Monthly Archives: August 2011

Punch Drunk

I decide to wander to the East. There’s plenty of land between here and DC, and if there really is a war on, there ought to be some kind of civilisation on the way. From a small clifftop, I spy a large molerat lurking outside Megaton’s walls.

My hunting rifle is in too poor a shape to be reliable in combat, but for hunting? Why, it’s almost as if that’s what it was made for.

10 caps per shot means I’d need four or five large molerats to form an orderly queue and politely wait to be blown away, which I don’t think happens outside action flicks. So I jog around the side of the cliff before the mole can wander off, slipping on a pair of brass knuckles I pried from the remains of a dead man. I’m all class.

Embarassingly, it still manages to catch me by surprise. Moley is also bigger than I thought. He charges and tries for a bite with those suddenly vicious-looking teeth. There’s no time for anything but a reflexive right hook. Haaaaaaai!

And POW! Check out our Cass! Terrible stance, but good aim at least. But I fear this may be the end of me already, as my health is low and look at the size of that thing…

One punch. One.

Hell yeah. I guess being a hopeless weakling doesn’t totally negate a bit of natural technique, huh? Right in the neck! This deserves some celebration.

Better luck next time, moley!

Unfortunately word of my prowess/luck evidently gets round fast, as the next few molerats I see scarper as soon as I appear. While tracking one down I spot a scuffle up ahead involving what appears to be Steve the caravan guard. I try to investigate, but can only get close enough for a vague silhouette shot.

A tense moment. Should I fire? If he’s hostile I need to get the drop on him, but if I miss, or he’s not alone… damn it.

Possibly Steve disappears in the direction of the city, and a small explosion resonates from there a few moments later. Hm. Probably not wise to go that way unprepared, then.

After gutting a few more molerats, I go back and sell the spoils to Plastic Hair Lady for less than the cost of today’s water. Ulp. I will have to start taking some big risks as of tomorrow. But for now, I head inside the Brass Lantern to buy that beer.

Well hello there. What’s a nice unattended bottle like you doing in a place like this?

Pardon? What’s that you say? You want me to drink you? But we mustn’t!

I never had… I never had a one thing, right, that’s not going wrong. One thing. Fuckin’ … it’s a fix, man. A fix. I wannanother drink.

If this guy doesn’t stop staring at me I’m going to jam that kebab stick up his todge.

Oh for … One word. One word. One word he says to me and that’s it, chair legs, teeth, glass everywhere. I’m doing it. I’ll do it. This is ARMOUR, okay? It’s armour. It’s not… it’s not for staring, jackass.

I swear I’ll do it. Where’s… where’re the bogs?

mmkay. Is dark. I’ma lie down just a little bit.

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You Can Go Your Own Way

This overly excitable chap inside the Brass Lantern café is friendly enough (although if he calls me ‘little lady’ again I might break his nose), and offers me a beer for 10 caps, which seems like quite a welcome bargain.

Damn it, this is why I hate city living. You get there and you see everything is so stupidly expensive that you’re sure it’s some big joke, but no, everyone’s goddamm crazy enough to pay 4,000 times something’s value just because it’s the city. And then you find something marginally less extortionate and decide it’s a bargain, and before you know it you’re ONE OF THEM.

Feckin’ townies. Screw it. Booze can wait, I need more cash.

I go for a wander outside to see if there’s anything worth sticking around for. It’s mostly rocky nothingness. There are ruined town areas a shortish walk in most directions, but they’re not quite what I’d call convenient. I’m thinking I might be better off making a base outside somewhere and working from there, rather than making a town itself my home.

There’s a river up to the northeast, though. The city is on the opposite side. Lucas Simms said that DC is a warzone, but scavenging on the fringes might be an option. Hmm.

I… whoa hey, wait!


The caravan’s leaving! So much for nakama. I sulkily follow them for a bit, to see if I can spot anything interesting, and to see where they’re going. Which, it appears, is straight back to wherever they came from. Huh.

On the way, we run into another caravan coming to Megaton. I don’t like the look of them.

Hit him Wolfgang! He’s blatantly eyeballing you, man. Nut him one, the speccy twat. He’s wearing a tie in the post-apocalypse, for christ’s sake! What more reason do you need? We’ve got your back, it’ll be alright.

Oh, fine. Boring bloody merchants.

The guys move on, and Doc Hoff and I have a brief chat. He’s clearly a skeazy drug-pushing greaseball, and his very existence makes me feel violated. Man’s lucky he has guards. One of them even has a tasty sniper rifle. I could really use a sniper rifle…. But I don’t know if my crew would have my back on this one. Not worth the risk.

We then run into another total dickbag, this one in a hulking great suit of armour, who keeps sneering at me like he’s superior because he hides in a big tin can all day.

I come THIS CLOSE. But I doubt I could lug that armour back to town, and I probably wouldn’t get much for it anyway. One day I’ll drop a sucker who gives me lip. No words, no warnings, just BLAM. Straight through the eye. One day.

I think it’s time I ditched the caravan now. Getting too dependent on them. I’m sure we’ll run into each other again someday.

With the backup gone, I scout about cautiously for a while. Once I get my bearings, it seems that La Cáscara, the site where I started, is a way West of Megaton, which itself is far West of central DC. I can see the outline of the Capitol building and the Vaguely Phallic Monument from here (no, I don’t know why they’re still standing after a nuclear war either). The caravan took me the long way round, so heading South can wait.

Cartography may not be a strength.

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Danger UXB

After a surprisingly violent afternoon of travelling with Wolfgang’s caravan, we approach the first non-pathetic settlement I’ve come across. It’s a rather famous town called Megaton.

The crew set up shop outside the main gates, where I can see no foot traffic at all. The only people nearby are some kind of refugee harping on about needing water (not happening, son), and another extortionate escort (although she’s only charging 50 caps to go back to Big Town, compared to Deitrek’s 300 from there. Dick). Speaking of Deitrek, it looks like he’s been around recently.

I’m guessing a cow killed his father or something.

After stripping and selling everything the caravan killed, I’ve got myself a wee pile of about 140 caps. I’m in sore need of medicine and ammo, and could do with somewhere to sleep. Low on water, too. Not exactly a triumphant ride into town.

Megaton is very well-protected – it’s basically a large crater surrounded by crude metal walls, with only one, barricadable entrance patrolled by a service robot and a sentry on a catwalk. There must be someone I can trade with here, then.

Inside, I meet Sheriff Lucas Simms, who apparently spends all day standing around the inner entrance waiting for people to walk in so he can pretend to be in a movie at them. I can think of worse hobbies.

Lucas tells me that the town is built around an atomic bomb. An active atomic bomb. That’s sitting in the middle of town, open to the elements and freely accessible to absolutely anyone, with nothing at all in the way.

Is everyone who lives in a town insane, or what? Is this Fallout or Mortal Engines? I mean, jesus.

Okay, well it’s probably not going to go off today, so I should get some trading in and get out of here. I consider asking if I could disarm it, but decide against it – best leave it alone. The sheriff points me to a local, Moira, who is clearly a fruit loop, but is willing to trade and let me patch up my knackered hunting rifle using her workdesk.

140 caps really does not go far at all. Damn, stuff is expensive. A single bullet for my pistol costs ten caps. Ten! A portable bed costs close to 500. So much for that plan.

On the plus side, Moira McMental is selling a range of backpacks, the smallest of which is 70 caps. It’s steep, but it’ll let me carry a small pile of gear around, maybe even a couple of pistols, so it’ll probably pay for itself. The plan to sell junk is going to be slow going, as I get one lousy cap for four tin cans. A cap each for meat and a few cherry bombs I found too, which is a bit better. Maybe I should be hunting rather than scavenging, but I’ll need a knife or club or something if one bullet is worth the meat of ten animals.

Hm. The local clinic isn’t much better. There an arsehole abuses his position, demanding 100 caps for medical treatment and 170 for a single lousy stimpack. I come close to clouting him and robbing the place, but it’d likely just get me shot. Dammit.

Sigh. I sit down at a nearby café and try to relax.

The woman with a dreadful jumpsuit and plastic hair sells me a few bottles of water (5 caps apiece), and buys some of my meat. I’d complain about her markups (about 20 – 30 caps for most food), but food is the one thing I’m not short of.

I have some trouble enjoying my meal of still-struggling lizards though, as a guy next to me insists on staring.

There’s something…

…just a little…

Oh dear god.

While sitting there I overhear some people behind me who are… uh. Well. It seems that this town isn’t just built around a bomb; they worship it too. They worship it. An atom bomb. That they worship.

I need a drink.

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Wolf and the Gang

still badass.

Hi there! You must be new. Don’t be alarmed – we are but simple traders trying to make an honest living out in the wastes. You need some oddsa and ends? Some bobs? Some bits? We have both bric and brac, all for sale. Lowest prices in town (although admittedly that’s largely because everyone else got shot)! But I forget myself. Where are my manners? Let me introduce you to the crew.

Steve is a caravan guard. Old guard, even – Steve’s seen it all, and has no time for any nonsense. Anywhere there’s a hint of a fight, he’ll be hurling himself into the fray with his shotgun blazing. Always the first to voice dissent with the group, he’s perpetually on the cusp of storming out in a strop. Steve lost his eye in a fight with his nemesis, a former partner in crime. It’ll inevitably come up one day as part of his subplot, so please be sure to ask him about it so that he can gruffly refuse to say anything. Foreshadowing isn’t easy to come by out here.

Cass is the newest member of the group, and though she’s not much of a fighter and can’t haggle worth a damn, she’s … uh. Well. Look, she’s half naked most of the time, and a man has needs. Nobody’s even quite sure where she came from exactly, but the important thing is half naked.

Charlie here is your go-to guy. You want something done, you just point it out to Charlie and he’ll head straight over there and do it. Admittedly, I use ‘do’ here as a synonym for ‘mindlessly incinerate’, but tell me, have you ever come across a problem that fire couldn’t solve? Exactly. Charlie’s character arc is that he’s a black man, which countless movies have informed me means he doesn’t need a character arc. Or character, for that matter.

Dean is the young up and comer, anxious to prove himself. He’s the rear guard of the convoy, always keeping a sharp eye out for trouble. A little naive and idealistic, and he and Steve clash all the time, not least over the affections of Cass (although Steve would never admit it, obviously), Dean likes to think of himself as the moral compass of the group. He’ll get us all into some terrible scrape sooner or later while trying to prove himself to Wolfgang and/or get in Cass’s pants, but what can you do?

“Crazy” Wolfgang, our glorious leader. His two or three recorded lines may tire fast, and he may sound identical to a good 20% of the world’s population, but don’t go thinking he’s just some nobody with a stupid name. Oh, no.

Wolfgang leads the way, closely followed by his loyal crew, for whom he’d fight to the death, especially his beloved brahmin. Oh, you don’t want to even joke about hurting his brahmin.

And last, but by no means least, are Erm ‘n Trude, our pack brahmin. Poor Erm took a knock on the head a long while back and has been slow and a little panicky since, but the other head, Trude, more than picks up the slack. They carry our cargo through the roughest, driest, deadliest terrain you can think of, and they’ve never let us down yet.

So that’s us. Risking our lives for junk? Yep. Filling even the lowliest molerat with enough ordnance to bankrupt a continent in the name of protecting five caps’ worth of scrap metal? You betcha. Occasionally messing up our pathfinding and walking into a wall for seventeen hours? Damn straight. That’s our bag, baby. You can keep your fancy armour and your high-falutin’ laser guns. We deal only with the humble, the obscure, the almost assuredly useless items, because nobody else does.

Crazy? No no. You’ve got it all backwards. We are simply going sane in a crazy world.


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Never Walk Alone

Life on the road is slow, but a hell of a lot less stressful. Happily, the column raises no objection to looking after a helpless dweeb like Cass, and even has room for her to fall into formation.

With the caravan’s fairly nasty hardware on display the raiders seem reluctant to bother us at first, so we simply stroll right out of sight at a casual pace, with Wolfgang periodically turning round to try to sell his stock to his own crew. Might want to branch out a little there, Wolfgang.

I try to strike up a conversation with the guards, but they’re all business. I soon learn that life on the road is all about non-verbal communication, and not just because that means there’s less voice acting to record.

It’s not long before the silence is broken, however, as a couple of dogs try a suicide charge at the two-headed bovine that is (are?) our pack brahmin. Both are reduced to so much bloody meat before I can even draw my pistol, let alone take pictures. This soon becomes something of a pattern, as the convoy proves itself more than capable of resisting wild molerats…

…crazed military-grade robots…

… as well as our old friends, the raiders.

Ha! Eat it, raiders. That’s right; you mess with me and a few days later I accidentally blunder into a friendly nutter with a flamethrower. That’ll learn yer.

Before long I learn to keep my pistol ready and stick close to the group, occasionally running off to loot a corpse and sell the meat to Wolfgang for a literal cap or two. He then marks it up by about 2,000%, so I just consider this my wage for helping out rather than taking advantage of the convoy’s quick, borderline psychotic reactions.

I also learn not to stand anywhere near the dude with the shotgun, who exhibits some obvious denial over his cyclopean status.

Someone really should have a word with him.

I’m already growing rather fond of Wolfgang and friends. Sadly I can’t really join in the fun much as my ammo is dangerously low, and even the weapons I take off the raiders’ bodies are worn out and useless. Wolfgang gives me a few caps for them and their armour at least, so I’m making a small pile of money off the back of their merciless slaughter.

My water problem is not going away, however, and I can’t see that changing unless we reach a settlement within the next day. And sure, I’m pretty safe with the caravan (I don’t even want to think about how I’d have got past five raiders alone), but I’m not getting any experience in, which means my skills aren’t improving. I really shouldn’t be taking advantage of them like this, it’s just hiding from the world.

On the other hand…

…we are totally badass.

It’s going to be difficult to leave, for sure. Cass is a loner at heart, and it’s not really in the spirit of this blog to hide behind NPC meat shields, especially as early as day two. But seriously, every time I turn round, they are frying a raider or turning a killer robot into an emergency buckshot storage facility. It’s all kinds of cool.

Decisions, decisions.

Sigh. I guess I’ll stick with them until the next stop, and then see what’s available from there. Until then…


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