Fallout 4 Pickman’s Quest Guide: Kill or Spare Pickman?

Are you wondering if you should kill or spare Pickman in Fallout 4?

by Gordon Bicker
Image: Attack of the Fanboy

Fallout 4 has nearly 200 quests in its base game alone to enjoy but there are some quests with a darker, more sinister tone hidden throughout — quests such as Pickman’s Gift. If you want a quest that will breathe new life into the term “horror” within the Commonwealth, then you don’t need to look any further. There is also a vital decision at the end of the quest and I will take you through if you should kill or spare Pickman in Fallout 4.

Fallout 4 Pickman’s Gift Quest Guide

Every longtime fan of the Fallout series will likely recall Vault 108 found in Fallout 3, a Vault which had tons of duplicate “Gary’s” all running about the one place. The feeling that players would have gotten from that Vault upon entry was a sense of mystery and almost unease. In the same way that Vault 108 is memorable, Pickman’s quest deserves the same praise for the quest’s setting and narrative.

How to Start the Pickman’s Gift Quest in Fallout 4

Before you start the Pickman Quest, I recommend that you have at least made your way into the central Boston city area in terms of story progress. You could automatically run down to the location at an early stage in the game but this is a quest that I think is best experienced when you have at least gotten familiar with the overarching factions and story of Fallout 4. When you are ready, you can visit the Pickman Gallery to start the quest.

Pickman Gallery Location

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Pickman Gallery is extremely close to Bunker Hill just across the river and Cabot House (another location highly worth visiting) is found nearby at the left of the Gallery. Make sure that you have a close-range weapon like the Combat Shotgun equipped before you enter as there will be a lot of close-quarter’s fighting.

Pickman Quest Walkthrough

When you enter the building, you will notice two Raiders standing at the broken brick wall in front of you. Eliminate both of them and you can also crouch while shooting in order to get extra sneak damage. After you take care of those enemies, walk into the Gallery room on your left filled with heads, disturbed paintings, blood-stained walls, and spikes.

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Investigate the body on the floor under the hook. Loot “Message to Jack” from the corpse. Open up your inventory and then scroll to your “Misc” section. Scroll down until you reach the Message to Jack, select it, and listen to the Holotape. This is when you will hear Pickman for the first time and clearly are able to work out that he is a serial killer within this section of the Commonwealth.

Progress through the house and make your way down into the basement then along the snaking underground tunnels which are filled with mines and Raiders. Keep pushing through and eventually, you will reach the area where Pickman is being threatened by the Raiders who are about to kill him.

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You will need to kill the Raiders to progress the quest anyways but afterward, you can speak to Pickman. This is where your choice comes into play.

Should You Kill or Spare Pickman in Fallout 4?

You can either choose to kill Pickman after his dialogue or spare him. The main thing to note about Pickman is that he thoroughly enjoys his “hobby” of collecting Raider’s heads and sees this as almost a kind of artistic representation. As you will know by this point, Raiders tend to always be enemies to you and so you may think that there is benefit in letting him live: almost like a form of pest control. However, I have broken each choice and outcome down for you below.

Note: There is no major story plot change with any decision you make in this quest, it is mainly just aesthetic.

Kill PickmanYou will eliminate Pickman and be able to loot his body for the key to the safe which is found behind the left-most (quest-marked) painting in the main gallery. You can obtain Pickman’s Blade from here. The blade does 48 damage and “Targets bleed for 25 points” extra damage. You will also be able to find armor along with the blade within the safe.
Spare PickmanPickman lives and likely continues his hobby of collecting heads in the lore of Fallout 4. Regardless of what choice you make, the game still lets you inside the safe behind the painting as Pickman will instead ask you to look at the painting upstairs if you spare him and give the key over. The only difference is that there will also be a Thank You note within Pickman’s safe. If you want the extra lore, you will have to choose this option.

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I personally chose to kill Pickman at the time I played through the quest for the first time. My reasoning behind this was that ultimately Pickman is someone who enjoys killing for mere sport and art. Even though his “hobby” is based around Raiders at that moment, it could potentially expand into other people which isn’t an inviting thought.

Nonetheless, the same could be said for the main protagonist who kills others all the time. But would your character take joy in creating a decoration of those you killed? Hopefully not, and that is why the decision to kill Pickman seemed most logical.

Authors Note: I started playing Fallout 4 around the time of its launch and have now enjoyed it on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. No matter how many times I visit Fallout 4’s world, I still find myself immersed.

- This article was updated on July 20th, 2023

About The Author

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Gordon is a contributing writer for Attack of the Fanboy, a Games Design (BA) Honours student, and a Video Game Ambassador. He has been writing at AOTF for over a year and a half, with four years of games writing experience for outlets like Green Man Gaming. When he's not busy, he'll no doubt be experiencing games, writing poetry, playing guitar, adventuring, or happily starting a new Skyrim playthrough! As an avid Final Fantasy XIV player, he also hopes that you'll gain a warm feeling from his community stories. Gordon has reported on Fallout 4 and Destiny 2, whose favorite genres include action RPGs, MMORPG's and First Person Shooters but is always experimenting with many other types of games.