The Publisher: None, free release (but endorsed by some of the original Fallout team)
Degree of Familiarity: Played a couple of times
Books Required: Version 2 of the corebook
Playing Fallout 3 has brought back fond memories of the old, old fan-created Fallout P&P game. Mostly, the people who wrote it were regulars over at No Mutants Allowed, a particularly rabid Fallout community that hated Fallout Tactics and that thinks Fallout 3 is the work of Satan himself. A bunch of Angry Internet People, in order worlds. Which is a pity, because despite a whole load of old-school charm, it falls into the same bucket as Cthulhutech: interesting game with dickish creators.
Anyway. Anyone who hasn't heard of Fallout should get the hell off my Internet. The basic idea: the world was going through a nice 50s revival period, but then The Bombs dropped. Lucky people got to live in Vaults, giant self-sustaining nuke-proof bunkers. Others survived in the wastelands. The first two games involve the South-West of America, and are truly excellent RPGs. The first game features a Vault-Dweller from Vault 13 sent to find a water chip or else everyone dies, while his descendant features in the sequel trying to save his village. Key groups like the Enclave, the Brotherhood of Steel, and the
Fallout Tactics shifted the location to the Midwest, and shifted the attitude of the game's signature power-armored paladins the Brotherhood of Steel. Unfortunately, Tactics was more of a squad-based tactical shooter than an RPG, so lots of people didn't like it. I quite enjoyed it, but that probably makes me a heretic or something.
Fallout 3, the latest installment, once again focuses on a Vault-Dweller, this time from Vault 101 in the Washington DC area and features a lot of expansion on the world, from the Brotherhood to the "new government" of the Enclave to the origins of Ghouls, Super-Mutants, and Deathclaws, to the real (and sinister) purpose behind the Vault programme.
Anyway. The game itself is based on the SPECIAL system as featured in Fallout 1&2. It's old-school like whoah, with attribute checks made on 1d10, skill checks on 1d100, and variable weapon damage, and generally more crunch than I'm really comfortable with. But I've played this enough to be comfortable with it, so what the hell.
Part 1: Character Concept
Fallout assumes that the characters are a group out looking for their fortune in the wasteland, rather than a pack of vault-dwellers or Brotherhood initiates. I always like playing snipers, the one-hit-one-kill type. A watchman, spending every day at the top of that bloody tower, popping shots at radroaches, radscorpions, and whatever else thought the town's Brahmin (two-headed cows. No, really) would make tasty treats. Life on the platform is boring. The last time a gang of super-mutants came too close everyone crowded him out, bringing the town's heavy weapons to bear. Our Lucas (for that is his name)
got pissed off with only being a wanrning system, and ran off with a scavenger caravan, looking for something more.
Part 2: Race
In addition to humans, immortal ghouls, and enhanced super-mutants the Fallout rules include dogs, Deathclaws, and robots among the playable races. I'm sticking with a vanilla human, thanks. That nets me 30% electricity resistance and a Perk every 3 levels. That's one thing D&D4 and Fallout 3 have in common: they realise it's important and fun to get something new every level. But I digress.
Part 3: Traits
More games should have Traits, little things available at character creation that offer both a positive and negative effect. A character in Fallout can have up to 2. As a watchman, I'd rather not skip Finesse (-30% damage, +10% crit chance). Used to being in a watchtower, Lucas doesn't know how to avoid damage. Kamikaze makes sense.
Part 4: Statistics
7 stats, 40 points to spread out, with a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 10.
Perception and Agility are the big Stats for people using guns as, err, guns rather than funky clubs. 7 points in each. Luck's also really useful, especially with the Finesse perk, so 7 points there. Lucas had to talk himself onto that caravan somehow, so 6 points in Charisma. I leave Intelligence at 5, and drop both Strength and Endurance to 4 each.
Now, to work out how those affect him. Hit Points are 15 + S + 2*E, or 27. Armor Class would be 7, but it's reduced to 0 from Kamikaze. Combat runs off Action Points, equal to 5 + A/2 round down. 8, then. Carry Weight is 25lsb per point of Strength, plus another 25, or 125. Oddly, weights are the only thing to be in American measurements rather than metric. Melee damage 1, poison resistance is E*5 (20), radiation resistance is E*2 (8), gas resistance 0/0, damage resistance and threshold are both 0. Sequence is this game's term for Initiative, and is equal to 2*P (14), +5 from Kamikaze. Healing rate is HP regained in a 24 hour period, based off Endurance, and is 1. Critical Chance is 7, +10 for Finesse.
Skills work themselves out based on a character's starting stats. Three Skills get chosen as Tag skills, and go up by 20. The final calculations are on the character sheet below, but the tag skills are Small Guns (anything up to rocket launcher/minigun in size), Sneak (for getting that first shot). Finally, tag Gambling. Nothing to do up on the tower, so playing cards or dice is the only way to pass the time.
Part 6: Karma and Finishing Touches
Karma's always 0. Finishing touches basically consist of "Think up some quirks or some shit." No rules for starting equipment. Which sucks, because how can characters use half of their skills without equipment? Fuckit. Starting budget of 1000 caps.
From that, Lucas gets an M1 Garand rifle (400), 50 rounds of 7.62mm ammo (300), and a leather jacket
Name Lucas Johnson
Age 23 Sex Male Height 5'10" Weight 150lb
Eyes Brown Hair Black Skin Dark Brown
|Hit Points 27|
Carry Weight 125lb
Action Points 7
Melee Damage 1
Critical Chance 17%
Healing Rate 1
Poison Resist 20%
Radiation Resist 8%
Gas Resist 0/0
Electricity Resist 30%
Armor Class 8
|Small Guns 53%|
Big Guns 14%
Energy Weapons 14%
Melee Weapons 425
First Aid 28%
Equipment M1 Garand rifle (range 30, dmg 1d10+7, AP Single 5, AP Target 6, Rounds 8), 50x7.62mm rounds, Leather jacket (AC 8, N 0/20, L 0/20, F 0/20, P 0/20, E 0/20).