The Vault:Featured articles/Van Buren portal
This page lists The Vault's featured articles for the Van Buren portal.
Presper was born and raised in the area formally known as Shady Sands, now known as NCR, where he spent many of his years as a scientific adviser to President Tandi before his disillusionment settled in – a disillusionment fueled by the Caravan houses that ate away at NCR. He and the others effectively grew frustrated with Tandi, the BoS, the caravans, and everyone else. They just wanted to start over by wiping the slate clean. When his breaking point finally came, Presper became determined to find a way to rid the world of chaos and human impurities, and discovered his savior in the Limit 115 virus. Through extensive research, Presper discovered the history of Limit 115 and its genocidal potency, and also discovered a viable means to cleanse the world. Using ULYSSES, the Tibbets quarantine prison, and a ballistic satellite known as B.O.M.B.-001, the way to human planetary domination and order became clear.
Unlike other ghouls, Born Ghouls are not mutated humans, but were actually born into ghoul-dom. Through cruel experimentation on humans by Dr. Sebastian at the Reservation, these ghouls gestated and were birthed.
Reveling in their infrequent success (the ghoul procreation experiments have a 2% success rate), Dr. Sebastian and Dr. Willem Clark keep their Born Ghoul progeny close at hand and comfortable. To them, the Born Ghouls represent the future of the ghoul "species", and they will do everything in their power to make sure their "children" are well taken care of. There are only three Born Ghouls, including Measles and Belle. At first glance Born Ghouls look like any other ghoul, but a closer inspection reveals that their lesions, exposed bone, and hair patches are very uniform and look like they even serve some kind of purpose. On top of that, these ghouls are a little tougher, a little stronger and a little faster.
The 15mm ARTEMIS rail gun was an unfinished Enclave/Poseidon light rail gun project in Van Buren which Science-oriented characters could complete. According to the Van Buren tech demo, it looks like a sort of heavy Gauss weapon and uses the Energy Weapons skill.
The town of Hoover Dam is a town built along the top and sides of the dam. At the bottom of the dam there's a slummy area, and the dam's rim is home to all the rich folk and military.
The Dam became part of the New California Republic some time after 2242. The town has lost contact with the central government of the NCR in Shady Sands, and Governor Joseph Dodge, the leader of Hoover Dam assumed that the republic was destroyed by the remains of the Enclave. He is determined to hold the NCR together and has declared himself the president of NCR (or what is left of it). Unfortunately, Dodge is a weak leader, and he fights an ongoing war with the Brotherhood of Steel.
Led by an aging, possibly insane woman of fearsome presence, the masked Daughters of Hecate collect tribute from almost all other tribes in the regions they control. Failure to obey the mandates of Hecate often results in crop failure, poor hunting, disease, and barren wombs. For an unknown reason, the Daughters of Hecate reserve a special hatred for Caesar's Legion.
Dr. Willem Clark is the leader of the ghouls at the Reservation. He was a gifted nuclear physicist in his smooth skin days. He worked at the Reservation as chief scientist in the nuclear research and development department on Sub-Level 3. Even then he commanded a loyal following of fellow scientists who are in awe of his scientific capabilities and his ability to bring out the best in his colleagues. So, when the bombs fell and everyone was too scared to move, Willem took charge and kept the survivors alive; alive with hope that one day they would all return to the surface and start life anew.
For nearly two centuries, Willem Clark has brought ghouls from all over the wastes to the Reservation. Some have stayed topside, happy to eke out an existence among the debris, while others have taken to the Sub-Levels of the Reservation. Those who have gone to the Sub-Levels enjoy fruitful, meaningful work and much better accommodations than those who on the surface.
A tech demo of Van Buren, the cancelled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios, was created during the game's development. Several screenshots and one video of the tech demo have been released at No Mutants Allowed on April 30, 2007, followed by the tech demo itself on May 2.
The plot of the tech demo is not connected to the main storyline and was going to be included in the finished game as a tutorial. It takes place in the United States of America during the Great War, somewhere in the Great Midwest Commonwealth. The player character in the demo is referred to only as "Citizen" (even though he uses the Prisoner's model). His parents were reduced to ash, as they didn't believe the government's bombing raid sirens. He made his way to the relocation center and is escorted to a Vault by Corporal Armstrong of the 4th or 13th Armored Infantry Division. To reach the Vault, they must fight Communist insurgents. After he enters the Vault, the citizen must help turn on the life support system.
The trogs of Hoover Dam, while not pleasant to look at, are much more human than their Pitt counterparts. A trog's skin is a dull yellow/white as is their hair (in the case of those trogs who do have it) due to a deficiency of melanin. The trade-off is that their skin became thicker, making them more resilient to their hazardous environment. They are, however, very sensitive to light, a trait they share with their more animalistic brethren from The Pitt.
The Hoover Dam trogs were nomadic at one time thanks to a cave-in at their previous dwellings. Before Dodge and his troops came to Hoover, Billy-Bob and his trogs took up residence in Baseline, figuring it was pretty secure from caving in. No one argued with the trogs, and when Dodge came to Hoover, he asked if they would help out Otto with maintenance in exchange for food goods and water. The trogs accepted and have been content ever since to mosey around Baseline making sure every light was flashing correctly.
Josh Eric Sawyer is a video game designer active in the role playing game genre. After Chris Avellone left Interplay, he became the lead designer of Van Buren (the cancelled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios) before he himself left in November 2003. At Obsidian Entertainment, he is currently the lead designer and project director of Fallout: New Vegas, a standalone game based on Fallout 3's engine and gameplay.
While at Black Isle he was known for coming up with the "Ex-Presidents" project naming system. When Interplay closed down Black Isle Studios many team members ended up at Obsidian Entertainment, which would eventually come to include J.E. Sawyer.
Bloomfield, surprisingly enough, survived the Great War – for the most part. Thanks to its very remote location in southwest Arizona, the only real damage that the space center received was from time and weather – and also the current occupants. The current occupants in question are the Rusty Hooks, as they like to be called. Comprised of two-dozen raiders, the Rusty Hooks came upon the remains of the Bloomfield Space Center about one year ago, drawn to the sight by tall, pointed structures (two space rockets) that could be seen on the horizon. The leader, Kyle "the Hook", knew they had found a special location and decreed among his faithful that this facility would be their permanent residence and base of operations.
Before the Great War, Diana Stone was a scientist working for Greenway Hydroponics. She was a brilliant woman with a career path that would gain her a place of recognition among some of the greatest scientific minds in the United States of America. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and given little time to live. The news of her impending death had a profound effect on Diana's life. She turned away from science and began to look into the spiritual side of life. However, with so little time left to her, she soon became frustrated and despondent. This was to change when she was contacted by Derek Greenway. Derek was proposing a new type of super-computer that would be years ahead of any system currently in production. Even the highly touted ZAX units would pale in comparison. He devised a system that would house a human brain with each hemisphere, logical/emotional, linked to a ZAX unit. The human mind would have vast amounts of computation power and almost unlimited storage capacity at its disposal. All he needed to find was a volunteer. With nothing to lose, Diana jumped at the chance. When Diana awoke from the operation she was overjoyed at the success... at first. As the months progressed she began to doubt the wisdom of becoming part of a machine.
Led by the charismatic and cunning "Caesar" (a former Follower of the Apocalypse), the legionnaires are a well-organized fighting force and absolutely merciless in their slavery. Mimicking the ancient traditions of the Roman Empire, the legionnaires dress in segmented football pad armor and decorated football helmets. Caesar attempted to destroy the NCR's presence in the east, and actually succeeded in destroying one of their major fortifications, Fort Aradesh. When Caesar attempted to take Hoover Dam, however, the legion was badly defeated. Since that time, Caesar has moved east of Texas, past the legendary cyclones that rage for most of the months of the year. Despite this, packs of his legionnaires still operate in the southwest, collecting tribute from tribes in the form of goods and slaves.
Much less cumbersome than the Pip-Boy 2000 Plus, it has all the functionality of its bigger brother, and offers two colors in addition to bright green for standard display: bright blue and bright red. It features a flip-up split-screen monitor and can be comfortably worn on the arm. Despite its many advantages, the Lil' Pip 3000 was not a sales success. The device was more fragile than the 2000 models and it used integrated circuits instead of vacuum tubes to achieve its small size.
One of Dog Town's quests is to get rid of these three robots, as they would continue to attack you until you did, although it was also possible to reprogram them to kill all the dogs that had spread through Denver.
The New Plague or Limit 115 is a socially transmitted plague which arose in 2053, killing approximately twenty thousand human beings in the United States. The United States of America closed its borders and the first-ever national quarantine was declared. The source of the plague is unknown, but rumors persisted that it was a genetically engineered weapon.
After the Great War, the NCR scientist Victor Presper, through extensive research, discovered the history of Limit 115 and its genocidal potency, and also discovered a viable means to cleanse the world. Using Odysseus, the quarantine prison and a ballistic satellite known as B.O.M.B.-001, the way to human planetary domination and order became clear. Presper and his followers would release the New Plague virus in the remote areas near Boulder and Denver, close enough to the quarantine prison to spur ULYSSES into action, but not near enough to huge populations to start a general panic. Presper's men would then stage an attack on the prison which would allow everyone to escape. ULYSSES would assess the viral spread, try to gather up the escaped prisoners, and once 90% of the prisoners had been retrieved, launch nuclear missiles to "clean & prevent" any further infection.
Tibbets Facility is a cold, sterile, steel-walled automated prison facility in what used to be known as Arizona, run by technology so ancient it dates back to the years before the Great War - nearly two hundred years ago. It is governed by the split-personality machine intelligence within the prison, ODYSSEUS (ULYSSES).
Tibbets was always a military prison, holding some of the United States' most dangerous criminals. Over time, the prison became more advanced, utilizing robotic wardens and utility robots to maintain the structure, especially as the war with China in the 2070s and the annexation of Canada began to drain personnel from the United States. It was designed to hold 636 prisoners at full capacity. As of 2253, it holds much more than that - but when the dust and ash settles after the catastrophic attack at the prison, there will be enough prisoners running from the shattered prison walls to pose a threat to the wasteland.
Belle is a Born Ghoul from the Reservation. She was the last ghoul to be successfully birthed, which was two years ago in 2251. Since then, no other Born Ghouls have been successfully conceived and birthed.
Belle is unusually attractive for a ghoul. In fact, if it weren't for her lesions and symmetrically exposed bone, she would look like a pretty, though pale, human. Even her hair is fairly full and long. And thanks to the Born Ghoul's ability to rapidly grow into adulthood within a month, she is also very curvy and fit looking. Since Belle is such an interesting success in the procreation experiment, Dr. Sebastian keeps a close eye on Belle and interacts with her very frequently. However, Belle does roam around the town on a daily basis, causing the other male ghouls to almost lose their jaws as she walks by.
The salvagers were forced out of their original camp by the dogs and now are struggling to get by in their new, temporary camp. Tensions are high because the dog threat is constant, they have heard nothing from NCR in quite some time, and basically the only thing for them to eat is dog meat. In addition, there is a rival group of salvagers trying to steal claims, and a mysterious group of military guys making their lives even more uncomfortable. The salvagers live in the partially-constructed buildings of Denver, several stories up and clear of the dogs (which cannot climb).
The Van Buren version of the SPECIAL system, made by J.E. Sawyer, was highly modified in comparison to the previous Fallout games. Some of the changes, especially to the skills system, were quite controversial among Fallout fans.
Damien "Puuk" Foletto worked at Black Isle Studios during the development of Van Buren. As a designer, he was responsible for the locations Bloomfield Space Center, B.O.M.B.-001, Hoover Dam and The Reservation.
Gehennae are horrible monsters found only in Burham Springs. They are slightly larger than humans and appear to be made of black tar and shiny oil. Vaguely human-shaped, their features are hard to analyze through the flames that constantly sputter across their bodies. Their eyes are bulbous glowing orange spheres that seem stuck into their ovoid heads.
The Gehennae are dangerous both for their fiery melee attacks and the toxic fumes they breathe onto enemies. When they die, they collapse into a disgusting pile of smoking black goo. Gehennae are fairly mindless monsters, usually attacking anyone they see who moves too quickly.
Joshua Graham, commonly known as Hanged Man, is a possible companion in Van Buren. He is wrapped from head to toe in bandages as he had been burned pretty much all over. The fact that he is still quite mobile and dangerous is a testament to his badassness. Graham is one of the most evil characters around, who has committed all sorts of evil acts like rape, murder and robbery. The tribals have feared and hated him already since the days when he was a member of Caesar's Legion. Even the civilized people are scared of him because he is a man with a seemingly infinite amount of lives. The Prisoner encounters Graham hanged by the neck from a pole at Fort Abandon, obviously still alive and enraged.
The Nursery is a miracle of pre-war engineering, a self-contained balanced ecological system set within a deep canyon where seeds and other genetic information, preserved from the world before The Great War, have been stored. The valley floor of the canyon is rife with the flora and fauna of times past.
In the early days before the bomb, scientists around the country were pondering how to save mankind from the ravages of war. Eventually their musings gave birth to a company named Vault-Tec, and the vaults. The Environmental Protection Agency viewed the vaults as only half the solution. Their concern was not only the salvation of mankind, but nature as well. With this in mind, they proposed yet another type of vault, but on a much grander scale. This vault would be used by Mother Nature herself, where she would patiently await the re-emergence of man. When the survivors of the war came forth to reclaim the earth, the Garden of Eden would await them. Thus the Nursery was conceived.
The Blackfoot Tribe was "founded" by a former military group (led by a Captain John Bloch) which was left stranded after its HQ and transport vehicles were destroyed in the Great War. Skilled with weapons but lacking the knowledge of how to farm, Bloch's group fell into raiding.
During a standoff in one raid on a small ranching community the ranchers called a truce and offered to pay the raiders "protection money" to keep them from raiding. The raiders agreed and that became the start of a successful relationship. As the raiders had few places to spend the money they ended up spending it on equipment, food, and liquor from the ranchers, and the two groups became intermingled over the next decade as disaffected rancher sons went to join the raiders and older raiders "retired" to start ranching. About 20 years later a sickness depleted their available number of younger people, so they took again to raiding other tribes for children and teens in order to replenish their numbers. Eventually this scope broadened into slaving for laborers as well as adoptees, and slaving for profit soon followed. Now they are slave-raiders with a fixed base, despised by all others near them for their predation.
HERMES Armor, developed by a division of Poseidon Energy working in conjunction with the Department of Defense, was intended to be the next generation of combat armor used by elite light infantry troops.
HERMES Armor never moved out of the prototype phase because members of the American shadow government, the Enclave, tried to keep its development secret.
Brixley began her career in the Brotherhood as a scout/explorer. She was originally sent east to confirm the existence of Maxson Bunker and to use it as a staging area for her explorations. She was accompanied by a team of four paladins. After the war broke out between the BOS and the NCR, Andrea was promoted to commander and placed in charge of the bunker. She also received the title of Elder Paladin, as did her four companions. Andrea is not comfortable with leadership and would prefer to spend her time exploring. She isn't very organized and is content to let people do what they are best at with little supervision. Fortunately, her supporting staff recognizes her flaws and cover for her.
Endless Walkers are unfortunate ghouls who have been subjected to the Endless Walk, a punishment in which an inhabitant of the Reservation is stripped of every worldly possession, including clothing, and sent marching into the wasteland. No ghoul has ever come back from the Endless Walk.
Not all Endless Walkers end up scorpion food, at least not at first. On those rare occasions when one survives more than one year in the wasteland, they turn into wandering, voracious creatures on an endless quest for flesh. Due to their prolonged, open exposure to the desert sun, high radiation, and other hardships of the wasteland, these unfortunate ghouls, who were banished naked from the Reservation, look like walking, sun bleached chunks of beef jerky. Their constant exposure to the hot sun and high levels of radiation has caused their skin to toughen into natural, hardened leather, but at the same time, their brain has completely cooked.
Before the Great War, Boulder was long a place where advanced scientific research took place. The University of Colorado, IBM and Bell Aerospace were located here. Supported by money from Denver's industry and an active military presence, Boulder scientists made advances in medicine, alternate energy sources, robotics and even developed a Power Armor prototype.
Unfortunately, leakage from the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (a nearby toxic waste dump/weapons storage location) caused a poisonous cloud that killed a lot of people in Denver. As an apology, the military funded a program to create a self-sustaining research dome, capable of withstanding a nuclear attack. This "city of the future" was to be a prototype for settlements on the moon and other planets. After the War, the Boulder Dome is still standing in midst of the blasted remains of the city, poisoned by radiation and toxic waste. Inside the dome is a desperate team of scientists infected with a strange disease and trying to keep their ZAX unit from cannibalizing it memory to such an extent that it stops working. Beset by glowing ghouls and a large pack of cannibal primitives, the dome faces extinction.
The leaked documents include the designs for Tibbets Prison, Denver, Boulder, Blackfoot Tribe, Twin Mothers, Ouroboros, Mesa Verde, The Nursery, Maxson Bunker, Jericho (and its predecessor New Canaan), Burham Springs, Hoover Dam, The Reservation, Bloomfield Space Center and B.O.M.B.-001. The documents for a few other locations such as Fort Abandon, Circle Junction and the Grand Canyon were not made available. Aside from tidbits released by developers during and after development, these documents are the primary source of information for the content of Van Buren.
The Ciphers are the nomadic descendants of a group of scientists and soldiers which left Los Alamos after the Great War on the search for a safe haven. Wandering north, the refugees finally settled down in Mesa Verde.
Intending to preserve as many achievements of the Old World as possible, the scientists began painting and carving electronic schematics into the walls of their new settlement and insisted that mathematics should be emphasized when educating the village children so that their descendants would be able to understand the schematics. Over the years the villagers heavily integrated mathematics in their culture and even speech. Their confusing, cryptic way of speaking, permeated by math terms, has caused them to be dubbed "Ciphers" by educated wasteland dwellers who thought they might be speaking in some type of code. The Ciphers assign an almost mystical significance to specific numbers - it is the closest thing to a religion they have. Nearly a century after the refugees' arrival at Mesa Verde, the descendants of the original settlers had outgrown the space and resources available. Many families chose to adopt a nomadic lifestyle to avoid the perpetual thirst and hunger. Only families with very young children or Ciphers too old to travel remain full-time in the village.
Chris Avellone got involved with the Fallout series when production was started on Fallout 2: A Post Nuclear Role Playing Game. While many feel that his "feel" for the Fallout canon was lacking, the design of New Reno has been praised by just as many.
Later, he became the lead designer of a project codenamed Van Buren, which was canceled in 2003 and revealed to have been Black Isle's attempt at developing Fallout 3. During this time, he also compiled the Fallout Bible. After leaving Black Isle Studios, Avellone, together with Feargus Urquhart, founded Obsidian Entertainment. At Obsidian, Avellone has worked on such titles as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, and was lead designer on the upcoming title Alpha Protocol. He is currently a senior designer on Fallout: New Vegas.