24,631pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk84 Share
Icon disambig
For other characters named Harold, see Harold (disambiguation).

Yep, but I’m doing great for being dead! I never get tired of the looks when I tell that one.

— Harold, Fallout 2

Harold (who goes by many names: The Lord, Him, The One Who Grows, Gives, and Guides, and The Talking Tree) [1] is an FEV mutant - originally a human from Vault 29. He was born in 2072, five years before the Great War. During an exploration of Mariposa Military Base, he was exposed to F.E.V. Initially, he mutated into what appears to be an ordinary ghoul, but was later distinguished by a tree growing out of his head some years later.

Harold left Vault 29 in 2090, and lived in the Hub around 2096, in its Old Town around 2161, in Los around 2208, in Gecko in 2238, and in Oasis around 2277.

By 2277, he is a gnarled face in a tree growing in the Oasis Grove. During his many adventures, he has encountered such influential people as Richard Grey (later the Master), the Vault Dweller, the Initiate, the Chosen One and the Lone Wanderer.


Early lifeEdit

Harold was born in 2072 and was only five years old when the Great War began (2077). He was forcibly locked in Vault 29 for protection. [2]

Gametitle-VBThe following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

Harold's home, Vault 29, was initially populated by young children which were brought up by Diana, a human brain connected to a supercomputer, who posed as a goddess to the vault's inhabitants. In cases of population unrest, a test subject would be chosen to be released from the vault early. The subject would return and tell the vault dwellers the condition of the world outside, and whether or not it was safe to leave the vault. Of course, the test subjects would never return, and this fact would deter everyone from wanting to leave again for a short time.

Harold was one such subject, selected in 2090. He was released from the vault, stunned by the security system and picked up by a robot to be taken to the Nursery, where Diana resided. At the Nursery he was given the choice of staying with Diana or exploring the outside world. However, if he chose to explore, she would have to 'condition' him, so that he could not reveal anything about her, or the Nursery to the world.

Harold agreed to stay with Diana, but managed to escape. During his travels he kept the Nursery a secret because he felt it was his duty to the world to keep such a future 'gift' intact until the world was ready for it.[3]

Gametitle-VBEnd of information based on Van Buren.

Merchant careerEdit

After leaving his home vault when it opened and its inhabitants made their way out into the wasteland, Harold began a successful career as a merchant, venturing across the wastes. Eventually he became an important player in the Hub. He began to notice the increasing frequency of mutant animals attacking his caravans. Frustrated, he decided to deal with this by leading an expedition to Mariposa.

Expedition to MariposaEdit

Fo1 Military Base Townmap

Mariposa Military Base

Harold and a group of other adventurers— among them a man named Richard Grey, who was a doctor living in the Hub who was equally perplexed by the strange mutants— tracked the mutant population and eventually found its source: an old military base that seemed to be spawning mutant creatures.

Inside, most of them were killed by the mutants that littered the base as well as by its automated security systems. Harold, Richard and a few others made it fairly deep into the base, where they found immense vats filled with a strange thick, green solution (F.E.V.) that seemed to be mutating the animals. A large robotic arm knocked Grey into a vat, where Harold assumed he died (when actually, he became the Master). Harold himself was knocked unconscious. He awoke some time later out in the desert, already starting to mutate. A caravan eventually found him and brought him back to the Hub, where he settled into a destitute existence.

A mutant down on his luckEdit

Fo1 Harold

Harold in the Hub.

He is now very old, sick, and he tends to ramble on a lot. Some of his information may be out of date. He can be cranky at times, but he likes to tell stories.[4]

The Vault Dweller first meets him in the Old Town section of the Hub, where Harold makes a living begging for spare change. In exchange for some money, Harold provides the Vault Dweller with a great deal of information, mostly dealing with the Mariposa Military Base, and Richard Grey, as well as some tactical information on the deathclaw that lives near the Hub, which Butch Harris, leader of the Far Go Traders, requests the Vault Dweller to deal with, as he is losing his caravans to it.

Sometime between 2162 and 2241, a small tree (which he calls Bob, although he likes to joke that his name is Herbert) began to grow out of the side of Harold's head. It is an entirely new species of tree - unique and special, just like Harold.

FOBoSLogoThe following is based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

Traveler of the WastelandEdit

FOBOS Harold

Harold in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel

After the destruction of the Master's Army, Harold left the Hub and became a traveler who visited various places around the wasteland. It's known that he traveled in Texas to Carbon where he had a sexual encounter with Carbon's prostitute, Ruby, and the ghoul-city of Los around 2208. He wanted to have a good time in Los after leaving Carbon but the arrival of super mutants and the loss of his hand, his toe and his eye in the city changed the deal. The Initiate helped Harold to recover his parts so he could leave the city before its destruction. Harold's travels ended in Gecko in 2238.[5]


  • Find Missing Pieces - Harold has lost three pieces of his body and asks the player character to retrieve them.
  • Harold's romp with Ruby - the Initiate can remind Harold of his adventures with Ruby, the prostitute from Carbon, for 300 XP.
FOBoSLogoEnd of information based on Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.

Leader of GeckoEdit

Fo2 Gecko Good Ending

Gecko power plant

In 2241, Harold is a very old but still spry-looking ghoul.[6] The Chosen One runs into Harold in Gecko, the ghoul town not far from Vault City. After the destruction of the Necropolis following Fallout, most of the ghoul population of the town migrated far to the north to form a settlement around an old nuclear power plant built by Poseidon Oil before the War. Anyone else would likely be killed by long term exposure to radiation, but the ghouls just find it pleasant. When Harold arrived, the plant was being run dangerously and stupidly. Harold quickly took over from the well-meaning but inept leaders of Gecko and got the reactor into some kind of working order. When the Chosen One arrives in Gecko, Harold asks him to help solve the Gecko powerplant problem.

The Chosen One still heard mention of Harold from time to time. Apparently, the tree growing from his head has gotten larger, and if rumors are to be believed, fruit is growing from it. The seeds are said to be remarkably tough, and several of them have taken root even in the most barren stretches of the wasteland.[7]

Gametitle-VBThe following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

Back homeEdit

By the 2250s, Harold was ill. The tree in his head developed an unknown disease and was dying. Much to his surprise, Harold found himself affected as well. He didn't think he was going to die, but, he just didn't feel right in the head.

So, he set out on a quest for a cure. Naturally, he didn't have an easy time of it either. People just didn't seem to want a mutant around any more. But, Harold didn't let that stop him. He persisted in his quest until he came upon the Twin Mothers tribe, which originated from his home, Vault 29.

Much to his surprise the tribe took him in and accepted him as he was. He explained his quest to the tribal leaders and was told that they would consult their goddess. Days later, Harold was approached by the tribal shaman and given a potion to drink. It was a foul concoction, but it worked. Bob, the tree, got better and was happy again.

Harold couldn't let such a good deed go unrewarded, so he offered to help the tribe in any way that he could. They smiled at him, and thanked him, but declined his help. "The goddess will provide," they always said. Harold said that he would like to pay his respects to the goddess, and was taken to the tribal shrine to be granted a private audience. He wasn't really surprised when the projected image of a woman appeared before him, but he was taken aback when she told him where he could find her. His return to the Nursery was a moment of joy for Diana and a 'new experience' to him, as much of his early memories faded with age.

Harold traveled to the Nursery and spent considerable time there, He even considered settling down and spending the remainder of his day in the tranquility of the gardens. However, eventually he left and traveled even further east.

If the Prisoner gives Diana the information on the F.E.V.. and New Plague from the Boulder ZAX, Diana would be able to create a cure to the New Plague virus in the form of a small fruit, by genetically engineering it from Harold's tree.

Gametitle-VBEnd of information based on Van Buren.


FO3 Harold

Harold eventually found himself overwhelmed by the growth of Bob, and he became rooted to the ground during his travels in the northern Capital Wasteland region. Here, he was discovered by several people who began to worship him as a god, forming a small and exclusive cult, known as the Treeminders. Bob began to blossom, and many plants grew in this area, which became green with life. During this period, Harold developed a mutation which enabled him to "see" the area around Oasis, through the very trees that came from Bob's seeds.

He would use his new found ability to bring in wanderers, all the while hoping one of them would put an end to his troubles- unfortunately, the Treeminders' strange ways, and insistence on using an intoxicating, potentially poisonous "sap" (as a "purification" ceremony) drove off most of the wanderers, many in worse mental shape than they were prior. His persistence may pay off should the Lone Wanderer come into view. On Harold's orders, the Treeminders can allow the Wanderer safe passage into Oasis.

If the Lone Wanderer meets Harold, he reveals his true identity and begs for a merciful death after being stuck in the same position for decades. Although commanding the Treeminders to perform questionable deeds for his own amusement provided some entertainment, it did not last. The other dwellers of Oasis either ignore or misinterpret Harold's wishes as a moral and spiritual test, much to Harold's chagrin. Thus, his only recourse is to ask the Lone Wanderer to take his life. However, two members of the Treeminders (namely, the leader of the cult and his wife) can be found arguing about Harold. The leader of the cult wishes for Harold's gift of plant life to be kept safe and confined to Oasis, while his wife wishes for Harold's gift to be shared and spread throughout the wasteland.

They could ask the Lone Wanderer to accomplish their own wishes, and the Lone Wanderer can decide whether to carry out Harold's wish of death, the cult leader's wish of keeping Harold's spreading growth confined to just the Oasis or the wife's wish to spreading his glory across the wasteland. Through granting Harold's wish, the Lone Wanderer's skin will be as hard as Harold's. If the Wanderer chooses to keep Harold alive, they can tell Harold that he has been given a gift and must stay alive to save the lives of others. Harold, finding a new reason to live, replies that he was selfish to want to kill himself, and then asks Bob if he agrees. Harold finally says that he is at peace with himself and, for the first time in a long time, Harold is finally happy.

Nature of HaroldEdit

FO02 NPC Harold N

To the untrained eye, Harold appears to be an ordinary ghoul. This is not so, however. Ghouls are the result of massive and/or long-term radiation damage to a human body; Harold is a product of the Forced Evolutionary Virus. Unlike most people who are exposed to FEV, Harold did not become a super mutant, but is the result of a unique combination of radiation damage from constant low-level environmental exposure, indirect exposure to FEV (it is unclear how Harold was infected with FEV as he blacked out for a while during his exploration of Mariposa) and a fair amount of random chance. Thus he's not a ghoul, and certainly not a super mutant. To quote Tim Cain, "Harold is special."

Furthermore, Tim Cain has this to say on the subject: "As for contact [with FEV], any contact at all will infect the subject, but the amount of contact determines the result. For example, I imagine Harold had some contact with the virus, but he was not fully immersed in it, so he became a different mutant than the Master's subjects. Full immersion, of course, is the preferred method of infection, as it provides the virus a large surface area for infection."

Another similar FEV-created, ghoul-like mutant is Talius.

Harold's unusual behavior is treating Bob as if the plant were actually sentient. Although at no point does the plant indicate that it can convey feelings, Harold certainly is not stupid, and perhaps only crazy in the humorous sense— yet he still insists on hearing out the plant's opinions on certain matters that he might otherwise take seriously. Given Harold's new found ability to "see" through the trees that are descended from Bob through the use of extreme concentration, it may not be much of a stretch to suggest that both are deeply linked in some unknown way, almost certainly as a result of FEV exposure. Because of his mutation, it is no surprise that Harold is afraid of fire.

Despite his appearance, Harold is a kind-hearted soul with a comical personality. He has made many friends throughout his travels, potentially including the Vault Dweller, the Chosen One and the Lone Wanderer. He is also good with kids, as evidenced by his friendship with Sapling Yew in Oasis, of whom he is particularly fond.

Interactions with the player characterEdit


General Services Quests
Companion: noIcon cross
Talking head: yesIcon check
Merchant: noIcon cross
Modifies items: noIcon cross
Doctor: noIcon cross
Starts quests: noIcon cross
Involved in quests: yesIcon check


Tell me aboutEdit

Fallout 2Edit

General Services Quests
Companion: noIcon cross
Talking head: yesIcon check
Merchant: noIcon cross
Modifies items: noIcon cross
Doctor: noIcon cross
Starts quests: yesIcon check
Involved in quests: noIcon cross


Fallout 3Edit

General Services Quests
Essential: noIcon cross
Enslavable: noIcon cross
Companion: noIcon cross
Bounty: noIcon cross
Merchant: noIcon cross
Repairman: noIcon cross
Doctor: noIcon cross
Rents bed/room: noIcon cross
Starts quests: yesIcon check
Involved in quests: noIcon cross


  • Oasis: Birch wants to stop Harold's influence on the wasteland, Laurel wants to spread his influence and Harold just wants to die.

Fallout: Brotherhood of SteelEdit

General Services Quests
Companion: noIcon cross
Faction: noIcon cross
Merchant: noIcon cross
Doctor: noIcon cross
Starts quests: yesIcon check
Involved in quests: noIcon cross


  • Find Missing Pieces: Harold is having trouble keeping parts of his body on, so he sends the Initiate to look for his missing body parts.

Notable quotesEdit


Fallout 2Edit

Fallout 3Edit

  • "See Herbert, now that's a nice person for you. Why can't you be more like that?"
  • "Please, I can't very well speak to you when you're back there."
  • "Come around, to where I can see you (coughs and splutters)."
    Icon sound trigger
    Icon sound
    Play sound
    Come around.ogg

Fallout: Brotherhood of SteelEdit

The Armageddon RagEdit

  • "Be kind to the Smoothskins. One saved the world once. 'Course, they broke it to start with."


Harold appears in Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3 and Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. A mutant named "Harold" with a tree growing out of his head appears in Fallout Tactics, although it is unclear whether this is actually the Harold.

Additionally, Harold was to appear in both Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle Studios and Interplay's Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel 2. A cult called the Church of Harold was set to appear in Project V13.

A group called "Harold's Cult" is mentioned in a piece of concept art by Adam Adamowicz, which was released after Adamowicz' death. It portrays three characters in clothing similar to that of the Treeminders.



  1. Fallout 3 Official Game Guide
  2. Fallout Official Survival Guide
  3. In Fallout, Harold's "Tell-Me-About" on vaults leads to his explaining that the vault he originated from failed, due to an overabundance of vault dwellers, and a lack of food to sustain their numbers. This actually corresponds to Vault 27, which was to be deliberately overcrowded by twice the sustainable amount, as opposed to Vault 29.
  4. Fallout Official Survival Guide
  5. Fallout Bible
  6. Gcharold.msg, line 102
  7. Fallout Bible 0