|This is a /v/ related article, which we tolerate because it's relevant and/or popular on /tg/... or we just can't be bothered to delete it.|
"War. War never changes."
- – Ron Perlman
"War has changed."
- – Solid Snake, being a contrarian as always.
Fallout is a post-post-apocalyptic video game series, with a boardgame released in 2017 (see below), that takes place in America about a century or two in the future where America had been bombed so much that it has been left as a irradiated, smelly and depressing wasteland that happens to have high as fuck raiders come up to you and attempt to kill you with a flaming chainsaw or a laser weapon.
Despite the setting, most of the games are fairly noblebright, with a darkly humorous streak and a series-long theme of rebuilding. The freedom of approach to how you interact with the world set before you is one of the main selling points of the series, though it has attracted criticism for becoming somewhat unfocused in both writing and gameplay. Some say that this was magnified by Bethesda, while others say it's always been like that. And that's all we'll say on that for now. You could say it’s set in the metaphorical fallout of the literal fallout.
- 1 Plot and Setting
- 2 The Games
- 3 On the Tabletop
- 4 Gallery
- 5 See Also
Plot and Setting
For those wanting an in-depth analysis of the Fallout storyline, the "Fallout Storyteller" Youtube series has a large number of (mostly accurate) episodes dealing with the subject and can be viewed here.
Basically, while technology continued to advance past the 50-60's, the culture did not, which is one of the biggest sources of hilarity in the game. Imagine a lady in a pink diner dress, high heels and curly, blonde hair run up to you with a nuke-launcher on the back and try to sell some drugs to you that could enhance you to the level of a Space Marine for hours while jingoistic jazz music blares from radios that were built in the 2040's. All because some dipshit forgot to invent semiconductors and global idea exchanges slowed, the ham-fisted, pin-up U.S post-WW2 culture endures for a century.
From there, imagine the future as depicted in 1950s-era sci-fi media, then picture the US and China nuking the shit out of each other. Between that, the release of a bio-weapon that mutates living things which was itself mutated, and the general inability of anyone to get civilization's shit together for more than ten minutes at a time, the world remains for the most part a radioactive shithole even after over 200 years since the bombs dropped. It's not the nukes that killed humanity, but it's inability to agree on the most obvious shit.
Not helping matters (at least in the States) is that the pre-war underground-bunker living Vault Dwellers, intended as the best hope for repopulating the world, are either woefully unprepared for this hellscape or are just as messed up as everyone else. See, the Vault's were nominally only partly intended as fallout shelters. Their creators often added unusual conditions as experiments (nominally for testing conditions for space colonisation but occasionally for shits and giggles) ranging from quirky (like only giving glove puppets as entertainment) or downright fucking messed up (like gradually dosing the vault dwellers with hallucinogens and rage amplifiers over time). Some vaults have remained isolated till the present day, whilst others have opened themselves or been forced into over the years. Naturally, most games have you starting as a Vault Dweller, although usually from a vault with fairly benign test conditions.
Sapient races include Humans,Zetans (little green man aliens), Ghouls, Super Mutants, Nightkin Super Mutants, a breed of talking Deathclaw, Robots, Swampfolk, and Dwarves. Yes, dwarves, tiny little buff people changed on a genetic level by the bomb to have inherent dwarfism, who tend to be hairy and good with technology. Only appeared in Fallout 1 and 2, though.
Eighty four years after the bombs fell, a resident of Vault 13 in California is chosen to leave the Vault to find a replacement unit for the Vault's damaged water chip, which controls the water recycling system. This Vault Dweller, in his search for his prize, discovers that the world is (sort of) safe to return to, as many others had. He also discovers a major threat to the nascent human rebuilding: the Master's Army. This army of Super Mutants is the tool of the mutant known as The Master, who intends to turn the entire human race into Super Mutants to unite mankind into one whole and bring an end to conflict and war (except he's being semi-despotic about it). The Vault Dweller manages to stop the Master, though it is not known if he talked him down or blew him up, and return to the Vault with his prize only to be exiled for being "contaminated" by contact with the outside world. Many other inhabitants of Vault 13 choose to leave with him, traveling north and founding the village of Arroyo. Also the FMV sequence you get if you join the master is creepy, so don't do it.
The Vault Dweller's grandchild comes of age, passes a series of trials, and is then selected to find a sacred artifact from Vault 13: a Garden of Eden Creation Kit, which will rebuild the wasteland into a paradise. It should be obvious by now that the population made of Vault 13 settlers managed to degenerate into neolithic barbarism in one generation. Anyway, this Chosen One, in his search for his prize, discovers that the United States government is (sort of) still around and had abducted the people of Vault 13. He later learns that they are called the Enclave and had also abducted his tribe in his absence when he found Vault 13 himself. So the Chosen One travels to the Enclave's base of operations, a Poseidon Energy oil rig, to free the captives, find the GECK, fight one big boi and destroy the Enclave, helping (or breaking) towns along the way. Despite being regarded as the best of the classic Fallout games it was rushed to meet a Christmas deadline with large sections of the game cut for time. These have since been re-added and bug fixed through modding and is considered required to get the full and proper Fallout 2 experience.
In Fallout Tactics, the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel began inducting tribes into its ranks in small numbers while defending the Wasteland against threats such as an army of renegade robots. The main group of the Brotherhood is separated from this group, which takes over Vault 0 and continues pushing eastwards. Although the bulk of Fallout Tactics is non-canon (though some, like the Mid-West Brotherhood being semi-canon), the basic story (and some elements such as airships and Nuka Cherry) remained canon.
Fallout: Brotherhood Of Steel
Three Initiates to the Brotherhood, one strangely enough being a Ghoul despite how much the Brotherhood hates both outsiders and mutants, are sent to go find missing Paladins despite how illogical it is to send three fresh recruits after several high ranking veterans in power armor. They wound up being aided by the Vault Dweller, who was still alive at the time, and take out another Super Mutant army. At one point you wipe out the entire population of a town of Ghouls because they don't accept humans but you need to get to the other side and apparently can't be arsed to just walk around it, despite the fact you may in fact be playing as a Ghoul with absolutely no humans for miles who's entire backstory was humans wiped out his town...
Completely non-canon, and unlike Fallout Tactics everyone is happy about that.
The series turns into a Skyrim/Oblivion 3D RPG with guns - Many cheered as Fallout was revived from the precipice of obscurity, and others were filled with RAGE over an assortment of things, like Power Armor nerfed to the equal of an Imperial Guard flak armor. After all... Rage. Rage never changes
Two hundred years after the Great War, a civil war breaks out in Vault 101 after its head physician, James, leaves. His child then escapes the chaos in search of him. This Lone Wanderer, in his search for his father, discovers that he was not born in Vault 101 as he had been led to believe, but in a beached aircraft carrier named Rivet City. His father had been working on "Project Purity" to purge the radiation from the Potomac River to provide clean water for the world. Following his father's trail, the Lone Wanderer eventually comes into conflict with the resurgent Enclave which wants to take the project for itself. Canonically the player fights the Enclave off, mind-fucks the President and helps purify the water of the Capital Wasteland with the Brotherhood of Steel. They also die due to radiation but gets better in the DLC, and chase the Enclave to a mobile base crawler and finally bomb them from orbit (or Brotherhood citadel if you are feeling like an asshole).
There are a good deal of cool moments and set peices. That said, there are also some rather derpy ones as well for the main story. In praticular after you get out of the Vault, you come across a town built around an old un-exploded but still active atomic bomb. You are given the choice of either permanently defusing the nuke or arming it so a rich asshole can blow the town up for the lulz. In short, your options in regards to Megaton are "do the right thing" or "Be a mass murdering asshole for no reason".
Fallout: New Vegas
The game takes place in the Mojave Desert, where the city of Las Vegas was able to largely survive the nuclear holocaust of the Great War, thanks to it's anti-missile defensive system destroying/disabling most of the nukes that fell onto the region, making it one of the wealthiest cities in post-nuke America and a double-sided symbol of the old world people have only heard about it pre-war literature. In 2281, the New California Republic (Which grew from surviving villages and towns of Fallout 1) and Caesar's Legion (a horde of Edgy tribals cosplaying as Roman Legionaries led by a twisted warlord with a twisted survival of the fittest mindset) are staring at each other across the Colorado River, having fought over Hoover Dam once before. Against this backdrop, a courier of the Mojave Express is shot for their charge, a poker chip made of platinum, and buried in a shallow grave. They're dug out by a Securitron robot and taken to Dr. Mitchell of Goodsprings, who saves his life. This Courier, in their search for their prize, travels around the Mojave Wasteland in pursuit of their attempted murderer, Benny, the head of the Chairmen, who runs the Tops casino in New Vegas ran by the mysterious Mr. House. Eventually, all three major players in the Mojave (the NCR, the Legion, and Mr. House) want the Courier to do their dirty work to gain control over the Mojave, but there is a fourth option: Benny's plan was to use a subverted Securitron named Yes Man to take over House's network and use the platinum chip (actually a data disc containing a firmware upgrade for the Securitrons) to secure control over New Vegas. Whatever the Courier choses, the Second Battle of Hoover Dam is inevitable and only one faction can win.
Notably, you do not start out as a Vault Dweller, have an established origin story, or set out on a grand quest (at least initially). You're just a poor schmuck in the right place at the wrong time, thrown into the foreground of a territorial dispute, where your most notable feat in your postal career in the Mojave so far is that you survived a gunshot to the head and not much else. No government conspiracies, hordes of monsters, or world changing macguffins. That's the main story anyway. The DLC takes a slightly more personal approach, being a bunch of genre setpieces that show the effect of other people being in the right place at the wrong time (or wrong place at the right time), and showing the Courier's past isn't quite as boring as might first appear.
The first DLC is called "Dead Money", where a mysterious radio broadcast becons you to the Sierra Madre Casino, a luxurious vacation spot for the rich, built near the end of the Great War. It never officially opened as the bombs fell, so you can only assume the buttload of treasures stored within. Things go not-as-planned, and you end up assisting a rogue BoS Elder named Elijah break into the Sierra Made with the help of 3 kooky sidekicks. All of you are motivated by greed, one way or another, and so only time will tell whether all 5 of you will overcome it and survive, or be consumed by it and buried along with the ghosts of the Sierra Madre.
The second DLC is "Honest Hearts" and takes place in the bluffs of Zion National Park. You are contracted by the Happy Trails Caravan company to assist them in making their way to New Canaan, a conservative Christian settlement in the middle of Utah. Things go not-as-planned once again, and you end up ambushed by a couple of savage tribals named the "White Legs", who paint their legs white in homage to their home: Salt Lake City, and find out that New Canaan was destroyed by them. Eventually you meet a group of friendly tribals led by the Legion's infamous former "Malpais Legate": Joshua Graham, who after surviving his fiery execution from Caesar, returned to New Canaan and devoted his life into becoming a fiery executor of God's will. God cannot be expected to do all the work for you however, so you either end up assisting him in driving the White Legs out of Zion and help the tribes reclaim their ancestral home (plus the added bonus of preventing White Leg bandit attacks elsewhere), or assist another New Canaan survivor name Daniel in evacuating the tribals out of Zion and into a place where the White Legs cannot reach them (as the White Legs have shit survival skills from being so reliant on raiding, they can't forage or farm). Or fuck all that noise and just murder everyone in visual range, until you find a map out of there back to the Mojave, the world's your oyster.
The third DLC is "Old World Blues", which takes place in an isolated and shielded scientific complex in the middle of the mountains called the Big Mountain, or "Big MT" for short. The Big MT housed the most brilliant pre-war scientific minds of the world, being tasked with creating solutions for mankind's various problems. Eventually, the bombs fell and this most likely have thrown a wrench into their plans (since mankind is, you know, mostly dead). While over 200 years have passed, you discover that the original core science team is still working, transplanting their brains into robotic hover platforms to continue their insane research projects. You're abducted by them and turned into a "Lobotomite", where they extracted your brain, spine, and heart, then replaced them with robotic parts, but things do not go as planned as unlike other lobotomites: you still retained your free will (thanks in-part to the headshot that nearly killed you in the beginning). You now have to find your old body parts, deal with the Big MT science team, and escape this futuristic loony bin. Notably the DLC has a light-hearted tone, further exploring the retro-futuristic themes of the Fallout universe, the cartoon insanity of the Big MT scientists that can only be described as prodigal geniuses acting like petulant 10 year-olds, whilst still being grimdark enough to reference the horrors of unchecked and poorly-planned scientific advancement (for example, you know those deadly cazador mutant wasps? They're escapees from the Big MT. And the scientists deny they ever escaped). It also features the best side-villian of the franchise: an evil toaster.
The fourth and last DLC is the "Lonesome Road", a showdown between you and Ulysses, the mysterious courier who pushed the delivery of the Platinum Chip to you, and has been mentioned by several characters around the wasteland. Here, you brave "The Divide", a stretch to road between the military towns of Hopeville and Ashton, who were sundered by nukes that accidentally exploded underground as they were towns that housed the personnel manning the nearby nuclear ICBM silos in the area, turning it into an irradiated, stormy ruin. Its populated by dangerous enemies, most notably "Marked Men", cannibalistic, ghoulified remnants of the NCR and Legion forces around the divide before it was destroyed. They've been driven completely mad by the experience (basically, they were skinned alive by the windstorm generated by the nukes THEN kept alive and immortal by the resulting radiation, turning their existence into a perpetual hell of pain and misery), have forgotten their old faction rivalries: and have united in their hatred against The Divide and the people they perceived to have abandoned them to their fate (who happen to be anyone who isn't a fellow Marked Man). They aren't completely bonkers like feral ghouls though, they still know how to operate sophisticated weaponry of varying types to obliterate you from any distance. At the end of this perilous journey, Ulysses promises to answer all your questions, and to change the future of the Mojave.
Whilst releasing as a buggy janky hot mess, the game was lauded as a return to the style and atmosphere of the first two games, albeit with decent additions to 3's rpg light formula and taking notes from the most popular mods released for 3, like survival mods, damage thresholds (zero damage if struck below DT value), first person aiming, weapon addons, etc. Although it is still horrifically unstable, it is widely considered to be the best game in the series when paired with bug fix and stability mods.
In Boston at the zero hour of the war, new parents are admitted to Vault 111 and placed in cryogenic suspension, under the impression that they were only to be decontaminated. Turns out much like most Vault-Tec vaults, they were secretly part of an experiment, where in this case it was originally to see the physical and mental effects of long-term cryo-storage.
One of them is murdered, their infant child Shaun stolen, and the other refrozen. When the cryo systems fail, the only survivor of Vault 111 heads to the surface in pursuit of the man who ruined a family. This Sole Survivor, in pursuit of his (or her) prize - I mean child, discovers that two hundred years have passed. As they travel, they encounter the last surviving member of the Minutemen-- a Militia that tries to protect local wastelanders from attacks by raiders, supermutants, and other nasties-- and go to Diamond City (built on the ruins of Fenway Park) following a lead. They find people paranoid about an organization called "The Institute" replacing anybody they know with near-perfect replicas called synths, and further investigation points to the Institute having abducted Shaun. They can work with the Minutemen, the Brotherhood of Steel, or the synth emancipation group known as the Railroad to fight the Institute, or choose to join it instead. Just like the other games, Super Mutants once again make an appearance although this version was created by the Institute and have notable differences, mainly being less mutated while also being more psychotic, being more industrious by being capable of doing shit for themselves instead of relying exclusively on slaves while also being too violent to gather into large groups or pursue goals beyond being warlords. Automatron was the first DLC (that had a story) where the player takes on on The Mechanist, someone dressing up as a character of the same name from the in-universe comic series The Silver Shroud. Said impersonator has gathered an army of robots to harass the Commonwealth just like their namesake. Far Harbor followed Automatron, consisting of a Synth-centric journey to the marshes up north where they must play peacemaker between the Synths, wastelanders, and the crazy radiation-worshiping cultists called the Church of the Children of Atom from Fallout 3. The closest the game gets to Fallout: New Vegas, generally held up as the pinnacle in the game. Finally, Nuka-World begins with the player finding a functional train leading them to the Nuka Cola theme park, where they are immediately trapped in a gauntlet maze/arena designed by the Raiders to ensure that the only folk who live there are worthy. The player must decide whether to take control of the Raiders and let them loose on the Commonwealth or retake Nuka-World for the law-abiding wastelanders (loyal to whichever faction you sided with in the main game obviously). While this DLC has the most bearing on the actual game itself and has more plot complexity than the single quest and mild amusement of Automatron, its seen as a disappointment in terms of what it could have been.
Additional content, some of which has merit as part of the looser canon (as in the "Bawls exists in-universe" kind) was released via the mod service maintained in-game by Bethesda. However, due to the fact you can't use it alongside mods from anywhere else and still keep achievements going and many cost money for no reason, most people never encountered them and less want to get into the merit of them as part of the continuity. While future plots may have callbacks to some, it ultimately will mean as much as the mods that added Settlements to New Vegas did to 4.
It was also the game that got power armor right after the letdown of 3 and NV by turning you into a nearly unstoppable tank but limiting it's usage with power cores that were scarce at the beginning of the game - seriously, you get a full suit of Power Armour within the first hour of the game. Another limiter is that unlike previous games, a powered armor suit is now comprised of several parts (helmet, torso, arms, and leg armor) that are mounted into a exoskeleton chassis, instead of being treated as regular old armor. This means that you can't just walk through tons of gunfire with minimal consequence, as now individual components of the armor break as they take damage, compromising the armor's ability to protect and assist you as it gradually gets torn down to scrap. It can be repaired, but you need a repair station and tons of resources you need to scavenge from the ruins, repair costs going up (from humble steel to expensive aluminum and fiber-optics) as the armor is upgraded. On the plus side you can modify and paint your armor components to crazy models from jump packs to blood cleansers preventing chem addiction, from leg shock calibrators to carry more stuff to arm servos for punching.
The game is also pretty skubtastic (this entry was originally FAR longer); while generally liked for the crafting mechanics, graphics, music, certain parts of the setting and gunplay, many dislike it for its linearity and lack of RPG-like choices, calling it a "Loot-And-Shooter" set in a Fallout setting, with little Fallout mechanics - And that's all we have to say about that.
No, you didn't miss Fallout 5 to 75. Its the newest addition to the franchise, announced during E3 2018. Think of it like what Fallout: New Vegas is to Fallout 3, except instead of having a
superior story it has almost none at all. It'll probably have as many expansions much DLC though...
Fallout 76 takes a different approach to the game and goes for a multiplayer-focused experience built on player-player driven interaction, instead of player-NPCs (literally announcing it as being populated with real people). It also continues settlements building, except this time populated only by you and whoever stumbles across your little campsite, like in Fallout 4.
Bethesda promised the best of visuals with all-new programming, no issues with the shift to a server-based game, advanced storytelling techniques, and a rewarding social experience. What was delivered either came with problems or wasn’t delivered at all. The mere move of shifting from a single-player narrative to a pure multiplayer game already had the fanbase engaging in "friendly debates" with each other, but given the goodwill Bethesda had earned over its history (whatever the skub in the above entries may indicate, it's primarily nitpicks or a fairly small minority of grognards and contrarians who had major gripes in the past) many were willing to give it a chance, which of course worsened the backlash when the naysayers were proven right. For the record, unlike SOME companies, Bethesda openly stated that the game only exists to keep fan interest in Fallout going until Fallout 5, and that they're okay with fans of traditional Fallout games not getting into it the same way they don't mind fans of TES games not getting into The Elder Scrolls: Online until whatever comes after Skyrim gets made.
On November 14, 2018 the game was released and was universally reviled by all but the staunchest of fans (as well as those suffering from the sunk cost fallacy, a principle that leads people who have invested financially or emotionally into something to defend it tribally to prevent confronting a sense of having lost). To summarize, the problems were:
- A MASSIVE amount of the game is just reused assets from Fallout 4. While much of the forest environment is lush and gorgeous and people from the region in real life have praised the faithfulness to the inspiration, the actual towns and caves are mostly just recycled copy/paste work. Guess where almost every quest takes you though? Hint: it isn’t hiking the great outdoors except as a way to get from point A to point B.
- Social interaction is awful. Besides the usual “people are assholes”, the game had no push-to-talk function on launch, so using a mic means all music and dialogue is lost to mouth breathing, dog barking, mic static-ing, and one character having multiple people voices in the background. So for PvE co-op say so long to immersion!
- Did we mention asset re-use? Because for a “new” game most of the “new” stuff either is made up of textures or animation that’s already been seen. The worst offenders are of course the two that the main plot revolve around; Scorched are just new textures on standard human models using Raider or Ghoul animations, Scorchbeasts are just Skyrim dragons turned into bats.
- Did we mention co-op sucked? Experience and loot are split, and everything was easy. It literally made everything take longer, and sped up nothing, to play with another person. So a game made to play multiplayer where you are passively discouraged from working together.
- PvP consists of one person attacking another as basically a gloveslap invitation to a duel, and the other player can accept by hitting them back, at which point you can now damage each other. What do you lose by doing this? Time, ammo, weapon durability, the minor inconvenience of having to respawn. What do you win? A very small amount of caps based on the other player’s current win streak. It takes a fair amount of kills to surpass 200 caps bounty, which might replace your crappy pea-shooter that broke during your duels. If you don’t accept, prepare to be harassed until you log off. So everything to do with interacting with other players sucks, and you should avoid it...in a game where everything else is subordinate to, and exists solely to facilitate, interacting with other players.
- Base building could be fun. But when you log off your base goes with you, and if you log back when someone else has set up in your location (because you can’t build anywhere as was advertised, only specific spots) then you get reset. You can save a blueprint of your setup and apply it elsewhere, but unless the topography is the same (read: flat) in a game set in the Appalachian Mountains then it won’t work. Your base cannot be very big, basically a small tower or shack, and other players can come in and wreck it (small size means there’s very few options for defense) so you’ll probably just build crafting benches, a bed, then troll folks who still thought it was a functional part of the game. In a game thematically about rebuilding, settling down is punished. To say nothing of being suddenly nuked.
- Usual Bethesda bugs. Corpse physics being comedic, stuff stuck in stuff, quest-necessary things never spawning or falling into the ground forever, sunlight shining through hills and buildings, things popping in and out of resolution or visibility at all as the game only adds detail to things closer to you as it struggles to maintain performance, AI never really doing anything so fearsome beasts stand still like statues being frisked while you fill them full of lead (insert joke about police here), and so on. But now you can’t find a patch fix or restart the game, now the server has to reset. Which happens often, and constant random disconnects which delete quest progression far more so. A YouTuber did go through the trouble of compiling just the ones he found in a video - said video is 3 hours long.
- All NPCs (aside from a Super Mutant who is literally only a merchant with no dialogue tree) are robots who are mostly unaware the human race is gone. They want you to do mundane quests, from simple fetchquests to hunting for drop items to...picking up trash. Some robots grant you advancement in factions (factions with no NPCs, because everyone is dead) despite the some of the factions shouldn’t even exist, at least in the state they are, yet. While sometimes charming and not new for a Fallout game, this is almost all of the quest content of the game.
- Having a very small storage inventory, getting stuck in power armor, poor loot tables for bosses, being unable to respecialize meaning your leveling choices are permanent, and HUGE first week patches that not only didn’t fix problems but actually made some worse.
Bethesda released a statement outlining planned fixes for some of the above, but that came on the tail of mass attempts to return the game being rejected and the inability to return the $200 special edition once opened...which is when you’d find out they skimped out out on the promised canvas bags (so looking like something found in-universe), giving cheap nylon ones instead.
Generally speaking all of the issues were easy to predict, given all Bethesda games for The Elder Scrolls and Fallout run on the same game engine which is ancient by gaming standards. This isn’t a problem since most engines can be easily made to work with some dedication and knowhow, but Bethesda never really does it; they bring them to working states for consoles, and let modders fix it themselves for PC (usually starting with the “Unofficial (game) Mod” released within weeks of launch, sometimes mere days) while the remaining problems can all be fixes with a reload from a save when something goes haywire. For an idea of the problems with 76, know that launching nukes at the map is a feature of the game yet when one group set off three nukes at the same time it crashed their entire server).
However, as of 2021 a number of improvements, content updates and design backtracking such as adding actual NPCs has improved the gaming experience. While there are still occasional bugs and crashes, the game can overall be considered somewhere between meh and fine, depending on what kind of players you encounter.
So, enough with the /v/ talk, onto the fluff then.
There's a main questline, albeit one that plays basically the same as EVERY OTHER QUEST IN THE GAME, meaning either follow the instructions of a robot or listen to the messages from someone dead, the same kind of stuff that was always a minor quest in other Fallouts. Because of that as well as the fact that all of it is basically just the tutorial for everything else, and thanks to the lack of NPC interaction or complexity (read: any choices or conversation from the player at all) which generally is heaviest in the main plotline, its largely dismissed by the fanbase as not really being a main quest or story. All the lore in Fallout 76 comes from what before was just a type of minor quest, like delves into dungeons and one-man assaults on towns full of hostiles where you can gather the story from looking around at the skeletons, reading notes, and listening to audio records on holotapes. The bulk of these just serve either to explain monsters you fight or give minor stories to the destroyed towns, with the main quest being dealing with a new type of enemy, the "Scorched". Of note is thanks to few bombs dropping literally on the region and the immediate time the game takes place (so very few raiders have gotten there before the players) you get more post-apocalyptic logs of people in the immediate aftermath. Since most of Appalachia had been automated with robots (despite far more populated areas and places that literally produced robots not reaching that extent) they can deliver quests as prerecorded messages, dropoff points, or merchants, without using NPC humans or mutants (so yeah, no chance at a talking Deathclaw again). At least players being able to nuke each other explains why the quite livable Wasteland went to shit; the residents of Vault 76, the resettlement Vault, seemingly decided to nuke America many more times so it'd take another 100 years to be safe again. Fallout 76 also added a large number of new mutants and monsters (despite Super Mutants being a large focus again) which can be used later in better entries. Despite its flaws, the game is at least being praised for its construction of a fantastic world (despite reusing F4 assets) and its sometimes amazingly creative monsters which are inspired by real life folklore and urban legends. Its possible that a lot of the Wasteland folks are descended from the Vault 76-ers, and given how insane the playerbase and intended interactions are (like nuking yourselves "just because" or giving fingerguns constantly because its a simple interaction with other players) they might explain some of the bandit groups and silly side factions in chronologically later games.
The main story goes like this: Vault 76 itself was created to celebrate the Tricentennial (for the non-Americans or just people too young to remember 1976, _____tennials are 100 year celebrations since the establishment of America in 1776 and are about as patriotic as Americans get outside of the months following 9/11). Vault 76 was one of three canon Vaults actually intended for resettlement of a post-apocalyptic world, with no sabotage experiment opening only 25 years after the bombs fell so the pre-war is still in living memory (another was Vault 3 which fans of NV knows did not go well...). Given how lush and relatively safe (or at least as safe as the rest of the world is around 200 years later) most Vaults were just redundant after the actual bombs falling, adding some extra darkness to the previous games. The Vault 76 Overseer had secret orders from Vault Tec, and the player character(s?) were selected to be among her elite group. She directs, via holotape of course, players to find a group called the Responders, made up of conspiracy theorists (more on them below) banding together with anyone with authority such as police, fire departments, and medical officials to try and save anyone left alive. The Responders were wiped out (get used to that, EVERYONE including the fucking Raiders are already dead) but left behind their stockpiles of food and water, as well as training materials (that'll be another thing you'll get a LOT of) for the resettlement of the region. The Overseer also wants her special 76 squad to take control of all remaining nuclear weapons, which was what the Vault Tec orders were.
The problem is there's a new type of enemy to the series which are taking center stage as being possibly the apocalypse after the apocalypse. A type of fungus exists deep underground, and due to the Brotherhood Of Steel (more on them later) finding an underground lab its possible it was created by one of the mad science prewar groups. Scorchbeasts are what happens when bats that lived deep underground in a gigantic cave system beneath Appalachia were exposed to the fungus, causing them to grow to giant sizes. When food supplies in the cavern complex grows low or their numbers grow too high, they tunnel to the surface to eat humans and whatever else they find. The humans they don't burn to a crisp and/or eat are infected by the fungus, resulting in a new type of zombie-like enemy (providing a secondary type of Ghoul in the game) who look like they burned to death. Said new enemies are called Scorched, and represent the bulk of the enemies in the game. Scorched are still fully capable of remembering who they were as humans, often falling back into activities or behavior patterns they did in life, but the fungus links them to a hivemind and they behave like Feral Ghouls who can still use guns and complex melee weapons once confronted by non-Scorched. Scorched have a mineral called ultracite growing in their skin for unknown reasons, which emits a radioactive signal allowing them to be tracked as well as making them physically weak to a depleted form of the substance (no reason for any of this is given). Scorched eventually petrify into human-shaped statues, which break when attacked and release radiation (possibly also spores of the fungus, but its unstated). Scorchbeasts themselves attack partially by spreading radiation, also presumably spores. If any of that seems odd and not to go together...well, it doesn't. Be prepared for some of it to make sense in DLC updates.
The player finishes the vaccine the Responders were working on to the Scorched Plague, too late to save anyone but the Vault 76 survivors, and is tasked with finding a group of anti-Scorched Responders called the Fire Breathers. The Fire Breathers are a combination of survivalist conspiracy-theorists (who were of course correct about most/all of their assumptions, because Fallout) called the Free States that had been in conflict with local governments prewar (parodying the homegrown terrorism of the 1980's and 1990's in real life) who began working with the Responders. Players become a Fire Breather using prewar training they had set up before finding out that they had basically set up sensors to detect them, which have now been destroyed by raiders and natural elements. After repairing them you are given a post-war plan to have the Brotherhood Of Steel (yeah, they're fully set up only 25 years later) to provide the dakka needed to take on the Scorched...but they've all been wiped out too of course. The plan of the Paladin in charge was to use the nukes to seal away the Scorchbeast tunnels, then work on eliminating remaining Scorched (has the word "Scorch" lost all meaning yet? If not, you clearly haven't played the game).
You're directed to a bunker for government officials using info from a Senator who supported the Free States, where you ally with an Enclave AI named MODUS who they isolated from its key functions before ALSO being wiped out. You restore MODUS's ability to access government surveillance, and upon seeing that the Scorched really are what you told it they were you're given tasks so it can promote you as a member of the Enclave so that you can launch the nukes yourself, something MODUS cannot actually do. Once you have the rank you just need the launch codes and keycards, found on the corpses of government officials and robots. During this you find out the Vault 76 Overseer is dead, as well as finishing her backstory in which she had originally been selected to be Overseer of Vault 101 (the Fallout 3 Vault) but declined in order to remain in her home state, as well as rejecting her fiance for access to Vault 76 in favor of people more suited to its mission since she's a fanatical follower of Vault Tec and a true believer in Dwellers of 76 actually repopulating the world. She tracked her fiance down, finding he had become a Scorched and her last wish being for you to lay him to rest. Once that's done you launch the nuke at the main Scorched tunnel which spawns a Scorched Queen boss. In theory you kill it, but there's no actual directive for you to do so and no actual end to the game story other than launching that nuke which completes the last main story quest. This counts as the main storyline being done, with no cutscene or exit narration at any point whether you kill the queen bat or not. From here on out you just pursue minor plots and do whatever. The Scorchbeasts will keep coming and Scorched will keep appearing, so its basically your job to keep them at bay. Or not, its not like there's a questline for it or any major rewards anymore, and the actual preview for the game was nuking other players, so...time to fuck up the world worse in an installment that's basically canon in name only.
The minor plots are as follows:
- Super Mutants, as always, are bumming around. This time its because of the West Tek headquarters literally being in the region. They had been working on ways to cure world hunger, and that research was abandoned when they decided to use what they were working on to instead just create the FEV virus. It was tested on a small town called Huntersville by initially abducting people and turning them into Super Mutants directly, and when the results became clear (angry hulks with diminished memories who are very aware something is wrong and thus too belligerent to take orders) they introduced FEV to the water supply in smaller amounts to see if it produced better monsters. The town was put under military quarantine, and it seems some of the healthier people were executed. The bombs fell during the experiment, and the FEV vats within the West Tek HQ were neutralized by survivors, meaning that all the Super Mutants roaming the region are the original inhabitants of Huntersville, interestingly putting a cap on the maximum number of them there can possibly be (although there could be some leftover contamination from the water, which doesn't matter given that players will drink and eat the wild agriculture from the region without mutating). So yeah, another excuse for Super Mutants but still preventing them from using the same explanation again in the future.
- A companion to the Silver Shroud comic-book quest from Fallout 4, a character in his shared universe called Mistress of Mystery was getting a television show. You can loot the a replica of her costume off of one of several dead women the wasteland. Turns out to get in to character the Mistress of Mysteries voice actress took batman training (to geive her a leg up over some one younger who looked better on screen). Then The Apocalypse happened and all that. training and a secret base paid off. The she started taking in orphan girls and training them. then bad things happed, which is how the players find the organization. (If you wonder why there's a lot of screencaps and video of male characters all wearing the same women's dress, you now know why) as well as a nice little "fuck you" from the writers of 76 parodying fanboys angry about lore on a computer terminal.
- In a similar vein to joining the Fire Breathers and Enclave via robot tasks and training, you can also join the army and become executive of a mining company.
- A LOT of "robots don't know the world ended" stuff, Some know but can't fight their programming. Maintaining a theme park, fixing up a town, organizing a picnic, delivering mail, delivering emergency supplies to towns with no survivors, big game hunting to add a collection of the new mutant species to a lodge, listening to the bedtime stories of a nanny Mr. Handy that's gone insane and now talking to mannequins, be mistaken as an escaped convict from a prison, help put another town back together but instead of working as assistant to an AI mayor you instead are appointed the new mayor by the overworked AI who then becomes YOUR assistant, and so on.
- The game continues to remind you the bombs dropped in the Halloween season with quests involving obtaining a clown costume and carving pumpkins for a robot.
- Find out about the hippie movement of the time in a mansion full of meditation tapes...which play as swarms of enemies attack. Said hippe movement is a MLM and scientology combined.
Various Full-Campaign World Mods
Both good and bad, people have made various regions of the Fallout world not featured in either core games or DLC as mods. Some of these have been atrocious, like the fetish-ridden Fallout The Frontier, but others aren't so bad, like Nuevo Mexico, New California, London, and Cascadia.
On the Tabletop
It fucking rules.
A 1-4 player game produced by Fantasy Flight Games where you and up to three other players take the roles of different people in the wasteland. You travel and explore a randomly created wasteland, killing raiders and whatnot, scavenging ruins, gaining items and maybe supporting one of the warring factions. Each game is based on a Scenario which decides the main Quest of the game, so you can play both in the Capital Wasteland with the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave, or fight for synths in the Commonwealth. There's even a Scenario based on The Pitt from Fallout 3! The Scenario decides what faction that are fighting during the game. Players can support each side or just disregard their bullshit and go loot a Red Rocket Station instead or something.
The player characters are a Ghoul who gains health from Rads but has less maximum health; a Super Mutant who gains XP by gaining Rads and has different options in certain Encounters and Quests; a Brotherhood of Steel Outcast who starts the game with a slow-ass suit of Power Armor; the Wastelander who starts with a tire iron that fucks up early-game mops; and a Vault Dweller who starts with a vault suit, which you can have another clothing item over. During the game you can become Idolized or Vilified, Addicted to chems or even impromptu remember that you are a Synth!
The game feels and plays much like the vidyas, which allows loads of fun shenanigans like being caught of guard by a sudden Sentry Bot attack, finding a Quest lead during a looting section and continuously fucking with both the factions in the game for loot and XP. It's even possible to just disregard everything and go on a fun wasteland adventure just for fun. Finding items that are worth it are tough but often worthwhile, and Companions add some flavor to the game - Feel like sacrificing Preston Garvey to gain a Sniper Rifle in a trapped room, feel free! The Quest system makes the world feel alive and lets your traits and abilities like being Idolized additional weight. Of course, as a FFG game, it comes with somewhere around a few thousand small parts, so get some bags with it as well.
It's a great adaptation, and for the oldfags out there, there's a New California Expansion which allows you to fight the Master or help build the NCR.
There are a few systems for Nuka-Cola addicts to get their fill on the tabletop. The first is Exodus, licensed under the d20 System, which was originally going to be an official Fallout RPG until copyright disputes with Bethesda and Interplay prompted the publishers to file off the serial numbers and call it a "spiritual successor". It departs heavily from the canonical setting, and is mechanically weak, but a flexible GM will find it otherwise serviceable.
For purists, there is also J.E. Sawyer's Fallout Role-Playing Game, an original system that uses d100 rules, much like Dark Heresy only a thousand times more complicated. It is still in development and will probably never be finished, but all material can be found for free on its official wiki.
Originally, Fallout was going to be mechanically based on GURPS but due to Steve Jackson's signature controlling nature (the GURPS licence was pulled because SJ didn't like the vault boy icons) the GURPS licence was dropped and the series went with the SPECIAL system that is in use today. GURPS fans have created a Fallout suppliment that can be found here.
In addition, some cool anons have created a scenario book for Fallout that focuses on the Louisiana wastes. Check it out here. It's pretty good.
Created by Modiphius Entertainment and released in 2018, the game was initially created as a skirmish-level wargame but with the option to let AI cards control factions to have a co-op or single player game, as well as a light RPG/settlement system. Due to reception that they had created a mediocre skirmish game but an amazing AI/campaign system, future content was bent towards that as well as a stand-alonebutactuallyitsanexpansion RPG book appropriately titled "Fallout: Wasteland Warfare Roleplaying Game".
Find it Fallout: Wasteland Warfare here.
A new homebrew tabletop RPG based on Fallout, called Fallout d40, was released on the internet on Oct. 23rd, 2017, 60 years prior to the bombs dropping. It aims to give people a true Fallout tabletop RPG experience. The website for it is: https://falloutd40.wixsite.com/mainpage