Entropic Crusader

Home of sci-fi and fantasy author, Benjamin Matthews
Tents, the mainstay of all military organisations. Never underestimate their importance.

With Eighton out of the way, it’s onto Talon Company, Reilly’s Rangers, and the Regulators. Let’s talk briefly about karma: it sucks. At least as it’s currently set up. Having mercs spawn to attack you just because you’ve got positive or negative karma is beyond ridiculous in a post-apoc world like this, so I’ll be axing that as a concept straight away.

Instead we’ll be using a New Vegas style system where annoying the wrong factions will lead to murder squads coming after you. Technically this is what the Talon mercs are, they always have a note on them indicating someone is unhappy with you, but since factions aren’t a thing it’s instead tied to karma (and to the bomb disarming quest).

In any case, we’ll start with Talon since I already mentioned them in Tenpenny’s part. The general idea behind these guys is that they’re Tenpenny’s muscle and engage in various mercenary activities for money, some of which goes into Tenpenny’s coffers, and they also keep the plebs in line around the tower itself.

Not sure you guys should be living in an old nuclear silo… just sayin’.

As is usual for Bethesda, Talon members are hostile on sight, so we’ll be changing it so they’re only hostile if you’re actively working against Tenpenny or attack them first. They’re based out of Fort Bannister and have a named leader (Jabsco) the player will be able to talk to and pick up quests from.

Overall, what I’m thinking is that the mercs aren’t happy with Tenpenny’s treatment of them, and some of the higher-ups in the company have begun plotting their own play. Naturally this will tie into everything the player can get up to at Tenpenny Tower itself, and will lead to a variety of outcomes.

Tenpenny’s got his suspicions—or maybe someone in the company tipped him off and he knows their plans, or even have the player do it—and will contract the player to check it out and report back. Meanwhile, Jabsco is a lazy, cowardly arse who wants an easy life and thinks killing Tenpenny is the way to go about this.

Because of his cowardly nature he won’t want to openly defy Tenpenny, instead sending the player over there to either have a quiet chat with the man (speech options), a buyout option of sorts (barter), threaten (combat skills / melee / STR), or simply outright assassinate him.

The player will have a multitude of options available here, from siding with Tenpenny, with Jabsco, with the Slums, or attempting diplomacy in order to get them working together with better contract terms for the mercs. Additionally, the player can potentially kill Jabsco and take his place, showing themselves to be a more capable and stronger leader, someone the mercs can actually be happy following.

You know, missiles in an enclosed space might not be the best idea? Just a thought.

However, unlike Bethesda’s view of how hierarchies work, this will take the player some effort to achieve. A hostile takeover will be met with initial distrust even if they’re basically willing to follow you. No surprise there, you just killed the top guy… but the top guy wasn’t that well liked in any case, so they’re willing to give you a chance to prove your ability.

This will lead to a variety of missions where you’ll have to a) prove your leadership by taking small strike teams on missions, and b) fulfil certain conditions while on those missions. Too many of the team dies, you’ll score low. Screw the mission up, low score. Piss off an ally of Talon Company, again a low score will result.

But equally, by keeping your team alive, completing the missions well, and maintaining relations with the other less salubrious types that Talon Company associates with, you’ll gain their trust. Basically the sort of thing Bethesda has forgotten how to do in their eagerness to never lock the player out of content.

This will of course be entirely possible to do regardless of how you’re dealing with Tenpenny. Siding with him? He’ll task you with taking Jabsco out and put you in charge. Siding with Jabsco? Fine, no need to take over in that case if you’d rather roleplay as someone who stays out of the politics of other factions. And so on.

Random patrols through areas like this would make the world feel more alive and interesting. Especially if they meet some Regulators…

As for the rest of the Wasteland, we can say they’ve been tolerated for the most part because they don’t cause trouble unless necessary for a job. Tenpenny keeps them on a fairly tight leash while still affording them a good amount of leeway and latitude, but doesn’t let them run wild. He doesn’t want to piss off Eighton, in short; power armour is no joke, after all (well… it kind of is in-game, but theoretically speaking).

As discussed above, Talon’s leaders don’t think they’re being paid enough, however, so maybe we can say they’re in league with Eighton’s hardliners, who’ve promised money and power if they help overthrow the moderates. They’ll also promise to help kick Tenpenny out, though it’s debatable whether they’d keep that promise.

Eighton itself doesn’t much like them and would quite like to see them taken out of the picture, but an all-out war would be a bad thing and tip the scales in the favour of the hardliners, who could easily use the situation to show how weak the moderates are.

By ensuring the moderates cause a lot of problems (even going so far as to intentionally sabotage plans and the like), the hardliners would be able to push them out of power, establishing themselves instead. By the time people realise what’s happened, it’ll be too late.

Doing the Monster Mash.

Next, let’s talk a bit about Reilly’s Rangers. Before anything else, a gameplay tweak: a timer from the moment you hear their broadcast that counts down to their eventual death. The message you hear over the radio will clearly state they can maybe last another 24-48 hours. Failure to reach them within that time = Royally Roasted Reilly’s Rangers.

To be quite honest I’m surprised they don’t have the essential tag set on them, so credit to Past Bethesda for actually making a quest the player can fail if they don’t rescue the mercs before they become Mutie Mix™.

I actually quite like the idea behind Reilly’s band of misfits. Rather than a regular merc group, they focus more on mapping out old ruins and selling the data to the highest bidder. And rescuing them lets you turn in map markers you’ve found for cash. This provides a nice little bonus incentive for exploring the world and neatly ties gameplay to narrative.

Remember I mentioned before how they want to expand a bit? The reason is primarily the simple fact that there’s only so much you can map before you’ve done everything, and this long after the bombs… yeah, that whole region should be mapped by now. So they’re looking for ways to expand their operations a bit, at least locally. The player could potentially also be tasked with mapping out the DLC regions while they’re on holiday there.

Reilly’s Compound is pretty nice, though it’d need to be five times bigger in my world.

In comes the player, whether before or after meeting the folks at Canterbury Commons. If before, then Reilly will ask you to keep your eyes open for potential business opportunities, hinting that there may be payment or even the option to join her band if you come through for them. After, and you can immediately inform them that Uncle Roe is after more reliable and well-equipped security for his caravans.

Similar to Talon, you’ll then have a series of quests to complete in order to set these two up with each other, resulting in various outcomes depending on how you want to play it. Ruin Reilly completely, sell her out to Tenpenny (likely to result in the death of all of them… by the player’s hand, probably with a team of Talon mercs backing them), expand their operations across the wastes, etc.

As I mentioned previously, Reilly’s company will also be larger by default with probably several dozen members, a few of which will have been caught on the roof of the Statesman Hotel (potentially even introducing a new enemy type, since it wouldn’t be Mutants). Over time, as the player completes quests for them, you’ll start seeing more of them around the world as they recruit new members and put them to work.

‘Regulators. I hate these guys.’ – Indiana Jonas

As far as the Regulators go, they need a rename first and foremost. The Regulators were some of the nastiest scumbags imaginable in the first game, and Bethesda probably thought they were being clever by making them goody-two-shoes here. “See, guys? We’re fans of Fallout, honest, see how subtly we reference the previous games!

Rather than make these guys karma mercs, I think it’d be reasonable to set them up as sort of a wasteland police force with members drawn from the various ‘good’ communities around the region; Eighton, Rivet City, Big Town (coming soon!), Old Olney (will be covered in the next part), and maybe one or two others.

So in the event you start getting on the wrong side of these settlements and factions, you’ll have Regulators coming after you. The more towns you piss off, the more Regulators will spawn and the better their equipment. Playing as a total arse, killing everything that moves will have tangible consequences, plus will provide greater challenge and enjoyment for that play style.

The Regulators will get tougher and spawn more frequently, caravans will gain additional guards, and potentially even better quality weapons and armour will start spawning on NPCs as the factions ramp up efforts to deal with your rampage. Finally, let’s rename the Regulators and make them more of a serious force in the world. I’m going to take a cue from both the real world Texas Rangers (‘One Riot, One Ranger’) and the NCR equivalents out west, plus a bit of Wasteland (as in, the game series). An organisation of this type needs structure and stability, so as noted above they’ll be a cross-settlement concern.

Shut up, Wesley.

Since Eighton is the most powerful settlement in the region, the head office (and likely the origin) of this organisation will be there. We can call it… the Department for Wasteland Safety, or a variation along those lines. And those working for the department will have similar ranks to the Old World; Deputy, Sheriff, Ranger, etc.

And every rank will be preceded by Wasteland, so Wasteland Rangers (possible legal hassles with InXile here, mind you…), Wasteland Deputies, and so on. As a general default title for them as a whole, we can use something like Wasteland Enforcers, neatly encapsulating their role and delineated further by individual ranks.

At defined points in the main quest / story, the general power levels of spawned Enforcers will increase, similar to how Legion and NCR champion units start spawning once you hit the point just before the dam war quest chain kicks off. But if you’re playing nasty? You’ll get even higher level and higher power spawns appearing to compensate.

This is an ‘HQ’? I could conquer this wearing nothing but a pretty dress and wielding a milk bottle.

Last of all, each major settlement will have its own Enforcer office where the player can pick up quests or simply get some lore and story from the people there (think something similar to the Bounties mod series). Additionally, if we wanted, we could utilise an existing location such as Wheaton Armoury as a training camp for the Regulators. It’s pretty close by, and gives them a nice location that’s on-par with the Talon HQ.

And we’re done! All three major merc outfits given more prominent roles and tied into the wider world a bit more firmly. Next, as I mentioned above, we’ll be going into one of the most criminally squandered locations in the whole damn Wasteland: Old Olney. This location will be receiving a serious overhaul into a fully functional settlement, because I love Old Olney and want to see it be the best it can be.

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