Fallout 4 EP26: Obvious Forgery

By Shamus Posted Thursday Aug 4, 2016

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 125 comments

Link (YouTube)

Ugh. This dialog is so bad. Josh couldn’t talk Jake into either of his two options. Now, I understand if he’s supposedly feeling conflicted and indecisive, but that’s not what the words say. If you fail a speech check, Jake simply argues like he’s made up his mind to do the opposite of whatever you just asked him to do. It’s like the dialog is so incoherent you’re sort of accidentally using reverse psychology on him.


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125 thoughts on “Fallout 4 EP26: Obvious Forgery

  1. baseless_research says:

    I wonder if MacCready is any good at chess? guess not

    1. MrGuy says:

      How about a nice game of Global Thermonuclear War?

      1. baseless_research says:

        I just really wish MacCready referenced the thing somehow. Scrap that, I just wish MacCready was the similarly named character who escaped from Antarctica and just can’t get himself out of trouble.

        Also Childs was a Thing.

        1. Incunabulum says:

          Spoiler – they both were. They just didn’t know it yet.

          1. Henson says:

            John Carpenter was a Thing.

            1. Spartacus says:

              I was the Thing!

  2. MrGuy says:

    I’d like to separate the speech system from the crappy dialogue for a second.

    FO3 was kind of ridiculous. There were incredibly precise percentage chances, and the system seemed custom designed to encourage save scumming.

    FO:NV was more absolute. You either knew you’d pass or not. No guesswork, but kind of strange.

    I sort of like the color coded system. You know if a given speech check is easy middle or hard. And you eventually you figure out which you’re likely to pass or not. It’s not as save scummy as FO3 and not as binary as FO:NV.

    As Shamus points out, the dialogue and content are crazy pants. But the structure isn’t bad.

    1. IFS says:

      I’m guessing that FO4 is still percentage based and therefore up to chance and therefore garbage because it reduces its characters to idiots who will change their worldview on the flip of a coin. Well they would be if FO4 had any dialogue choices that actually let you meaningfully challenge someones worldview.

      FO:NV had the best one in my opinion because the line you said actually changed depending on if you met the requirement or not (arguably it would be improved if it didn’t show the requirement and left you to determine what option was the best yourself, but I feel like showing it is a good compromise between the RPers who would want that and the more casual players who like to see what specifically their build choices are affecting). So if you don’t meet the requirement you don’t know what to say to convince the person you’re talking to, the mechanics of the game is reflected in the writing and story. Better yet NV lets you use more than just speech for various dialogue checks, almost every skill comes up at some point or another though speech and barter show up the most, and some people cannot be persuaded by speech but only by other skills.

      1. ehlijen says:

        I think NVs system did become a bit mechanical and gamey when you consider that skill magazines and easy boosting drugs for most attributes, and thus most skills, are available.

        This guy needs a speech check, and I’m 12 short? Leave convo, read skill mag, pop mentats, maybe put on some pyjamas/lingerie, try again. Success!

        I’m all aboard with the hard, non-random cutoffs, but maybe displaying the actual numbers went a bit far?

        Fallout 1/2, and Temple of Elemental Evil had the lines just simply not appear as options unless your relevant skill was high enough. That kind of worked better for me.

        1. Raygereio says:

          I'm all aboard with the hard, non-random cutoffs, but maybe displaying the actual numbers went a bit far?

          Displaying the numbers allows the player to make an informed decision about when and how to use their resources.

          1. ehlijen says:

            Well, yes. That’s the gamey part. It’s like vats and chomping down a supermarket worth of food in a fight, but for conversations.

            It sorta works, but it feels like game mechanics, not actual conversation.

            1. galacticplumber says:

              And sometimes I want a game to be a game in service of actually being fun. So long as the actual dialog is well written and genuinely good at engaging in whatever manner it was designed to, let me play my video game like a video game.

              1. ehlijen says:

                But fun is subjective. I for example didn’t enjoy leaving the conversation, opening the inventory and finding the relevant skill mag, then trying again all that fun.

                I admit that my problem was more the inventory screen, but the game was terrible about giving some hints as to when popping what boosters was actually a good idea. All of them were pretty much reactive to obstacles you’d already found; it was never worth popping any ahead of time.

                To me, that felt gamey and not very fun, having to stop every time I found something interesting and to then consult the pip boy.

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  But fun is subjective. I for example didn't enjoy leaving the conversation, opening the inventory and finding the relevant skill mag, then trying again all that fun.

                  So why did you do it if it wasnt fun for you?Saying the wrong thing is just as valid in new vegas.Heck,theres even a perk for failing at persuasion 100 times.

                  1. IFS says:

                    There is? Damn now I have (yet another) reason to go replay NV.

                  2. ehlijen says:

                    Deliberately saying the wrong thing when I’m 5 points short and I know I have a skill mag just goes against my grain.

                    But yes, I admit it. My problem was more that skill mags didn’t work enjoyably for me than the points needed to succeed being shown. I concede.

              2. Which is intensly ironic considerig NV is by far the worst of the post-Beth Fallouts indoing just that.

                1. galacticplumber says:

                  Notice all those qualifiers I put in there about how the dialogue had better damn well be entertaining as a first requirement before we even get into skill checks? Fallout NV has characters I have literally stopped and willingly spoken to for hours at a time without any promise of quest rewards. Compare the bethesda fallouts where you almost certainly have a list of people you don’t want to speak to and would gladly kill to silence them permanently but that game won’t let you.

        2. Hermocrates says:

          I think that should’ve been incorporated into the game’s hardcore mode, or even better, as a gameplay option. That’s how Pillars of Eternity handles it: by default, you can see /all/ dialogue options, and which skills/attributes/etc. allow each one, although ones beyond your ken are greyed out, but by checking an option or playing in Expert mode, you only see the ones available to you and there is no indication of what enabled that conversation option.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Yup,this.Having an option to display just “persuade” or the full line with the requirment wouldve been the best way to deal with this.

        3. IFS says:

          Like I said I think displaying the thresholds was a decent choice for most people as it lets you see where you speech/skills matter (and lets you know which skill in particular is applying, would be frustrating to try and boost through a convo with speech mags only to learn that small guns was the relevant choice) while compromising what hardcore roleplayers might want which is for it to look like any other dialogue choice. Ideally there would be an option to hide the thresholds but just by being a skill gate that has changes associated with it and not a lazy die roll it improves things dramatically. Plus some of the dialogue for failing to meet the threshold is hilarious.

      2. Grudgeal says:

        About half the failed persuade responses in New Vegas made it worth it to play a low-persuade character just so you could read them. Like when you try persuading Mortimer.

        “I sort of tasted human flesh once. Mmm mmm good. Tell me all your secrets.”

        1. Wide And Nerdy® says:

          Yes. I wish they could try something similar with the combat, like sometimes you die, other times you just wake up with half the goods on your person looted and maybe a quest to track down the guys who did it (maybe a dialog option to let you decide whether you want to vow to track them down or cut your losses). It would give the game another money sink as well.

          On the speech system and charisma checks, this is another disadvantage of the voiced protagonist. Whether my character makes the check or not, you get the same mostly neutral delivery out of the voice actor.

          With an unvoiced protagonist, I can assume that my character had some way of saying the line that put the person at ease or they come off as likable or awkward or shifty or confident.

          “Hey, calm down. Its going to be alright” can come off as flip or consoling or like the PC is upset and unconvincing depending on how its set.

          Granted, Obsidian did it one better as others here pointed out by having the lines actually be different, but the unvoiced protagonist leaves just enough room for interpretation without demanding too much imagination.

          1. IFS says:

            I’ve heard of mods for Skyrim that do roughly what you suggest with combat, where bandits usually just rob you and such. As for actual games doing so the only one that comes to mind is Mount and Blade Warband where if you lose you can be taken captive for a while.

            I definitely agree that it would be great in open world games to be able to continue the story through defeats in combat (it would also open up an enjoyable difficulty curve where your character is allowed to lose early in the story before growing stronger). If you lose to some raiders maybe they just loot you and leave you for dead, if you lose to a faction then depending on your relationship with them and other factions then maybe they try to ransom you, monsters like Deathclaws probably kill you (though maybe if you have mysterious stranger perk or something he has a chance to show up and save you? I dunno), but others might drag you back to their lair to eat you (giving you a chance to wake up and attempt to escape while weakened). There are all sorts of options that could be explored, and if you were really being creative you could make it so certain quests can be completed by letting yourself be captured or otherwise related to the system.

            1. Ninety-Three says:

              I’d just like to point out that the Pokemon games do the “You wake up with half your money stolen” thing. Forget institutionalized dogfighting for children, that is one of the weirdest features of the Pokemon universe.

              1. IFS says:

                I mean its not stolen, you get money from your opponent if you win. The weird thing is how your character is such a whiner that they white out or panic and flee back to the pokecenter the moment your whole team is done, while everyone else is content to just hang out saying ‘dang you beat me’.

              2. That was changed a few generations in; now you lose money based on who you lost to, iirc.

    2. Chris Davies says:

      Yeah, I liked that too. It seems like the system that most accurately models reality. You have a good idea about how difficult the challenge is and how that compares with your skill level, but you don’t know for sure that you’ll succeed.

      Too bad it’s never put to any good use. Josh’s path through the speech checks does a wonderful job of highlighting how awful the dialogue is. “You should murder him!” “Nah, I don’t think so.” “Oh, well then… you SHOULDN’T murder him!” “Well, maybe I should murder him after all.” “No, really, don’t do it!” “I’ll do it!”

      It’s astonishing that this whole sequence survived to release.

      1. acronix says:

        In F3 and F4 you just babble a variant of “Come on, dude, do what I want!” and roll a dice instead of providing the other person/character with an actual argument that fails because it sucks or succeeds because it makes sense.

        Just like in reality.

        1. Incunabulum says:

          Let’s be real here – its *all* a roll of the dice, none of the speech checks in FNV succeed because you’ve convinced an AI thread with your logic.

          The difference is that the writers bothered to write a convincing statement that looks good to the *player* – you cold imagine saying that to someone and them changing their minds because of this new information/perspective. Then dice is rolled/threshholds checked and the game moves on from there.

          Fallout 4’s speech checks are *mechanically* the same – they just didn’t bother with the flavor text to go with them.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            No,mechanically they are not the same.In new vegas,you either build up your *argumentative skill* up with skill points,or you dont.You dont roll any dice in order to see if your *arguments* are flimsy or not.Thats the difference,one is random,the other is not.

          2. Izicata says:

            But they’re not *mechanically* the same, and the speech checks in NV are *not* a roll of the dice. NV’s threshold system is *mechanically* different from F3 and F4’s diceroll system.

            In order for the game to include actually convincing arguments you need the threshold system, or something very similar. The diceroll system necessitates writing iffy arguments because the same line of dialogue needs to make sense for when you succeed as well as when you fail. Whereas the threshold system requires you to write two separate lines, one convincing argument only displayed when you’re above the threshold, and one unconvincing argument only displayed when you’re below the threshold. The mechanics of the speech system are interlinked with the quality of the writing; bad dialogue mechanics require bad writing, good dialogue mechanics require good writing.

            1. Syal says:

              Technically both systems only require you to write one line, and then if the check fails the character ums and aahs and stammers their way through it and it doesn’t have any impact.

              (…I’d like to see a system with an Intimidation skill, and if you get it too high you can’t pass speech checks anymore because you deliver all of your lines super aggressively and it completely overshadows what you’re saying.)

            2. Incunabulum says:

              However, *both* systems require you to do a threshhold check. One just adds in a die roll to add to your skill.

              Its still the same thing – too low a skill and no die roll will help you pass, too high and there’s no way to fail.

              And in neither case are you *actually convincing anyone*. You’re just seeing if you can reach a developer defined minimum.

              The only difference between the two is one adds the results of a die roll to your stat before checking if you passed or not, the other one just takes the stats as is.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                The existence of that randomization is a pretty big mechanical difference.With it,you can save scum a success whether you have 1 or 10 skill points,without you cannot.With randomization you dont need to spend skill points or money in order to make the check,only your time(and your f9 button),without it you have to spend your resources.

    3. Raygereio says:

      It's not as save scummy as FO3 and not as binary as FO:NV.

      What? It’s exactly as save scummy as FO3. It’s still a random chance(*). In fact, FO4 made save scumming easier by allowing you to save during conversations.
      The only difference is that in FO3 the GUI displayed your chance of succes, while in FO4 this is obfuscated.

      *: With how the dice roll is calculated, if you boost your Cha high enough you will have a guaranteed success. The thresholds are 9 for easy, 10 for medium and 11 for Hard checks.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        I’m pretty sure there are also guaranteed dialogue checks. I’ve never failed to talk my way into the Boston library, with a cavalcade of 1 and 2 Cha characters.

        1. Incunabulum says:

          Of course there are – otherwise that’s content you might not be able to access in a single playthrough.

  3. Hector says:

    Since I missed the previous discussion on stealth, I suppose now is as good a time as any. The biggest problem with trying to use Stealth in Bethesda’s games has nothing whatsoever to do with the strict mechanics: it’s that they don’t have a good concept of what they want to use it for, along with an almost complete lack of proper spaces of stealth-based gameplay. The latter is possibly a bigger problem than the former, but they’re very closely related:

    First, what is stealth gameplay actually for? If it for killing enemies efficiently? Not killing people and getting through quietly? Scouting an environment beforehand? Accomplishing goals in a specific questline not related to combat? Accomplishing stuff in questlines in a manner that takes more thought and ingenuity than following blind directions? Letting you pull off funny or useful end-runs around evil or obnoxious NPC’s? I don’t think Bethesda has a clear design goal for stealth gameplay. It’s there, but they don’t have a concept for how it relates to other abilities in actual play. In Skyrim, they had this problem as well, which tended to make it useless-until-it-becomes-gamebreaking, but at least there you could try a few other interesting tricks with it. (Magic also had this problem, with almost all the really interesting effects cut out and most of the remaining stuff very boring or just not useful, but to a lesser degree.)

    This matters because all of these things require *very* different designs, not just in the systemic gameplay, but in how the world is designed. Bethesda did not do this…. for the most part. There are a few spots where stealth is really interesting, and there’s a couple points where you can actually see the spark of real potential. It’s just a shame that almost the only use for stealth left is getting that first sneak attack, though, because with the quality of environmental design, it would be pretty cool.

    1. ehlijen says:

      It comes down to the game mostly just asking you to kill stuff, and not even offering that many ways to do that.

      You might be able to sneak all the way into a raider stronghold…and then what? Killing them from the inside out, as opposed from the outside in is pretty much the only change.
      Maybe you can get to a computer and turn off some turrets, that’s about the extent of how stealth changes the mission.

      The only thing stealth really does in the end is make combat a little easier by preventing the foes from mass rushing you if done even semi competently.

      Compare this to Hitman or Vampire: Bloodlines: Sure, you were often going to fight/kill someone, but there were many paths for different characters. Sneak past the guards, charm your way in the front door, lockpick the back door, hack a computer to get the info without killing anyone, use NPCs and level elements with actual impact on the mission etc, plus good reasons and tangible rewards for doing ghost runs.

      On a semi-related note: Stealth is purely an ambush mechanic in FO4; it doesn’t do anything other than provide a combat bonus.
      But ambushes aren’t really something the player can do in this world because no one moves! I’ve just rewatched some of the NV spoiler warning, the bit where a legion party ambushes some caravans after Nipton.
      There’s so little of that in any Bethesda engine game. Raiders sit in their camps all day, they never ambush anyone. The BOS vertibirds sometimes appear out of nowhere, but don’t really go anywhere after they win the fights (if they do). I haven’t seen any caravans actually move in FO4, they just seem to fast travel when I do. Almost anything involving NPCs going anywhere is at the player’s initiative (sending runners or starting quests).

      The player cannot really find a good hiding spot and set up and ambush along a known raider route, for example. Or hold up a caravan for a bit of robbing. Or even just strategically plant mines. The game is designed around the player moving and the world waiting for them to do so. And I think that’s what breaks the verisimilitude of stealth so badly:
      Stealth is about patience and waiting for the right moment. The game is about moving and the player seizing the moment. FO4 stealth isn’t stealth as it would be in any stealth driven game (Deus Ex, Thief, Commandos), it’s basically combat with a cloaking device. The player is still the one moving, the AI still sits there and waits for input do react to. And stealth doesn’t give the player much in the way of new stimuli to give the AI.

      I’m not sure that with this fundamental design element, engaging stealth sections can be possible in a Bethesda game. It could be improved, with patrol routes and more stealth compatible interaction options, but it would become a lot less Skyrim/FO4 in the process; it’d involve creating NPCs with goals in mind, rather than as static quest dispensers/objectives.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Reading this post suddenly made me want a game where you play as a bandit leader in a large open world. You’d have to make use of ambushes and stealth to get in, raid caravans or rob travelers, and get out without losing too many of your own people. Spend too long preying on travelers between any two cities and they’ll start becoming better defended or even call out government troops after you. You’d need to move around and collect rumors to figure out where the best risk-to-reward targets would be. Food would be a limited resource that you wouldn’t be able to cultivate due to your semi-nomadic lifestyle, requiring hunting-gathering and successful bandit raids to acquire.

        Imagine setting up an ambush days in advance in the perfect location, or maybe doing a stealth hit-and-run under cover of darkness rather than risking a full engagement. Maybe it could include piracy as well, as an alternate route. Seems like it could be an interesting game.

        1. So it’d be Payday: Bandit Edition?

          1. Bubble181 says:

            Sid Meier’s Pirates!: Land Edition

          2. Falterfire says:

            Not quite. In Payday, you commit crimes, but they’re crimes that are lined up for you and you can do any mission at any time. He’s talking about a more simulation type thing. So instead of playing as Dallas, Wolf, Hoxton, and Chains, you play as Bain and make sure that all the tools are in place so that when you send your heisters in they can succeed and then get out with the loot.

            So in other words: Your goal is to make sure the Thermal Drills don’t break easily and the helicopter pilot is there when they need him and not three minutes later after they’ve killed a few hundred cops.

            1. I’ve actually had a quarter-baked RPG design bouncing around in my head that could incorporate that fairly easily without any plot issues. :D

            2. Philadelphus says:

              I haven’t played Payday so I can’t really comment on that part, but yeah, the idea as it popped into my head yesterday was that you’d have this large simulated pre-modern country where there would be a simulated trade network that would have caravans and travellers at random times which you’d have to pick and choose which to raid/rob/hold up. Maybe have it set in the Bronze or Iron Age or something so it’s not just another generic fantasy setting (as a benefit, this would allow you to have chariots in the game), and have it be something like the Middle East where you’ve got all these different trade routes crossing each other north-south and east-west and meeting up in cities, so there are caravans with all kinds of different goods moving about at all times. Make the land mass kinda broken up a little so you have reason for both land and sea trade routes to support the naval side of things if that how you want to go.

              Basically, it’d be kinda like XCOM in that you could have a strategy layer (finding rumors about future caravans, plotting raids, building up relationships with fences for various goods in various cities, etc.) and a tactics layer (actually carrying out raids/hold ups, though I was envisioning it as a real-time thing where you actually have a player character to control rather than turn-based””though it could work as the latter, too).

        2. Andy_Panthro says:

          To a certain extent, you can be a bandit leader in Mount & Blade: Warband, and it’s probably slightly easier with mods (but I can’t think of a specific mod for being a bandit, so the aim of the game remains unchanged).

      2. Nidokoenig says:

        Once in FO3, I was severely overencumbered and too far away from a fast travel point with a container, so I joined up with an Outcast patrol, headed towards their HQ. Their walking speed matched my encumbered speed, so we made our way along the route. On the way we marched right through an Enclave checkpoint, which gave us a nice stack of loot, and a bunch of Raiders that scattered the patrol entirely, I think despawning some guys because of distance. So the game is more interesting with these kinds of interactions, but you need to have your expectations lowered for the AI behaviour. I also had Increased Increased Spawns on, so the patrols were fairly substantial, unlike the vanilla game and its two or three guys.

    2. Henson says:

      One thing I think this game could easily have supported is allowing stealth players to reprogram turrets. If this were a clear option from the start, it would be trivial to design raider bases and whatnot to have appropriate turret placement, and it would serve as a good incentive to use stealth.

      Edit: Or does it already? I never played FO4…

      1. Hector says:

        Sometimes, but it’s usually not worth bothering with. Turrets are pretty weak as enemies, there aren’t that many of them compared to raiders, and the consoles to control them are often impossible to get to until you’ve already alarmed every raider within shouting distance anyway.

        1. Incunabulum says:

          I don’t think I ever found a single working turret control computer that wasn’t behind the trail of destroyed turrets left behind as I got to it.

          1. Naota says:

            I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned the downright archaic method you need to use to hack the damn things. Your skill at computers has no impact on or mechanical tie to the task, and neither do your perks.

            No, you need simply find the right magazine. One that tells you on the cover it contains the code to enable you to hack turrets (there are others for spotlights, alarms, etc.). Does this add an option to the menu you get when using one of the turret-controlling computers? No, it does not.

            It puts a holo-tape into your inventory which you need to find and manually load from an alphanumeric list of every holo-tape you’ve ever looted in the game, 99% of which have no earthy business being inserted into any computer, because they’re accessible right from the Pip-Boy. Even if you made the logical leap from “magazine with tape” rather than stumbling into the trap of “magazine grants ability”, odds are you’ll have never used a terminal to play a holo-tape to know it can be done. The fact that you can often shut off traps, lights, and locks with prompts on the screen not requiring holo-tapes only makes things more confusing.

            Now that you know this, prepare to repeat these steps every time you pass a computer hooked up to turrets. Or… don’t, really. Because it’s almost objectively never worth the trouble.

  4. MichaelGC says:

    Missed a bobblehead there! Right by where Slag’s day got comprehensively wrecked. It’s not a major one, though – just one of the ones that gives 25% extra critical somesuch or wtf.

    (I’ve been collecting the bobbleheads. Only two more to go. To be honest I stopped having fun about five bobbleheads ago, but you know how it is.)

  5. Raygereio says:

    So Josh tripped a mine in this video. And after a reload, couldn’t find that mine.

    Here’s a quote from the vault wiki page about FO4’s traps:

    Certain mine traps have been configured by the game designers to change positions or disappear completely upon a reload of the same cell, possibly to reduce the reward for an instant reload. For example, you may enter an area and fail to spot a mine which explodes and damages you. You decide to do a quick reload and walk through the same area now that you know where the mine is, so you can disarm it and gain the mine as loot. Upon reloading you may find the mine is not where it was before, either appearing in a different place or simply gone from the area.

    I honestly can’t decide if that’s actually true, or if that’s someone trying to claim a bug is intentional gamedesign.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I just assumed it was more of the usual Bethesda quickload bullshit, as with restoring Belethor’s coinpurse. Or using quicksave to open doors.

      Sometimes you’ll come across certain magnetic doors which require a terminal to open. You’d think the procedure would be:

      1 Access terminal
      2 Select option to ‘open door’
      3 Close terminal
      4 Go through now-open door

      But actually it is:

      1 Access terminal
      2 Select option to ‘open door’
      3 Close terminal
      4 Access terminal
      5 Select option to ‘open door’
      6 Close terminal
      7 Swear
      8 Access terminal
      9 Mash option to ‘open door’
      10 Close terminal
      11 Swear more
      12 Quicksave with a view to alt-tabbing if not alt-F4ing
      13 Go through now-open door

    2. Naota says:

      Bug or feature, it’s certainly true. There’s a bottlecap mine at Starlight Drive-Through’s diner which I swear is invisible – likely the same one that’s ended so many of Shamus’ iron (wo)man runs. Every time I pass by it goes off, and every time it kills me so dead that I can be halfway to the fences by the final beep and still disintegrate into half a dozen ignominious bits.

      It took me literally weeks to rid myself of the damnable thing because it would simply disappear after the post-death reload (sometimes as much as 20 minutes away) and nothing I could do would make it enter existence again. Well… nothing short of going back about my business for long enough to leave on some other task and forget. Then it would, naturally, be armed and waiting for me on my return visit, primed to decapitate.

      I finally fixed this particular offender by suiting up in every bit of explosive-resistant gear I could find, downing the appropriate chems, and face-tanking the explosion once and for all (I still couldn’t find the mine itself to disarm it). After this, the mine of many murders never resurfaced… but I’ve since racked up a pretty impressive death count to a choice few others just like it in various parts of the wasteland.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        That one is actually on the counter – it’s on the same side as the door (i.e. on the opposite side from the workshop), next to one of the window pillars. It doesn’t always work, but if you – without getting too close! – wander around the general area going in & out of VATS it should eventually show up.

  6. MrGuy says:

    Only you can create forest fires.

  7. Joe Leigh says:

    Power armor pieces drop to 0 weight when they break. This is because broken pieces cannot be equipped on the power armor, so when they break they get shoved into your inventory. Since your carry weight drops by about 150 when you exit the armor, the 30 pound chunk of armor which has somehow gone from the exterior of the armor into your pocket is probably going to overencumber you. This might inconvenience players and force them to make actual gameplay choices, so instead the armor magically becomes weightless when broken.

    1. Writiosity says:

      Most amusing part is that in Survival mode power armour can kill you while you work on it. It’s transferred to your inventory while you’re modifying it… which makes you overencumbered… which in turn causes health damage. You can actually die while modifying your armour, lol.

      And as far as I know, Bethesda still haven’t fixed it.

      1. Henson says:

        Being over-encumbered…inflicts damage? What the…how does that work? Is your character dropping a 100 lb anvil on their head?

        No, seriously, why do this? What kind of person strains themselves so hard picking up heavy items that they collapse under them and die? How can you even do this?

        Keep it sane, Bethesda. Weight inflicts movement penalties. Weight damages stamina. Weight decreases attack speed. This isn’t hard.

        1. Fists says:

          I think it’s more about chronic back injury from carrying 600lbs of coffee cups and hotplates from Concord to Boston. I think it’s a good compromise between soft and hard carry weight limits for gameplay.

        2. Syal says:

          ..well, that’s the entire reason for having spotters at the gym. More practically, it could happen if you loaded up a backpack and then tripped or something.

          But I would expect Bethesda just made it a health drain without other penalties.

          1. Henson says:

            That’s an awfully specific series of events to incur damage from weight. In those instances, the injury is entirely dependent on an accident of some sort or lifting for longer periods than you can handle, not the weight itself. Although, in looking up Survival mode, the weight penalties actually sound more reasonable than Writiosity’s comment made me think – it sounded at first like a much more direct cause-and-effect than the wiki describes. If health damage is incurred from overexertion over time, then I’d actually be OK with it, but death is still kind of silly except in the most extreme circumstances. Personally, I’d much rather have exhaustion and crippled limbs than actual health damage.

            1. Syal says:

              I would think a too-heavy backpack is exactly the circumstance a Fallout character would be in.

    2. ehlijen says:

      That makes so much less sense than the broken piece staying equipped and simply not providing any protection, so the player, having seen the red HUD marking, can take it off at their own volition later for fixing. Or maybe a broken piece could just be lost forever, with the player being able to forge new ones at higher crafting skills (maybe just raider type modules). Or maybe, broken pieces are just broken and that sucks (it is the post apocalypse, after all).

      The weightlessness was a solution to a problem that only existed because Bethesda put it into the world. (Why are power armour plates the only things that can degrade now, anyway?)

      1. Pax says:

        Isn’t it weird that all power armor, no matter how advanced, still uses the same basic frame? Are the only improvements the protection of the armor? Surely not, and yet, that’s what Fallout 4 leaves us with. It would’ve been nice if there were at least one unique power armor frame, or if the Enclave-style armor had an advanced frame or something. I know the engine supports it, modders have done it.

        On the other hand it makes power armor work sort of like the original games: when you kill someone wearing it, it instantly becomes useless, and you can’t loot it from their bodies (plating aside).

        So the best mod would have unique power armor frames, armor plating that completely blocks damage to the player until its destroyed, and once destroyed is really really destroyed and gone forever, right?

        1. ehlijen says:

          I don’t know about best, but it’d be something.

          Instead, FO4 is a world in which lockpicks, armour plating and power armour batteries are the only thing that can degrade. And the plating can be repaired with garage tools.

          It’s all game mechanics, not simulation. Fusion cores are limited so that the player has to scavenge for more (or money to buy more) to keep using the armour. Ammo is limited for the same reason. Armour degrades so that even with an insane supply of cores, the player has to occasionally run home and sell/craft/fix/buy. Guns don’t degrade any more because with the crafting upgrades, there already is a reason to loot and run home, so the weapon degradation was dropped for player convenience, but carry weight was not (though it was defanged with weightless ammo), because it still creates the crafting junk carry limit.

          It’s Diablo gameplay now, with a Fallout skin and some Sims thrown in. That’s not a bad thing by necessity (Diablo was popular for reasons, even if I don’t understand them all), but it’s not Fallout 1/2 anymore (which is bad because those games deserve proper sequels/parallel-quels).

          1. There’s one problem with that, though…aside from junking them, there’s no reason to loot weapons aside from getting the ammo they’ve got in them. Selling them is pointless because they’re almost entirely worthless compared to the rest of the stuff you can find, the scrap materials are found elsewhere in more quantities, and putting basically any effort into crafting will get you the best mods on every weapon without much exerted effort towards farming materials. (except for actually farming to make Adhesive, but even then you’re going to find at least 1 Adhesive in every toolbox in every dungeon, so even that isn’t all that important)

            1. ehlijen says:

              Yeah, pipe weapons are basically FO4’s vendor trash. Something had to take that role now that actual trash is useful and desired now.

        2. Ciennas says:

          Agreed about the frame- it would have been neat to say like three frames that you could strap the components to, but then it would have added additional complexity for few tangible benefits.

          Though a ceramic frame that could move better in water or with the jetpack would have been cool. Uses cores more efficiently?

          Eh. You have 11 different player equip slots for armor alone (clothing, limbs/helmet/torso, plus power armor limbs/helm/torso) maybe they drew the line at the underarmor frame? Besides, that would make it so they’d have to remodel all 25 base components to look and move right on any new base plates they added, because player customization was and is a core engagement for this game.

          The last time they had this much mix and match armor was Morrowind.

      2. Ciennas says:

        I think the weightlessness was a compromise. The armor failing was visually interesting and easy to identify where the problem was, not just on the player, but on any traveling buddies as well. I assumed that the armor plate was still there, held up by the suit, but so badly damaged that it may as well not be there at all.

        Maybe they could have made one last model for each of the twenty five armor bases of them hanging off of the frame…. but they didn’t and it still works very well for conveying information to the player.

        Now, if they could only explain why I can’t salvage fusion cores from opponents in power armor after I kill them, that’d be great.

        1. ehlijen says:

          I think the broken piece becoming invisible and being moved to the player inventory didn’t both have to be true.

          Why not simply say ‘broken pieces are invisible’?

          1. Ciennas says:

            Probably a solution to a problem from F3 and NV. I remember that items that were broken but still equipped still conferred stat bonuses and effects until taken off, and THEN you couldn’t put it back on.

            So they did it this way to help simulate the failing armor feel. Once unequipped, the armor piece stops giving its bonuses, and they zero weighted it as a compromise to the core engagement. (Raiders shot my arm and now I’m over encumbered? What?)

            Admittedly it does make it a little more irritating to repair companion armor. (Ask to get out of armor, then get in trade view to grab the broken components, repair/reattach.) But it works well enough.

            1. ehlijen says:

              I still don’t see why this was easier than to add a check where broken equipped gear just doesn’t grant the bonuses it has.

              1. Ciennas says:

                Probably about the same difficulty, but one adds a visual flair and makes combat more visceral. Also, it looked cool and invoked the dramatic.

                Maybe they’ll include damage/armor failure in the next Elder Scrolls title. I dunno.

                However, I suspect that this is also due to code reuse. I have a hunch that F3, NV, Skyrim and Fallout 4 could all comfortably hang out in a family portrait. Maybe even Oblivion.

                1. ehlijen says:

                  What visual flair?

                  If broken pieces become invisible and stop applying their bonus without being moved into the player inventory, nothing changes visually compared to having broken pieces teleport into the inventory.

                  And at the same time, fixing the armour later will require fewer clicks.

  8. Phantos says:

    RUTSKARN: “”MaCready’s awfully talky, isn’t he?”

    MACREADY: “Nargh!”

  9. The Rocketeer says:

    You stumbled dick-first into a full suit of heavy combat armor at what level? I painstakingly assembled a single suit of heavy combat armor, piece by individual piece, over the course of about fifty hours. I don’t know whether I’m more angry at the game, or at Josh.

    Actually, nevermind; I deserve all the blame for buying the game in the first place.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Aye, I was just reading up about this Captain Bridget person – apparently she doesn’t quite have the full set but is missing the right arm & helmet.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ah well,then its ok.

        1. Keep in mind this would be like finding an NPC in Skyrim wearing Ebony Armor but missing the helm…at level 10.

          1. IFS says:

            There is an Orc encampment in Skyrim that has some Orcish armor lying on a shrine just waiting to be stolen. It’s there regardless of level so you could grab it almost first thing in the game. Not quite Ebony but only a step below.

    2. baseless_research says:

      She’s normally in a power armor though.

      Unless that’s another npc in the area using power armor. Regardless it’s a high-hostile zone with assaultrons, mini-nukes and IIRC there is 1 or 2 npcs using rocket launchers. I mean you keep what you kill but otoh so does the AI.

      What I’m saying is it takes a bit of effort to get to it.

  10. Phantos says:

    So, at about 12:30-ish, Josh comes upon one of the many giant, fanged dolphin corpses, who all apparently died via chestburster.

    If it’s supposed to be that those are dolphins that were killed in the atomic blasts, wouldn’t they be skeletons by now? Wouldn’t the flesh be gone 200+ years later?

    And if they weren’t killed by the bombs, then why are they all dead now, at the same time? And where are the dolphin Xenomorphs that surely emerged from their John Hurt-style chest cavities?

    Is this elaborated on in Far Harbor?

    1. ehlijen says:

      Those are dolphins? I never found one and in the video it looked like a shark to me.

      No wait, you’re right. The tail fin is all white on one side, so horizontal like a dolphin/whale.

      Anyway, the answer to the chestburster mystery lies of course in XCOM:Enemy Within’s Newfoundland mission. (The answer is chrysalids, it’s always chrysalids).

      For a more serious answer, I guess fishers and mirelurks hunt and eat these things, ripping their guts out because that’s the tasty part? Or maybe their intestinal gasses bloated up and exploded after beaching?

  11. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

    Am I alone in not getting this episode title?

    1. The Defenestrator says:

      You need to think worse.

      1. Christopher says:


      2. Bespectacled Gentleman says:


        Goddammit, Rutskarn. At least we got an awful, torturous metaphor out of this one.

        1. That took me way too long to figure out. .-.

    2. anaphysik says:

      Haven’t seen the episode yet, but the title reminds me of nothing as much as my favorite board game, Chrononauts, and its many Mona Lisas.

    3. silver Harloe says:

      I’d’ve named this episode “Jake and the Fat Man”

  12. Isaac says:

    How does Josh have so much ammo? I’m playing FO4 right now and barely have any ammo yet here’s Josh with like 100s of rounds lol.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      One-hit slaughtering everything in melee certainly helps! He might also have taken the ‘find more ammo’ perk, which even at level 1 makes a huge difference.

    2. ehlijen says:

      He fights with melee, mostly. Every swing of a yaogui empowered stick is ~5-10 rounds he didn’t shoot off.

      I think high Luck also means you find more, and a sneak/crit sniping build tends to spare the ammo counter more than autofire weapons.

      Any combination of the above can quickly lead to loads of ammo. Especially if you switch up which to actually use now and then.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        Aye right – he doesn’t have the Scrounger perk I mentioned, but he does have 5 in Luck, so that’ll be making a big difference. Well, that and not shooting anybody.

    3. GloatingSwine says:

      Never ever use any automatic weapon which does not cause bleeding.

      That’s the key to ammo preservation.

      Because of the way damage resistance in Fallout 4 works (based on the ratio between the attack number and the defence number), you want to have the biggest number possible on your weapon. Automatic weapons have small numbers, which means more of that small number will be blocked by enemy armour (ie. your gun does 16 damage and maybe 85% of it is getting blocked, but to the same target a gun that did 50 damage would only get 50% of it blocked and a gun that did 100 damage would get only 10% of it blocked) and it will take more shots to kill things.

      The only exception is bleed damage which nothing resists and which stacks per hit, so a burst of bleed hits will make the enemy quickly suffer a couple of hundred points of bleed damage.

      You can compound this with stealth which vastly increases your damage if you stack the Sneak and Mister Sandman perks, and which is even more useful in Fallout 4 than ever before because unlike every other Bethesda game, an enemy in “caution” state still suffers sneak attacks.

      Also obv. with crafting to make sure you always have the biggest number on your gun, and focusing heavily on either rifles or pistols. (Rifles generally have bigger numbers). Getting a two shot weapon is even better because it just adds damage equal to the base damage of the weapon to one bullet it doesn’t actually fire two, so you get an even bigger number and so more damage goes through and you one shot kill everything*.

      * For extra ammo hoarding if you rechamber a Two Shot weapon it will still add the original base damage, so a Two shot hunting rifle chambered for super common .38 ammo will one shot almost every enemy you ever see.

      1. That kind of breaks down around level 60 or so, when leveled enemies can’t be taken out in one shot unless you managed to roll a 50 on a d20 and found a Two-Shot Gauss Rifle, since anything using an actual bullet stops improving at around 120 damage-per-shot while the Gauss Rifle is about twice that.

        1. GloatingSwine says:

          True, they stop at 120, but if you then max Sneak and Mister Sandman they’ll do 6.3x that damage on every sneak attack, which will be every attack because enemies literally have to trip over you to find you if you use shadowed armour and find your sneak comics, which doubles [i]again[/i] on headshots.

          So y’know, your 120 damage gun ends up at 1500 or so.

          Every shot.

          And enemies can’t see you so they don’t fight back.

          Without VATS criticals which do even more.

          1. In order to test that I’d need to relaunch the game, grab a mod that shows me where all the magazines are, then hope I found something that got me another couple of levels so I could max out Better Crits, which is what I think you mean instead of Mister Sandman.

  13. lucky7 says:

    Oh my gosh.

    Josh dropped a heavy weapon he would probably never use.

    1. Phantos says:

      Probably because Shamus and Mumbles weren’t around to torture them with carrying it everywhere.

      1. Syal says:

        It’s a brick joke; they’re gonna walk to the other side of the map and then Josh is gonna be like “Oh wait, I forgot something” and walk all the back to pick it back up. And then be stuck there because he’s overencumbered.

  14. Pax says:

    So the backstory of the Gunners was briefly brought up during the episode, with the explanation that they’re just a pack of former Minutemen. While that’s certainly true in some cases, did anyone else get the impression that they’re the product of Vault 75’s super-soldier eugenics experiments?

    For those who haven’t scoured every inch of the game, Vault 75 is located beneath Malden Middle School, and is presented as a shelter for the children there. What they actual do once the gear door locks, however, is put the kids through endless basic training and “harvest” the genetic material of the best soldiers in an attempt to breed ultimate soldiers. This goes on for a few generations – though I don’t know where they get new children, unless they’re cloning them from the previous best genetic material (which would make sense, I guess, but is never hinted at or brought up). Either way, eventually their bad-ass super-soldier children kill all the scientists and the story ends. By the time you get there, it’s just a dungeon full of Gunners.

    It makes me wonder, though, if this place was the origin story of the Gunners, the source of their “combat skill” and militaristic culture. Of course, the game never confirms it or suggests any other origin for the Gunners, because that might make for interesting backstory that could inform current quests or storylines, and context is for chumps.

    1. Ciennas says:

      That’s where I first encountered the Gunners. And yeah, I thought that was their origin. I killed the lot of them there and then started encountering them out in the wild from then on.

      Also, they probably did a bunch of squicky stuff to keep the vault populated with its stupidly low age threshhold. Though I thought they implied that the science candidates got to live much longer by necessity. (Nevermind how counterproductive it is to train these kids as soldiers just to kill them upon ‘graduation’.)

      Still. That vault was creepy as hell because the implied corpse count is significantly higher than almost any other vault ever, due to the systemic slaughtering of everyone that could have gone on for years. At least the New Vegas Vault only killed one overseer at a time until that riot…

    2. Microwaviblerabbit says:

      I always thought they were an offshoot of the surviving military units, due to their gear, tactics, and ranking system. I know that the ones that defeated Preston have an ex-minuteman and an ex-raider as commanders, but the rest of the gunners are neither because they question the loyalty and discipline of each respectively.

      I had hoped that they were a proper join-able faction, similar to the Brotherhood. But they are just a different raider type.

    3. Ninety-Three says:

      Now that I think about it, “Former Minutemen” makes no sense. The Gunners outnumber the Minutemen ten to one, if not more. You can’t say “The Gunners broke away from the Minutemen”, it’s not “breaking away” when you take 90% of the staff with you. It’d be more accurate to say “The Minutemen renamed themselves ‘the Gunners’, then a few of the Gunners broke away to form The Minutemen again”.

    4. potatoejenkins says:

      Gunners are Raiders. They exist to be shot. It appears one can hire them. Unless one is the PC or an NPC existing in the game world. They are sometimes hired by somebody to do something.

      Some former Minuteman betrayed the remaining Minutemen and sold them out to the Gunners in Quincy because reasons (I think it was because the Gunners were though guys and in a though world only the toughest of the thoughest survive. Or something like that.).
      That lead to Preston Garvey beeing one of the last remaining active Minutemen … man.

      I liked Vault 75 with all its implications. Too bad Bethesda chose the “only show but don’t tell anything” approach again. As it stands the Gunners are just there to be shot.

  15. MichaelGC says:

    Poor combat music; always overstaying its welcome. It’s fine as far as the actual tune goes, but it never seems to cut out soon enough, and so it’s always still bombastically blaring away whilst you’re heroically scrolling inventory or epically scavenging the toilets for stimpaks.

  16. anaphysik says:

    If you fail a speech check, Jake simply argues like he's made up his mind to do the opposite of whatever you just asked him to do. It's like the dialog is so incoherent you're sort of accidentally using reverse psychology on him.

    Interestingly, Jack’s loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2 (ha!, thought you’d escaped from Mass Effect?) has a similar thing that was… remarkably neat, actually, though quite possibly unintentional? Charm and Intimidate options will cause Jack to follow Shepard’s reasoning on whether or not to shoot the other alum of Cerberus’ School for Gifted Torture Victims, whereas non-bolded paragon/renegade dialogue prompts lead her to reject Shepard’s blunt suggestion and do the opposite. And honestly, that ‘fail’ dialogue reads a lot more interestingly, especially the ‘failed renegade’ vs ‘Charmed paragon’ outcome – in both of those cases, Jack spares the guy, but in the ‘failed renegade’ one, she actually sounds like she’s making a real decision to do so.

    (Haven’t seen this episode yet, but unless shown otherwise I will assume that Fallout 4’s dialogue has no such accidental brilliance.)

    1. ehlijen says:

      I would expect the main difference between that ME2 conversation and this FO4 to be that the player only gets to see one outcome in each playthrough/saveload. What happened here is that somehow Cufthbert was allowed to try both, diametrically opposed options for some reason.

      Why is that even possible? Was it another glitch? That conversation should have ended as soon as Josh failed the first skill check.

  17. Somniorum says:

    I wasn’t the only one who heard MacCready exasperatedly ask if Josh was really going to read that issue of Picket Fences in the middle of the battle, was I?

    Incidentally – while the main smelter room is very disappointing to drop corpses into, the one outside on the top of the building will make a nice, satisfying little poof of smoke if you drop someone in there : )

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Dont forget to turn the safety off on your sword.

    1. GloatingSwine says:

      My impression of the shishkebab in this game is that the sword bit is what you were sent to get, and the fire obssessed raiders are the ones who added all the fire bits. That’s how the sword can be an heirloom but also this wacky wasteland thing.

      (Also, the Forged are about the most organised group of people in the entire wasteland, they have operating heavy industry, and they have an infrastructure trying to support it in reactivating the ore mining sites nearby.

      I mean sure it’s just a rerun of The Pitt but way way less detailed or interesting, and they really should have a farming infrastructure as well rather than presumably raiding for food because that would simply be easier for them, but they’re still the ones who are [i]trying[/i] in Boston.)

      1. Philadelphus says:

        Y’know, come to think of it, how does this guy on the East Coast have an heirloom katana?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          He is the descendant of the american ninja.

  19. Artur CalDazar says:

    I just kept rewinding to hear to Rustskarns food analogy for weapon progression over and over, it is painfully funny.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I want some cake but I only brought a spoon!

  20. Mailbox says:

    Josh you forgot the Bobblehead inside the Forge!

    Josh’s talk with Jake sounded something like this:
    Josh: Kill Him, you have no choice!
    Jake: No! he’s unarmed!
    Josh: Ok, Walk away. You don’t have to do this.
    Jake: I have to kill him. I have no choice.


    Damaged pieces of power armor that have 0/100 health don’t weigh anything.

    So Bethesda had a new policy for Fallout 4. No backpacks. Anything that used to have a backpack no longer did in Fallout 4. The shishkebab, minigun and laser gatling no longer had those back accesories. And I actually appreciated this.

  21. That guy that gets thrown into the molten (whatever) can actually be released/saved, but to save him you have to basically take out the big boss instantly when entering (VATS is pretty much required).

    This is similar to how you can save a woman when entering that carved in stone town (I forgot the name) in Skyrim.

    I.e. you need prior (meta) knowledge and insane reflexes and be able to move at super speeds and basically one hit/shot kill the baddie.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      When you save him, does he actually acknowledge being saved, or does he just awkwardly run off and despawn because Bethesda didn’t realize you could manage it?

  22. potatoejenkins says:

    I just remembered: If you go all sarcastic on Jake and tell him you don’t have time for this shit, he chickens out and you can go on about your business with the leader aka shooting everyone. Jake is passive during the fight and if he survives, he goes back to his family. Happy end.

    I don’t know wether I like this or not. Charisma checks in this game are weird. Half of the time the normal dialogue options are a lot less cringe inducing. Not counting the “moar money~!” ones, of course.

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