The fallout shelter that would go on to be renovated and designated Vault 52 was originally constructed in 2054, five years prior to the construction of the LA Demonstration Vault. Originally part of “Project: Safehouse” it was designated as Safehouse 8. The plan was to build one Safehouse for each Commonwealth and the project became one of the earliest collaborations between the U.S. government and the Vault-Tec Corporation.
Safehouse 8 was a 50,000 sq foot shelter built inside the Springfield Underground commercial facility, a limestone quarry that tapped out in late 2020. The facility was located east of Interstate 44 and south of US Route 65 in Springfield, MO.
Halfway through construction of the 125 shelters originally ordered, Vault-Tec executives knew they wouldn’t be able to fill the order. It was determined to be cheaper to renovate the thirteen old Project: Safehouse shelters, designate them official Vault-Tec Vault facilities, and artificially inflate their numbers. Vaults 45 to 57 were former Project: Safehouse bunkers.
The biggest difference was in the size. The government contract required a one thousand person capacity per vault, but Project:Safehouse shelters were only built for a hundred people. When the final reports were turned in, Vault-Tec reported the entire five million square feet of the Underground as the Vault size. As such, the Government assigned nine-hundred people to a Vault that can’t possibly hold them all.
Game Master Timeline
October 23rd, 2077 – 6:28 am CST
The Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, Scott Cain, and the Commander of the US Air Force, Timothy Campbell, report sightings of possible Chinese submarines and aircraft approaching US territory.
The players, coming across this news, head to Vault 52. Arriving well before anyone else.
October 23rd, 2077 – 7:47 am CST
The four player characters arrive at Vault 52 and begin checking in… Only to learn it’s not nearly as big as advertised and is also vacant. There are no Vault-Tec staff at the location.
October 23rd, 2077 – 8:13 am CST
A Vault 52 monitor indicates that the Integrated Operational Nuclear Detection System (IONDS) reports four probable launches of ballistic missiles. The US Armed Forces go to DEFCON 2.
October 23rd, 2077 – 8:17 am CST
The Vault 52 monitor indicates when NORAD confirms the IONDS report. The US Armed Forces go to DEFCON 1.
A Vault-Tec automated alert goes out to anyone registered for stay in a Vault to begin preparations, but to not go to a Vault yet. This could be a false alarm.
October 23rd, 2077 – 8:26 am CST
Vault 52 reports that Response Scenario MX-CN91 is ordered.
A second Vault-Tec automated alert goes out, indicating that occupants head to their designated Vault immediately.
October 23rd, 2077 – 8:32 am CST
The first non-players begin arriving at Vault 52.
October 23rd, 2077 – 8:41 am CST
The Vault-Tec Monitoring System in Vault 42 reports that the a bomb has detonated on American soil, just outside of Washington DC.
October 23rd, 2077 – 8:59 am CST
A second bomb is reported outside of Boston, the monitoring system goes offline.
October 23rd, 2077 – 9:24 am CST
The first bomb lands near Springfield, MO. The inhabitants of Vault 52 feel the ground shake and hear the explosion.
October 23rd, 2077 – 9:34 am CST
The Great Blackout rolls across the midwest, Vault 52’s backup system fires to life and the Vault seals itself.
October 30th, 2077
A week after the initial blast, a black rain begins to fall, caused by the massive amounts of radioactive particle debris (mainly soot) from the nuclear firestorm a week earlier. Plants and animals both go rapidly into extinction.
November 25th, 2077
Captain Maxson, his men, and their families, arrive at the Lost Hills bunker a few weeks later, suffering many casualties along the way, including Maxson’s wife (but not his teenage son). The surviving soldiers go on to become the Brotherhood of Steel.
January 28th, 2078
Radiation levels become low enough for short exposure to the elements.
February 14th, 2078
The dwellers of East Coast Vault 87 are locked in airtight chambers and exposed to the FEV by the Vault’s Overseer and his security, who are simply, though callously, following the “plan” laid out by Vault-Tec. The vault’s population is transformed into hideous super mutants and centaurs.
October 23rd, 2080
The first effects of radiation are seen in the survivors. Widespread mutations occur with animals and humans alike. Those that survive the effects of the mutations are permanently changed. New species are created almost overnight.
July 4th, 2081
The Skynet AI, in Sierra Army Depot, becomes self-aware, according to its own records.
October 23rd, 2082
Five years after the Great War, some aspects of the world begin to calm down. Radiation and poison levels are still too high for a normal human to survive.
June 23rd, 2102
Richard Grey’s expedition (including Harold) finds the Mariposa Military Base and is summarily scattered and defeated by the mutant inhabitants. Grey is knocked into one of the vats of Forced Evolutionary Virus (FEV) by a robotic arm, and Harold is knocked unconscious, only to awaken later out in the wasteland.
January 1st, 2103 – 10:00 am CST
Vault 52 opens.