Fallout 3 is one of the most revolutionary video game titles to break out onto the world stage in the 00s and possibly of the entire PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era.
Not only did this title mark a re-birth of the Fallout franchise with the IP being purchased by Bethesda Game Studios a year prior to their 2009 release, but it also displayed a shift in the franchise’s overall look, feel, and marketability to a wider audience.
Certainly, without this purchase from Bethesda and the funds placed into the development of the title for the newer era of gamers, we would not have a world of RPG’s as rich as we do today.
The Fallout franchise and Fallout 3 in particular, throws the player into the middle of the hard scrabbled, and brutal world of a post-apocalyptic landscape years after the fateful events of 2077 wherein China and America finally brought an end to their 10 year long, Sino-American war with the launch of both countries nuclear artillery.
With this history and progress of the story until this point in mind, in this Fallout 3 quest guide, we’ll take a look at the major questlines within the title and how the Lone Wanderer plays their part in them. Let’s go!
The Main Storyline
The story of Fallout 3 begins slightly differently from the other titles in the series, with your birth. Yes, a franchise very concerned with not giving the player much detail about their character’s past actually gives you a seen of your birth in this game.
One other difference is that you are not actually born in a Vault, instead, you are born, to your parents, James and Catherine at the Jefferson Memorial site.
A location that will prove key later on in the story. In this opening cut scene, there is a brief moment of joy before your mother takes ill from complications related to your birth, resulting in her death.
This tragedy then forces James to take his newborn child away from the dangers of the Jefferson Memorial site to the safety of the underground Vault 101.
This is where your quest really beings to start. First of all, you are faced with little quests in order to subtly build a character profile for yourself.
This takes the form of filling out your S.P.E.C.I.A.L skills and taking the G.O.A.T test, resulting in a fully-fledged character creation which you will no doubt manually change depending on the character build you actually want.
During this section of the story, you are frequently told of your mother’s favourite bible verse, Revelation 21:6, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life, freely.” Remember this part for later, I promise, it will make sense.
After this you are transported to your 19th birthday, the day your father has earmarked for his disappearance, believing you both safe within the vault and old enough to fend for yourself therein.
Of course, as the main character, you cannot simply just stay in the vault, have a couple of children, and grow old and happy, no! The horror. Therefore, the protagonist makes the decision that they too must leave the vault, placing the player on a path to becoming the Lone Wanderer.
This is where you as the player get to make your first real choice, will you leave the vault via wit and skilful repartee or will you simply bash and smash your way out, either way, you must escape the incredibly isolationist, Vault 101.
Once escaping and seeing the sun for the first time in 19 years, if ever, the quest marker points you towards Megaton, one of the few population densities in the wasteland, not too far from the entrance of your vault.
Arriving there you find people have not only spotted your dad recently, but more specifically, people like Colin Moriarty had helped him way back when he first passed through with you in his arms.
You can either do a quest for Mr Moriarty in order to get information on your dads travels, sweet talk him, or steal it from his password-protected computer.
No matter the option you pick, this tip sends you towards Galaxy News Radio wherein you meet the God of the airwaves, Three Dog, the man who gives you the ‘Lone Wanderer’ moniker.
This NPC pushes your quest forward after you once again, give him a little helping hand, and leads you to your father’s former colleague, Dr. Madison Li.
This is where you find out what your father had been up to before your mother’s death and the probable reason for his swift exit from the vault.
It turns out your father, mother and Dr. Li had been working on a project within the Jefferson Memorial site that had hoped to purify the entire Tidal Basin in order to provide millions of gallons of free drinkable water to the inhabitants of the waste.
In the spirit of this revelation, the Lone Wanderer travels to the Jefferson Memorial site in the hopes of finding their father there, however, when you eventually find your way there, you are greeted by myriad super mutants who have evidently ran over the compound making entry almost impossible.
However, through the power of a badly damaged hunting rifle, a couple of grenades and some pro-gamer-like quick save skills, you will make it through. By rummaging about at your parents’ old stomping ground, the Lone Wanderer is sent to Vault 112.
In this vault, you find that the residents, like every vault in the universe, have become victims to another one of Vault-Tec’s sickening experiments wherein the inhabitants are placed into virtual reality simulators for the foreseeable future. Thus, beginning the iconic , .
The goal of this vault was simply to provide support and entertainment for the creator of the Garden of Eden Creation Kit or G.E.C.K, Dr. Stanislaus Braun, the overseer captor and victimiser of his vaults inhabitants within this simulation. So he continually antaoginizes, kills, berates and psychologically disturbs the residents of and now that you are part of the fun, you’ll need to help if you want to escape.
After freeing your dad from his control and learning that James has received the information he required about the G.E.C.K, you both make your way to rivet city, thus completing the quest Tranquillity Lane and starting The Water of Life.
This is when the main character must travel to the home of the Enclave, Raven Rock in order to retrieve said G.E.C.K for the Project Purity team.
Once retrieved, the Lone Wanderer must team up with the local arm of the Brotherhood of Steel, the Lyons Pride unit and possibly others you have met along the way to push through the Enclave forces now inhabiting the Jefferson Memorial, in a quest called, Take it Back!
Completing this quest will then get your dad to the purifier machine to install the G.E.C.K., finishing his project and the main questline.
Iconic Fallout 3 Quests
Wasteland Survival Guide
This quest can be one of the first majorly exhausting quests the Lone Wanderer can pick up, and if you’re like me, one of the very last you complete. Your task given to you by the lovely Moira Brown over at Crater Side Supply is to help her with the research for her new book, Wasteland Survival Guide.
She hopes, via the use of some sorry guinea pig, to create a competent guide to surviving the wasteland, complete with the remedies and ways to prevent the horrors of radiation and chem addiction to name a few.
This quest feels like the developer’s way to force the player into new and interesting places they otherwise would not go to during the main quest as it pushes the player to find locations wherein only certain effects can be experienced.
This quest is also beneficial to the player as a sort of tutorial in dealing with the horrors of the wasteland yourself, with the safety net of a few caps and heals from Moira on completion of said task. Another interesting aspect of the quest is the option Moira gives regarding overachieving.
This option lets the player choose for themselves whether they want to push each individual task to its limits in order to both help Moira’s research more thoroughly and get a little reward thrown into the bargain as well.
One of the more difficult quests to complete in Fallout 3, without the aid of google that is. This quest can be picked up from Dr Zimmer in Rivet City.
The background of the quest and the lore behind it may have been unknown to players of Fallout 3 at the time, however with the release of Fallout 4 and the heavy focus upon Synths and the Institute therein, this quest takes on a lot more significance.
This is because this quest requires the Lone Wanderer to find a Synth out there in the wasteland which has escaped from the institute and bring them back to Dr Zimmer.
This quest not only assess your robot finding ability but also your sympathies as it is up to you whether or not you bring the robot back to the good doctor or not.
Your answer to this question most likely shows whether you sided with the Institute or Railroad in Fallout 4, an interesting look into the future for some players.
Completing this quest by handing over the robot will give the player the Wired Reflexes perk whilst sparring the Synth and allowing them to continue living in Rivet City will earn the gift of a plasma rifle.
The Power of Atom
This quest is one of the most telling indicators as to what kind of player, and possibly the person you are. It gives you the choice between blowing up the town of Megaton in one horrific go by activating the undetonated nuclear warhead which sits, active in the middle of the city or refusing this offer from Mr Burke on behalf of Mr Tenpenny and turning him in to Lucas Simms instead.
What is brilliant about this quest is how early it is given to the player. It is almost impossible to miss Mr Burke as he takes up residence inside Colin Moriarty’s saloon, a location the Lone Wanderer must visit in order to advance through the early stages of the main quest.
Mr Burke sits at the side of this saloon dressed in an almost pristine pre-war suit, clearly standing out from the other residents of Megaton, therefore most players will go up to him and ask some questions. At this point, he will give you the quest of destroying Megaton on the behalf of his employer.
This is a brilliant decision because it not only gives the player the feeling that their actions can have a great effect on the landscape of the game, but also that their decisions throughout the game may have morals attached to them.
This quest, therefore, demonstrates that right from the outset, Fallout 3 has no intentions of railroading you to be the goodie two shoes lead character of many other RPGs at the time, instead your decisions are fully down to you.
This quest also has one downside, however. If you decide to alert the town sheriff, Lucas Sims about the plot Mr Burke is trying to enlist you into, he will at once storm his way up to and inside Moriarty’s saloon, initiating a gun battle soon after.
Through this gun battle, whilst not certain, it is very likely that the sheriff will be killed by Mr Burke thus leaving his son an orphan and you will have lost a very good voice actor from the rest of your game.
However, either way, no matter if he lives or dies, you blow up megaton or not, the player is given a house/hotel room as a reward.
My enjoyment from this quest does not come from the unique storytelling or amazing loot one gets from completing the quest. Instead, this quest is simply just a nice thing to do for another human being, how novel. in Agatha’s song, the lone wanderer is tasked with finding the lost violin for an elderly woman named Agatha.
The quest will lead you to a rather underwhelming Vault 92 wherein nothing out of the ordinary really happens.
Once you have then returned said violin to the ageing musician, a classical music focused radio station will become available to the player, allowing you to listen to something a bit different from the normal game’s soundtrack.
Trouble on The Homefront
This quest is one of my personal favourites. Not only because you get an interesting and unique storyline, but you also get to see just how your previous actions have affected those left behind in Vault 101.
This quest, which will become available 14 after the Lone Wanderer completes the Water of Life quest. You start this quest by picking up a radio distress signal emanating from the vault once you get vaguely close to the vaults surface-level entrance.
The radio message has come from Amata your former friend from your time in the vault and details her plead to the Lone Wanderer to return in order to help her stop her tyrant father. However, if you chose to kill the overseer in your exit at the beginning of the game, she will ask you to stop the new overseer instead.
There are three different ways one can finish this particular quest, each with varying levels of difficulty depending on what you have chosen to speck out your character as. The first option is to keep the vault closed.
This can be done by ignoring the message, entering the vault and then leaving having not really done anything or by killing the rebels, especially their leader Amata. Secondly, the player can decide to help Amata in opening up the vault.
Once again this can be done in a number of ways which each result in their own level of karma buff or negative. Either way, the protagonist will be shown the door and never be allowed to return again. Lastly, you can simply destroy the vault in its entirety.
This can be done by acquiring a password from maintenance man Stanley and then selecting the flush and purge options on the appropriate terminal. An explosion will occur, possibly killing Stanley but then the rest of the vault will be forced to evacuate.
The Best of the Rest
While we would love to go in-depth on every in this , we would be here for quite some time doing so. Plus, we don’t want to spoil the whole adventure for you. So here are some brilliant quests that you should check out:
If you have played through the , you’ll have heard that, when you leave Little Lamplight, you head off to to spend your days. However, due to a band of Super Mutants kidnapping the residents, it seems that the settlement is in .
However, with a little help from the Lone Wanderer, you can help survive this ordeal and help them fend for themselves in the big, bad wasteland.
Right out the gate when you visit Megaton, Lucy west will give you a , asking you to deliver a letter to her folks in Arefu. Seems like a pretty uneventful task at first. However, upon arrival, you find that the town has been the subject of several brutal attacks.
After investigating, it seems to be the work of vampires. It seems too fantastical and farcical to believe and it’s down to you, the player to hunt down the assailants and see exactly what their deal is.
The Wasteland, for the most part, is a desolate, ruined landscape with an overall color palette that rarely strays from deep browns, bleak greys charcoal black. However, hidden in the heart of the wasteland, there is an area where the trees grow tall, vegetation is lush and beauty is abundant.
This area is known as Oasis. However, as the player explores this area, they begin to understand the rather tragic story of why this place grows and thrives the way it does.
Then comes the near-impossible decision of rescuing the few, or sacrificing them for the benefit of the many. This is also the that allows you to get your hands on a set of Outcast too.
Head Of State
If you have wandered the Wasteland for a while, you may come to realize that the buying and selling of slaves is commonplace. Something that Abraham Lincoln would be turning in his grave over for sure.
So, isn’t it very apt that if you visit the Lincoln Memorial, you can find Slavers set up in the building that are on the hunt for runaway slaves.
They are held up at the Temple of the Union and with the Wastelander’s help, they can be granted passage out of the Capital Wasteland and finally be free of their captors.
There are lots of mercenaries within the Capital Wasteland, earning a quick cap by taking on the jobs that no one else wants. You’ve probably encountered the Talon Merc Company but another well-establsihed team is known as Reilly’s Rangers.
However, in this questline, they run into a spot of bother as they are trapped on the top of The Stateman Hotel after being attacked by a gang of Super Mutants.
So with the help of the Lone Wanderer, you must lead the charge, battling your way to the group and back out again to secure their escape. If you do, there is a nifty machine gun or some tasty with your name on it.
This one is basically a that takes a joke about the National Treasure movie series too far. In this one, you encounter a collector of historical artifacts in Rivit City and they task the player with recovering the Declaration of Independence from the National Archives. It’s perhaps not as intense as the ordeal Nick Cage goes through but it’s a fun nonetheless.
The Superhuman Gambit
If you head up to , you’ll find that the town is locked in a strange Groundhog Day scenario where two ‘superheroes’ are battling for supremacy, and in turn, they are destroying the reputation of the town, which was once a trusted caravan trading hub.
So the player must play intermediary between the Antagonist and the Mechanist and come to some sort of ceasefire. Or alternatively, side with one of these maniacs. However, prepare for a battle with a robot army or giant ants if you do.
Remember what we said about slaves earlier? Well, represents the slaver capital of the wasteland and if you aren’t so keen on letting the old ways die, you can seek out employment from these guys.
In this , you will be tasked with tracking down and coercing, tricking, or threatening slaves to travel back to . All with the help of a new piece of tech called a Mesmetron.
We admit this will only appeal to those playing low karma builds but you have to admit, sometimes playing the bad guy is pretty fun.
When you arrive at Tenpenny Tower, you may hear some rumblings that there is a ‘Ghoul problem’. However, the problem seems to be that the snooty residents at Tenpenny Tower aren’t willing to accommodate ghouls, referring to them as zombies.
So it’s down to the Lone Wanderer to solve this problem by finding a way to convince the residents to co-exist with the ghouls, or if you so choose, you can deal with the problem in a more violent manner and you’ll even get a Chinese Assault Rifle and 500 caps for your trouble.
Grayditch looks like a rather unassuming town when the player wanders through. However, as the player explores further, you’ll find that the town is overrun with fire-breathing giant ants.
So, being the brainless daredevil that you are, naturally, you see that as a problem to be solved and it’s your job to learn where these ants are coming from, how they came to be, and finally put an end to Grayditch’s pest problem.
Commonly Asked Questions
Question: How Long is the Fallout 3 Storyline?
Answer: This question, arguably has two answers. Firstly, if you are simply wishing to complete the main storyline and these key objectives, you can finish up in under 23 hours.
However, if you wish to explore everything and really see what the games have to offer, you can spend up to and far beyond 116 hours in the capital wasteland to reach 100% completion.
Question: How Many Quests are in Fallout 3?
Answer: In the base game, including quests that are repeatable and therefore may continue to give quest markers etc. there are 59 quests. However, if one either installs all of the DLCs separately or purchases the Game of the Year Edition, which includes all DLCs, there are 94 quests in total to complete.
Question: How many DLCs does Fallout 3 have?
Answer: The video game Fallout 3 has a total of five DLCs which include:
• Operation Anchorage
• The Pitt
• Broken Steel
• Point lookout
• Mothership Zeta
What Other Modern Fallout Games Are There?
As you can imagine, after the success of Fallout 3, Bethesda Game Studios didn’t stop there and has released several direct sequels and spin-offs to excite and captivate Wastelanders worldwide. Here is a quick list of the best Fallout games of the modern era that you can check out:
– Fallout New Vegas
– Fallout 4
– Fallout Shelter
– Fallout 76
So, there you have it, a detailed guide of the main and most iconic quests in the entire capital wasteland. Whilst it may take you some time to get through all of them, it is definitely worth the time.
Also, if you have made your way through the game once or many times, hopefully, some of these questions mentioned are of news to you and I’ve just rearranged your weekend plans for some good old nostalgic gaming sessions.
Either way, I hope you enjoy all of these quests, no matter if you decide to blow up Megaton. Good Luck!