Vault Dweller Adventures: My Fallout Playthrough, Part 4

Screenshot: A shot of the vault door from a Vault-tec video

By Katelyn Vause

I’m incredibly excited to begin a new article series that’s a combination review/bi-weekly serial of the two original Fallout games. I am a huge fan of Fallout 3, and am slowly working my way through New Vegas, though I will likely start over and do a fully dedicated playthrough later. I had never played the originals, and I was excited to see how they differed.

For starters, follow along with me as I journey through the wasteland in an attempt to save the people of Vault 13 in the original Fallout. If you missed earlier parts of the journey, because sure to click here to catch up!

I’m not thrilled about it, but I end up choosing to wait for a few days in order to cycle in to the departure date for the Far Go Traders. My crew and I accompany the traders, me desperately hoping that nothing bad happens.

I realize I haven’t talked about random encounters in the game yet. All town to town travel is like fast travel in modern games in the sense that you simply pick a destination and go, watching your little marker make dotted lines from point A to point B. However, sometimes your travel is interrupted by random encounters, which can range from a merchant with a Brahmin to a group of Super Mutants.

I’d been pretty lucky up to this point; most of mine had been non-hostile, with the exception of a group of raiders and a group of Super Mutants. What’s great about these encounters is that you don’t have to stand your ground. You can turn tail and run, using your entire turn in a desperate attempt to reach the edges of the screen and leave the terrifying situation. I did that when we met the Super Mutants, because there was no way Ian and I were going to survive that fight.

I hold my breath, cringing when the marker pauses and starts flashing, knowing that it likely means everything is about to get messy.

I breathe a sigh of relief when I see that it’s just a trader. Crisis avoided.

The irony of the hired gun being terrified is not lost on me.

Finally, we make it to the Boneyard. To put it bluntly, it is not a pretty place. Fallout isn’t the most beautiful game to begin with, but the Boneyard seems extra grimy and gritty. The Far Gos make it clear that if I’m not there when they’re ready to leave in two hours, they will have no qualms about heading home without me. I decide to keep my expedition quick.

I end up only taking a few steps around town before deciding to just wait and head home with the Far Gos. As soon as we get back to the Hub, I immediately begin trekking up toward Vault 15. I decide to make a pit stop in Shady Sands; I want to know how things are going, and I’m wondering if someone will offer to help me in my Vault 15 expedition now that I have the means to complete it.

 No such luck. Instead, they have even more problems than when I left. Tandi has been kidnapped by the Khans, and they’d like me to rescue her. Of course.

I genuinely don’t want Tandi to be hurt, and I know Vault 15 will still be there tomorrow. Plus, now that I have that deal with the Water Merchants, my vault has a bit of cushion in terms of resources. I agree to rescue her, and set out for the Khan’s camp.

When I arrive, I am surprised I’m not immediately attacked. I figured the Khans would be more hostile, but I’m allowed to enter the building where Tandi is being held and speak to the leader. My speech skill is pretty high, so I intimidate him, hoping that will convince him to free Tandi. My character still doesn’t like killing, and it would be a pretty tough fight, even with as big of a party as she has now.

Miraculously, the intimidation tactic works. Tandi is freed, and we return her to Shady Sands. I receive 500 bottle caps, which I feel kind of guilty about taking; after all, it ended up not being that difficult of a task, and it would be reprehensible if I didn’t try to rescue her.

I speak to Tandi before I leave. She’s very grateful and still quite chipper. I even have a flirtatious dialogue option for her, but I choose not to take it. Romance is the last thing on my character’s mind right now.

I am genuinely curious about how she would’ve responded.

At last, we make it to Vault 15. In the entrance area, we encounter a mole rat, which we quickly kill. After searching the area, we find some meager loot: a few flares, a first aid kit, and two stimpaks. I deploy the rope, and we climb down in to the vault.

I have to imagine this experience would be pretty eerie for my character. After all, she’s walking around the broken shell of an abandoned vault, one that looks a lot like her home. I could see her shuddering, knowing this is what will happen to Vault 13 if she can’t find a water chip.

I begin searching the vault, hoping to find the water chip, or, at the very least, some good loot. The vault is full of rats, so every few steps my party and I are entering combat, which is a bit annoying, though sometimes the outcomes are…entertaining.

This rat is still better than me at combat.

Through my searching, I find a rope, a leather jacket, a hunting rifle, and some ammo. I see another area that requires climbing down, and am immensely grateful that I found the second rope.

The next level is full of rats and mole rats, which is unsurprising but still gross. My character attempts to use one of the computers, and is dismayed to find every last one of them is broken. The command center is unsalvageable, and I’m informed that there is no water chip in this vault.

My character feels crushed. She worked so hard and travelled so far to this rat-infested vault, only to find out that her quarry has disappeared, likely gone for decades. What’s worse, she now has no idea where to find another vault that might have a water chip.

As I’ve said before, nothing is ever easy in the Wasteland.

She pulls herself together and searches the area, hoping to get more useful items for her trouble. There’s lots of ammo, a crowbar, and a book on first aid. Because of my limited carrying capacity, I give the ammo to the companions with corresponding weapons, but still have to leave some items behind. It’s not a total loss, but the outcome still doesn’t feel great.

I decide it’s best to head south, back toward the Hub. Maybe someone else there can give me some clues, or point me toward another town. I still haven’t explored the Boneyard, so there’s hope yet.

That’s all for this week! Tune in two weeks from now to hear the latest on what my character has been up to and my thoughts on the original installment in a beloved series.

Tell us about your Fallout adventures in the comments or at cdromfossil@gmail.com!

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