Vault 11 was probably constructed along with the other Vault-Tec vaults in the mid 2060s to the early 2070s. As with the majority of other vaults, Vault 11 is a social experiment. In this experiment, the inhabitants of Vault 11 are told that they must sacrifice one of their fellow vault dwellers each year, and that, should they refuse, all the dwellers will be killed. In actuality, if the residents refuse, an "Automated solution response" is played. It states that by choosing not to select one of their own as a sacrifice, they are "a shining example to humanity" and that no one will be killed. They are also informed that the vault door is then unlocked so they can come and go as they please but are urged to consult with their Overseer before they do so. By the time Vault 11 refused to continue sacrificing their residents, only five survivors remained.
'Elections' and the Overseer's role
Evidence gathered from computer terminals throughout the vault attests that the vault residents were required to select an annual sacrifice from among their members. Therefore, at the end of the Overseer's term of office, the Overseer was required to enter a chamber below the Overseer's Office to be executed by the vault's computers. The computer did not require that the sacrifice should be the Overseer, but if a sacrifice was not selected, the computer controlling the vault would kill them all. Of the original residents, only the Overseer had entered the vault knowing about the yearly sacrifice. The residents of the vault, in their shock and anger at discovering this after having already been sealed inside the vault, selected the original Overseer (whom they viewed as having betrayed them) as the first sacrifice. This decision would marry the positions of Overseer and Sacrifice until the end.
In this vault, several voting blocs emerged to exercise power and influence over other vault residents. Prior to the final election, Roy Gottlieb, leader of the most powerful of the voting blocs, the Justice Bloc, confronted Katherine Stone. He threatening that if she did not perform sexual favors for the members of their bloc, they would nominate her husband, Nathan Stone, for Overseer (it is hinted that he may have made enemies of the Justice Bloc because of an unusual winning streak during the poker games he attended). Katherine, fearing for her husband, complied. Much to the shock of the Stone family, the Justice Bloc nominated Nathan for Overseer regardless. Because candidates were typically people who had outraged the community, they were usually nominated by several blocs; in Nathan's case, his nomination was backed only by the Justice Bloc.
Fearing for the fate of her husband, Nathan Stone, Katherine decided that she had to save him using the only method she felt left available to her: she began to stalk and kill the members of the Justice Bloc, which held a very narrow majority. Upon her capture, she confessed to her crimes immediately, explaining not only her plan but also her reasoning: as a murderer, she was sure the voters would elect her in her husband's stead, because it was a choice "they could live with."
Katherine Stone's first act as Overseer, "Overseer Order 745," dissolved the election process and decreed that the position of Overseer would be chosen using the vault's computer systems and a random number generator. The Justice Bloc, aghast that they were going to lose the ability to control vault life by means of election threats, not only feared that one of their own members would be selected, but also worried that the damage to the vault's social structure would be so severe that they would have permanently lost power by the time one of their own members was elected and could reverse the Order. They decided to stage an armed coup to force Katherine to reverse Overseer Order 745. The fighting that ensued killed nearly all of the remaining vault dwellers population, and in the end only five people survived.
The Final Sacrifice
The first audio log discovered by the player as they enter the vault records the fate of the final survivors. In an act of suicide they defied the vault computer and refused to send any more sacrifices, only to discover that their defiance was exactly what the vault computer wanted. They were given the freedom to leave the vault and congratulated for their selflessness.
After learning the awful truth about the vault experiment, the five survivors decide to commit suicide to punish themselves for the events that happened in the vault, and to prevent the outside world from learning about their shameful behavior. They are not unanimous in their decision. In the audio log, there is an argument among five people: a man referred to as "Voice 1" tries to convince the other four (three males and a female) to leave the Vault. Voices 2 (female), 3 (referred to as Harry), 4 and 5 want to commit suicide after finding out about the vault's experiment, while "Voice 1" is having second thoughts and tries to convince them to leave the vault and spread the word about what happened there. At the end of the audio log, four gunshots are heard, followed by a sigh and the sound of someone dropping a gun.
In 2281 the reactor and the water purification system of Vault 11 has been damaged by age and the destruction from a civil war among the dwellers. Radioactivity, and especially radioactive water, are some of the hazards of the vault. It is therefore advisable to pack some RadAway and Rad-X when journeying to Vault 11. Since portions of the vault are under water, you may want to head over to Nellis Air Force Base and acquire the rebreather (from the quest, Volare!) that allows you to breathe under water before entering this vault, although there are also air pockets in the flooded areas. Other than the radiation on the lower levels, the only enemies you will encounter inside the vault are giant mantises, giant rats and two bark scorpions just inside the entrance from the Mojave Wasteland.
The entry tunnel is filled mostly with mantises of various sizes and a few bark scorpions, and the open vault door leads to a larger entry room than vaults on the East Coast. Four skeletons lie on the floor here. A working terminal near the door allows the Courier to access an audio log with some information about the fate of the vault. The next room has exits to the clinic straight ahead. On the left is a dead-end hallway with a classroom and a cigar lounge. On the right a hallway with bathrooms and another clinic entrance has stairs on either end.
The stairs nearest the entrance hall lead to a floor containing a lab, and more stairs down. The stairs on the opposite end lead to a floor containing a computer room. One of the computers is booby-trapped, and will explode if you try to access it.
The entire vault has been plastered with propaganda for an election for a new Overseer, but each candidate is expressing outrage at having been nominated and trying to point out not only their innocence but why the other candidates deserve to be Overseer for their sins. Deeper in the vault, sandbag barricades, multiple traps, and several skeletons indicate that there had been prolonged fighting at some point.
Vault 11 living quarters
Stairs lead down to a large common room with exits leading to the male and female dorms and another exit labeled "Admin." This leads to the security office, and to the levels containing the Overseer's office and the utility room. The dorms are a long series of interconnected rooms, and the only place where Vault 11 jumpsuits can be found. Another audio log can be found on a locked terminal, with the password in a footlocker a few feet away.
There is a copy of Pugilism Illustrated in the female dorm, second door on the right, under the overturned dresser right as you walk in. A small cache of flamer fuel and 5.56 rounds is concealed under and behind a large immovable mop bucket in the male dorms.
Through the door marked "Admin," down the stairs and to the left is a locked door (Lockpick skill of 75), which can also be unlocked by the adjacent terminal (Science skill of 75) leading to a storage room with an assortment of ammunition, including a mini nuke. The security office contains a terminal with Katherine Stone's deposition, and more ammunition. At the opposite end of the hall are several flights of stairs leading down to the lower levels.
Vault 11 lower level
The Overseer's office is past a hallway on the right. Enter the Overseer's office cautiously as there is a rigged shotgun at the entrance. This has a locked terminal (password required) and some random loot scattered around the room. Past the Overseer’s office the passage to the atrium is blocked. The hallway before the office leads to the utility room and another blocked passage to the atrium.
For the quest Still in the Dark for the Brotherhood of Steel, enter the door marked utility on the same level as the Overseer’s office, go down a flight of stairs, then proceed down the hall to a submerged flight of stairs. Swim down to the door at the bottom. The differential pressure controller is in this room in a locker on the right side of the room.
To access the atrium, the Courier must go down through the flooded, radioactive engineering level via the utility room. The totally flooded lower reactor level is the only way to proceed without 50 Lockpick to open a door above the flooded level. There is only one air pocket in this area, so one must be careful about getting out of the flooded area alive. It is recommended to open one or two doors then backtrack to the air pocket, and with the way clear you can proceed to the next set of stairs and forward (the rebreather from Volare is also useful here).
The atrium can now be accessed, and the Overseer's terminal password can be learned from the terminal on the upper balcony or a holotape, Prepared Speech of Gus Olson, Ombudsman, for the Annual Overseer Election, on the podium below. This level also features the vault cafeteria, which has a large supply of food and a first aid box. Be careful when entering the cafeteria as there are lethal explosive traps in the doorway. In the back of the cafeteria you will find a kitchen in which there is a gas leak and an explosive trap that is triggered upon entering, which will cause a chain reaction.
Accessing the Overseer's terminal with the aforementioned password can open the chamber under the desk. This opens into a long tunnel. At this point a pre-programmed voice speaks as the Courier approaches a door illuminated by a bright light. At the end of the tunnel is a room with a single chair in the center, along with a projector. The voice instructs you to sit in the chair to start the presentation, if you do not comply in a timely manner the voice will start to say "you have no choice but to sit in the chair." The exit door locks as soon as the presentation starts. Pleasant scenes are shown while a voice reassures the sacrifice that they lived a good life and their next one will be better yet. At the conclusion of the presentation, wall panels on both sides of the room slide back, and four robots and eight turrets will simultaneously attack the player. If you remain in the chair till the end of the film you will more than likely be killed as the robots and turrets open fire immediately. Once the automatons are dealt with, the player can then access a small room with the vault mainframe computer inside. This computer unlocks the door and reveals the true purpose of the vault: the idea was to see how long it would take for the population to refuse further sacrifices, essentially a test of self-preservation versus morality.
- Mini nuke behind the hard locked door in the living quarters (Security section).
- There is a Stealth Boy in one of the ammunition boxes in the room next to the security office.
- Around 16 to 28 Vault 11 jumpsuits in dressers in the dorms, take all of these vault suits as you can sell them to Sarah Weintraub as a part of the unmarked quest, Suits You, Sarah in Vault 21.
- There is a copy of Pugilism Illustrated in one of the female dorm rooms. It is leaning against the base of an overturned dresser.
- Automated solution response - Holotape, can be found on the mainframe terminal in the sacrificial chamber from Vault 11.
- Still in the Dark - find the differential pressure controller, one of the parts needed to repair Hidden Valley's air filtration system.
- Democracy Inaction - at the entrance lies a 10mm pistol and four skeletons. Discovering the fate of these bodies is the objective of the quest.
- Failing to take the differential pressure controller with you when you leave Vault 11 can result in failing the quest Still in the Dark.
- Due to the large number of giant rats in this vault, if Rex is your companion, he will constantly growl and stalk around the floor he is currently on, until all rats in the area are dead. The player will usually be unable to talk to Rex when he is doing this, and upon selecting the Talk option in the companion wheel, Rex will reply with a high-pitched *bark-bark*.
- Right past a classroom in the common areas, (first hallway to the left, just past the vault entrance), an NCR trooper corpse can be found.
- When facing the door to the Mojave Wasteland from the entrance tunnel, the direction is exactly South, but when you exit the Vault, the door actually faces Southeast.
- Vault 11 is in the opening cinematic of Fallout: New Vegas.
- When closed, the vault number on the main door doesn't light up like the rest of the Vault doors.
- If you can listen carefully you can distinctly hear eerie whispers while inside the vault.
- If you have the Wild Wasteland perk, the Rodent of Unusual Size can appear in here.
Vault 11 appears only in Fallout: New Vegas.
Behind the scenes
- Vault 11 was designed by Eric Fenstermaker.
- The vault may be a variation on the Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures. The experiment involved assessing to what extent participants would violate their own morals when given an order from an authority figure. The commands telling you to sit in the chair in the sacrificial chamber are clearly patterned after the ones used in the Milgram experiment:
|Vault 11||Milgram experiment|
|Welcome. Please sit in the chair. The show is about to begin.||Please continue.|
|The show requires that you sit in the chair.||The experiment requires that you continue.|
|It is absolutely essential that you sit in the chair.||It is absolutely essential that you continue.|
|You have no other choice. You must sit in the chair.||You have no other choice. You must go on.|
- The actions that took place in Vault 11 may also be inspired by the short story The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. In the story, a lottery is held annually, and the person who "wins" is stoned to death. The stoning is also to ensure the prosperity of the community.
- The sacrifice sequence in the vault is very similar to the euthanasia scene in the film Soylent Green.
- The poster with the slogan "I Hate Nate" is a reference to U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's "I Like Ike" campaign.
- xbox360 ps3 You can obtain XP until you reach level 30 by interacting with the computer in the sacrificial chamber and choosing the last option repeatedly. This will not work after logging off of the terminal.(patched)
- xbox360 ps3 The giant mantis appear to be extremely large here, to the point where they get stuck on the terrain and furniture.
- xbox360 pc There is a dresser in the center north area of the male dorm which does not show as empty, but which contains nothing.
- pc xbox360 ps3 Once completing the suicide chamber it is possible to fail the mission "The House Always Wins VI" quest leaving your aid to Mr. House at a dead end. This bug occurs when you have companions with you, so it's best to have them wait in the tunnel before entering the suicide chamber.
- pc xbox360 ps3 The game is confirmed to have overwritten a save file after opening sacrificial chamber.
- ps3 xbox360 It is possible for ED-E to be knocked unconscious and disappear, but still appear on the world map as if in the vault.
- ps3 There are lockers that appear as though they have something in them. However when they are opened, they turn out to be empty. This is similar to the Xbox glitch mentioned above with the dresser.
- xbox360 The infinite XP glitch will work by transferring mantis forelegs back and forth from a giant mantis corpse, or between a companion.
- pc When saving inside the vault, reloading that save may make companions disappear.
- xbox360 Saving after beginning the decent down the stairs to the sacrifice chamber causes the quest to stop responding when you reload that saved game. The first time the quest will trigger and finish, upon loading the saved game, you can walk all the way to the end of the hallway, but the movie will not start and there will not be a blinding light as you enter the final room. (Have not checked by exiting and reentering the Vault. That may reset it entirely).