I've just been informed that a settlement of mine — Sunshine Tidings Co-op — needed defending, so I went there and witnessed my turrets make short work of 3 of my settlers; it turns out they were synths.

With the synths dead and the problem solved, I decided it was time for me to move on. Only, after fast-travelling, I received a notice that I had failed to defend the settlement. And now, according to my Pip-Boy, Sunshine Tidings Co-op only has 3 settlers instead of the 14 I had left it with.

So I decided to load a previous save game and wait for the actual attack to happen. I kept waiting one hour at a time for about 24 hours, and the attack never came. So far, whenever I came to defend a settlement, I either ended up right in the middle of the assault, or the attackers appeared after a few seconds following my arrival.

I don't believe I can actually defend the settlement this time. But why not? Am I supposed to discover another synth in hiding? Should I build even more turrets there? Is there anything I can do to avoid losing almost all of my settlers?

2 Answers 2


This happens. I've had an instance where there were definitely no enemies and in that instance you're just going to have to deal with it.

Essentially, explore the entire region around the settlement and see if you can find more enemies, if you can't, sit around for a bit and see what happens. If you have a siren then use it, see if the call to arms allows one of your settlers to see the enemies that are supposed to be attacking.

Settlement attacks are random rather than pre-determined which is why reloading the save didn't allow you to relive the attack.

Additionally, settler count and settlement statistics via the Pip Boy interface are not always correct, as discussed here in this question.

  • 3
    I've also had some instances where an attacker got stuck in the bushes or a built wall around Sanctuary and couldn't move. Even one remaining enemy can cause a settlement defense to fail. I had to keep firing a loud gun and try to get into 'caution' so I could hunt him down on the compass.
    – king14nyr
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 14:47
  • To add to this, I recently had an "attack" where no one was attacking and there was no enemy inside the settlement. I decided to go OUT of the settlement and look around. Upon killing a pack of ghouls nearby (who were just wandering around, they were NOT heading for the settlement at all) a prompt told me I had successfully defended the settlement.
    – CoqPwner
    Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 15:33
  • Everytime I get this issue it seems to be at Sunshine Tidings Co-op. I hate that place :P Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 22:00
  • You could just let everybody at Sunshine Tidings die, then you won't get quests to defend them
    – kalina
    Commented Jan 8, 2016 at 11:52
  • I watched a video on YouTube about synths. They tried a few experiments and in one of the versions managed to trigger the "full" synth attack, as opposed to "just" the synth infiltrators that you and he saw originally. Perhaps if you can trigger this "full" synth attack you'll be able to properly defend against it. It seems like the "only" 3 infiltrators attacking is a bug, as they /should/ be backed up by a squad of synths. The video is a bit long, but goes slow without skipping so we can see every detail. youtube.com/watch?v=1hZ1O_Qzv8M Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 17:33

Pip boy shows wrong information all the time and shows some crazy numbers that are very often incorrect. If you suspect that your sttlers could die, you should always fastravell and check it yourself. Te only way to get 99% proper information about settlers is when you are in the location in workshop mode. Also if you got to the place and attack does not happen, you can try some tips that sometimes can trigger it. Run around the place. Sometimes enemies can spawn but they don`t attack untill you trigger them by coming enough close. When you are in the location open pipboy and fastravel to this location again (yes, you can fastravel to location you are already in).

  • Do you have any evidence to support this?
    – ave
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 21:20
  • It's a fact. The evidence to support it is that loads of people experience it. See the link in kalina's answer.
    – boomstick
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 17:27

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