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. Continue reading

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Fallout: Talking Time

Last time on Athena’s Quest for the Best, we hit the climax of the game when we collected our sick power armor. I would say it’s all downhill from here, but the rest of the game is when we get to use our sick power armor, so can’t complain about that. Anyways, yes, there’s the vault to save, mutants to kill, all that. There’s a lot of lives that are riding on our dear Athena! The Vault wants us to slay the mutants so they don’t hunt down and kill everyone we know and love. The Brotherhood is aware of them mustering an army to take over the rest of the wasteland, are possibly the only force around with the power to stop them, but need us to find out more about the mutants before they’ll be able to act. Athena is the crux of so many destinies right now. We should go take care of them.

Instead, we just head off to the Hub. Our pockets are full of loot, and we’ve got a need for cash.

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On the way there, we come across someone. Patrick the Celt. A wanderer. He roams the wastes collecting Gaelic remnants, songs, stories, and histories, as a way of keeping his old family heritage alive. Athena chats with him for a bit, and he sings us an old Celtic song. She passes some time with him in that, then the two groups make their separate ways.

Then we continue on to the Hub, and start hitting up the stores there. Which introduces us to a weird facet of the Fallout economy. Namely, that the currency of the land, bottlecaps? Not necessarily the most efficient means of trading now. After our adventures in the Glow, we are full of equipment that we can sell for thousands of caps a piece. But we can only select caps in groups of a maximum of 999 at a time, making trying to move tons of caps between inventories while selling an onerous process. Also, none of the merchants carry more than two thousand in caps, meaning we’re not able to sell our heavy equipment outright. Most players, by this point in the game, trade in guns rather than in caps. So like breaking a twenty with a store, except you’re breaking a sniper rifle for like eight shotguns. I’m more a fan of using drugs as a replacement for currency because they don’t weigh anything, but either way, in a lot of situations, it’s more efficient to just trade for either the stuff you need or at least stuff you can trade for other stuff later than it is to actually make cash.

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Not in this case though. The Brotherhood doctors need caps for their services, and won’t take anything else in trade. So we sell off a fraction of our inventory and completely wipe out all the caps from all the merchants in the Hub, and pick up a few lesser guns and drugs while we’re at it.

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But then Athena’s pockets get completely full while we’re picking up miscellaneous guns and goods for selling later. We need to clear out some space. Athena chows down on the eleven pounds of fruit I’ve been holding onto for whatever reason, then washes that down by drinking seven bottles of Nuka-Cola in a row. Now we can fit more guns in her pockets. Priorities.

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This has adverse reactions on her health, as you might expect. She’s now addicted to Nuka-Cola. She’ll experience a negative impact to her stats until she drinks another Nuka-Cola. This could be an irritation, but Athena proceeds to quit Nuka-Cola cold turkey until her body stops craving it.

On our way back to the Brotherhood, a particularly sneaky Radscorpion attempts to stealth its way up on us.

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This doesn’t go very well for it.

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Anyways, we make it back to the Brotherhood, and head down to the doctor. After our little reverse shopping spree, we’ve got enough caps for all the surgeries we haven’t taken yet. The recovery time for this takes weeks upon weeks. During which, once again, the mutant menace advances. The more in-game time we take, the deeper they come into human civilization, the more people they capture for their sick purposes, the more damage they do. Many lives probably ended in the time it’s taken us to recover from our completely elective surgeries.

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The Untitled Fallout

Last time on Falling Out with Athena, we gave ourselves a scary dose of radiation in pursuit of obtaining some sick power armor. But we survived! So did Tycho and Dogmeat, in the complete and utter absence of any anti-radiation medicine. I don’t even know how that works! But here we go!

So, you might think that our first step in acquiring sick power armor is to go back to the place that has the power armor, which we just gained the right to enter. Well, you’d be wrong. The first step is to actually go back to the Hub. Because our adventures in the weapons research lab has left us with a bunch of loot. We actually end up with the entire free spending money of all the shopkeepers in the Hub after selling only a portion of what we collected. But there’s also other business here.

You remember that time that we got spotted through a window by that group that was way too high level for us? No you don’t, because that never happened. But we go to check them out, deliberately this time.

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So, I blamed this group’s weird aggro on a glitch that time. They shouldn’t have spotted us from outside the building, but they did, and attacked us as we were just passing by. As I get closer to the building, it turns out it wasn’t a glitch, so much as it was an unfortunate confluence of programming. Apparently, one of the NPCs, randomly wandering around, had meandered into their building and opened the door. The opened door set their aggro onto high alert, and bad things followed for us. They’re supposed to be after us for opening the door, but I guess random jerks invading their space instead makes them angry at us. So it wasn’t a glitch, just a weird confluence of random programming that we ended up taking the blame for.

It doesn’t matter this time, because we make them angry at us on purpose. Theoretically, we’ve been given no reason to bother. Just a bunch of weirdly aggressive make my day types who we’ve been given zero context on or reason to bother with. I mean, yes, there’s something out there that would key us into the fact that, you know, maybe these crazy violent thugs in a random building in the bad side of town have something to hide that we want in on, but we’re saving ourselves some time and skipping over the part of this sidequest where they ask us to do this thing we’re doing right now.

Last time we came across them, these guys kind of mopped the floor with us. We’ve built up plenty of levels since then, though. We have better equipment. Better armor. Better gear in general. Well, Tycho and Dogmeat don’t, but Athena does. And she takes advantage of it.

The biggest risk in this room is the guy with the combat shotgun across the way from us. He has a lot of HP, and one of the strongest small guns in the game. It’s the next level shotgun up from the model Tycho is carrying. Shot for shot, it’s still weaker than the .223 pistol Athena bears, but it has a burst fire mode that makes it truly dangerous. Get hit with a burst of that, and I’m not sure if even Athena’s new combat armor would be able to keep her from getting one-shot.

Luckily, the guy never resorts to it. Over confidence, I guess. Athena plings shots against him while Tycho, Dogmeat, and the other three thugs move around her.

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One of the thugs gets into melee range with Athena. I had discounted him, because he’s wielding spiked brass knuckles, which isn’t nearly as strong a weapon as that combat shotgun. I came to regret it, though. Dude still does some solid damage. Dogmeat’s got our back, though. Comes up, scores a few hits on him, one of which is a critical hit that knocks him to the ground. Gives us some breathing room to heal up after that.

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Punchman starts harrying Tycho, but Tycho guns him down. Athena has to heal up a bit once more, but she starts overcoming the combat shotgun guy in a battle of attrition, and the thug starts making a break for it and fleeing. Both Dogmeat and Tycho give chase, and end up slaying him on the streets. The guards are surprisingly calm about a pitched firefight spilling out right in front of them.

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Of course, this wouldn’t be us if we didn’t accidentally shoot ourselves in the middle of the fight.

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In any case, Athena mops up inside. One of the surviving guards decides to run outside, right into Tycho and Dogmeat’s loving attention. Continue reading

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?

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Fallout: Not Really Over

Last time on Athena Plays Fallout, what happened? Now that I’m typing this all out, I don’t remember. Let me go back and take a look.

Oh yeah. Timeline shenanigans aside, we beat the game. Go us! We’ve been sticking together for a while, and I’ve got to say, I’m proud of you. This was a team victory. We all did this together. You know what? This post is just going to be a victory party for us. Let me just close out the game, and we’ll get right to it.

So, we join our heroine in the computer room of Vault 13, where she just finished writing her report of how she saved the lives of every single person living in that Vault. She makes sure not to leave out any of the danger, intrigue, and true heroism she showed. This is going to be taught to children for generations. She needs to make sure they’ve got an accurate picture of it.

The game takes the opportunity to describe the library/computer room for what it is, because it triggers that the first time you visit this room and it assumes we would have explored it some time before now. Unfortunately, there’s never any reason to visit this room except for the fact that it puts you here after you turn in the water chip, so we never had the chance to see it. Seems a little out of place, popping up now. In any case, we head back to the Overseer, to finally end this game and see the credits.

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See the Overseer has confirmed it! We saved everyone! Let the adulation commence! Well, this was a fun Let’s Play, we’ll see you next time for… wait, a little concerned?!

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It’s the mutants. Remember, we saw like six of them. And that’s all. The Overseer has analyzed the data. That consists of a sample size of six. And determined conclusively that someone or something must be out there manufacturing them at a heretofore unseen rate and that this will be a danger to the world in general and the Vault in particular. We ran into them twice. That… that must be some data analysis skills he has, there.

But oh well. They’re out there. We should probably send someone to the Hub to talk to someone about that. Maybe get some guys together. Big guys. Tough guys. And they can do something about it. In fact, Athena will find a messenger to go get that started. After she’s had a couple mai tais. And a good nap.

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No, she’s going to go out there? To take them down single-handedly? And she doesn’t have anything to say about that?

So, to reiterate, last time we were sent out into the wastes, it was to find a replacement part to fix a broken computer system. They didn’t know there’d be a lot of fighting around. For all they knew, I just needed to run down to the local OneStop and pick one up. Now, they’re sending me to destroy an army of genetically enhanced superbeings. Seems to be a little bit of escalation there.

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The Overseer himself isn’t too happy about it.

This is one area that the voice acting adds a lot to. It’s one thing to read it, but Overseer Jacoren says it with such honesty and care in his voice, even though he’s asking us to do the deadly impossible, that it really brings out a lot of his character. Later games will bring some retcons that color his character a lot more sinister, but the voice acting really makes it stick that he actually cares about Athena, the people of his Vault, and at his core he’s an honest person saddled with some hard decisions.

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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.

Next time: Back to reality.

Fallout: Election 2018!

This one snuck up on me. I hadn’t realized we were closing in on level 9 in our Fallout run, and it wasn’t until I started the game up again and it asked me for my choice of perks that I realized it’s time for yet another vote. Now, we’ve got the water chip, saved our vault, and are back home again. There is absolutely, positively, no more reason to go out into the wastes again. Honest. Don’t let the fact that there’s still half the map left and a bunch of mystery abounding fool you. We beat the game. Just have to talk to the Overseer again now that we’ve submitted our report to work it out. But, you know, given that we have the option to choose more perks, even though we’re obviously not going to have the time to make use of them before the credits roll which is going to be super soon, I figured I’d let you guys make one final choice on the direction of our Athena.

Our new choices with this level up are:

Animal Friend

This perk will make Dogmeat like us. Well, she already likes us. But this will make all the other animals we run across like us just like Dogmeat does!

No, no it won’t. But at least it will make it so they don’t want to murder us on sight anymore.

Better Criticals

We’re at the stage of the game where it doesn’t always oneshot the enemy when we get a critical hit anymore. Still does massive amounts of damage, but sometimes, an enemy is able to hang on long enough to die later. If that bothers you, you can take this perk, which makes our critical hits 20% more powerful when we do catch one.

Bonus Rate of Fire

So, when I’m presenting these perks, I am completely nonpartial. I’ve got my preferences, but I’m not going to try to color your choices. So when I tell you to vote for this one, if you have any love in your heart for me or for dear Athena, you know I’m still keeping that professional distance in there.

Right now, it costs 5 action points to fire a gun, or 6 if Athena’s wanting to target a specific body part. Athena’s got 9 action points to play with, so she can fire once and do something else, either move a bit or dig into her backpack, every turn. This perk will reduce the AP cost of ranged attacks by one. Meaning Athena will get to fire twice a turn. Effectively doubling her offensive capacity.

This is obviously the best choice. So much so, I don’t know why they even offer other perks to guns based characters at this level. But no pressure.

Dodger

We’ve got an Armor Class. This works just like it does in traditional tabletop games. The higher our Armor Class, the more likely we are to not be hit by attacks. AC comes from armor and stats. This perk increases the bonus we get to AC from our stats.

That was a lot of words to say it just makes us harder to hit.

Explorer

We’ve yet to run into any of them, but this game actually has a lot of interesting random encounters. Get to see some fun stuff going on. This perk increases our chances of running into one of them.

Mutate!

Back at the beginning of the game, you guys chose two special traits for Athena. You chose to make her smarter and more aware at night, less so during the day, and you chose to make her better than everyone else. If you were uncertain about either of those decisions, you could choose this perk and get a do-over.

A short list this time around. There are more that can unlock at level 9, but Athena doesn’t have the stats for them. But that’s ok. We’ve still got enough to choose from. Or, if you were interested, any of the previous perks are still up for grabs.

Here’s the complete list of what we’ve got available to us:

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As always, vote in the comments!