If there’s one silver lining to the post-apocalypse, it’s that it wiped Vault-Tec off the map (Not literally, but at least all the scientists running sick experiments). Vault-Tec was more creative than Spielberg, and unfortunately, they used that creativity to devise the most inhumane experiments known to man. Not every Vault was a horror show, but most of them were.
Most of Vault-Tec’s experiments had them in a more direct role in ruining the lives of their unsuspecting Vault dwellers. But in some cases, Vault-Tec just gave a little nudge and let human nature take care of the rest.
Imagine a Vault based on the two ferries and explosives scenario from The Dark Knight, except the people involved failed the test miserably. That’s Vault 11.
Something horrible went on in this place, and for once, Vault-Tec didn’t hold the brunt of responsibility for it. Continue reading our vault 11 guide where we dive into this crypt ourselves and find out what put these skeletons here.
For many first-time players of Fallout: New Vegas, Vault 11 is the first Vault they come across. It’s southwest of the 188 Trading Post (Where you can pick up Veronica) and northeast of HELIOS One and Black Mountain. It’s easy to stumble upon this place by making your way north from Novac (Where you can pick up Boone).
If you like getting experience (And who doesn’t?), travel to Vault 11 by crossing the El Dorado Dry Lake. You’ll rack up a ton of it by killing all of the fire ants in the area. If you’ve pissed off the Legion by this point, I suggest you be careful. I regularly run into Legionary assassins near the entrance of Vault 11.
Vault 11 is the least dangerous Vault dungeon in New Vegas to an extent. 99% of the enemies here are lower-tier wasteland critters that shouldn’t give any Courier much trouble. If you’re a lower level, I recommend that you bring some pulse weaponry, though. You’ll see why soon enough.
There is a ton of loot in Vault 11, so try to come here weighing as little as possible. It helps to have two companions with you, so make sure you have access to ED-E or Rex before coming here.
The Purpose of Vault 11
Most of Vault-Tec‘s experiments were scientific, but some were social experiments. Vault 11 was one such Vault.
The experiment of Vault 11 was simple: Vault-Tec’s automated systems told the residents that they had to sacrifice one of their own every year. If they failed to do this, everyone in the Vault would die. Vault 11’s residents complied with Vault-Tec’s demands immediately.
They decided that the Overseer would be the sacrificial lamb every year after serving a brief term as leader of the Vault. Imagine how horrible that must feel. To wake up every day knowing that you’re one day closer to being fed to the slaughter and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Six primary voting blocs emerged: Justice Bloc, Divine Will Bloc, Human Dignity Bloc, Allied Service Workers Bloc, Utilitarian Bloc, and United Vault Technicians Bloc. Initially, the Coalition of Vault 11 Voting Blocs served as an impartial source of information on the voting process. It didn’t make it any less horrifying that these people were electing people to die, but it was better than nothing.
It didn’t last long, however. Vault 11 quickly devolved into tribal politics, and the Blocs with the most members held the most power by default. Everyone placated the most powerful Blocs to spare themselves and their families from being sacrificed.
It’s unknown how long this went on, but this tradition and Vault 11 itself came to an end with the election of resident Katherine Stone. The Justice Bloc was the most powerful group in Vault 11 and used their status for more than just determining elections.
They threatened to nominate Katherine’s husband Nathan if she did not perform sexual favors for every member of Justice Bloc. Feeling she had no choice, Katherine complied with their demands.
You can always count on humans in a Fallout story to be as evil as can be, as Justice Bloc nominated Nathan anyway. And this turned out to be Justice Bloc’s biggest mistake. Katherine snapped and murdered an unknown amount of members of Justice Bloc.
Overseer Order 745
When questioned about her actions by security, she admits to knowing she would get caught and that she wanted to. After all, it meant that she would be an easy election choice for the next Overseer, which would save her husband’s life.
It turns out that Katherine had a plan; her first and final act as Overseer was to overturn the current election process. With Overseer Order 745, Katherine Stone ended the Blocs’ hold of power over Vault 11.
Instead of the traditional voting process, the Vault mainframe’s random number generator will determine the next Overseer one month before his or her term begins. Katherine’s revenge against the Justice Bloc was complete.
The voting blocs didn’t take too kindly to this, especially the Justice Bloc headed by Roy Gottlieb. He made plans with fellow bloc members to stage an uprising. Initially, Roy claimed he only intended to take control of the essential resources of the Vault to force Katherine to reinstate the old voting process.
After all, the Justice Bloc had the most members of any bloc in the Vault. However, this didn’t last long, and the Vault quickly broke out in violence. When the dust settled, only five residents of Vault 11 were left alive.
Despite the Vault’s utterly dwindled population, the Vault mainframe still required its annual tribute. Broken by the violence that killed everyone else in Vault 11, the last five members of Vault 11 refused to send anyone else to their death. The Vault mainframe could kill them if it wanted to.
And that’s when the final five received one last blow to the gut. The Vault mainframe congratulates them on passing the test. Vault-Tec wanted them to show that they valued the lives of their fellow Vault dwellers enough to refuse to send anyone to their deaths.
By doing so, they proved themselves to be shining examples to everyone. Vault-Tec will not be killing anyone for disobeying their demands. Instead, the lockdown on Vault 11 ceased, and everyone was free to come and go as they pleased.
Well, that stinks.
Completely broken by this final revelation, the five remaining survivors were conflicted on what to do next. Some believed they should commit suicide as they felt undeserving of freedom or life anymore. Others thought that the people of the wasteland should know what happened in Vault 11 in hopes they would learn from it.
In the end, it appears that they went down the suicide route. Or at least that was the plan. In a recording on the computer near the Vault entrance, you can hear someone fire four shots. Whoever this person was, they sighed and dropped the pistol before walking away as the only possible survivor of Vault 11.
Still in the Dark
If you have established contact with the Hidden Valley chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, you will need to perform various tasks to earn their trust.
One of those tasks is helping them fix the air filtration system of their bunker by acquiring several pieces of technology from local Vaults. One such piece of technology is the differential pressure controller. You can find it in one of the submerged rooms in Vault 11.
Democracy Inaction is an unmarked quest that begins when you access the first terminal inside Vault 11. You can complete the quest by exploring the Vault and discovering what happened before accessing the mainframe and overriding the lockdown. Completing the quest rewards you with 450-500 EXP.
Suits You, Sarah
Sarah Weintraub over at the Vault 21 gift shop likes Vault suits. A lot. And Vault 11 just so happens to have a lot of jumpsuits laying around. Make sure to pick them all up and give them to Sarah for 30 caps each and some fame for The Strip.
Sarah’s rewards function the same way as leveling Speech, while bartering in Skyrim does; less is more. Turning in the Vault suits one at a time will give you more fame than turning them in all at once.
- Pugilism Illustrated
- Vault 11 jumpsuits (16-28)
- Nuka-Cola (Rarer in New Vegas than in Fallout 3)
- Differential Pressure Controller
- Pulse Gun
- Pulse grenades
Getting into Vault 11
Vault 11 is tucked away into a cliff on the northern end of the El Dorado Dry Lake. Once you head inside, there will be some bark scorpions and giant mantises for you to kill. Step into the entrance chamber, and you’ll see four skeletons and a 10mm pistol right before the entrance to the Vault.
On a nearby table is a terminal with a Vault 11 Front Entrance holotape. Five people are discussing whether or not they should really do this. One thinks they should leave the Vault since the door is open. Others think they don’t deserve to after what they’ve done. The tape ends with four gunshots followed by a sigh and a gun dropping to the floor.
Listening to the tape will initiate the Democracy Inaction quest. I wonder what happened here? Open the door to the Vault to find out.
As soon as you enter, there will be a giant rat in the room. If you have companions with you, be prepared for a slew of slow-motion kill shots as they methodically kill all the pests in the Vault. Take the path to the left to come across the corpse of an NCR trooper who stumbled into Vault 11.
Explore the nearby classroom and cigar lounge for some loot before heading back to the main chamber. An endless supply of Overseer election posters covers the walls and floors of Vault 11. But these posters are a bit off.
Instead of highlighting the positives of the candidates, these posters only cover the negatives. In an ordinary election, these sound like people that should never get your vote. What’s going on here?
Make your way through the medical clinics and bathrooms, dispose of all the rats and mantises, and collect all the loot you can before heading downstairs. Access one of the public terminals to get some info on the Vault 11 election process and Overseer Order 745. There is also an entry about election postponement due to murders in the Vault.
Be careful, as one of the terminals is trapped and will explode if you don’t disarm it. After you finish looting the area, it’s time to move on to the living quarters.
Vault 11 Living Quarters
Once you step inside and head up the stairs, you’ll be in a big lounge area with more rats and mantises. On the right is a bar with some shelves. These are full of handy items like conductors and fission batteries. I hope you have a lot of space in your inventory left.
Head for the female or male dorms on either side of the lounge room. There will be more rats and mantises to deal with, but I’m sure you can handle it. Make sure to search every dresser in both dorms.
You can get Vault 11 jumpsuits from these dressers, which you can turn in to Sarah at the Vault 21 gift shop. I managed to get 27 jumpsuits on my last run, so a good haul. The amount of jumpsuits you can get here is as little as 16 or as many as 28. Inside the female dorm, you can find a copy of Pugilism Illustrated on the floor near a knocked-down dresser.
Check out Roy Gottlieb’s terminal for an audio log of Roy discussing plans of revolt with a skeptical fellow Justice Bloc member. As the new Overseer, Katherine Stone instituted an RNG-based election process. With this act, the tribal politics of Vault 11 would be no more.
He has no intention of letting the Overseer, Katherine Stone destroy the power Justice Bloc holds over the Vault. He doesn’t want to kill anyone; he just wants to do enough damage to force Katherine to revert her policy. We see how well that turned out.
All finished? Then head for the admin area.
Head for the security office on the left. Loot all the metal and ammo boxes and read the security terminal. There’s a transcript of the interview with Katherine Stone detailing why she murdered members of the Justice Bloc. Next to the security office is a terminal and a locked door.
You need 75 Science or 75 Lockpicking to get inside the security team’s armory. Inside you’ll find a mini-nuke, some 25mm grenade rounds, and tons of other ammo like flamer fuel and energy and microfusion cells.
Collect your spoils before proceeding to the lower levels of the Vault.
Vault 11 Lower Levels
The Overseer’s office is on your immediate left. There’s a tripwire and a rigged shotgun trap to disarm. You can head inside and loot the shelves, but you cannot progress further until you acquire the Overseer’s terminal password.
Proceed down the winding hallway to the Atrium room. There are multiple sandbag barricades and skeletons inside, suggesting a battle happened here. Some giant mantises are keeping the skeletons company. Be careful because this room has several traps, and the mantises regularly set off these traps when they chase after you. After dealing with them, go to the other end of the atrium and through the door on the left. There will be a submerged stairwell to your immediate left in this hallway.
There are several submerged areas in Vault 11, and this is the safest one since there are air pockets all across. If you’re running low on oxygen, go to the top to catch your breath. In the first room on the right of this submerged area, you can find the Differential Pressure Controller for the Still in the Dark quest. Once you grab this, circle back to the atrium and into the utility section of the Vault. Make your way through more rats and mantises as you proceed to the reactor level.
Inside the reactor room, there will be two doors. One leads deeper into the reactor level, while the other leads to another submerged tunnel. It has no air pockets, but it’s close enough to the entrance/exit that you can make trips back and forth without drowning yourself. There’s also an air pocket in the center of the submerged reactor room that you can use.
You can fight the effects of drowning by spamming stimpaks, but this will rapidly deplete your supply, and I don’t recommend doing that. If you have the rebreather, you don’t have to worry about any of this, but since many of you will be coming here early on, you probably won’t have it.
After you have finished your underwater adventures, proceed through the white reactor door and upstairs to the cafeteria. There are more sandbags, more skeletons, and more traps. As with the atrium, watch out for the mantises who regularly set off these traps. Shooting at them while they are in the kitchen starts a fire most of the time. Collect a wack ton of food from the refrigerator and cabinet before moving on.
Nearby appears to be an auditorium of sorts. On the podium is the prepared speech of Gus Olson. Picking up this note will give you the Overseer’s password. Gus was trying to get the residents of Vault 11 to change their minds about the election process and annual sacrifice on one of their own. He had hoped that the residents could find a different way of doing things. They did, or at least Katherine did, and it ended up destroying them all.
You can explore the upper section and access the atrium terminal if you want. If you didn’t get the Overseer password from the podium below, it’s obtainable here, as well.
Time to wrap up this quest. Head back to the Overseer’s office, access the terminal, and open the sacrificial chamber.
Vault 11 Sacrificial Chamber
As soon as you enter, a voice will welcome you and ask that you proceed to the light. At the end of the corridor is a blinding light, followed by the reveal of the final chamber of Vault 11.
Sit in the chair as the voice requests and Happy Trails will begin. Watch the reels for a couple of minutes as the voice tries to narrate how sacrificing your life for the Vault is a good thing. The movie abruptly ends with a change in tone by the narrator as he tells you to close your eyes.
Suddenly, the walls on both sides slide open. Inside are multiple turrets, a Sentry Bot, Protectron, and 2 Misty Gutsy. If you have any pulse weaponry, now’s the time to use them.
Survive the execution, then open the sliding door on the left to reveal the Vault 11 mainframe. Download the two audio files to complete the unmarked Vault 11 quest. The final five residents of Vault 11 made the correct choice to be shining examples to us all, but they did it far too late.
Make sure to hit the Overseer override to unlock the door out of the sacrificial chamber. There’s nothing left for you here, so head back out into the Mojave Wasteland. I’m sure you’d love some fresh air right about now. Or at least as fresh as post-apocalyptic air can get.
Question: Do we ever find out what happens to the lone survivor of Vault 11?
Answer: No, and it’s a darn shame. As most know, New Vegas had a troubled and rushed production cycle. Obsidian cut a lot of content from the game, including the survivor of Vault 11. But the fact that they planned to do this would suggest that it hasn’t been that long since Vault 11 went extinct.
Question: What level should I be when I come here?
Answer: While the death chamber does pose a serious threat to lower-level players, it’s not impossible. You get some decent mid-tier weapons and armor with the DLC packs. You might need to spam stimpaks, but you can survive. You can get a good amount of starter caps from selling all the loot here.
Question: Can I obtain the Differential Pressure Controller if I haven’t started Still in the Dark?
Answer: Yes. It will always be here even if you’ve yet to meet the Mojave’s Brotherhood of Steel.
According to the wiki, there are 122 Vaults in America. Each game has at least several Vaults to explore, and the Fallout Bible gives brief details on the other Vaults. But I want more. Vaults are easily some of the best locations in every Fallout game with the best stories, and there are so many more to explore. Fallout games are vast, and most won’t pay a visit to every location in a single playthrough. But Vaults are absolute must-sees. Vault 11 is no exception.
There are more Vaults out there in the Mojave Wasteland, with more dangers and more lost tales of the twisted experiments of Vault-Tec Corporation. Don’t let me keep you too long. Go out there and see them for yourself!