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Little Lamplight Caverns is a location in Fallout 3 that is completely populated by children younger then the age of 16.

Little Lamplight was originally founded by a group of Students who, during a school field trip, took refuge in the caverns while the bombs fell on the Capital Wasteland.

The existing rules of Little Lamplight is once a child reaches the age of 16, they are considered a "Mungo"(Adult), and forced to leave Little Lamplight and travel to Big Town, to live out their adult life.

Within the context of the game; very few children make it to Big Town, and don't tend to live long lives if they do make it. There also doesn't appear to be any indication that the adults of Big Town intend on bringing any newborn babies back to Little Lamplight.

Also within the context of the game very few people would know about Little Lamplight and it's residents. Mainly, the residents of Big Town, and the slavers of Paradise Falls.

So how has the population of Little Lamplight been replenished over the 200 years since the war and the original population of children in Little Lamplight?

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    Well, both sexes tend to hit puberty a few years before 16.... – jwodder Aug 20 '15 at 23:12
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It is never explained in game, so you can speculate a bit on possible explanations.

Simplest solution would suggest that they breed among themselves, but while under 16 girl CAN get pregnant (and I'm sure some do), the atmosphere suggest that kids live in a state before the sexuality kicks in - its more "Peter Pan clubhouse - we will never grow up!" rather than "Hot high school romance", so in my opinion most of new kids have to come from outside. Also, I am not so sure, would mothers be so happy to leave their children behind

The fate of Mungos (adults) sent to Big Town is rather sad - they are raided by slavers and Super Mutants - so we can assume that there wouldn't be many kids coming from them. There is also little chance that kids simply wander into the cave and as you pointed not many people know about its existence: just the Big Town occupants and... Super Mutants:

Now, please notice that we've never seen young Super Mutant, while there should be some since whole cities and vaults have been exposed to the Forced Evolution Virus. So we can assume that either FEV that turns humans into Super Mutants doesn't work on kids, that it turns them instantly into adult Mutants or... that Mutants don't expose kids to it. Now, since Super Mutants are sterile, then maybe Little Lamplights works as as a sort of breeding grounds/orphanage for neighbour Big Mutties? If they'd ride a city they will for sure find few kids surviving the fight and what the Mutant can do with them? Eat? Well, maybe.... But not every Mutant is evil baby-eater, so it is plausible to assume that someone akin to Lily Bowen or Tabitha would drop the "little ones" to the only safe place for kids they know.

Of course, its only a hypothesis, since there is nothing really supporting it, maybe only the fact that if you'll help the Big Town by teaching Mungos to hide, the Mutties raiding party seems almost disappointed saying "Where are you? Don't you want to be like us?"

  • I like the Super Mutant orphanage hypothesis. Very interesting. I don't really agree that we can safely assume kids aren't affected by the FEV. Just because you haven't seen something, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. (Wikipedia has a cool article on "Evidence of absence", I'd recommend a quick look) – Broots Waymb Aug 21 '15 at 14:44
  • So... you're saying that a bunch of 14-16 year olds, left completely to their own devices, wouldn't be breeding like little rabbits? – Omegacron Aug 21 '15 at 16:10
  • @DangerZone Well, that's true I can't really take it as a safe assumption. Still its plausible to say that "good" mutants wouldn't try to ruin someone's childhood, especially because they can't have their own children. – Yasskier Aug 21 '15 at 19:56
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    @Omegacron The whole atmosphere of the Little Lamplight looks more like "we will never grow up" Peter Pan pre-pubescent rather than "High school romance" or "Teenage mums on MTV" I'm sure they do have sex and even occasional pregnancy, but I really doubt it would be enough to keep the population. And they have access to Vault-Tek, which means birth control methods – Yasskier Aug 21 '15 at 20:03
  • Once in Vault 87, the Lone Wanderer can overhear two Super Mutants discussing collecting stronger men to make into stronger Super Mutants by putting them in "the green stuff". FEV – Mazura Aug 21 '15 at 22:15
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It is never explained in game so any answer is speculation

puberty and the ability to sexually reproduce begins around 12 or 13 possibly 14 maybe 15 however its likely that most females would be able to carry at least 1 child to term before age 16 and 1 male can impregnate several females

IIRC we dont see all of little lamplight it is likely that any infants and or breeding pairs would keep far away from an outsider

assuming a low infant mortality rate the population can remain fairly stable and even grow a bit

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Here's the answer that makes the most sense to me, which while speculative, is based on evidence we've seen around the wasteland.

You're a kid in the wastes, living with your parents in a small nomad tribe that happens to be travelling through the Capital Wasteland. The other children in the village talk about a story of a group of kids hiding out in a cave somewhere, save from all the dangers of the outside world. Plenty of passing traders have mentioned the tale.

The older members of the tribe laugh at the idea, but let the kids have their fun.

Everything changes when raiders attack.

Suddenly, you're alone, everyone you know is dead, and you only managed to survive by hiding in an empty crate tucked away in the back of a tent somewhere. Everyone you know is dead. Everything you know is burnt to the ground, your home is now just a pile of ashes with the sound of laughing raiders in the distance, escaping with their stolen goods.

Now the only hope you have is of the old stories, of a group of kids hiding out in a cave safe from the horrors of the world outside. It shouldn't be too hard to find. There are tourist maps all over the place with the location "Lamplight Caverns" marked on them.

Desperate and alone, you set out to find a place where you might be safe.

TL;DR Orphaned kids in the wasteland find their way to the caverns, and with the number of orphaned kids the wasteland produces, this should be enough to constantly replenish the number of kids in Little Lamplight

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I think it could be a little darker than people think. The Little Lamplight residents kill mungo travellers and kidnap their kids. They clearly have no problem killing "mungos" and some, like MacCreedy, are incredibly aggressive. I also imagine the occasional kid that is produced in Big Town are probably sent that way, too.

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