New plot concepts/devices for Fallout

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by The Dutch Ghost, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Hello all,

    I have a question I would like to ask the creative minds amongst you, for some time I am looking for good plot ideas for Fallout, something on the ‘epic’ scale of the previous games that form the basis for a player’s main quest.

    However coming up with a good idea isn’t that easy and I more than once started over from scratch, trying to find a concept that felt good enough that it would convince me that other people would also like it.
    So far I have only got myself frustrated to the point that I am starting to get pissed, I know originality isn’t dead; it just really eludes me on the moment.

    These have been the story concepts of the previous canon and non canon games so far.

    Fallout) The Master wants to use FEV to turn humanity into a race of Super Mutants which he believes are better suited for the wasteland, and sterilise all those that can not be changed so they will be the last of the old humanity.

    Fallout 2) The Enclave wants to reclaim the world for ‘pure humans’ and cleanse the planet of all ‘mutants’ use a bio agent with a hundred percent fatality rate.

    Fallout Tactics) (non canon) A Pre War built computer called the Calculator is driven by old instructions to cleanse the wasteland of mutants, building an army of robots and fighting machines to do so.

    Fallout Brotherhood of Steel) (non canon) A Super Mutant warlord is searching for a cure for mutant sterility so that the Super Mutants can finally breed and take over the world.

    Van Buren) (questionable) A scientist named Dr Presper believes any attempts at rebuilding civilization are failing because of corruption and other factors, he wants to restart civilization with his chosen ‘true humanity’.
    In order to eliminate the rest he wants to use the New Plague ‘Limit 115’ and an orbital defence platform called B.O.M.B.001 to destroy settlements such as Vault City, New Reno and NCR.

    Here are some of my ideas, I wasn’t really happy with them as they didn’t feel that strong a ‘threat’ to the world or a good plot device.

    1. Spaceship) My idea was that the Overseer of the player’s Vault believed that civilization could not be reborn anymore on Earth. Being somehow tied to the Enclave he knew or managed to learn about the Enclave’s old space program and their plans to colonise another planet in a nearby star system.

    Believing that his Vault Dwellers were the best hope for humanity the Overseer wanted to locate this spaceship and bring his people to a new world to start over again.
    During the game the player would discover that there are serious flaws in the Overseer’s plan and that the spaceship wasn’t what he thought it to be.

    Apparently the spaceship the Enclave had built before the War was a prototype and a PR tool they made to show their investors that they had plans to make all the necessary people survive, the ship itself suffered from all kinds of short comings, being built from experimental technology.
    During the construction the funding also ran out.

    The ship was equipped with a fusion ramscoop, but in order to reach ramscoop speeds it was to use its fusion drives to accelerate. These drives would be so powerful that they couldn’t be used in Earth’s vicinity, something along the lines of killing everyone directly under them and contaminating Earth’s atmosphere with radiation that in time would sterilise the planet of life.
    Originally the ship was to get a number of conventional hydrogen boosters as well to move the ship away from Earth but because of the budget cuts it never received these.

    The Overseer wouldn’t care that bringing his people to the new world would mean the end of the old world, the player could collect information and evidence that the spaceship never worked to begin with and use this to convince the Overseer that he was wrong.

    The Enclave originally had planned to put the player’s community on the ship under the pretence that they were to be the first wave of colonists that would prepare the new world for the coming of other spaceships, but secretly the Enclave wanted to know if their prototype would actually work.

    If it did, great, if not, well they would simply start over and build a new one with the knowledge they had learned.
    Of course the Enclave is pretty much gone and none of the survivors know of the experiment their leaders had planned.

    I also had the idea that the player could help communities prosper and use this as evidence that the world could be rebuilt.

    Alternative you would also be able to help the Overseer with his plan and launch the spacecraft as yet but you would have to fix the ship’s flaws as well as take care of your former companions who probably wouldn’t like the fact that you plan to kill everyone on Earth.

    Well I don’t know what scientific flaws there are in my idea but I simply felt it wasn’t compelling enough as a story concept.

    2. Rebuilding the world) I got the idea for this from the old Buck Rogers’ Matrix Cube RPG.
    Rather than saving the world the player would be competing with other factions to locate some Pre War device that could rebuild the wasteland or destroy what remnants of humanity was left.

    I am not sure where it would have headed but I didn’t really like this idea, it felt to far fetched; the magical McGuffin that saves all. Plus it also sounded a little like the GECK.

    3. Mind Control) Someone or some group was working with Pre War technology that could take over the minds of people, perhaps some sort of implant.
    Again this didn’t really work for me.

    4. Climate change) The climate in the wastelands was changing, making it more and more difficult for people to survive.
    Yet again some device and evil group/organisation that was behind it all, I still wonder where this absurd idea came from.

    If some of you have suggestions or ideas, please post them here or PM them to me.
    Perhaps this will spark some new ideas.
  2. TheBadDoctor

    TheBadDoctor First time out of the vault

    Feb 7, 2008
    I'm not entirely sure what you want these plots for - suggestions for future FO games, PnP campaigns, etc?

    Personally, I feel that a suitably epic quest in a post-apocalyptic wasteland would simply be REBUILDING. No need to go too far into the whole "save the world" thing. The world's already fucked. If Fallout circa 2076 was a separate game, the player got the bad ending.

    I think not enough has been made of NCR's development in-game, as well as their conflicts with Vault City, New Reno, and the Brotherhood of Steel.

    Perhaps an aspiring congressman in NCR is looking to acquire the Brotherhood's vast technological resources in a bid to "civilize" the wastes. A little bit of good old-fashoined bigotry, in a sort of "Cowboys vs. Indians," with the congressman aiming to civilize the tribals at gunpoint. Moral ambiguity is the name of the game, though, and perhaps the congressman would accept those who were willing to abandon their previous lifestyles with open arms, leading players to not quite be able to just kill him and walk away satisfied. Plus, he's in a position of power, and taking him down would be difficult at best. You could end up incorporating arms smugglers, political machinations and espionage, and military tension. It's not as "science-y" as past storylines, but variety is nice.
  3. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    There was also the cancelled Tactics 2:

  4. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all

    Apr 3, 2003
    And you appear to have skipped Fallout 3 :P
  5. Ausir

    Ausir Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 20, 2003
    Well, that's probably because we don't know what Fallout 3's plot is really about, assuming they kept the "find Water Chip/GECK/Dad, learn about big threat, defeat the big threat" scheme.
  6. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Hello Ausir,

    I must have forgotten about Fallout Tactics 2.
    Curious, I do visit the Vault Wiki often.

    To BN and Ausir,

    Well Ausir pretty much answered the question why I hadn't added it to the list, we have no idea how the story plays out, but as there are both Super Mutants and the Enclave in the area I think it will be a mix of both.

    I honestly hope its not what another poster suggested; that the Enclave is now busy creating or cloning new Super Mutants in a bid to take over the world.
  7. Ravager69

    Ravager69 Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Dec 21, 2007
    How about you become the New Master? By some brainwashing\people changing machine\virus or whatever and set on a quest to reunite the Wasteland? I'm tired of saving the world from a big threat - this time I AM THE THREAT!
  8. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Hello Ravager69,

    I personally think that should be the end part of a story, the choice the main character/player makes but not something he or she might directly be focussing on during the story/game.
  9. DarkPhilly

    DarkPhilly First time out of the vault

    Jan 23, 2007
    Who says you have to start out with a plot?

    Lets take an easy topic just for a point of reference. Leaving home. At some point, some people get tired of "familiar" and want to go their own way. Move away or do their own thing with a path that they choose.

    I think it would be very interesting to see just that, and have a character that gets "sucked in" to something bigger. You make it what you want to do, in the particular setting. Not thrown into a role that you may not want to achieve. Heh I kind of make it sound like a "life simulator" but isn't that one of the basis for RPGs?

    I digress
  10. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Hello DarkPhilly,

    Well with my question I didn't mean the immediate setup of the story/game, the player getting an important quest during which he learns of a great threat/plot device that he/she has to track down.

    Like you suggested, perhaps it would be interesting for the player to stumble across whatever is moving the wastelands on the moment; leaving the Vault/home town for no other reason than go out and explore and suddenly getting involved into something much larger than local politics.

    Of course there would have to be some reason of why the player would want to get involved, something other than "I am an shining example for the people of the wasteland and I must intervene otherwise blah blah, deaths on a mass scale blah blah evil organization taking over".

    Perhaps the player learns the barest of clues he or she becomes the target of someone who is of the opinion that he/she/it can't take the risk of the player walking around with some knowledge of the great conspiracy/scheme/master plan and starts sending assassins/robots/mutants to silence the player.

    I think plot devices like kidnapped relatives or amnesia have been used to much and often badly that it no longer intrigues players.

    People might even ask that in Fallout 3 "Why should I leave the Vault to find my dad, the Overseer has made it clear that the surface is incredible dangerous, Dad's on his own."
    Of course the reason for the player to leave is because the Overseer thinks the player has something to do with Dad's disappearance and mystery agenda so he sends his goons to arrest the player and bring him in for some interrogation.

    Well I am not going to say the idea of mystery assassins and their leader is that much better an idea but at least it gives the player a reason to find out who this person is that wants him/her dead and why.
  11. generalissimofurioso

    generalissimofurioso The Hole Time Orderite

    Jun 17, 2007
    Personally, I've always been intrigued by the idea of having a Fallout game set in a time when the recovery of the United States is progressing in a grand fashion. Having fields of green surrounded by radiated wastelands would be some lasting images.

    As for plots, I've pondered about the idea of having a conflict between the NCR and some sort of equivalent establishment from the Midwest or East Coast, with the player being from a vault that is being contested by the two factions.
  12. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Hi generalissimofurioso,

    Regarding progress since the start of the War, kind of like with the previous Fallouts I would also like to show that there is progress in the world, people are starting to build things up again and bring in some resemblance of order.
    But there would still be anarchy and violence outside such locations, plenty of reminders that civilization hasn't completely settled in yet.

    As for an opposing faction to the NCR, have you been reading my mind?
    Some time ago when I was discussing ideas with other people for a Fallout game I also brought up the suggestion for another government rivalling the New California Republic that was located somewhere beyond the radioactice parts of the Midwest.
    Similar to the NCR they had also arisen from the remnants of the old world and were busy trying to unite the wasteland under their banner, believing themselves to be the best hope for humanity.

    While a conflict between such factions would be interesting, similar to the would have been conflict between the BOS and the NCR in Van Buren, I myself wouldn't make it the 'meat' of the story, more to create a background.

    Its probably cliche but behind the conflict between the NCR and the 'Government in the East' there would be a bigger conspiracy taking place, a mystery group or organisation that is making use of the situation for their own agenda.
    Well that is what I would do.
  13. Dougly

    Dougly It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jul 13, 2007
    I rather agree with DarkPhilly that having a game start out with a player who leaves "just to explore," rather than being sent off to "save the Vault/Village" would be a good idea. People leave home for reasons other than heorism.

    You also might consider giving the player starting motives that are less than shining examples of kindness.

    For example, a player might leave home because he was forced out after a terrible crime. Maybe he's fleeing prosecution from theft on a grand scale, or murder. Or, maybe the character is a citizen at Vault City - or a similar area - and he's forced out for questioning the decisions of the First Citizen.

    After being forced to leave his home, the main character wonders around a bit, and eventually stumbles onto the "larger plot" that threatens the wastes. To add an extra element of suspense and moral ambiguity, perhaps aiding the "villains" could enable the character to finally return home - forcing him to make a decision between selling out most of the wastes, or getting what he wants more than anything else. Or, instead, helping the villain could simply enable the character to exact revenge on those who cast him out - forcing him to choose between "getting back" or saving the very people he realizes don't want anything to do with him any more.

    An alternative but similar plot: The player could leave home out of pure greed, a desire to "strike it rich." Perhaps the player has heard of a source of some valuable resource, or of a pre-war vault with a lot of valuable tech. As the plot progresses, the player comes closer and closer to discovering what he's looking for. But, he also finds himself dealing with some sinister force that wishes to utilize the very resources he's looking for. While discovering and utilizing those resources would make the player very wealthy, they would also put the world at the mercy of these "villans," forcing the player to choose between personal profit or the well being of the various civilizations of the wastes.

    Just some ideas. Pick them apart if you wish.
  14. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    Hello Dougly,

    Well I agreed with DarkPhilly that instead of having the player send away from his/her home to perform some 'incredible important quest', that the player could go out because he or she wants too, or like you said heard of some incredibles riches/opportunities.

    When I was making up ideas I came up with the plot device that the player had discovered some kind of secret or information the Overseer of the player's Vault wanted to keep top secret at all costs, so either the player was forced to leave or was exiled by the Overseer, being accused of some crime he or she has never committed.
    Unfortunate that sounds now to much like Bethesda's Fallout 3 opening so that is why I gave up on it.

    Alternative the player had discovered some kind of signal the Vault computers were receiving, manipulating the player's community.
    The player would either be driven by the curiosity to know where this signal came from and what the purpose was, or like in the earlier scenario be forced to leave the Vault, earning the player the name nickname 'The Vault Exile'.

    I also wanted to do something that would force the player (if he could live into the character) to make a difficult decision.
    In one of my earlier concepts there was some sort of threat hidden in the player's Vault and after the player had been travelling around the wasteland for some time, gathering clues/evidence regarding this threat, put the player in a position in which he had to choose between the Vault and the Wasteland.
    If the player would choose the Vault the people in the wasteland would suffer/die, if the player chose the wasteland it would mean the end of the Vault.
  15. Vault Maker

    Vault Maker Vault-Tec Cartographer

    Jun 27, 2006
    One of the things that's intriguing about Fallout is how "local" the world really is. When you create a threat to the "world", it only has to be to the "game world", not the planet. The big save-the-planet (or multiverse) stories work best for fantasy (BG-Torment etc.) or other settings. A post-nuclear world like Fallout's is pretty finite, and there aren't many connections that are so far-reaching that they tie really remote places together very easily. The Enclave is probably the only exception (and would their plan to wipe out "mutants" really have worked, or was that just a final surge of imperial overstretch?).

    On the subject of Epics, I read a definition of it (actually a whole book) that goes something like this: A hero struggles to change something in their world, and intentionally or unintentionally causes the creation of a new empire, or the destruction of an existing one, or a combination.

    But by empire, it doesn't have to mean like Rome or England. It could be the Master, or the NCR, or Metzger in the Den. It's some system that will grow after it's creation.

    Examples of Epics were given as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Divine Comedy, and Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Found.

    Then there were examples of "failure" epics. Examples included Don Juan, and culminated in Conrad's Heart of Darkness. In these, either the motives behind empire are questioned, or the ability to achieve anything "heroic" is denied, given the complete exploration and mapping of the earth.

    I think the Fallout universe may be interesting in part because it weaves these things together. The pre-war empires of the US and China destroyed each other, a whopping failure. But the slate is wiped nearly clean, creating opportunities for new heroes and new empires to be created. Anything created is very tenuous, though, in the wastes.

    So back to story ideas. How about the creation of the empire known as NCR? Did Shady Sands, the Brotherhood, the Necropolis ghouls, Boneyard, and The Hub all just spontaneously agree to live in peace and harmony? In Fallout 2 we know they were riddled with internal power struggles in terms of their relations with the settlements to the north. They probably started off with a lot of friction. Were they forced to pull together suddenly to hunt down the Unity remnants after the destruction of the Master? Maybe they fought the Unity together, then went their separate ways for a while, only to come together again later. Or, maybe some areas were overrun with mutants, and thought their neighbors were somehow to blame. Was it trade that created gradually strengthening ties?

    Not knowing what you mean to do with this, DG, I guess we are excused for just throwing out our little fetishes.
  16. Kanhef

    Kanhef Vault Dweller

    Sep 2, 2007
    Rather than try to fit something into the Fallout world without violating any canon storylines, you could make something on the East Coast. It would have a very different climate. For example, the area around New Hampshire receives so much rain that wildfires are almost unheard of, whereas the western part of the country has hundreds or thousands of acres burn every year. Even after the nuclear holocaust, I'd expect plant life to be fairly prevalent. Mutated plant life, perhaps, but there wouldn't be the struggle to grow crops that there is in the FO1/2 world.
  17. Slaughter Manslaught

    Slaughter Manslaught Vault Senior Citizen

    Dec 11, 2006
    I was thinking about something like this:

  18. TheBadDoctor

    TheBadDoctor First time out of the vault

    Feb 7, 2008
    Let's relegate the GRAND CONFLICT BETWEEN CHAOS AND ORDER to the D&D world. I personally find this too dichotomous and reductive, but it's a good start. I think the hardass military disciplinarian against the anarchic young turk is too cliched and not nearly ambiguous enough. In NCR especially a group of anarchists would have less success gaining power - the conflict is likely to be between the military element and the less-military element, like it was in F2. Military hardline against a more progressive (yet still quite staid and conservative) political bent.
  19. The Dutch Ghost

    The Dutch Ghost Grouchy old man of NMA Moderator

    Jan 11, 2004
    I remember some time ago that a poster came up with this idea;
    The player apparently had found some Pipboy that had the coordinates/access codes to Area 51, however soon after this discovery various factions came after the player for the said Pipboy.

    Somewhere during the story it would be revealed that there was a fleet of radio controlled bombers at the base still armed with nuclear weapons and that the various factions wanted control of these for their own master plan.

    It sounds like Van Buren now, someone who wants to start a second nuclear holocaust but that is the sort of idea I am looking for.
    You can always add a personal quest or political intrigue during the storyline but I would really like to see something at the end that is a bit bigger than life.
  20. DarkPhilly

    DarkPhilly First time out of the vault

    Jan 23, 2007
    Hmm what about a resurgence of chemical warfare? let me look at the wiki...

    Now lets suppose that the submarine that crashed in San Fran was carrying the "Chinese super virus" However this knowledge was only known to the Captain. The virus it self is contained, however its simply forgotten, locked away in relative safety until....

    Now there are few ways to go with this, which is completly up to you.....
    1. it finally leaks out
    2. somebody stumbles upon it
    etc etc