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Vault 87

Exterior seen from a safe distance.
map marker: Vault 87
(Little Lamplight)
other exits: Murder Pass
quests: Finding the Garden of Eden
cell name: Vault87a (Test Labs)
Vault87b (Living Quarters)
Vault87c (Reactor Chamber)
ref id: 00018527 (Test Labs)
0001852A (Living Quarters)
00018537 (Reactor Chamber)

The Vault's entrance is guarded by several mutants.

Vault 87 is one of the Vault-Tec Vaults, located at the western edge of the Capital Wasteland. As part of the Vault Experiment, experimentation with the use of Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV) was conducted on its inhabitants. As a result, Vault 87 is full of super mutants and centaurs, and is their only known source on the East Coast.



In 2078, the original inhabitants of Vault 87 were taken to airtight chambers and exposed to a concentrated form of FEV. The Overseer and his security guards were not aware of what it was, but were simply following orders from Vault-Tec. When the first vault dwellers were turned into super mutants, they forcibly mutated the others, until the whole population was either mutated or dead.

The Vault 87 super mutants are obsessed with the preservation of their brand new species. Since they are all sterile, instead of reproducing in a natural way, they have been kidnapping humans from all over the Capital Wasteland and bringing them to the vault to mutate. They have been doing so for nearly 200 years, until their source of FEV started to dry out. Because of the shortage of the "green stuff" as the super mutants call it, there are now super mutant bands searching all over the Capital Wasteland for a new source of the virus[1].

The Vault entrance

The sign outside Vault 87, illustrating the high level of radiation present.

Above ground, the radiation near the entrance to Vault 87 peaks at about 3,000 rads/second, which is fatal in a third of a second. According to information obtained from the Garden of Eden Creation Kit, 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."

For players wishing to reach the entrance, it is possible to make it by getting your radiation resistance up to 85% and using a large amount of Rad Away. A single dose of Rad-X and an Advanced Radiation Suit is usually enough to reach the resistance percentage. This will reduce the rads to around 550 rads/sec, meaning exposure will be fatal in around two seconds as opposed to a third of one. 70 or more Rad Away doses are required for the trip. The easiest way of obtaining this many RadAway doses is trading tech at Fort Independence. Tying the Rad Away to a hot key is also recommended, as managing the doses from the PipBoy can be tedious. There are a couple ways to reach the door in a timely fashion. One is to drop down from the mountains above the door and then hop back up while using RadAway to prevent an untimely death. Alternatively, it is possible to approach from the south, which is nothing but flat land.

However, as the Overseer's message mentions, the door is inaccessible, making the Vault impossible to enter from above ground. The map marker will activate near the entrance. Dead scientists in radiation suits can be found near the Vault door, as can RadAway, presumably carried by the scientists but not enough to prevent their death by radiation poisoning.

The bugged Vault door

You can also reach the Vault door from within Vault 87. It is in the test chambers, near the room with the fire alarm and terminal that you use to rescue Fawkes. However, when you open the Vault door you will only see a blank brown fog. When you try to walk into this fog you will warp to the hall where Fawkes cell is. This door is initially locked, but seems to be unlocked following the Lone Wanderer's capture by Colonel Autumn (see bugs and glitches below). This has been fixed by patch 1.5.

Accessing Vault 87

Vault 87 can only be accessed through Little Lamplight. At the appropriate time in the game, the player will have the option of questioning mayor MacCready about how to access Vault 87. The mayor will suggest taking Murder Pass. However, he will also inform the player that there is a broken computer terminal in Little Lamplight that will allow direct access to the Vault via a different, safer route.

To access the terminal, the player must speak to Joseph, (as directed by the mayor). Joseph can fix the broken terminal, allowing it to be hacked, but he will only do so if the player has rescued Penny from Paradise Falls, if the player has a high enough science or persuasion skill, or through the Child at Heart perk. Joseph can be found in the Little Lamplight schoolhouse in the morning. The player must have 50 (average) Science skill to actually hack the computer 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. Located north of the souvenir building, Murder Pass houses several super mutants armed with heavy weaponry like missile launchers and miniguns. There are also a number of traps, so be careful. Mayor MacCready will open the gate for you if asked. Murder Pass is a good choice for earning experience. It also contains several medical cabinets, a decent amount of ammunition and a Nuka-Cola Quantum.

Traveling through the Vault

Vault 87 is very similar to all the other vaults a player may visit during the game, with narrow, confusing corridors, small rooms all connected by the main lobby, however, it is one of the most difficult missions if a player has downloaded Broken Steel, and players should level up before attempting it. The difficulty is due to the presence of Super Mutant Overlords, as you will frequently encounter pairs or groups of them, and the tight corridors provide little cover. Having a high level of stealth and The Terrible Shotgun is almost a necessity.

The vault is dimly lit, and very dirty. The added super mutant element also means there are many skeletons and bags of gore to be found.

Once inside the Vault, the player will encounter super mutants, Super Mutant Masters, Super Mutant Brutes, and Super Mutant Overlords (if Broken Steel is downloaded). The player can also find remains of failed FEV subjects.
Failed FEV Subject

Eventually, the player 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 the player freeing him from his cell. Though the player need not free Fawkes, the super mutant (if freed) will indeed honor this bargain, and will help the player 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.

There are two methods to free Fawkes. In the room at the end of the right hallway, you can set off the fire alarm in a room inhabited by two Super Mutant variants, which will open all five isolation rooms, however this isn't recommended as in the process two Centaurs and a hostile NPC character are also let loose. It is advisable that a player should hack a terminal (average) to unlock an individual chamber, of which Fawkes' cell is the fifth.

If you are stealthy, you can overhear a scripted conversation between the first two super mutants encountered in the facility.

SM1: We almost out of green stuff. Others go to find some. We must have more of us to stop the humans!

SM2: Need to find more humans then...make them like us.
SM1: Stupid Fox [Fawkes] say men will come to us one day. To take green stuff.
SM2: Let them come to us! We'll take them apart! Then when they weak, we put them in green stuff!
SM1: Ha ha ha, yes! More of them mean more of us soon.
SM2: More of us if green stuff work. It makes many mistakes. We dump bodies in cave too many times.
SM1: Green stuff don't work only because men we take weak. We wait for strong men...they make good soldiers.
SM2: Ha ha ha! Yes! Strong soldiers to smash the humans for good!


Related Quests

Notable loot

  • A copy of Nikola Tesla and You can be found in a wooden box at the feet of a mannequin in the southwestern-most dead end tunnel of the Reactor Chamber. (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 west side catwalk level of the living quarters. There is also a Nuka-Cola Quantum, laser rifle, Micro Fusion cells and a safe with random loot in this room.


  • Ensure that (if you have a good enough lock picking skill) you lockpick as many doors and safes as possible. There are some rooms filled with ammo, Stimpacks, Rad-X, and other good items.
  • It is not recommended to enter Vault 87 with companions. They will be fired when the Enclave captures you. It is recommended that you set them to "wait" back at your house. They can later be rehired. If you have Charon with you he will have an extra dialogue option when you are in front of the G.E.C.K. terminal. You can order him to fetch the G.E.C.K. for you, but he refuses, mentioning that his contract only covers combat tasks. It would have seemed like this may work before you experience his answer, keeping in mind that he is a ghoul and should be healed by the radiation.
  • If you stand a step behind the door where the G.E.C.K. is, your Geiger counter will disappear and you will not receive any more rads until you move from that spot.
  • Important: When you are about to start the last mission, tell Sentinel Lyons to wait and go speak with Elder Lyons. There is a new dialogue option available in which you tell him that Vault 87 is the breeding ground of super mutants. This results in positive karma and 100 experience points. If Broken Steel is installed/downloaded, you may reveal this information any time after escaping from Raven Rock.
  • If you try to resurrect one of the Failed FEV Experiments, they will strangely become "resurrected" in the manner that their corpse will stay in place but the actual NPC will be invisible and marked on your "radar" as hostile. If they attempt to attack, the game will crash, same as if you try to target them with VATS or shoot them altogether; they also utter super mutant phrases (e.g. "Found you!").
  • It is possible to trigger the G.E.C.K. All you have to do is go into the chamber (with plenty of Rad-Away) before Fawkes and select the right option.


Vault 87 appears in Fallout 3.


  • It is possible that companions following you through the Vault (other than Fawkes) will be killed or misplaced when you are arrested by the Enclave. (confirmed Xbox 360)
  • Sometimes when a companion is lost while you're arrested, when you go back inside the Vault with another companion they will disappear, and they will be found dead in the position that your lost companion was in, just to the north of the T-junction where you were captured. This companion will be lost and after a few days you will receive a message that they have died. If you leave your follower outside, you will find him teleported to the same room but alive. This may be related to having more than one follower at a time. (confirmed Xbox 360 , Playstation 3 and PC)
  • When a follower is dead in the room and the player walks up to him/her and looks at the body, it says the player can talk to them but all you do is search the followers body. The thing is that anything he/she is wearing can not be taken off the body. The body of the follower will follow you after any time you go through a door but not when fast traveling.(confirmed Xbox 360).
  • If Dogmeat is waiting somewhere, he will appear next to the dead follower
  • If you shoot the dead follower, or obliterate the body you'll receive a message that he/she is dead, you can even target it in VATS(confirmed Xbox 360)
  • Sometimes, when having a companion wait somewhere outside the Vault, they will spawn around you after you fall on the ground from the flash bang. (unconfirmed)
  • When passing the cells containing centaurs, it is possible for the first centaur, in the cell on the left, to appear outside the cell as the player passes and being able to attack the player. Once it is killed, it's top half may appear back in the cell while it's bottom half was stretched across the ceiling of the corridor. The Centaur may also pass through the wall between its cell and Fawkes cell, resulting in Fawkes killing it. (confirmed 360 and PC)
  • There is a bug if you go to the door in Little Lamplight that would normally require the broken terminal to be repaired to open where the door is already open and you can get into Vault 87 early. (confirmed PS3 and Xbox 360)
  • After finishing the Finding the Garden of Eden quest, and travel back to Vault 87 with followers and enter through Little Lamplight and tell them to wait just inside the entrance, you may find them dead in the doorway near the locked door that requires a key in the Test Labs. (confirmed PC and Xbox 360)
  • If you manage to open the vault door from the inside using the small panel the vault will actually open ,but all you will see is a black area behind it. If you walk into the dark area you will be instantly teleported to the start of the map. Your companion will not be moved. (confirmed PC)
  • It is actually possible to get 2 G.E.C.K's, You will need to have a lot of Rad resistance though, and a lot of Radaway, When You tell Fawkes To get the G.E.C.K, Go with him, As soon as you reach the G.E.C.K and the capsule starts to open, revealing the G.E.C.K. You will need to grab it as soon as Fawkes grabs it or it doesn't work and he will say that "It was indeed stupid to get it yourself." He admires you for doing it. If you do not get it, simply re-load it to before when you were standing outside of the irradiated area. (does not seem to work on 360)
  • Sometimes the Centaurs will be able to leave their locked cells and attack the player. This happens more often while accompanied by companion characters. The Centaurs may even appear in Fawke's cell. (Confirmed on Xbox 360 and PC)
  • After speaking to Fawkes, the player may receive a message saying Clover has returned to Paradise Falls, if she has already died outside the Vault.



  1. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide
Vault-Tec Vaults
Major locations in Fallout 3

This article uses material from the "Vault 87" article on the Fallout wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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