The Brotherhood Concise Single Squad Field Manual v.2.5. 9th April 2001
by PaladinDustin Du Cane
"My name's Paladin Du Cane. I'm a Paladin, that means I've probably killed more people than you've seen in your miserable lives up till now and in respect of that the first and last words out of your mouths, if you ever meet me in person, will be sir.
Now, only 2% of a training group ever gains Paladin rank and status but 70% of those who reach junior knight do...Why is that? It's simple, if you can keep alive for the first few combats, you've got a greater chance of staying alive for the next thanks to the experience you've gained. My job is to make sure you survive those first few combats and maybe give you some tips to remember for the rest of your miserable lives. I'm not doing this out of the goodness of my heart but simply because the Brotherhood has finite resources and even fewer instructors to equip and teach your replacements. Some of you will think you know better and will do things your own way, most of you will die doing this. Those who survive will be a credit to the Brotherhood and I'll be glad to share combat experiences with anyone whose kill count exceeds 100. Until then, keep your smart ideas to yourselves and do things my way, the Brotherhood way."
This isn't a complete guide and it isn't a walkthrough, I haven't played through the game four times over with different characters, I'm just writing what worked for me in single player campaign mode (multiplayer has its own rules.) If you have any specific problems, check out the miscellaneous hints section at the end but don't write to me for help. I'm very busy and have a bad memory so I won't remember where exactly the key to the Raider safe is and if I do, I won't be able to write to you about it. If you have any suggestions that work, however please feel free to email them to me, I'll incorporate them when I have the time... You won't find any stats here either, I don't believe in giving detailed information copied from the game that doesn't really mean anything. What this is, is a guide to making the initial game choices and to dealing with various opponents. Oh, if you don't understand the terms I bandy freely around, please reread the manual or play the game a little. If I've misnamed a weapon, please be tolerant of my poor memory and laziness.
1. Your team
"Remember, you're warriors. It may surprise those of you that slept through your initial briefings that you're not an elite group amongst the Brotherhood, who can feel superior to the scribes and technicians that keep us ticking over, we're not a primitive society with a ruling warrior caste, we're Brothers. Every Brother is equal, though rank, being the formal representation of respect earned through Brotherhood service, of course counts. The scribes, medics, mechanics and ancillary stuff fulfill those functions that keep you from being spear chucking primitives, they provide and maintain your fancy weapons, armor and vehicles and most importantly cook our food. You're warriors because the Brotherhood screening you went through on induct decided that your jobs in life will be to kill things and that is how you should serve the Brotherhood. A few basic non-combat skills will come in handy but remember, you're obviously not cut out to do anything other than combat or you're such obvious combat psychos that you'd be wasted behind a desk anyway."
First things first, FT is a tactical combat game. There is little role-playing in the game. Certainly virtually none compared to the previous games. No dialogue options, no difficult moral decisions (apart from whether or not to kill somebody or blow something up), and no character interactions. Its just you and five guys or gals (with mutants, deathclaws, ghouls and techno-samurais joining you after you kick their ...) up against the world. And it’s a nasty world. Which leads me to my first point, combat skills are the most important thing in the game. Repeat after me: small arms, heavy weapons, energy weapons and trap skill will save my life. To play and win FT, concentrate on the combat skills.
1.1. Creating your lead character
"In combat, as in all things, there are gods and clods. 90% of Initiates will be willing and able to do anything they're ordered to by their superior. 10% of Initiates will simply do whatever necessary without any orders. These are the natural leaders. They're often not the biggest, nor the toughest, nor the best shots or meanest brawlers in a squad, unlike the leaders of primitive societies, but they're almost always the smartest, the ones that use their brains, not their eyes and hands to be deadly. Still, every Brother has to keep their combat skills honed to a very high level, sometimes you can't outsmart an enemy, you just have to outshoot them."
When creating your lead character remember that a high INT score gives you more points to spend on skills per level, however PER is very important for snipers (sniping is my favorite game tactic), STR allows you to lug loads of trash around (which is useful if you buy into the game's weakest point, the only way you can get weapons is by BUYING them from the Brotherhood which means looting bodies to get items to SELL to the Brotherhood or by LOOTING bodies and taking what you need from them which means you have to have plenty of carrying capacity to carry around the 27 AK-47's you need to sell to buy a bazooka rocket. This point in the game really irritated me, I could understand having to buy, loot or steal all I needed in Fallout 1 and 2 but in FT I'm part of an army. No army enlists you and then demands you buy your own weapons and then buys what you find, they give you a rifle, ammo and chow for free but then again they take anything you find away for free as well and they certainly don't screw you 10:1, you don't give them 10 rifles to get one back. This isn't Jagged Alliance, we're not mercenaries, we're tech paladins fighting a bitter war supported by the premiere military organization in the remains of the US), END keeps you alive a little longer (though personally I believe an average score is enough, you'll need plenty of stimpacks to survive through a mission anyway so its just important for you to survive the opening volley of shots and anyway you've got a quick-load, that is unless you're playing on tough guy mode), CHR is useless as you're not going to sweet talk anyone in this incarnation of Fallout, AGI gives you more AP and better AC and LK doesn't do anything useful for your lead character (do you really want to make him a gambler?), so a low score is acceptable.
Remember combat skills are key so tag small arms and energy weapons. You'll be using small arms for most of the game and being able to shoot further and more accurately than the enemy will keep you alive. You won't get energy weapons for a long while but they're vital to defeating robots (the toughest enemy, oops, that's a SPOILER). Heavy weapons are cool but they're a liability as they're heavy (hence the name) and can kill your own team more quickly than the enemy can (if the heavy machine gun guy at the back of the line fires his Browning through his own team-mates or his bazooka hits the window he's trying to shoot through right in front of the squad leader). If you want to develop melee weapon or unarmed skills, its your own funeral, have fun going toe-to-claw with Deathclaws or kickboxing the Behemoth's in the later part of the game, you can stop reading now in that case. You'll be able to develop and choose characters to specialize in other skills so don't try and make your lead character everyman.
Traits? Well, personally I'd choose Bloody Mess and Gifted but then again I like brilliantpsychos. To be honest though, Fast Shot is also a good choice.
1.2. Choosing your team
"A squad is a 6 man killing team. It goes in, it butchers, and it comes back. The scribes and techs deal with what's left over. You want to choose the deadliest killers who can work in a team. A lone wolf who doesn't cover his squad mates is of no use.
Also make sure there's somebody in your squad who can keep the muties off your backs in the wasteland or that can follow a trail, somebody who can open a locked door with a bent needle when a grenade or demo charge simply won't do, somebody who can open a locked door with a grenade or demo charge when a bent needle simply won't do, somebody who can screw the primitives for whatever you need from them for some shiny stones with a smile and above all, make sure you've got somebody who can stitch you up under fire and then cover your back during your ignominious retreat. Field medics will save your lives more often than you'll care to think about, for this reason all medics drink for free at Brotherhood messes. As a final note, the Brotherhood is an equal opportunity army, not because we believe in the natural equality of men and women but because any woman who's managed to join the Brotherhood despite the cultural prejudices of her society is going to be three times tougher, five times smarter, seven times more determined and nine times deadlier than a man, they're almost always better shots. If you don't believe me challenge Gunnery Instructor Jane "Hand of God" Robinson to a handicap shooting match, she'll outshoot you blindfolded. As far as non-human races are concerned, I'm sure that none of them are smart enough to read this, so I'll say that Super Mutants and Deathclaws are good at what they do, which is rip things apart at short range but they're bad at everything else. Ripping apart at close range is a useful skill but its useless against a skill called automatic fire selection. Oh, ghoul readers will please refrain from leaving body fluid stains on these pages."
You'll get access to new recruits after your first mission by talking to the Recruits Master, personally I believe you should choose a full team straight off and then develop them according to the guidelines I've laid down in the next section rather than picking and choosing among the recruits that appear as you advance in rank.
Remember combat skills are what should guide your team choices, FT isn't an RPG, and it’s a combat game. But I believe every team should have a warrior who specializes in one of the following:
a) Outdoormanships -a skill of 110% should keep you from having to fight 10 times on every trip to every mission site. This character should choose the appropriate Scout and Ranger perks when they appear.
b) Lockpicking -there is a lot of locks to be picked in this game. This character doesn't have to choose the criminal perks but should get their skill to 110%. This character should also carry the best lock-picks you can get at that stage of the game. You'll be picking locks all the time. Believe me.
c) Gambling or Bartering -if you want to follow the absurd game system of buying and selling equipment from your own army. No perks needed but a high skill helps (though 50% gambling is enough to win everything off most characters). Oh yes, if you can gamble with a character, a button with the tag Gamble will appear under the Barter button. Try clicking on a character a few times, Gamble might appear (I remember it appearing once).
d) First Aid and Doctor (yes I know these are two skills)-you're going to need healing all the time so skills of 150% level are required. Learn your medical skills, learn that the Surgeon's Bag will remove Bandaged status and heal big-time and that stimpacks are worth their weight in gold. Buy, loot, steal and hoard these items. You can choose the Doc perks if you want, I didn't and my doc (Stitch) still healed excellently (as well as firing a mean fusion pulse).
e) Traps. You're going to find plenty of mines and trapped chests and doors so a trap specialist will keep your team from getting blown up all the time.
I had a Pilot specialist (Jo) with me on my tour through the game but her skills hardly got used as basically all missions (apart from the Mutant Fortress of Doom) have to played on foot anyway (and to keep your vehicle going you'll need to put points into Repair skill and carry around tool-kits. Personally I wandered around with two of them just in case but they never came in handy.) Random encounters can be played from a vehicle but you've got a specialist to help you avoid them, haven't you?
Snipers rule this game. Get as many high PER and small arms gals (i.e. Rebecca and Farsight, they seem to have better weapon skills than the boys) as you can (but don't forget the doctor). You might want to specialize a warrior in heavy weapon skills but a warrior with a minigun or bazooka is more of a threat to his own team than he is to the enemy unless he's micromanaged all the time (which means you can't really use continuous turn mode).
Since I believe in building an initial team of weapon shooters and then sticking to it throughout the game so you can develop the skills that count rather than getting well-rounded useless characters, I don't recommended the other races you'll be able to access after opening that can of whoop-ass on them. Why not? Well:
a) Deathclaws suck when they run up against opponents with ranged fire power. Which means they suck at almost all scenarios. Run a Deathclaw against a Super Mutant with a machine gun or a robot turret and you'll see what I mean.
b) Mutants are big and nasty, are cool for a while as they run around shooting machine guns one-handedly but can't wear power armor which means they're dead (a liability) in the later game stages.
c) Reavers (who look like extras from Kurosawa films) have good weapon skills and are basically identical to BOS recruits but you should only use them (or BOS recruits) if one of your initial team gets waked.
d) Ghouls, they're ugly and they smell and they're not better than humans in what they can do. So they're difficult to kill? If you're in a situation where survivability counts more than brain power, than you're in trouble.
So I'm biased towards pure humans in this game. Sue me. Or better still tell me how your Deathclaw assault squad ripped apart a Behemoth.
1.3. Developing your team
"Every day in every way, you should be getting better and better. Or there won't be another day. Is that clear? In other words, hone your skills all the time. It’s only your skills that will ultimately keep you alive, not power armor or a fusion rifle. Each combat you survive will teach you something new, even I get surprised sometimes. And remember, you're combat specialists and reading Voltaire doesn't count as combat training.
If you stay alive, fulfill your assigned mission and show the proper respect to your superiors, for instance by quoting this manual anywhere and everywhere you go, you'll go far and fast in the Brotherhood."
When your characters level, develop your combat and specialist skills. You get about one /one and half level ups per mission. First of all develop your small arms and specialist skills (perhaps put 1/3 of your points into the specialist skill for the given character, the exception here is the Doc who should be putting about half his points into his healing skills). Then when energy weapons appear, pour all your points into your tagged energy weapon skill (choose the Tag Perk for recruits whose initial tags you couldn't choose. Increasing skill levels above 100% without a tag is extremely slow and frustrating). 180% is the level you want to achieve in these two weapon skills. Like I said, heavy weapons are cool but deadly and you cannot be great in all the combat skills simultaneously (I won't even mention melee and unarmed weapon skills, its your funeral if you want to use them, like I already said). When you get perks, choose combat perks, Action Boy, Sharpshooter, Gain Perception and Bonus Rate of Fire are key, though BRF is the only absolute must (some characters won't be able to choose Sharpshooter or BRoF perks). Remember that you can Mutate (this perk changes Traits, its a bug as only your lead character has traits to be changed but this perk still works on your squadies) your gained characters to gain Fast Shot (or just start your character off with this Trait), this allows you to shoot at 1AP cost less but you can't make aimed shots (thanks to Cabhaal for that). The most important perk that you have to get for your lead is Brownnosing. This affects your promotion rate which affects the access you get to Brotherhood weapons and armor (armor being the keyword here as weapons you can loot) which affects how long you live. Awareness is a useful perk for one of your team to have as you can then read of the enemy stats when its that characters turn. Every single team member doesn't have to have this skill, obviously. The Team Player Perk is also very useful...as your squad will be grouped together almost all of the time.