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Fallout 4: A Dance With Deathclaws

A Fallout 4 perma-death diary, day 6

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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.

Guess I’m paying a visit to Chez Deathclaw, then.

Once again, you voted that I break my own rules – in this instance heading backwards and forwards in order to return a Deathclaw egg to the nest some now-eviscerated soldiers nicked it from. I’m not going to use Fast Travel, because that really would shatter the whole ethos of this journey, but in the hope of making my round trip as short as possible I do follow the straightest line to my destination that I can, rather than traipse around the periphery once again.

(Also nothing will happen if I simply retrace my steps, and that would be boring.

First things first: getting out of the corner I’m squeezed into alive. A particularly mean Deathclaw is stomping around on the other side of the wall, and I know from experience that all I can do is piss it off more. Fortunately, it seems a little less interested in me since I abducted its unborn child. Go figure. I’m about to make a dash for the exit when I realise something: I’m coming back here. For the first time, I’ll be returning somewhere, which means I could leave my very nearly depleted Power Armour here and use what little juice it has left on some small measure of my real journey. I figure no raiders are likely to nick it from a building guarded by a Deathclaw, but take the 95%-drained Fusion Core with me just in case.

So long, old friend. Hope I get to see you one more time.

As I head out into the darkness, I feel far more jumpy than usual, and it’s not just because I’ve left ol’ shellhead behind. It’s because I no longer have the arguable security of knowing that at least one side of me won’t suddenly release a swarm of horrors in my general direction. I am truly inland for the first time, and it makes me insecure. Anything could happen.

‘Anything’ turns out to be an flying bear.

Followed by an angry chef. I didn’t manage to get a picture because he was trying to kill me but I did get this sweet hat after I’d finished shotgunning him in the face:

He also left a list of ingredients he was after, which does not include ‘half-dead Monty Python lookalike’s butchered skin’ so I’m none the wiser as to why he attacked me.

I narrowly avoid a few Super Mutants and their reliably brutal dogs, as I’m feeling a bit too pink and squishy without my armour, and skulk my way to the Deathclaw nest relatively unscathed. Mama Deathclaw has got there ahead of me, and makes an immediate beeline for me. I sprint. She sprints faster. She’s right at my back and… I plonk the egg back in the centre of the nest and she skids to a halt.

We stare at each other for a while. Was that a smile? I’m sure I saw a smile.

Oh man, I’m turning into one of those poor, sappy idiots who say “I know my cat can smile” even though cats don’t have the necessary facial muscles to smile, aren’t I? No, the Deathclaw did not smile, but more far more importantly it did not impale me on its claws then eat my head, which by Deathclaw standards is basically a marriage proposal.

She also lets me loot her nest – egg aside – which yields a set of Deathclaw claws that pack a punch in melee, and some dead Raiders and Settlers carrying some vaguely useful ammunition and armour parts. And OH MY GOD FUSION CORES MY POWER ARMOUR IS SAVED I’M SAVED THIS DIARY WILL GO ON FOREVER

Oh no, my mistake, those are Fusion Cells. Dammit! Two shots for my Laser Rifle, in other words. Imminent death it still is, then.

I wave bye-bye to the Deathclaw using the severed appendage of one of its family members, which it doesn’t seem unhappy about, then hit the road again.

I’ve headed slightly South during my short time in the nest, which means I’m not following exactly the same route back. Which means New Things! Like this Almighty Tower Of Doom:

It’s guarded by a few Raiders, who are the first enemies I’ve encountered in a while that my PipBoy doesn’t freak the hell out about it. I take ’em out relatively easily, then head into the tower, only narrowly avoiding a tripmine at the bottom of its spiral staircase. There’s not too much going on in the tower, but the summit yields an excellent view, a dead man with a key to a nearby chest and some sort of radio mast with a big, tempting button on it.

I press the big tempting button. A siren sounds. Seconds later, I hear gunfire. Peeping cautiously over the parapets I see a few more bandits have arrived. Along with two massive Deathclaws, which my PipBoy very much freaks the hell out about. Er. This seems like a very unhelpful siren?

I have no dog in the race, so leave the monsters and maniacs to fight it out. This takes about seven seconds, leaving me still with two almost entirely unharmed Deathclaws to deal with.

Time to spend some points.

You may have been wondering how my skills have developed during my time out here. The answer is “not a lot”, partly because I’ve run away from so many fights but mostly because I’ve been stockpiling my options to learn new abilities until I had a clearer idea of what I’d most need. This is because my first skill was an almighty miscalculation – I’d gone for one which let me intimidate beasties that aren’t as tough as me into simply giving up, but the trouble is everything out here is far, far tougher than me. What a waste. Now I have a sense of what would help though, and I have the scars to prove it.

Here’s what I go for:

  • Bonus toughness and carry weight if I’m travelling alone (I doubt I’ll meet any companions out on the borders)
  • Improved Stealth
  • The one I really should have gone for right off the bat, which is to make me resistant to radiation while swimming.

I keep one in the bank in case I need something particular later, then try to creep past the Deathclaws. This does not work. Bloody Deathclaws. So I run, with two of them hot on my heels, and no hope. Come on guys, I took your egg back, didn’t I? Ask your mother.

This it. This is the end.

The end of the land. Now I am footloose and radiation free, I plunge off the bank and into the poisonous river below, and swim for it. The Deathclaws don’t follow.

I am deliriously happy. This is an excellent escape, yes, but it also proves that one of my older enemies is now defeated: I can swim. I can go anywhere. I will not have to compromise further.

Right, time to get back on track. Where my Power Armour at? Oh, typical. Right back in the direction of those Deathclaws gurning at me from the far shore.

To be continued…

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Alec Meer

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Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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