Last time around, we watched as Athena tried to be the big hero, succeeded in saving two people, but lost her best ever friend in the process. Funny how that keeps happening to her. And me. Best friends dying all over the place, reminds me of the Dark Souls run we did. Maybe she can make a new best friend though! Is it possible? Is Athena as shallow as Exodus was, to be making best friends at the drop of a hat? Find out today!
So, we’re done with Shady Sands. Done. Never going back. Until Fallout 2, at the very least, but that’s not for what, 90 more years? Never. Going. Back. We’re no closer to getting a water chip than we were when we left the vault, so it’s time to go onward for more information. Our next target is one of the places Ian, rest his poor soul, clued us into, Junktown. It takes us a good couple days walking to reach.
We get there, and first thing is the guard complaining about the gun we’re carrying around. Athena’s pretty nice, so she puts it in her pocket and chats with the guard. Local law is that you don’t draw a weapon except in self defense, in which case, it’s frontier justice. Seems fair to me. After we appease the guard as such, we start to walk in through the town gate made of wrecked cars. It’s a pretty cool gate, really.
The guard stops us. Again. Apparently, they don’t let people in at night, for no real reason. There’s no curfew or anything, they’re totally fine with you walking around at night, they just don’t want you walking around town. Luckily, Athena, the woman who approached them with a high caliber gun in hand wearing bloodstained spiky metal armor and who just recently lost the only friend she made on the wastes and might be a little unhinged due to that manages to convince the guard that she’s totally harmless, so he lets her in.
This would be really cool if there were anything at all to do in Junktown at night. But there isn’t so we just wander around.
First thing we do is talk to Lars, captain of the guard. He gives us the lay of the political situation around there. Basically, there’s Killian, the town mayor and general store owner, who seems a decent fellow, and Gizmo, the casino mogul and noted evil fat man, at each others throats. Gizmo owns a gang of toughs, the Skulz, who cause trouble around town. The guards would love to take them down, but they can’t actually prove anything they’ve done, and Killian’s a real by the book guy so he won’t do anything until he can justify it. If, you know, some unusually charismatic wasteland wanderer wouldn’t mind digging up some evidence, you know, they certainly wouldn’t mind it.
There’s a jail here. The guard there is keeping people from going in or out. Athena doesn’t push the matter, although she does question why a guard would want to keep people from going in to a jail. The answer is very boring, so I move on.
The general store is closed, because it’s night. The hotel is closed, because it’s night, and apparently if you need a bed you can just shut up until morning. The bar is boring, because it’s night, and apparently the big rocking time at the bar is sometime around noon. The wasteland is weird. The casino is boring because Athena sucks at gambling and it wouldn’t be worth the points to build that skill. There is one thing we can do that’s not boring, though!
And that’s around this house. Phil and a random peasant are hanging around here. It’s Phil’s house. Who Phil is doesn’t matter. What does matter is why Phil can’t get into his house. There’s a dog there. Phil tries to approach the dog, the dog snarls and snaps at him until he backs off. Phil begs for our help with dealing with the dog. Apparently, a dark haired guy with a leather jacket and a shotgun came with this dog through the impossibly dangerous territory to the east, confronted Gizmo, and died in the attempt. If you have an active imagination, that description might sound familiar to you.
So Mad Max tried to clean up Junktown and failed in the attempt, leaving his dog behind. The leather jackets in this game are all one-sleeved as an homage to Mad Max, and wouldn’t you know it, I happened to hold onto our old leather jacket after our armor upgrade. Man, I am a tactical genius. We slip that on, the dog takes us for her new companion, and Phil can get back into his house.
So look at that! We did make a new best friend! We’ll call her a name befitting her status as our new best friend. Dogmeat. Perfect. Dogmeat is our new ally. She’ll follow us through literally everything we face in the future. She’s great at knocking enemies down, and is very fast, able to attack multiple times per turn, but she doesn’t deal or take a whole lot of damage. She’s also the hardest ally to keep alive, as we can’t give her any sort of instructions and she has no inventory, so given that we didn’t do so well with keeping Ian alive, that probably doesn’t speak to well for her.
The bar sucks right now, but there’s not a whole lot else to do, so we go there anyways. Athena chats with the owner, Neal, for a bit. Neal’s a widower, and keeps the ashes of his dearly departed wife at the end of the bar, I guess for the ambiance, or something. Athena downs a whiskey, because she’s bored.
This leaves her a little unprepared for when one of the bargoers, a members of the Skulz, starts getting handsy with Neal’s waitress and ex-girlfriend, so Neal pulls out a gun and completely blows him away. You know, between that and the fact that he leaves his dearly departed on the freakin’ bar, I’m guessing he has some attachment issues. Seems a little clingy.
Athena follows the waitress, Trish, back to the hotel after than incident. She tries to chat her up a bit, but Trish isn’t having it outside the bar. The owner of the hotel is stationed behind the front desk, but refuses to sell Athena a room on the grounds that it’s too late at night. Because apparently, once it’s dark out, nobody has need for a hotel room. Athena responds by playing on her Pipboy for eight hours in the hotel lobby.
Next morning, once the general store is open, we go in and talk with Killian, town mayor and merchant. He tells us a bit about what’s going on in town, basically a repeat of what we heard from Lars. We sell some of the stuff we don’t need to him in exchange for stimpaks and a few caps. As soon as we’re done, someone new enters the shop.
He’s not very friendly. Immediately after declaring his alliance to Gizmo, he pulls out a rifle and takes a shot at Killian. Killian gets winged, and takes minor damage. Not enough to stop him from pulling out his own gun and returning fire.
Athena gets the next move. She steps up to point blank range and shows off a gameplay feature I’ve been looking forward to. Now, by default, when you fire your weapon, you aim for the chest. Makes sense, center mass and all that. You can target other body parts if you spend an extra action point, though. With the exception of the head and eyes, all other body parts take less damage than the chest, but hitting them there may have some extra effects. In this case, we shoot Kenji here in the groin, which has the extra effect of making me very happy with myself.
The turns that follow show Dogmeat and all of Killian’s guards piling onto the assassin. Athena ends up finishing him off with a critical hit, because the extra effects of critical hits to the groin are that they’re likely to knock the opponent down and they have a higher chance of critical hits on men. Apparently women don’t have anything particularly sensitive down there. We pull Kenji’s rifle off his corpse, and Killian pulls us aside afterwards.
Basically, as Lars had already explained, Junktown isn’t able to hold both Killian and Gizmo. Both want the other out, and Killian knows Gizmo sent the assassin, but he’s not going to do anything without proof. Yes, you heard that right. The master sleuth Killian heard the assassin yell out that he works for Gizmo, and slyly deduced that he in fact works for Gizmo. Ace. Detective. Recognizing that Gizmo’s going to be a lot less guarded against someone he doesn’t know is alligned with the mayor, Killian gives us a bug and a tape recorder, and offers us anything in the store in exchange for evidence against Gizmo. Athena takes the job.
Of course, she hasn’t actually slept in a good long while, and the hotel’s open now. It might be handy to kill some time after Gizmo’s failed assassin, too. Give him some time to stew in it. So we go to the hotel, and buy a room for a night.
The next morning, the hotel owner wakes us up. The hotel’s sellbaby, which Google doesn’t believe is a thing, has been taken hostage by a violent client. The owner begs us to help. I don’t know why she thought we’d be able to do anything, but Athena and her vicious metal armor and glistening silver gun head off to see if she can settle things.
Athena is good at talking. She starts working her best. The raider seems to be buying things, opening up, and asks for multiple breaks to think about the things she says. He slowly, slowly seems to be coming around. Then Athena takes a few steps too far into the room, and he opens fire at her. Athena responds by blowing him away. The lady of the night is pissed at that, saying that all the man who was threatening to kill her needed was someone to talk to, but everyone else seems pretty happy that it’s done. And frankly, given he was a raider, this probably saved some lives later on. So yes, this was a total tactical decision, and not me forgetting how close he was going to let us get. Put the thought completely out of your head.
Finally, before we visit Gizmo, we stop by the bar. Now that it’s daytime, there’s some more interesting people there. The first of which is a strong-looking man wearing leather armor with a trench coat and a gas mask. If you’ve played some more recent games in the series, this might sound familiar to you.
This is Tycho. Tycho’s grandfather was a member of the Desert Rangers, and he taught him everything he knows. He’s a big throwback to Wasteland, the 1980’s RPG that inspired the Fallout series in the first place. The Desert Rangers connection and his appearance was originally supposed to be a fun reference, but later games made that much more concrete, to the point that the Desert Rangers align with the New California Republic and show up in Fallout New Vegas as seen above. They’re really good at wasteland survival, and Tycho shares a drink with Athena and teaches her a few tricks, boosting her Outdoorsman skill.
She also chats with the singer in the bar, and drops a tip in his hat. They discuss some more areas around here, and in doing so, we learn the location of the town of Adytum and the headquarters of the reclusive Brotherhood of Steel.
Finally, we head into Gizmo’s casino. There’s an assortment of games of chance here, but they don’t have any new gameplay and Athena’s gambling skill is not high enough to have the dice work out in our favor, so we ignore them and head right back into Gizmo’s office.
Gizmo is a very pleasant man. Athena informs him that his assassin failed. He says he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. So Athena gets a little more into the spy-speak, suggesting that somebody hired someone who failed in that job, and they might want to hire a more skilled problem solver to take care of it.
Gizmo takes the bait. Tries to threaten Athena not to double-cross him a couple times while he’s at it, because that apparently makes him feel better. Athena questions why he wants Killian dead, and Gizmo says it’s just straight business. With Killian out of the way, Gizmo stands to make more money.
Of course, Athena was wearing a tape recorder the whole time, so we’ve got a good, solid recording of Gizmo surreptitiously hiring someone to take Killian out. We take this back to Killian, and Gizmo’s days of styling and criming in Junktown are done. But you know, maybe we don’t do that. Maybe we actually take Gizmo up on his offer. Killian didn’t run that extensive of a store, so his offer of anything we want from it lacks a bit of value, whereas 1000 caps we can take anywhere in the wastes.
End Gizmo, or end Killian. What do you think we should do?