Fallout: Split Timelines

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a pleaser. It’s just in my nature. So when you guys were a little bit split on what perk to go with last round in our Fallout Voting, well, I figured I may as well take the time to shine. There was a large minority who were interested in seeing us take the explorer perk, to add a little bit of spice to our runthrough here in the form of the OMG SPECIAL ENCOUNTERS!!!!1111oneone!

So we split the timeline a bit. One split, where Athena takes the tactically advantageous perk that we democratically agreed on and continues on with the rest of the game that we already totally beat so don’t even worry about that, and one where she takes the perk that garnered such interest for the flavor of it and leaves everything far behind in pursuit of adventure.

Let’s see how that second timeline goes, shall we?

So Athena picks the explorer perk. This increases her likelihood of running into a super cool special encounter that totally blows all your minds. Then, ignoring the Overseer still wanting us to check back in with him, we head right back out into the wastes.

SPECIAL ENCOUNTERS only come up in the desert area to the west of our available map. Because having lived in a desert for a good long while, I can personally tell you that if you’re looking for something strange and unusual and interesting… yeah, I can’t even finish that. Anyways, we’re going to the desert. Let’s chronicle our adventures.

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First, we have a regular encounter. In which we come across giant mole rats, and shoot them.

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Then, we have another regular encounter, in which we come across some regular rats. And also shoot them.

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Third, we have one more regular encounter. In which we come across giant mole rats. Shooting them also occurs.

This has been a fruitful hunt so far.

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Then we run into a horde of giant dudes and dudettes in power armor. They say they recognize Athena from when she visited their base, which we totally haven’t yet but whatever. They also warn her not to do something but I don’t even care, because this encounter is not suitably SPECIAL for my tastes. C’mon Explorer! You promised me things!

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Next, we linger a little too close to where mumble mumble is lurking, and run into a crew of Super Mutants. Unlike the ones in the necropolis who just made Athena feel a bit icky with their misplaced attractions, this ones are immediately hostile. And are also endgame-level enemies. Whereas Athena is a midgame level hero. Athena immediately starts booking it towards the escape zone. Tycho and Dogmeat hang back to fight. The two of them, as well as an enemy Super Mutant that came too close, all end up blown to pieces by minigun volleys from a mutant at the edge of the battlefield. These guys don’t play around.

Athena manages to escape, though. But then she runs smack into a very similar group of Super Mutants as she’s trying to put some distance between her and the thing you don’t know about yet. Without Tycho and Dogmeat to serve as meatshields, she’s the only target on the battlefield. So, Fallout has potentially the most realistic miniguns in videogames. In that rather than being the relatively wimpy high rate weapons of other games, miniguns in Fallout fire like 40 rounds in a fraction of a second and have enough power to chew through a tank.

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Suffice to say, Athena’s metal armor is not proof against it.

Let’s try that again, shall we say?  We have not come across anything suitably SPECIAL yet.

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In this new alternative timeline, we’re careful not to wander too far north in the desert. Instead, for the first of several times, we run into an encounter in which we can’t find any water here in the desert, and take some damage due to our thirst. Except our metal armor provides us with some resistance against most sources of damage, so we don’t actually take any.

So, in review, we get so thirsty our health suffers, except all this metal we’re wearing makes it so that this doesn’t actually happen. This happens to Athena many, many times. So next time you’re wandering through the desert, make sure you’re wearing a hundred pounds of steel, and you’ll survive all the extremes it has to offer.

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Radscorpions. Meh.

So Athena gets thirsty but not really about twenty more times, and then it turns out that she’s been wandering the desert for like an hour and nothing SPECIAL has been encountered. See, there’s three things impacting our ability to find special encounters. There’s that Explorer perk, which boosts our chances. There’s Athena’s luck score, which is above average. Then there’s the player’s personal luck score, which, as anyone who knows me will attest, mine is in the negative. I was lucky enough to get the world’s most amazing hair and natural good looks, so my luck is permanently as low as it can go to compensate for that early advantage. So, although Athena should have every shot of finding a special encounter, because of me, it’s just not happening. Sorry guys.

So, I don’t do this often, but after an hour of wandering the desert with nothing to show for it, I gave on. No Godzilla footprint, no TARDIS, no alien crash site, no used car lot, nothing. I don’t do this often at all, but here, I give up. My time is too valuable to me to spend more hunting for something this game is insisting it won’t give me.

Except that doesn’t even count, because this was all an alternate timeline. We’ll see you in our prime timeline next time around.


Fallout: The End…

Last Time on Fallout Girl, we were faced with some dick asking us to kill some jerks, and you guys rightfully said no. Let’s see how that all ends up, shall we?

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So out in the streets outside the watershed, we run across Larry here, the first of the Super Mutants stationed here in the Necropolis. He doesn’t bother us as we approach, instead mentioning something about ‘the boss’. I’m actually not sure who he refers to here. Played it a couple times, and there’s a couple of people he could call ‘the boss’, some of whom might actually hit you.

The first one is inside the watershed here. Harry. They’ve got theme naming. Harry spots Athena coming up, dressed in a very flattering set of bloodstained spiked metal armor, face flushed and jaw clenched from the frustration of having to deal with a total dick, killing machine in her hand. He sees how pretty she is. He tells her so.

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Athena could respond by smacking his face across the room, but we’re going nonviolent here, so she chokes back the bile and butters him up instead. We get our first real look at Super Mutants here. They’re much larger, uglier, and dumber versions of humans. Have difficulty talking, parts of their bodies so overgrown they have to hold them up with straps. Thinking’s a bit of a problem for them. Harry here, he realizes she’s a normal human, says that he’s supposed to take normal humans to “Lou Tenant”, but doesn’t want anything bad to happen to her so he lets her through, but tells her to be quick about it.

Most of the time, gender doesn’t matter in the original Fallout. This is one of the few times it does. Male characters, or female characters with less charisma than Athena, have to convince Harry that they’re actually robots instead of humans to get through there. Fail the speech check, you get a fight, which, once again, is probably the second most consistent companion-killer in the game. You can also choose to let Harry take you to his leader and end up with an early look at an end-game area and boss, but that also ends with all your stuff being taken away from you, with you locked up in a cell, surrounded by a whole bunch of better-armed version of these guys. Something of a challenge option for stealth-based characters, certain doom for all other builds. Recent success notwithstanding, Athena is not a stealth-based character. Let’s take the road better-traveled.

Anyways, Harry lets us through. Next room over in the water shed is the broken water pump we were informed of previously. If you need a refresher, the Necropolis has two sources of water, this water pump, and the computerized water-filtration system that probably has the water chip we’re looking for. The pump’s not working, so they’re completely reliant on the thing we need to render inoperable to save our people.

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In the back is a ghoul that’s locked up for reasons. We’ve got no real reason to do this, but after joining the circle of thieves, Athena’s starting to get a real itch to practice her skills. Just for fun, she picks his cell door open. In return, the ghoul tells us a bunch of stuff we already know. Ok. It also mentions something about some wild glowing ghouls downstairs. Continue reading

Night of the Living Fallout

So last time… actually, you know what? You remember last time. I know you do. Let’s not worry about the usual intro here.

What? Ok, there’s that guy, over there. He doesn’t remember what happened last time. Do you believe it? What a jerk. But yeah, I guess we need to include him to. So here’s for that guy. Last time on Athena and the Lost Souls, our master thief had finally discovered her most solid lead as to the location of the water chip yet. The Water Merchants in the Hub suspected that the folks of nearby The Necropolis, which is sure to be a friendly and happy place, had their own source of water and most probably would have a water chip of some kind around. In pursuit of salvation for her people, Athena treks all day across the waste until she crosses some ruined signs from an ancient age claiming she’s entering Bakersfield, California.

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It’s a little worse for wear. But she’s here. The Necropolis.

Immediately on entering town, Athena notes that there’s no life to be seen and the stench of death pervades the air. Just like the modern Bakersfield, California that we all know, am I right? (Seriously, am I right in saying that? I’ve never been to Bakersfield.) She does spot a group of locals in the distance, and approaches them.

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There’s something a little off there. They’re not very talkative. But they are very ugly. And punchy.

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Not that they do anything, though. The ghoul beats its fists limply against Athena’s metal armor.

Athena’s gun does slightly more damage than that. Blows it away in a single shot. In fact, Athena and Tycho mop up that whole group before Dogmeat even gets close enough to attach. No problem.

There’s another group of these feral ghouls a bit further up north. They’re stronger. Not strong enough to pose a problem, but strong enough that it takes more than one hit to bring them down. So, you know, Athena has to spend a bit more ammo dealing with them. That’s about it.

Then we run into a problem. See, the place we entered town? Completely surrounded by debris. Athena tries going to the north. Can’t get anywhere. She tries going to the west. Nothing doing. East and south only lead out of town. In fact, the only options available to her are to leave and… no.

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Athena finds a manhole cover, leading into the sewers, that looks like it was used recently and begins to wonder if saving the lives of everyone she’s ever known or loved is really all that worth it. I mean, sure, on the one hand, that’s thousands of lives lost in a horrible tragedy if she doesn’t secure that water chip. On the other hand, there’s poop down there.

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Going Downtown in Fallout Chapter 9

Last time, on Aether cruises through Fallout, we… I don’t even remember. Something about going home again. You can read it. We’re not concerned about past. We only look towards the future. And the future, for us, is the Hub.

We embark from Vault 13 and make the long trip south. A long way. It takes a couple of days to reach it. We only know where the Hub is because of Ian; he told us where to find it, a while ago. It’s about half a day south of Junktown, and since we went back to the beginning to visit the Vault, we have to travel everything we’ve done all over again.

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The only real obstacle we run into on the way there is a single Radscorpion. Which by this point is not an obstacle at all. I only include it to commemorate the fact that it manages to poison Athena. It’s true! It manages to get the drop on us, and the only attack it makes before Athena and crew blow it away manages to both get past Athena’s defenses and actually poison her! This is exciting! I rarely ever see this happen! Entire games will go by, and I don’t have to think about poison. Of course, we’re carrying around 10 antidotes because I haven’t bothered selling them off yet, so it’s no matter for us to cure it, but still! It’s like winning the lottery. Of discomfort. Yeah. We don’t even loot the scorpion’s corpse, we just leave it there as a monument to this unique moment.

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Oh, and also, it’s been 50 days since we left the Vault, I think. Our Pipboy gives us a helpful reminder that everyone we’ve ever known and loved will soon die unless we find some way to rescue them by tracking down a lonely little water chip in this awful, awful wasteland. You know, in case we forgot.

Which we didn’t, for your information.

And then, we’re at the Hub! The thriving metropolis, largest city in the Pacific Wasteland, headquarters of nearly all organized traders in the wastes. They control the economy of the region, most commerce flows through here at some point, and this is the closest thing the wasteland has to a pre-war style city.

We walk in there, and it’s surrounded by farms. Two headed cows and weird mutated corn as far as the eye can see. I gotta say, I really love that Fallout thought about agriculture. Most games only give it a passing sidequest where you have to save the odd bumpkin from some ghost of his daughter’s uncle or some thing, but you see agriculture all over the place here.

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We also bump into a caravan that’s in the process of leaving town, hitching their wagons made from the scavenged flatbeds of pre-war vehicles up to their brahmin, the two-headed cows that serve as the livestock out here. We chat up the security guard, and get some deets on the place. Apparently, we can buy pretty much anything here. Including water. You know, if they can get fresh water here, mayhaps they’d have an idea of where we can pick up a water chip.

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After that we break into some random guy’s house in the middle of the night and start quizzing him about the layout of town. He’s a surprisingly good sport about it. He tells us were to find all the necessities in town, such as the police station, the general store, and most important of all, the local bar. He also tells us that we passed by someone from the sheriff’s office who would have filled us in on all that, but we didn’t because it’s 10:00 p.m. And all the sensible people are in bed and not breaking and entering in order to ask for directions.

Athena’s a night person, remember. You guys all picked it and everything. This is what she do.

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How about you and I… Play Fallout Chapter 4?

Hey, we’re back. With this thing. You know, where we’re out in that whole post-apocalypse deal. Let’s pick up where we left off. You might recall, we just cleared out Vault 15, and found that the only hope for salvation that we knew about was completely obliterated and everyone we love was probably going to die of thirst. So what do we do now? A whole bunch of unrelated milling about in the middle of nowhere? That sounds like a great idea!

In any case, after plumbing the depths of Vault 15 for largely naught, we stump our depressed little heads back to the village of Shady Sands. I figure, if we can’t help our people, why not make the Wasteland a friendlier place by helping someone else’s?

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First things first, we head to the farm side of town. After gawking a bit at the Brahmin, the big, unwieldy, two headed cows that make up livestock in the wasteland, we find ourselves chatting with a farmer. As with most of the NPCs we deal with, there’s nothing visually to tell he’s anything special, but if you’re meticulous about looking at all the villagers, well, a few of them do stand out in description.

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In any case, we had pointedly avoided this guy before, because we have to do this sidequest the first time we talk to him, and it requires us to have a certain scientific capability that Athena didn’t have until she leveled up. You remember how school always made you dissect rats? I guess Athena’s been doing that. With bullets. And that taught her more about crop rotation, which she tells this guy about. This improves Shady Sands architecture and sets in motion events that will see the community grow and foster and give relative stability to the lives of thousands and build a single beacon of order in a world that truly lacks for it, but more importantly, it gives us a few hundred experience points.

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Second, we head to the town doctor, Razlo, and give him the radscorpion tails Ian’s been carrying around in his pants. The doctor can synthesize an antivenom from the poison sacs therein, and gives us a free dose of antidote for every tail we bring him. We walk into the back of the doctor’s home, where he has Jarvis, Seth’s brother, resting there in treatment for the bad case of radscorpion poisoning he’s got. We administer one of our doses of antidote to him because Razlo apparently couldn’t be arsed, and Jarvis starts feeling better. Not well enough to be like jumping around and dancing or anything, but at least his life is out of danger. Again, we don’t get much of a concrete reward for this, but we do get a bunch of experience points for it. Enough to put us at level 3, in fact! We wait until night to take advantage of Athena’s Night Person nature, then level up. You know what time it is now? Time for some more audience participation! So every three levels, we’re going to get a new perk, and I need you guys to… oh hey. Already taken care of. Glad I remembered to get something done before my life turned all to crap.

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Two Steps Forward… Fallout Chapter 3

So last time, as Red Metal so correctly put it, we fell victim to what’s sure to be our nemesis this run, poor stability. And I found that I had completely forgotten to save since the start of that run. Is that the death knell of our playthrough? Would we ever be able to bring ourselves back to the state we once were?

Well, yeah. We weren’t exactly that far in. Just a few minutes later, I had rebuilt our character, did all the same stuff, and got us back to right to where we were. Well, most of the same stuff. There were a few things I did differently.


First, we had a random encounter on our way to Shady Sands, wherein Athena almost tripped up a cliff somehow, then complained that the government wasn’t doing it’s job. Welcome to a day with my clients.

When we got to Shady Sands, we picked up on the same radscorpion and raiders quest hooks as last time. We continued on that line a bit, and spoke with Razlo and Jarvis. Razlo’s the resident doctor of Shady Sands, currently tasked with helping Seth’s brother Jarvis fight of that nasty case of Radscorpion stabbing. We could royally piss him off by asking what someone with his education is doing in a place like Shady Sands, but Athena is much too suave for that.

The most important thing we did in Shady Sands last time was have Ian join our crew. We could do it the exact same way this time, just by being very charming, but one of the best things about Fallout is how there’s multiple ways to do pretty much everything.  Since we have to do it again anyways, let’s take the opportunity to exercise that.

Also, it lets us drag Athena‘s good name right through the mud. Man, I’m really enjoying naming this character after her now.

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You See Ed. Fallout Chapter 2!

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So when all’s said and done, here’s our guy. Well, girl. See, I really like the idea of naming the character after my fellow webcrawlers, and Athena both called dibs and did a pretty good job of selling me on the glory that is Athena. So we’ll we’re going to be Athena. Sorry, LightningEllen. I am going to do my best not to drag her name through the mud. But, then again, that’s really going to be up to you guys, isn’t it?

I took the liberty of setting her stats based largely on the skills you folk chose. Since you guys made the strong tactical decision of just being born better than everyone else, we ended up with a lot of stat points to play with, here. Yes, we’re Gifted. That’s going to make us slightly weaker at the very beginning of the game, as our increase in stats doesn’t make up for the decrease in skills, but we’ll catch up.

Red Metal had a great idea of maxing out her Agility. Agility’s one of the most useful stats in the game, determining how many action points you get per turn, and your natural armor class i.e. how hard it is for Athena here to end up pummeled. I only set it to 9, however, rather than the max of 10. There’s a reason for this. A reason that’s not going to come to fruition for a long time, at which point I am going to forget to mention that’s why I did this so you won’t know how smart I am, but there’s a reason for it nonetheless. How about you guys just go ahead and think I’m really smart right now.

We’re pumping Intelligence so that we can say smart things about videogames boost our skill points per level back up to normal levels and compensate for the lowered rate we see from being gifted. It also plays into our good talking to people skills, as a higher intelligence opens up more dialogue options. Fun fact, if you have an intelligence of 3 or less, you are not smart enough to hold a normal conversation with people. Makes playing the game a totally different experience. Perception, we’re boosting because I took Mishka’s ‘combat skills’ suggestion as a seconding of Athena’s ‘small guns’ suggestion, so we’re rolling with that. Perception impacts a lot of things, but the most important is our accuracy with ranged weapons, so we’ll need that to, you know, actually hit our enemies. Of course, we’re a Night Person, so our Perception and Intelligence are never actually going to be at 8. They’ll be at 7 during the day, and 9 at night. So when we have the choice, we’re going to want to wait to fight and level up at night, because we’ll get better bonuses then.

Strength theoretically isn’t all that useful since we’re never going to not be shooting people in a fight, but all weapons have a minimum strength requirement or else Athena will be shooting like a stormtrooper.  For small guns, it hits out at 5. Otherwise, the only thing it will impact is how much we can carry. Charisma doesn’t have very many impacts this game, vaguely affecting disposition and prices, but I still figured that since we’re going to be using our speech quite a bit, it’s still handy to have high. I couldn’t bear to have a third stat at 8, so I left it one point short. I left our Endurance subpar, because we need a weakness somewhere to give enemies a chance, and shunted it into Luck. Endurance determines your rate of healing over time, but since we’re a skilled doctor, it’s not so important, your resistances to things you’ll only see a few times in the game, and your hit points. Luck does exactly what it always does every single game it comes up.

So where does this leave us? Athena’s going to be walking out into the wild, rabid wasteland (seriously, they don’t even have Dragon Age out there) able to handle conflicts in a variety of ways. It’s not always going to be the case that we’ll have to the option both to fight and talk our way through, but one of those two will almost always come into play. With our doctor skills, we’ll be able to recover from anything we find on the wastes that doesn’t kill us outright. This is a solid set of skills you’ve started us out with.

And here I was worried that everyone was going to jerk me around by picking Gambling, Outdoorsman, and Throwing for your tagged skills and leaving me with nothing viable to do.

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