(This is part of my journey playing through Fallout. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)
With nothing else left to do, I go back to Shady Sands and talk to Aradesh, who reveals that his daughter has been kidnapped. Since he’s got a spear on him and a good motivation to find his kin, naturally he’s standing stock still in a corner waiting for a total stranger to show up and save the day.
I! Am! That! Stranger!
Before I leave, I barter some of the stolen water for his nifty spear. It does the same damage as the crowbar for the same action points, but it has a range of 2 instead of 1.
The raider camp isn’t too difficult to find, as it’s just a little bit south of Shady Sands. I’m ushered into the only building under the pretense of a job, but the leader takes my grunts as a threat and opens fire.
So let me set the scene here: I am currently in the headquarters of a raider camp, surrounded by no less than 10 bad guys (and a few “slaves”), half of whom are armed with pistols. As a melee fighter, I at least have to be two squares or closer just to attack, all while anyone with a gun is taking potshots at me from across the room.
It’s not just bad, it’s impossible.
Betty lives for this sort of thing, so impossible is okay.
Betty dives into the hallway and tosses his only two grenades into the main room, taking out a pair of female raiders. He then stays in the hallway to aggro Garl, the leader of the band, while staying outside of the range of the other enemies who won’t move until Betty gets close enough. Then it becomes a pitched battle, spear vs. pistol, and I lose. Over and over and over again. Stimpacks are consumed, saved games are reloaded, and death cackles at me.
What helps me is that Fallout actually lets you save in the middle of combat, which is almost unheard of in most CRPGs. So whenever I get a good round — I knock Garl down, I dodge one of his attacks — I save and use that save point to reload when I die. Inch by inch, I move toward victory.
That doesn’t mean the battle is over, of course. I still have to contend with numerous guards around the place. In one save game, I make the mistake (sort of) of letting Tandi out of her cell. Man, she comes out like a mama bear, all claws and fangs and knives. She runs down the guards and stabs them like a madwoman, killing two before I can blink. The problem is that she’s not controllable and she won’t stop (can you blame her, really?), so she keeps running around the camp aggroing everything until she dies and I’m trying to fend off 20 bad guys. Sorry Tandi, you’re going to stay in your cell for now.
I finish some business with a couple of local guards, and as soon as I’m able to, I end combat. Yes, there are still bad guys left, bu I’ve been doing this fight for over an hour now and my bags are stuffed to the brim. I rescue Tandi and we leave from the back door.
Cue experience and a new level, but not a grateful Tandi companion or anything like that. Betty is still alone, cursed with a small brain and large heart. I make a mental note to return to the camp at a later date for more combat and looting.