Gun Running, Fallouting

Last time, on Athena Falls Out, we made it to Los Angeles. The glitz, the glamour, the broken dreams and general desperation, the foul creatures wandering the streets, it’s not all that different that modern day LA. Athena met the police and mayor of the village of Adytum, who all wanted her to kill the Blades, then she met the Blades, who are actually pretty cool people that everyone lies about.

So you guys decided to side with them, but didn’t specify how. I’m going to go with the means that does not lead to me fighting a whole town by myself, and that starts by us going somewhere else in LA.

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First, we go to a library to the west. This doesn’t have anything to do with the quest, but there’s a few interesting and rewarding things here. This library is the headquarters of the Followers of the Apocalypse, a group dedicated to promoting peace and harmony throughout the wasteland. Haahaaaaaaaaa, good luck with that. But still, their mission is admirable. And it’s good to have someone working towards it. Even if they are doomed to failure forever.

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Athena heads inside the library, and starts chatting with the first person she sees, a woman named Katja. Katja asks a lot of questions, and really doesn’t buy Athena’s insistence that she’s just a simple traveler, saying that nobody goes to the Boneyard of Los Angeles if they don’t have to. Eventually, Athena gives a bit more details, saying that she’s here to hunt down a water chip, even though she’s not anymore and the developers really should have put another option at this point in the game.

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Katja does open up at that, at least, and starts providing some other information about the area. Apparently, the Followers of the Apocalypse are straight lousy combatants. Not surprising that the people who are most interested in peace are those who are most ill-suited for its alternative, eh? Still, Katja talks about them as if she wasn’t a member of their group and stationed right in their blasted library.

Yeah. Fallout wasn’t so much ‘completed’ as it was ‘finished’. There’s a lot of content that obviously needed another pass, and the Boneyard is probably the single area of the game most full of it.

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Anyways, when Athena mentions that she doesn’t plan on staying around the Boneyard too long, Katja asks to come along. Athena accepts, and now our party’s grown by one.

So Katja is the final companion available to you in the game. So you’d probably think she’s the best, right? Nope. Not at all. Not by any means. She’s probably actually the least useful companion we could get. See, Fallout is a sprite based game. That means characters can only use the items and weapons that the creators gave them animations for. The player characters are the only characters in the game that have animations for all weapon types. The others are a bit more limited. In Katja’s case, she’s using a character sprite that only has the animations for knives and SMGs. Any sort of melee weapon is horrible. And remember, we’ve got our rule of not giving NPCs burst fire weapons. That’s the recipe for Athena dying a horrible and accidental death. There are single fire weapons that use the SMG animations that she can use, but they’re not that great. Moreover, Katja’s survivability isn’t the best.

Still, though, it’s another pair of hands and another ally in a fight. It’s hard to say no to that. She’s not the best, but she is adding to our party’s prowess.

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We also talk to Nicole, in this library. Nicole seems to be an authority figure of sorts in the Followers of the Apocalypse, and she fills Athena in on the deets. Followers are an organization dedicated to making the wasteland less of a crappy place to live, basically. They’re big on peace, but aren’t afraid to fight for it, and they work to help things avoid further destruction in general. They were founded by immigrants from ‘the Great Glow’ which isn’t the Glow that we’ve been to but is rather the remains of San Diego which was hit very hard by the nuclear bombardment. The people who used to live there saw the horrors that the Great War had wrought, and dedicated their lives to ensuring that it would never be repeated.

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Also, Nicole is really not cool on the Children of the Cathedral, which was that group of creepy people that gave out healings for free back in the Hub. Apparently, the eponymous Cathedral is nearby, Nicole has spies there, and they tell her that the Children’s Dark God is up to some freaky stuff. They’ve definitely seen some Nightkin mutants going through. Mutants, huh? Sounds like something we should be looking into. Athena has the option to call her out for being paranoid, but instead of doing that, she just mentions that she might be checking them out too, and could use some help. Nicole gives Athena the name of a spy there, and the codephrase she can use to get some assistance.

There’s also a ghoul in the basement named Talius who is kind of worth chatting with, but he won’t talk to us at night so we’ll come back later.

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After that, we leave, then head east of the Blade’s headquarters to get to the Deathclaw Playground, an old abandoned warehouse with a bunch of deathclaws prowling around this. Now, in the Hub, deathclaws were considered creatures of legend, and people who claim to have seen them were considered loons. Here, they’re apparently common enough that Katja can recognize them on sight and everybody knows they’re out here. There’s a decent amount of trade between the Boneyard and the Hub, but the communities are still very isolated from each other. The whole wasteland’s like that, and will be for decades. You don’t see a lot of cross-community connections until the wastes are a little more settled in Fallout 2.

Anyways, there’s deathclaws here. Three of them. We’re supposed to sneak by them. With patience, use of the available cover, and a little bit of luck, it wouldn’t be too hard to.

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We don’t. Athena immediately pulls out her gun and shoots the nearest one.

It comes to mind that we really haven’t tested out our new power armor yet. We do so here. And it holds up surprisingly well. The deathclaw rightly recognizes Athena as the biggest threat on the field, and charges right towards her, ignoring everything else. However, when it attacks, Athena’s armor absorbs nearly all of the impact, leaving her with only a few hp of damage.

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Well, as long as the deathclaw doesn’t get a critical hit, anyways. Those bypass armor’s damage resistance.

The deathclaw focuses in on Athena, even as Tycho, Dogmeat, and Katja swarm around it. Athena pumps shots into the deathclaws eyes, scoring plenty of crits doing so, while using that bonus move perk you guys picked earlier to help her control the distance and force the deathclaw to waste action points moving to catch up. The noise of the battle attracts another deathclaw from within the warehouse.

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It gets dangerously close, but Athena’s armor is still holding up to the original deathclaw’s assault. As long as they don’t get anymore critical hits, and they don’t target anyone else, there’s no real danger to them. Sick power armor beats mythical monster anytime, I guess.

Luckily, Tycho is able to score the final hit on the original deathclaw just as the second comes close. We may have mitigated their offense, but they’re still tough. Lots of HP, strong skin, it takes a lot to take them down. Athena scoring critical hits to the eyes is the only huge damage maker we’ve got, everything else is just slowly chipping away at their health.

We use the same strategy as the first on the second deathclaw. Athena front and center, taking all the attacks but getting minimal damage done thanks to her armor. Everyone else doing minor damage save for the odd critical hit Athena gets that takes it way down.

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The deathclaw does score another critical hit, necessitating some healing, but it too falls all too easy.

There’s a third one here that we could chase after, but let’s leave it for now. We pass through the Deathclaw Playground and continue on towards the east.

Here, we find a moat of glowing toxic waste surrounding an old warehouse. Because this is obviously a happening place, there’s a dude in combat armor guarding the bridge over the moat. I think we found ourselves the Gun Runners.

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We go up to talk to the guard. Athena tells him that we need to talk to the boss for super important business. Speech check for the win, we head on in.

So, as I think I previously mentioned, the Gun Runners were once a violent gang, but they were better at making weapons than using them, and found it more profitable to go legit. How they do so when their store is in the middle of a toxic moat next to a deathclaw lair is beyond me. There’s a diminutive man whom Athena can shop from here, but he refuses to give her a discount and Athena is a goddess and should be treated as such, so we don’t bother, for now.

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Instead, we talk to Gabriel, the leader of the Gun Runners, about possibly getting some weapons for friends of ours so we don’t have to fight all the Regulators by ourselves. Gabriel expresses some surprise that Athena made it here what with the deathclaws next door and all. They haven’t been able to take care of the deathclaws themselves, being better lovers (and machinists) than fighters, but Athena seems pretty capable. Super capable, in that power armor coincidentally covered in fresh deathclaw blood. If she wipes out the deathclaws, they’re in business.

And now that she’s talked with Gabriel, she gets that discount at the Gun Runners store that she wanted. She uses it to sell another piece of the heavy loot we’ve been carrying around since the Glow, and picks up an electric chainsaw knife for Katja. Yes, really.

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So we do that. We head back to the Deathclaw Playground, hunt down the last deathclaw roaming around here, and put it down in a completely uneventful battle.

We also find a corpse hidden on the side of the building that we really don’t have a good view of. The game calls him a merchant, but he’s holding the parts to the hydroponic farms back in Adytum that Sammael had sent a guy out for who had never returned. I think we’ve found his missing scavver.

Inside the warehouse is a staircase leading down, underground. We take it.

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So, as I understand it, these deathclaws just randomly showed up and started hanging around one day. Given the large eggs and the larger than usual deathclaw we find under the warehouse, I think we’ve found the reason why.

The Mother Deathclaw is tougher and hits harder than your garden variety deathclaw, but our basic strategy is the same. Have Athena draw her attention, then have her fire two shots a turn into the deathclaw’s eyes while still using the bonus move action to kite her around and keep her from maximizing the amount of attacks she has, all the while the rest of the crew chip damage to her. That was a mouthful, but really, a simple fight in all.

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The fight lasts for a while. The Mother Deathclaw has a lot of health, and Athena’s not getting the good critical hits this time around. Tycho scores one or two, but they don’t do nearly as much damage as Athena’s.

Still, though, with Athena’s armor, the Mother Deathclaw is never a threat. They trail their fight across the room, but in the end, bit by bit, the matron is taken down.

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The deathclaw eggs are at the end of the room. Athena approaches, and starts a rousing battle against them. It’s a close match, but the winner is never really in doubt. With the deathclaw eggs valiantly slain in glorious battle, Athena returns to the Gun Runners.

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Gabriel is ecstatic. With the deathclaws gone, they can move to a place that doesn’t suck which they apparently couldn’t do before. Gabriel happily agrees to supply the blades with arms and armor for the coming battle.

Then, we wait until daytime, and head back to the Followers of the Apocalypse. Now that it’s bright out, Talius is willing to talk to him.

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A ghoul, Talius is somewhat familiar to us. Or at least, he should be to Athena. At least the name. It’s probably hard to recognize ghouls from their pre-gooey days. Anyways, Talius shares a bit of his background with Athena. Apparently, he came from a vault, far to the north. Years ago, they were having trouble with their water system, and sent him out to find parts to fix it. Sound familiar? He was captured by mutants, though, turned into a ghoul, and since he didn’t actually accomplish anything, he just kind of gave up and came here.

So, you connect the dots here? That’s right, the reason Athena’s out here in the first place is because this guy was too much of a goober to get the job done!

Talius asks about the current state of affairs of the vault, whether or not the overseer has seen fit to start allowing people outside. Then he wishes Athena well. Athena leaves him with a lot of choice words.

Outside the Follower’s library, there’s a bounty hunter here. A bounty hunter named Christopher Avellone. You may remember the name. He was at Microsoft’s conference at the most recent E3. He didn’t work on this game, but he was a staff member at Interplay at the time, and he did become a key staff member behind Fallout 2. Here, though, he’s a rugged, tough, bounty hunter. Athena goes up to talk to him.

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He brusquely asks her what she wants. She replies, “A donut.” Hehe. That’s pretty funny.

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Christopher Avellone doesn’t think it’s funny. Maybe he doesn’t get it. Athena repeats the joke again.

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What is wrong with this guy! He tries to kill Athena because he can’t recognize good humor!

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It doesn’t work out so well for him. Sorry, guy. Guess you’ll have to miss E3 next year.

3 responses to “Gun Running, Fallouting

  1. I guess looking for a water chip is the ultimate “get out of jail” card, even if you don’t need one… Good to know!

    Also, seriously, Avellone? All she wanted was a donut! I can relate haha

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