Fallout: Homecoming

Last time on our adventures in Fallout, Athena was a marriage counselor, a career counselor, and a health inspector. She’s a multi-talented one, that Athena. Where will she be using those talents next? Let’s find out.

So Athena has been out in the wastes for a couple of weeks now. All her best friends are already dead. Maybe she’s feeling a little homesick. Wants to go back, chat with everyone, remind herself why she’s doing this. I mean, it’s one thing to know she’s going to save the 2000 people she’s known for as long as she’s been alive. But it’s another thing entirely to see their smiling faces. So what if she hasn’t actually saved them, yet? Athena needs her good juju!

So we head back home. Back to Vault 13. The journey takes us several days in completely the opposite direction from where we’re likely to find the water chip our vault desperately needs, but… I’m sure it’s for the best. It’s not like it’ll doom everybody. Right?

So we take Tycho and Dogmeat back to the mountain Vault 13 is built into. If Ian were still alive, he’d have some stuff to say about this place, but he’s not. Dogmeat’s not doing a great job of keeping the conversation going in his stead.

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At the entrance of the vault, we remember to loot Ed’s body this time, although everything he has is plenty outdated by now. Athena punches her code into the keypad, and the door actually works this time! Vault dwellers! For the first time, your hero has returned! Give her your adulation!

The vault is largely unimpressed. Athena responds by looting a bunch of flares from an emergency locker near the entrance of the vault. Then she talks to the doctor, who says she’s doing just fine and tries to shoo her on her way. Nobody else cares.

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In fact, everyone just complains about how late it is, and refuse to talk to her.

Woman is out there, risking her life so that they can all enjoy a crisp, cool glass of water, and they don’t have the basic decency to absolutely adore her. Maybe these jerks don’t get their water chip.

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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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A Fallout Intermission

Hey guys, guess what?  We’re going to be at Level 3 in our Fallout run pretty soon!  That means we’re going to be getting our first perk.  And guess what else?  I’m going to be needing some audience participation for that, too.

So here’s the deal.  Every three levels, we’ll get to add a perk to our character.  Perks are, basically, permanent bonuses.  We have to meet prerequisites for them, so we don’t get to just choose any of the ones the game has to offer, but we should always have a decent selection to pick from.  Our potential list will grow every time we get a new one, as well.

In any case, our little Athena’s growing up.  She’s starting to learn things out in the wasteland.  As this is part of the character creation, I’d like your help in figuring out how Athena is going to better herself.

Our choices this next level up are going to be:

Awareness, which lets us see a targets hit points, equipped weapon, and remaining ammo just by looking at them.  It’s a really handy utility perk, and I like having it to help with decision making in battles.

Earlier Sequence, which is a really hokey way of saying that our turn will come up earlier.  Athena’s really perceptive, so her sequence is really early anyways and this would have limited overall utility, but picking this would ensure that outside of the combat initiator, almost nobody gets to move before Athena does.

Night Vision.  So this is an interesting one.  By description, this just brightens up the screen when we’re in dark areas, and I have never in my life chosen this perk, because I know where the brightness knob is on my monitor.  However, as I’m reading up on it now, the Fallout wiki reports that it also provides an increase to accuracy to counteract the ranged penalty for fighting in a dark area.  Don’t know why the game doesn’t bother to mention that.  Given that Athena’s a Night Person, and as such, I’m going to be fighting at night whenever I get the option, that bonus is pretty attractive, if true.

With Presence, NPCs will be more slightly more inclined to like Athena even before she starts talking to them.  So it will make our Athena even more like the real Athena.

Quick Pockets reduces the cost for accessing our inventory in the middle of combat by 1.  I believe it usually costs 4 AP, so this will drop it from there.  Accessing our inventory lets us change our equipment, reload, heal as much as we want, and use things we don’t have at the ready.  The further we go in the game, the more I’ll be opening up the inventory to pop a couple of stimpaks at a time.  Frankly, I’ve always found this to be the most useful of the perks you have access to at level 3.

Right now, our world map is largely black, because Athena doesn’t know where much of anything is. It’s revealed as we travel. If we picked Scout as our perk, we’d be able to reveal more of the map as we travel, as Athena would be able to say farther in the distance.  Could be useful if you find yourself getting lost on the map, but I’ve played the game enough that I know my way around.  This would have a minimal impact on my play.

Smooth Talker would allow Athena to use dialogue options that require a little more intelligence than she has.  However, Athena already has a genius level intellect.  Her intelligence does go down during the day, so this could keep people from realizing that she only truly wakes up after she has a cup or eight of coffee, but even at her worst, she’s smarter than your average wastelander.

So yeah, there’s our options!  In what ways shall Athena improve?  Her destiny is in your hands!  Vote in the comments!

 

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.

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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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Going Down in Dark Souls

Last time, on Diamonds, Daisies, and Dark Souls, we did nothing!  A whole lot of nothing!  I mean, we’ve had our Dark Souls breathers before, but this was spectacular in its nothingness.   We accomplished absolutely zilch in our last post.  But don’t worry.  That one was just the appetizer.  I hope you didn’t fill up, because here’s where we get to the actual meal.

And yet every time I start a post like that, I always spend the first couple paragraphs just dicking around.  Who am I to break with a good tradition?  In this case, I just bugger off to Anor Londo, and spend a good long while hanging with the giant blacksmith there.  He’s not my best friend.  I haven’t had good luck with best friends.  But he’s close.

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Specifically, meeting Sif in the past reminded me that I had his soul in my pocket.  I figured I saved his life, so he probably won’t mind this next part, and have the giant blacksmith hit his spirit with a hammer until my shield absorbs it.  That gives me the same shield Artorias granted him, to protect him from all those ghosts in the Abyss.

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Except mine’s a lot sexier, of course.  I know, because I picked up the original, worn out shield from Sif back in the past as well.  Oh, and do you remember how Elizabeth decided to keep my deeds and glory a secret, in order to keep the whole time paradox thing from happening?

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Yeah, causality can go screw.

I have armed myself with two of the exact same shield, from different points in time.  I bear the power of paradox itself.  Let’s see how good it is in a fight.

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The zombie gazes into this impossibility I have created.  One shield sure, but two of them?  Its mind tears itself apart from the very thought of it.

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The reality of my paradox resolves itself right in its face.

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None can stop the wrath of time itself, the thing that should not be!

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A Dark Souls Pacifist Run

What is this?!  Three months since a Dark Souls post?!  This is an outrage!  Who’s running this place, I’m going to complain to the manager!

Oh, right.  But anyways, this won’t do.  We’ve got to get this Dark Souls bidness taken care of.  Do you have any idea how close we are?  So close!  With exclamation points!  That’s how close we are!  We have to keep the momentum up!  This Dark Souls train cannot be stopped!

It only takes detours.

And it’ll take one today.

Last time.  We kicked ass.  We kicked giant ass.  We kicked huge stupid demon monkey ass.  Which, I mean, granted, that ass kind of smeared us across town for a good long while, but still, in the end, we prevailed!  Eat that, Manus!

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And of course, with victory, comes the spoils.  I’ve rescued the damsel.

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She’s totally my girlfriend.  Have I told you guys about that?

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Right, and she’s so happy to see me, and we are going to go on the best date after this.

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She’s showering me with smooches and okay what the blazes.

The whole ordeal has left her senseless.  I use Artorias’s pendant to kick the Abyss back a bit, but it doesn’t help.  She is completely unaware of everything around her. Continue reading

Dark Lord, Dark Souls

Last time, on the Aether Loses at Dark Souls, we trekked across Oolacile, beat down an invader, and found ourselves at a threshold.  An elevator, looking to descend nowhere but into absolute darkness.  Are we ready to step across, to take it into the unknown, to take the fight to the heart of the Abyss?

Nope.  I decide we’re not.  So I just stand there.

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Until oops, I accidentally put on the Covenant of Artorias, just in case, and accidentally step onto the elevator, and accidentally ride it all the way down.

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The elevator lets me off at what appears to be a dungeon.  Which makes me wonder what that big combat hallway was all about before.  A former courthouse?  Dunno.  In any case, the area is lined in these slick Abyss remnants, which grows thicker the further down I go.  It ends with a bonfire before a broken wall.  It doesn’t seem that the Abyss is strong enough that I need the Covenant of Artorias to survive here, so I switch it out.

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I have the Humanity to spare, for once, so I kindle this bonfire.  Get me those extra estus uses while I can.

I walk out the hole in the wall.  It seems to overlook a great chasm, filled with darkness.  I’m guessing this is where the Abyss first infected the city from.  The path out from the hole leads both directions, but trails off to the right.  So obviously, I head the other way.

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Well, that’s the most descriptive name I’ve seen in a long time.  I find a number of messages here, saying there’s a lizard ahead.  I wonder why I should care for a bit, before finally I spot it.  A crystal lizard.  Ok, that’s worth some note.  I rush towards it.  It turns to flee, but I’m on it before it can get too far.  A quick swing lets me harvest its titanite bounty.

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With darkness all around me, it’s hard to make out where the path I’m on leads, especially as it opens up.  I spy a light glittering in the distance, and make my way towards it.  A prism stone, I find when I get close.  I don’t think any creature from the Abyss would need any of these.  Which means someone else had gotten here first.  Left behind by Artorias, most likely.  In any case, the prism stone marks the start of a path downwards.  In fact, looking down into the Abyss, I can see another light shining far down below.  I’m not quite ready to make progress yet, though, so I turn around, and explore the top level of the cavern some more.

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I spy a blue light in the distance.  Flickering slightly.  Looks to me like some treasure.  And I do love treasure.  So I head towards it.  The blue light grows as I near.  So too do the numerous red lights around it.  Before I know it, I’ve drawn the eye of four bloatheads.  As one fires a Dark Orb at me, the other three rush me down.

I dodge to the side of the bolt, then run down the path I came from towards the bonfire, seeking some cover.  I round a corner, then turn and steel myself.  Of the three bobbleheads chasing me, one’s drawn ahead of the other two, just a bit.  I greet him with my blade when he gets close enough.

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This turns out to be a mistake.  I’m not strong enough to kill him in a single blow, and by the time we both recover, the other two are upon me.  With three of them hammering against my shield at once, they quickly overpower my guard, then lay into me with sequential attacks.  It’s more than I can bear, and by the time I get my defenses back up, I’m already dead.

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