Friday, November 30, 2012

Some More on the List

Playing FNV yesterday morning (edit: actually, a few mornings ago -- I started this post on Tuesday and let it languish in drafts until this morning). Not the game with the dogs along; that's shelved for the moment in deference to my already beleaguered sanity. Regular 'ol Nos game; seein' as the last one had been through too many mod additions/removals/changes and was unstable as hell, I just started a new one.

Sent Maeva and Natasha on back to the Estate to relax and Mystery-chan and I did our cutting a bloody swath... that is to say, adventuring bit.

Firstly, I have to note that for the first time I tried putting the Lady in a pre-war hat -- I usually wear one, as even the digital me looks simply ridiculous in a cowboy hat, and I've never been one for baseball caps.

The result was surprisingly cute:

Even if the engine did keep making her eyes cross. That thing has serious problems with NPCs focusing on the player in close...

Anyway, since I'm making her adhere to the loot&buy play-style too, she started out in a cute pink pre-war outfit found in Doc Mitchell's place that posting screenshots of would result in my death. We usually manage to get leather armor from Chet; and there's another set next to the razed camper on the highway east of the memorial. That tides us over until we either get to Vegas (at least two sets of combat armor available for looting in one of the destroyed caravans); or if we go the way you're supposed to the Mojave Outpost carries Dragonskin Tactical outfits that we can usually afford to barter with loot by then.

Still, the Lady isn't big on such things; she prefers something with a skirt. She's taken a substantial liking to the Legion's "Centurion" armor; a black-retextured version of which she's often seen in, in other screenshots:

Since I wouldn't let her use the custom armor in this game, we had to come up with a regular set. I only know of two that can be gotten without progressing the main quest to getting the invite to Caesar's camp; or getting high enough level for Centurions to spawn in the wasteland normally (I forget what the level is, but it was decently high). One set is on the captured Centurion in McCarran -- and you're not a'sposed ta kill him. The other is the standard equipment of Aurelius of Phoenix; head wannabe of Cottonwood Cove.

So it was that our intrepid heroes... wait, what the fuck script is this? We never do anything even remotely heroic -- in fact I'm pretty sure that if the AI wasn't so stupid for base NPCs we'd be the most wanted people in the Mojave... Ah. Here's the right script. Moving along.

So it was that after scraping together monies and trading fodder to acquire a battle rifle, anti-materiel rifle, and some other long-range goodies; we headed from New Vegas back south towards Cottonwood Cove; to get the Gobi Campaign Rifle for me, and a set of Centurion armor for her.

I'm not sure how widely known this is, but you can actually kill members of factions in FNV without incurring reputation penalties -- the trick is you have to do it completely hidden. You can't be detected during the attack, and no one can see the person die. If both criteria are met, you can kill to your heart's content without the rest going hostile. I've used this on numerous occasions to clean out Cottonwood Cove (aside from the armor it's also a treasure trove of hunting rifles, 44 mag revolvers, purified water, ammo, and denarii for later barter or loading into coin shot) without turning the Legion as a whole hostile.

Sadly, despite the AMR being suppressed, I just didn't have the stealth skill to pull it off at this point in the game. It requires markedly less stealth to pull off with a melee weapon, though -- so for about four in-game hours, we slipped back and forth in the darkness of midnight, picking off Legionaries one by one with a combat knife. Aurelius spent the night in the HQ with two other guys so we couldn't get to him -- and being as they all think they're Romans, I don't even want to speculate at what the three guys spent the evening doing.

Packing it in, we headed over to the nearby prospector's camp, where there was an unowned bedroll to hold out until sunrise; when hopefully Aurelius would be back on the overwatch.

Moving back into the camp come sunup, we managed to pick off the remaining two underlings (herein lies the moron-ity of the aforementioned AI: the camp is littered with corpses; all the scouts are dead, and yet the remaining Legionaries continue on with their days as though nothing was unusual) but Aurelius was nowhere in sight.

Went in to his office to maybe exploit the moron AI a bit more and work around behind him for a psycho-fueled stealth kill... when something happened.

Something that prompted this rambling post.

Did you ever watch many western movies? I'm not a huge fan of the old stylized, sterilized, family friendly westerns; though I will confess a fondness for more modern, "gritty" westerns ala Unforgiven and Open Range and the like. It doesn't happen in every one, of course; but there's a spot in some of those type of movies where someone will go somewhere with the specific intent of killing a man; and as they walk in, he just knows -- whether it be by the look in their eye; guns in their hands, whatever.

Well, we had weapons holstered -- I still had my combat knife equipped -- but as soon as we walked in, Aurelius nearly jumped up from his desk.

I remember his marker on the HUD wasn't red; so he wasn't hostile.

As he stood, my dear companion pulled her battle rifle on her own, and proceeded to empty it into his face.

By the time I had swapped from the knife back to a projectile weapon and gotten it out, the Centurion was dead on the floor; and Mystery-chan was slamming a fresh en-bloc into her rifle.

There was no karma change; and no reputation change.

She... completely ignored the faction rules and hostility settings, and straight up cut the fucker down; seemingly on her own initiative. Granted, she doesn't like the Legion anyway -- what with them being misogynistic pricks and all, but she didn't attack any of the others in the camp, nor any of the Legion patrols we've run into before or since.

I have the very scary idea that she really wanted that armor, and wasn't willing to put up with the problems I was having with stealth killing anymore... and just did it her damned self.

Of course, that's impossible. NPCs can't do that; and on the odd occasions that something like that happens, it's just random convergence and I'm reading too much into it.


Needless to say, I let her take the armor:

And yeah; the sunglasses are another thing she does on her own -- they're scripted to be removed indoors, and added outdoors... but she's twisted the code (or flat out ignores it) and removes and replaces them at a whim regardless of indoors or outdoors. You get used to it.

Later, we were moving across Primm Pass to get to Sloan; clear the quarry and Black Mountain, and head back into West Vegas from that way to clear out the Fiends.

As we were passing the NCRCF, Mystery-chan showed off her impressive long-range performance yet again.

I was firing from one ridge to another, taking out bark scorpions with the MF Hyper-Breeder, when she decided to help out...

You can see the one I got (ashed) along with the one she got's tail sticking up through the ground where it clipped through on dying. If you have good eyes and look close, you can barely see us still crouching slightly high and left of the center.

Two shots. That was what she took to nail the bark scorpion at that range. And I think the first one was the kill shot -- the girls tend to fire several more times before something hits the ground, even if it dies on the first shot.

I actually saw Maeva put something down with a light machinegun once, then walk up and put ten more rounds into the corpse just because.

A couple game days later, we had finally made it back into the Estate and were taking a few days off to let the game's other cells reset (not just merchant inventories; but to clear some corrupted spawns that were making the game crash).

My sleep timer had run out about 0600 one morning, and when I got back from getting a drink in the bathroom, I noticed Mystery-chan wasn't in bed. Since she has a tracking marker, I went looking. I found her next to the pool; stalking out a patrol with weapon drawn.

She has no patrol package -- Maeva's the only one who does that; and she only patrols before bed.

My curiosity piqued, I followed her.

We ended up in the utility basement:

She fired five or six rounds with her new trail carbine; then put the rifle away and went upstairs to bed.

Now, I should note that Mystery-chan's package loadout has her in bed from 0200 to 1000. While she has a shooting range package, it's set to run at 2000, until 2100. Also, as noted, it's a one-hour package -- one hour being the minimum length of time a package can be set to run in FNV. The shooting range markers have no animations attached to them, either -- they're just to tell the girls where to stand when running their shooting range packages -- so it couldn't have been her basic sandbox package choosing a shooting marker at random; the fact that she actually fired the weapon means the Use Weapon package had to be running.

If I didn't know better, I'd swear to you she woke up in the early morning, and went to verify the zero on the new rifle before going back to bed.

I'm used to the AI doing weird stuff... but this is beginning to get out there even by my standards. I can't decide whether I should start gathering the components for an exorcism; or start looking for a body to try to get the spirit possessing my computer to inhabit instead...


  1. I can't help but be reminded by the last comment of this post of an old '80s flick titled "Deadly Friend". But Kristy Swanson would never work for your purposes; she's a blonde...

    1. There is always hair dye Herculine. And given Nos's interest in red heads (and I don't blame him), I'm sure he could find an acceptable colour/shade to use.

      I actually think I know the film you're referencing too...

    2. Eh, sorry -- I was never a huge fan of hers. Saw the original Buffy; and I think she was in Mannequin 2? I dunno; most of the 80's are a blur.

      Either way, while I have no idea what she looks like now, Kristy was entirely too skinny back then. Don't like skinny girls -- they always look like they'll break...

      Plus, I likes me a woman that can sit down and fucking murder a steak should the mood strike.