"I’d be careful of anyone who claims to change things. They might alter the course of the boulder as it rolls down the hill, but it’s still going to hit who ever’s at the bottom."
Tanner Collins was a Brotherhood of Steel Knight who left his chapter in the company of The Boss in order to find a cure to his terminal illness, an advanced stage of cancer, which was rumored to be located at the World's Fair. Tanner is exposed to FEV to cure the illness, which in turn made him a psyker. Tanner appears in Fallout: New York "At World's Fair," Fallout: Prophecy, and in The Legends of the Wastes.
Tanner hails from the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel, operating around Chicago. Thus, since he was raised in the most diverse and accepting Brotherhood, he is very kind and considerate. Also, since his Brotherhood chapter has faced no real threats in the last century, he is a stranger to violence. However, this is not entirely the fault of his environment. Tanner has implied that he is much more of a thinker than a fighter.
His father, Atticus Collins, is the Elder of the Midwestern Chapter, having risen to the rank when Tanner was only a year old. Tanner's mother also died around that time, and Tanner wears her wedding ring and marriage band on his finger. Tanner also has an older sister.
During a sort of field trip, where the young squires left the safety of their bunker for the dangers of the radioactive surface, Tanner's radiation suit ripped, exposing him to lethal amounts of gamma radiation. He would go on to develop terminal cancer, and was seemingly resigned to death, until the Boss arrived. The Boss spoke with Tanner's father and agreed to take Tanner on a search for a cure.
Fallout: New York "At World's Fair"
On their way into the fair, Tanner and the Boss argue briefly, over trivial things, until Tanner suffers an episode, a cause of his illness- seizure-like attack that can range from leaving him winded to spitting up blood. Tanner and the Boss have a unique relationship. Tanner completely trusts the Boss with his safety, and leaves all decision making to the ghoul, but at the same time he desperately wants things done his way. The Boss rarely speaks, leaving Tanner starved for conversation, and so when they run into Pan and several other Wastelanders, he is overjoyed to be able to speak with them. The group travel to RobCo and are met with Clive, who Reming really wanted to the group to meet. Both Clive and Reming's prize, a Protectron of some value, are imprisoned behind a set of bolted mag-lock doors. Clive informs the group that he will reward them if they set out for the Science Building and retrieve the Quantum Link for him. The Boss agrees, only if Clive repays him with information. The group sets off for the Science Building, unknowing of what is ahead.
The group first treks through the zoo. Tanner converses with Kayleigh and Evangeline Winfield, the latter just recently joining the group. He begins to build a rampart with Kayleigh, the two getting along quite well, as Tanner picks up on her humor.
The group explores the science building, and recovers the tech Clive wants. However, upon returning to Clive, and delivering the tech, the group learns Clive is an AI who they just handed full control of the park. They eventually manage to shut him offline, but only after the Boss apparently dies and the group goes their separate ways. Tanner and Pan set off together, and eventually become married.
Tanner receives psyker training from a man named Mathias. He was made a psyker by the FEV treatment that saved his life. It is revealed that Tanner has a child with Pan, but he has never met he/she, as he set off before they were born. Tanner is hunting the Boss, who now goes by Hades, who survived the destruction of Clive and was driven made by his own use of psychic power. Tanner intends to kill Hades, since it's what the Boss would want if he were still in control of himself. Tanner discovers only he is capable of defeating Hades for good.
Tanner tracked Hades to the Royal Wasteland. There, he attempted to get information from the Brotherhood of Steel, but when they attempted to imprison him, he killed six Knights and the current elder, Elder Johnson, who was later replaced by Elder Christian Brosch. Tanner then went to Mercer Island, where he stayed the next three months, trying to get information on Hades location out of the Yellow Jester, until the Outsiders showed up. When the Yellow Jester was revealed to be the Crimson King, Tanner realized that the reason the King had kept him there was so that he would meet the Outsiders when they arrived. The King had apparently anticipated, not the Outsider's arrival, but the arrival of people like them. Angered by the King's stalling, he left soon after the Ousiders did, and went his own way.
He met up with William and Tyrus later, saving their lives from the Brotherhood of Steel. They continued together to Beacon Enterprise, then to the Undercity, then back to Beacon Enterprises, before heading to the Cause. In a climatic battle in the Undercity, Tanner finally managed to defeat Hades with the help of the Outsiders.
A Thing Well Done
Tanner and Cable arrive in the town of Stateline, a settlement on the Nevada--NCR border, thus making it uncontrolled territory. They inform the town sheriff that they're there to take care of a trio of Nightkin that have been raiding Stateline, although the sheriff is uncooperative. Tanner and Cable head out to find the Nightkin. That night, Tanner gets drunk and undeservedly berates Cable. The following morning they arrive at the Nightkin's encampment, but Tanner learns that the Nightkin were not raiding Stateline. They went into town in search of Stealth Boys, but the sheriff attacked them and drove them off. He leads them back to Stateline where he removes the sheriff from office with minimal violence, and advises the Nightkin to peacefully join human society, rather than incite conflict. Tanner and Cable reconcile, Tanner deciding that despite the curse his powers bring, he can still be a force for good.
As they leave Stateline, Agent Miller arrives and uses his knowledge of Tanner's friends and family to compel the psyker to join his newborn coalition. Tanner and Cable leave with him for parts unknown.
The Legends of the Wastes
Four years since Fallout: Prophecy, Tanner is a more confident, less depressed version of himself. The Boss has been laid to rest and he's trying to turn over a new leaf. Cable believes he can be a hero, even if Tanner doesn't quite believe it himself. Running into his friends from Seattle, Tanner's depression begins to resurface as he is forced to use his ability more. He's running into old friends too in the form of Clyde Horton, Alexander Pitt, Evangeline Winfield, and Kayleigh Carruthers.
“Of course. Violence as a last resort. The first step in conflict resolution is using your words.”
“But it never works.”
“And that won’t ever stop me from trying.”
--Tanner and Cable, discussing how to deal with a group of Nightkin.
In his first appearance, Tanner is out-going and friendly. Since the Boss is silent and frustrated easily, Tanner is starved of conversation when he finally runs into the other group members, and is elated to finally talk to people. He makes friends easily and is very likable. However, he is uncomfortable with social confrontation and prefers to not argue with people. However, this does not mean he won't stand up for himself. He is assertive, but not to the point that he will shout and insult the instant his pride is damaged. In fact, Tanner doesn't have a large ego or is prideful at all, instead living the boasting to other people while he thinks out problems instead of solving them with force. He also is embarrassed easily- when ever one makes a remotely unchaste remark (such as calling the image of nude women to mind) he blushes furiously. Tanner is very earnest, he rarely hides his emotions. He also is honest, having a hard time keeping even secrets that could be endanger his life if they got out. He is very empathetic, feeling sympathy for anything he has to use his weapons against. He isn't hardened at all, and is very trusting, always assuming the best people, and is also very optimistic. He has the utmost faith they will find a cure for his illness. However, since he should already be dead, as his illness has progressed to the point that it could kill him at any time, he has accepted his death, and doesn't think heavily on it. Instead, he tries to make the best of whatever time he may have left, and looks on the positive side- if he actually is dying, he can guilt the Boss into doing things his way.
As the child of a Brotherhood of Steel Elder, Tanner has been training as a warrior from birth, taught by some of the best trainers there are and with access to some of the best technology that there is, such as training simulations. As such, he has remarkable combat skills, being proficient with firearms and in hand-to-hand combat. However, he lacks any experience what so ever, and so his competence had never been put to the test.
By the time of Tanner's Tale, and the Boss' betrayal, Tanner has become a much colder and harder person. While still possessing a moral code and a good heart, he is shown to threaten people: such as when Mathias says he should stop Tanner from drawing his imaginings of what his unborn son looks like, Tanner dares him to try. He also kills with little regard, cutting down several men with knives. This is also a demonstration of the martial skill he has a acquired, and is obvious a much more dangerous person by this point. Despite still being the same boy he was during World's Fair, Tanner has indeed changed. His appearance is more rugged, his hair is unkempt and he has grown out a light beard. He also increased in physical size, likely from training non-stop, leaving the thin youth he was behind entirely behind. He has also grown two more inches.
Tanner possesses great conviction and determination. He is always certain on who he is, if not what he's going to do, and rarely expresses doubt in his abilities. This is demonstrated by Tanner's dedication to stopping Hades. The instant Tanner learned his abilities were the key to stopping Hades, he made it his personal mission to do so. And through out Fallout: Prophecy Tanner expresses numerous times to the Outsiders his certainty he can stop Hades, and that they will be able to defeat Kheiro. It is hinted that Tanner's suffers from depression, likely a result of everything he has lost and suffered taking it's toll on him.
By the time of Fallout: Prophecy Tanner has become an alcoholic and hellbent on completing his mission. He goes as far as to waste three months in the Crimson King's court, hoping for information. He also decides not to help the Outsiders, as they can offer him nothing. However, despite this, he still rescues William and Tyrus later on. Once defeating Hades, Tanner expresses a weariness with his ten year long mission and indecision on what to do next. He eventually elects to mentor Cable, as the Boss had mentored him.
In A Thing Well Done Tanner has come into his own as a do-gooder. Having cleaned up his act--he's now clean shaven and trying to quit drinking--he and Cable going about the wastes, putting an end to supernatural or mutant threats where they find them. Tanner expresses a discomfort with Cable's confidence in his ability to control his psyker powers and is shown to not have completely accepted his role as a hero. However, he himself remains confident in his abilities and his morals, despite a drunken outburst and a brief spell of self-doubt. Tanner is still struggling somewhat from depression, but less so, as he hasn't had anything to feel sad about recently. As always, he attempts to solve his problems without violence, and manages to be successful in doing so this time.
Relationship with the Boss
"Tanner mouth twisted into a bittersweet expression. He both loved and hated this man. Hated him so, so much for what he'd done, for what he'd taken from him. But loved him all the same."
--Fallout: Prophecy (Part 9)
Tanner has a complicated relationship with the Boss. While the Boss mentored him and saved his life, it was Hades who forced Tanner to begin his crusade. Although technically Tanner can go home anytime, his own personal sense of duty keeps him chasing Hades. Because of that reason he holds Hades responsible for stealing his chance at a normal life, despite the fact he would've died without the Boss.
Tanner defines himself by his relationship to the Boss. It was because of Hades he had to abandon his wife and child. It's because of the Boss he became who he is, and ended up meeting his wife. A whole twelve years of Tanner's life were dedicated to the Boss, either through following the man's orders or hunting him down as Hades, and so he has left a huge impact on who Tanner is as a person. A lot of what Tanner respects and values were things the Boss valued. Upon Hades' final death, Tanner elects to try and fill the Boss' shoes to the best of his ability. He begins this by taking Cable under his wing.
Tanner is a psyker, with the ability to "control" light, called photokinesis. This is evidently done through incredibly precise and complex manipulations of quintillions or sextillions of photons. Tanner isn't aware of this process, he merely thinks and light bends to his will, often literally. Tanner's control over these photons is not perfect. He is capable of altering the speed of light, how bright light is, how dense light is, and the direction light is moving. This allows him to, in turn, change the speed of objects light is hitting, create solid objects from light, blind people or shroud a room in darkness, or turn away lasers. Tanner is even capable of deflecting gunfire, if he exerts himself, or limited flight.
Tanner cannot use his photokinesis to directly harm people. The exception to this was Hades, who Tanner was only capable of harming because of Hades' status as a Glowing One. This persisted even after Hades had adsorbed more people and become a full fledged mutant abomination, akin to the Master. This is because what Tanner can't change is the frequency of light--if could do that, he could change it's color, and create beams of lasers. Currently, this lies outside his abilities.
The strength of Tanner's photokinesis is limited by it's light source. The brighter the light source, the more powerful the changes he can make, the more he can do. Tanner's power level is constant when outside, as the sun, stars, and moon all provide consistent light, but inconsistent when undercover or indoors. If it is dark enough-- a room with no light or a night sky with cloud cover-- Tanner's psychic ability will be completely neutralized. Light needs to reach Tanner's eyes for him to use it. This limits him from being able to simply use the light in another room or on the other side of the planet. Tanner's ability can be countered easily by a completely blacked out blindfold.
If Tanner overuses his photokinesis he risks going insane, akin to what happened to Hades and almost every other psyker, including the Master and his own psykers. This is demonstrated during the penultimate part of Fallout: Prophecy where Tanner begins to become very drained while using his photokinesis to protect the Outsiders from gunfire. Eventually, overusing his ability would cause a psychotic break upon which he would have difficulty reconciling reality with his own imagination and begin to hear voices that would tell him to commit out of character actions. Tanner has so far avoided this and managed to come back from the brink every time.
Tanner has become so proficient at deflecting lasers that he is capable of doing so subconsciously.
Tanner also revealed the ability to reverse mutations, returning Russel Washington to a normal human. However, because of his extreme age, and since he was no longer a super mutant or a ghoul, he shortly died. Tanner's ability to reverse mutations is not tied to his photokinetic ability. It is unknown if this ability works on mutants other than Glowing Ones or psykers.
- "When someone has the upper hand, break it."
- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure. And I'm not lacking in either."
- "I'm a man who's lived through things he shouldn't have."
- "I’m no different than you or anyone else. Just another meatbag with an expiration date. There’ll be a time when you’ll wish there was more bad in us than good, because good… good lets you down in the end."
- "It’s reckless, thinking you and you alone have the capability to fix everything. It’s reckless and arrogant. There’s no one with that kind of power."
- "There's gotta be more to it all than barely scraping by, hoping for an end that doesn't come from a bullet in your stomach. Maybe I'll start on some pretentious quest for self-discovery. Maybe I'll try to quit drinking. Maybe I'll go back home, who knows? But I'm no good at 'just survival.'"
- Pan nicknamed Tanner "Wendy," likely because he was the first person of the opposite gender she encountered at the start of their quest.
- The Boss only intended for Tanner to carry an asymptomatic version of the Forced Evolutionary Virus. But because of Tanner's tumors, several of which were in his brain, and previously irradiated nature, he became a psyker.
- Tanner's tumors still existed in his body, they just became benign instead of malignant, their growth stopped by the FEV. By the time of Fallout: Prophecy he is likely in remission and completely tumor free. Were he some how cured of his mutation, his cancer would return. In addition to this, like a Super Mutant, he cannot get ill and is incapable of physically aging.
- The Gun That Won the West is Tanner's weapon of choice. He had it designed for usage against Hades.
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part I
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part II
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part III
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part IV
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part V
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part VI
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part VII
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part VIII
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part IX
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part X
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part XI
- Fallout: New York "At World's Fair" - Part XII
- Tanner's Tale (Part 1/3)
- Tanner's Tale Part (2/3)
- Tanner's Tale Part (3/3)
- Fallout: Prophecy (Part 4)
- Fallout: Prophecy (Part 6)
- Fallout: Prophecy (Part 7)
- Fallout: Prophecy (Part 8)
- Fallout: Prophecy (Part 9)
- A Thing Well Done
- The Legends of the Wastes (Part 1)
- The Legends of the Wastes (Part 2)
- The Legends of the Wastes (Part 3)
The following are images of Tanner created using Fallout 4.