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Hawkwing

Thinking about getting into Fallout 1 and 2. Any Tips?

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I've been thinking about getting into Fallout 1 and 2 again, as it's been a while since I've last tried them out, and I never got very far in either game. I started playing Fallout 1 yesterday, and I have a few questions for both games:

- Are there any advantages to playing with a balanced character, or is it better to run a specialized one?

- Are there any "You must have this skill/perk/whatever or else you may as well be doing a challenge run" kind of deals? I know that "Gifted" is called this, but I'm curious if there are any others.

- Conversely, are there any skills and perks I should avoid?

- How important is charisma and speech in these games? I know that several other games oversell how much you can talk your way out, and I'm curious if Fallout falls into that category, or if those skills actually do something in these games.

- How are the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats increased? Do you get another stat every few levels, or are certain events/items the only way to increase them?

- Trying to remain spoiler-free, what is the best course of action to obtain the water chip in the first game?

Spoiler

I found out that Vault 15 was pretty much wrecked, and I'm guessing that the water merchants will be a temporary fix. Anywhere else I get hints on where to look?


- How much ammo do you get for weapons? Is it wise to only use them when you need to, or is it plentiful and you can afford to be a little loose with firearms?

- Aside from shooting me in the back (although I quickly found out tricks to avoid that), are there any real advantages to having a partner?

- Are there any ways to cheese the final fight in the tutorial area in Fallout 2? The rest of the level is okay, but I remember passing the final test through sheer luck the last time I played, and I'd rather not repeat that.

Any general tips and tricks would be much appreciated.

Edited by Hawkwing

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I will go point by point:

- it depend, it's highly recomendable to have several high skills instead of just dumping everything into energy weapon. In general non combat skill never requires to go over 100% and you get a lot of skill points, so as long as you don't try to increase everything at once you are fine(also, a couple skills are clearly worthless, like gambling.)

-gifted is strong, but not broken. In general, intelligence and ability are very importany so unless you do a low int playtrough you want both high. There are so many way to beat any main quest that you won't ever hit a wall regardless of the buils. And even them, both games can be cheesed by getting endgame equipment very early.

-high speech is easier than combat but you don't need to do it. Charisma is important in 2 if you want an army of companions, but keeping it at 6 or so won't cripple you.

-whitout spoiling you should talk with people untill they tell you about the ghoul settlement. They should be able to help you. I don't remember the details sorry.

-it depend on the weapon, but merchants restock frequently so you won't often run out of ammo unless you use something like a minigun. Bullets weight is more of a problem, but there are many ways to increase strenght.

-in 1 no, in 2 some of them are quite useful. If you want i can give you a rundown on all of them.

-you can talk your way out of the fight, but in general investing early into unarmed in 2 is worth because you won't find a gun for some time and there are 2 sidequest that require unarmed.

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Let me dive into my notes for the games for some quick tips

Fallout 1 Character Creation

  • Optional traits: Gifted, Gifted, Gifted. This trait gives you seven more SPECIAL points to work with. The drawbacks are pretty intense but so few skills are worth investing in that it's always worth it. Having maxed intelligence offsets the lowered skill points anyway. For the other trait, any of them are okay, but I go with Good Natured.
  • SPECIAL: Intelligence is the best Special stat. Not only does it grant more skill points per level up, but most speech options and alternative solutions to quests are locked for only high intelligence characters. Agility is the next best stat, as every even number grants you an additional action point. Charisma is the best dump stat. It's supposed to affect whether NPCs like you immediately, but this mechanic is entirely bugged for the first game anyway. It also has no affect on companions unlike the next game.
  • Tag skills: Small guns is the best class of weapon for the first 80% of the game. You don't need any other combat skills than that one. Speech is also vital, since dumping charisma is standard but you still want to pass speech checks all the time. Your third tag skill ought to be either lockpick or barter/gambling. Lockpicking doors requires a high stat in most cases, but barter and gambling will both help you make lots of money even with low skill point investment.
  • Perks: I tend to take Awareness first thing. It's the only method you have of checking a companion's current health or an enemy's current health. Better Criticals is great for combat, and the biggest reason why we don't dump the luck stat. Action Boy is also good. Really so few of these are worthwhile that it doesn't matter much what you pick if it sounds decent.

Fallout 2 Character Creation

  • ^All of the above applies, except Charisma is actually useful. It increases how many companions you can have and companions rock in that game.
  • Melee weapons or unarmed is a decent tag skill if only to make the early game easier since guns are not as prevalant and most of the early enemies engage you at melee range to begin with.

Additional tips

  • You can reduce the difficulty to Easy for the sake of passing skill checks since your non-combat skills immediately increase by 20.
  • Accuracy depends on distance, your skill with that class of weapon, and your Perception stat. Even with good speccing, prepare for frequent misses, especially in early game. If an enemy is ever knocked prone, your chance to hit is increased. As for aimed shots, your chance of a critical hit is increased based on how much of a penalty that shot has to accuracy, so if you're chance to hit is already high, I would go for an aimed shot in a vulnerable area. Same for burst shots on automatic weapons, get as close as you can, because burst shots are deadly. Be mindful that there is friendly fire so if your accuracy is low and a companion is standing between you and the target, a missed shot tends to hit them instead.
  • In Fallout 2, hang on to any microfusion cells you pick up. They are fuel for the car. 
  • If you lack the stat requirements for a perk, you can use a chem and then select the perk. 
Edited by Glennstavos

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Energy Weapons can be very good, but usually not until later in the game.

I personally played both 1 and 2 with Fast Shot so I missed out on targeted shots but the AP bonus especially for burst weapons was nice. Big Guns was only really useful for the latter stages of 2 for me, but Small Guns is always useful.

fallout 2 has like the worst tutorial level of any game i've ever played, but it gets better

75% of the perks are not good. it's usually pretty obvious which ones are actually useful if you aren't roleplaying

Edited by Tryhard

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I don't like Fallout 1 and 2 combat at all 

-Generally the most important thing to expand the number of areas of areas you can safely explore is armor... it scales much better than it should to the point that tactics don't really matter if you get combat, or powered armor. The chem "Psycho" is basically super armor and though limited, can you rush to the later-game areas to get your permeant late game armor early or to win a pseudo-boss fight at will.

Ammos- I actually played both Fallout 1 and 2 with Heavy Weapons on main charather. Fallout 1/// the only ammo type you use for 90% of the game is the flamer. Rockets/gatling ammo is basically only attainable and used in the 2 main story dungeons.  For most small guns, you will never run out of ammo. Energy isn't too bad but requires more tedius selling and menuing. Fallout 2, ammo is fine, even for heavy weapons (at least, for the minigun variant heavy weapons)

Stats - The setting and dialog are the fun part of the game... but if you really don't want to use lopsided stats... you can use in-game drugs to temporarily alter them. The combat drug's with  agility buff also negates the other thing … most people refuse to play without a full 10 AP for quality of life, but I feel like you only really need that much a few times in each game. Endurance is a special stat because Low endurance and Medium endurance are functionally almost the same thing... for most combat only your armor matters rather than your raw HP. Having a high Endurance stat is only a factor in lategame areas (miniguns and deathclaws) against enemies that have a high critical hit rate that bypasss armor.... Even then it's a playstle thing... If you want to saveload. don't bother. armor's good enough. But this stat does technically allow you a safety blanket that makes ironmode-esque playstyle consistent despite people's claim to contrary.

Traits - Fast Shot - Access to aimed shots is a major playstyle thing (moreso in Fallout 2 compared to 1). It's earlygame advantage is crazy, and if you want a heavy weapons main character it has no lattegame drawback.  However many people remember the games fondly for the "critical hit system" that hugely favors the player, especially at higher charather / gun skill levels. You can experience the fun of the "0 damage instant death" at your own call. Nothing else really feels like it closes or opens major playstle difference and is mostly either quality of life or a flavor thing.

Edited by Reality

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5 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

- Are there any advantages to playing with a balanced character, or is it better to run a specialized one?

- Are there any "You must have this skill/perk/whatever or else you may as well be doing a challenge run" kind of deals? I know that "Gifted" is called this, but I'm curious if there are any others.

- Conversely, are there any skills and perks I should avoid?

- How important is charisma and speech in these games? I know that several other games oversell how much you can talk your way out, and I'm curious if Fallout falls into that category, or if those skills actually do something in these games.

- How are the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats increased? Do you get another stat every few levels, or are certain events/items the only way to increase them?

- Trying to remain spoiler-free, what is the best course of action to obtain the water chip in the first game?

  Reveal hidden contents

I found out that Vault 15 was pretty much wrecked, and I'm guessing that the water merchants will be a temporary fix. Anywhere else I get hints on where to look?


- How much ammo do you get for weapons? Is it wise to only use them when you need to, or is it plentiful and you can afford to be a little loose with firearms?

- Aside from shooting me in the back (although I quickly found out tricks to avoid that), are there any real advantages to having a partner?

- Are there any ways to cheese the final fight in the tutorial area in Fallout 2? The rest of the level is okay, but I remember passing the final test through sheer luck the last time I played, and I'd rather not repeat that.

Any general tips and tricks would be much appreciated.

- There's a lot of ways to play the game, but I'd personally recommend that you don't have most SPECIAL stats lower than, say, 3.  That said, it's not a bad idea to give preference to particular SPECIAL stats.  The most useful, imo, are Agility and Intelligence.  Agility just makes you objectively better in combat, giving you high AP and AC; a high-agility character wearing power armor is nigh unstoppable except by enemies that deal high amounts of crits.  And Intelligence is useful for skill allocation and for opening up most of the game's sidequests without needing to resort to drugs.  But as is advertised, you can beat the game with any build at all.

Gifted is useful (and by useful, I mean downright broken) because SPECIAL stats are generally better than skills in classic Fallout (while the inverse is true with Fallout 3).  I will say, it's challenging to play the game without at least one of these skills tagged: Small Guns, Melee Weapons, or Unarmed.  I'd say Small Guns would be your best bet.  Also, if you have a low Intelligence, be ready to not be able to do a whole lot without the assistance of Mentats (which you can get addicted to, and addictions in classic Fallout suck hard).  And low agility better be replaced with high Endurance or really good armor, otherwise you'll die very frequently.

- Jinxed.  Holy hell, it sure makes things bad for enemies, but it's so much worse for you because it's only a matter of time before you're struck with a critical failure because you're the single most constant entity in the entire game (and a 50% increase to crit failures on misses is huge).  Also, Bloody Mess will change the main ending a bit, but it's a fairly minor change because the outcome is ultimately always the same if you get the "successful" ending.

- In Fallout 1, I believe Speech is more important, while Charisma is more important in Fallout 2.  I don't remember how many speech checks there are in the first game or how much of a necessity speech is, but I'm pretty sure charisma is actually kinda important in the second game because of companions.

- Certain perks can raise some stats.  Aside from that, you mostly have to rely on either drugs or certain services.  I will add that Power Armor raises Strength by a ridiculous amount (standard by 3, Advanced by 4; I think the latter is Fallout 2 exclusive).

- It may not be a bad idea to talk to the Water Merchants, or you can try to find a map at the Hub's library.  Basically, you'll want to find the location of where another water chip might be, because a water chip is really the only way to complete this quest.

- For small guns, ammunition is almost too plentiful.  You may struggle with ammo stock at first, but eventually you may find yourself with too much to carry.  But you should get your small guns skill up a decent amount, or else you will end up running out of ammo from missing a lot.

- Well, you'll likely get Dogmeat stuck at your side for a long time, though Dogmeat is pretty frickin' powerful for some ungodly reason (I've only ever had him die near endgame).  In Fallout 1, they're good for inventory management and for helping you kill things, but don't rely on them to sneak around.  In Fallout 2, the companion system is better, and companions are also better and more diverse in their skillsets, so they can do different things.

- The final enemy must be talked down or fought.  Either you must have a minimum Intelligence of 4 and have Speech as a tagged skill (and obviously select the correct responses), or you must fight him in unarmed combat.  For some reason, Fallout 2 kinda railroads you into making certain decisions with your character's initial build.

Another thing I'll say is you can cheese both games very easily fairly early on by getting power armor as soon as possible.  Though in Fallout 1, your main priority should be getting the Water Chip before anything else.  But apart from that and Fallout 2's painful tutorial level, you can start the quests to get yourself access to power armor (hint: both of them involve the Brotherhood of Steel).  You'll always want to invest a little bit (I'd say up to 50%) into Energy Weapons.  Start off with Small Guns tagged, but drip feed skill points into Energy Weapons so that by the time you reach endgame, you're able to fight the endgame enemies with the best weapons.

Other people's advice on this game seem sound, as well.

1 hour ago, Tryhard said:

also, we all know that the best playthrough is the jinxed trait with 1 luck

 

Okay, wow, I could understand the gun frickin' exploding causing some damage for you character, but how the absolute fuck do you have such terrible luck that you end up accidentally killing yourself with a knife?  Do you just swing so wildly that you fall down and fling it into the air, and it just lands blade-first in your skull?

Not even the most accident prone of Stormtroopers have that kind of shit luck.

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On 6/13/2019 at 2:15 PM, Flere210 said:

-whitout spoiling you should talk with people untill they tell you about the ghoul settlement. They should be able to help you. I don't remember the details sorry.

I see. I'll keep that in mind whenever a conversation occurs.

On 6/13/2019 at 2:15 PM, Flere210 said:

-in 1 no, in 2 some of them are quite useful. If you want i can give you a rundown on all of them.

Sure. It might be a while before I start 2, but knowing about them sooner rather than later can't hurt.

On 6/13/2019 at 2:46 PM, Glennstavos said:

SPECIAL: Intelligence is the best Special stat. Not only does it grant more skill points per level up, but most speech options and alternative solutions to quests are locked for only high intelligence characters. Agility is the next best stat, as every even number grants you an additional action point. Charisma is the best dump stat. It's supposed to affect whether NPCs like you immediately, but this mechanic is entirely bugged for the first game anyway. It also has no affect on companions unlike the next game.

I see it was wise to invest in Intelligence. Picked Endurance over Agility, which is something I don't totally regret considering the extra damage reduction and Hit Points have saved my life more than once, but I'll keep that in mind. Also, is Charisma the "it's okay to make it 1" kind of dump stat or the "take a point or two off, but leave something there" type?

On 6/13/2019 at 2:46 PM, Glennstavos said:

Perks: I tend to take Awareness first thing. It's the only method you have of checking a companion's current health or an enemy's current health. Better Criticals is great for combat, and the biggest reason why we don't dump the luck stat. Action Boy is also good. Really so few of these are worthwhile that it doesn't matter much what you pick if it sounds decent.

I did not know that awareness shows enemy and ally health. It will definitely be my next pick.

On 6/13/2019 at 3:14 PM, Tryhard said:

fallout 2 has like the worst tutorial level of any game i've ever played, but it gets better

Considering it was put together at the last minute, I can see that.

On 6/13/2019 at 9:16 PM, Ertrick36 said:

- Certain perks can raise some stats.  Aside from that, you mostly have to rely on either drugs or certain services.  I will add that Power Armor raises Strength by a ridiculous amount (standard by 3, Advanced by 4; I think the latter is Fallout 2 exclusive).

I remember a tip elsewhere said not to have strength any higher than 6. I see what they were talking about now.

On 6/13/2019 at 9:16 PM, Ertrick36 said:

Okay, wow, I could understand the gun frickin' exploding causing some damage for you character, but how the absolute fuck do you have such terrible luck that you end up accidentally killing yourself with a knife?  Do you just swing so wildly that you fall down and fling it into the air, and it just lands blade-first in your skull?

Not even the most accident prone of Stormtroopers have that kind of shit luck.

I'm placing bets that the character committed the fatal flaw of spinning in combat while holding the knife forward.

***

Thanks for the advice! It's all been very helpful, and even if there are some things I may have wanted to know before starting the game, I can always use it for next time.

Been having fun with the game so far. It's more save scummy than I'd like, but I've played games like that before, so I can deal with it. While there's not quite as many options as other games I've played, I do enjoy that there are multiple solutions to the same problem, and I can see why roleplaying is popular with Fallout.

I put 9 points in Intelligence (because higher skills and presumably experience is always wise) and 7 in Endurance (because I like staying alive, and I remember dying pretty easily in past attempts), while taking one point out of luck because I don't care too much about critical hits (although now I'm wondering what else it affects). Tagged Small Guns, Speech, and First Aid (which I'm realizing isn't as good as I thought it would be). I chose Fast Shot (because I'm fine with not making precise shots. It speeds up combat) and Good Natured (I was comfortable enough with my combat abilities that the reduced amount didn't bother me, while the increase in other skills would cover abilities that weren't as high. Don't know exactly why, but I always wanted to beat my first run of Fallout without Gifted. I might pick it when playing Fallout 2, though.

I do have a few more questions:

- How useful is Fast Learner? I took it originally because any experience booster sounds great, but now I'm starting to wonder if it sounds better on paper than in practice.

- Is there a way to end combat without killing everyone nearby? Like, say, if I want to talk with someone after killing their guard/leader/so-on to employ some gunboat diplomacy. Is that possible, or does combat only end when everyone in the surrounding area is dead?

-- Speaking of which, is gunboat/carrying a big stick diplomacy an option in this game?

- Apparently, I got experience for preventing a rebellion and a crime. As far as I can tell, all I did was make one comment for the former and walk on screen for the latter. Are situations like this common, or did it?

- Haven't experienced it yet, but what does radiation do? Is it similar to poison, or are its effects more unique?

- How does luck affect encounters? I remember a year or so back that I built the exact same character (forgot the specific stats, but they had 4 Luck) four times in a row, and they experienced the exact same encounter of being attacked by these mutant praying mantises that I couldn't hope to fight against. In my current run, I sometimes enter a fight with a group of rad scorpions and die, and when I reload, the fight occurs in the exact same place, but instead I only have to face 2 of them. My luck is 4, so I'm curious how encounters and events are determined in this game.

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1 hour ago, Hawkwing said:

I see it was wise to invest in Intelligence. Picked Endurance over Agility, which is something I don't totally regret considering the extra damage reduction and Hit Points have saved my life more than once, but I'll keep that in mind. Also, is Charisma the "it's okay to make it 1" kind of dump stat or the "take a point or two off, but leave something there" type?

I did not know that awareness shows enemy and ally health. It will definitely be my next pick.

 

Endurance isn't bad. It has a lot of value point for point. Charisma is the sort of stat you make as low as the game allows. This isn't just min-maxing advice, it's just acknowledging the stat has almost no functional value in this particular game. And yes Awareness is highly recommended for a first playthrough. An experienced player may remember how much HP a certain enemy has and just count down from there, but even on repeat playthroughs I still take it for convenience. In case you're not aware, to examine something in combat you just right click then left click.

While I'm here, some more info on controls since I remember shortcuts being hard to find when I used to play:

Spoiler
  • Esc or O for pause menu
  • Space Bar to end turn or end combat if no enemies
  • Enter to end combat.
  • S to bring up Skilldex. 1-8 for each skill starting with Sneak.
  • I for inventory
  • A to initiate combat
  • N to cycle weapon options (right clicking)
  • B to swap equipped weapon
  • P for pip boy
  • C for character sheet
  • Shift to highlight objects in the environment
  • ctrl + S for save screen
  • ctrl + L for load screen
  • F6 to quicksave
  • F7 to quickload
  • 1-9 to choose dialogue options from the top
  • B to barter
  • , and . to turn character.

In particular highlighting interactable items with Shift is helpful in a new environment. And if you ever find yourself gambling you can rapid fire the number keys for lightning fast money making.

Quote

I do have a few more questions:

- How useful is Fast Learner? I took it originally because any experience booster sounds great, but now I'm starting to wonder if it sounds better on paper than in practice.

Doesn't sound bad to me. If you're worried about hitting the level cap, don't be. Level 21 sounds like a low level cap in Fallout 1, but my thorough playthroughs of the game tend to end at around level 15-18 by the end.

Quote

- Is there a way to end combat without killing everyone nearby? Like, say, if I want to talk with someone after killing their guard/leader/so-on to employ some gunboat diplomacy. Is that possible, or does combat only end when everyone in the surrounding area is dead?

I can't confidently say I remember a scenario where this was an option during a fight. It's why I prefer going through the game talking down all the NPCs, because if a fight breaks out in town, quest giving NPCs may die since enemy AI might hunt them down instead of attacking you, further prompting me to drop a save when I know a fight is coming.

Quote

-- Speaking of which, is gunboat/carrying a big stick diplomacy an option in this game?

mmm...nothing I can remember explicitly. A lot of NPCs willing to die for their beliefs in these games. Speech checks often result in pacifist solutions but I don't believe they factor in how tough your character is. There is a reputation system but I'm not an expert on it's few and far-between effects.

Quote

- Apparently, I got experience for preventing a rebellion and a crime. As far as I can tell, all I did was make one comment for the former and walk on screen for the latter. Are situations like this common, or did it?

Quest exp is rewarded for many different things in these games. For instance the woman in a vault suit at the entrance of Shady Sands gives you some experience if you exhaust all her dialogue to learn about the world. Using your science command on vault computers can also earn exp as your character stops to do some research. Usually the game tells you a specific amount that you earn in that bottom left text window, however sometimes the specific amount can be wrong, or it fails to tell you. Certain quest solutions typically earn more exp than others if you managed to avoid violence as well, but that's often to compensate for the lack of battle experience you would have earned from fighting it out.

Quote

- Haven't experienced it yet, but what does radiation do? Is it similar to poison, or are its effects more unique?

radiation is extremely rare in Fallout 1, mainly comes up during a particular side quest area late in the game. Popping rad X is enough to get through it and your companions are not affected by radiation. Fallout 2 introduces radiation much earlier. I can't confidently say what it's affects are. I assume it can do all manner of things if you neglect to prepare for it.

Quote

- How does luck affect encounters? I remember a year or so back that I built the exact same character (forgot the specific stats, but they had 4 Luck) four times in a row, and they experienced the exact same encounter of being attacked by these mutant praying mantises that I couldn't hope to fight against. In my current run, I sometimes enter a fight with a group of rad scorpions and die, and when I reload, the fight occurs in the exact same place, but instead I only have to face 2 of them. My luck is 4, so I'm curious how encounters and events are determined in this game.

I dunno exactly how random encounters are decided, but I think the primary factor is your Outdoorsman skill. When you reach the Hub, shops there will sell skill books for you to boost the skill which I tend to stop and do if I have the spare cash. The skill specifically reduces the rate of unfavorable encounters and increases the rate at which the game instead stops and says "you encountered: raiders. Engage?" and you can select yes or no. As far as I know, Luck does not generally affect random encounters, but may increase the rate at which you find special encounters with friendly NPCs.

Edited by Glennstavos

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17 minutes ago, Hawkwing said:

- How useful is Fast Learner? I took it originally because any experience booster sounds great, but now I'm starting to wonder if it sounds better on paper than in practice.

- Is there a way to end combat without killing everyone nearby? Like, say, if I want to talk with someone after killing their guard/leader/so-on to employ some gunboat diplomacy. Is that possible, or does combat only end when everyone in the surrounding area is dead?

-- Speaking of which, is gunboat/carrying a big stick diplomacy an option in this game?

- Apparently, I got experience for preventing a rebellion and a crime. As far as I can tell, all I did was make one comment for the former and walk on screen for the latter. Are situations like this common, or did it?

- Haven't experienced it yet, but what does radiation do? Is it similar to poison, or are its effects more unique?

- How does luck affect encounters? I remember a year or so back that I built the exact same character (forgot the specific stats, but they had 4 Luck) four times in a row, and they experienced the exact same encounter of being attacked by these mutant praying mantises that I couldn't hope to fight against. In my current run, I sometimes enter a fight with a group of rad scorpions and die, and when I reload, the fight occurs in the exact same place, but instead I only have to face 2 of them. My luck is 4, so I'm curious how encounters and events are determined in this game.

- Thing is, there are a lot of perks that you could do without.  Picking a perk and then having second thoughts about it doesn't mean you've royally screwed up your character.  As far as I remember, the only really good ones are Tag! and all late-game perks (like Sniper and Slayer if you like doing Hand-to-Hand combat).  So I'd say it's no more useless than any other perk you might get early on.  I'll add that in my playthrough of Fallout 1, I only reached level 14, so if anything you might end up with a more powerful character than I did by the end of the game.

- Combat ends only when everyone who is hostile to you is dead.  There may be some special cases I'm forgetting about, but generally speaking you'll only end combat if you kill everything that's actively trying to kill you.  I'm not sure if you can sneak away, as I've never tried to do so.

- I think in order to do any diplomacy at all, you always need the respective intelligence and speech stats.  You only need an intelligence of 4 to communicate normally, but good speech is required to convince characters of anything.  It's not like in Fallout New Vegas where you can just take the Terrifying Presence perk and be able to scare the living shit out of everyone when you talk to them (or have a high strength stat to intimidate people in place of speech).

- Usually, if you get experience points seemingly for no reason, you probably completed a quest (likely an unmarked quest, at that).  Usually, you have to go out of your way to complete quests, but occasionally you'll find that just about your business might conveniently finish up some quests you either picked up earlier or just happened to stumble into.  You also sometimes get EXP for completing certain stages of some quests or for arriving in certain places, I believe.

Radiation is very fucking bad.

Rads Message HR CHP¹ ST PE EN CH IN AG
0-149 very nauseous                
150-299 slightly fatigued     -1          
300-449 vomiting does not stop -3   -1         -1
450-599 hair is falling out -5 -5 -2   -1     -2
600-999 skin is falling off -10 -15 -4 -3 -3 -3 -1 -5
1000+ intense agony -10 -20 -6 -5 -5 -5 -3 -6

The table above shows the effects of radiation sickness in Fallout 1 and 2; "HR" stands for "Healing Rate" (per hour) and "CHP" stands for "Current Hit Points", and I think you can figure out the rest.  That's right, if you get to 300 Rads or higher, you start losing health by the hour, and the later stages of radiation sickness incur insane debuffs.  And if you reach more than 1000 Rads without immediately dying, you'll have 24 hours to heal or else you die.  Not only that, but if any of your SPECIAL stats drop to 0, you instantly die.  You won't know you're getting irradiated unless you have a Geiger Counter, which you have to actually buy separately, or check your character's status.

The good news is there are very few places where radiation is actually present in the classic Fallout games, and it's extremely easy to prevent radiation sickness.  You just need to use two doses of Rad-X to become basically immune to radiation sickness, and they last for 24 hours.  In Fallout 1, you only have to worry about The Glow, and in Fallout 2 there's a random encounter called "Toxic Waste Dump" as well as a power plant with a highly radioactive reactor.  Only in the random encounter do you not have ample opportunity to prepare for the radiation.  Though I believe it takes particularly crummy luck, perception, and poor Outdoorsman skill to get the Toxic Waste encounter, as it's labeled as a "bad" encounter and doesn't provide anything beneficial for you.

- Luck has some effect on random encounters.  But I think it's, like, only for increasing your chances of getting rare, good encounters.  Outdoorsman is the stat that affects how you come upon bad encounters.  If you keep getting a bad random encounter, just try diverting your course into different map squares.  It's never a bad idea to save frequently while you travel.

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A lot has been said.

My inputs on the most important stuff, that probably echo what others have said:

  • Talky skills and stats are just as, if not more important than fighty skills and stats
  • Speaking of combat, the general "combat progression" goes Melee->Small Guns->Big Guns/Explosives->Energy Weapons
  • However, at any point, you could stumble upon a random even that completely subverts this
  • You can become a porn star in 2
Edited by Slumber

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16 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

Doesn't sound bad to me. If you're worried about hitting the level cap, don't be. Level 21 sounds like a low level cap in Fallout 1, but my thorough playthroughs of the game tend to end at around level 15-18 by the end.

14 hours ago, Ertrick36 said:

- Thing is, there are a lot of perks that you could do without.  Picking a perk and then having second thoughts about it doesn't mean you've royally screwed up your character.  As far as I remember, the only really good ones are Tag! and all late-game perks (like Sniper and Slayer if you like doing Hand-to-Hand combat).  So I'd say it's no more useless than any other perk you might get early on.  I'll add that in my playthrough of Fallout 1, I only reached level 14, so if anything you might end up with a more powerful character than I did by the end of the game.

I thought that the necessary experience required to level up increased significantly

16 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

I can't confidently say I remember a scenario where this was an option during a fight. It's why I prefer going through the game talking down all the NPCs, because if a fight breaks out in town, quest giving NPCs may die since enemy AI might hunt them down instead of attacking you, further prompting me to drop a save when I know a fight is coming

14 hours ago, Ertrick36 said:

- Combat ends only when everyone who is hostile to you is dead.  There may be some special cases I'm forgetting about, but generally speaking you'll only end combat if you kill everything that's actively trying to kill you.  I'm not sure if you can sneak away, as I've never tried to do so.

I see.

Spoiler

This question mostly came about because, during one of my many savescum attempts when dealing with the raiders, I killed the leader, and only the leader, and I thought it would be cool if I gave a speech about how the snake's head was cut off, and it would be wise for the rest of them to disperse, or else they would just kill each other trying to take the top spot. Another came from killing the crime boss's guard in Junktown, as I thought it would be cool if I could point my shotgun at his head and tell him that I'd let him live if he dismantled his criminal empire, and if he went back on his word, I'd pull the trigger next time.

Kinda sad I can't do that, but I also wasn't expecting the game to go that in-depth with the player options. Honestly, I'm satisfied enough with the amount of solutions the game has and the fact that other NPC's acknowledge them.

Side note: While I haven't seen the games gorier moments yet, I was rather surprised by the first graphic kill I pulled off.

16 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

Quest exp is rewarded for many different things in these games. For instance the woman in a vault suit at the entrance of Shady Sands gives you some experience if you exhaust all her dialogue to learn about the world. Using your science command on vault computers can also earn exp as your character stops to do some research. Usually the game tells you a specific amount that you earn in that bottom left text window, however sometimes the specific amount can be wrong, or it fails to tell you. Certain quest solutions typically earn more exp than others if you managed to avoid violence as well, but that's often to compensate for the lack of battle experience you would have earned from fighting it out.

14 hours ago, Ertrick36 said:

- Usually, if you get experience points seemingly for no reason, you probably completed a quest (likely an unmarked quest, at that).  Usually, you have to go out of your way to complete quests, but occasionally you'll find that just about your business might conveniently finish up some quests you either picked up earlier or just happened to stumble into.  You also sometimes get EXP for completing certain stages of some quests or for arriving in certain places, I believe.

So they're not just random flukes that I walked into. Thanks for clearing this up.

14 hours ago, Ertrick36 said:

Radiation is very fucking bad.

Rads Message HR CHP¹ ST PE EN CH IN AG
0-149 very nauseous                
150-299 slightly fatigued     -1          
300-449 vomiting does not stop -3   -1         -1
450-599 hair is falling out -5 -5 -2   -1     -2
600-999 skin is falling off -10 -15 -4 -3 -3 -3 -1 -5
1000+ intense agony -10 -20 -6 -5 -5 -5 -3 -6

The table above shows the effects of radiation sickness in Fallout 1 and 2; "HR" stands for "Healing Rate" (per hour) and "CHP" stands for "Current Hit Points", and I think you can figure out the rest.  That's right, if you get to 300 Rads or higher, you start losing health by the hour, and the later stages of radiation sickness incur insane debuffs.  And if you reach more than 1000 Rads without immediately dying, you'll have 24 hours to heal or else you die.  Not only that, but if any of your SPECIAL stats drop to 0, you instantly die.  You won't know you're getting irradiated unless you have a Geiger Counter, which you have to actually buy separately, or check your character's status.

The good news is there are very few places where radiation is actually present in the classic Fallout games, and it's extremely easy to prevent radiation sickness.  You just need to use two doses of Rad-X to become basically immune to radiation sickness, and they last for 24 hours.  In Fallout 1, you only have to worry about The Glow, and in Fallout 2 there's a random encounter called "Toxic Waste Dump" as well as a power plant with a highly radioactive reactor.  Only in the random encounter do you not have ample opportunity to prepare for the radiation.  Though I believe it takes particularly crummy luck, perception, and poor Outdoorsman skill to get the Toxic Waste encounter, as it's labeled as a "bad" encounter and doesn't provide anything beneficial for you.

Oh my. Those are rather excessive debuffs, although I take it that if you pay attention, you can prevent it from getting that far.

16 hours ago, Glennstavos said:

I dunno exactly how random encounters are decided, but I think the primary factor is your Outdoorsman skill. When you reach the Hub, shops there will sell skill books for you to boost the skill which I tend to stop and do if I have the spare cash. The skill specifically reduces the rate of unfavorable encounters and increases the rate at which the game instead stops and says "you encountered: raiders. Engage?" and you can select yes or no. As far as I know, Luck does not generally affect random encounters, but may increase the rate at which you find special encounters with friendly NPCs.

14 hours ago, Ertrick36 said:

- Luck has some effect on random encounters.  But I think it's, like, only for increasing your chances of getting rare, good encounters.  Outdoorsman is the stat that affects how you come upon bad encounters.  If you keep getting a bad random encounter, just try diverting your course into different map squares.  It's never a bad idea to save frequently while you travel.

I originally thought that Outdoorsman didn't do much, but I see now that it actually does have an affect. I'll probably put a few points there to prevent getting crowded by a bunch of radscorpions again.

14 hours ago, Slumber said:

You can become a porn star in 2

Wait, really? I mean, I know that the game has sexual content on the box, but I wasn't expecting it to go that far.

I take it that the sex stuff is optional, and that it'll obvious if you'll be entering such an encounter? I remember dropping 2 or 3 other games pretty quickly when I learned the hard way that that content was especially blatant (one of them was rated Teen, even, just because I entered an affair with a character that I barely knew because a dialogue option was extremely vague), and I'd rather know ahead of time how the Fallout games handle it.

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5 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

I thought that the necessary experience required to level up increased significantly

I think it's just a standard exponential increase in experience required per level, which is why most people don't get to max level when they play the first game.  In the second game it's easier get to a higher level because there's a metric fuckton of quests, though they also raised the level cap in that game.

5 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

This question mostly came about because, during one of my many savescum attempts when dealing with the raiders, I killed the leader, and only the leader, and I thought it would be cool if I gave a speech about how the snake's head was cut off, and it would be wise for the rest of them to disperse, or else they would just kill each other trying to take the top spot. Another came from killing the crime boss's guard in Junktown, as I thought it would be cool if I could point my shotgun at his head and tell him that I'd let him live if he dismantled his criminal empire, and if he went back on his word, I'd pull the trigger next time.

Thing about Fallout games is that things usually can't be resolved peacefully, at least when you're talking about crime lords and raiders.  It's a post-apocalyptic world; the game's meant to be brutal, cruel, and violent.

The thing about the raiders is they're Khans.  As in, they take direct inspiration from Genghis Khan.  So they aren't gonna yield to an outsider, most of them will fight to the death even when things look hopeless.

And the thing about the crime boss is... well, he's a crime boss.  And an egotistical one, at that.  He's not gonna yield because he would never admit defeat, he's hot-headed, and he still can technically fight back (even if hopelessly behind his desk).

I will say, for its lack of options in terms of dealing with factions, they at least made it make sense why the factions would continue fighting back in the face of overwhelming odds.

5 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

Side note: While I haven't seen the games gorier moments yet, I was rather surprised by the first graphic kill I pulled off.

You get gory kills either by critting an enemy to the point of massive overkill or if you have the Bloody Mess perk.  Alternatively, certain NPCs (like one you mentioned having to kill) will always have unique death animations which are usually fairly graphic.

Enemies can also get such kills on you, but only if they also get an overkilling crit on you.  Which essentially means you'd only really see such deaths on your end when you get to near endgame, as most earlier enemies don't have very high crit rates.

5 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

Oh my. Those are rather excessive debuffs, although I take it that if you pay attention, you can prevent it from getting that far.

Yes, and again it's pretty rare.  It's a stark contrast in the 3D Fallout games, where radiation exists in many different places (while the effects of sickness are a lot more mild).  Speaking of, it's much easier to track radiation in those games because the Pip-Boy has a built-in Geiger Counter that you'll hear as soon as you walk into radiation (and you'll see a radiation scale at the top of the screen indicating how irradiated you are).  Another difference in those games is 1000 Rads means instant death, while classic Fallout gives you a window of opportunity to fix your radiation, and the 3D games don't kill you for having enough negative modifiers to push your SPECIAL stats in the 0's.

Also, in some very rare cases in the 3D games, jumping into a highly irradiated place (such as ground zero of a nuclear bomb detonation site) will just instantly kill you, no matter how much preventative medication you take.  The only time you will ever be 100% immune to radiation in the series is in Fallout 1 when you take two Rad-X pills, as that's the only game that allows for complete radiation immunity.  And funnily enough, Fallout 1's one case of intense radiation happens to be another ground zero site.

6 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

Wait, really? I mean, I know that the game has sexual content on the box, but I wasn't expecting it to go that far.

I take it that the sex stuff is optional, and that it'll obvious if you'll be entering such an encounter? I remember dropping 2 or 3 other games pretty quickly when I learned the hard way that that content was especially blatant (one of them was rated Teen, even, just because I entered an affair with a character that I barely knew because a dialogue option was extremely vague), and I'd rather know ahead of time how the Fallout games handle it.

It's very optional, and also kinda hard to access anyway.  You need either 8's and 9's in a few stats or you need the right perks and other such qualifications (like having had sex prior, or having a good reputation) in order to do it.  Only the best can be porn stars.

And as far as I know, there isn't any graphic sexual content, apart from a rather suggestive reputation card that you probably won't even look at more than once or twice.  There are some... interesting "star names" you can choose, however.

Speaking of reputations and sexual relations, this game gets rather cheeky with such things at times.  For example, you can get married to someone, and the reputation description for "Married" will say "You got hitched.  Hey, it's your problem, not ours."  But then if you kill the spouse, sell them into slavery, or get divorced, then you'll get the reputation title "Separated" which will say, "Your spouse is no longer with you. I hope you're happy."  And if you join the Slaver's Guild, you get a tattoo slapped right onto your face so that everyone instantly knows how much of a scumbag you are, which throws discretion entirely out the window.

In fact, generally speaking, Fallout 2 is significantly more tongue-in-cheek and comedic than Fallout 1 or virtually any other Fallout game in the series.

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Finally got the water chip! Fixed the water pump while I was at it, even though the Necropolis sewers are a maze and I apparently missed this "Set" fellow. Took a while, mostly due to focusing on real life stuff over the past few weeks, but I eventually completed the first part of the game. As always, the questions:

- How do you use the gieger counter? Anytime I try to use it, it just says it will be on the interface, but it doesn't appear anywhere on the pipboy. I got hit by some glowing ghouls, so I have some radiation, but I want to know exactly how much (that isn't the "you feel nauseous" messages).

- Anything I should know before heading to the Brotherhood of Steel?

- Are my companions affected by radiation? I'm wondering whether or not it's a good idea to bring them to the Glow, since inevitably a quest or something will require me to go there.

- Does reputation do anything? I noticed that it went up when I did the right thing, and down when I took a less than noble job (and maybe from extorting a guy who runs an iguana-on-a-stick shop), but I'm curious if it affect rewards or quests or anything like that (I know it alters the ending, but that's the extent of my knowledge).

- What are some good ways to determine combat strength? I've noticed that my character can handle larger fights now, and I've been thinking about going back to the raider base to kick their butts to gain experience help Shady Town out even more, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

- The first time I met Harry, I convinced him to that I wanted to talk to Lou. Lou turned out to be a Super Mutant with intelligence, and as awesome as telling him to go to hell was during the torture sequence, I take it that that's the undesirable way to get to their base. Any tips on finding a more desirable way to get there?

- Speaking of which, I know that in the original version of the game, there was a second time limit after you found the water chip. I know that they removed it in later versions (I'm playing the GOG version, by the way), and changed up how it works. I know that the more time you spend, the more the mutant threat grows, and certain areas become affected, but is there a way to determine how much time you have left, or is it advised that you just don't dilly-dally?

- Since it was more or less free experience and they were largely hostile anyway, I killed all the ghouls at the Necropolis hotel. Will this bite me in the butt later down the road, or for the most part do encounters like that not affect the game world as a whole?

Thanks in advance.

Let's ignore that I'm partially doing this to bump the topic so I'm won't be accused of necroposting later. And why the heck is autocorrect saying that necropolis is an actual word?

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52 minutes ago, Hawkwing said:

And why the heck is autocorrect saying that necropolis is an actual word?

It is a word. 

Necro- Greek for "corpse"; polis- Greek for "city". E.g. necrophilia, necropsy; police, metropolis. Necropolis- "city of corpses". Doesn't have to mean a literal city, it just means a lot of dead people buried in one location.

A fancy word for cemetery, usually referring to big and elaborate ones. The Valley of the Kings in Egypt is a necropolis from Pharaonic times. Christian catacombs in Paris or Rome could be called a necropolis too.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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1 hour ago, Hawkwing said:

- How do you use the gieger counter? Anytime I try to use it, it just says it will be on the interface, but it doesn't appear anywhere on the pipboy. I got hit by some glowing ghouls, so I have some radiation, but I want to know exactly how much (that isn't the "you feel nauseous" messages).

I think the geiger counter's only use is telling you an actual number for how radiated you are. Just put it in your inventory like you would a weapon and use it.

Quote

- Anything I should know before heading to the Brotherhood of Steel?

They'll ask you to do something before you're allowed entry. But none of them get mad if you make lockpick attempts on the front entrance and get in that way. There's some good dialogue and stuff inside so it's you're call how you want to get in.

Quote

- Are my companions affected by radiation? 

Nope

Quote

- Does reputation do anything? I noticed that it went up when I did the right thing, and down when I took a less than noble job (and maybe from extorting a guy who runs an iguana-on-a-stick shop), but I'm curious if it affect rewards or quests or anything like that (I know it alters the ending, but that's the extent of my knowledge).

No notable differences beyond an altered scene for the ending. They didn't do much with the karma/reputation system in Fallout 1.

Quote

- What are some good ways to determine combat strength? I've noticed that my character can handle larger fights now, and I've been thinking about going back to the raider base to kick their butts to gain experience help Shady Town out even more, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

You should be more than strong enough to handle the raiders if you've got the water chip, so go for it when it's convenient. Armor with better AC makes the biggest world of difference for staying alive, but in a game like this difficulty spikes can definitely surprise you, further prompting you to save.

Quote

- The first time I met Harry, I convinced him to that I wanted to talk to Lou. Lou turned out to be a Super Mutant with intelligence, and as awesome as telling him to go to hell was during the torture sequence, I take it that that's the undesirable way to get to their base. Any tips on finding a more desirable way to get there?

Honestly the Mariposa base has the strongest enemies in the game both inside and as random encounters near the area, and the story eventually tasks you to go there and stop the Mutant threat. You can enter the base safely if wearing a particular set of robes and lockpicking through doors but from there you'll have to do a lot of various skill checks in order to complete the story quest without ever getting into a fight. As far as I know most players don't attempt to fight their way in, though if you do I would ask the Brotherhood if they can help. This requires having gone to the location first to know about the mutant threat firsthand. You can get their assistance for the Cathedral as well.

Quote

- Speaking of which, I know that in the original version of the game, there was a second time limit after you found the water chip. I know that they removed it in later versions (I'm playing the GOG version, by the way), and changed up how it works. I know that the more time you spend, the more the mutant threat grows, and certain areas become affected, but is there a way to determine how much time you have left, or is it advised that you just don't dilly-dally?

Yes mutant invasions occur in certain towns after a set amount of time (in-game days), but I think all but one or two were officially patched out. I don't remember testing this myself but online sources claim if you take longer than these time limits you'll never get the "mutants killed everybody" endings as long as you don't visit those locations after those points. If you do trigger those endings, they take precedence over other endings you may have achieved through quests. There is no in-game way to learn how much time those locations have left so it'd be a google search. 

Quote

- Since it was more or less free experience and they were largely hostile anyway, I killed all the ghouls at the Necropolis hotel. Will this bite me in the butt later down the road, or for the most part do encounters like that not affect the game world as a whole?

Those enemies are easy to avoid but no, there's no repurcussions for killing them for exp

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