Well folks, the day has finally arrived, and I’m ready to kick of the first chapter of my pseudo Let’s Plays! The first game I’m tackling?
Unfortunately, the seeming inability to play the game in a windowed mode (exacerbated by the fact I’m playing the mac port) combined with copy protection means that there won’t be any screenshots this time around, but I’ll try and make these amusing enough to make up for it. Let’s get some of the preliminaries out of the way before moving forward.
Thanks are due to everyone who responded to my twitter and facebook posts, and to all the Talking Tyrants that filled up a thread with suggestions. I ended going through a lot of choices before deciding on where to start. At first, I thought I’d pick something that I’d either already played through a fair amount of (Dragon Quest IV) or that required a very small time investment (Half Minute Hero), but at the end of the day, I realized that my initial problem was games boring me. To that end I wanted something oozing with story, and that knew how to tell it well. All signs pointed to the Fallout series being as close to a sure thing as I was going to find, and considering I’ve been chomping at the bit for some post apocalyptic action after renting Fallout 3 a few months back and subsequently watching A Boy and His Dog and every Mad Max movie, there wasn’t really even a choice anymore. After scrounging up a mac port, I ended up playing a trial game for a few hours, just so I could get a feel for the interface and the way the game worked. Now that I’m pretty comfortable with the game’s world and systems, I’d say I’m ready to start the honest-to-goodness playthrough.
I’m not going into this completely spoiler-free, as I did some research ahead of time. That said, I’m only using spoilers in the net-hack sense (game mechanics) and not the Final Fantasy sense (story). I’m fully prepared to fuck myself over as part of the learning process, but wanted to arm myself with at least a bit of information about which stats are important, and some benefits/drawbacks to different traits/perks, and inventory management (pickpocketing your allies for great profit!). To this end, I found myself a pretty decent FAQ and just read up on the author’s general character design philosophy. Beyond that, I’m keeping myself as free from information as possible, beyond what I was already privy to. It’s also worth noting, though this may be obvious from the LP nature of this endeavor, that I will not be spoiler tagging any of my content here. If you’re planning on playing Fallout at some point, and don’t want to have plot points revealed to you, turn away now. For the rest of you, let’s begin.
After a bit of thought, I decided that “Dirk Kiljoy” was a suitably ridiculous name for my vault dwelling explorer. As far as my character build is concerned, I ended up using a pre-defined sniper class I found in the aforementioned FAQ, with some slight modifications to fit my play style. I ended up going with a sniper build, as that seemed more user-friendly than a melee build for my first playthrough. I am also using the Gifted trait, even though I know it’s kind of overpowered (since a good INT stat can make up for the skill hit, and 3 free points is pretty crazy good). My feeling is that on my first go-around, I don’t mind being a little unbalanced so long as I can enjoy the story and get my footing. I’m going for low CHA, mediocre END in favor of high PER, INT, AGI and LCK. Primary skills are Small Guns, Lockpicking, and Speech. Traits are Gifted and Small Frame.
Our Story Begins
War. War never changes.
In the late 21st century, all of mankinds greatest fears came true when total nuclear war reduced most of our planet to an irradiated wasteland. Most people living on the surface died instantly, and those that remained found both their bodies and their way of life forever changed in the holocaust that followed. A particularly lucky subset of the population were able to escape unmolested by nuclear winter in airtight underground “vaults”, though only designed for short term use, these survivors were able to extend their stay for generations, at the expense of cutting themselves off entirely from the world outside. I am one of these fortunate few. My name is Dirk Kiljoy. My home: Vault 13.
I’ve always had a curious nature, never entirely satisfied with life in the safe but relatively dull confines of the vault. When a crisis arose, perhaps it was this very nature, combined with my nimble hands and aptitude with a firearm that made me the perfect man to leave home in search of a solution. Perhaps denizens of the vault just didn’t want my curiosity to spread. Whatever the case, it was on an otherwise uneventful December morning that the Overseer, top man and spiritual leader of the vault, approached me with a mission. The cornerstone to the vault’s self-sufficiency has always been in its ability to produce clean drinking water, a feat made possible by the water purification chip every vault has installed. However, Vault 13′s chip has finally seen its last day of operation. It’s malfunctioned, says the Overseer, and without a new one, the vault will be out of usable drinking water in a mere 150 days. While the chip cannot be repaired, and parts aren’t available to build a new one, there are rumors of another vault, not far off, that could be the key to vault 13′s salvation. My task will be to investigate that vault, and bring home a new chip by any means necessary.
150 Days Left: Shady Sands
After dealing with some rodents that had made the caves outside the vault their home, I emerged and looked upon the sunlit wastes of what was once California for the first time. There wasn’t much time to take it all in, however, and immediately I headed east, in search of my quarry. It wasn’t long before I encountered what would be the first of many very odd sights — I was set upon by a pack of what appeared to be oversized praying mantises. While proving little challenge for the vault-issued Full Metal Jacket rounds in my trusty sidearm, the sheer enormity of the beasts gave me pause. I had no idea they would be just the tip of the iceberg.
It seems the last traveller to come by these parts was not so lucky, but his corpse did at least provide some extra ammunition, sundries, and a spare pistol. Curiously enough, he also seemed to have a copious amount of what looked to be soda bottlecaps. While I didn’t necessarily understand, I knew enough to pocket the caps — they could come in handy, if I could discern their purpose.
After a few day’s journey, I found myself at what looked to be a makeshift settlement. The sign on the gate read “Shady Sands”, which the guard posted there confirmed to be the name of this tiny hamlet. His name is Seth, and while you couldn’t call his demeanor inviting by any stretch of the imagination, he was at the very least courteous. He greeted me, and explained that their town is fairly self-sufficient, but not used to seeing strangers come calling. However, he noted that if I wanted to make myself useful, the town’s been having some problems that they could use some help with. Raiders are a constant problem, but he cautioned me not to approach them alone. The more immediate threat was the Radscorpions, apparently another larger than life irradiated version of creatures I had read about in my youth. He cautioned that they’re not to be taken lightly, and in fact he’d already lost his brother to them not long before. Razlo, the town doctor, might be able to help with a cure for their venom.
Before making my way to Razlo, I decided to talk to some of the locals. Katrina, another former vault dweller, actually used to live in vault 15 — the very vault the Overseer had sent me out in search of. She confirmed that they did indeed have a working water chip when last she was there, but cautioned that the elevators weren’t working, and told me I may want to make sure I have some rope handy before trying to explore. She suggested that I try bartering with the people in Shady Sands, as they are always on the lookout for supplies and bottlecaps, the universal currency of this brave new world (so THAT’S what they’re for!).
It’s worth noting at this point that in my trial playthrough, I managed to miss out on talking to Katrina, and made my way to vault 15 woefully unequipped. I had even noted that one of Shady Sand’s residents had a rope, but didn’t bother trying to trade for it! Suffice it to say, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake this time around
The next person I spoke with, at Seth’s urging, was Aradesh, the town’s leader. He seemed happy that I wanted to help, but was very reserved throughout our conversation. He balked at my request for payment in return for clearing out the scorpions, but he did have a rope handy that he was happy to trade for a few caps. All in all, not an entirely wasted encounter.
Finally, I met up with Ian, formerly a bodyguard for merchant caravans, but after some injuries in the line of duty, he decided to settle for a more peaceful life in Shady Sand’s relative comfort. He’s a bit more worldly than the rest of the town’s residents, and as such was able to point me in the direction of a few larger trading settlements, should my journey to vault 15 prove fruitless. While he was reluctant at first, I was actually able to convince him to tag along with me, in exchange for a share of whatever profit I end up making. After all, bottlecaps won’t be much use to me, once I return to the vault, and Ian seems like he’d be a valuable asset. While he got ready to go, I flipped through some of the books on his shelves, and found a fascinating volume entitled “Scout’s Handbook”. There were some bits about hand gestures and badges that I kind of glossed over, but I learned some things about tying knots and lighting fires that I won’t soon forget. Once Ian had made ready, I decided to head for Razlo’s, to check in before heading out.
The good doctor is something of a cold fish. He didn’t offer much in the way of advice, but told me that if I was able to bring him some tails from any radscorpions I kill, he should be able to concoct an anti-venom from them.
142 Days Left: The Radscorpion Cave
Seth was able to lead us to the edge of the scorpions’ lair, and he did not exaggerate with his description of the place; it was positively teeming with the beasts. Immediately I was glad to have Ian with me, as his dead eye and quick hands made short work of our adversaries. An extra pair of hands was also more than welcome, as their tails are positively massive, and I wanted to make sure to bring back absolutely as many as we could carry.
it’s also worth noting that, thanks to my piss-poor charisma, Ian wouldn’t agree to go with me in my trial playthrough without payment — I guess I just got lucky the second time around. That, combined with the fact that I had initially thought my turns would come sooner if I didn’t spend all my action points (not the case, it would seem), I ended up not learning that it’s probably a good idea to use my remaining AP to put some distance between myself and the scorpions until I’d blown through the vast majority of my stimpacks. The second time around was FAR less painful.
Once all of the beasts had been dealt with, we travelled back to town, hands full with spoils from our encounter.Tags: Fallout, Let's Play, RPG