Fallout 4: A Farewell To Power-Arms

Continuing a perma-death Fallout 4 diary, in which I begin with absolutely nothing other than a plan to to voyage around only the outermost periphery of the world.

I awaken on a filthy mattress in the back of a rusting lorry. Staggering to my feet, I recoil in terror from a looming shape.

It’s my power armour. Though it’s little more than metal bones now, all but its chest panels having been scorched away. I look in my pockets and bags. Around a dozen assorted energy weapons plus the usual assortment of pipe pistols and crap shotguns, but barely a bullet to be found. Of food, medicine and drugs I can find no trace.

I realise I’m shaking. How did I get here? What happened? It’s all such a blur. I came so very close to death, so many times.

Still images flash across my mind.

Trapped, cornered, desperate, swallowing something called PsychoBuff, a bottle of beer, two packs of Med-X, so many festering chunks of molerat flesh.


Hurling grenades and molotovs and mines.


Staggering back to the elevator, then set upon anew.


Finding a ladder, a ladder to the roof, to safety.

Atop the factory now. Two more of them. Where did they come from? How did they get there? I manage to kill one, but more still appear. Where are they coming from?

Mines. Three of them walked over one mine. Just this left, screeching at me with monotonal hate.

I punched it, roaring. And believed myself safe.

More of them. Guns empty. Armour gone. Health almost spent. Charging off the roof, roaring.

Plunging three stories? Four? I don’t know.

And another one on the ground. We dance, around rusting cars whose engines are alive enough to catch fire when I lob my last grenade errantly.

I am all but dead – but I can see the flames in those engines, and I know that explosion is imminent. It does not. I sprint into a lorry’s open trailer, my last fusion core sounding a terrible warning. Fire. Thunder. And…

A bed.

And bed is a fine healer.

I shouldn’t be alive. I’d say fortune has smiled on me, but fortune has also cost me almost everything and all but guaranteed that I can’t survive much longer, so I’m going to go with ‘fortune is an asshole’ here.

Insult to injury is that all I’ve done is to get back to where this day began, back to the start of this peninsula. Sure, I went all the way in, but I haven’t come out better for it. Though I do have these energy weapons – there’s money in those, in the unlikely event I find a trader.

Which, surprisingly, I do. Bar some immediately radscorpion-murdered wanderers earlier, this is the first non-hostile human I’ve encountered since I awoke into this bleak future. I have so many questions! What happened? What year is this? What should I do? Where is my stolen child? Oh, no, never mind. I can’t ask about any of that. I can only ask about shopping. Only think about shopping. I guess the future’s not so different after all.

He has little money and almost nothing I want. My prayers for a fusion core have not been answered, which means my power armour will be left to rot in the wasteland any hour now. He does, however, have bullets. Lots and lots of bullets. I shower him with weapons and raider armour, and fill my pockets with shotgun shells and 10mm ammo.

It won’t last long, but it’s something. Then I rob his shop blind and sell it all back to him in exchange for more bullets. I also raid the small vegetable farm outside his trailer. I do feel guilty – taking his hard-grown produce is essentially slow-motion murder. But I need everything I can get, so I’m nicking your melons, man.

There’s nothing else to be done here, so it’s back to the road, and the coastline. Every step makes me shudder, as my last fusion core is down to approximately 7% power. I move slowly and even turn off my torch, just in case it makes a difference. At least, when the suit dies, I will be spared this anxiety. I will be more vulnerable, yes, but I won’t be counting my steps, looking not at the world around but at a light about to go out.

The PipBoy alerts me to something of interest nearby. What looks like a church looms in the distance. Oh, this would be perfect. Can I time this so that the core expires just as I reach the threshold of a holy place? Leave my salvation on God’s doorstep?

Sadly neither the suit or the commonwealth are quite so poetic. The core keeps on truckin’ for now, and the church is revealed to be a museum of Witchcraft, of all things.

The front door is barred, but there’s a cellar hatch around the back, plus a body bearing a message about soldiers gathering inside, and encountering something terrible. Perhaps poetry awaits after all. And I have a quest! An actual quest! My first quest! I need to go find out what happened to this body’s chums.

Into the museum of Witchcraft I go. And it’s terrifying. White-faced mannequins lurking in corners, casting long shadows as something, something, thumps and howls on the floor above me. Every bone in my body screams to run away, but that is not the Michael Radiatin’ way.

I hang my head when I find a corpse holding a rocket launcher and three missiles. I know the rules. When you find armaments that heavy lying around, it means something unbelievably horrible is right around the corner.

Inexorably, I head upwards, as the thuds and roars mount. And there it is. A Deathclaw. And not just a Deathclaw, but a Savage Deathclaw. My PipBoy doesn’t have enough icons to show quite how lethal this thing is, but the fact that one opportunistic rocket barely dents it tells me all I need to know. It gets a swipe in, removing almost all my health, but miraculously I’m able to run into a corner it’s too big to enter itself. This thing may be the monster of monsters, but it has no guns – so I’m safe for a while. It’s only then that I realise I’m surrounded by eggs. Huge eggs. Broken eggs. Except for one.

It’s already dawned on me that I’ve probably run into the worst place I possibly could, but a Holotape on a nearby corpse (ding! quest complete!) confirms it – these are Deathclaw eggs, stolen from its nest by these dead soldiers. If I want, I can take the remaining egg back to their base for study and reward. Or I could carry it back to the Deathclaw’s nest, presuming I can get out of here alive.

I check my map. The soldiers’ base is deep inland – my path will never cross it, so that’s out. But the nest… the nest is on the outskirts of the Commonwealth, but it’s back where I came from.

Not that far away, but backwards. And I’m not supposed to go backwards. Michael Palin would not go backwards, I know that much for sure. I wonder, though – would he help to save an unborn, as-yet innocent life from a grim fate? Would he compromise his own plans in order to reunite a baby animal-to-be with its parents? Or would he say “oh God no, it’s a monster, just get the hell out of there and carry on with what you were doing.” You know how this goes:

What should Michael Radiatin’ do about the Deathclaw egg?
Forget about it and carry on as planned
Forsake his ‘no going backwards’ rule and take the egg back to its nest

Poll Maker


  1. Ben King says:

    I THOUGHT HE’D DIED! So relieved. Yes. Return the egg and I’m certain you’ll gain a deathclaw mount for Michael as a quest reward. I’m totally sure they won’t just murder him to death.

  2. raiders says:

    Those Synths are badasses! I love killing them…for the loot.

  3. DigitalSignalX says:

    The backyard of the witchcraft museum has an easter egg “Bethesda-ism” carried over from some of their previous titles. Look for rocks :D

    Returning the egg nest makes karmic sense and who knows, you may even get a nice reward from it too.

  4. Morph says:

    Forwards not backwards!

    • Hedgeclipper says:

      “We must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom! “

    • Grizzly says:

      He’s advancing in the other direction.

  5. Zenicetus says:

    Is this an actual perma-death playthrough?

    Much respect for your survival skills, if it is… and you’re a lucky SOB if you managed to find a find a safe spot to take out that uber-Deathclaw in the attic. I had to come back fully tooled up with power armor, minigun and a companion after dying multiple times at a lower level.

    • All is Well says:

      It’s supposed to be, but Michael Radiatin’s still being alive seems increasingly implausible with each chapter. First the factory full of those murderous crash test dummies and now the deathclaw with the scary prefix? Highly suspicious!

      (not that I particularly care. I’m happy for Alec to reload as often as he has to, as long as one of the more meaningful, symbolic or poignant deaths is treated as final.)

    • Alec Meer says:

      I really am running away an awful lot, and eating/drinking absolutely everything. It’s very, very slow going.

      Importantly, I have not killed the Deathclaw. Pretty sure that would be impossible. It’s just that it was unable to reach me from the corner I ran into it, which was right next to the egg. I was pretty damned surprised/confused about it too.

      • Danarchist says:

        I have killed two of the giant robots so far by finding a hidey hole to duck into and shoot at them from relative safety.
        Just remember…deathclaws love belly rubs!

      • Steelphoenix says:

        Killing it is actualy pretty easy, as it can’t go trought the door you come from. Just retreat to that door, shoot a few bullets in the deathclaw from the safety of the hallway, cross back to the huge room when the creature moves away from you and then repeat from step 1. I killed it without loosing a single hp.

        • unacom says:

          Can´t picture myself doing this for roughly 1.5 hours and investing maybe one trillion 10 mm rounds.
          Not even for a huge hit in xp.

        • Josh W says:

          There’s also a hole in the floor near the door, and you can stand almost on top of that and use VATs, then when it gets close to you, step backwards and drop down. Then you have to back up the steps of course, but it’s hilarious.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Well, then again… much respect! I play this kind of game cautiously and sneaking as much as possible, but with constant F5 quicksaves and knowing I can always back up by hitting F9, I’m still taking a lot of chances that I wouldn’t do otherwise.

        I’m sure some of us following this adventure are yelling “Why did you go in there,” but it would be a more boring tale if you just skirted every building you see while moving around the perimeter of the map. Plus, you need the sweet loot that isn’t just lying around on the ground outside, or you won’t survive anyway.

      • c-Row says:

        I really am running away an awful lot, and eating/drinking absolutely everything.

        And in the game.

  6. Sin Vega says:

    I’d take the egg back. No good documentary ever came without an unpredictable exception to the rules. Although I think it’ll be a moot point seeing as these games are always rigged so that it’s impossible to beat anything far above your level without exploits. You’re gonna need a working munitions factory to chip away at that pile of hitpoints :(

  7. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    Spoiler warning for the quest if you somehow decided to read the comments without reading the actual article, skip this post.

    I liked that mystery Museum of Witchcraft builds up, there is something mentioned, something big and bad, you can hear it move about long before you see it. Oh, but the first thing my companion said when entering the museum was something akin to “That’s clearly the sound of a deathclaw.” Sometimes, even companions spoils your game.

    • geisler says:

      Quite anti-climacticly, i was already lvl 21 when entering the museum, having already encountered multiple Deathclaws (including an “alpha” variant).

      • Toranaga says:

        When i went i was lvl 30 and I play on very hard. IT was a legendary alpha dethclaw, I smacked it 3 times with my thunderhammer and it died. It gave me one of the best weapons in the game, explosive combat shotgun, things a meatgrinder.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Consider the one sold in Covenant too, less powerful but it has a lot of control with it’s pushback.

          Then again, i still miss the random one with plasma enhancement i got, i hate how luck based is that and hopefully there will be something to mess with those things in some DLC.

  8. Solidstate89 says:

    Never help a Deathclaw out. They are the most proficient and dangerous killing machines in the entire Wasteland and there’s nothing natural about their existence. They weren’t even created by the dropping of the bombs, it’s all just Pre-War FEV experimentation.

    Destroy the egg and run.

    • All is Well says:

      I personally chose the “return-to-mom” branch (if you can call it that – it’s more like a twig or splinter, really) of the quest so I too want to see a different approach. I’m hoping Michael/Alec picks it up in the intent to return it but, as events conspire against him, chooses to eat it instead.

      • BlackMageSK says:

        Why not both? You can be a horrible monster by returning it to mom, taking the deathclaw gauntlet, cutting mom’s head off with it, take the egg again and go sell it for a measly 200 caps.

    • unacom says:

      In New Vegas you had the Wasteland-Omlette choice…

  9. Sarkhan Lol says:

    You certainly give this more tone than Bethesda did.

  10. Krazen says:

    If he had to go back to return the egg would fast-travel be an allowed choice in this play through? It’d like a scene cut time skip in the TV show, “we travelled for 3 days but now we arrived”.

    Or would it mean walking back on the exact same route, no short cut across the land?

  11. TerminatorJones says:

    Alec, what level are you at this point? Seems like with all the high-level enemies you’d actually level pretty quick. I’d guess around 5 or 7?

  12. cutterjohn says:

    Kind of way out in left field, but I’d’ve been MUCH happier(to a VERY limited extent) with FO4 IF they had a Dropkick Murphys channel…
    link to en.wikipedia.org

    Fits perfectly, but hey, crapthesda… what can one expect than a slow suicide, as I don’t think that they can sustain this dumbing down going coupled with nothing else.

    I REALLY thought that they bought Id to have their own inhouse engine and programmers, as AFAICS they way-back-when bought out a huge netimmerse source/support contract/license(not helped them recently obviously) then it got bought out by whatever-they-were-called then spat out the gamebryo engine. Realistically I think that all crapthesda has is a few scripters, and a bunch of artists/modellers.

    Idtech 5 engine would’ve been perfect for this game and they have their own tame stable of coders, but… they fscked up. Lame game. Lame dumbing down.

    Really, the only reason that I bought it was for the open world aspect as there still aren’t very many games that do it well, or are able to do even a halfassed bethesda production of ‘openworld’ although TBH I think that most of that is driven by consoleitis and what limited capabilities that they have.

    to re-iterate:
    link to en.wikipedia.org


  13. Harlander says:

    Well, after lambasting the voters as cowards for not picking the “drown in a radioactive puddle” option in the last poll, it looks like you’re going to reap what you sew now.

    • Harlander says:

      Or what you sow, more likely. *adds to the endless chorus of kvetching about the edit function*

  14. GallonOfAlan says:

    “Then I rob his shop blind and sell it all back to him in exchange for more bullets. ”


    (That’s Bethesda, brother!)

  15. MrWhite says:

    I like this way of roleplaying the game.
    Maybe i should give it a try.

    And he should of course bring the egg back…

  16. Romeric says:

    Love these posts, Alec! Was initially afraid of spoilers but, having made some progress with the game, I’ve just read every entry in one go. Really great work.

  17. stitchlipped says:

    “Michael Palin would not go backwards, I know that much for sure. I wonder, though – would he help to save an unborn, as-yet innocent life from a grim fate?”

    See, I figure Michael Palin would definitely do that. And I was going to vote that way.

    But then I realised, Michael Radiatin already split from the Palin-inspired source when he robbed blind the small business owner.

    You’ve made Michael Radiatin into a dick, so be consistent – onward!

  18. Suits says:

    Jurassic Park reference

  19. ThehakkeMadman says:

    Great diary, but will it be continued? Did I miss something?