Recovering missing NPC in Fallout 3

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Please note that most of the issues recorded in this article have been fixed on all three Fallout 3 platforms with the 1.1 patch.

Only for PC versionEdit

This article talks about using console commands to compensate for bugs and, as such, only applies to the PC version, with the exception of the specific part concerning consoles and the "Getting Them Home" section.

Note that you can convert your Xbox 360 Fallout 3 savedata for the personal computer version with Modio : extract your Xbox 360 savedata on Windows, extract the file within the Xbox 360 savedata on the directory Fallout 3 uses for saved games then play it on Windows. Everything will work exactly like when you play Fallout 3 on Windows so you don't have to worry about anything. Once you debugged your game, save it and put it back it the original Xbox 360 file then in your Xbox 360 and everything will work as if it was the first time.

The problemEdit

Walter and Billy from Megaton standing in some uncharted void below Springvale.
Because Fallout 3 is such a huge game, some bugs are still prevalent, and sometimes named non-player characters in Fallout 3 can disappear or die by themselves. It can be an annoyance, like missing security bots that you can repair for the Big Trouble in Big Town quest, something serious, like missing Walter which prevents you from completing his minor quest at all, or even missing Colin Moriarty or Moira Brown, which prevents you from advancing in the game. (In Colin's case, a character with sufficient Science skill can still hack his private computer to determine James' location and continue the main quest without necessarily skipping steps. Be prepared for a minor Karma loss, however. Alternatively, a male character with the Lady Killer perk can get the computer password from Nova.)

The problem might happen because, for some reason, the non-player characters get lost from the pre-set "rails" that they walk on, and their AI gets confused, and they get teleported to the block of land below Springvale School. It's worth thinking that this would be the spot where all missing non-player characters get teleported to (if they don't die of falling first, that is), but it varies between cells. A possible reason for them to be transferred to the spot below the School is that, as it is very close to the center of the map, it is probably the spot at the cells' coordinates 0,0. So instead of staying in their "real" coordinates, the game teleports the non-player characters to the coordinates 0,0 which is probably the block of land below Springvale (Needs more investigation, this is just a theory—you should suspect this because the block of land there is the only textured block of land around, and because it's a perfect square). The reason why this happens might also be that when non-player character changes cell (From inside some Megaton house to the "exterior" of Megaton for example) the game gets confused and bugs the non-player character to coordinates 0,0 instead of the coordinates the door should lead to (This happens [rather rarely though] in other games of the same engine too, namely Morrowind and Oblivion), causing the non-player character to seemingly vanish, although he still is actually in the same cell he should be in, just in wrong place.

Reference IDEdit

For both cases you'll need an non-player character's reference ID. To obtain it in game, you'll need to load or start a game where this non-player character is available and click on the non-player character while in console mode. The reference ID will appear along with its name at the top of the screen. You can also check that non-player character's page, as reference IDs are listed there.

Alternatively, you can type save xxx 1 (change "xxx" to represent whatever you would like to name the resulting saved file) into the console, and then search for the non-player character's name in the text file opened for you. Note that the first section of the file contains base IDs, not reference IDs. So, usually the second hit will give you the reference ID.

  • You can check this page for some of the missing non-player characters' reference IDs.
  • After you have obtained the specific Ref ID, open up the console and type prid xxxx (where xxxx is the reference ID). This should select the object (in this case, non-player character), as its name and ID appears on the top of the screen. As you want to move the specific character to you, use the command moveto player, after what the missing object will show up on the same coordinates that you are standing.
  • If this method fails, try disable followed by enable to reset the non-player character.

Notes on commandsEdit

The moveto command mentioned later may need to be repeated twice if it didn't succeed at first try, as the engine sometimes needs to load additional packages, which it will do only after command fails once. prid gives exactly the same result as clicking object in console mode. So, if you see a corpse you want to resurrect right before your eyes, you can just click it instead of typing the prid command.

Still alive but missingEdit

An non-player character may still be alive, but may have wandered through gaps in world geometry into some uncharted nothingness or in a void below ground. First you may want to check where is that non-player character right now. Sometimes you'll even find out that he's really perfectly okay, just standing in a place you didn't think of. Open the console and enter this command:

player.moveto <referenceID>

Example with non-player character Walter:

player.moveto 3b59

After a short time and, probably, a loading screen, if an non-player character wandered to another world cell, you'll find yourself near your target or his corpse. You may talk to him and finish what you need right there, but even better, if the non-player character is really not where he's supposed to be, just bring him back where he belongs. To do so, go to the general location where this non-player character appears (so his AI won't have much trouble returning to his routine tasks) and type:

prid <referenceID>
moveto player

After that, the non-player character should appear directly in front of you and resume his usual activities. In case he managed to die somewhere, you'll get his corpse instead — see next section for more.


An non-player character may still be in the game but for some reason invisible. He has a location you can move to as mentioned above. When you summon him to you he's not there, but moving to him again brings you to where you summoned him.

In this case just follow the instructions for "Dead", below.


Sometimes non-player characters die by wandering off the cliff or spending too much time in irradiated areas (like the bomb in the center of Megaton). In such case you can even find his or her corpse around where he usually is. First you may want to bring his corpse back to where it belongs, as described in previous section and then type the following commands:

prid <referenceID>

This should reset the non-player character back to alive status and reinitialze his AI. You may need to wait for up to 24 hours for that non-player character to return back to his usual path and activities after using those commands.

Should a companion non-player character die (example: Fawkes), the resurrected non-player character may be in the state they were in before they joined you, and will not offer companion dialogue options (a resurrected Fawkes may merely tell you to "Go away" when you attempt to initiate dialogue). To reinitialize them as a companion, as described in the notes for Dogmeat, use the "resetquest" command followed by the appropriate quest base ID.

Ex.: After resurrecting Fawkes, enter "resetquest 943ee" without the quotation marks. Talk to him as if recruiting him for the first time.

Getting to missing Megaton citizens on ConsolesEdit

Extensive testing on the 360 AND PS3 has revealed that if some of your precious Megaton citizens have gone missing — for example, Moriarty (though he is not absolutely necessary to complete the storyline) has vanished and you suspect that he's in the uncharted void — you can still find them! Of course it'd take a lot of work to get him/her back to Megaton but you can still talk to them and get their quests etc.

This little trick involves the plane on Lucas Simms' roof, jumping over Megaton walls and walking in unmapped void for some time. By all accounts this will not completely break your game (although there might be that tiny possibility), however there is a chance that the game will crash while walking a short distance from Megaton. This may simply occur because the player is walking in unmapped space, however some have reported that it may be due (in the case of Walter) to the number of pieces of scrap metal the player is carrying. Anything over 20–25 pieces of scrap metal seems to cause some bugs in Walter's unmarked quest.

Before attempting any of this, please ensure that you save your game.

To get started, you need:

Make your way to the roof of Lucas Simms' house, and then climb on the plane wreck there, using the railing on the left-hand side of the catwalk when you are facing the plane. After you're on the railing, jump on the tiny pipe crank sticking out the wreck. Then jump your way on the plane, all the way to the top, until you manage to jump your way over the Megaton walls. It might take some patience but when you get on top of the plane, save, so if you fail the jump you don't need to do all the climbing again.

When you're outside Megaton, there's some pieces of landscape there (i.e. what you can see through the gaps in Megaton's walls), but most of it is just gray void with grass on it. You can walk where the land should be, it simply doesn't have any textures on it or anything. Take one stimpak to heal your possible cripple from the fall if you want to. If you are not strong enough to survive the fall, save just before you land then reload the save. You should land safely. In any case, start making your way towards Springvale School. Using your Pip-Boy World Map will help a lot in this.

After you're where Springvale School should be (You should be able to identify this by another plot of textured map shining in the uncharted void) start whacking your V.A.T.S. key. Eventually, if any non-player characters have been bugged into here, it should target one. Many of the generic Megaton Settler non-player characters tend to end up here and, in my case, I found Nathan and Colin Moriarty there as well.

All the non-player characters there talk as they normally would. They don't move unless you attack them, in which case they either flee or chase you for a bit until they give up and go back to normal. If one could somehow get them follow you (counter-pickpocketing a melee weapon in their inventory and taking away their gun and getting them to attack you), it might be possible to lure them back to Megaton (The big door that opened when you first arrived at Megaton is now closed, but you can walk through it) they might return to their everyday lives, but that's just a theory, after all, this might be the first investigation on this, so this trick needs a lot more research. For a video on how to do this, please visit the Youtube guide (thanks to fALConxxii/I3lackjackx).

Note: It is possible to get up to the plane on Lucas Simms' house without going into his house. You'll simply need an object like a barrel (one can be found near the Craterside Supply). Simply pick it up and go to the Water Processing Plant. Now, if you go to the right of the Water Processing Plant, you'll be right next to a small part of the roof of Lucas Simms' house. Place the barrel next to the railing near his roof, making sure that it's standing up. It's pretty tricky to get it standing up, but once you do, you can go onto the next part: jump onto it. The physics for the barrel are very shoddy and the barrel may fall over, or even randomly glitch up, but keep trying. Once you are on, feel free to save. Now simply just jump onto the roof. Sometimes, your legs will just clip the bottom of the roof, and you won't make it, and of course, the barrel will fall over, but keep on trying. Eventually, you'll make it up. Then just walk to the left, and into the plane.

Getting them homeEdit

It is possible to lure the non-player characters back to Megaton and return them to their everyday life, but it will require effort.

Firstly you need them to chase or run from you depending on if the non-player character is violent or not. This can be done in many ways, but a simple punch to the face works best. It would be a good idea to drop a stimpak into their pocket beforehand so they can heal themselves later. If it is an non-player character that reacts in a violent way you should pickpocket then steal his/her gun.

Your next move should be to lure them back home. If you are chased by the non-player character, for example Lucas Simms, you might have to cripple their legs to make them slower than you. If the non-player character flees then you have to guide them back to Megaton by chasing them in the correct direction. When you get the non-player character next to the Megaton wall, back off a far distance and wait for 24 hours. If the non-player character is a chaser, simply run around the outside of the Megaton walls until you are able to wait.

After waiting 24 hours, fast travel back to Megaton and the non-player character will have returned to his/her normal routine.

Note: When fast traveling back to Megaton you may be attacked; simply run back out of the city, wait for a while, then return and they won't try to kill you.

An alternate non-violent (but possibly more time consuming) way is to simply "push" the non-player character all the way back to Megaton. When you get close enough to Megaton, the non-player character will automatically enter and return to his/her normal routine.

If taking the non-violent path, some non-player characters will just stand in front of the Megaton gate. In order to get the non-player character to continue their normal routine, you must get the non-player character to flee from you (either pickpocketing them or a simple punch), then just enter through the Megaton gate from the void. You should see the non-player character fleeing in front of you. Then, exit so that you are now outside in the Capital Wasteland, to avoid any confrontations with the Megaton settlers (tested on the PS3 with Walter and Confessor Cromwell).

Note: If you are trying to get Jericho to be a follower and he ends up in the void, start by using the above strategy of jumping over the wall and heading out to where the school should be. If Jericho is there just pay him 1000 caps as you normally would to hire him. You will notice he will not follow you but not to worry, all you have to do is run back to the Megaton door and go through it. This will send you outside of the city complete with Jericho in town! (Tested on Xbox 360)


Missing non-player character recovery [1]

Fallout 3 - Missing NPC recovery (On Consoles (xbox 360, ps3))(03:25)

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