Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas at Ground Zero

Copyright Sony/BMG

(This post is out of character. WAY out of character.)

A timeless classic and entirely appropriate to the theme.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making Good on a Promise

Remember how I said I'd kill any slavers I found wandering the Wastes on sight?

I made good on that for the first time today.

Just thought you should know.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Creatures of the Wasteland: Yao Guai

I wish I could say that this particular creature of the wasteland was the result of Man's tinkering with the natural order, but this is one of Mother Nature's gifts to her children following the bombs.

The Yao Guai is a breed of mutated bear. Larger, faster, and a hell of a lot meaner than its "normal" cousins, these are perhaps the most frightening thing you'll encounter in the wasteland, save for the Deathclaw or the super mutant behemoth. They're capable of sprinting at great speeds and their claws make a mockery of most armor. Thankfully, they aren't exactly quiet, so you can usually tell by the sound when one is nearby.

Like the Deathclaws, the Yao Guai rely on their speed and ferocity. If you can cripple their legs (i.e., by laying a mine in their path or using some sort of neurotoxin) then they can be dispatched with relative ease. This is definitely big game hunting though, kids, so don't bring a kitchen knife or a popgun if you plan on collecting a trophy. There's a reason the saying is "loaded for bear."

The name "Yao Guai" is Chinese, and simply means "monster." Apparently a few of the Chinese actually made it to the mainland during the war, and this was one of the first creatures they came across. Too bad for them.

Incidentally, the snapshot you see above is far, far closer than you should ever get to a Yao Guai. I still don't know how I survived.

Outcasts of the Brotherhood

I came across a curious group of people. Outcasts, they call themselves, former members of the Brotherhood of Steel that has formed a splinter group dedicated to what they consider the "real mission:" the acquisition and reverse-engineering of technology.

It seems that not all of the Brotherhood agree with the idea that the local wastelanders are to be protected, and that the super mutants need to be eradicated. All these people are interested in is hoarding tech. They're not taking on new members, either. I'm not sure how I feel about them either way. Mostly, they just want to be left to their work, which is fine with me. Attempting to hide away pre-war technology and prevent people from using it, well, that's another story.

If you're interested in what they have to say, seek them out. They're holed up in a former military base known as Fort Independence, just a few hours' trek southwest of Megaton, just west of the ruins of the D.C. suburb known as Fairfax. They're pretty easy to spot, just look for the guys in black and red power armor. Just don't get in their way.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Creatures of the Wasteland: Deathclaw

Remember what I said about the government tinkering with science in ways that are probably best left alone? This is exactly what I'm talking about. Pray you never run into one of these unprepared. On second thought, even someone who is prepared will face the fight of their life.

The Deathclaw is something of the ultimate killing machine. It is swift, brutal, relentless, and intelligent. The eponymous claws are more than capable of rending steel and even power armor, and when stalking prey they can become shockingly quiet. Most Deathclaws are solitary, which is bad enough, but occasionally packs of Deathclaws can be found. I haven't experienced this myself - hopefully I never will - but I've heard them howling at night, a sound that always makes me barricade the doors a little more firmly.

If you have to take one of these down, use the longest-ranged weaponry you can get your hands on. The Deathclaw will close the distance to you at superhuman speeds. Planting traps, such as the Frag Mine or Bottlecap Mine is also an extremely viable tactic: the Deathclaw will be too focused on you to notice the mine at its feet, and once crippled they make an easy target.

One last note: I understand the Enclave is working on ways to harness the Deathclaws using some form of mind control. If this happens, encountering an Enclave patrol will take on a new meaning of fear.

Creatures of the Wasteland: Centaur

Ironic that these sad creatures are named after a more famous (and altogether more appealing) hybrid of legend.

The centaur is an unholy amalgamation of creatures that have been subjected to the Forced Evolutionary Virus. According to documents that detail the early research into the effects of the virus, the centaurs were first created when scientists threw everything they had into the vats: dogs, cats, dead bodies, and more, just to see what would come out the other end.

The end result, as you can see, is a nightmarish and twisted result. These creatures lack any form of sentience and are little more than highly violent mutated predators. They will attack without mercy, so treat them with none save ending their wretched existence.

Personal note: I realize now that this entry is uncharacteristically short-tempered, but speaking as a man interested in the exploits of science, I am becoming extremely upset as to the cockeyed schemes of our government in the pursuit of weapons of war. I think I'm starting to understand why the bombs fell.

Thoughts on the Super Mutants

Big. Tough. Green. Senile.

Super mutants are a little different than the ghouls. They're not the products of radiation, per se, but rather a science project gone wrong (or right, depending on who you ask) known as the Forced Evolutionary Virus, or FEV. Back before the war all sides were working feverishly to discover something that would give them the edge in the coming conflict. One of the results of this research was the FEV.

Using this FEV, the government of the former United States created the first super mutants. The longer a super mutant lives, the bigger, tougher, and dumber it gets. The end result is the behemoth, a living tank that considers anything smaller than it (which is almost everything) to be food. These mutations are, thankfully, extremely rare.

Most super mutants you'll meet travel in social packs and tend to congregate in areas with convenient holding cells. There they maintain vats and supplies of FEV and form raiding parties in order to capture wastelanders to create more of their ilk. Super mutants are, as a side effect of the transformation, sterile, so this is the only way they have of growing in number.

I don't know what their ultimate objective is, but I doubt it can possibly be good. If I'm ever able to hold a conversation with them, I may update this entry. For now, shoot on sight. They certainly will.