Vault 22 Guide

Fallout New Vegas – Vault 22 Guide

If you have ever played a Fallout game before, you will be familiar with vaults.

How the American government decided to construct these massive metal bunkers below ground during the Sino-American war, just in case their citizens needed something a little sturdier than the underside of a wooden table or a fridge to protect themselves from a nuclear blast and the radiation such an apocalyptic event would leave behind. 

Most Fallout fans will also know that these vaults were not simply built out of the kindness of the government’s heart; no, of course not; I couldn’t think of something less in keeping with Fallout canon.

Instead, these bunkers were constructed by a company called Vault-Tec, who, under the supervision of the American government and the Enclave agents who secretly operated behind said government, decided to use these potential nuclear bunkers for some less than legal experiments.

You see, the ultimate goal of Vault-Tec and the vaults, in general, was not to save as many American lives as possible should the bombs fall, no, no.

Instead, the plan was to use this captive population to conduct experiments on the few surviving Americans in order to come out the other side with some cool and powerful discoveries.

The experiments in these vaults got so out of hand that well before the company started hitting triple digits in terms of operational vaults, they just started making up scientific experiments on the spot.

For example, in Vault 43, the experiment was this: let’s put 20 men, ten women, and one panther into a vault and see what happens. How could the findings from this vault possibly help America rebuild stronger after a nuclear holocaust? 

Regardless of what Vault-Tec was trying to achieve in this specific vault, some of them did have some pretty legit science going on in the background. One of these vaults was the fault we’re going to cover in this Vault 22 guide, the subject of today’s article. 

Vault 22 is one of the locations in Fallout New Vegas that shows just how great the game is.

The entire area is filled with visual storytelling and all the wackiness we all love about Fallout, ensuring the player right from the jump that this is not going to be just another boring vault. So, with all this being said, let’s jump right into the story of Vault 22. 

Before the Vault

As an avid player of Fallout New Vegas, I like to give my fellow Mojave wanderers a little bit of help whenever I can. Therefore, before you even think about going to Vault 22, I suggest sorting a little bit of admin out first, so you can get the most bang for your buck. 

Picking Up Quests

Before you make the trip, you should acquire both quests that relate to this location, giving you a reason to explore the entire vault and some XP for a job well done.

The first quest you are going to need is located in The Thorn, the monster-fighting sewer club near New Vegas. Once here, find Red Lucy and get her talking about Mantis eggs. She will task the player with collecting some of these from the vault so that she can raise them to fight in her arena. 

red lucy vault 22
Picture Credit: James Gibson

Next, you should head over to Camp McCarran and find the medical suite at the southeastern end of the building. Here, you can speak with Dr. Thomas Hildern. Speaking with Thomas will give you your first impression of the vault.

He describes it to the player by saying, “Imagine, if you will, the wasteland in bloom, vast fields of corn that grow from seeds and produce their bounty in the space of a month.” While this description may not prove totally accurate, it does get the player wondering what they are wandering into. 

Dr. Hildern will then continue to tell the player that he believes the inhabitants of Vault 22 somehow unlocked the secrets of vegetative growth.

Therefore, he wants you to travel there to find out exactly what they discovered, advising you to delve deep into the vault to find their computer room, wherein the secrets should be kept. 

After this, leave Dr. Hildern and his office so that Angela Williams, another McCarren scientist, can stop you. She will tell the player that you are not the first person they have sent to Vault 22, with nobody else coming back. Lastly, she will talk about a scientist called Keely, who is still out there.

She will then offer to pay the player to find her and report back on her well-being. Once armed with this information, confront Hildern and get a better price for your services before leaving for the vault. 

hildern vault 22
Picture Credit: James Gibson

Explore, Explore, Explore

I also recommend that when you enter the vault, do not repair the elevator to skip down to the fifth floor; this will bypass much of the vault’s slowly unraveling story. You can repair the elevator to gain the XP, but just don’t use it.

Finding the Vault

STAY OUT! The plants KILL. Vault 22
Picture Credit: James Gibson

With both of these quests in hand, you now need to make the journey to Vault 22. You will find it nestled in the middle of a mountain range, just east of Jacobstown and southwest of Griffin Wares sacked caravan.

However, don’t be alarmed if it takes a while to find the correct ground-level path to the vault; it really is a maze over there. My advice? Bring some Antivenom for all the Cazadores you’re going to encounter during your search. 

Once you do make it to the mouth of the vault, the visual storytelling will kick in. The vault door will lie open, with lush green vegetation springing out of it, and you will see a sign with some hastily written warning on it – “STAY OUT! The plants KILL.”

This is going to be the first time you deal with one of the main enemies of Vault 22, the giant Mantises. However, any courier worth their salt will be able to dispatch these creatures fairly easily. 

First Impressions

The entire place will be dark and dingy as we enter the vault, covered in plant life, including some wild mushrooms. By the vault door operation machinery, there will also be a makeshift campsite along with a terminal with two journal entries for Keely. 

From these two logs, we will learn that, in her learned opinion, the plant life and impressive growth we spot all around this vault is simply impossible, as there is not enough sunlight inside to accommodate such growth. 

entering the vault
Picture Credit: James Gibson

After completing your daily reading, head through the nearby door to explore the rest of the vault. 

Finding the Truth

While I could very easily walk you through every aspect of this vault, it is pretty clear that this would make a very boring and lengthy article. So, with that being said, let’s get to the interesting stuff. 

As the player walks through this vault and reads through the prior residents’ terminal entries, we will learn that the purpose of this vault was to experiment with crop growth and stability.

The ultimate goal was to find a way to produce enough crops for the American population after the way without having to worry about radiation or lack of clean water. Of course, everyone involved in the project knew the impossibility of this task, but they still tried their best. 

In the end, the vault was one of the only locations in all of Fallout to be wholly populated with scientists working towards this goal before and after the Great War. 

The Experiments

the experiments vault 22
Picture Credit: James Gibson

Eventually, the scientists working on the fifth floor of the vault went a little off the reservation, deciding to dedicate their experiments to weaponizing pest control.

Therefore, each fifth-floor scientist began working with subjects that they believed could help protect their crops – the venus fly trap, the praying mantis, and a spore-producing fungus.

Of course, this would ultimately lead to the destruction of the vault while the other scientists in the building continued to work on normal and innocuous experiments. 

It would seem that everything grew out of control rather slowly, with the level 5 scientists continuing their experiments over a prolonged period of time.

However, as the terminals scattered about the other floors would suggest, these spores eventually got out of that level, making their way into the air vents and out of the vault’s main body, massing in the cave directly beside the vault.

Here, the spores and fungus were given enough time to percolate, cultivate and evolve over entire decades.

Again, the upper floor terminals tell us that after some time had passed, they could hear something strange through the air vents that sounded like thumping. Of course, we later find out that this noise was the accumulation of plants and insects in this cave. 

Choosing a Host

choosing a host vault 22
Picture Credit: James Gibson

After the noise was deemed to be coming from the adjoining cave, it was decided that along with Doctor Peters; a security team should be sent to investigate the noise.

Of course, as soon as they entered the cave, they immediately came in contact with the same spores that the vault residents had recently been finding in the lungs of their dead colleagues. 

However, due to the concentrated nature of the cave’s spores, the dose Dr. Peters got upon entering was unlike anything before, causing him to contract enough of the spores to create a big problem. 

After infecting Dr. Peters, the jump to human hosts was complete, and it was only a matter of time before the entire vault was infected. Of course, not knowing what was wrong with Peters, he was brought back inside, causing everything to go downhill very quickly.

It was only after Dr. Peters and the original band of infected died that the real problem of the vault presented itself.

As these spores were designed to fight off infestations, the bodies they inhabited were reanimated by the contagion after death, turning the host into something horrible. This was when the first Spore Carriers were born.  

The Surviving Dwellers

As the contagion raged through the vault and entire levels fell to the virus, the remaining members of the vault decided that they had to flee, or they would be next. Fearing that they, too, would turn into spore carriers, the dwellers of Vault 22 left quickly, heading towards Zion Canyon. 

In total, 118 vault dwellers began this journey, narrowly escaping the vault with their lives. However, the contagion was in them, and it was only a matter of time until the effects rose to the surface. 

After escaping, the dwellers made camp in Zion canyon. As they were a bunch of very intelligent scientists, it was not long before they used their superior communication skills and technical experience to set up and fortify a camp nearby, killing many other innocent wastelanders who stood in their path.

They were especially cruel to a band of wastelanders called the Mexican Survivors. 

This continued for some time until the early months of 2096, when Randall Clark, a well-known figure in the Zion Canyon region, decided that the Mexican people should not be persecuted like this by the Vault 22 camp.

Therefore, after some deliberation, he and his crew moved in to exact revenge on the scientists. However, as he entered their camp, he saw that the scientists had somehow turned into cannibals and had eaten all of the Mexican prisoners they had taken during skirmishes.

This lit a fire under Clark like never before, causing him to wage an all-out war that only ended after ten months of brutal exchanges. Ultimately, the Vault 22 dwellers and the contagion they carried lay dead. 

Completing Your Quests

completing your quests vault 22
Picture Credit: James Gibson

Now that we have the backstory of Vault 22 down, let’s get back to the main quests you picked up to drive you here. The first quest you got from the Thorn is pretty easy. As you journey through the vault, pick up a couple of the eggs that Red Lucy requested and keep them safe until you get back to her. 

However, the other quest that brought you here, ‘There Stands the Grass,’ is a little bit trickier. Once the player has already made their way through the entire vault and made it to level 5, enter the data room by either picking the lock or opening the door via the Overseer’s terminal. 

At this point, after you download the data from the computer, you can either return to Hildern, give him the data and call it a day or you can continue on your journey to find Keely. 

Finding Keely

You can find Keely in the cave I mentioned earlier. Once you get through one of the two entrances to this location from the fifth level, you will find her here, trapped. However, if the player has 75 lockpick skill or higher, the player can bypass this entire section by passing through a locked door near the central computer terminal. 

She will be found at the very far end of the cave. She seemed trapped by the overwhelming number of enemies you had just killed, making your way to her. Therefore, you have freed her simply by making your way to her; sadly, you don’t get any thanks or reward for this. 

To continue the quest, she will tell the player to regroup with her on level 2, where she has set up her lab.

At this point, Keely will ask the player to help her destroy the spores altogether by igniting flammable gas that she intends to pass through the structure’s air vents. Of course, the task of igniting this gas on level 5 falls to the courier. 

Somehow Surviving

angela williams vault 22
Picture Credit: James Gibson

When I played through all the Vault 22 quests and got to this point, I could not, for the life of me and my character, survive the blast that goes off after you ignite the gas. However, I was apparently being very stupid, as I have now learned that there are numerous ways to survive said incident. 

The first and easiest method I came across when doing some very angry google searching was to use a C-4 plastic explosive that you can detonate from a safe location.

If you cannot get your hands on one of them or don’t want to waste a very valuable item, you can also just pop a turbo before shooting the vent from the end of the corridor. Combined with a couple of Stimpaks, the turbo will get the player out of there without a scratch. 

There are a number of other ways to survive this section of the quest, but these two are by far the best and most foolproof options. 

After the job is done and the player returns to Keely, she will drop the bomb that she intends to destroy all the research data that was made by this vault, ultimately ruining your chance of getting any kind of reward from Hildern.

Of course, you will most likely have already downloaded the files by this point, thus giving you a couple of choices.

  • The player can destroy the data like Keely requests, earning you some caps once you get her out alive. However, this will fail your quest with Hildern. Returning to Hildern and telling him about the data will result in him angrily telling the player to leave. You will then earn 1200 XP.
  • The player can kill Keely, take the password from her corpse, and return to Hildern, earning you 1200 caps with an extra of 600 should your barter or speech skills exceed 50.
  • If you did kill Keely or she died via some other means, you lie to Williams, telling her Keely is alive and safe. This will earn the player 800 caps, but you will also lose karma. 
  • You can convince Keely to save the data by passing enough speech checks; this will amount to the player receiving 1200 caps and 1500 XP.

After this is done, the story of Vault 22 is over, and you can move on with the rest of your Mojave adventures.

Location Specific Loot

One of the best things about the game design of FNV is that each location is filled with good loot. Whether it be guns or specific gear for unmarked quests, each location has something of note. Of course, Vault 22 is no exception.

AER14 Prototype

This unique laser rifle can be found on the stairs between the fourth and fifth floors of the vault. The weapon will be locked behind a very easy door and in the hands of a skeleton, presumably the former owner. 

HEPA 20 Cartridge Filters

This item may not seem relevant at first, but should you progress through the game and pick up the Still in the Dark quest, you will need these filters.

To find this item, head to the second floor via the adjourning cave; once you find your way to the oxygen recycling center, the filters will be in a locker at the right-hand side of the room. 

Food Additive

Fallout New Vegas is filled with unmarked quests; one such mission, the Poor Meat Never Makes Good Soup quest, requires the player to find this item. To find this item, exit the elevator on the third floor and proceed down the hallway, making a left turn at the bottom.

At the far end of this room, find the small adjourning office. Here, the player will find the additive on the corner of the desk. 

Vault Layout

vault 22 layout
Picture Credit: James Gibson
  • 1st Floor – Entrance hall. Here you will find a programmer’s digest near the mattress and Keely’s terminal.
  • 2nd Floor – Oxygen recycling. Here you will find Keely’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th terminal entries. 
  • 3rd Floor – Food production. The keycard to access the cave entrance on the fourth floor will be found here on a shelving unit. The giant mantis eggs you require for Red Ruby will be found down a corridor here. Keely’s 6th and 7th entries will be found in the first room on your right after passing or exiting the elevator.
  • 4th Floor – Common areas. In this section of the vault, you will find Keely’s terminals behind the billiard room; they will contain her 8th and 9th entries. You will also find another keycard on the lower level of this floor, on a shelf in the first room on the left. 
  • 5th Floor – Pest control. Savage spore carriers completely inhabit this level. There will also be five mantis ootheca, and Keely in the back of this cave.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What was the Vault 22 experiment?

Answer: The scientists here wanted to find a way to breed more stable and efficient crops that would survive the wasteland.

The fifth floor of the vault was working on developing a pest control that could be inserted into the DNA of these plants so that they could protect themselves from any pests. However, this pest control idea soon got out of hand. 

Question: Why did Vault 22 fail?

Answer: After the scientists on the fifth floor began experimenting with fungi for their pest control goals, the spores created by these fungi began to leak into the air vents of the vault, infecting people and killing them after they got into their lungs.

These spores mutated until they could contaminate a human body, changing the person into something monstrous.

Question: How many eggs does Red Lucy need?

Answer: Each collected egg will go into the player’s inventory separately until they gather 12. At this point, they will stack and turn into one singular pile of eggs, enough for Red Lucy.


So, there you have it, a comprehensive guide to one of the best locations in Fallout New Vegas. As I stated earlier, I really believe that Vault 22 is a perfect representation of everything the guys over at Obsidian did right when designing the game. Everything from world design to the slowly unraveling story truly hits perfectly. 

I hope that this guide answered any questions you may have had regarding the mystery of this vault and that it helped you get the best result in the quests associated with the location. Either way, I hope to see you again soon and wish you good luck for all your future wasteland adventures. 

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