Nipton was a wicked place, debased and corrupt. It served all comers, as long as they paid. Profligate troops, Powder Gangers, men of the Legion such as myself. The people here didn't care. It was a town of whores. For a pittance, the town agreed to lead those it had sheltered into a trap. Only when I sprang it did they realize they were caught inside it, too.
Ranger Ghost, an NCR sniper found on the roof of the compound at the Mojave Outpost, may ask you to investigate the lack of traffic from their direction, but the smoke could already be seen from a distance by anyone.
Before the Legion hit the town, it was populated by gamblers, thieves, and prostitutes under the leadership of Mayor Joseph B. Steyn; the town would service NCR soldiers in the night and Powder Gangers in the day. Steyn had hatched a plan with the Legion to turn over both NCR soldiers and Powder Gangers to Vulpes in return for some caps, but instead Vulpes had the brilliant idea to have a lottery to "educate" all of them. The winner was spared, the runner-up was crippled, the third and fourth place winners became slaves, the "Lucky Losers" were decapitated for a quick death, the mayor was burned on a pile of tires, and the rest were crucified.
Upon arrival the player is greeted by Oliver Swanick, an ex-Powder Ganger who won the lottery to save his life. Alternatively, if the player stumbles upon the town hall first, Vulpes Inculta (Gabban appears if Vulpes is killed before the player enters Nipton) either greets the player or becomes hostile if the player is wearing NCR gear. Venturing through the settlement, the player will see multiple crosses holding the losers of the lottery. The rest of the town is in ruins and burns as you walk the streets.
Outside of Nipton Hall is a crucifix along with skulls on a post and pile of junk on fire. Vulpes Inculta meets the player outside of the hall and tells them to spread the word of Caesar's Legion. After speaking to him the player is granted the quest Cold, Cold Heart. Alternatively, if the player is wearing NCR faction armor, Vulpes and the other legionnaries will be hostile and attack on sight. Inside the hall itself, you will find many Legion mongrels. They are automatically hostile, even if dressed as a member of Caesar's Legion, but do not give the player Legion Infamy.
The house with the sand bags in front of it is heavily booby trapped; there is a frag mine in the corner of the living room, kitchen and the bathroom. Both of those doorways conceal shotgun traps. There is a cage with 3 bark scorpions inside when you enter the house; if you trigger the pressure plate they will be released. There is an Easy-Locked safe with a grenade rifle in it; stepping across the threshold will release the bark scorpions. The Average-Locked cabinet in the kitchen contains some provisions. Also, there is a dead legion recruit with a machete, armor, and a helmet.
Worn key - Upon entering Nipton Town Hall, directly to the right, behind the counter. Beware of a mine behind the counter. The key unlocks the first door on the right down the hall which leads to a basement.
Note titled Declaration of Vital Essence - inside the heavily booby-trapped Nipton home with sandbags lined up in front of it directly east of Nipton General Store "Trading Post". This note can be found in the tool cabinet in the kitchen.
Sunset Sarsaparilla star bottle cap - on the main road to the east of Nipton, across the train tracks, inside a wrecked truck with a Sunset Sarsaparilla case. The star bottle cap is laying on top. The traffic cones here are booby-trapped with mines.
A larger than usual red plate is on the table right after entering one of the Nipton Houses. Taking the plate and dropping it once will keep it the same unusual size, but picking it up and dropping it again will cause it to become a normal sized red plate.
The house directly in front of the Wild Wasteland Easter Egg contains a Prototype Mister Gutsy robot (although the terminal in the house states that the previous owner had two), and is a good source of a few damaged weapons (2 x 357 Magnum, Plasma Pistol, Laser Rifle), various metal/electronic parts and items needed for weapon repair kits. (e.g wrenches, scrap metal, wonderglue, duct tape)
The Courier can't free the crucified people without killing them unless they use the Ranger Takedown. Killing them will not incur a loss or gain of Karma, nor will it affect your reputation with any faction. If the Ranger Takedown is used, your only dialog option is to say "I have to get going."
Some companions will comment on the crucified townsfolk. Cass, for example, will ask, "Should we cut the people down?"
The Mister Gutsy robot respawns after a long (3 hours gameplay) period of time. This can be an issue if the Courier is using the house as storage.
One of the houses contains around six things to lockpick without losing Karma, despite being marked as owned. This is helpful for the No Tumbler Fumbler achievement.
A scorpion may randomly spawn upon returning via fast travel. If the crucified powder gangers are alive, the scorpion may approach each one of them, and 'sting' them by attacking the post. The powder ganger will then fall to the ground.
Legion mongrels may respawn, but will be friendly.
In spite of Vulpes' claim that the townsfolk were passive and cowardly, there are obvious signs in one of the houses and in the trailer park area that at least some of the citizens fought back and killed several legionaries. Such examples consist of one deceased citizen who wielded a laser rifle with an ash pile in front of him. Another piece of evidence is a legionary corpse in a house with a hostile Mr. Gusty.
The real Nipton is an unincorporated town in California, and is located just west of the California/Nevada state line (a sign showing the border can be found in-game). The Legion Lottery may also be a reference to the fact that Nipton once had the highest lottery ticket sales in the California state lottery, due to the fact that the Nevada constitution prohibits state lotteries, before a new office opened up just outside of the real world equivalent of Primm.
There are two signs on the road directly southeast of Nipton: one, facing west, welcomes travelers to Nevada; the other facing east, welcomes them to California. This is a reference to the real Nipton's immediate proximity to the border between the two states.
The Legion's sacking of Nipton could be an allusion to Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery, in which the winner of the lottery is murdered by the other townsfolk. This is mentioned by the Caesar's Legion patrol; Mayor Steyn's office corroborates this, as well as the abundance of lottery tickets strewn across town hall. There are also strong parallels between Jackson's story and the social machinations of experiment conducted in Vault 11.
The Declaration of Vital Essence may be a tongue-in-cheek reference to the film Dr. Strangelove, in which the character of Gen. Jack Ripper is highly and vocally paranoid about guarding his "precious bodily fluids" and "Purity of Essence". Admittedly, in the film he spoke of his essence as though he were referring to his own vigor "in the bedroom".
ps3pc There's a glitch that prevents you from being able to speak with Vulpes Inculta, even when he triggers the conversation. The camera will zoom in on him like it would usually do when initiating conversation, but will then quickly retract, bringing the player back into control. Reloading doesn't seem to fix this issue. To Fix this issue you must go back to an earlier save. [verified]
xbox360 Boone or ED-E will not enter the Town Hall (First Floor) but will teleport to the Assembly Floor when the Courier enters that floor. This can take place after killing all the legion personnel outside the hall. [verified]
xbox360pc Sometimes, when fast traveling to Nipton, you may find a crucified prospector instead of a Powder Ganger. He can't be removed from the cross but he can be interacted with. He will most likely be killed by the bark scorpions by the next time you travel there. [verified]
ps3 Standing near the entrance of the Town Hall may trigger an attack from a Jackal Gang Member. It is unknown whether or not this attack was scripted or if the member had simply walked close enough to detect the character. [verified]
pcps3 The people on the crosses can be removed from them in the event that you enter and suddenly exit the Nipton Town Hall. They will not walk but just stand there in front of their crosses. Some can be interacted with and some can be pickpocketed. [verified]
pc A generalized version of the above: the game may freeze or crash upon leaving Nipton in any direction, either on foot or by fast traveling. This tends to happen after a prolonged period of play, like an hour or more. Supposedly Nipton is heavy on memory, and the engine is so "optimized" it uses raw pointers to moveable or even freed heap chunks, causing all sorts of corruption after a disk swap. This issue is not specific to Nipton, it's just very prominent here.[verified]
xbox360 If the Courier activates the mine in Nipton Hall, the worn key may glitch and get to an inaccessible place. This can be fixed using an explosive on the counter, resetting the worn key position.[verified]