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Fallout New Vegas Day#6: Rocket from the Crypt

Day 6 in New Vegas is a perfect example of the storytelling style of Fallout. My session is almost entirely centered around a single location, but the intricacies of the characters and relationships has a depth you simply don’t see in any other game today. The combat is interestingly hard and there are intriguing twists to the plot, but the really cool thing is that there are a ton of ways to resolve it all. There isn’t a single faction in this session that I didn’t have a chance to either support or betray in a variety of ways if I wanted to. And that flexibility is what puts Fallout in its own class as an open-world game. Spoilers within.

Wow, I totally forgot where I was before this session.  Oh right, Novac, going to the rocket factory to deal with some ghouls and then over to that other town Nelson to kill me some Legion slavers. Let’s start with the rocket factory. I leave Novac and I kill a feral ghoul on the way there.  I get to an abandoned guard post and raid it for some grenades and mines (and do I ever love me some mines), before I continue. I walk for a bit further and see a rocket monument up ahead of me. I guess that’s the facility and damn, the game froze. I restart and retrace my steps back to the facility. I enter the facility after spying a bit from a nearby hill. There are four feral ghouls at the entrance that I easily kill as I’m going in. As I wander the facility, I find lots of dead ghouls in some kind of Bright cult robes. I wonder if something here has been corrupting the ghouls to make them feral. And oh, they all have laser rifles which reminds me that lasers work well again ghouls. I go upstairs to a main building, killing two more ghouls (one with a stealth kill), and then around it. I find the side door and go in the facility.

As soon as I get in, there’s a voice over the intercom to me. A ghoul (he calls me smoothskin) tells me to find a metal staircase to the east and go upstairs to where they are. The building is a bunch of dark, largely empty corridors.  I can’t find an easy way to the east on this floor so I go upstairs. I kill a ghoul and find a terminal by it. In it, I find a note about a container of Stealthboys being dropped here accidentally. Apparently, RoboCo bought the facility, but just before they did, the people here did an experiment that caused major radioactivity. Continuing on, I laser rifle to death lots more ghouls and then I find the metal staircase. Going up, I find an intercom and a locked door. When I press the button on the intercom, I talk to that ghoul again, and he says he’s letting me in. I enter the room and I see a human on the inside, not a ghoul, who says I’m an ugly smoothskin. Seems he doesn’t acknowledge that he’s not a ghoul, and he gets more aggressive as I push him on it, so I stop. He tells me I have to find someone named Jason. I wander around the top floors until I find a Jason Bright. He’s the leader of this cult, a prophet who has seen a better future for the ghouls. He wants to know if I’m here to help him complete the Great Journey.  He talks about demons (sounds like people using Stealthboys) in the basement. One demon raved at them over the intercom to stay in this room, and then they haven’t gone downstairs since. I agree to take care of the demons. Jason goes on to tell me that the Great Journey is basically a trip to Heaven for his ghoul people. He also thinks feral ghouls can be redeemed but I think (although I don’t say this) that I’m just going to keep killing them if I have to. I start to head back to the staircase, and I notice there’s some kind of lab upstairs. It makes me a bit suspicious about how this Great Journey is going to happen.

I head back downstairs and wander around the facility until I find the basement. These demons sound kind of tough, so I use a Stealthboy myself and go down. I also take a mentat drug to increase my perception stat. (They ARE using Stealthboys down here after all.) It’s lots of metal hallways and as I wander, I see a shimmering shape right in front of me. I attack and after a LOT of shots, I kill a nightkin – basically a bluish-gray ogre. I level up to level 6, improving my Guns, Stealth, Speech, and Repair and picking a Bachelor perk, which means with my previous Lady Killer perk I now get bonus speech options for both genders. I see two more nightkin right next to each other and while fighting them, I kill myself with a mine. I respawn at the start of the basement, but I quickly die again, because it turns out that invisible giant ogres are pretty tough! I try again, and this time it’s just lots of mines and lots of grenades. I kill the first nightkin and then have to fight a very tough jailor with a flamethrower. I kill that one, I think, but then I’m quickly killed by a whole other nightkin I didn’t see.

I try a fourth time, this time going the other direction from the entrance. I find a locked door and there’s a ghoul behind it in a sniper’s position named Harland.  He tells me that he bets Jason sent me down here instead of going down himself and that he doesn’t want to help me with whatever I’m doing. He was helping to protect some of the ghouls down here when the nightkin came and now he’s trapped in this room. He won’t help me or let me explore this room until I find the girl he came down here to save. I agree to help out and head back to the corridors.

I enter another room and there find a visible nightkin but he seems crazy. He’s talking to a brahmin (mutant cow for non-Fallout players) skull he calls Antler. I tell him that I came on behalf of the ghouls. He says he’s the one who told the ghouls to stay put, and he wants them to stay put until Antler gets what it sent them here for. He says he was once a captain of nightkin – Antler is new master after they lost old one. The nightkin are here because they found out about the Stealthboy shipment, but the shipment must be in the room with Harland (they’ve searched everywhere else) and Harland kills everyone who goes in. The nightkin tells me that if we can get him the Stealthboys, all the nightkin will leave. These nightkin are tough, so I’m going to try for this Stealthboy quest. I realize I can’t explore that room until I find the girl; I could just kill Harland, but I’m a good guy in this game. So, I head back into the space.

The jail seems like a good place to look so I head back there. It’s a series of metal walkways over a larger room. This time, I kill the jailer quick with surprise barrage of grenades and some Psycho drugs to increase my damage. I get a jail key and unlock the downstairs. It’s a long search, but I eventually find the girl dead. I’ve been regularly popping mentats to be able to spot the stealthing nightkin, but I guess I overdid it because I get addicted them. (Addiction here means that I take stat penalties if I don’t take the drug.) Anyway, I head back to tell Harland about the girl. He’s sad but he leaves. Investigating the room, I find a terminal with a message saying that the Stealthboy shipment was sent back. I immediately go to the nightkin leader to give him the news, and after a short dialogue, he believes me and tells me that the nightkin will leave. That’s mission accomplished on the ghoul quest. I  find a bunch of valuable building stuff down here and then head back up to the ghouls upstairs. I tell Jason I succeeded and he tells me to meet him in basement. It takes me a long time to find him down there, because he’s in a whole new wing that unlocked. Once I do find him,  he tells me he’s going to take the rocket into space.  Chris (the not-ghoul) will remain behind – there is too much radiation out there and he’ll die. I could accuse Jason of lying to Chris, but I choose not to. He tells me to talk to Chris about things they need to finish the rocket: an ignitor and thrust controls. I talk to Chris about it and I say I’ll track down the thrust control. It turns out that the rocket souvenir has the igniting agent in it but I need five of them to have enough. I could talk to Chris about the fact hat he’s not going with the ghouls, but I decide to hold on to that until later.

Now that the facility is largely done, I fast travel to Novac. I drop my stuff off in my room and pay a doctor to have me kick my mentats addiction. I go to Cliff in the store and buy a key to store room to talk as many rocket souvenirs as I want. It’s a rip-off since I’ve never improved by banter skill, but I get my rockets. I go back to see Vargas but he’s mysteriously gone. The terminal in his room tells me that the Khans went on to Boulder City. But before I do that, I head east toward Nelson. I see an NCR blockade on the way.  They don’t want to let me past but I Speech the ranger talking to me to let me deal with the Legion in the town. The Nelson forces have hostages, but the ranger wants me to take them out rather than save them; the hostages are going to die anyway, and if we try to rescue them, the Legion will swarm in. If the hostages are out of the picture, the ranger can get the rest of the forces to clear the town. The ranger and I head down to Nelson. He takes a sniper position and starts shooting. I get in there and find the hostages. I have the choice of killing or freeing them, and I can’t not free them, so I rescue them anyway. I die fighting my way out because I get myself stuck in a corner.  I respawn and succeed this time by running the Legion guys (who are TOUGH, by the way) into the ranger who followed me. He’s a little sheepish that I actually rescued the hostages, and he gives me caps for my trouble. That’s been a pretty intense session, so I head back to Novac to heal, eat, sleep and end this session.

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