested with Crow and Moira Brown), armor's repair level isn't uniform. Further, selling and re-buying the same suit of leather armor will yield a fully-repaired suit! This is thus partially a bug and partially an exploit, as the player can obtain a 100% repaired suit of leather armor (DR 24!) at level 2 for less than 100 caps.

PC-specific bugs and issues

Crashing and other hardware- or software-related issues

Stuttering, crashing, freezing, and slow-down issues are often hardware- and/or software-related. Please visit the Bethesda forums for information regarding these issues. In particular, read through the stickied threads at the top of the forum page. Common pc-only crashes and freezes occur under the following circumstances:

  • When alt-tabbing while in fullscreen mode.

NPC scripting glitch and PC-only fix

  • On some save games (this might show up in the beginning of the game and will never end) NPCs will stop conversations with each other before they should, or the player might not get his/her controls back if a script does the "disableplayercontrols" command and a conversation ends. This has occurred at least in Vault 101 in a conversation with Dad and Oasis with the conversation between the two arguing inhabitants. Another problem that seems to be related (appears along with the aforementioned bug) is that NPCs may walk through a load door to a new cell and not appear on the other side.
  • Both these problems are seemingly fixed by going into the G.E.C.K., loading Fallout3.esm, and clicking the "recompile all scripts" button and saving a plug-in with this change, loading it right after Fallout3.esm.
  • The v1.7 patch still requires this fix.
  • A workaround has been found: save the game if NPCs stop talking suddenly, and then reload that save. They'll continue their conversation for at least one response. Repeat the process as many times as needed to get the conversation to finish.

Radio bugs

  • The radio can cause audio and video stuttering.

Key-binding bugs

  • Rebinding The Pip-Boy key only rebinds the key to open, the closing key is still default.
  • Wait function does not work when button is rebound to "w" key.

Common user errors

  • Player stuck unable to move, HUD also missing. Possibly due to bumping the "~",which opens the console to input cheats, directly above the TAB. If you're sure the console is not open, pressing the tilde (~) key and typing "enableplayercontrols" will fix this.
  • Sometimes you get stuck in "slow walking mode". CAPS LOCK, which locks down "run", is probably enabled (and possibly toggled when you Alt-Tab out of the program if the light is mismatched), so try hitting the key again.
  • Having a game controller plugged into the computer can cause control problems, even when the controller is disabled in the .ini file. Physically disconnect the controller from computer.

This article uses material from the "Fallout 3 bugs" article on the Fallout wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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