Fallout: New Vegas locations project
That vault is a hornet's nest.”— Colonel James Hsu
Vault 3 is one of the Vault-Tec vaults in the Mojave Wasteland. It was constructed in the south-western part of the old Las Vegas, on the outskirts of the city's industrial sector. Except for some flooding in the lower levels, the vault is still mainly intact in 2281 and is occupied by the Fiends, who slaughtered the vault's original occupants.
Vault 3 is one of only three vaults in the Mojave that contains human inhabitants, the others being Vault 21 and Vault 19. Now nestled within the South Vegas ruins, this vault was one of the few control vaults that had no experiment connected with it, and it functioned almost exactly to the residents' expectations. Control vaults were designed to open after 20 years, but the residents of Vault 3 decided to keep it sealed far longer, out of concern for the possible dangers they might face outside the vault. All was going well until an accidental water leak occurred, forcing the residents to open the vault to find help. The original Vault 3 inhabitants opened their doors and began to trade with people outside the vault. For a time, it went well and the inhabitants made a good living. However, this also brought the vault to the attention of the Fiends.
Exploiting the vault dwellers' naivety, the Fiends successfully conned themselves into the vault, upon which they hunted down and brutally killed every single inhabitant and claimed the vault for themselves. Using the vault as an impenetrable base of operations, the Fiends have grown steadily stronger since, becoming a serious threat to the people living on the outskirts of southwestern New Vegas as well as a constant nuisance to the New California Republic Army command stationed at Camp McCarran.
In many ways, Vault 3 was the ideal post-apocalyptic community that had all too often evaded Vault-Tec's many experiments. The vault's isolation didn't affect the residents. They maintained an orderly, democratic society, and, unlike other vaults (in particular Vault 101), the overseer wasn't a dictator or a megalomaniac. Once again though, as with so many other Vault-Tec designs, the water chips failed and by necessity, the community was forced into contact with the Mojave's savage peoples: ultimately their undoing.
Inside, the entrance is guarded by a female Fiend, who will question you about what you are doing there. If one enters using a Speech check (64) or wearing Great Khan armor, they may navigate the vault without being attacked. The walls of the entire vault are covered with graffiti, presumably done by the occupying Fiends.
 Recreation area
Vault 3 seems to have a much larger recreational area than other vaults. The recreation area includes several pool tables and some minor loot. Within the recreation area there is a locked door leading to the maintenance wing.
 Living quarters
On the main floor of the living quarters there is a cage holding three captives: Rick Lancer, Rachael and Dennis. The cage also holds the body of the fourth captive, Carter, who managed to escape to search the vault for weapons before being caught and subsequently killed. Daniel, the Fiend who holds the key to the cage can be found in one of the most southern rooms of the living quarters (see the unmarked quest I Love Bananas). Alternatively, the cage door can be picked without karma loss, and no Fiends will become hostile.
Two of the rooms in the living quarters each have a deceased Fiend on a bed, surrounded by empty syringes, Jet and Psycho. Around the southern part of the living quarters is a bedroom containing a terminal with an administrator "Billy boy" and a function called "Compose Automated Blast Message". However this does nothing, stating that the system is offline.
The flooded areas are long and difficult to swim through with enough time to return for air before taking drowning damage. It is strongly recommended to have the rebreather equipped when swimming through to loot these areas.
 Maintenance wing
 Previous Vault dwellers
 Notable loot
If the Fiends are non-hostile, looting will not make them hostile, nor will it cost karma.
 Recreation area
- A Today's Physician in the southern part of the recreation area's second floor, behind a locked door (hard). In the room you can also find 2 doctor's bags, 3 RadAway and 2 Fixer.
- In the middle of the recreation area is a room with Sunset Sarsaparilla and Nuka-Cola vending machines and a pool table covered in Med-X and stimpaks.
- Behind a very easy locked door connected to the main part of the recreation area is a room with a Nuka-Cola Quartz, Nuka-Cola Victory, several Nuka-Cola's, 20-30 pool cues and various other loot.
- Nine bobby pins can be found in the cafeteria at the south door. This probably suggest the Fiends were trying to get the door open since it's locked (easy). There are also medical supplies lying around. Behind the door are more medical supplies, some fresh food and an atomic cocktail in one of the refrigerators.
- 96 5.56mm rounds on a table in the room with Bryce Anders. Some frag mines may be found in an ammunition box near the door.
 Living quarters
- A Chinese Army: Special Ops Training Manual on the bookshelf, in the large, carpeted bedroom behind an average terminal locked door immediately opposite the entrance to the living quarters from the recreation area. The book is on a shelf immediately to the right as you enter. Also in this room are three magazine: Locksmith's Reader, Meeting People and Today's Physician on a bedside nightstand.
- A number of Vault 3 utility jumpsuits (Lockpick +5, Repair +5) can be found here as well, in lockers throughout the south side of the living quarters right before the flooded area.
- A Sunset Sarsaparilla star bottle cap on desk in a room next to a bottle of Sunset Sarsaparilla in a south room of the living quarters one floor up from the flooded area. It's in the room across the hall from the room with a terminal that says "Hello Billy boy!" when you open it. A Vault 3 utility jumpsuit is also in the locker here, and a Locksmith's Reader on the bed.
- 3 magazines - Fixin' Things, Locksmith's Reader and Milsurp Review - in the living quarters' flooded area in the southwest. Also in this room: the two gun lockers mentioned on the overseer's terminal.
- A Locksmith's Reader is in the southeast flooded section in the shelf.
- The overseer's office has a hunting rifle mounted by the observation window.
- A pair of binoculars on the shelf next to the observation window in the overseer's office.
 Maintenance wing
- A chainsaw carried by Motor-Runner.
- Behind the average locked door (with terminal) to your left as you enter the maintenance wing, a Locksmith's Reader on the desk along with other stuff and four Vault 3 utility jumpsuits.
- The Reverse Pulse Cleaner for the Brotherhood of Steel quest Still in the Dark can be found in a locker inside Motor-Runner's throne room.
 Related quests
- If you stand outside the vault door with Veronica Santangelo as a companion, it triggers a point for her companion quest.
- If you enter the cafeteria area of this vault with Lily Bowen, she will comment about herself when she was a small girl and will reminisce about her first kiss.
- If you kill Motor-Runner before finding the Ranger Bryce Anders, you will meet him back at Camp McCarran. The dialogue will be the same as if you had met him in the vault.
Vault 3 appears in only Fallout: New Vegas.
 Behind the scenes
- Vault 3 was designed by Akil Hooper.
- One of the rooms in the vault contains graffiti of the name "Germaine" crossed out with the name "Bret" written above. This may be a reference to the musical comedy act "The Flight of Conchords", whose band members' names are Bret and Jemaine.
- Vault 3 is likely an allusion to Vault 13. Both are indefinitely-sealed vaults that find themselves confronted by a malfunction of the vault water system. Water rationing is implemented, and, because no replacement parts are available, the vault dwellers choose to open the door and engage with the outside world for the first time. Where the two narrative diverge is that, whereas Vault 13's overseer acts with an excess of caution in engaging the outside world (much to the chagrin of Vault 13's dissidents), Vault 3's overseer acts with an excess of recklessness (again, over the objections of Vault 3's dissidents). In this way, Vault 3 functions to demonstrate how things in Fallout might have been, had things gone just a bit differently. The emotional force of this demonstration is enhanced by the Vault Dweller's conviction (likely shared by the player), that Vault 13's overseer was too cautious: an assessment that the downfall of Vault 3 calls into question.
- When entering the Vault the Fiend will talk to you. If you pass the speech check or are wearing Great Khan clothing, she will tell the other fiends not to attack. Regardless of that happening (even on previous visits) the Fiends may still randomly become hostile and attack. This appears to be due to the companion code still highlighting some Fiends as enemies, and happens even if you tell them to wait outside the vault. Instead, send them back to the Lucky 38 and go on completely alone. Note that killing the attacking Fiends in the vault does not always cause other fiends to attack you. Usually, the Fiends in the entrance room of the vault will never attack if you passed the speech check and you don't attack them. Motor-Runner will also never become hostile unless you attack him.
- The entry on the Overseer's terminal that unlocks the two submerged storerooms doesn't always work, and sometimes leaves both doors locked with a Hard lock.
- Sometimes, while in the Maintenance Wing, if you simply walk into the main corridor, the game will crash.
- If you pass the speech check to enter Vault 3 and immediately go to talk to Motor-Runner, sometimes if you go to look for Bryce Anders afterwards, he will not be there and the secret door will be open. If you return to Capt. Curtis he will talk to the player as if Anders had been rescued.
- Merely entering Vault 3 may corrupt your save and not allow you to load any save created within the vault or after exiting the vault. This problem does not occur if you are connected to Live, and is resolved by connecting to Live.
- If you go to the jail cells, look in the cell, and press 'sit bench' you will appear inside the locked cell. To get out either pick the lock or do the same thing on the bench outside the cell.
- If you enter the vault peacefully and attack the Fiends in the Living Quarters near Daniel and the other prisoners before freeing them, the game will freeze three to five seconds after combat started.
- Sometimes talking to Motor-Runner for the first time it will allow you to go to dialogue with him, but on subsequent attempts he will act like any of the normal fiends and this will render several quests unable to be finished.