How can I fail quests if I haven't started them yet, or even accepted them?

For example I went to prison to save the new sheriff for Primm, and while killing the Powder Gangers I got the message that I have failed the quest "I fought the law". Same thing happened again while cleaning Vault 3, I killed a fiend named Motor Runner while helping NCR and same thing happened, I failed some other quest apparently related to him. Last example, I went to Freeside and entered the laser gun store (can't remember the name now) and all of sudden everyone started shooting at me! Also I failed some quest.

Can anyone explain me why this happens? I can't access Gamefaqs, so I can't read articles in there.

  • It is like you mentioned, quests can be bound to certain locations, items or characters. If you were to kill said character who was essential for quest the result is failure. Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 13:12
  • 7
    Just to add, its practically inevitable this to happen. in F:NV loads of quests just make you go against someone that will give you a quest. Either you are friends with one or the other. This is arguably one of the things that make the game great! Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 17:28
  • If I remember correctly you can complete Motor Runners quests though, you just have to do the drugs deal first. But yeah in a lot of cases you are correct, it fails them. That's the great thing about branching quests. :)
    – MattR
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


It's because you have killed off what I'll call "objective markers" for future quests. What I mean is if there is a quest related to you interacting with a person, and you kill that person before the quest starts / you complete it, then you fail in that particular quest - regardless of whether you knew about it beforehand.

For Motor Runner there are a couple of different quests such as helping the NCR and a drug related quest for the Khans. The quests are as follows

Aba Daba Honeymoon

Bounty Killer (the one the OP was most probably doing)

Killing him off will fail the latter of the two in your case.

  • 1
    So, for people more familiar with Skyrim (like me), F:NV has few or no essential NPCs, and prefers to fail quests rather than preventing the player from killing people. Skyrim usually takes the opposite approach.
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 1:19
  • @Kevin Companions on non-hardcore mode, Victor until you enter New Vegas for the first time, Yes-Man, and all child NPCs are the only NPCs that are essential. Everybody else can be killed.
    – SGR
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 9:32

That's ok. It's mean to be.
There is a lot of exclusive quests in New Vegas.
Finishing some (or rampage killing) will make you fail other automatically.
So yes, It would make more sense they let you in the ignorance of the quest, and that the npc react differently when you first talk to him.

But most of the player rather knows right now the consequences of the action.
If you had to wait 5 hours of gameplay to know you won't be able to complete the quest because you killed the guy, you probably be pissed.
Even if it make way more sense.

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