Fallout 3 EP7: Can’t Stop the Signal

  By Shamus   Jan 28, 2013   106 comments


Link (YouTube)

Because spoiling is What We Do as well as Why We Do It, I’ll reveal that this is the last episode for Reginald Cuftbert’s glorious summer bonnet of murder and theft.

No fear. Rutskarn has given us the following likeness of Reggie’s bonnet, so that we may treasure it in our pants forever, like an unpinned grenade from a disgruntled radio repairman.

Tell me you like my hat.


A Hundred!6106 comments. Quick! Add another to see if this message changes!


  1. StashAugustine says:

    “Avoid Super Mutants is my favorite.”

    “If you ever go up there, do not, repeat, do not belittle a Super Mutant for taking the bunny slope.”

    • qwksndmonster says:

      This reminds me how much better it was to hear Mr. New Vegas than Three Dog. That scratchy smooth voice was so much better than “THREE DOG AAAAUUUUUUUUU!”

      • StashAugustine says:

        Three Dog had more personality. It’s just a shame the personality was really stupid.

      • X2-Eliah says:

        I’ll have to go with the opposite, though. Mr. New Vegas just felt s utterly dreary, boring, flat and uninteresting. In some ways, he was a perfect real-world radio dj – lacking personality and profiding meaningless chatter you ignore between the songs. He was.. he was just this old guy talking into a mic, nothing special.
        3Dog, however, at least was entertaining and fitted with the game’s world (yeah yeah yeah fallout 1/2 were ubergrimdark hardcore survivalist rpgs whatever, this is fallout 3).

        Then again, I also liked DJ Atomika in Burnout paradise, which many people didn’t seem to enjoy either.. I just like some silly cheerful humour.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          I think you’re largely correct on Mr. New Vegas. He was easier to listen to, less intrusive, also more disconnected from the events. Three Dog had more, or at least more pronounced, personality and was more engaged with the player character, not only because they meet face to face but in his overall reporting style. Because of this the main accusation against Mr. New Vegas is that he is bland while the main praise is that he is nice to listen to in the background while Three Dog can get more radical reactions.

          The main problem with Three Dog, for me, is that there is no real alternative to him other than turning him off and while it is possible, with some foreknowledge or luck, to avoid his arc within the game I’d prefer to be offered some alternative content rather than just skipping the thing.

          (Oh puhleeeease, Fallout 1&2 weren’t really survivalist, and there was a lot of black humour in those games)

          • newdarkcloud says:

            You know, I think the next Fallout game should have competing radio stations in it with different personalities. That way, players could choose which one is to their liking.

            For the record, I am pro-Three Dog. I like him and I want him to return in Fallout 4.

          • X2-Eliah says:

            You could switch over the John Henry Eden’s radiostation. I think there was a music-only station too (might have been dlc though).

            To be fair, you can do exactly the same in NV too. I suppose the crux of the matter for me lies in that 3Dog had an incentive to be listened/tuned into – reactive, vibrant personality. If he is too spunky, okay, switch to a different, more mundane station. NV, however.. it didn’t have that wacky station, that shining personality – it had a monotonue old dude mumbling some random platitudes, and a pure-music station without anything. There was no chance to turn *in* to a new 3Dog-style character that livened things up.

            • Keeshhound says:

              You have to complete Agatha’s Song to unlock the classical station. I liked Mr. New Vegas both for his more professional and subdued personality, but also because he actually sounded like a news broadcast. But I do think it would be neat to have a DJ rivalry.

  2. StashAugustine says:

    That deathclaw thing happened to me too, but he was really badly hurt somehow. It helped me get a deathclaw gauntlet early on. Less funny was the Enclave soldier I ran into at level 2 or so. Killing him and discovering I couldn’t wear his armor was no fun. Kinda irrelevant, but I do have to say that the Mall in this game is really good.

    I never found Andale in this game, mostly because I got so bored with the main quest I never wanted to hunt around and find things.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Andale is a very cool place. If you actually do the stupid thing and run with Dad to Rivet City, you’ll pass it on the way.

    • MrGuy says:

      Yeah, the “sorry, no power armor for you!” is more than a little annoying, especially since there’s no way to get Power Armor training until halfway through the game.

      I do like the concept, though – Power Armor (even by the original Fallout lore) is complicated stuff. In theory, should provide strength,speed, etc., but the operator needs to know how to use all those functions.

      Here’s what I would have liked better. Have a “Power Armor Familiarity” bar. Starts at zero. You can put on Power Armor at any level, but you get a warning that you’re very clumsy with Power Armor right now.

      If you have poor familiarity, you still get all (or at least most) of the damage resistance. You get severe penalties to movement (not quite as bad as overencumbered, but close). Sneak drops to near-zero. Weapon accuracy is reduced. Maybe don’t get rad resistance because you don’t know how to seal the suit. So it’s a tradeoff – you’re a tank, but a slow poorly armed one.

      The character will slowly gain familiarity with power armor by wearing it (maybe scale by combat XP while wearing Power Armor). Eventually, you could get full “familiarity” just by wearing it around. But you could accelerate this by encountering people who know what they’re doing. There would be a few people (Sarah in the first encounter, maybe Protector Cassidin, possibly someone at the Washington Monument, etc.) who would have a “can you give me some tips on Power Armor?” dialog IF you have some with you. This would give you a boost (NOT to 100%, but the equivalent to a number of battles). When you eventually get to the Citadel, Paladin Gunny would be able to give you the “proper” training course, which could level everyone to 100%.

      Simple, not too hard to program, keeps the idea of “Power armor needs special training,” but doesn’t put a complete roadblock in for the novice.

      • StashAugustine says:

        I once heard a suggestion to make Power Armor run on energy cells, which would retain the joyous OP-ness of it in the first two games while limiting its use so you wouldn’t spend all the time in it once you got it.

  3. SpiritBearr says:

    too bad you guys only listen to the scripted message for fixing the radio and never heard three dog’s replacement. Then I wouldn’t have had to kill myself

  4. StashAugustine says:

    Also, little thing that bugged me about FO3: Energy Weapons. In FO1/2, Energy Weapons were incredibly rare and equally powerful. The tradeoff for putting points into them was “this will not be terribly useful in all circumstances, but when it does work it’ll be amazing.” FO3, on the other hand, makes it much easier to find them. They feel a lot less like relics of the Old World and more like Small Guns, but shiner.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,but this is 200 years after.The technology has improved.

      • Ryan says:

        How? Laser technology was never replicated, was it? certainly not in the capital wasteland, where everyone is a moron content to live in filthy ruins instead of rebuilding a civilization.

      • I-Spy says:

        But they’re still not manufacturing these, at least, not in the Capital Wasteland. All the energy weapons we see here are ones either made by the Enclave or ones that survived a nuclear holocaust and 200 years of decay, which is ridiculous. The lore paints it pretty clear that those weapons are incredibly hard to maintain.

        That’s the problem when Bethesda does this massive time warp to forgive any plot inconsistencies. In this universe, it makes absolutely no sense that all these preserved foods are still edible, and that advanced Pre-War tech is still functioning.

        • StashAugustine says:

          See, it made sense in New Vegas (which is going to be the catchphrase for this rerun) because the Van Graffs were making them. Thematically, I still didn’t like it because they were still too easy to find (and didn’t have as distinct a trade-off in skill points), but I accepted it because it had a clear explanation. Here, it just makes no kinds of sense.

          • X2-Eliah says:

            Van graffs making energy weaponry didn’t really make any sense to me at all, though. They were thugs at best, not manufacturing geniuses.

            • Even says:

              Doesn’t mean they couldn’t employ people who know how to make them. It’s implied Van Graffs import their guns from California at any rate, while the twins take care of the business side of things in the Vegas area.

            • MrGuy says:

              The one thing that seems SLIGHTLY more plausible in New Vegas is the fact that a.) the area was relatively untouched by bombs, and b.) the area actually has working electrical power.

              I would assume assembling energy weapons requires an incredible degree of precision manufacturing, which would almost certainly be near-impossible for even a skilled craftsman to do by hand. However, if you have the tooling and a factory that produced these pre-war, New Vegas is plausibly the only place left that might really be able to produce energy weapons. Outside The Enclave, which (if was truly an invention of the pre-war government) might plausibly have packed away the necessary gear to build energy weapons.

              That said, yeah. There’s a lot of handwaving here. Who maintains the equipment that makes these energy weapons? 200-year-old tooling lovingly maintained is still 200 year old tooling. Where do they get the raw materials? Circuit boards? The length of a supply chain for relatively simple electronic items today is incredibly complex – eventually you run out of parts. Also, how the heck can the player character plausibly maintain these weapons?

        • Deadpool says:

          Interesting tid bit, Plasma Pistols did not exist pre-nuclear winter. They were actually designed by Vree and made by the Brotherhood of Steel themselves.

          Having them sold in stores in New Vegas really bothered me…

          • StashAugustine says:

            The Van Graffs probably stole and reverse-engineered them from the Brotherhood during the war.

          • Klay F. says:

            What and having NCR troopers walking around in UNPOWERED power armor didn’t? Seriously though, its not like obtaining tech from the Brotherhood is agonizingly hard. Pretty much all you have to do is “Yeah sure I’ll join you and cherish all technology, cross my heart.”

        • Jakale says:

          Does make it kinda funny to think that, as the museum janitor’s choice of meal shows, they were eating lizard on a stick before the bombs dropped.

        • Soylent Dave says:

          Tinned food is actually likely to still be edible (especially if it’s also high in salt or alcohol). Powdered food definitely would. The reason we invented canning and preservatives was to keep food intact without need for refrigeration.

          We don’t expect our canned food to last centuries, but we do occasionally recover tins from hundred-year old shipwrecks and the like that while not ‘fresh’ aren’t teeming with bacteria either. It’s probably a safer bet than the irradiated ‘fresh’ food in the wasteland, at any rate!

          The inconsistency with the 200 year gap isn’t so much that the food would be rotten, but rather that ten generations of survivors would probably have eaten it all by now (and a similar store with hard-to-maintain equipment; as well as requiring expertise to repair, most rare items would have been cannibalised for spare parts before 200 years had passed)

  5. Bryan says:

    At 12:41, the loading-screen hint is … interesting. Almost clairvoyant, in fact. :-P

  6. qwksndmonster says:

    The Vault-tec showcase in the museum never really bothered me much, as it further supported the idea that VT was this powerful, ethically questionable, corporation. They had the government in their back pocket, so they got to advertise in a museum. The point about the game being front loaded, however, definitely stands true.

    • Hitchmeister says:

      I think there’s a counter argument to the war time janitor theory. The “food” he had was iguana on a stick. I don’t suspect that dish became popular until sometime after the bombs fell. So, the story I have is some misguided wastlander found the replica vault in the museum, decided that would be a good place to settle in, uncharacteristically decided to clean the place up a bit (no one else seems to bother to do that) and got interrupted on his break from mopping by a super mutant with an incinerator.

  7. Nytzschy says:

    You know how sometimes bugs will fight each other if you put two of them in a jar and shake it? I think that’s what Three Dog means by the “Good Fight.”

    “Settle in, everyone. We’ve got one freshly opened sardine in a lovely summer bonnet, who is definitely not a mercenary, up against every Super Mutant between me and the Rotunda. Odds favor the Super Mutants as always, but I think this little sucker just might have some tricks up his sleeve. Reginald Cuftbert is fighting the good fight tonight!”

  8. Zoe M says:

    Am I the only one who thought of Mr. Universe when Three Dog’s “Can’t stop the signal” thing came up?
    “Guy killed me, Mal. Killed me with a grenade. How weird is that?”

  9. I-Spy says:

    Hold on, now that I think about it, how the hell is the Brotherhood of Steel able to hold the Washington Monument? I mean, I know they have a the power armor and miniguns, plus the wall around the building itself, but the super mutant infested trenches are like, five feet away. I guess the talon mercs assaulting the Capitol (for some asinine reason I don’t even want to fathom, because it’s another building filled with the beasties, including the second of five Behemoths) is distracting them, but it looks like a single bum-rush towards their defenses would end with a Brotherhood rout/slaughter.

    Perhaps an even better question: why are they defending it? Protecting GNR was a mutual trade-off: the Brotherhood needed a base in DC, and three dog was happy to provide for protection. However, protecting the Monument seems to stick the Brotherhood’s neck out too far for him. Considering that their chapter already had to deal with a mass-desertion, has limited supplies/manpower, and they’re fighting an all-out war in the city, it seems like a totally unnecessary waste to fortify a glorified, makeshift antenna.

    • StashAugustine says:

      On the trenches being right next door: It’s plausible the same way melee Legion troops present a credible threat to trained NCR marksmen: it isn’t really, but it makes sense in the game mechanics and you assume in real life it’d be different- there’s more room between the two and the Super Mutants aren’t there all the time.

    • MrGuy says:

      Protecting GNR was a mutual trade-off: the Brotherhood needed a base in DC, and three dog was happy to provide for protection.

      Which ITSELF makes no sense.

      How does Three Dog happen to “own” GNR studios? How is he “providing” a base?

      Does the BOS somehow feel “well, this guy was already in the building we wanted to use, so I guess it’s his, and we need to protect him for all time as a form of rent”?

      After the apocalypse, might makes (property) rights. There’s no “legal title.” If the BOS wants a building, they can take it, pesky DJ or no. Also, there are plenty of other downtown buildings we discover intact that would make a lot of sense.

      A much better plotline that would have made more sense:
      Three Dog had cobbled together a small, relatively short-range transmitter to start out with. The BOS heard his broadcasts, and felt he was a good source of general morale to the populace and also might be a useful way to broadcast messages if need be. So when the BOS (looking for a downtown base) discovered the old Galaxy News Radio station still largely intact, they reached out to Three Dog and offered him a much better radio setup. Then we have an actually plausible “mutually beneficial relationship” where the BOS supports Three Dog and not the other way around.

      • Keeshhound says:

        “After the apocalypse, might makes (property) rights. There’s no “legal title.” If the BOS wants a building, they can take it, pesky DJ or no.”

        Yes, but remember, the D.C. “Brotherhood” are paladins in the purest, most stupid Lawful-Good sense. They would be less out of place in DnD than they are in Fallout, power armor/laser rifles and all. Of course they’re going to respect Three Dog’s totally legitimate claim to the bombed out building he’s been squatting in for the last however many years once they found him.

  10. McNutcase says:

    I don’t even remember if Three Dog’s demise left the credits after this. It sums up the entire season for me: Josh grudgingly goes along with the stupid mess for as long as absolutely necessary, and then shoves a live grenade down its pants at the first opportunity.

    “It won’t blow up in your face. It WILL blow up in your pants.” *BLAM!*

  11. Jake says:

    You criticize the kid for talking in the middle of a fight.

    You forget, Talking is a Free Action.

  12. ehlijen says:

    Three dog trapped the player in pointless conversations, overestimated his own importance, dispensed stupid quests and otherwise got on people’s nerves. And now he’s dead. But it’s ok, his fanboy lives on!

    Cleary TIM named his organisation after his favourite radio host.

  13. Andrew says:

    So, how does it feel to be dead. If we where to do a marathon run of Fallout 3 we would be dead by this episode following the drinking game rules. Another interesting tidbit is that the phrase 200 years is said at least once an episode. For those of you who are wondering just what I am talking about take a look at this Spreadsheet we are making over at Google Documents.

  14. Mogatrat says:

    Decided I’d immortalize that epic climax in gif format: http://mogatrat.tumblr.com/post/41772388411

  15. LunaticFringe says:

    Got to love how the main quest forces you to make a good karma action (installing the dish). Bethesda roleplaying, everyone (not that the karma system isn’t hilariously moronic to begin with). To be fair, I believe you can get the information by just going to Rivet City as well, but obviously first-time players have no idea about that. But in that case, why not just skip half of the main quest by going to Casey’s Garage?

    • Andrew says:

      You can do this and skip all of that stuff if you know were it is at. I have done so on a speedrun challenge before.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      You say it like its a bad thing.Doesnt everyone want to play goody good guys that want no money and help npcs out of goody goodness of their good hearts?

    • Nidokoenig says:

      You can also jump over the gate at the Pentagon by using a Havoc glitch to chain jump on a piece of armour, as seen in speedruns. This skips you straight to getting the GECK and darling father can rot.

      • LunaticFringe says:

        Having James stuck in Tranquility Lane forever is now my canon ending.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          I still don’t know why the Lone Wanderer would even think to jump into that pod. On my first playthrough I assumed I missed a story detail, since it seemed so random.

          After a few playthroughs I learned I missed nothing. There was no justification.

          • LunaticFringe says:

            Comparing it to Vault 11 in New Vegas shows how absolutely ridiculous entering the pod was. Vault 11 had a clear buildup where you get a nice hook at the start and slowly explore, learning more as you go along. In the end, you want to go into the murder chamber to see how it all ended, even when you know that there’s probably something very bad at the end of that long hallway. With Tranquility Lane you’re basically just told to go into the pod, and do so. Throughout the Fallout 3 main quest Bethesda seems to justify every railroaded stupid character choice with either “Your father is possibly there” or “Your father wanted you to do this.”

            • StashAugustine says:

              Bragging side note: I beat that place by stealthing immediately and using Robotics Expert to shut down all the robots before they could get a single shot off.

              • anaphysik says:

                Oh yeah? Well, I beat it by being so badass that the game put itself on Very Easy so it wouldn’t have to worry about trying to compete with my badassitude. #BRICKSQUAD

    • MrGuy says:

      Arguably, it later forces you to do bad Karma actions in Tranquility Lane (Unless you specifically know how to activate the failsafe, I believe you need to do at least one and possibly 2 “bad” actions before you get told there’s an alternative to working with Betty.)

      • ehlijen says:

        Not really. You have to talk to the little girl first, but after she sends you on your first errant, but before you do it, you can go find the old lady to be told about the abandoned house.

        • MrGuy says:

          You CAN go find her IF you know to look for her. She will actively approach you and tell you to go to the abandoned house after you’ve done a few “bad” things.

          You’re right that, even with no foreknowledge, you can avoid the bad karma by completely exploring Tranquility Lane and talking to everyone and figuring it out. But the game at least STRONGLY ATTEMPTS to ram the negative Karma approach down your throat…

          • But the person giving you the quest is pretty much evil. Finding an alternative is what you’re supposed to do, assuming being evil isn’t part of your character.

            It reminds me of a quest in New Vegas that got cut which was called “Rotface to Riches.” Without spoiling it (as you can restore it to the game with a mod), the path to what most people think is the best outcome is actually among the worst, and I wish there was more of that. Life doesn’t always present every option with a big glowing arrow, and it’s kind of fun to try and find a work-around for such dilemmas in games.

  16. Deadfast says:

    Am I missing something or did we just install a receiver on top of a tall structure to broadcast radio signal?

    • Even says:

      Think it’s supposed to be a repeater if you roll with the story. He could still broadcast without the dish but with a crappy signal.

    • MrGuy says:

      He DOES call it a relay. Could be there’s a line-of-site wireless relay from GNR studios to the monument, which would be an awesome place to put a radio antenna. And running a wire from GNR studios to the monument is probably not an awesome idea.

      Doesn’t explain WHY we need a directional link, however – if he can broadcast omnidirectional from GNR studios well enough to reach the monument, why would that not be sufficient for a repeater?

      Also, why don’t we SEE a radio antenna on the top of the monument?

  17. TraderRager says:

    Most of those things you listed aren’t “glitches”, per se.

    Super Duper Mart is a “Random Encounter” zone. You just happened to get a encounter that involved a deathclaw, while Rutskarn happened upon a (murdered version) of the Robot Repair encounter.

    • el_b says:

      I went there once straight out of megaton and there was a deathclaw, I reloaded and went back and the firelance dropped out of the sky, I had the best and worst chance encounters within a minute at the same place. I’m sure you can imagine how hilariously broken the game is with the strongest weapon given to you at the beginning.

  18. Thomas says:

    ‘Are you losing karma from stealing things from a guy you’ve just murdered?’

    • newdarkcloud says:

      To be fair, that’s also a HUGE problem in New Vegas. You can kill people for neutral or even GOOD karma, but stealing them gives you evil karma.

      So stupid.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Luckily though,karma plays a very small part in new vegas.

      • Even says:

        On the bright side they toned down the gameplay effects of karma to almost nil. Cass leaving you if you get too low and the varying ending slides is about the only stuff I can recall. I effectively stopped caring about it after a while.

      • Same as it is in every RPG that has any kind of alignment system (and the Fallout mechanics are a classic RPG ruleset in most ways). If you think of karma as more of an alignment indicator, then it’s a bit more palatable.

        But yeah, stealing from someone that you’ve killed = negative karma is pretty dumb. I’m in favor of any karmic bond being loosed the second the owner dies. On the other hand, I had the idea that someone that you murder who has loads of loot = more karma loss, but that’s just what happens if you kill them and take their stuff, so in a way, it takes motive into account.

        I’m of the opinion that this kind of good/bad or paragon/renegade system is a lot like having a laugh track on a TV show. The more effective thing would be to make the writing so good that if you did an “evil” thing, you’d likely feel bad about it. In some games, like the Fallout series, this happens in the recap where you learn that something you did means X town or X character has an unfortunate destiny. I don’t need a karma-o-meter to go back and make sure that my favorite NPCs get the fate I want them to have.

        • Keeshhound says:

          The other part that makes it so comically overblown is that it outright says “Karma lost” and makes a little noise while doing so. Fallout 1&2 and Tactics all tracked your karma, but they did so silently (there was a readout on the stats screen, but it never said “You have taught Curtis that life is cruel and unfair. -5 karma points!”). If the game had just docked you Karma silently, it would still be comically simple, but we wouldn’t notice as much.

          • I also just realized that it’s probably used to keep from having to write overly complex scripts for NPCs and their conversations.

            They just look at you and, if needed, see a number floating over your head that dictates how they should react to you. From a programming standpoint, it’s probably far easier than making a list of other actions you may or may not have taken and putting custom replies in, or even another numeric total, which still might not make sense given your actions.

            It’s a hard decision to make, design-wise. I hate games where everything is binary (i.e. you steal one bauble and suddenly the whole town is homicidal towards you forever), but as we move towards more realistic games, it makes the mechanics harder to cloak in suspension of disbelief.

  19. Bodyless says:

    Thats npc running up to you and talking actually happend to me in Skyrim. Except the combat wasnt paused and the dragon i was fighting ate me alive…

  20. Mailbox says:

    And thus this episode showcased Josh’s editing brilliance. Syncing “Funkorama” perfectly with Three Dogs exploding pants. Not to mention that very well thought out speech to Three Dog right before doing so. One of Spoiler Warnings best moments.

  21. Maybe it’s just me here when it’s late and I’m tired, so if this was meant to be a joke, I apologize.

    Was that a serious conversation between Shamus and Rutz at about 13:30? Do we have Lincoln’s hat in real life?

    Yes, we really do have Lincoln’s hat.

  22. Adam says:

    You know, when you asked the comment section about our favorite SW episodes a few months ago I couldn’t really say what my pick was. That must have been because I hadn’t rewatched this ep recently enough. DEFINITELY my favorite of this season, and (disclaimer) I haven’t watched all of the ME3, FNV, or Walking Dead episodes yet so I can’t comment on it being my favorite out of all of them. But this is definitely my favorite out of the eps I’ve watched.

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