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Fallout NV Day#12: Vaults and Valleys

Day 12 is a long session of a couple of significant subplots. This session contains a number of nice uses of the core system. There’s a use of camouflage that’s quite well done, and there’s also a genuine puzzle that I have to solve. There’s a couple of good plot resolutions with Fallout’s typical rich variety of choices and outcomes, and there are some great settings and atmosphere to the locations I’m working. However, I do hit a pretty annoying game flaw in my control (or lack thereof) of my party. I die a lot more than I should have just because my partner won’t listen to what I say. That sucked, but it still couldn’t pull down an overall great session. Spoilers within.

I begin the session by looking for Brotherhood tech in Nellis. I know I had agreed to do the vegetation first, but I am right here.  I think the info is in Pearl’s house, but I don’t want to steal it and talking to Pearl doesn’t give me an option to get it. After thinking for a bit, I wait until she’s out of my line of sight and I steal the info from a locker. She doesn’t see me. It’s at vault 34. Okay, I guess I have lots of vaults to check out. Let’s do some clean up first. I go back to the Mojave Outpost to talk to the caravan owner Cass, as Crimson wants to buy her caravan. I learn through conversation that Cass’s caravan was destroyed by raiders so it’s just her and what she’s got in her pockets. Despite this, she doesn’t want to sell because of pride. I Speech her to sell and she tells me she’s relieved when she does it, although maybe she’s just convincing herself. There was a higher speech option (something like 75) I couldn’t get, so I wonder what that outcome would have been. I offer to have her as a companion, but the game tells me I can only have one at a time. (What? Was that the case in the last game?)

I go back to Crimson to report my success with Cass to McLafferty. I talk to Janet first and give her the uniform to visit Jack at the Boomers. She’s ready to leave but she’ll have to leave behind her wages because of her contract. I agree to talk to McLafferty about it. I go to McLafferty and give the news about Cass, but I again lack the speech to help Janet. I put that on hold and decide to quickly deal with one of the other Crimson quests: firing a worthless employee who’s in Freeside. I fast travel there and head back to the Atomic Wrangler to find the guy. He’s the son of an important person in the organization, but he owes money to the Omertas gang for gambling. I could Speech him to threaten him with the Omertas, but that feels unethical. I try to make a deal with him, but he’s a greedy sleazebucket and wants tons of money from Crimson to leave. Fuck that — I get over my ethics and Speech him to make him quit for free.

I decide to go to the vaults to make some more ground for Veronica. I start with vault 22 because it’s two quests in one (the Brotherhood quest and the NCR search for data). I have to walk there, and on the way, I stop in a new location called Winn’s Hideout. There’s a couple inside posturing and talking about raiding the Strip. I Speech them to give up the plan and they each individually admit that they think it’s a terrible idea. They give me Vance’s gun (of Vick and Vance fame) to stop them from doing something stupid. I head west and see a very lush area in a path through the mountains. A sign at the entrance warns that the plants here kill. I kill some mantises and enter vault 22. There are plants everywhere. Just inside the vault, I activate terminal and it turns out Keely wrote it as a journal to mark her progress. I repair an elevator and go to the second floor. There’s not much there, so I continue to the third floor. Once there, I kill a man like plant called a spore carrier.  I search the third floor, and find a sealed off cave. The terminals here tell me that apparently a plant virus swept through the vault. I also kill more carriers; they are quite cool enemies as their design causes them to blend into plant clusters and they are literally hard to see. You don’t see genuine camouflage in games much. I go down one more floor, and again not much here. One more flight down to the bottom level. There’s a fight with carriers in which die because I miss a shot (damn it). I respawn and beat several enemies in a row. I level up, putting all my points in Speech and Guns and taking the Scrounger perk which gives me more ammunition. I find the data for the experiments experiments. I then find the entrance to a huge cave and kill some spore plants (like giant venus fly traps) and mantises inside. I find Keely (a ghoul) in a far corner of the cave.  She wants to deal with the plants.  I choose to agree, and we’re supposed to meet on the second floor. She runs off and I find my way out of the cave.  I see her at the elevator and she complements my repairs. I then head to the second floor and meet her in the lab. She tells me she’s alive because apparently the plants don’t like ghoul meat. She wants to burn out all of the spores by blowing up a gas that the old vault dwellers set up to come out of the vents – a preparation for this emergency. Given that I have to do the blowing up by shooting or throwing the grenade into a gas filled hallway, I save and leave Veronica up here. I go back down and repeatedly die when I shoot the gas as the whole floor lights on fire. I need a time bomb or something so I can get off of this floor.  After about four deaths, I talk to Keely again and ah, she tells me I need a reinforced room that sealed off from the rest of the hall. I die twice trying to seal off one room, but I then notice there’s a plant-free room near the vent I’m shooting at. I go in that room,  throw grenade a grenade at the vent, and close the door to succeed. Done and done. I go back up to retrieve Veronica. Keely wants to delete the data but sees that someone downloaded it.  I tell her I did and she wants to delete it from my pip-boy (personal wrist computer).  I tell her my friend needs it and she says there’s no reason not to trust me and lets me keep it. She thanks me for my help.  I leave and head back to McCarren to tell Williams that I saved Keely. She thanks me and gives me caps. I’m torn about whether I’m actually going to give the data to the doctor here, even though he says he knows that Williams has bad-mouthed him. I decide to wait on cashing in the data with the NCR.

Now that my Speech is higher, I go back to Crimson Caravan. I tell McLafferty that the worthless guy is gone for my caps reward. I also Speech her to give Janet her wages and McLafferty agrees to help her out. I tell Janet and she immediately starts traveling to Nellis. I go back to Nellis to complete this quest. I talk to Jack but he’s not ready yet, and when I look at my map, I can see that Janet is actually traversing the map to get here. That’s kind of neat. Right after I think this, the game freezes as I open door. Oh wait it didn’t – it just took a FULL MINUTE to load the scene outside the door. As long as I’m at Nellis, I find the final Brotherhood team, bombed and killed approaching the base. I go back to the Hidden Valley with the last tape and evidence from Vault 22. While I’m there, Janet arrives at Nellis. I find the elder first. Veronica talks to him about the vegetation find, but he doesn’t care and doesn’t want to change the Brotherhood. I tell him about the dead patrols and he wants me to find the scouts who went out to find the patrols; they are currently hidden and waiting for a message. When I’m done talking to the elder, Veronica initiates a conversation with me. She is disheartened and I tell her that the elder will never come around and she should leave. She agrees. I then go to the archives to research the history of the order. I learn about something called the Chain that Binds. I go to see Harkin and tell him about the dead patrols and he’s pissed. Those were his men and the elder had no right to order them around without telling him. Harkin still wants to overthrow the elder. I talk to Ramos about the Chain and he gives me more access to the database to learn about it. I find an obscure second part to the Chain about not jumping the chain of command, which is exactly what the elder did to Harkin. Harkin is thrilled when I tell him this and he uses that to take over.  I level up (even spread between Speech, Guns, Repair, and Science) and the Brotherhood now likes me. I talk to the new elder Harkin and as thanks he tells me I have a key to get my things repaired somewhere, but I don’t know where. I leave and when I get outside, I see a group of four paladins. They threaten us about Veronica’s insubordination.  I can’t Speech them (it requires a 95!) so I tell them she’s leaving, and they warn us not to come back as they leave. Veronica says she wants to work with the Followers of the Apocalypse, an altruistic group that helps the survivors of the wastes. We go to the follower base, but the person we need is not in and we need to come back.

I decide to finish that Young Hearts quest so I revisit Nellis. I see that Janet has arrived and I complete that quest. I guess it’s time for me to raise that bomber. There’s no location unlocked near the lake so I start walking. As I leave Nellis, I kind of want to know why that train tunnel leading to the base kills people so I check it out. Oh it’s very locked. Oh well. I notice that there is a Brotherhood base up here on my map, so I guess that’s what Harkin was talking about. I wander south to find it, but as I approach it, I am quickly killed by a deathclaw. Damn they are scary. I respawn in Nellis and try this again. This time, I go down to Vegas and go west. We fight some geckos along the way, and Veronica dies from them. Really? Doesn’t she heal? Well, that seems really cheap to me, so I reload. I go down to the sharecropper outside the strip and discover the East Cistern building. I go in — there’s free clean water but that’s it. I head back down the gecko path, killing them easily this time, and then as I’m passing it, I decide to check out Vault 34.

I have to brave some radiation to go in. Once inside, there’s a long cave that leads to the vault and more golden gecko to kill before we get there. Once we get inside, there are lots of crazy ghouls here in narrow corridors. I die fighting them because Veronica disappears on me to run down a hallway. Oh when I reload, she’s stuck in the earth.  This stuck-in-the-earth thing seems to be the most common bug in this game. I reload and go back inside. Veronica and I are killing a bunch of ghouls and they all drop lots of 10mm ammo, so it’s wicked submachine gun time. I kill a bunch of them and find some flooded chambers. Thank you, rebreather. I explore the flooded rooms and I find some key codes there. I eventually get to the armory. It’s a staircase down to a sealed door with enemies behind it. I save before I go down the stairs and it’s a good thing because Veronica immediately runs down to open the door and dies. I die several more times because damn it, she won’t stay away from the door. It’s very cheap and annoying that she won’t stay put even when I tell her to. I finally get through it when I switch her to ranged combat and then lure the ghouls up the stairs in smaller groups. It’s a maze down here and I can’t find my way. My rad poisoning is getting crazy so I decide to temporarily leave. I go back to novac to heal and sleep and that’s the end of the night for me.

Posted in Hardcore.

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