Three Vault Boy's in front of an open vault door.
Image via Bethesda

The 10 Most Disturbing Vault-Tec Experiments in Fallout, Ranked

Not all vaults were bad, but these vaults had the most disturbing experiments in the Fallout franchise.

Vault-Tec may have seemed like the saviors of humanity, but below the surface, they were enacting atrocious experiments in the vaults. Vault dwellers were subjected to malicious and illegal conditions without their consent or knowledge. These are the 10 most disturbing Vault-Tec experiments in Fallout ranked.

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Fallout Vaults Explained

The vaults developed by Vault-Tec were meant to be safe spaces to preserve deep underground where radiation and war couldn’t reach. With numerous bunkers throughout the US, the vaults were supposed to protect the best, brightest, and richest of mankind until the surface could be repopulated.

Fallout’s X Disturbing Vault-Tec Experiments Ranked

Vault 4 door in the Prime series.
Image via Prime Video Youtube

While many residents of the vaults were subjected to different stimuli, there were some experiments that are so disturbing they stand out above the rest. We’ve ranked the top 10 most sinister experiments from least to most disturbing.

Vault 118 — Social Experiment

Vault 118 was designed to have 10 wealthy individuals and what amounted to 300 slaves. The wealthy would have every luxury and total authority over the 300 people. Those people were set to live in filth, with little food, or fresh water.

Thankfully, the section for the slaves never finished due to a scandal, so only the 10 wealthy residents comprised this vault. If it had been finished, however, we know how bad things can get when people have complete control over others.

Vault 12 — Medical Experiment

Vault 12 sought to understand how the human body reacts to gradual radiation by making the vault door faulty. With the door unable to be sealed, radiation seeped into the vault. Slowly, everyone was turned into a Ghoul. While horrific, most survived and ended up founding the city of Necropolis.

Scavenger ghoul.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Vault 51 — Social Experiment

Instead of having an overseer selected when everyone first moved into the vault, there was ZAX AI. ZAX was meant to select a qualified overseer from the inhabitants. To discover who was qualified, the AI initiated various incidents for people to respond to. This eventually led to ZAX AI threatening actual harm and manipulating civilians to kill each other.

Vault 87 — Research Facility

If you’re familiar with Super Mutants, then you know that they were created in a vault. Vault 87, to be precise. Human subjects were given the Forced Evolutionary Virus, which was meant to rapidly adapt humans to an irradiated climate. Instead, Super Mutants were created. They ended up seizing control of the vault from the researchers.

Super mutant enemy in Fallout 76.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Vault 108 — Social Experiment

This Washington, D.C. vault focused on the social fallout revolving around leadership conflicts. All those appointed to management positions were ill, dying soon after the vault was sealed. All systems were designed to last no more than 20 years, there were no forms of entertainment provided, and a larger armory than usual was stocked. In addition to the leadership conflicts, one single person in the vault was cloned. Eventually, the clones went feral and took out everyone else in the vault 108.

Vault 106 — Medical Experiment

Chems are a significant part of the Fallout lore. From Stimpaks that rapidly heal you to Mentats that increase your creativity, there were endless applications that could be made from various drugs. In vault 106, a concoction of hallucinogens were constantly pumped into the living quarters of the dwellers to see what effect it would have. While the final outcome isn’t clear, we do know that most of the people were subjected to increased violence. The drugs remained in the air for 200 years, so anyone who entered would begin to lose their grip on reality.

Vault 4 — Scientific Experiment

According to what we learned in the games, Vault 4 was the first populated vault. The experiment was simply it being run by scientists, with the ability to do whatever research they wanted. Thanks to the Fallout Prime series, we now know the extent of those experiments.

*As a note, the next section contains spoilers for the Prime Fallout show.*

Please no spoilers.
Image via Fallout on Prime on X (formerly Twitter)

Splicing humans with radiation-resistant species, the team in Vault 4 created the West Coast Gulper variant. People morphed into the mutated creatures. A pregnant woman gave birth to more of them, which subsequently ate her.

Not only was the Gulper made, but other experiments left the scientists’ descendants with abnormally placed appendages. At the time of the show, 220 years after the bombs dropped, the overseer is a cyclops, while another man has a second nose on his forehead.

Vault 92 — Medical Experiment

If you’re like me, then you hear white noise in everything. That’s the basics of what the inhabitants of Vault 92 experienced in their sleep. Originally, the white noise was targeted at musicians to see if there were possible benefits. The Overseer here added additional subliminal messaging that increased aggression and made all dwellers hear it in their sleep. Everyone went insane and killed each other.

Vault 77 — Social Experiment

Imagine it, one man, alone, locked in a giant vault with some puppets. As his only means of entertainment and social interaction, this man was subjected to solitary confinement with no end in sight. He lasted two years before he left the vault, his sanity broken from the extended period without other people. He even went on to become highly feared by Paradise Falls’ slavers.

Vault 112 — Social Experiment

While it was close between solitary confinement with puppets and the dastardly deeds of Stanislaus Braun, the virtual reality dictator’s vault won out as the most horrific in the Fallout franchise. Vault 112 was built for and overseen by Braun. There were multiple simulations he could operate, but none of the residents knew he had total control of them once they were loaded into VR.

He ended up torturing the occupants as Betty, a girl in the Tranquility Lane simulation. They couldn’t leave the simulation on their own, only moving on to another at his whim. When bored, he would kill each resident’s virtual persona, wipe their memory, and start again in another simulation. This went on for decades before the events of Fallout 3 took place.

Those are the 10 most disturbing Fallout vault experiments ranked. More vaults can always be added, so be sure to check this list in the future for any changes. If you’re in need of help finding different vaults, completing quests, or seeing how the show compares to the games, check out Fallout hub.


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Ashley Erickson
Ashley, otherwise known as Glitchiee, is an avid gamer of RPGs, TTRPGS, farming sims, and survival crafting games. Playing since she can remember, she started on the SNES, GameBoy Color, and collection 1st gen Pokemon cards. Using her passion for gaming, she's written about games for a combined total of 2 years.