I don’t make the rules, except for these ones.

To preserve a spirit of wandering, exploring, and cautious balancing of odds, I am not allowed to use the in-game map. At all. That includes fast travel options, with one exception as outlined below. I must navigate by the sun and landmarks (I disabled the in-game compass so long ago that I genuinely forget it exists sometimes, so I literally can’t use that either).

The exception to this is the Explorer motorbike. This is an optional FWE feature that plants a broken down motorbike near a major town. once you’ve repaired and refueled it (mixing the fuel from several ingredients), you can use it to fast travel to any map marker you’ve already visited. It’s a good system I’ve toyed with, as it allows you to cut out the most tedious and pointless journeys, but not without scavenging up some machine parts and fuel ingredients to keep it in working order. Pity there’s no tape deck.

I can’t run, unless I have a compelling, urgent reason to do so, such as imminent death or nightfall (Fellout’s nights are dark. Very dark. Some nasties are nocturnal and/or can see in the dark. Being outside at night is generally a bad idea).

No exploits. This means I can’t use the ‘grab key carry’ function to shift heavier items over long distances. I can’t kill someone by repeatedly attacking, then apologising. I can’t cram 10Kg of meat down my gullet to heal up – once I’m no longer hungry, no more food.

No obvious stealing. It’s easy in Fallout 3 to steal everything that isn’t nailed down, and unless someone’s watching you, you’ll never be caught out. This would make the game far too easy. I’ll instead be imagining that Fallout models character inventories like, say, the Gothic games did, so that if I go into someone’s farmhouse and empty their cupboards, they’re going to notice it the next day.

However, given that this is a wasteland struggle for survival in a lawless radioactive hellhole, I’m not going to say I won’t be stealing. I will almost certainly be a total dick to at least some people, especially people I’ll never see again. If it’s safer than going up against raiders, then hell yeah, I’ll steal some ammunition from that kindly scavenger. Fuck that guy.

I must eat, sleep and drink, and attempt to scrape together enough money to stay alive long-term.

I must take care of secondary needs. Humans are social creatures, so I’ll need to wander into town sometimes and kill time with the locals. I’ll also need something to occupy myself if I get together enough food and water for a few days, so I may be hanging on to any recreational drugs and spirits I acquire, for use on a hazy sunday afternoon. If I can afford it, I’ll also be making use of the more, ahem, personal services one can find in town. Hey man, you’ve got to live for something, right?

I must stay alive, for this is the big one. Except in cases of glitches, crashes, or fat-fingered idiocy on my part, no game loading. If I get injured, I’m injured. If I steal and get caught, I’m caught. If I piss off a town, that town will remain hostile. If I get addicted to some obscure substance, I remain addicted. Once I’m dead, I’m dead.

So I must treat every venture as the danger it is. I must weigh up even the most basic of encounters with the potential risks and rewards. I must treat ammo and supplies as expensive, but less valuable than my life – if I’m in a tight spot, better to spray away 50 bullets at 10 caps a pop than than take a few in the chest myself. So, I will live my miserable, painful, lonely life as if it is the only one I have.

A final word: not only have I not played FWE/MMM a great deal, I have also not completed the vanilla Fallout 3 game. I played it a lot – it’s a great game – and to a high level, but eventually got bored with invincibly one-shotting everything with an endless pile of ammo and health. However, I have neither completed much of the main storyline nor explored most of the map. So, while some of my ignorance will be feigned for the sake of narrative, much of it will be genuine. I’ll be going into this with only a vague idea of what to expect.

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Filed under Fallout 3, Wanderer's Rules

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