First thing I did was offload the Energy Weapons and accompanying ammo for them, to lighten the load somewhat. I also tried to pickpocket her like Xan suggested in the comments, but Cass, the drunken girl, is sitting right next to her and will spot you as you approach, even when all the NCR grunts running around the place have lost sight of you. Oh well, we'll have to try again some other time. Or just start earning some scratch and buy things.
I dunno what the sign back there was talking about, but apparently south of Primm is technically part of the old kingdom of California, that became the NCR, and now we're back in Nevada, which is what became the Mojave Wasteland, with no rulers, just the odd warlord or wierdoes like Mr. House.
...Can't say either is easier on the eye.
But at least in the Mojave, with less people around, the pre-war vehicles are less likely to be looted. I see another Star cap, and...Ooh! Delicious Hydra!
And buried in the dirt, a repeating rifle. It's not in best condition, and it uses magnum rounds I was hoping to save, but dang it, its better than this shitty Varmint Rifle.
Finally, something to rejoice this shitty day...Oh? Who the fuck?
Don't think I don't see you, Viper. Lets see if this rifle is halfway decent...
HAHA! Took his goddamn arm off! So much for your little ambush, dipshit!
His buddies spot me, but the guy on ground level isn't packing, and running at me with a knife just isn't a smart move. The guy on the ridge behind me takes some potshots, then realises the game is up, and legs it.
Although in game terms, it more likely his pathing messed up trying to get him down the slope, and he got lost. Or fell through the world geometry, either or.
Ah! More mines! Where are all these assholes getting these things!?!?!
Blugh....I think I have a concussion...Dammit...
Oh wait, I have Hydra! That solves that problem. Glug glug glug....
I head through the valley and up to a fortified farmhouse. Its got some nice defenses, but they're unmanned. I pry open the rusted ammo boxes for some spare rounds. Lotta trash lying around if you wanted to make scrap sculpture like the NCR, but not much else outside.
It a bit better inside, some guns and ammo, an intact book, leather armor to fix up my suit...and this mean-looking cleaver, which looks like some lunk-head raider might appreciate it.
As I head out of the house, I see that one of the Merchants from the Outpost must have been following in my footsteps. Guess they gave the NCR the finger and went on, despite the ban. That, I can appreciate. Also, the chance to offload is handy.
Selling the Chopper for caps is actually quite lucrative at this early stage. This is actually a unique weapon, one of the easiest to get early on, but we're not going melee so its better turned into caps. I have Latooni using a switchblade at the minute, seems more her speed.
Although avoiding melee makes me wondering if keeping the preorder poison is worth it. Its some of the strongest poison in the game, but paradoxically, its incredibly cheap and would barely net me 3 caps to get rid of.
As I head off, I hear gunshots and laser fire from the caravan, and double back, to find they've blown away this wierd rattlesnake-dog-thing. Doesnt look that threatening, but they must have used half a clip each on the thing. Guess they're jumpy.
As I guess they should be, when Legionnaires appear around signposts and start assaulting them.
A plan which does not go well for them, as they don't have anything more threatening than throwing spears. They catch one of the mercanery guards with a lucky hit, but are then promptly gunned down.
Guess Vulpes took the smarter troops with him, leaving the dumbasses behind to try stunts like this. Or maybe they just think a 1-to-4 kill ratio is ok when they have so many guys with nothing worse than machetes against all the guns of the NCR.
Still, the remainder of the caravan don't seem too pushed about reclaiming supplies, leaving me to loot the corpses left behind. I think I might keep a set of their armor around, just in case...
I'm not ashamed to say I stripped the mercanery and sold her equipment to the merchant she'd been guarding. I'm just not going to mention such wierdness in-character.
Not wanting to get involved in more of this, I get of the road and into the nearby hills, but it turns out the hills are crawling with Legion too.
Not to mention nasty wildlife. Ugh, maybe I'll just risk the road again.
For some reason a lot of the animal meat has a -1 str penalty caused by eating it, which puts a damper on the usual trick of scarfing down a load of spare food to make inventory space when encumbered. Why have I never noticed this before? Is it unique to Hardcore mode, raw meat makes you sluggish? Or is it because I don't have high Survival like my previous character?
Goddammit, more Legion? They seem to be headed north.
Looks like they'd been busy though. Well, more for me.
Although my pack is basically full at this point. Gah, better get rid of this armor. I'm not liable to meet any more of those Gangers anyway.
Along the road, I see this little fort. It looks like it'd be a nice defensive position...if there was anyone here. Theres, what, one guy hiding round the back? Goddamit, the NCR are useless, the Legion are walking around like its nothing within spitting distance of this place!
Hey, looks like a town up ahead. This must be Novac....hey, what the heck is that?
It looks like a giant plastic statue of a Gecko or something...It manages to look stupid and impressive at the same time. And I think I see a gun barrel poking out of the mouth. Guard Post maybe? It'd sure keep any tribals away.
I find a doctor who complains about not having enough sterile equipment, but still has some medical supplies to spare. Guess I'd better boil these before I use them, that or grab some anti-biotics somewhere, because I feel I'll be needing these. Theres only so much Hydra around.
She doesn't know anything about Checkers, though, so I'd better keep looking.
Looks like theres a lot of junk around here. Tools, wiring, wonderglue, all sorted and piled neatly. It'd look a lot more impressive if any of it was worth a damn.
Oh, so thats where they got the town name. Cute.
|Victor, wasn't it? Might I ask what brings you so far from home?|
|Is that so? How odd, I didn't know robots were prone to wanderlust. And isn't it a mighty coincidence how you ended up here, at the same time as me?|
|(Except you should be much faster than me, and wouldn't need to stop at every town...) Er, so, you said the man who shot me should have come this way?|
Can't ask him more without outright accusing him of following me, but this seems incredibly suspicious...Better keep an eye on that robot, if it's keeping an eye on me.
At the minute though, I need to get out of his sight, find somewhere to offload all my junk, and maybe find a bed for the night. This 'motel office' up ahead looks promising.
Doors unlocked...and theres no-one inside? Seriously? This is just asking for trouble?
And a safe in the floor, on display for the whole world to see? I think this is what the Old World people called 'Christmas'.
Money, shotgun and ammo....Whats this thing? A note?
...Oh hell. Seriously?
The people of Novac are fucking MORONS! They don't have proper security, they have one guard post that doesn't cover the south where half the frickin' Legion are out hunting merchants, and they have a slaver, in their midst, running one of their stores, and selling their pregnant women to the Legion? And they don't even notice, so much she can keep her receipt in a safe in an unlocked office and they'd never notice?
Fuck. Me. Sideways.
And the main gate to the living quarters is unlocked!! What the Hell!!!
Fuck this. I'm here to find Checkers, not watch these people be bitten in the ass by karma. I'm just gonna go house by house and find what I need to know, even if I have to wake up the whole town.
You! In the NCR cap! I'm looking for a man in a checkered coat!
Seriously? Finally! I need to talk to him about a bullet in the head that he owes me.
Oh? We're doing it this way, then? I guess I can respect the mercantilism, at least. Whats the deal?
A beautiful town of junk traders. Nice to see you have your sights set high.
You've got a gun, and I think I saw a sturdy rake lying by the wall outside. Why can't you handle this?
(And you've certainly got issues with weaknesses...)
Flexible mission objectives. Thats my kind of style.
So...who are you, anyway?
...Boone? (That name, from the Bill of Sale...)
Manny keeps talking for a while, about his service in the NCR, and mentions something about a place called Bitter Springs, which apparently got a lot of people mad at the NCR occupation, but I'm not listening. Still trying to work out what it all means. On the one hand, I've finally gotten a possible lead on Checkers, on the other, I'm seeing this town, and the people in it, and the ugly side is readily apparent. I'm not usually up for this kind of introspection, am I?
The soft glow of the active terminal brings me back, makes me wonder...How far down this rabbit hole do I want to go? Or should I try another way out of all of this?
Okay, this is definitely getting more complex. Novac is a lot more complex than Primm or Nipton, and is the source of a lot of possible quests, and can become a sort of mini-base in the early part of the game, allowing you to store stuff (something we're going to need to do soon, because our carrying capacity is just plain maxed out at this point), sleep safely, and is close-ish to several possible mission areas. So, we have several possible angles to consider things from:
1) Do we do Mannys quest, which is long, but XP and Loot rich? Or do we seek an alternate way to get the info we need? Or do we decide "screw it, we'll go it alone" and wander off into the wasteland to find our target on our own?
2) If we do go to REPCONN HQ, will we be stealthy, gung-ho, diplomatic, or what?
3) What will we do about the note we found in the office? It sounds like there might be someone up on the Dinosaur who'd like to know a bit about what we found, but do we really care? And if we did care, do we care enough to get some assistance out of the whole deal, or continue to go it alone?
4) Finally, do we want to make a semi-permanent base here, or just sell some crap and leave for a more convenient location?
Carrying capacity is becoming a big issue, and its mainly due to ammo, and in particular, explosives. The Grenade Rifle we started the game with has given us something like 20 pounds of tube grenades to lug around, and we haven't used them, or any of our normal dynamite and grenades. Heck, I've been selling most of the dynamite, because its low-damage. The trouble with the weakened limbs means any misthrown explosives are just as likely to cripple us as the enemy, and I haven't put anything into the Explosives skill, Lats implied wild childhood not-withstanding. So the prospect of selling the damned thing and its ammo, plus the leftover dynamite, is really appealling at this stage.
If we're not going to do it, then I need to do something drastic to my inventory. Like maybe drink all 31 bottles of Sunset Sasparilla I've gathered in the vain hope of more Star Caps. Or throw away all the extra clothes we've been gathering for our dress-up sidequest.
Of course, having a base would solve this by letting us downgrade our carried equipment to more managable levels. But its all about the in-characterness of it all, I suppose.
Let me know in the comments what you think.