Going Down, Fallout-Style

Hey, boys and girls. It’s that time again. What time? Fallout time.

So last time, we had a bit of an abbreviated session where we decided we want some sick power armor and now we’re in a hole in the ground in an irradiated hellscape.

But it’s not just any hole in the ground! This is the West-Tek Weapons Research Facility, which we don’t know yet but sorry, I’m bad at spoilers. Otherwise known as the Glow. Because it’s so irradiated, that things glow here. Athena popped some pills, so she’s probably alright. Or is she? Find out below!

Yeah, she’s alright. Sorry. I’m bad at spoilers.

I’m also bad at screenshots too, because looking things over again, I didn’t take enough. So I’m just going to have to do the writer thing here, and paint you all some pictures with my words.

Outside the giant hole in the ground, there’s a dead loser. I’m not kidding. The game actually calls the poor sap that. Inside, we find corpses all over the place. Some of which look like they’ve been here a while. Some of which not so much. There’s a lot of corpses that look out of place here. Some people that are obviously from the outside world. It seems the Brotherhood have been sending their random wannabe joiners out here for a while. Probably not been getting many back.

Athena’s going to turn that right on its head.

So, there are four main dangers here. The first, and the most obvious, is the radiation. This is the only place in the game where we have to worry about radiation, but it is a doozy here. Athena’s endurance is on the low side, so even making it here without being struck with radiation poisoning takes some doing. Much less hanging around here. I brought just a bit over the bare minimum needed to get through here, but any drug is going to lose its effect with time, Rad-X included.

Luckily, time proceeds really slowly when we’re dungeon diving. As long as we don’t do anything stupid, we’ll be fine. Granted, Athena’s a night person, and it’s daylight out, so the chances of us doing something stupid have increased, but she’s still much smarter than the average bear, so trust me, we’ll be fine.

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The second danger is that the first floor is littered with traps. Dogmeat and Athena both have enough skill with traps to detect when they’re near, but not enough to do anything about them. Especially because Dogmeat never stops blasted moving around! We trip quite a few as we make our way around the giant gaping hole in the center of the facility.

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As you might expect from a weapons research facility, the Glow is loot heaven. We’re just scratching the surface on the first floor, but already we collect some high tech equipment, some bullets, and some skill-boosting books. Athena’s tempted to read them right now, but that would be one of those stupid things we talked about earlier. I’m a night person too, and I’m playing this game at night, so my intelligence is heightened. I’m able to avoid the temptation.

There’s a dead Brotherhood of Steel member near a computer terminal, in full power armor. Athena gets excited, but no. It’s seals aren’t sound, and it’s let in so much radiation it killed the person inside of it already. It’s probably a deathtrap. A sick, sick deathtrap. The brother is carrying two things of interest. A yellow keycard, and a holodisc in which he recorded his last moments. With the holodisc, we could go back to the Brotherhood and prove we made it in and out of the Glow, as required for initiation. I mean, we could do that, if you missed what I said earlier about loot heaven. This is probably the best place to get cool stuff in the game, outside of maybe the Brotherhood themselves. A lot of the very best stuff is going to be useless to Athena, because you guys tagged her small guns skills in the beginning and I want to respect that instead of turning her into a mini-gun toting she-warrior anyway. But there’s still a handful of very important things I want to pick up here.

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The holodisc itself details a rather grisly scene for the poor fellow who held it. A contingent of Brotherhood folks were investigating this place. Had no trouble with the first two levels of the facility, but tripped some security sensors on the third, and had to fight their way out through a bunch of battle bots. This poor fellow was separated from the rest of his crew, noticed his armor was no longer air tight and thus no longer radiation-proof, and succumbed. Not pleasant.

But hey, what say we just wander into the same danger he fell to, eh? The terminal next to him has some access to the power controls of the facility, but the primary power is non-operable and we leave the emergence power alone. It’s at least powering the elevators, which we use the keycard he was carrying to access. The doors were electrified, because apparently just not opening isn’t enough to keep people out, but the keycard takes care of that. We head down to the second level.

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On the second level, we find robots. And also traps that we notice but can’t do anything about so we just endured them, but robots. Not just any robots. These are the same types of robots that cut the Brotherhood apart. Security robots. Deathbots. They might have lasers or something. And if the Brotherhood in their sick power armor couldn’t stand up to them, what chance does Athena in her lame metal spiky punk armor, Tycho in his leather armor, and Dogmeat in her no armor stand?

Turns out, a whole lot. See, if you know anything about robots, you know they need power to operate. And apparently the emergency power isn’t enough, so we can just walk through. Let me rephrase that. We can just walk through. The intended course of events is for us to reach the depths of the lab, kick start the power, then fight our way out.  Athena thinks about it.  But remember her stat scores?  High in agility, intelligence, perception, and charisma?  You might notice that she’s not high in the honorable battle stat.  So instead of giving them a fighting chance later, Athena starts a fight with them right as they are now.

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Tycho and Athena open fire on the collapsed robots. Occasionally, one will get up and spout off a one-liner, because that was an important enough function to supply some emergency power to, but otherwise, they don’t fight back. Bullets cascade on them, and they do nothing about it as their circuitry fries.

Which makes it all the odder when we start losing this battle.

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It starts with Athena making a slip of the finger and accidentally hitting Dogmeat when she was aiming for a bot. Tycho makes the same mistake, hitting Athena. Then Tycho misses a robot and shoots Dogmeat too.   Then Tycho does it again.

I want to reiterate. These bots are absolutely defenseless. There is nothing they can do to stop us from plugging them full of wholes. We still need to take a break and heal up. We were actually dangerously close to losing Dogmeat from that.

We wipe out the robots, of course, in our completely just and honorable and fair battle. But we need to expend some stimpaks to do so.

Number of times today we’ve shot ourselves while fighting completely defenseless enemies today: 4

For valiantly defeating our enemies in glorious combat, we’re even granted experience points for that endeavor.

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The second floor is much the same as the first. A few scattered rooms and traps around, corpses both old and not-so-old interspersed on the floor. Some of them have loot. We refill our supply of explosives in case you guys want to do the sack trick on any other poor fool we run across. Not a whole else we can use here, other than another keycard. This one’s red, and doesn’t seem to do anything to the elevator door, although the yellow one we found earlier, still works. Hmm…

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The basement third floor again opens us into a space where we’re immediately confronted with a bunch of deactivated robots. Once again we pick a fight with these completely and utterly inactive foes. Once again, Dogmeat almost dies.

Number of times today we’ve shot ourselves while fighting completely defenseless enemies: 5

The storage lockers here hold mainly medical supplies and small arms and associated equipment. Health and wellness for us, bullets to limit the health and wellness of our enemies. We stock up on both. This is as far down as the elevator we’ve been taking goes, but there’s another elevator on the far side of the floor. We slip our red keycard into it, and the door opens. This one goes to basement floors 3, 4, and 6, mysteriously skipping 5. We go down one more floor.

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On floor 4, we spot some unusual pieces of equipment. Appears to be some sort of medical apparatus, sized to be able to hold the average human body. Given that this is a weapons research facility, this doesn’t seem to point to anything wholesome.

On this floor, we find a computer. Not just any computer though. A supercomputer. I’ll wait a bit while you all tremble in awe.

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Anyways, this is ZAX. If you’ve played through the story of Fallout 3, you’ll have seen another computer of ZAX’s kind. This ZAX is a lot more benign than that. Possibly hasn’t become self-aware yet. Either way, ZAX is happy to chat with us. Say’s that he’s super smart. That he’s essential enough to the facility that he’s been prioritized for emergency power. That he’s specifically built to handle their genetic experiments, with a focused on managing development of the Forced Evolutionary Virus.

If the name of that doesn’t get your evil science jimmies rustled, then you’ve got some work to do.

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Anyways, ZAX lets us into some of the particulars of that research. Back in the days of the American-Chinese war that ended up bombing the world into the dork age, the Chinese were dealing with some biological warfare, unleashing a New Plague on the American public. So America started researching ways of protecting against that. One of their research strings involved a virus that was proven to re-write biological creatures DNA in order to make them immune to all known infections, at the minor side effect of turning them into huge, hulking monstrosities of increased strength, ability, and intelligence. ZAX never tested this on humans, but the American government was intrigued by the idea, and conducted their own tests at another facility.
And ladies and gentlemen, we’ve just uncovered the origins of the mutants we’re hunting down.

In fact, all the other monsters we’ve been fighting? The giant rats and giant scorpions and the two headed cows we haven’t been slaying but probably should? They got their start out here. The reason they’re so twisted is not from the radiation of the past generations alone. The bombs scored a direct hit on this facility, and scattered the Forced Evolutionary Virus across the continent. The wildlife all over was infected and warped into the monsters we know and love today.

All from right here. Isn’t science grand?

We also talk about how sick power armor is with ZAX. The power armor was apparently developed here, too. So, on the one hand, they conducted horrifying experiments that helped turn the world into the barely-habitable hellscape it is today. On the other hand, they invented sick power armor, so ethically, it all evens out. We could play chess with ZAX too, if we were so inclined. But the game’s glitched so it’s impossible to win, and every time we play commits another couple hours for our Rad-X to wear off, so we can add that to the list of other stupid things our intelligence score is too high to do.

With nothing left, we start exploring the rest of the lab. Not a lot of goods around here, aside from some handy anti-rad medicines. We do find a blue keycard on one of the old corpses around here. Looks like it might fit nicely into that new elevator on the end of the room. Unfortunately, that elevator doesn’t have enough power to move. We take the one we arrived on down to the basement sixth floor of the facility.

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There’s a pair of sentry robots on the other side of the room, seemingly guarding another entry point to the currently inoperable elevator. We engaged in a pitched battle with the nonfunctioning robots. Seriously. It’s super intense. We, miraculously, manage to not accidentally kill ourselves in the fight, even.  In the end, we do pick up a sniper rifle from one of the robot corpses. Not as strong as our weapon, but it’s a rifle, so I think Tycho can use it. Might be a good upgrade for his shotgun. I hold onto it for now.

Again, there’s not a whole lot of loot we can use on this floor. Like I said, this place is a loot paradise, but given that we’re a small guns fighter and Athena’s already got the strongest small gun in the game, there’s not much to upgrade it with. If we were into energy weapons or big guns, this would be where we get enough gear to finally make that viable as a consistent fighting style, but as is, most of what they have here isn’t too useful to us. There is a line of power conduits on the other side of the room.

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None of the terminals could turn on the power. Even ZAX himself could not get the primary power going. Looks like there’s something physically wrong with the conduits here. Athena fiddles around with it. She’s not the best at repairs, but her skills enough that she’s able to get the machine working again after a few tries fiddling around with it. It’s like a hundred years old and has had a nuclear bomb dropped on it, but it still hums to life with little more than a bit of amateur maintenance. The wonders of American engineering.

With the power back on, Athena’s dying to know what’s on that fifth floor that they seem to be trying to make impossible to get to. She slips the blue card key into the slot by the previously inoperable elevator, the doors open, and the elevator takes her up a floor.

As usual, the first thing waiting for us when we step out is a room full of sentry bots. And there’s another room full of sentry bots beyond that. Whatever’s in here, they’re very secure about it. And now that the power’s back on, they’re going to be significantly less defenseless than we’re used to.

We walk into the first room, and the robots come to life. There’s two types of sentry bots in this facility. There’s the eyebots, which are relatively simple hovering bots that attack with stunrods, and robobrains, which are robots that use either a chimpanzee or human brain as a processing unit and are able to utilize tools. Such as guns.

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Athena starts the fight by opening up against the eyebot that’s charging her. She scores a critical hit, and downs it in a single blow. Then, thanks to that perk you guys chose for her completely independently and not influenced by me, she gets a second attack and uses it to land a glancing blow against one of the robobrains in the room.

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The two robobrains crowd up against Athena, and start firing into her from point blank range. Tycho and Dogmeat join the fight just behind her, but have a hard time scoring solid hits. The damage on small guns, and I guess Dogmeat’s bite, caps out about this point in the game. Athena’s weapon is as powerful as it gets outside of burstfire guns, and even those won’t be reaching much higher overall. Our enemies are going to keep getting stronger, however. I feel it’d be cheating a bit to dabble in other weapons, especially when that just encourages me to find alternate means of getting through major confrontations, but there’s still fights like this one that are going to require a bit more doing to get through. The robots’ armor is a bit tough.

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Blast it, Tycho!

Number of times today we’ve shot ourselves while fighting completely defenseless enemies: 6

Again, that perk? The one that I in no way encouraged you guys to pick up that enables us to fire twice a turn, really goes a long way to filling that gap. Athena alone probably contributes at least 80% of the damage in this fight. Even as the robots from the next room start filing in, Athena is able to deal enough damage to keep them to a manageable amount of active foes. Tycho even pulls of a few critical hits himself, going over his gun’s damage threshold and dropping a brainbot or two.

This one actually was a valiant battle. We score just as much XP from that as we do from the fights against the powerless robots.

This lab was were they actually tested out the things they were developing. And all the cutting edge products they were testing out? Stored in lockers here. For our taking. Lots of sweet, sweet things we cannot possibly fight in our pockets, stuffed as they are. If we were into energy weapons, there’s a plasma caster we can pick up here that is, I believe, the strongest weapon in the game. But oh well.

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What is particularly interesting to me is this right here. You see that armor? No, it’s not sick power armor. But it’s the next best thing. Lighter and stronger than the armor we’re wearing by quite a bit. Combat Armor. Athena dons it right away.

Also, the skill magazine ain’t too shabby either.

That’s one of two real prizes here. The other come in the form of the holodiscs containing their experimental results scattered throughout the lab. One concerns the specs of their laser weaponry. The other two talk about the FEV, one discussing a bunch of things I outlined above, the other going into specifics on the virus’s effects on various animal species, before noting all experiments were transferred to the Mariposa Military Base.

You won’t be able to tell for a while, but that could end up being the most important thing I picked up here.

Either way, we’ve scoured the entire West-Tek weapons research facility, got our info, and now our pockets are filled with things to sell. Also, we’ve got what we need to join the sick power armor club. All before Athena started to wear through the effects of the anti-radiation medicine.

What’s that, you ask? What about anti-rad meds for Tycho and Dogmeat?

See you guys next time, on Athena’s adventures through the world of Fallout!

8 responses to “Going Down, Fallout-Style

  1. The Power Armor really makes it so that it doesn’t pay to invest points in Strength. Then again, if it’s one weird thing I’ve noticed over the years, it’s that whenever a game has that one stat that is clearly better than all the others, it rarely ever seems to be strength. In this game, it’s agility, in Dark Souls, it was endurance, and in Planescape: Torment, it was wisdom. Oblivion was one of the very few games I can think of where strength was the best stat because it affected carrying capacity. Then again, strength also tends not to be the completely useless stat either.

    • Strange thing, strength is usually my go to stat, but as I’m looking back on the games I’ve been playing recently, you’re right, optimum play has often developed me other ways. At the very least, I’m often splitting strength with some other more multifunction stat.

      Then again, it’s not usually a dump stat the way it is here in Fallout, where it really effects next to nothing unless you’re going for some of the worst weapons. I still have the urge to keep it decent because I hate hitting the carrying capacity limits, and you need at least some to use big guns effectively, even with the power armor, but it doesn’t really give us all that much.

      Endurance doesn’t, either. So none of my usual physical stats have sway here.

  2. Taking damage when battling inanimate objects? You weren’t kidding about Athena not being much of a fighter 🙂

  3. Maybe I’m out of the loop but reading this makes me wonder – how long until they do an “enhanced edition” of these original fallout games? All the DnD games seem to be getting the treatment, seems like it’d be nice to see for Fallout.

    • I’d imagine the license issues, given that Bethesda owns Fallout now but Interplay was the original developer, makes that a little complicated, but they’re still selling the original game, so obviously it’s not that big of an issue. Probably just a matter of time.

  4. I love the sick power armor club! I also enjoyed learning about ZAX and the F.E.V here. I played Fallout 3 but none of the classic games.

    • It’s kind of fun, watching the little bits that carried over. The new games have very different DNA, but they’ve definitely got a lot left in common with their forebearers.

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