Friday, 30 December 2011

Memoirs of a New Vegas Bitch, Part 3

Things begin to get more complex as we get further into the games opening act.

The old man is willing to do some light trading for some of the junk I've been picking up along the road, like this nasty NCR paper money. I'm sure its wonderful stuff in California, but everywhere else, 4 caps for 10 'dollars' is about as good as you can get. I'd rather have the jingle on my belt than try to pay the Legion with it.

With my pack lightened, time to head in to find our guy. Why is it that all the ugly buildings survived the Great War?

In the door, and already I spot a guard behind the bandits barricade. He doesn't die on the first shot, and tries charging me with a meat cleaver, but soon goes town. The other bandits seem confused, and don't appear.

This allows me to sneak over to the old computer on the nearby desk, and work the lock on this supply room. Never a bad place to check for something useful.

Meanwhile, the bandits finally get their shit together and send someone out to investigate what happened to their buddy. He doesn't spot me in the storage, and so never stands a chance.

That done, I have enough time to loot the storage (another 9mm pistol?), but have to stop when faced by this safe. Its mechanism looks beyond me...which is hard for me to admit, but those bandits won't give me all day to think about it.

And theres a nice treasure in there too. Boo.

I kinda wish you could leave notes for yourself sometimes, to remember old doors and safes you won't be able to unlock until later, like how you can mark the map in DS Zelda games so you remember to get stuff once you get the hookshot or whatever. As it is, Primm is kinda nowheresville after your first time through it, with nothing to offer but Nashs services as a shop and his wifes casserole, and I guess, a casino. So coming back for this safe, and the one a few rooms over, is something you can easily forget to do.

Being annoyed by 200-year-old technology is a state that never lasts long for me, since there are always wastes of human life like these guys to take ones frustrations out on.

I could charge into the hotel looking for the bandits, but one of the rusty keys from storage is clearly marked 'Maintenance', meaning I can access a part of the building they might not even know about. Unexpected attacks are the best kind.

And there he is, tied up in the kitchen, guarded by one guy with two holes in his head. Could go to him now, but that might leave my back exposed to the others, who seem to be gathered in the next room.

Dealing with your problems in the correct order is the mark of true professionalism.

Dammit! Spotted their leader and shot him too, but he's wearing the same armor as me, and the silenced rounds aren't doing shit!!

He runs at me as I pull out a proper pistol, and clocks me a few times with a tire iron. But I'm not troubled, I let him take a swing, sidestep.....

And two in the head. Night night.

I was kinda curious why he didn't shoot me, but it seems that, as the gang leader, he was using the biggest gun, an unsightly but intact fuel projector, and hadn't the brains to have a backup weapon for when he didn't want to burn down the building he was in. Typical braindead bandit logic.

The last one runs. I find him curled up in a corner wetting himself. He's a waste of bullets, but I'm not in the mood to be frugal.

And I get my first levelup! I put point into skills that look close to a 'threshold' amount, so all the numbers look nice and rounded. I'll probably up Stealth next time, while slowly ratcheting up Lockpick and Science to eventually be able to handle better locks. As for my first Perk, theres little to beat Black Widow, because it help in combat and for twisting people around our little finger.

Now to finally get some answers.

Well, that was simple. So long, Boogle.

Hey wait! I'm still tied up!

So? All the bandits are dead, you can leave anytime you like.

But these ropes are so tiiiiight! I can't  feel my leeeeegs!

Not my problem. Adios.

So, yeah, I wasn't expecting to be able to do that. But I just happened to level my Speech enough to convince him to talk without untying him, allowing me to bypass a quest entirely. Wow.

Now sure, I'm giving up nice XP by doing this, and losing all excuse to go to the Powder Ganger prison, the second time I've basically ignored that location in as many playthroughs, but thats what roleplaying is about, children. Also, if the AI scripting can't recognise that I've ended all possible threat and a character can totally crawl out of the room on his elbows and knees, it deserves to be punished.

I could explore more of the Bison Steve, there are more bandits and loot upstairs, but it'd kinda ruin the drama to backtrack now...

I decide to offload the junk the Bandits were carrying on Nash again, but when I get to the casino he's in the bathroom or something, so I decide to charge them for making me wait. And really, just leaving your weapon and money stores unguarded like this? Amateurs.

Theft is getting worryingly easy to justify to myself. I might be roleplaying too well...

Finally the old fart shows up (I.E. I figure out which of the nondescript townsfolk is him after several minutes) and I offload the bandits loot, especially this heavy, ugly thing. Brute force weapons like this....ugh. I wouldn't be seen dead using something like this.

Its heavy, I have limited flamer fuel and am unlikely to be making more with crafting, its an Energy Weapon when I'm specialising in Guns....and keeping an Incinerator thats useless is a running joke on the web show Spoiler Warning, whose playthrough of the game I've been watching lately.

Stepping out into the night air, I consider looking for through the local houses for any supplies the bandits missed, and maybe a place to rest. But the night is young, and I've got enough scraps from the peasants already. Better to push on south to Nipton, and find a way to this Novac place.

There are three ways to Novac from Primm. One is the way the game wants you to go, south around the hills and up into the next 'valley'. Another is to backtrack north and use one of the passages there, but again, that place is a mine of high-level enemies which can be avoided if smart and/or lucky. And theres apparently a third way hidden in the hills, guarded by a powerful unique enemy. I'll play nice and follow the games suggestion, if for no reason than I'm underlevelled as it is, and I don't want more issues by provoking the game to do its worst.

While I'm on the subject of geography, Primm is oddly laid out. The game seems to think you'll go back to the highway on the other side of the valley, and follow it to the statue in the far southwest. But when you're leaving the quest locations in Primm, the quest marker to Nipton points you to a ramp at the back of the town, which leads up to the foothills on the other side of the valley. You can look across at the statue, and a few buildings on the other side of a patch of desert, all while walking unimpeded to Nipton with only the occasional oversized ant or mountain goat to annoy you. Its a little wierd, and it makes me a little guilty to be bypassing content simply because I respond more to the call of the objective arrow more than the pavlovian 'place that might have stuff' response that apparently drives everyone else.

Its nearly morning, and I'm almost at Nipton accoring to this overblown wristwatch, when the sounds of gunfire wake me out of my reverie. I soon see two people locked in a gunfight, and as I get close, the girl combatant breaks and tries to run, only to be shot in the back. Idiot girl.

And another young gunslinger learns the way of the world. Almost enough to give you faith in humanity.

But apparently these blue star caps are worth something? Darn...better keep the two, er, four I've found out of sight, to avoid being mugged like that guy. And find out who to sell these things to.

So on to Nipton, and.....hmmm. Thats a little ominous. 

Oh, theres someone at the gates.

Uh....What the fuck is your problem?

And there he goes....

Ordinarily I ignore or shoot the babbling crazies I meet in the wasteland, but when he's just come out of a half-burning town? Cause for concern.

Despite having seen a lot of people go for the whole severed-heads-as-decoration  style and burnt-flesh-aroma ambience, I can't say I ever felt welcome in those towns.

And this symbol.... The Bull....Gah, I'm trying to remember, what does this mean?

The crosses....Oh shit, I remember now.

Caesars Legion.

And sure enough, here comes someone with a dead animal on his head to spread the gospel of Caesar:

Caesar, the leader of dozens of raider tribes combined into the most fearsome army in the Central US. He and the NCR having been going at it for years, niether side really winning or losing. But his agents, like this guy, a 'Frumentaari' are all over the Mojave, usually spying and doing the odd assassination. But this, this is a big bold gesture, done very thoroughly and professionally.

He goes into great detail about how he and his men took this town apart, for the crime of being mainly whores and bandits doing what whores and bandits do. He explains the 'lottery' the guy from before mentioned, a random draw to see what messy way you got killed, until only that guy was left. 

Bunch of scum, so cocksure when they're rolling in the drugs and bitches....But when some actual professionals show up, to show them how real Wasteland Warriors do things? They got what they deserved.

And, with a nod towards the big statue to the west, he reminds me to spread the word, to let people know that Caesars Legion doesn't fuck around, and then turns to leave.

Like I said, the Legion are the real deal, not just idiots with guns like 90% of the wasteland scum, or bleeding hearts with too much equipment and not enough balls like the NCR. They're trained, they're armed, and they've got ideals, fucked up ones, sure, but ones that they make work.

Dicks though they are, they're the kind of people a girl can respect.

But if Mr Puppyhat thinks for one minute that I'm intimidated by his little display, he's dead wrong.


I saved the game right after Vulpes stopped talking, because he's the kind of person meant to draw a reaction. How a person deals with Vulpes and his team is sort of the games acid test for your reaction to the Legion. Many choose to immediately attack him, which is a risky move at low levels because you're surrounded by a half-dozen guys with decent armor and weapons and a few dogs thrown in for good meausre. On my last playthrough, I just let them leave (semi-pacifist, remember) and did his little mini-quest.

Here, I could go either way. Like I pointed out, Latooni doesn't disagree with their methods per se. Its more that they're rivals for the 'Biggest Deal in Mojave' award that she has her eyes on.

Speaking of which, the question of where exactly to go next comes up. We can continue following the main quest marker, or we can stay in the initial area for a little while, and investigate some of the other locations. Primarily, that statue that stands out so much.

Oh, and I'm wondering how thoroughly to loot Nipton. It is quite a treasure trove of stuff....but its virtually all low-level stuff, with only a few standout drops. And cleaning the town out can take *ages*, especially with low carrying capacity like Latoonis. It helps if you have somewhere to store it all, but we have no permanent housing yet. Then again, no-one in town is going to complain if we borrow a bed.

Suggestions for things to try are all welcome. Just leave them in the comments below.

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