Throw Away Your Caps We’ve Got Gold to Trade
The release of Fallout 76 topped as one of the most disastrous and painful releases to watch in video game history for me. While Reclamation Day maybe all be forgotten for many gamers, years later, Bethesda has not.
Miraculously they have built Fallout 76 into a content-packed game by adding free fun expansions to Fallout 76. The Steel Reign DLC was introduced in 2021 along with Minerva, a Blue Ridge Caravan vendor that stocks rare Plans and gear at discounted prices, and players have flocked to her like Deathclaws to a Brahmin.
The Fallout series has undergone many changes since its humble isometric beginnings. I’ve played Fallout 2, 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, and all the expansions in between, and I have to admit I was crushed when Fallout 76 was released unfinished and barely working.
I have to admit I didn’t want to touch Fallout 76 with a barge pole years later, I heard murmurings of the Brotherhood of Steel, and Bethesda won me over. Well played, Bethesda; you know I’m a simple man who wants to tinker with my Power Armor.
It wasn’t just the promise of Power Armor and kamikaze Vertibird pilots though Fallout 76 has had a long time to stew, and now it’s jam-packed with content. But nothing beats Bethesda reintroducing the original Fallout dialogue system.
Minerva is a prime example of what players want from characters in their Fallout experience. High-quality voice acting depth and an arsenal of rare items for sale.
Minerva is an elusive Fallout 76 character who can be hard to track down if you’re not in the know of her schedule and, as a result, has been the subject of many confused Fallout fans online.
Her inventory includes rare plans for end-game equipment like the Secret Service Armor set, an armor set that has had me and Fallout fans bouncing off the walls to obtain. So what are we waiting for? Minerva won’t be in town for long, so let’s crack open a cold Nuka Cola and venture out into Appalachia. Welcome to a Fallout 76 Minerva Guide.
Key Details Up Front
If the Nukes are falling and you haven’t got time to read the entire article, don’t worry; I’ve put all the important details about Minerva here. Like the caravan vendors of Fallout: New Vegas, Minerva will travel between four major settlements in West Virginia:
- The Crater
- Fort Atlas
- The Whitespring Resort
Minerva has two shop events “Minerva’s Emporium,” her standard shop that appears from Monday to Wednesday for three weeks, and “Minerva’s Big Sale, an event where all the plans she showcased in previous weeks are put on sale, giving you a chance to pick up Plans you missed from previous sales.
This takes place every fourth week of the cycle, which starts Thursday to Monday. This will always fall on The Whitespring Resort unless Bethesda adds a new major settlement in a future expansion.
You can only buy Minerva’s goods using Gold Bullion, so you must complete the Wastelanders DLC main story quest before accessing her wares.
To start the quest, travel east from Vault 76 and speak to Lucy Drummond, who will give you the “Wayward Souls” quest and ultimately lead you to the Wayward, where you’ll meet Duchess to acquire the “Hunter for Hire” quest.
Getting to Know Minerva the Trading Bookworm
Minerva is cut from a different piece of cloth when compared to the other vendors found in West Virginia. But what makes her so special? And why does she have so many rare Plans? Okay, so Bethesda could have just thrown a blank NPC into Fallout 76 or, better yet, another Mr. Handy vendor for minimal effort.
However, theres actually a good reason why the geeky Blue Ridge Caravan Company vendor has so many hot plans and recipes in her stock. If you take the time to talk to Minerva, she will reveal that she has a photographic memory and that all her plans and recipes are hand-drawn from memory.
Fallout 76 takes place in 2102, only 25 years after the world was ravaged by nuclear warfare. This is the closest we’ve ever experienced to the post-apocalyptic world in the Fallout series. It creates a cool dynamic where most characters recall their experience with the thermonuclear war.
Minerva reveals that she was originally from Washington, DC, and was just a kid when the bombs fell. She survived the apocalyptic event by taking shelter inside her local library, “seconding as a bomb shelter.”
Wandering from group to group, she fell into an apprenticeship role with a book salesman rewriting books and learning about trading.
When the salesman passed, Minerva took over his caravan and has worked for the Blue Ridge Caravan Company ever since declaring them her family. It’s a great backstory for the best end-game vendor in Fallout 76.
Minerva isn’t alone, and for good reason, you can’t pedal the rarest plans in West Virginia around Appalachia without running into trouble at some point. That’s where Tommy-Ten-Toes comes in. Tommy-Ten-Toes has been Minerva’s bodyguard forever.
You can talk to him to get more insights into their getup, and he reveals that he doesn’t work for Minerva but for the Blue Ridge Caravan Company; however, he admits no one else in the company will partner with him.
You can’t kill Tommy-Ten-Toes or Minerva, as they are both essential NPCs. This is the case for all vendors in the game. Minerva stands out from the general vendors only accepting Gold Bullion, meaning that players can only trade with her until they’ve completed the Wastelanders main quest line.
Fallout 76 players, myself included, are always grinding for Treasury Notes to convert into Gold Bullion to trade for Minerva’s plans, so let’s take a look at how you can maximize your Gold Bullion.
Must Know Features for Minerva
Fallout 76 has more types of currency than a shady cryptocurrency exchange Gold Bullion, Treasury Notes, Legendary Scrips, Stamps, Caps, and Claim Tokens. Oh, and theres more… While I roll my eyes at Bethesda, Gold Bullion is the only currency Minerva will accept.
There are several ways you can get your hands on the shiny Gold Bullions; note that you will have to complete the Wastelanders before you can acquire Gold Bullion. So head down to the next section if you have yet to complete this.
Theres some key rules Bethesda has laid down around Gold Bullion, so let’s check them out before we go any further. You can only carry 5000 Gold Bullion in your inventory; however, I doubt that you will ever collect this much between Minerva’s Big Sale and Emporium events.
However, the 400 Gold Bullion daily cap can thwart your plans of trading Minerva’s top gear. So keep this in mind.
Obtaining Gold Bullion and Treasury Notes
There is no cap to the amount of Treasury Notes you can obtain, though, so if you hit your Gold Bullion daily limit, you can prepare for the next day by completing Daily Quests and Public Events (note that only the events with an exclamation mark will reward you with Treasury Notes.
However, if you’ve met Minerva prior to completing the Wastelanders quest, you will be rewarded with one Treasury Note.
While I’m not a Fallout 1st Member myself, as I despise battle passes, you can acquire Gold Bullion as a premium reward by ranking up your season S.C.O.R.E.
All events have a chance to spawn as public events on the map. Public events are also free to travel too fast, so I highly suggest participating in them even if you’re below the recommended level.
Uranium Feaver is my favorite of the events as it doesn’t take long to complete, and you can obtain some great weapons from the waves of Mole Miners.
Using Gold Press Machines, Treasury Notes can then be converted into 10 Gold Bullion each. These machines can be found at each of the four major settlements.
If you have yet to complete the “Secrets Revealed” Wastelanders quest, then you will only be rewarded with one Treasury Note from completing Public Events. Daily Operations, although repetitive, they have a small chance of dropping Treasury Notes, but if you’re out of options, it’s a good choice.
Caps for Gold Bullion
Although there is a 400 Gold Bullion Cap once a week, you can purchase an extra 300 Gold Bullion for 6000 Caps from Smiley found in the Wayward. However, the USA-loving cowboy won’t shop up until you’ve completed the Wastelanders quest.
I highly recommend that you check out the Community Calendar on the Fallout 76 website to find out what dates the Gold Rush event will be taking place, as during this time, the 400 Gold Bullion cap is doubled.
I personally would only take this offer if you don’t have enough time to earn Gold Bullion before Minerva closes her shop for the week. Moreover, if you are patient, you can wait until Minerva’s Big Sale to purchase the plan you missed from previous weeks in the cycle.
No More Daily Operations
If you are fed up with repeating the same Daily Operations, then Minerva will become your best mate, as many of the legendary items can be purchased from Minerva’s store.
This was an absolute godsend from Bethesda, as there is such a slim chance that you will win a rare plan. As a result, this leads to endless cycles of Daily Ops as you attempt to get that precious War Glaive.
Cut the Queue with Private Worlds
Now, this epic tip will only be useful to Fallout 1st members. Have you ever tried to trade with a vendor only for the “Vendor is busy right now, try again later” notification to appear?
Well, this occurs when another player is trading with the vendor. Bethesda introduced this to stop players from exploiting a cap limit glitch (it sounds like a Bethesda problem to me…) Anyway, for the most part, Fallout 76 players are helpful and friendly; however, like any online community, theres are always going to be a few rotten eggs.
Sometimes trolls will block you from accessing Minerva’s shop; this is the last thing you want when Minerva’s Big Sale ends. So you can bypass all of this tomfoolery by loading up a Private World. Wait, you hear that…? Silence, not a troll, can be heard.
Minerva’s Rare Item Lists
Minerva is not the only vendor in West Virginia trading Gold Bullion for rare plans. Samual of Foundation, Regi from Vault 79, and Mortimer of The Crater all sell plans for Gold Bullion. However, Minerva has cheaper prices and includes many of the items in these other vendors’ inventories.
That said, Minerva’s inventory doesn’t cover everything, so I’ve created an infographic of all the Rare Plans that Minerva sells and categorized them so that you can quickly find and compare the Plans in the other Gold Bullion Vendor’s inventory.
Note that Minerva rotates her inventory, so if you can’t find the Plan you’re searching for, she may have it in stock the following week.
If you have completed the Wastelanders quest, then you can ignore this part; if you haven’t, head on up to Vault 76 and speak to Lacey Drummond and Isela Mejia, who will reveal that everyone and their grandma in Appalachia are on a treasure hunt for lost Vault-Tec gold naturally as a vault dweller yourself they recommend you to visit the Wayward and speak to Duchess to learn more about the treasure.
Along the Wastelanders main quest, you’ll follow in the Vault 76’s overseers’ footsteps and eventually work with them; however, you will need to be level 20 before starting “The New Arrivals” quest, so prioritize leveling your character by completing events and quests.
Here are all the quests you’ll need to complete before getting access to Gold Bullion and Minerva’s inventory:
- Wayward Souls
- Hunter for Hire
- Strength in Numbers
- The Elusive Crane
- The New Arrivals
- Strange Bedfellows
- Here to Stay
- Overseer, Overseen
- Secrets Revealed
I highly recommend you complete this questline before pursuing other adventures, as it’s the only way to build your reputation with the Raiders of The Crater and unlock their vendors and quests. At the end of “Secrets Revealed,” you will be given 1000 Gold Bullion and three options:
- Keep the Gold Bullion for yourself at the cost of your reputation to each faction.
- Split the Gold Bullion with either Foundation or The Crater, leaving you with 500.
- Give The Crater and Foundation 250 Gold Bullion each and keep 500 for yourself.
The paragon roleplayers may find this next part hard, but you should keep all the Gold Bullion for yourself. Your reputation with the Raiders and Settlers will certainly decrease, but it can be recovered.
How to Find Minerva
The million-dollar question everyone wants the answer to.
Stumbling across roaming caravans in Fallout: New Vegas was a frequent occurrence. After all, the Mojave Desert’s main highway posed an excellent route for traders brave enough to travel between the NCR and The Legion’s territories.
You’d often find Brahmin packed to the udders with gear marching down the highway with a roaming Caravan Shotgun-wielding badass leading the charge (damn Cass, you were the best…). However, you can throw all that out the window for Minerva.
Minerva can only be found in the following major settlements in Appalachia:
- The Crater
- Fort Atlas
- The Whitespring Resort
Much like the Khajiit Caravans of Skyrim, Minerva will roam between these four locations. However, you will never see her traveling between settlements. You could travel to all four locations despite Minerva having set locations and still not find her, so why is that?
Many people online are confused about when and why she appears in selected settlements, and it’s no surprise it’s difficult to track her location without a dedicated map marker. Here is how Minerva’s traveling works in Fallout 76:
Minerva will appear every Monday to Wednesday at either Foundation, The Crater, Fort Altas, or The Whitespring Resort, depending on what part of the cycle she is on.
This is her standard cycle, and it’s called Minerva’s Emporium. However, every fourth week will trigger Minerva’s Big Sale, which will span from Thursday through to Monday. Remember that after Minerva’s Big Sale has ended, you must wait until next week for the cycle to restart.
It’s easy to see why new and old players are getting confused online with Minerva’s whereabouts, as there is an 8-day gap between Minerva’s Emporium and Minervas’s Big Sale.
Here is Minerva’s cycle in practice so while I write this Fallout 76 Minerva guide, Minerva’s Big Sale ended last Monday, the 27th of March, in The Whitesprings Resort, meaning that the cycle will restart Monday, the 3rd of April, in Foundation and last until the 5th of April.
Knowing that the cycle will repeat three times before Minerva’s Big Sale, I can pinpoint Minerva’s location for the month. Take a look below:
Type of Sales
|3rd – 5th||Minerva’s Emporium|
10th – 12th
17th – 19th
|The Whitespring Resort||27th – 1st (May)||
Minerva’s Big Sale
|Date: (May)||Type of Sales|
|8th – 10th||Minerva’s Emporium|
|15th – 17th||
|Fort Atlas||22nd – 24th||
|The Whitespring Resort||1st – 5th (June)||
Minerva’s Big Sale
Here is another table highlighting Minerva’s whereabouts for May. As you can see, Minerva’s Big Sale always starts in The Whitespring Resort. This pattern will likely continue until Bethesda release a new major expansion to Fallout 76 and add a new major settlement into the game.
I’d be careful relying on Minerva tracking sites as some have not been updated to consider Minerva’s Whitespring Resort location. The Pitt update was released in September 2022, so it would make sense that a lot of these tracking websites have not caught up yet.
I highly recommend that you regularly hop onto the Fallout 76 official website as the Community Calendar found under the “Seasons” menu highlights all the key events and Minverva’s Big Sale dates for Fallout 76’s current season.
I’ve used this in the past to find Minerva’s Emporium dates, as you can count back the days from the Big Sale to work out what days her shop falls on.
Minerva’s Camp Spots
So now that you know when Minerva and Tommy-Ten-Toes will be coming to town, it’s time to show you where the parties at!
As a caravan vendor Minerva acts just like Khajiit caravans of Skyrim; these “puddy tats” set up their camps outside major hold cities. Minerva does the same, and her tent will always be found on the outskirts of the settlement. So if you rock up to any of the locations and can’t find her look in these spots:
- Foundation: Located in the Savage Divide biome and southeast of Vault 76. Foundation is marked by a green base on the map. Minerva’s camp can be found at the east entrance of the Foundation. There is a round table with a parasol right next to her tent.
- The Crater: Located in the Toxic Valley northeast of Vault 76. Minerva’s camp can be found by turning left and walking through the plane’s fuselage.
- Fort Atlas: Located in the Savage Divide and a short walk southeast of The Crater, you’ll find Minerva’s camp along the road south of Fort Atlas’s main entrance.
- The Whitespring Resort: Located on the southeastern edge of the Forest biome, Minerva’s camp will be found on the right-hand side of the entrance of the Whitespring Resort’s main entrance.
Key Relationships and Quotes
Minerva spent most of her life working with the Blue Ridge Caravan Company, so much so that she refers to them as family. Basically, making Tommy-Ten-Toes her closest kin. And, of course, wherever Minerva travels to her, trusty Brahmin Minos can be found following her.
“Come browse my wares, from exotic to rare, my inventory’s legendary, but my prices are fair.”
“Shop while you can. I won’t be here long! And if you don’t see something you’re interested in, I’ll have a different assortment next time I’m in town.”
I sell plans, schematics, and recipes supreme. From weapons to armors, and all things between.”
“My travels take me far and wide. Today Foundation, but maybe next time I’ll be in the Crater. In other words… Buy something while you can!”
“With plans for weapons to keep baddies at bay. Shop while you can, for this caravan won’t stay!”
Question: What are Stamps, and How Do You Acquire them in Fallout 76?
Answer: Stamps are a type of currency that was added to Fallout 76 in The Pitt DLC. You can acquire Stamps by completing Expeditions and side objectives in The Pitt. However, before you can enter the Pitt, you will need to complete three daily Responder quests in the Whitespring Resort:
• Recipe for Success: Obtained by talking to Esme
• Mutual Aid: Obtained by talking to Sophie
• Code Blue: Obtained by talking to Rucker
Completing all three daily missions will reward you with an Ultracite Battery that is then used to power a Pitt Expedition. While in the Pitt, you must either fight the Union or the Fanatics.
The choice is entirely up to the leader of the Expedition. It’s good to note that you can only set up one expedition to the Pitt a day. Remember that Pitt expeditions are recommended for level 50 characters and above.
However, you can join as many other Expeditions as you like, and boy, will you need to if you hope to collect enough Stamps to purchase Union Power Armor plans from Giuseppe Della Ripa. Giuseppe’s Curios shop is opposite Sophie the Responder and Mutual Aid daily quest giver.
Question: Where Can I Acquire Power Armor Early in Fallout 76?
Answer: You can find Power Armor early in the game by traveling to Morgantown Trainyard east of Vault 76. You will pass the trainyard while you travel to Morgantown Airport during the Final Departure Wastelanders quest.
The Power Armor can be found in the train cart opposite the tower. If you can’t find the Power Armor, try fast traveling or reloading your game. It’s possible that another player took the armor, and it hasn’t respawned yet.
While the Power Armor is incomplete, it will give you a headstart in collecting your first pieces of T-45 Power Armor. Note that you won’t be able to use Power Armor with T-45 armor until you’ve reached level 25.
You can check back at Morgantown Trainyard for more T-45 Armor once it’s respawned. Alternatively, you could use Raider Power Armor (level 15) until you’ve leveled up your character enough to use T-45 Armor. Raider Armor has no set spawn location but can spawn randomly in Appalachia.
You can find T-60 Power Armor at Point Pleasant, far west of the map. The Mothman Museum marks the icon on the map. You’ll want to traverse to the top of the bridge and walk along the wooden walkway to cross over to the building with a red sofa.
There you will find the T-60 Power Armor. You’ll need to be level 30 to wear T-60 Power Armor, but it’s worth it!
You’ll find more T-60 Power Armor at Aaronholt Homestead, located close to the WV Lumber Co., where you’ll be sent early in the “Hunter for Hire” Wastelanders main quest. You’ll find the Power Armor in the locked building next to the two silos; you’ll need a level 1 lockpicking skill to access it though.
Question: How Can I Increase my Carry Weight in Fallout 76?
Answer: In Fallout 76, you’ll constantly collect all matter of junk to be used later in crafting new gear and repairing your weapons and armor. As a result, your character’s weight will quickly add up.
However, there are several ways you can increase your character’s weight in Fallout 76, and no! Not that kind of weight. We won’t be munching down Brahmin Burgers.
The first method is crafting higher-level backpacks from backpack Plans found in the West Virginia wasteland. For example, you can acquire the Small Backpack Plan from the Morgantown Airport during the “Final Departure” Wastelander quest. The Small Backpack increases your character carrying capacity by 50%.
You can craft higher-level backpacks with increased carrying capacity as you level up. Moreover, you can craft modifications to add to your backpack that can give you a range of benefits, such as increasing food spoiling time with the “Refrigerated” mod or the High Capacity mod that increases your backpack’s weight capacity.
Increasing your Strength S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Stat will increase your max carry weight by five points; however, I don’t recommend leveling your character’s Strength solely for this reason unless you’re following a melee-focused build.
However, you will get access to the Strong Back Strength perk that, at max rank, increases your carrying capacity by forty points.
If you don’t intend to level your Strength stat, consider acquiring perks that reduce item weight, such as Traveling Pharmacy for Meds or Packrat for Junk.
To increase your resistance and health, it’s a good idea to level your Endurance stat, which will allow you to benefit from the Radicool Perk that increases your Strength stat depending on your level of Rads. This could be an excellent way to increase your weight to fast travel to a settlement temporarily.
So there, we have everything you need to know about everyone’s favorite bookworm vendor in Fallout 76.
Using my guide, you’ll never miss Minerva again or get caught sifting through all your Treasury Notes, Stamps, Gold Bullion, Caps, and Legendary Scrip trying to find the right currency (is it mad I could list more…?) to purchase a Plan or Recipe from Minerva.
So, buy me a round of Duchess’s Dram next time you’re at the Wayward.
Fallout 76 is by far the most polarising game out of the Fallout series, and it sure as hell is hell not a favorite of the community. However, this black sheep of a game has come a long way thanks to its regular updates and expansions.
Bethesda plan to support the game for years to come meaning that Bethesda will inevitably add more settlements to Minerva’s cycle.