Meet Cass (Click any image to embiggen).
19 years old and fresh out of a sealed nuclear bunker (Vault 101) for the first time in her life, 200 years after the nuclear war that reduced Washington to rubble, she’s uh… well.
She’s a schlemiel. A crabby, perpetually unlucky weakling with all the social skills of a pregnant warthog. (Well okay, I don’t actually intend for her to be a complete social cretin – this is just the best way to keep her barter skill low, which will make for a more challenging economy). To offset this, I’ve upped her Endurance, which will increase her resistance to radiation, but more importantly mean she can take more damage, and her Intelligence, which will mean more skill points in the long run, and a slight headstart on medical and scientific skills, used for healing and hacking respectively.
These stats are very difficult to raise permanently, so I had to choose carefully. The abysmal luck will mean that she will find almost nothing in the wilderness but horror and pain, and her complete lack of muscle will restrict her to carrying only the barest of essentials around. In the vanilla game, and even with FWE’s default setting, any but the lowest strength stat will allow you to carry around absurd amounts of equipment. That won’t be happening with Cass.
I tag her three core skills as Lockpicking, Repair, and Small Guns. These skills will raise twice as quickly if I choose to put points in them when I level up, and skill points will be few and far between in this game. Lockpicking and Repair fit the scavenger’s lifestyle well, as they’ll give me access to more goodies and the occasional secret area, while Repair will allow me to improve any weapons I find, either to even my fighting chances or sell for greater profit.
Though I wanted this to be about pure scavenging and avoiding trouble, small guns proved to be a necessity – I will simply have to be able to defend myself or I won’t last a week, even with, say, the Sneak skill. It’ll only take one lucky shot to put me down for good, so I’ll need to be able to make my own shots count.
Medical skill has been boosted by my high intelligence. This will make things a fair bit easier as I’ll be able to heal up more efficiently, and if I put some points in or get the right perks, I might be able to make my own medical supplies. I’d rather not have this as it makes for more challenge (doctors are expensive and hard to find), but it may prove ncessary. We’ll see.
Otherwise, you can pretty much see how I’m almost competent to completely hopeless at basically everything, so it won’t be such a departure from my everyday life. Unarmed skill won’t be very useful as I’m too weedy to put any weight into a blow and too clumsy to sneak up on anyone anyway. “punch robot to death” as a tactical option comes a distinct third, slightly above “curl up into a foetal position and sob piteously”.
FWE also allows you to choose from a few dozen ‘backgrounds’ that can affect your starting equipment, stats, and in some cases, allegiances. The closest thing to the default is ‘vault dweller’, but that puts you right outside megaton, which is a bit boring and easy. I’m tempted by ‘escaped slave’, but that would make slavers attack on sight, which I’d rather avoid, and would mean a quarter of my weight/space allowance would be taken up by a useless slave collar. No thanks.
I plump for ‘wastelander’ instead, which bruises my Science skill, but boosts my radiation resistance and explosives skill. It puts me down in an unfamiliar location, which is ideal for my purposes. We’ll probably find that NPCs will still treat me as the ‘vault dweller’, but I’m sure we’ll manage.
And awaaaay we go!