Fallout 4 EP5: SHAWN!

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jun 9, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 142 comments

Link (YouTube)

The standoff with Trudy is a perfect example of how this game initially seems like it’s trying to be a Fallout-style RPG. You get several dialog checks. The events seem to hint that you’ve stumbled into the middle of a story. If you’re familiar with Bethesda or (better yet) BioWare games, then you’ll probably imagine there’s all sorts of details you’re missing out on.

But once you play through it, you realize it was all a facade. Your dialog checks don’t really matter. Trudy offers you 100 caps to help out, but if you just roll in and gun down Wolfgang without talking to anyone she’ll give you 100 caps anyway. There are a bunch of little cul-de-sac dialog options, but most of them just change which pair of people you gun down and how many caps you get for doing so. Trudy doesn’t have a story to tell. Her son Patrick doesn’t even get a proper dialog. You don’t learn the history between these two groups and it’s not used to characterize your fish-out-of-water protagonist or establish the setting around you.

The moment Wolfgang is dead, the story is over. For the rest of the game, Trudy opens every conversation like Wolfgang just died a few minutes ago. Patrick huddles in the corner recovering from Jet addiction, forever.

This game is cotton candy. It might look big and substantial, but the moment you try to bite down on anything it just vanishes. This game is often pretending to have something to say. Synths! Technology! Freedom! For my first few hours with the game, I always assumed I was picking the wrong dialog choices, and that there was something deeper or more interesting just around the corner or on the road less traveled. But the moment you play through a conversation twice, the spell is broken. Not only is the other road just as shallow as the first, it usually leads to the exact same place for the exact same reward.

Oh, I can choose to murder a shopkeeper and her son, or some thug. What a profound moral dilemma. Thanks Bethesda.

What’s worse, this choice is completely a no-brainer. Wolfgang offers an unknown quantity of money. Trudy offers a clear 100. Trudy runs a general goods shop and even sells a couple of rare / unique items, and Wolfgang just sells chems. Much of this game involves liquidating large piles of loot, a process which is throttled by your access to shopkeepers who all have valuable goods and cash. And Trudy is the only reliable and convenient shopkeeper for the first several hours of the gameThe other shop is Carla, but she roams around and isn’t always near a fast-travel point.. There is no reason, in-character or out of character, to side with Wolfgang unless you’re just trying to play your alignment as Chaotic Stupid.

EDIT: Should this be titled, “SHAUN!”? I dunno. Whatever. Close enough.



[1] The other shop is Carla, but she roams around and isn’t always near a fast-travel point.

From The Archives:

142 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP5: SHAWN!

  1. Hector says:

    In my opinion Shamus, you’re not quite right here. It’s extremely easy to have both of them around for the game. All you give up is the nearly-worthless 100 caps in favor of having two perfectly usable vendors. Wolfgang will buy anything, and Trudy’s stock is useless unless you’re dumping cash for junk to stripmine for materials.

    This quest, out of very few in the game, has some actual ambiguity. The wastes are not a nice place and nobody cares about self-satisfied morals built for a gentler time. Both Wolfgang and Trudy are a businesshumans in a cruel, murderous world and the quest reflects that. Sure, it’s not great that nothing really comes from it, but there’s no reason whatsoever to really takes sides here, and that’s actually the choice that gets rewarded most. Plus, if you’re paying attention, Trudy is the one acting unnecessarily violent.

    Also, the movie theater could and should have been moved slightly, and the diner been incorporated into that settlement, so you could turn this waystation into a trading hub.

    [Edited to make a way better argument.]

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I was going to say similar – ‘not quite right’ is definitely the way to put it, though, as if you do talk them down, then the consequences are broadly the same in terms of the ongoing effect on the world. Obviously Wolfgang is still around, but he’ll also act like you just helped out for the rest of the game, and the story, such as it was, is still over.

      It reminds me a little of the love-triangle in Skyrim in the first village you arrive at: various possibilities, but it’s all rather perfunctory and nothing goes anywhere – although without that being immediately obvious. Placed prominently at the beginning of each game, these little vignettes almost feel like they’re there to lull hasty reviewers into imagining it’s all going to be like that…

    2. Jace911 says:

      Early on in my first playthrough I expected Trudy’s diner to be some sort of major waypoint I would be returning to frequently, sort of like Megaton in F3, but then I never bothered to visit her again.

      That’s something that really felt lacking in this game: actual established settlements with people and quests and interesting things to explore. You have Diamond City, Bunker Hill, Goodneighbor…and that’s it. Everywhere else is either a raider den or a generic settlement that will eventually be full of nameless nobodies who give you the same boring quests over and over again.

      Fuck, I can’t believe I’m saying this but Falout 3 had better location variety than this game. Megaton, Tenpenny Tower, Rivet City…

      1. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

        I believe that was also it for Fallout 3. And Megaton and Tenpenny tower were mutually exclusive. I haven’t played 4, but it would have to be aggressively trying to have fewer settlements that 3.

        1. MrGuy says:

          Fallout 3 also had Raven Rock, Oasis, Underworld, the Citidel, Paradise Falls, those vampire guys near Arefu, Bigtown… Heck, even (divert all power to shields!) Little Lamplight was pretty interesting – if (big if) you could get past McCready being a moron and the fact that the game forces you though it in a really dumb and heavy handed way, they actually put some thought into the characters, and it’s huge in there.

          Fallout 3 had a lot of established settlements.

          1. MichaelGC says:

            And let’s not forget the Republic of Dave.

            1. djw says:

              But what did they all eat?

              1. MichaelGC says:

                Well, the Republic of Dave had an agricultural area! Alright, it was a couple of sickly shrubs and a mutant cow. But agricultural!

        2. Loonyyy says:

          Nah, you can go to Tenpenny if you don’t destroy Megaton, in fact, you can even if you defuse the bomb. I did, IIRC.

          What you won’t get is the personal quarters, but it’s still a settlement on scale with Megaton or Rivet City.

          As MrGuy points out, there’s a bunch more settlements with their own ideas going on to explore, it’s actually kind of detailed like that. Many of them are hidden. And I agree MrGuy, Little Lamplight is interesting, the annoying thing is that MacReady is a nuisance child who most adults aren’t willing to put up with, he needs a stern parent to put him in check, or failing that, any degree of intimidation from another adult. You want to take his stupid weapons and smack his bum, not jump through hoops and abuse. The story is more annoying that it railroads you visibly there, the setting is actually quite nice, detailed and interesting. It just doesn’t give you that much reason to stick around though.

          It’s not quite as big as New Vegas, but then again, that had other problems with the settlements.

    3. Yeah, I just speech-checked them into stopping their fight–I think maybe you have to pay Wolfgang off with some measly amount of caps, too. Two shops one spot! It’s about the most convenient thing in the game until you find the robot mall later.

    4. Loonyyy says:


      As Shamus pointed out, the consequences are irrelevant. But because they’re irrelevant, there is no reason to complete the quest. You can increase the vendors who will buy your stuff, and increase the range.

      What’s 100 caps worth compared to the ability to return to claim more caps on a regular basis?

      What this is, is the investment choices of Saints Row 3, put into gameplay, except instead of striking at the end of the mission, it comes at the start. Doing nothing is better, and doing something does nothing good, and the only reason to do it is completionism.

  2. Incunabulum says:

    Oh, I can choose to murder a shopkeeper and her son, or some thug. What a profound moral dilemma. Thanks Bethesda.

    You can also end that encounter peacefully with Wolfgang getting his money and nobody getting shot. You don’t even have to pony up the cash yourself for this ending – as is usual for Bethesda.

    1. MrGuy says:

      But that’s sort of making Shamus’ point for him.

      There’s nothing profound about ANY of your choices here (kill Wolfgang, kill Trudy, let them both live). You have zero reason to be invested in any of these people. You have zero reason to believe any one of them are the “good guys” or the “bad guys.” Picking either side is arbitrary.

      Electing to let everyone live (or, for that matter, to kill everyone on both sides) isn’t really any more profound, because there’s no real reason to WANT that outcome – what do you really care if these people murder each other or let each other live? You can elect to be a goody two-shoes or a psycho killer here if you want, but the actual people involved are window dressing either way.

      There’s just zero reason to care in character. The only drivers that make resolving this “dilemma” one way or the other important are the practical ones around “what kind of shop do I care about?”

      Imagine a different setup. Imagine a “local sheriff” and his posse outside a house of a shopkeeper demanding the shopkeeper pay her taxes. The shopkeeper refuses to pay because the raiders have broken in three times in the past month, so she legitimately doesn’t have the money to spare, and if the sheriff can’t protect her then what is she paying these taxes for? Now you have a setup – are you a “law and order” character who sides with the sheriff? Are you on the side of local business and making your own way? Could you make either side see it from the others’ point of view? Does it matter than the sheriff won’t let you go into the shop until she pays up? My point here is with a better (or, really, any) backstory, you can drop the player “in medias res” into a conflict that’s actually interesting, and the player character has the opportunity to make a decision by role playing their character

      1. Uh, the scenario isn’t THAT shallow. It’s not super-deep, but there’s at least a bit going on there:

        Trudy is a mother trying to raise her son, but she’s a bit domineering and over-protective of her son out of worry
        Her son, in order to get out from under her thumb, starts hanging out with Wolfgang; like most teenage boys he wants to be a “tough guy”
        Wolfgang gets the kid hooked on Jet, now he wants money and he’s holding up Trudy until he gets it
        Trudy is pissed as all hell because her son is sick and she considers it to be Wolfgang’s fault

        There’s a moral question there. Do you decide:

        1. Wolfgang’s a legitimate (if seedy) businessman and deserves to get paid, so Trudy should cough up, and if she refuses they should kill her and take the payment so other folks don’t get the idea of welshing on their debts.
        2. Maybe Wolfgang pushed the kid into becoming addicted but the kid was also dumb and should have listened to his mom and stayed away, so he should still cough up.
        3. Wolfgang is a disgusting predator and ought to be shot for getting a kid hooked on Jet.

        The question isn’t “which shop do I want?”

        1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

          I agree. I didn’t quite go that deep but it immediately jumped out at me “well if he owes money he owes money.” Its a credit to these guys that they’re even engaging in relatively civilized transactions considering how common raiders are.

          This is also an area where our civilized ethics can get in the way of a moral judgment. This is the apocalypse, there’s no widely accepted law enforcement anymore with the Minutemen now defunct. This guy HAS to enforce collections himself with his own gun. So none of that rules out the possibility that he’s in the right. That said, our character comes from civilized society, so SS might judge the situation by the same standards we would.

          The only thing that works against him really is the fact that its chems and he’s exploiting the boy’s addiction. But I can’t blame people for being chem addicts in this setting and I can’t blame people for dealing chems to survive.

          On the other hand, the mother didn’t run up this bill, her stupid son did so its hard not to sympathize with her.

          EDIT: I do find myself wondering though. Why is she out her in the middle of nowhere? Surely with the business she does as a trader, she could shift to living at Diamond City, Goodneighbor or Bunker Hill. I wonder if you can offer to allow her to relocate to a settlement if being out in the Wastes is important to her business.

          1. acronix says:

            She’s there because the Writer thought that an old lady and her addict son living in a 50s bar was Cool.

            Seriously, that’s the only reason I can think of. The place isn’t in the route to anywhere. It’s in the middle of nowhere. And since there’s no hint at all that anyone in the Commonwealth trades with anyone outside of it…well, that’s another plausible thing that is ruled out instantly.

          2. guy says:

            I thought about being all self-righteous about the addiction issue, but then I remembered that my characters keep downing combat drugs bought from these guys.

      2. Incunabulum says:

        It is kind of deep in a ‘this world is not the same as the one you left’ contrast.

        In our world its taken as a given that drugs’rebadm’kay and that dealers are scum and that its not that poor boy’s fault that he got addicted – that’s the whole line of reasoning behind prohibition and the Drug War. It’s illegal, Wolfgang is a criminal, Wolfgang doesn’t get any sympathy because of this.

        Then you step back and realize that Wolfgang isn’t any of the above. He’s as legitimate a businessman as Trudy is, the stuff he sells isn’t of any worse quality that anyone elses, and the dangers of its use are well known. *He’s being ripped off* and in this world there are no courts so they’re settling a dispute the only way they have – talking it through and if that doesn’t work, violence.

        I agree that there isn’t a whole lot to it and I really don’t think the developers put this encounter in place because they thought of it like I do, but this is actually a rare encounter that tells you anything about the state of the world or plays on the disconnect between what you left behind and what exists now.

        It, of course, gets locked into a static state immediately after you’re done like all other encounters and that sucks.

  3. Jace911 says:

    I’m really glad I’m not the only one who didn’t think the materials proportions in this game were hilariously nonsensical.

    “Player Character, we’re all a little tired of sleeping on the ground. Can you make us some beds?”
    “Sure, let me look in my pack…let’s see, I have twenty metal spoons and $500 in cash.”

  4. Dev Null says:

    I… what? Who are these people? I played through this game and I’m pretty sure I never met either of these characters…

    1. You missed pretty much nothing. By the time you can actually afford them, you probably have equipment better than most of the sold uniques since the Enchanted Legendary items pretty much make most of the uniques useless since they can’t be modded unless it’s something like Deliverer.

      1. Axe Armor says:

        There are a few uniques you can’t do anything with like Grognak’s Axe, but I think you can mod most of them. I know Trudy sells General Chao’s Revenge, which is just a Troubleshooter’s Serrated Chinese Officer Sword, and which you can upgrade with ranks in Blacksmith and Science (or by taking the blade off of another Chinese sword). It gets pretty strong for its weight: 44 normal damage, 15 electric damage, plus bleeding and 50% extra vs. robots, at 3 pounds.

  5. tmtvl says:

    To respond to Galaxy Gun’s question of how I’d name my gang: “Lazer Teeth”.

    Lazer! Lazer Teeth! ZZZZZAP!

    Quick Edit: This post is filed under “Shamus Plays”, might wanna change that to Spoiler Warning.

  6. Gnoll Queen says:

    The weirdest part about Shawn’s name for me is that its my dads name irl.

    When i saw the armor system i was overjoyed for a little bit. It looked like a return to Morrowinds armor system…. until i found out about how most clothing doesn’t actually allow you to have armor on over it. I got no idea why they did that.

    1. Cinebeast says:

      Yeah, it would’ve been funner (and simpler) if you could just slap armor pieces on any of the suits. Imagine running around in a tuxedo, but decked out with rusty plates on top of it? It would’ve been very Mad Max.

      1. Tizzy says:

        I have to assume that the reason for this is cost. It probably takes a lot of tweaking to have clothes that peek from underneath the armor without the whole thing looking janky with weird, physically improbable intersections and the likes.

        Back in the days, janky looks were part of the fun, but these days…

        1. Incunabulum says:

          I think a small model tweak could have made it work.

          Thicken up the pads and then push the armor pieces a little further out and they’d still look decent on the underwear while being usable on the other armor.

          But, I think, the intent from the beginning was to have this stuff just for the tight suits – assumptions. They assumed their core audience would be in the Vault Suit all the time, after all, who plays this game in 3rdP anyway (also their excuse for not including holstering this time).

          1. guy says:

            You can’t wear armor over the vault suit. I kid you not; checked just yesterday starting up my second playthrough.

            There was a mod for that within the week.

    2. krellen says:

      It’s my half-brother’s name, except with the proper Gaelic spelling of “Sean”.

      (If someone does the investigation and asks if it’s that Sean, the answer is probably yes. He was mildly internet famous a while back.)

      1. Syal says:

        …you mean Sean Bean?

        1. Jokerman says:

          Na, pretty sure its Sean Connery.

          1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

            Oh yeah. Isn’t he the man who got famous for saying “You’re the man now dog” over and over again?

        2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

          Krellen, I’m sorry your brother keeps dying over and over again.

          1. krellen says:

            Eh, he’s only a half-brother.

            It’s the other half that keeps dying.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              So he changed his name to gauldoth?

      2. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:


    3. Cilvre says:

      there is a mod on pc to wear both clothing and armor.

    4. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      One thing that bugs me a little How does Shaun know what his name is?

      I mean I guess records but if I recall, I looked through the terminal in Vault 111, I don’t think his name was listed.

      Maybe they just checked his wallet.

      1. SyrusRayne says:

        Given how barebones the intro is, I’m prepared to forgive them for this. Paul Eiding mentions that the family is pre-approved for entrance, after all. There’s probably other records than just the cryo-computers, I guess?

      2. raaabr says:

        Pretty sure that the terminal not only mentions that the infants name is “Shaun”, but your spouse also says “I’m not letting you take Shaun” when the institute comes a-knocking.

        1. Incunabulum says:

          Plus, if they were able to get the records pointing them to a pre-war vault containing cry-frozen people they probably were able to find the list of those people. There’s a terminal near your cryopod that lists the people in that section.

    5. Grudgeal says:

      Personally I think they should have named him “Carl”. Because… Wait, that’d be too obvious wouldn’t it?

  7. Sunshine says:

    “The moment Wolfgang is dead, the story is over. For the rest of the game, Trudy opens every conversation like Wolfgang just died a few minutes ago. Patrick huddles in the corner recovering from Jet addiction, forever.”

    Someone on Reddit thought it felt he was killing everyone he met by reducing them to scenery. Before you arrive, they had a life. When you first meet them, they do a bunch of unique things, have conversations with you, play out a story. But then, they’re used up and just walk around in circles repeating themselves.

    1. Philadelphus says:

      “Schrà¶dinger’s NPCs: the mere act of observing them also irrevocably alters them…”

      1. Loonyyy says:

        Please don’t.

        I’m currently studying Quantum Physics as a part of my third year at University, and this understanding of Quantum Uncertainty is very wrong.

        I know it’s a joke, but it’s like joking about how silly it is to think that the Earth orbits the Sun.

        Quantum measurements have uncertainty, and exist in a superposition of possible outcomes. Observation means you basically lock in one outcome, and that’s now the case. But it doesn’t actually determine or govern the system, the case in point example being a black box style analysis where you analyse quantum spin through different measures, and while you gain certain measurements each time, it doesn’t remain constant on subsequent measurements, the old information is destroyed. As far as uncertainty goes, it’s a consequence of the wave equation where the certainty of the measure of position or momentum limits the certainty of the other.

        Schrodinger’s Cat is dead and you’ve violated your lab’s ethics requirements, and you’re looking at losing your job and a fine. That thought experiment was to illustrate how ridiculous Quantum Uncertainty was on a macro scale, it explains nothing.

        I know it’s an over reaction, but I’ve been revising for exams on the subject, and it’s super annoying looking for supplemental material, because most of the time, it’s just poor understandings of the very basics, used to fuel either stoner speculation or nerd jokes that reveal scientific illiteracy.

        Please, could nobody ever mention Schrodinger’s Cat if they don’t even understand Schrodinger’s Equation?

        1. Incunabulum says:


          Its kind of funny how its pretty much only people *studying* QM that have a problem with this. Once they’ve progressed further they simply don’t find it important enough to bother people with.

    2. djw says:

      Lets not forget that Wolfgang and his bodyguard also become permanent bits of scenery, since their bodies remain where they fell for the rest of the game.

      1. SyrusRayne says:

        They become scenery even if you let them live; if you scare them off, they hang around at the entrance to Goodneighbor. Such is an NPC’s lot in life.

      2. Axe Armor says:

        It sometimes pays not to loot the all the Road Leathers, Raider Leathers, Harnesses, Long Johns, etc. from every corpse you meet. You never know who’s just going to be there forever, naked. (Wolfgang’s gear will respawn after a while, but he won’t be wearing it.)

        Actually, that body just by the bridge to Sanctuary is also there forever, and respawns to its original location if you move it. I don’t know what caused this, but eventually (maybe I was out of the region for five days?) he did actually respawn wearing his Drifter Outfit. I’d prefer he were gone, but at least he’s clothed.

        He’s still all sawed up though. I sawed him up because… well, because. Don’t worry about it.

    3. Axe Armor says:

      I feel this way about companions once I’ve gotten their perks. Piper now languishes at Red Rocket forever, trying to confess her love for me every time I pass by, her little sister in Diamond City forgotten.

      Yeah, on that note! If you didn’t know, when you dismiss a companion, if you CANCEL the dialog asking where their new home will be, they return to their actual home, where you found them, i.e. Piper will actually go back and live with her sister at Publick Occurances, Nick will back to the detective agency, Hancock will actually run that town he’s mayor of. If you’ve sent them to a settlement, there is no way to send them home again without modding. It can make a huge difference to immersion.

  8. Jamas Enright says:

    “There is no reason, in-character or out of character, to side with Wolfgang unless you're just trying to play your alignment as Chaotic Stupid.”

    I haven’t watched the video, but I’m now guessing that Reginald sided with Wolfgang…

    1. Amazingly, no. He did the smart thing and went with the worthwhile merchant.

      1. Fists says:

        Only because she offered him decent money, not that he’s a mercenary or anything.

  9. Cinebeast says:

    The Power Armor = Mk.1 Iron Man thing seemed so clear to me that I just gave in and called my second character Tony Stark. It works frighteningly well — there’s a goatee option that looks near-identical to Tony’s famous facial hair, the male VA bears a passing resemblance to Downey Jr.’s voice, and best of all, Cogsworth calls you “Mr. Stark” with British accent.

    There’s a bit of weightlifting, since you need to move your armor from station to station without draining the cores, but it makes for a fairly dynamic play experience. You have high Charisma and Intelligence, so you start things diplomatically, but if things go south you just hop into your Iron Man suit and disintegrate everyone.

    It was actually the most fun I had in the game.

    1. Wide And Nerdy â„¢ says:

      I’m pretty sure there’s a mod that gives you an Iron Man style paint job.

      Also, you can mod your power armor with a box of scraps.

  10. Sunshine says:

    I assume it’s an artifact of being your site, but why is this tagged “Shamus Plays” when it’s Josh that does it?

    1. Joe Informatico says:

      There is a “Spoiler Warning” tag. I’m assuming “Shamus Plays” is just above it in a drop-down menu and Shamus just misclicked.

  11. SL128 says:

    The very worst thing, though, is that you can’t supply the kid with jet yourself.

    1. djw says:

      I use jet way to fast to spare any for angsty teens.

    2. Axe Armor says:

      1. Have Wasteland Workshop.
      2. Plant a razorgrain farm.
      3. Use razorgrain as bait in cages to capture Brahmin, 3 per settlement (I think there’s a cap on how many Brahmin at a settlement are productive)(Brahmin can’t be moved between settlements, so you’ll need a cage in each of them.)
      4. Use the fertilizer the Brahmin produce to craft Jet (provisioners make this simpler).
      5. Sell enormous volumes of Jet.
      6. Drive Wolfgang out of business.
      7. You are the danger.

  12. el-b says:

    radiation, the new incinerator

  13. Fists says:

    So three hours, that’s how long it took this season’s commentary to be reduced to the sort of mania you get when you pull an all nighter at a sleep over.

    Maybe set the autosave interval to 2 minutes? and do more inventory management so it actually triggers.

  14. Couscous says:

    That Shaun bug in Heavy Rain is still one of the best bugs.

    1. The Nick says:

      When I first saw the screaming Shaun video, it was the most hilarious thing ever. I could not stop laughing.

  15. Fast_Fire says:

    Below is a link to a good video explaining why Fallout 3 falls apart at the narrative level (and overall) for those who want a nice reference for explaining what made the first two Fallout games work and how Bethesda dropped the ball not just on a Fallout game but on a game in general.

    Warning: Strong language and Fallout 1&2 spoilers!

    1. krellen says:

      I don’t have time for that video right now, but I just want to comment that literally the first thing you encounter in Fallout 1 (if you don’t set off at random and follow the clues the game gave you) is a brand new settlement, built completely independent of any location pre-war.

      Also true for Fallout 2.

      I have no idea where Bethesda got their ideas for what Fallout was, but seeing that ruined city and then Megaton built around a live bomb crater was all I needed to know they weren’t really Fallout fans.

      1. MrGuy says:


        What makes the first 2 fallout games interesting is that the locations are specifically NOT ruins, but rather the creation of people rebuilding. My favorite example is Vault City – we’re technically advanced elitist snobs building a new society on the back of (NOT in the ruins of) our old world tech.

      2. Sunshine says:

        Mind you, Megaton is a new settlement, independent of pre-war locations, even if a bit of a gimmick.

        1. krellen says:

          It wasn’t, actually, because the bomb was clearly intended for (I forget its name) the ruined town that it is literally right next to.

          1. MrGuy says:

            Springvale, I think.

            It may well be true that the bomb was intended for Springvale, but (according to dialogue) the people of Megaton didn’t come from there. They were scavengers who decided for some reason the large crater was the Best Thing Ever, and scavenged what’s implied to be Dulles Airport for building material to create the town. You know – because rusty metal is a great thing to build shelter from.

            Which makes sense, because of the people were actually from Springvale, they’d probably have realized they’d have a LOT easier time just fixing up Springvale (some of which is still actually HABITABLE) than lugging scrap steel for miles to live in a hole in the ground (as holes are actually NOT noted for being highly defensible terrain).

            I mean, you have a dozen “Megaton Settlers” who came here with nothing, have no jobs, and live in a single common barracks on what’s essentially charity, when there’s a whole town full of buildings RIGHT NEXT DOOR that they could be fixing up and then living in.

            Of course, they’d have to solve the problem that a sheet of 100 year old plywood boarding up a door is apparently an impassible barrier, but still…

            1. There’s also the raiders in the school, but they just maybe haven’t figured out that Silver has taken up residence yet.

              Then the Children of the Atom and their ghoul-pit moves in…

    2. I have to say I didn’t agree with all of his points. His bit about dialog die-rolls seems to ignore the fact that save-scumming is a huge part of Fallout 1&2 for a ton of combat, not to mention he glosses over a lot of the silly stuff in F1&2 (Mayan temples in Oregon, for example).

      But if you want something about Fallout 4 with a lot of salty language with a send-up of the game’s premise as if it were set in Newcastle, here’s Fallout 4: Geordie Apocalypse.

      1. Andy_Panthro says:

        The real horror of that post-nuclear Newcastle is that they never go to a Greggs.

  16. Hitch says:

    I notice “Fallout New Vegas” has joined “The Original Fallout(s)” in the drinking game.

    1. Ledel says:

      I would have noticed, but I”m having trouble seeing straight right now. How many times did Shamus say “200 years” this week?

      1. Henson says:

        I think we may need another nuclear war to reset the clock.

  17. Spammy says:

    When I think of Fallout, I think of “My name is Harry Mason. I’m in town on vacation. Have you seen a little girl? Short, black hair? Just turned seven last month? Huh. Powered armor. What’s going on with that powered armor.”

    1. IFS says:

      Mostly unrelated but that reminded me of this. A bizarre remix made of sounds and dialogue lines from Silent Hill 1.

    2. Axe Armor says:

      I don’t really see the connection, but I unconditionally love anyone who appreciates the hilarity of “What’s going on with that radio.”

  18. Sarachim says:

    All this skeleton nitpicking, and nobody pointed out that skeletons don’t just stick together on their own? Display skeletons have wires and stuff.

    1. Well, skeletons don’t get that clean short of being boiled or having the shit scraped out of them, either. The connective tissue in the body is pretty tough stuff and if the body mummifies (like would happen in a nuclear wasteland with little in the way of bugs around to eat anything), it’s pretty durable.

      1. Andy_Panthro says:

        The best way to remove the (dead) flesh from your bones, are beetles! Specifically, Dermestidae: http://mentalfloss.com/article/68184/beetles-work-natural-history-museums

      2. Incunabulum says:

        Except for the animals.

        Animals love meat and they love marrow. They’d have scattered the bones, cracked them for marrow and scattered the fragments by now.

  19. Artur CalDazar says:

    I find it interesting how the game does try to say “hey the raiders are not one big group, they raid each other and are even happy or scared when you take out the leader of another group”. But it doesn’t ever pay off, you don’t see raiders fighting each other, they all look the same, aside from the flame guys they all have the same gear, they are of course all named the same, and if you wipe out a ‘faction’ they will come back (aside from the leader) in 3 days.

    I wonder how much of a concern access to shopkeepers is for game designers? In Witcher 3 there is a type of side mission that’s only reward is new shopkeepers/blacksmiths/barbers, but only the barber is giving you a rare and needed outlet.
    On the other hand, did anybody really go to Trudy to sell loot after this? I didn’t, but I find characters trapped in time as she and her son become with the quests conclusion to be the most immersion breaking thing possible.

    1. MrGuy says:

      This was one of my favorite parts of New Vegas – sometimes you’d come across a band of raiders (or the Legion) attacking a caravan. You could sit it out or jump in, but if the radiers won, you’re legitimately pissed that that’s one store that’s out of commission for good.

    2. djw says:

      In survival mode you trudge past Trudy on your way back to Sanctuary all the time. That makes her a merchant of convenience, at least until you get merchants set up in your settlements.

    3. I think the Gunners will take on the Raiders, though that’s just two random mobs that aggro each other.

      That said, there’s a church with an underground lair that belongs to a raider group at war with another raider group. You can’t affect the outcome of said conflict, it only gives you two places full of people with an excuse for being ready to kill anyone that gets near them. There’s all this flavor about one group having a girl kidnapped by the other, yet that never pays off in a way you can use, I don’t think. Being able to at least approach one and tell them that you know what happened to said kidnapping victim would’ve been nice…

      1. acronix says:

        The only pay off for that is a log in one of the terminals of either group. It depends on which one you wipe out first, but if you go to the other ‘side’ and wipe THEM out, the terminal will have a new entry mentioning how someone killed the other bandits.

        It’s kind of a neat little detail, really. But nothing REALLY comes out of it.

  20. Ninety-Three says:

    And Trudy is the only reliable and convenient shopkeeper for the first several hours of the game[1].

    There’s also What’sHerName at Abernathy farm.

    1. PlasmaPony says:

      The lack of early easy shops bugged the hell out of me on my first try. I didn’t come across Trudy’s shop so I took ages until I found anywhere to unload my gear. The game really needed to direct you to a settlement early on so you could have some sort of place to unload gear. Either put an obvious settlement nearby on the way to Diamond City, or maybe move Covenant closer. After my first character I always make a run for Covenant since it’s such a handy location

      1. Incunabulum says:

        What I don’t get about this is – why do people compulsively collect loot to sell?

        Most of its junk, you can’t sell it (because there’s no one or they don’t have enough money) and there’s hardly anything to buy with the money you get.

        Personally, I just loot what I need, things above a certain value/weight ratio or things with rare resources and leave the rest. I don’t need 500 pipe pistols if all they do is break down to two steel each.

        But it is the people who compulsively loot that will push them to drop carry weight – IMO. Because if you do that it *is* a huge time-sink to travel back and forth to clear out an area and Bethesda’ll be buggered before they do something like give you the ability to assign scavengers to do it for you. You get to be the head of the settlement in name only – you still have to *do* everything in addition to figuring out what needs to be done.

        1. PlasmaPony says:

          Because in New Vegas there were places to buy great gear, like The Gun Runners, so it was worth it to have caps to get a leg up on gear. There were also services to pay for and bribes to make for quests. In the past, selling loot was one of the main ways to make caps. I know a lot of this isn’t really the case in FO4 but on a first playthrough I didn’t know that. In addition, even if you don’t need to sell stuff, early on you might be low on healing items and ammo and need a quick pick-me-up rather than getting into fights and hoping you loot more than you use

        2. They did make two small nods to having people work for you, and that’s setting up supply lines so your pools of stuff stored in crafting stations are available at every settlement with a supply line to your main settlement network.

          The other is the junk station which, when assigned to a settler, generates 1 junk item per day. It’s still no substitute for the Player Character Junk Vacuum, especially when you go to the institute to hoover up every item they have in their closets.

  21. Phantos says:

    I’ve played Fallout 4 a lot, across multiple playthroughs, and I haven’t once figured out how to NOT kill Trudy. Even after waiting and leveling up my Charisma and coming back. Even wearing power armor with that Vault-Boy paint job that increases your charisma, it’s like nothing is good enough for her.

    I’d prefer to save her, but she stupidly attacks me every time I try to talk her out of it.

    I think it’s just there’s usually such a long amount of time between the playthroughs where I find her, so I forget to try a different dialogue option.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I’ve been managing OK with a character with 1 Charisma, but I have to show up in a pretty dress or natty suit, preferably with C-raising specs and certainly with a charismatic hat. Then you’ve gotta chug some booze for the dutch courage, and even after that possibly save-scum.

      And now that I’ve written all that out I have to wonder why I’m bothering every time!

    2. Fists says:

      To save only one of them you don’t need to do any talking, just rock up and murder the other, you only need to talk to save both.

  22. RTBones says:

    Another from the ‘that never occured to me’ file – making the gas station your home. I always tend to make Sanctuary its own little city. I usually save Trudy to have a dumping ground for stuff early if I need it, but almost always seem to encounter Carla in Sanctuary. She becomes my go-to shop. There is another wandering merchant not too far from the Garrus quarry (whatever its called) along a rail line near one of the early power armour suits you can get that is decent early.

    1. Jokerman says:

      I made the gas station my little hub for everything i needed, all my crafting stations were there and all my companions, it got pretty busy by the end. I like to be able to find shit.

  23. Deadpool says:

    Random old gamer nitpick:

    Jet addiction is a serious problem. It’s addictive after one hit and without a cute you’re left to hair sweating it out for weeks with some of the worst draw backs ever. And with little to no stat gain.

    That’s Fallout 2. Bethesda shat all over that…

    1. Yep, but it gets worse. You find it in a Vault (as in Pre-War) designed for chem addicition recovery where the experiment involved waiting a few years in a full-prohibition environment…then breaking open a huge stash to see what happens.

    2. Syal says:

      Of course, Fallout 2 also said Jet was a fad that was quickly lost to time.

      If we’re being generous, that means this is not the same Jet. It’s, like… Plane, or something.

    3. Nidokoenig says:

      50-50 chance of being addicted, only affects stats you need in combat, fairly cheap, taking two hits is equal to eight agility worth of AP and the high lasts five minutes, enough for most combat situations short of clearing out the oil rig(a turn is five seconds, iirc, so 60 turns). Absolute godsend in low agility runs before you have ready access to Buffout and Psycho, almost broken after.

      In the actual game world for people that don’t make their money by murdering every gangster in New Reno except the leader for the gang they want the ending slide for, it’s probably a pricey habit, but that’s RPG economy for you.

  24. SoranMBane says:

    If I could have my own gimmicky raider gang, they’d be called the Fruit Bats, and I’d make them all wear bat costumes and rob people for their fresh fruit. Not only would we be too adorable to actually fight, but we’d be the only people in the wasteland without scurvy.

    Actually, there’s a neat idea; a strategy game where you lead your own goofy themed post-apocalyptic raider gang. I’d play that.

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      That would make for a great post-apoc game.

      Conquer the wastleland, either by being murderous or some other means, and control all of the (important) settlements. All with your own gimmicky raider gang!

      My gang would be the “Street Sweepers”, on a mission to clear all the junk from the wasteland. Punishment for littering: Death!

  25. Re; The Gunners.

    There’s a bit more to them than the SW cast lets on, but it’s not terribly well presented by the game. They’re basically a merc outfit that destroyed the Minutemen and a lot of the “boss” Gunners used to be members of the Minutemen. Like a lot of areas in the game, you only learn about why these people are here to shoot at you if you read their terminal entries. On the one hand, someone did work hard to justify why they were where they were and what they were doing. On the other, it would’ve been nice if any of these groups’ stories were experienced by the player in a fashion other than being covered in their remains as you scroll through their blogs.

    There are raiders in other parts of the game that have bases and are at war with each other for fairly good reasons (one group has kidnapped the sister of another group’s leader and is extorting food/supplies for her safety, except they accidentally killed her and are trying to make it seem like she’s still alive). But again, it doesn’t matter to the player, because you can just wipe out these auto-hostiles, or you can wipe them out and read some stuff about why they’re hostile later.

    Someone at Bethesda did some pretty good world-building to justify all of these places and setups, but their work was relegated to terminal screens.

    1. Yeah, learning everything after the fact by reading just makes NO FRIGGIN SENSE with a voiced protagonist.

      1. I wonder if the voice acting budget went so much into the player and companions that they couldn’t afford (in their minds) to allow for too many voiced quests to happen?

        The one that really stands out in my mind is the racetrack. Here was another “we can be as fun as New Vegas” opportunity, and I’d figured there would be some kind of gambling mini-game involving the robots as they ran around the track. But no, it’s another setpiece that triggers combat the second you get too close, and about the only nod to any kind of problem-solving is a terminal that can affect the robots’ behavior.

        1. Axe Armor says:

          What is the point of that bloody racetrack?! It doesn’t make any sense!!

          1. acronix says:

            It’s Another Cool Place to Blow Up!(tm)

        2. Coming_Second says:

          I can’t tell you how annoyed that racetrack made me.

          “Oh, what a cool idea! I can’t wait to go over there and put bets on crazy robot racers and talk to some people who don’t – nope, you, you’re all just going to auto-attack aren’t you. Killing raiders, woo, haven’t done much of that recently.”

    2. MrGuy says:

      I think this Penny-Arcade strip sums up how Bethesda seems to see FO4 gamers. The Gabes just want to shoot the people shooting at them, and the challenge is in the combat. The Tychos want to know why.

      They apparently think most of their players are Gabes, who don’t want you getting your story all over their shooty times, so they relegate all the worldbuilding to optional terminals as a sop to the Tychos without having to bother the Gabes with it.

      Sadly, they may be correct in this assessment of their target demographic.

    3. Coming_Second says:

      Frankly the scraps you can find concerning the Gunners only made me more annoyed about them, because the fact there was no option to join them and stomp on Parsley Gromit’s stupid face only became more glaring.

    4. Fists says:

      The other difference between Gunners and raiders is the gunners almost always occupy tactically significant and defensible positions while raiders are usually just fish in a barrel.

  26. NoneCallMeTim says:

    Unrelated to the plot, but on the fast travel minimap, is there a pointer to take you directly to Preston Garvey (Or whatever he is called), without having to go through a series of doors.

    Also, gang name: the Gun Butts.

  27. BTW there is actually a number somewhere on your pip boy display that shows your total armor value. So it’s better armor-wise to wear the pieces because they all add together to give you a much higher armor value.

    Yeah it took me like 50 hours of play before I figured that out. Actually, I didn’t figure it out. My housemate figured it out. In like 5 minutes.

    1. That’s how it works? Huh. It didn’t seem obvious to me, either.

      Then again, I didn’t know that Fallout 3 had these little arrows on your inventory that cycled through categories (weapons, ammo, etc.) until a few years after I’d finished the game.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        You can also get a little rating for each item as you hover over it, ranging from three minus-signs to three plus-signs, with the idea being it’ll give you a vague idea of how much additional protection you’d get (or relinquish) if you were to put the item on. (It’s over on the right hand side in the corner amongst the rest of the not-especially-illuminating item details.)

        I’m speechless at the notion of having to deal with 3lout‘s inventory “‘”system”‘” without using Weapons | Apparel | Ammo | etc. I hope you’ve made a full recovery!

        1. Yeah, I saw the plus signs, but I was still unsure about whether or not that was worth swapping out what was a full suit of “armor” so I could have my arm be +++ for energy weapons or what have you.

          1. MichaelGC says:

            It’s true – it’s yet another way in which the ‘some full sets of clothes are full sets of clothes and some full sets of clothes aren’t full sets of clothes’ setup is confusing & annoying!

  28. Galad says:

    “But the moment you play through a conversation twice, the spell is broken. Not only is the other road just as shallow as the first, it usually leads to the exact same place for the exact same reward.

    Oh, I can choose to murder a shopkeeper and her son, or some thug. What a profound moral dilemma. ”

    I admit I had close to zero interest in Bethesda games, but these lines make sure I never touch F4 even with a ten foot pole, so to say.

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      The only difference with Fallout 4, is that it probably has the best combat of any Bethesda RPG. So it makes the endless combat much more enjoyable than their previous games (Terminator: Future Shock may also have had good combat, since it was an FPS, but it’s been so long since I played it that I can’t actually remember).

  29. Jokerman says:

    Ya know… i never had any problem with sneaking around with a companion with me.

    1. Axe Armor says:

      I only have one point in Sneak, but Super Mutants spot Deacon way before they spot me.

      1. Incunabulum says:

        I have died to so many grenades thrown at that fething dog its not funny.

  30. MrGuy says:

    Also, as for “gimmicky” gangs, there was some awesome inspiration in the original The Warriors. Specifically, a gang called the Baseball Furies. They wear Yankees gear, carry bats, don’t talk, and paint their faces unnatural colors. They’re creepy and frightening in the movie without needing much more than that.

    It would be awesome to build a gang like that into this game – it would fit perfectly with Diamond City. It would be amazingly “Fallout” in the best black humor sense.

    And then they decided to play the whole “baseball teams were warriors who hit each other with bats!” concept for yucks as the backstory to a dumb collection quest. Sigh.

  31. Ye old Rad Nuts®, ribbed for your goulishious pleasure.™

  32. Ninety-Three says:

    I just realized something about this setting: Where is everyone getting their hair-care products?

    Despite this being a garbage-filled post-apocalypse, everyone’s hair is immaculate. Are people scavenging two hundred year-old shampoo? Nevermind what they eat, I want to see the supply chain that’s keeping all these raiders in hair gel.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Aaaah! My verisimilitude! You ruined it forever!

    2. 1. It’s probably a crafting recipe that only they have access to.
      2. If you want tress effects, Josh’s computer would be crashing every time he moved his character’s head.

    3. raaabr says:

      What about how there are still normal looking cats and dogs living in settlements after hundreds of years and loads of radiation? How are they not all feral/mutated (Mutant hounds don’t count; that’s FEV at work)? It also doesn’t make sense that they’d let you keep pets in a vault given the limited space, unless it was part of the initial test, yet you have a little girl with a pet cat in Vault 81 (Or whatever that open vault you find Curie in is called), which implies that regular cats apparently survived in the wasteland. Dogmeat not being fleabitten and mangy is also bizarre, especially because he really should be feral. Except he somehow also knows tricks (Standing up on his hind legs when you ask him to) and how to follow orders, implying that he had an owner. An owner who is mysteriously not around, and apparently had knowledge on how to train a dog in the post-apocalypse.

      1. Incunabulum says:

        V81’s been open for quite a while – I would imagine that that cat is something that a trader brought in and sold.

      2. Sunshine says:

        Dogmeat seems to have more going on than is ever explained, vaguely connected to the mysticism around the edges of the pulp sci-fi setting that includes psychic tribals and prophetic dreams.

      3. Fists says:

        Cats I would assume have come from vaults (vaults don’t really make sense so not much of a stretch to put some cats in them), and being domestic they’d be selectively bred to not be hideous cthulu spawn. Not sure which game it was established in but I know in fallout 3 there were references to the resilience of dogs to against radiation induced mutations, it’s a hand wave more than an explanation but it’s there.

        Maybe dogmeat is actually your spirit animal?

    4. Sunshine says:

      I was always amused that hostile raiders living in the apocalypse-wrecked Pennsylvania countryside had no shortage of purple hair dye.

  33. guy says:

    Ah, right, the Fatman sniper. I shot him in the fusion core and he exploded.

    “VATS is useless”, they say.

    1. Phantos says:

      …you can shoot power armor people in their fusion cores?

      1. guy says:


        If you don’t have the perk that lets you use VATS through walls, you need to be behind them, but otherwise you can just do it at will. It takes a couple seconds of them flailing in panic before it actually explodes, but it’s either an instant kill or does a ton of damage and forces them out of the armor; can’t quite remember. Certainly that guy exploded with one shot.

  34. Okay, so I did the thing Mumbles told me to do and paused the ep to watch the first thing that popped up on youtube from New Vegas. I bought the game on steam on sale years ago but never installed it cause it looked ugly as sin, buggy as shit and fucking tiresome to play through.

    I don’t care about that anymore. Imma play dis game naow. Maybe not for very long, but Imma goddam play it!

  35. Grudgeal says:

    11:23 — “And he says to me, he says to me, “You got style, baby! But if you’re gonna to be a real raider, you gotta get a gimmick!” And so I go, I says, “Yeah, baby! A gimmick, that’s it! High explosives“. AHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

  36. Rayen says:

    @the edit: probably been said but I didn’t find it. obviously the title should be sean.

  37. Alexander says:

    The hilarious thing to me about the Gunners is the fact that they are far more likely to use energy weapons than vanilla raiders. This leads to encounters with the Gunners where at least half of them will not be using guns.

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