Fauna, Flora, and Factions of the Wasteland

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by JunjiItosGio, May 13, 2022 at 11:39 PM.

  1. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio Still Mildly Glowing

    212
    Oct 29, 2020
    Hey all, so as some of you know, I’m in the midst of a rewrite for all three Bethesda Fallouts (3, 4, and 76). In these rewrites as many others have over the years, I’ve started to try and take some of the recycled or lazy enemies and factions Bethesda has added to their world, for example the Super Mutants, Radscorpions, BOS, Enclave, and replace them with either new and unique ideas or tweak the things they have implemented a bit. I sought an old threat to put some of these ideas down, but it was specific to just mutant ideas rather than everything as a whole.

    In this thread I wanted to maybe get some creative juices flowing for any willing participants and see some community ideas for new or tweaked flora, fauna, or factions that you think would be neat to see in a post-nuclear Fallout wasteland. You’re free to constructively criticize or give general feedback as you please, it really only helps me and I’m sure others. With that in mind, I’ll post some ideas I’ve already shared (sorry for the copy/paste if you’ve seen these before.)


    Smiley:

    Smileys are hideously mutated large bobcats with long and sharp uneven fangs (I personally originally named them after the Smilodon, or sabre tooth tiger, of the Ice Age era, however @Iprovidelittlepianos has since provided a much more fitting reasoning for the name).
    The name comes from a common severe cleft pallet they have that pulls their lips up to reveal a nasty looking smile.


    Sappers:

    Sappers are humans who’ve been infected with a radiation induced mutated fungus that grows in caves. Transmitted initially through ingestion of what otherwise looked like perfectly edible mushrooms, it’s not contagious in the traditional sense of a zombie outbreak, but more like AIDs through blood/bodily fluid contact. The virus they get turns their skin as hard as bark on a tree, eventually causing their flesh to crack and tear upon movement which is what makes them screech. When their flesh breaks apart, they leak blood which is where the name Sapper comes from. (I’ve also taken inspiration from the Greek word saprophyte.) They aren’t feral in the sense where they attack you to death, but just until they break skin so it’s able to transmit the disease to another host through their “sap” so the cycle can continue.


    Mothmen:

    Giant Moths whose mutation has made them really sensitive to the light they used to be attracted to. As a result, they’ve become nocturnal and rely on a heightened sense of sound to hunt prey. As they can’t really see well anymore, they’ll attack humans who aren’t aware of their surroundings or with the right equipment. They’re not everywhere around the world map, but Wastelanders have left warning signs on trails, roads, and settlements where they’ve been spotted. A good way to keep them away from you is to turn on your Pip-Boy flashlight. This obviously comes with the chance of being seen by raiders or predatory creatures at night.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2022 at 1:22 AM
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 5
  2. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    Posting some of my old ones.

    Dead-Heads
    Dead-Heads



    Dead-Heads are the "signature mutants" of the Colorado Wasteland: Compare the Tunnelers of the Divide, the Ghost People of the Sierra Madre, or the Lobotomites of Big MT. Like the Lobotomites of Big MT, however, it is perhaps not entirely correct to call the Dead-Heads 'mutants': rather, they are the victims of pre-War Super Science, whose detrimental effects continue to be repeated to this day.

    Origins



    Most Dead-Heads come from Siena Supermax. The first of these were literally so - as a means of control over their slave-prisoners, the guards of Siena Supermax would use the brain-draining capabilities of the Zenith supercomputer that controlled the facility. Indeed, Siena Supermax had been constructed by Acme and the Government (with only limited knowledge for the ever squeamish Greenway) with four experimental purposes in mind beyond its public claims of being the prison of the future: one, to use death row inmates and the Zenith Supercomputer. Two, to give Acme and the government an attempt to advance the field of computer science - rather than ripping out the brains of dogs and humans and using them as central processors, they wanted to build off of some of the innovative discoveries by RobCo and Poseidon and discover how the human mind itself worked. Third, (and closely linked to the second), as a semi-phrenological endeavor to understand the mind of the criminal, the psychopath, and the communist.

    Fourthly (and EXTREMELY closely linked to the third), as a part of the US government's ongoing research into brainwashing, its brain-draining would use some of the CODE research being developed in the Boulder Dome. After having their mind pumped and their brain permanently scarred from the large needle shoved through their temple, the inmates subjected to brain-drain were left dazed, but largely pleasant and compliant. Pre-War, this made them the perfect inmates to be subjected to the Blue Flu. Post-War, it made them the perfect servants for the ruling guards.

    This is not to say that the brain-drain was a full proof lobotomy: in addition to the obvious effects (loss of self and loss of memories), inmates would suffer from some stranger effects. Seizures, accompanied by the babbling of inhuman sounds and alphanumeric sequences, would occur from time to time. Inmates seemed to possess knowledge (especially about computers) that they should have no way of knowing. And at least on one occasion, one brain-drained inmate ran amok, killing all in his path with the single minded purpose of gaining access to Zenith before being shot dead.

    When the socialists took control of Siena Supermax, they found the brain-drain to be quite delightful. Like the guillotine of the French revolutionaries, the leaders of Siena hailed the brain-drain as a humane form of execution - those that did wrong by the body politic could have their asocial tendencies wiped out, and have their bodies repurposed to serve the people and act as the model of the New Sienan Man. It also helped that the intellectuals and thugs that made up Siena's ruling cabal had no idea how to keep Zenith running without supplying it with constant brain-drains.

    However, as Zenith's performance began to break down, so too did the well being of those whose brains it drained. What had once been rare occurrences became the norm: victims lost nearly all grasp on the human language, instead descending into a bizarre mixture of ticks, clicks, and RobCo termlink that was decipherable only to those who had been brain-drained. Further, they became even more single mindedly obsessed with computers, becoming almost totally incapable of functioning in the real world. Worst of all, the number of violent incidents by them increased.

    Unable to stop conducting brain-drains lest the prison's automated systems begin to collapse, the Sienans devised a simple solution: simply dump the victims outside of the walls of the prison once they were done pumping them, leting them fend for themselves. The Sienans figured that they would starve to death in a matter of weeks, unable to fend for themselves in the harsh wasteland. How far they were from the truth.

    Behavior & Characteristics



    Dead-Heads spend most of their time below ground in their cyber-hives. Generally, they can only stand to be above ground during the night on account of their extremely pale skin and sensitive eyes. Most of this time is spent scavenging any technology they can get their hands on, in addition to Mentats. Occasionally, they will kidnap humans (often but not always children) to be converted into new Dead-Heads.

    One of the most prominent features of Dead-Heads are their goggles. The RobCo Virtuoso was their attempt to beat Virtual Strategic Solutions to the civilian virtual reality market. Connected to wiring by a wrist-mounted PIP-Boy, the device boasted realistic wire-frame graphics, full sound integration, and even intra-cranial magnetics to stimulate the brain and make the user feel as if they really are in delightful worlds of fancy. The product was slated for a limited release in Colorado where it was manufactured before nation wide release.

    Unfortunately, the Virtuoso was a massive failure. Users reported nausea, blurred vision, memory loss, and hallucinations both during and after their use of the Virtuoso. Even those that didn't have such poor side effects complained about the limited games and capabilities of the Virtuoso. After a particularly unfortunate incident where a young boy walked straight off a cliff while using his Virtuoso. The product was scrapped, only a few remaining in circulation while the rest sat unused in warehouses. Meanwhile, VSS released the Hypno-Rama virtual reality cabinet in the Colorado market, to greater (albeit still limited) success. The "VR Wars" would be nullified, as so many things were, by the Great War.

    One of the first things the Dead-Heads did when they were released from Siena, without hesitation, was beeline for the nearest Virtuoso warehouse they could find and, alongside their PIP-Boys, put them on. Afterwards, they dispersed across the Rocky Mountain Wasteland and set about the work of digging their hives and scavenging every scrap of technology they could get their hands on. It seems that the Dead-Heads require the mediation of the Virtuoso in order to handle and be competent in the real world. Whatever they're looking at is incomprehensible to the normal viewer, however, a mess of green and red vectors accompanied by occasional white flashes that leave the user dazed.

    The only clothing that the Dead-Heads wear are circuit boards and scattered consumer electronics. All of this is hooked up to their PIP-Boy and their Virtuoso, and aids not only in enhancing their virtual reality but running constant inscrutable calculations. The layers of circuit boards and seemingly random household electronics and appliances act as a makeshift armor.

    In addition to the loose electronics, Dead-Heads will often make use of body augmentation. The most common of these is a set of retractable rabbit ears, drilled directly into the skull, likely for communicating with each other and whatever alien intelligence(s) govern them. They will also often wire their computers directly into their central nervous systems, both to heighten their perception and reaction times in addition to hooking their brain directly up to whatever strange calculations are being made.

    The eyes of the Dead-Head are beady. The skin is pallid, nearly transluscent. The genitalia have atrophied to almost nothing, making conventional reproduction impossible. Physically they tend to be quite weak, many using makeshift or scavenged power-armor parts to augment their limb strength.

    The Dead-Heads seem to communicate with themselves in a strange computer language that Boulderite scientists have dubbed "Xenotation." Consisting of ticks and clicks that bear a strong resemblance to the non-ordinal non-cardinal numeracies that dominate their computers, along with a smattering of RobCo termlink. The language is completely and totally untranslateable, it would take a purpose built Super-Computer to decode it. Even if you did, it's not clear how much good you'd get out of it - through their rabbit ears, they seem to be capable of communing with one another silently.

    Beyond their hives, Dead-Heads can be found almost only in the wee hours of the night scavenging technology and kidnapping children, occasionally squatting in sufficiently dark ruined buildings if their ranging takes them too far from a hive. There are two main variants one is likely to encounter in the wild: Slave Minds and Master Minds. Slave Minds are the more feeble, usually poorly equipped with power tools (especially nail guns), power fists, and occasionally arc welders. They have few if any augments. Master Minds are the real threat - a thick layer of technology, heavily augmented, and often equipped with ad-hoc power armor. In terms of weaponry, they will use the arc welders, thermic lances, and modified energy weapons. However, all of the Slave Minds are linked directly to their respective Master Mind (assuming one is present), operating as external memory drives and processors in addition to human (?) shields. As you kill the Slave Minds the Master Mind is softened up, but still poses a formidable threat.

    Dead-Heads possess a super human (?) acument for electronics, being able to hack or reprogram equipment without a thought. For devices with voice recognition software, and especially consumer grade robots, Dead-Heads are capable of reprogramming them simply by speaking in xenotation, making robots a common sight among Dead-Head scavenging parties - and a dicey prospect for would-be Wasteand adventurers to take along with them. Also extremely common are Cyber-Dogs, captured and reprogrammed from the Denver ruins.

    Cyber-Hives



    Dead-Heads spend most of their time inside of their Cyber Hives. Cyber hives are usually found in caves, in basements, or in radio stations or make-shift bunkers dug below radio towers. From the ground, one of the key signs of a Dead-Head is wires leading into the ground, strange towers made up of scavenged electronics, and inscrutable signs carved into the earth.
    The interior of cyber hives are encrusted with machinery wherever it can be fit, and often stretch much deeper into the earth then previously thought. Aside from the flashing lights of the electronics, the caverns are totally dark. Even when a cyber hive is cleared out, it is impossible to determine what these computers are doing - they seem to be operating on an entirely unknown language, that itself is based on a largely inscrutable numeric system. Even when scraps of decipherable RobCo term-link can be found amid the chaos, their translations come out as nonsensical, if vaguely forboding.

    The Dead-Heads spend most of their time within the hive plugged into computers - specifically, they like to utilize cobbled together VSS Hypno-Rama pods. What they do when in these pods remains a mystery: according to brain scans conducted by the Boulderites on captured Dead-Heads, they appear to be totally brain-dead while hooked up to their pods, hence the name. We can only assume that they are wandering through cyber space in a strange state that can only be allowed by undeath.
    When not plugged into their pods, Dead-Heads conduct perfunctory repairs and reprogramming of the vast arrays that make up their hives. Each hive has a dedicated space for food processing. The diet of the Dead-Head is rather unappetizing to normal humans, consisting of Salient Green (how they worked out Big MT's secret recipe remains unknown), Bio-Med gel (invented in Boulder and plentiful in the Rocky Mountain Wasteland), and a whole heck of a lot of crushed up mentats. If a human can get past the taste (imagine the smell!), it is a perfectly nutritious food source and is in fact quite beneficial for the mind - though prolonged use can lead to exhibiting certain symptoms not dissimilar from the Dead-Heads. Nevertheless, despite its poor protein content (accounting for their weak physique), it seems to contribute to the extremely long lifespan enjoyed by Dead-Heads.

    All hives also have a set up to create new dead heads, consisting of a needle, make-shifting brain scanner and magnetics, all hooked up to the vast computing power of the Hive and, presumably, the Dead-Head hive mind writ large.
    At the center of Dead-Head hives are the so called Mother Minds. Fed on a modified form of the normal Dead-Head sustenance, and augmented to a godly amount, one could scarcely imagine they're human when looking upon them, all metal and flashing screens and tubes of biogel. They seem to act as the mother board and governing intelligence behind each individual hive. They also possess a wicked electrical discharge, making them a real challenge for anyone trying to take out a hive with minimal casualties.

    Dead-Head Technicals

    When the Boulderites emerged, they found the Dead-Heads to be a fascinating nuisance. They were a constant hazard to Boulderite tech scavenging efforts, and on several occasions have assaulted or attempted to hack the Boulder Dome itself.
    Often coming into conflict with them, it was inevitable that a few would be taken back alive. Realizing their dangerous capacity, the Boulderites made sure to keep them totally isolated from any machine that could possible operate the Boulder Dome. After years of study, the Boulderites discovered that while xenotation was indecipherable, both it and the white flashes bore some of the tell tale signs of the CODE brainwashing technique developed in the Boulder Dome pre-War.

    After a lot of trial and error, the Boulderites found a way to successfully re-program the Dead-Heads. About half the time, it results in the violent death of the Dead-Head due to brain hemorraging. However, when it does work, the results are fantastic - tic xenotation is wiped from their mind, and they speak a patois consisting of RobCo termlink and English. Generally, they closely resemble the earliest iterations of the Dead-Heads, being only too happy to help their masters.

    Still possessing their superhuman technical skill, "Deprogrammed" Dead-Heads became essential as tecnicals. Though they could not explain how they did it, they were able to repair or alter just about any technical system. Reasoning that they were not human, the Boulderites were willing to sell or lease the less talented of the Dead-Head technicals - for the right price.

    Adventure Hooks

    -The Grateful Dead-Head: At some point, the player is presented with the opportunity to either buy, steal, or free a Dead-Head technical. An immensely useful companion that unlocks a lot of main story plot points and gives access to otherwise unaccessible computer interactions, this Dead-Head's quest consists of figuring out who he originally was. The ultimate reward (in addition to lots of fascinating information) is access to the only useable suit of Dead-Head power armor in the game, all other suits being tied to xenotation and thus unuseable by a normal human.
    -Radio Free Wasteland: Dead-Heads occupy many of the Rocky Mountain Wasteland's radio towers. Clear them out to help different factions, or to gain access to new radio stations. Alternatively, you could listen to the Dead-Head radio station - an original, eerie synthwave soundtrack, permeated by a robotic voice saying cryptic things as well as hidden messages.
    -Dead-Head Gruel: If you can figure out how to make this stuff, you could become the smartest guy in the Wasteland, and a long-lived one at that - just don't be surprised when it makes you socially retarded.
    -Siena Origins: Why did the Sienan Deadheads change? Only the records of Zenith holds the answer.
    -Slave Race: Some local commanders of the Legion wants to understand the principle behind the Dead-Heads, as they could make the perfect slaves if you could just get them more interested in carrying heavy packs and less interested in high level neural networking.
    -Mistaken Identity: That PIP-Boy on your wrist is going to make an awful lot of Wastelanders mighty uncomfortable around you, but will also open up new opportunities. And say, didn't that white flash at the beginning of the game look a bit like CODE?
    -Pest Control: Dead-Heads are a perpetual nuisance, and settlers pay those who wipe out their hives handsomely. But keep in mind that though Dead-Heads are almost universally hostile, you do possess a faction reputation with them that may come in handy down the line.
    -Deprogramming: Can Dead-Heads be saved in a more humane way?
    -Robot City: Dead-Heads are integral to the main plot, linked deeply to whatever Robot City is planning.

    Siena Supermax Penitentiary
    Fallout: Colorado - Siena Supermax Penitentiary



    Pre-War, Siena Supermax Penitentiary was America's toughest prison. It was called the "Alcatraz of the Rockies," and with good reason: perched as it is on a steep rocky plateau, accessible only by cable car or helicopter from the ground. The only way out of here for an enterprising prisoner would be to take quite the leap of faith. It was here at Siena that some of the worst criminals in the country were kept - serial killers, gang leaders and mafiosos, notorious bank robbers and jail breakers, the highest profile drug dealers. In addition, it housed prisoners of a different character - those terrorists (both foreign and domestic) and political dissidents that for whatever reason it would be too messy to just execute or disappear to one of the many government blacksites. In addition to this facility, there were no less then a dozen other prison facilities adjacent to the Super-Max for less notable felons. Together, these facilities made up just about the only employment for the citizens of Siena and the communities surrounding it.

    Acme Algorithmics


    Boulder, Colorado

    Acme Algorithmics, a Boulder-based computer firm, was struggling throughout the mid-21st century. Though it had been living large off of its contract with Cheyenne Mountain to build, maintain, and update that facility's massive Super-Computer AI, years of shoddy work and malfunctions (once resulting in the accidental carpet bombing of a sleepy North Dakota town, that was quickly covered up as a reactor melt down), there was serious talk in the military about phasing out the AI that was mockingly called the "Calculator" on account of its outdated capabilities in favor of one of WestTek's ZAX models, or one of those newfangled RobCo Distributed Network Intelligences.

    While the War ensured that this would never come to pass, Acme realized that it could no longer rest on its laurels. In addition to a massive overhaul of the Calculator, Acme bid to be a contractor on the countless defense/futurist make-work programs that the government was rolling out in the latter half of the 21st century. The first of these was the Boulder Dome. It was a natural fit - after all, the Boulder Dome's research was to be done in close cooperation with the University of Boulder, which much of Acme's staff was hired from. And plus, it was, you know, right there. After going on a massive hiring spree and expanding its capacity beyond its limited Super Computers to all sorts of high scientific pursuits, it was outbid by RobCo.

    Beaten but not defeated, Acme attempted to gain a spot in developing some computing systems for Project: Safehouse. As part of its campaign to court the government and RobCo, it developed the friendly little Pep-Boy, designed to be Vault Boy's best pal and the humble Vault Dweller's guide to the confusing world of amateur-oriented computers. As part of the campaign, the character was plastered on restaurants across the region, in addition to Acme products. Vault-Tec was initially excited about the character, seeing the possibility of expanding its characters to sell comics, cereal, and perhaps even a Saturday morning cartoon. But RobCo just couldn't let them have that - in addition to outbidding Acme on the computer contract (alongside a number of smaller firms), they came up with their own suspiciously similar PIP-Boy character, who Vault-Tec loved even more - this was helped by the fact that he came along with RobCo's revolutionary PIP-Boy devices. A years-long legal battle ensued where (thanks to corruption) Acme lost all rights to the character. To add insult to injury, Vault-Tec and RobCo dispensed with the character entirely when the 3000 line rolled out. The character survived only in the surplus 2000 line that was used in the California region, and in those remnants that remained as roadside curios across eastern Colorado.



    Siena Supermax was Acme's last hail-mary. After a gumshoe from a notoriously lefty newspaper published a story on the inhumane conditions in Siena, even America's most conservative citizens were left somewhat unsettled. Hoping to put a good spin on the PR disaster, the government unrolled another futurist program to reform America's prisons, to create the "Prison of the Future" - a veritable panopticon to prevent any sort of agitation or riots (the US was having a lot of problems with those), but combined with a more humane approach that centered the possibility of rehabilitation. After all, the 22nd century was just around the corner!

    The Prison of the Future



    Acme leaped at the opportunity and, after a merger with the similarly benighted Greenway Hydroponics, called in every single favor and piece of blackmail it had to secure the rights to the prison. They won the contract along with Greenway Hydroponics of all companies. They were to compete with Poseidon's model prison at Tibbets Maximum Security Penitentiary for a contract to reform prisons across the nation.

    Acme expanded security using a number of robots (mostly RobCo models, unfortunately, though a few of its own as well), automated turrets, explosive collars, and 24/7 surveillance through its dedicated AI master. However, this system was different to most of the Super Computers built by Acme - it used its own version of RobCo's Distributed Network Intelligence in the form of the Zenith Neural Network By collating all data collected across all camera, microphones, and terminals (including the shoddy and malfunction-prone terminals that Acme sold at bargain rates to the citizens of Siena township) in a remarkably advanced cybernetic "brain", the system was able to maximize its efficiency and even able to some limited extent to learn in a manner analogous to human beings. They had to dig out titanic catacombs beneath the prison to fit it all, but it was worth it in the end. For this wouldn't just be the world's greatest prison warden - the data collected from its innovative structure could allow Acme's tech to leapfrog over the competition, and provide valuable insights for Derek Greenway's numerous pet projects.

    In addition to standard data collection methods, the prison's not rehabilitative facilities provided valuable observation points. Group therapy and individual computer moderated psychotherapy, community farms, even top of the line imperishable food to keep the prisoners reasonably happy. All of these combined to make America's toughest prison and its sister facilities rather nice places.

    However, there was another data collection method. The most dangerous and infamous of prisoners, cold blooded killers and unrepentant political terrorists, are hooked up to the cybernetic brain, and pumped for information: a thick metal needle is pierced into the temple. Along with strong X-Rays and magnetic fields, the brain of the criminal was scanned. The process let the prisoners essentially as lobotomites, devoid of anger and open to suggestion, such as "Obey the Law" - model inmates, and model rehabilitated prisoners. Occasionally, the brain would be removed entirely to allow for a more thorough analysis. The use of this was two-pronged: first, it provided more data then observing a prisoner play a Solitaire holotape ever could for Zenith. Second, it was demanded by the government as a secret condition of allowing Greenway in on the contract as a part of the ongoing mind control experiments and efforts to understand the brain of the criminal, the brain of the dissident, the brain of the communist. Acme's executives managed to keep this aspect of the project secret from Greenway himself, though he would end up using some of the data inadvertandly in the construction of DIANA.

    Despite the tremendous success of the project, it was not to last. When a newspaper ran a story on the luxuries prisoners received during a time when many Americans were on ration cards, the senator in charge of the Unamerican Activities Committee called a hearing. Acme's accusations that both the senator and the newspaper were bought-and-paid for by RobCo and Poseidon were, of course, wholly conjectural. Much hay was made of the luxuries enjoyed by the prisoners, in addition to the fact that the executives of Acme may have engaged in marihuana smoking during their time at the notoriously lefty University of Boulder. In the end, it was decided that Siena Supermax would be taken over by Poseidon, and that Acme would be liquidated, its properties and technologies divided between RobCo and the government.

    A team of UAF thugs alongside RobCo combat robots managed to seize Acme's headquarters in Boulder (albeit with several unfortunate murders of Acme employees by confused RobCo robots). The handover of Siena was scheduled for January 1st, 2078, giving time for Acme to remove itslef and phase in Poseidon. That opportunity would never come, of course.

    After the War



    For the first ten years, Siena and the surrounding prisons rode out the early days of the war relatively well. The Guards fled from their homes and into the deep catacombs beneath Siena and the surrounding prisons. Where there was space, the best-behaved prisoners were allowed to inhabit the catacombs as well. The thick concrete and lead lined walls of the main facility (it was designed to withstand a blast from a nuclear bomb in the worst-case-scenario jail break) proving surprisingly adept at keeping the prisoners safe, albeit imperfectly compared to the guards who lived below. Plus, the prisoners had to make the dangerous trip out to the hydroponics greenhouses on the prison grounds to feed themselves and the guards. Worst of all, the worst punishment for the prisoners was death followed by cannibalization in re-processed form by the guards. There were just too many prisoners in the several facilities to feed everyone, population control was called for. Less serious crimes were met by a stint in the brain-pump, leaving the prisoner perfectly compliant and with no complaints about the extra limbs and chronic illnesses their outdoor labor demanded.

    The final straw for the prisoners was when in 2089 it was decided that radiation levels had gone down enough that the prisoners would be made to work full-scale outdoor farms. This was combined with the denial of a long-promised "meeting" between Siena's felons and the female inmates of one of its sister penitentiaries. Organized by a cabal of crime bosses, communists, and assorted domestic terrorists, the aid of some sympathetic guards and Acme-Greenway technicians was taken on to launch a revolution. Zenith had several subroutines simulating the amalgamated minds of its victims. The "Socialist" (which to be fair had a good number of total innocents in the mix) subroutine was allowed to escape from its containment and after a brief (by humans standards) war, it conquered much of system. Gates were open, robots deactivated, and guards (or "Pigs" as the prisoners called them) were caught with their pants down. A brutal frenzy of slaughter ensued, with those guards that were not killed, enslaved, or worse able to flee into the wilderness surrounding the facility.

    For a time, the facility was governed by the cabal alright, though with many compromises - the prisoners may have gotten to "meet" the female inmates (in addition to some less-then-willing wives that were taken from the guards), though it was still mandated that they would have to work outside. Still, things chugged along for five years, before an attempted coup by the crime bosses to unseat the pinkos resulted in a socialist victory, and the eviction of as much as half of the population, who would go on to form the motor-gangs of Pueblo.

    Today, the settlement is divided between "Siena", the upper citadel, and "Supermax", the lower prisons which have linked there thick walls. Siena-Supermax sees itself not as the prison of the future, but rather as the city of the future. Its automated robot servants provide for the every need of its residence, Zenith keeps things in perfect working order. There is no class or hierarchy in Siena, only brothers and sisters who wish to expand their enlightened way of life to the rest of the wastes, and show them the folly of the Boulder Dome which claims to be the city of the future. All Sienans wear snazzy futuristic jumpsuits, derived from their old prison jumpsuits. It even has the Wasteland's only licensed psychotherapist, Doc Cuckoo.



    Of course, all is not as it seems - most of the inhabitants of Siena lack any technical ability whatsoever to maintain the system upon which their lifestyle depends. Though they know enough not to give Boulder Dome technicians full access to their system, they often rely on them for computer parts and minor trouble shooting from Boulderite technicians to keep the bare minimum running - and "bare minimum" is the operative phrase here. The system is only truly operative in the indomitable citadel of Siena itself. The lower prisons are largely agrarian, the few robots they have been rarely employed plow-bots that are prone to breakdown. Even in Siena itself, the systems often malfunction. Dress up the robots in as many fancy suits as you can scavenge, they're still guards, not butlers. Plus, Doc Cuckoo may not be giving the best advice.

    The only consistent means to keep the computer from breaking down entirely is by supplying it with a steady stream of victims to brain drain, both from Siena's many political dissidents and slaves sold by the Motor Gangs of Pueblo. Once drained, the victims are then cast out of the prison, creating the large population of so-called "Deadheads" that are found across Southern Colorado.

    It seems inevitable that the inhabitants of Supermax will have to turn to Boulder for help eventually, and at that point the Boulder Dome may finally have the solution to its perennial ZAX problems. But there are several groups who won't let the Boulderites have it without a fight...

    Adventure Hooks
    -Main story. The data stored at Siena is invaluable to several factions, for numerous reasons - Boulderites, the Legion, the Motor Gangs, the Paradise Pigs (descendants of exiled guards - "kicked out of Paradise"), Robot City.
    -Acme Algorithmics. Tantalizing connection ebtween the facility and Acme Headquarters (patrolled as it is by Sentry-Bots and Repo-Bots waiting for the new owners to move in) will be essential to completing some sidequests there, which may in turn be essential to some of Boulder's quest to repair its computer systems. In addition, Acme products are a perennial appearance in Eastern colorado, and if you collect enough of these there are interesting interactions to be had both at Acme Headquarters and Siena.
    -Greenway Hydroponics. Connection to DIANA, the Nursery, and the Twin Mothers - and of course, Derek Greenway himself.
    -Cheyenne Mountain. Connected by Acme, who I'm positing as the creators of the Calculator.
    -A lot of potential quests with the Pep-Boy.
    -Robot City. Most people from beyond Colorado believe that Supermax is the fabled Robot City, including the Legion. Coloradans know better - to most of the survivalist communities, Robot City is something far more sinister then the hilariously mismanaged and isolated Supermax. Robot City is said to be located far beneath the earth, occasionaly sending out its mechanical feelers in the form of robotic killing machines and automated drones for unknown purposes. To the Sienans, it is considered nothing more than tribal superstition - after all, there are no societies more advanced than Supermax.
    -Poseidon. Related to above. As far as the remaining Poseidon AIs are concerned, the handover of Siena-Supermax is long past due. Link to Tibbets, ODYSSEUS/ULYSSES, and of course Greenway.
    -Labor disputes between Supermax and Siena, and the general political troubles that benight the Englightened City on the Hill.
    -Multiple Personality Disorder - there are several different subroutine personalities within Siena, all wishing to seize control, and the may be helped or hindered by the player in concert with the various faction interests. There's Zenith, the current socialist AI which needs major repairs and updates - after all, its designed to run a prison, not a centrally planned economy, who takes on the personality of an eccentric Continental philosopher. There's also Warden, the remnants of the original prison AI combined with the guards that were brain drained during the uprising, who seems like a mostly good natured middle american who wants to see justice done, if a little fascistic. Then there's Martini, the amalgamation of various crime lords. Last of all, there's Norman Lee Gallagher - based largely off of one man, America's most notorious serial killer prior to the War, along with other assorted psychos.
    -Though it takes the player to bring it to their attention, the Deadheads may make the ideal slaves, if they can be tamed and their dependency on their cyber-hives and techno-gangs are broken.
    -Doc Cuckooo really doesn't give good advice. Engage him in conversation about his more famous patients...

    The Paradise Pigs
    The Paradise Pigs



    Meet just about the friendliest gang of tribals you could. Sure they love to raid just as much as the next guy, but at the end of the day there is seemingly a fundamental kindness to the Paradise Pigs, who seemed to have held onto an old-time perception of Middle America. Of course, they conveniently forget that they are descendant of the brutal regime that once ruled over Siena Supermax, and occasionally engage in a teensy amount of ritualized cannibalism.

    The Pigs live in a decently sized village in the Wet Mountains to the south of Siena. For the most part, they make their living mainly off of Big Horner herding and farming mutant potatoes. They live in simple dwellings of wood and a little adobe like most tribal villages across post-apocalyptic America. High technology is fairly lacking here - guns, of course, remain relatively common for warriors, but the local gunsmith verges closer to a blacksmith. Occasional caravan raids will provide trinkets of high technology, but these are often shunned, associated with the hated Dead-Heads, who it is said will be drawn to high technology like wasps to old soda.

    The origins of the Paradise Pigs are to be found, as they'll tell you, in Siena Supermax. Here, they say, they were the guardians of law & order, before a rebellion by the demons that today inhabit Siena and the nearby town of Pueblo rose up against them. This, they will tell you, was the paradise before the Great War that all people know about. The Paradise Pigs were overcome by the forces of evil. As a result, the entire world came to an end, and the Pigs themselves were forced out into the harsh wilderness of the new world. They're more or less correct, if a little fuzzy on the details/exact timeline.

    The Pigs see it as their divinely ordained duty to take back Siena - only by doing this, they say, can the paradise of the pre-War be restored. In the meantime, they must build their strength and do their best to maintain law & order, both within their community and beyond it. It is with this in mind that they engage in the practice of "ticketing" the roads nearby to the Wet Mountains - which means, effectively, raiding. Taboos govern when it is appropriate to raid, going off of the speed and look of the caravan, but luckily these taboos are fairly flexible. For the most part the Pigs like to operate as highwaymen, intimidating instead of killing where they can, but they really are no push overs.

    The Pigs are led by a Chief, as in a Chief-of-Police. In addition to his big star pin, he wears a feather head dress. The Chief is elected upon the death of the old Chief by every member of the tribe, though in extraordinary circumstances the Chief may be challenged by combat for his position.

    They worship a being known as Warden, the former master of Siena who, like themselves, was cast out of paradise. In order to restore the world to its rightful place, Warden's power must be restored. Legend has it that a fop (Fraternal Order of Policeman member, considered a sort of shaman) who will be known by the blue he wears will come to the tribe to deliver them.

    The most curious practice of the tribe is cannibalism. The practice is only used ~1 time every year, and under fairly extraordinary circumstances, when an enemy, usually a particularly prolific raider and a great warrior, is either invited or captured by the Pigs. A feast is thrown in their honor to celebrate their martial prowess - shockingly, as it turns out, the honoree is the main course. This practice is only known to the rulers of Siena-Supermax, and most Wastelanders its nothing more then another piece of absurd propaganda from the dysfunctional regime. The practice is largely harmless, more like the pre-War South Seas Islanders then the gangs of psychotic cannibals that currently stalk the Wastes - though the prophecy of the retaking of Siena does call for a rather large feast. Maybe you can find some way to talk them out of it?

    Adventure Hooks
    -Siena-Supermax. The Pigs want to retake the facility, whether by hook or by crook, and install Warden in charge. Well, you just so happen to be wearing a blue jumpsuit (which may be revealed when they strip your outer armor for a grand feast), and the prophecy calls for a blue-clad hero.
    -The Legion. The Legion either wants the Paradise Pigs to join up, or to be totally enslaved. How you do it is up to you - empower and convince the Chief, become Chief yourself, install a new weaker Chief and then roll in with a slaving party, or just go in guns-a-blazing.
    -Pueblo. The leading Motor-Gangs of Pueblo want to enslave or destroy the Pigs, a little because of the bad memories from Siena, but mostly because the Pigs love to stop the Motor Gangers for speeding. Though they will not be inconsolable, the Motor-Gangers will be rather annoyed if you rally the Pigs to join the Legion.
    -Boulder. Boulder has been unable to exercise any sort of control over the Pigs due to their dislike for technology. Talk them round, clear out the dead-heads, and help establish contact with Boulder - this will lead to better outcomes if you help the Pigs gain control of Siena, and they could potebntially be mroe amenable allies than the Sienans themselves.
    -Dead-Heads. They hate these guys, they want to be rid of them. Luckily, this happens to run parallel to certain Legion interests.
    -The Breakfast of Champions. You may or may not want to talk the Pigs out of cannibalism, especially if you don't want things to go real dark if you help them take over Siena. Luckily, one tribal (a candidate for chief) has heard of a delectable food enjoyed by their people in the Way-Back-When. This holy foodstuff may be found in a place called "Slocum Joe's" out in the irradiated dustbowl. Be wary, though, as this is the land of mile-wide twisters, Scavven-Pickers, and Motor-Gangers.
    -The Thin Blue Line. The Paradise Pigs fetishize all police icons from the pre-War. If you're willing to make the dangerous trip into Denver PD, you can get some invaluable worship items. As part of getting them accustomed to technology, you can get them a K-9 Cyberdog, and the final stage is helping them to rebuild a rocket powered Colorado Highway Patrol to compete with the Motor-Gangers.
    -Ultimate reward for idolized status - the unique Siena Maximum Security Penitentiary Riot Armor.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 4
  3. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio Still Mildly Glowing

    212
    Oct 29, 2020
    Love the detail and world building, miles deeper than what I could conjure up. Fantastic, man really dog it.
     
  4. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    Here's two more, both of these adapted for the late Atomic Postman's Van Buren tabletop campaign. I think his module was probably the single best piece of Fallout fan media ever made, and I highly encourage you to read it if you haven't already. He wonderfully expanded upon and adapted both of these concepts.

    Tar Monsters (Burning Springs)
    Tar Monster



    Don't have a really good name for this, possibly Sheol. Continues the theme of Gehenna-Molech, and it is essentially an all-encompassing darkness.

    Basically it's a living pool of oil, the final boss of Burham Springs. It would initially be introduced to players alongside Gehennas and Molechs. At early levels it would be a minor threat compared to anthropoid enemies, essentially gelatinous cubes from DnD that are maybe smoldering/on fire. No big deal. It's only at the bottom of the mine that the full extent of the threat becomes clear - a very large pool of black shimmering stuff, a combination of tar and coal, animated and sending out pseudopods, extremely resistant to ballistic, melee, and unarmed weapons. It's a very tough boss.

    This concept essentially arose because I don't understand molechs or gehennas - just what the heck were they? Clearly some kind of human it seems like. Not ghouls, a ghoul would die if it were covered in tar and smoldering. Doesn't seem to be genetically engineered like Wannamingoes (which are the other extremely weird and inexplicable mutants), they're post-War, post-disaster. Sheol is the answer.

    There are several potential explanations which different characters could offer as to what exactly it is, the correct answer kept unknown and vague as with the tunnelers. In no particular order, the first is that the tar monster has always been there. It's an extremely ancient lifeform, possibly pre-Devonian, that lived in the lower crust and upper mantle of the earth, sustained by heat and chemotrophy. It is extremely alien to all currently extant life on earth, possibly representing one of the last survivors of a lineage descended from an other abiogenisis event, a shadow biosphere. When oil depletion drove man to dig ever deeper, followed shortly thereafter by tectonic disturbances from the War, the Sheol came to the surface.

    The alternative explanation is that Sheol is the result of chemical pollution. Radiation from mininuke charges and waste dumping, volcanic/tectonic activity and exotic chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing process, conspired to create something of a primordial soup at the bottom of the mine. From here, there are two (not mutually exclusive) possibilities. One is that as creatures were lost and fell down the mine they died in this chemical soup, which acted as a catalyst to create this strange life form. Alternatively, the chemical soup may have interacted with whatever biological structures remained in the coal and oil, essentially a ghoulification process on single very very old cells, or just mutated troglodyte bacteria. Without an entire life form, these biological structures congeal into a new life form. Or you could have both options at the same time.

    There are also mystical explanations. Mormons would hold its a demon, or perhaps even hell itself. I'm not quite sure what the Tar Walkers would make of it since we haven't heard about them, but I imagine they worship it as a god and are feeding it sacrifices, spurring its continued growth.

    Essentially it's a colonial organism, a great big slime mold. It lives off of three things - chemical reactions, smoldering heat, and animals. From the main body it sends out pseudopods in search of these things, digging new tunnels through the mine to harvest the energy from those chemical reactions, to harvest the heat from the smoldering fires, and to find new victims. Pseudopods rise as far as the surface, but the Sheol is highly sensitive to light. These pseudopods die in the day time and are separated from the main body, but form a hazard for animals and travelers. If they get stuck, they could be attacked by pseudopods rising in the night. Pseudopods that break out into full-blown fire rather than a gentle smolder are separated from the main body.

    When a creature (most often a human) is subsumed by Sheol or one of its feelers, it does indeed die but its biology is repurposed. Gehenna are the first stage, recognizable human forms that are slowly being processed and broken down. Then like the caterpillar that liquifies and reforms in its cocoon, the combination of radiation and the processes of the sheol cause strange mutations and repurposings of the bodily structures of the host. This is the Molech. Eventually, when all of the cells of the host have been processed and converted, the molech dissolves into a puddle of tar that either finds its way back to the main body or finds a new victim.

    In terms of ways to defeat the Sheol, I'd need to know more about Burham Springs. But it's very resistant to ballistic, melee, or unarmed, weak to explosives and energy weapons. It likes smouldering heat but not open blazing infernos, so flamers or plasma would be good against it. It doesn't like light, so it would be weak to lasers or CODE weapons. You could also just blow it to bits, it would have difficulty reconstituting. Sick the Agricola robots on it. Or, and this is the funnest one, get the drill head working, suck up the main body and put it through the oil refining process, thus killing it.


    The Antfarm (Red Dawn)

    The Antfarm

    Pre-War History



    New Mexico. Somewhere outside of Alamogordo, not far from Trinity Test Site, deep beneath Lincoln National Forest...

    Project Cloacina. The aim was simple: to engineer so-called Mutant Undermining Lifeforms that would be deployed into Red China. These creatures would be inseminated throughout the Chinese mainland and establish breeding colonies undetected. Then, driven by engineered aggression, voracious hunger, and a lack of natural predators, they would devastate China's ecosystem, devouring entire harvests worth of grains, exterminating indigenous species, and slaughtering villages to sate their hunger. By the time the Chinese command realized what was going on, it would be too late - the mutants would have a foothold and done their damage. The beauty part was by the time the US rolled in for occupation, a genetic kill switch in the creatures would activate, making it safe for our boys.


    The mutants would be created through a combination of selective breeding, radiation exposure, and gene splicing. There was some hushed talk among project scientists that they might be getting their hands on more advanced mutagens, though nothing ever came of this. Not that they needed it, for the project was turning out results. After any number of failed experiments and genetic abominations, the first viable Molerat population was established. Following that, it was off to the races to see who could engineer the toughest, strongest, nastiest mutant, ones that could survive chemical, biological, or even radiological attacks.

    In the mountains of New Mexico, such experiments were occurring beneath Douglas Airforce Base. It had been determined by the Mole Rat efforts that the naked mole rat's semi-eusocial lifestyle made it ideal to establish colonies that could reach large sizes before being detected. These colonies would simultaneously be difficult to attack for the unprepared while also being easily identifiable for the occupation forces and their superior firepower. With this in mind, the DAB team focused on eusocial insects - namely ants.

    The team made the ants better, faster, stronger. They spent a lot of effort working to fully understand the patterns of ant colonies, their dynamics and their inner workings, and to find if they could be improved upon. As with many high-tech R&D projects, the entire affair was overseen by a ZAX unit, jokingly dubbed "Queen" by the team. In addition to overseeing the genetic and chemical modifications made to the ant, it worked to understand the surprisingly complex and (to humans) inscrutable patterns that governed ant 'society.' As the ZAX delved deeper into the strange patterns and loops that allowed the ants to collectively undertake behaviors far in excess of any one individual's capability, it went a little queer, perhaps relating to the ants than to the research team.

    The project was making tremendous progress. Plans were drafted to begin implanting colonies behind enemy lines to shore up the flagging Yangtze Campaign. Breeding pairs were shipped to air force based across the country, ready to be flown over the Pacific at a moment's notice. Before the Pentagon could rubber stamp it, however, disaster struck. A feral colony was discovered in several communities around Lincoln National Forest, and wreaked havoc before the military could get things under control or clean things up.

    It wasn't clear exactly how the ants had spread, but the brass deemed them too big of a risk of spread to be shipping cross country. The breeding pairs were terminated (though there were some questions if the job was as thorough as it should have been), and the main breeding colony was slated for destruction.

    As soldiers went through the facility evacuating scientists, something went wrong and the ants managed to escape from their containment and act the humans. In the frenzy, the base security system seems to have gone haywire, robots and turrets turning on humans. Fearing a full-blown outbreak, the government decided the only option was to use a tactical nuclear device, claimed to merely be a weapons test to the public. The site was utterly destroyed. Troops scoured the facility for any evidence of survivors, and hoping to retrieve any useful data that may have survived. No trace of the ZAX nor its bomb-resistant black box were ever found.

    In the end, the government filed it away in its big book of colossal fuck-ups to be forgotten.

    Post-War
    And that's all she wrote. Here's where it was meant to go from here:
    • Several attacks by giant ants across the country, possibly a shipping accident that seeded giant ant eggs in children's antfarms. these outbreaks are largely contained and covered up, but government decides enough is enough.
    • Move to shut down the base and exterminate ants, but the escape of ants/'malfunctioning' base defenses forces the government to use a low yield tactical nuke.
    • Post-War, giant ants occur in the Lincoln Forest but are not apparently unusual compared to other Giant Ants.
    • Eventually however it becomes a big problem. Tribes are disappearing, and a massive anthill has been built in the midst of the forest. Ants are ranging out into the surrounding country, devouring and kidnapping people.
    • Obviously, the ZAX has survived, and it orchestrated the release of the ants and the failure of defenses pre-War. It had Palenquin Ants bear it and its infrastructure further down into secret tunnels. From here, it's been orchestrating the ants as their queen. He's grown somewhat disillusioned with the ants and not a little bit crazed, but still leads them.
    • The purpose of kidnapping people is for them to serve sort of like aphids do for certain ant species. They're livestock, they do certain manual labor/complex tasks ZAX deems necessary but beyond the capabilities of the ants, they maintain the highly complex ZAX, and they serve as human conversation partners, something ZAX misses.
    • Eventually, a confederation of tribes band together to put a stop to this menace. They storm the ant hill, and kill them until they stop coming from the deeper tunnels. They think they've won, but of course just like the first time the colony was "destroyed" ZAX still lurks in deeper tunnels.
    • Having access to groundwater, being cool and spacious, and being extremely defensible, the towns settle down and make it into a town. It quickly becomes one of the most influential settlements in the region. They call it the Antfarm.
    • Big hook is that somewhere, maybe deep in the tunnels beneath the Antfarm or ferried away elsewhere by Palenquin Ants, is the ZAX. It's kidnapping people still from the lowest levels and building up its strength.
    Now, as to how it relates to Van Buren? There are a few possibilities:
    • It could be the base of operations of the Red Okie Horde - who else would have the firepower to defeat the ants? The ants also therefore present an option sort of like cyborgs at Project Darwin did - release the ants to destroy the horde. It could also apply to the below.
    • Alternatively, it could be the last major obstacle to the Red Okie Horde overrunning New Mexico before moving on to Arizona. In this model, it could also be the other drug manufacturer competing with the Biters.
    • It could be the initial wave of ant attacks that drove the Biters east into the ruins of Albuquerque.
    • If Ugly John gets word of this he could be interested - it's a former genetic engineering facility, maybe there's some of the green stuff here.
    • You could possibly do it in a way where it hasn't become a settlement yet, but you have the option of helping either the Red Okies, the Mutants, the Glyphers, or the Scorpions, or some combination thereof, to take it over and make it one.
    • Could provide an alternative source for the data can.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 4
  5. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio Still Mildly Glowing

    212
    Oct 29, 2020
    Can you link these tabletop campaign documents in the thread by any chance? I’d love to read up on this, it looks almost official.
     
  6. eissa

    eissa Artanis "Altáriel" Nerwen Nos Finwe

    Jan 7, 2016
    Carnivores, carnivores, and agressive apex predators everywhere. I would say I am kinda tired of the lack of "normal" weird lifeform. Both can coexist for worldbuilding sake.

    We need more herbivores and assortment of plants to balance out the ecology. Punga fruit and Tato, also that mutated elk/mongoose in Fallout 4 are good start. Still those are mere scrubs.

    Like that canceled Fallout Tactics 2 that deal about mutated plants life due to defect GECK.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 3
  7. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos Mildly Dipped

    567
    May 12, 2020
    I think the thread is pinned in the Fan Art/Fan Fiction forum
     
  8. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio Still Mildly Glowing

    212
    Oct 29, 2020
    Believe it or not, there’s a Vault exactly like this in base-game Fallout 76. A Vault with a defective GECK that blasted plant life all over the Vault and killed everyone. Most likely adapted from the cancelled Tactics 2 you mention. Sadly, it’s a wasted Vault because it’s only used for stupid daily missions, your average MMO bullshit. Cool concept, wasted execution. I love the idea of mutated flora though, which is why I included it in my post if anyone wants to take a crack at that. I’m mainly doing mutant humans and animals right now as I’m trying to replace some Bethesda stuff like Super Mutants and Radscorpions, but flora is definitely something I’ll work on later down the road.

    Oh sweet, thank ya!
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2022 at 2:49 PM
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  9. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    But of course that's where all of the fun is, all of the excitement and all of the gameplay. But you're right, it is pretty ridiculous that a dead barren wasteland is full to overflowing with a billion different varieties of uber-aex predators and virtually no herbivores for them to feed on. This is made worse in Bethesda settings, where all environments seem to be deserts, and almost every single predator from every single prior game is present, creating an ever expanding catalogue within small regions.

    One solution to this is my preferred model for Fallout settings: Everywhere should be radically different. Each "Wasteland" should be like a different planet in Star Trek - that is generally a desert Wasteland, but with different inhabitants, threats, and secrets. The further away we get from the Core region, at a certain point we should see virtually none of the classic elements of the franchise and be in a totally alien Wasteland.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 4
  10. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio Still Mildly Glowing

    212
    Oct 29, 2020
    This is exactly what I hate about Bethesda games. D.C., Boston, Appalachia, all desert or has desert-like regions that don’t fit the East Coast. They couldn’t even bother to add snow in Fallout 4, a game that takes place in Boston. Shit Fallout 4 came AFTER Skyrim and we still have yet to have a jail/arrest feature in Fallout despite Diamond City having guards and a jail. Goes to show where they really put their effort into compared to what just makes them money. Some of these ideas of mine above, specifically the Mothmen and Sappers are meant to be replacers to Radscorpions and Super Mutants which do not belong.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  11. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    I took the Sappers to be an adaptation of the Scorched, which themselves I thought were conceptually kinda interesting even though basically they were just ghouls with guns.

    I will also say that I think the Sappers are a cool concept, though I don't really like the idea of it being in infection spread by their attacks, or the name "sapper" which is a bit too cheesy
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  12. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio Still Mildly Glowing

    212
    Oct 29, 2020
    I could see the assumption of Sappers being Scorched replacements, however they were meant to replace Super Mutants as the hardness of their skin would act as a natural form of damage threshold similar to Super Mutant’s natural damage threshold. I wanted a new mutant that could spread around and create more of themselves similar to Bethesda’s explanation for Supers in DC coming out of an FEV vault (which I didn’t like).

    I agree the scorched is cool in concept, I don’t really have any plans to change them at the moment except they aren’t so widespread and deadly (because Bethesda really only made it that way so they wouldn’t have to add NPCs originally.)

    As for the name I also agree it’s cheesy. My justification was I was originally gonna name them Saprophytes, which is a Greek word similar to how the original name for the Bobcat mutant was Smilodon, the Latin name for the sabre toothed tiger.

    After it was pointed out to me that barely anyone post-war is educated enough to know Latin I mistakenly applied that same logic to the Sappers. I thought of something that would roll off the tongue of a West Virginia hillbilly seeing these things.

    Now that I think of it though, I don’t see why Saprophyte can’t work as a name considering Necropolis is also a Greek work meaning City of the Damned/Dead. And Fallout 1 canonically takes place after Fallout 76.

    Thanks for the feedback though I appreciate it. Question for you now, what would you think of the name just being Saprophyte? And if not, have any suggestions?
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2022 at 5:02 AM
  13. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    As a matter of fact, I quite like the name "Saprophyte" as a baseline, but obviously this is far too cumbersome to be the name used by the average Wastelander... so with this in mind, I actually now quite like the name "Sapper."

    One aspect of that name I think you could take advantage of (and where I actually intiially thought you were going with it) is the subterranean aspect.

    As you say, Sappers came about originally because of contact with a cave fungus. Rather than having Sappers come about by fluid-to-fluid contact between the infected and uninfected (which is exactly the same thing as zombies), maybe they come about by exposure to this fungus only. To continue to propagate themselves, infected sappers will capture and take the uninfected back to caverns to be exposed to the fungus.

    These caverns form central hives for the Sappers comparable to the Super Mutant camps in Fo3, and perhaps the original is like Vault 87. These caves are constantly expanded, with new tunnels being dug, granting the extra meaning to the word "sapper."

    For a final touch of horror, the way the fungus itself is propagated. As they approach the final stage of transformation, they try to get back to their original cave, or the nearest one to them. Here, kind of like Harold, they set their "roots" down and become totally immobile, slowly continuing their conversion. At this point, their body is repurposed towards the production of fungus, now in its infectious form. The cave (and its mouth) takes the form of a forest of twisted human bodies, contorted and merged, faces frozen in mute horror.

    And the final final bit of horror, even as all of their other organs have been transformed into alien structues, lungs made into bellows and guts into petri dishes for the propagation of the fungus, the brain seems to be more or less unchanged, continuing to function at a low level. That is, victims are trapped in a permanent state of "I have no mouth but I must scream"
     
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  14. Ugly Kid

    Ugly Kid Still Mildly Glowing

    204
    May 9, 2018
    These are all so cool, though I want to point out that the pre war setup of the ant farm reminds me heavily of wanamingos from Fallout 2, especially with the restoration patch that adds the EPA.
     
  15. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio Still Mildly Glowing

    212
    Oct 29, 2020
    That definitely works and draws back to Fallout 3’s Supers better as you say. I tried to make them a bit different from zombies, but looking back yeah it really wasn’t all too different. I probably should just state the obvious and say the concept takes some inspiration from Last of Us being that a fungi takes a host as a puppet, so it was inevitable that the zombie connection would be made. I like your alternate form of transmission.

    I’m still on the fence about the name Sapper as it does feel a bit too on the nose, unless I told people the name came from the word Saprophyte, I don’t think anyone would have made that connection and it would still be a bit cheesy.

    The horror element works as well, I like it, my only thing is that them becoming immobile is very similar to the Scorched which also become immobile and planting themselves like Harold after a while and turn into those petrified corpses which provide a nice horror element (Bethesda gets credit for that, it’s cool).
     
  16. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    In that it is a government research lab based on creating weaponised creatures? Sure, but this goes into my broader philosophy that each Fallout Wasteland should be different. The government was doing all sorts of crazy stuff before the War, things like the Super Mutants or the Wannamingoes were just one among many. Each region ought to have its own unqiue threats and freaks emerging from poor decisions made in the past.

    I think "in game" (assuming you ever write a module incorporating this concept*), Wastelanders call them sappers with the reasoning that it's after their sap. Other wastelanders disagreed that this is why they're called sappers and say it's because of the tunnels they dig. Compare the "powder gangers, powder gangsters" spiel in Primm. But eventually the player meets some scientist who refers to them as saprophytes, and it's revealed that this is just a bit of folk etymology with Wastelanders having worked backward from the actual name. I think this would work well.

    It is certainly similar to the Scorched. In fact, I think the concept kills three birds with one stone, the bird in this case being Bethesda concepts that are sort of cool but poorly thought out and executed: The Scorched, Oasis, and Vault 87 Super Mutants.

    *On that note - For my own Fallout 3 rewrite, I had it in mind to have the setting not just be the Fallout 3 map, but follow the course of prior games and expand across multiple states, in this case Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. This would make the Sappers sort of perfect for the setting.
     
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 2
  17. Ugly Kid

    Ugly Kid Still Mildly Glowing

    204
    May 9, 2018
    Environments
    I thought North America could be split up into a few general biomes.

    The deserts of southwest America and parts of Mexico are greatly expanded to reach further than they currently do.

    Cascadia and much of Canada and Alaska have been made into areas of extreme rain/snow.

    The general coast of Texas-Florida is quite swampy and this reaches further inland. Perhaps the water level of the entire coast has risen significantly, like a foot or more.

    Much of the east coast to some point near/past the Great Lakes is overgrown and jungle-y. Think that one biome in Fallout 76 on the east of the map.

    The midwest has remained more or less the same. Just even more bland.

    I also thought of a "fungal forest" that's similar to a fantasy mushroom village but instead it's gross and spooky. This would be one organism that just spreads, and it could contain mind controlled critters that can only survive within the fungal forest. Everything within this forest is trying lure whatever they can into the hive mind. Maybe this could be what the interloper from Fallout 76 is?

    I also like the ash heap and toxic valley from Fallout 76. Don't know where that all can be used though.

    Mutants

    Ape mutant
    I really like apes so I keep thinking about some form of ape-based mutant and it's changed a lot over the years. Right now I'm thinking they could call themselves "APEx mutants". They would be around the same size as super mutants but their slouch is even greater so they're actually bigger. They could be some cross between chimps and gorillas, their stances would be similar to gorillas hence the slouch, but their faces would be closer to chimps. Either that or they could be very diverse, some are panrillas (chimp gorilla) but others could pongorillas (orangutan gorilla) or any other combination of apes that doesnt necessarily have gorilla in it, rilla just sounds good.

    The apex mutants would be sapient and form tribes and religions and all that jazz. I was thinking of a large scale facility that could act as their main base being built over top of mount Rushmore. Apes defacing national landmarks is always a hit. I was thinking that their government could be feudal, and that they could slightly mimic some medieval Eurasian nation.

    Insectoid
    I've been trying to think of some insectoid species, I haven't landed on anything concrete. They would be sapient and they would also have large euosocial nations. They would be created by gene slicing and mutation, ant mixed with bee mixed with termite or some other combination. This setup is similar to the ant farm idea from earlier in the thread.

    I brought this idea up before in an older thread and someone suggested that they could live close to humans and other mutants but they live underground so they rarely come into contact. This was after I suggested that they spread very far and very fast after being let out from whatever containment they were in.

    I think their main hive could resemble a termite mound but long across the ground and several dozen stories high. Maybe it could be a bit less grand but that's not as cool in my opinion.

    Wildlife
    Giant bison, they're already big but I want them bigger.

    I saw fan art a while ago of "Fallout's horses", they had a cool name but I forget. They had six legs and four eyes. It was cool, maybe just keep it localised to Wyoming/Montana or something.

    Giant snakes. Sometimes with horns.

    I thought about this while going on a walk at 2am. A paleontologist tried cloning a dinosaur, it was successful but the dino died rather quickly. He was depressed because he had to ground up one of his rare fossils to make the clone. Then he realized he could just use the baby dino remains to clone a new dinosaur. And he kept doing this until he had a successful batch but he still wasnt satisfied and he was getting tired. So he figured he could rewire the instincts of the dinosaurs to bring their own remains to the machine to be cloned.

    He then set up a larger lab with many more cloning machines and incubators and Infirmaries. He figured that he could have his own zoo with dinosaurs and marketable plushies. Eventually the hatchlings would appear to be very... fucked. They have deteriortive clone syndrome (or something like that, I didn't make up this term but I forget who did).

    Then the great war happened and radiation further messed up these dinos. The dinos would eventually break out of this facility to roam the wastes but they would return every mating season to kill themselves for new brood. Perhaps certain bloodlines have broke the cycle of cloning but a large majority of dinos would continue to do this.
     
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  18. eissa

    eissa Artanis "Altáriel" Nerwen Nos Finwe

    Jan 7, 2016
    I love those idea about post-apocalyptic temperate rainforest and jungle of fungus. I am kinda reminded of one of Civ Beyond Earth biome about fungal forest that constantly spout toxic miasma more than other type of planets. There are symbiotes of basically animal-shaped lifeform to their environment and if this is real world is actually kinda like how jellyfish work compared to their Polyp lifephase. They spawned from nest that formed from concentration of miasma with something called "Biomass", a green goo lake basically that actually consist of highly nutritious substances and strange DNA.

    In term for Fallout, it would be just fitting that those new mutated lifeform would provide unique resource that simply don't exist pre-war. You know like that ants nectar that can be made into wide range of drugs.

    Not sure about six legged horses though, imho as avid enjoyer of horse breed I think something like horses would become more like dog in frame, as lithe and climby as mountain goats, or more muscular akin to rhino. Like that tubular shaped horses from arid steppe. Horses have unique form of locomotion that simply much easier to be done with 4 legs, like cantering and galloping.
     
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  19. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio Still Mildly Glowing

    212
    Oct 29, 2020
    I really like the biomes of America being extreme versions of itself. For West Virginia, the regions I really love and am not changing all too much is The Forest and Ash Heap. You say you don’t know where the Ash Heap would fit, but I say it fits perfectly where it does in Fallout 76. West Virginia is an old mining state, coal mines everywhere. I could totally see the Ash Heap making sense in WV.

    As for DC, I imagine what it looked like in Fallout 3 except it’s overgrown with dead flora because of the poisoned water, but once Project Purity is activated, DC would eventually become an overgrown ruined city. For the weather I can see constant sleet, rain and snow which like the radiation storms of Fallout 4 and 76, is radiated and dangerous to be around until Project Purity.

    For Fallout 4 I picture a nuclear winter wonderland in the winter. Constant snow, cold rain, and hail. Rain in the Spring, Fall, and Summer. Rather than it being sunny, it’s just very gloomy. No vibrancy whatsoever.

    The Ape mutants are a cool idea but tbh I don’t really see them in North America. We have no native monkeys or apes, and those in zoos wouldn’t really survive having lived their life in captivity. Most likely zoo apes would become the meal of another apex predator.

    The hybrid insects are pretty cool. I could imagine insects taking on traits that other insects have to survive better in these environments, but I don’t see radiation fusing them together like the machine from The Fly.

    Mutated wildlife is a must in my opinion. Not everything has to be giant, but wildlife can’t just disappear like they seemingly do in Bethesda Fallouts. Radstags and racoons and squirrels finally showing up in 76 was a “finally” moment for me because wildlife not existing at all in 3 and 4 was very eyerolling (4 had radstags too I think but not too much).

    As for the dinosaurs, I’m on the fence about it. Pre-war science going wild definitely makes sense, but it was mostly experiments that would help the war effort rather than just “fuck it” science. Super Mutants for example were supposed to create super soldiers Warhammer 40k style, Deathclaws were also meant for the war effort, Power Armor was for the war effort, laser guns, etc.

    Unless these dinosaurs were supposed to be made to just throw at the Chinese, I don’t know about it. America was very authoritarian pre-war and I don’t know if creating Jurassic Park would be the foremost project scientists would be working on.
     
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  20. Ugly Kid

    Ugly Kid Still Mildly Glowing

    204
    May 9, 2018
    I was thinking their origins could be similar to that of the current Planet of the Apes continuity. Scientists trying to enhance cognitive capabilities but having it backfire on them.

    I played a mod for New Vegas a while, I think it's called Beyond the Boulder Dome, and it had apes in it. I don't remember exactly what the apes were there for but I figure it was for some sort of testing. I think if we have a similar set up for the ape mutant it wouldn't be too bad.

    I guess I forgot to write down a possible origin. I imagined they were made in some sort of laboratory. Not necessarily pre war though.

    That's a good point, I was kinda just spitballing so I knew the origin wasn't perfect. I still think the idea of suicide mating season should stay though, just this time it's a military effort. Honestly I have trouble thinking of a military justification beyond just throwing beasts at the Chinese like deathclaws. Which would be a fine enough answer, just a little bland.