This story is darker than a lot of them. What's with that?

Fallout 3 is a dark, bleak, and depressing game. I wanted to reflect that. It should never be too happy.

What's with your Lone Wanderer? He's too emo.

I based my Lone Wanderer on one assumption: that anyone in his position would have two sides to them.

He'd start out as a young man, scared and lost. But I felt that a second side would be forged out of the fires of necessity more than anything else; a cold hard killing machine which would take over as he traveled more and experienced more of the wasteland.

I felt that as he spent more and more time away from people and among the badguys, the cold hard killer would do a sort of take-over. Then he'd meet Sarah, and whether by accident or design, she'd bring back the young man and give him a way to rise above the killer. His own character arc depends on that inner battle.

The simple fact is that the lone wanderer is a tragic character. In the original game, his life after the vault is nasty, brutish, and is defined by tragedy. If you guys recall, unless you have Broken Steel, he actually dies at the end of it. And if you DO have Broken Steel, then anyone who survived that would be closed off and difficult to talk to, whether their intentions were good or not. So I didn't intend him to be emo, but Jason Howlett is a pretty dark take on the character, and I personally prefer a dark take to a lone wanderer who is bright, happy and cheerful despite his/her situation.

I also wanted to get at the heart of what could possibly push a character back into the fire again and again and again.

And what might pull him out.

Your Lone Wanderer is too competent/powerful.

By the end of the game, if one has done everything, the LW is basically a god. He/She is at level 30 with an enormous amount of perks, the right combination of which can make anyone nearly invincible even on the harder difficulty settings. That was only about six to eight months after exiting the vault. This story takes places several years after that. And he's spent all that time in the north, or point lookout, or the Pitt. If this were in-game, Jason Howlett would be about level 90 if we try to scale it. If we don't scale the levels at all, he'd be at about 135 at least, 180 at most. Considering that, I thought I underplayed him.

The point is that he is so far ahead of other people in the wasteland that he has lost the ability to work alongside them. Sarah brings him back. His character flaws, and the challenges he faces are not the physical ones. They are mental and emotional. Sarah Lyons is the one who faces the physical challenges. That's why the action is mostly from her point of view.

The two of them help each other through; he with the physical, and she with the emotional. That's what brings them together. It's the whole point.

Why is Sarah such a pussy? She's normally a badass.

I disagree. She's is neither a pussy, nor a badass, she's a competent soldier, and a competent leader. And just like the real world, sometimes soldiers get into situations they aren't capable of dealing with.

I had no intention of short selling Sarah's abilities; I was merely trying to put her in a situation where she was out of her depth.

I was hoping that during her time spent in the Pitt, I demonstrated the fact that she did adapt and by the end of it had managed to survive conditions which regularly kill off the slaves and raiders living there. In the big steelyard battle, the difference was her training, not the LW being there. He was busy. What she says in the story doesn't necessarily reflect her actual abilities in the story, which are considerable.

The conclusion I came to was the fact she traveled with a person who gets healed by radiation and sunlight, can pick off nearly anything at nearly any distance with nearly any weapon, doesn't appear to get phased or even slightly worried by any combat situation, and who did in about a year what the entire BOS has consistently failed to do (I.E. make the wasteland better instead of preventing things from getting worse), I felt that it wasn't unreasonable for her to be feeling a little modest and a little insecure about her own impact on what happened in the Pitt.

She is still perfectly capable of defending herself if need be, and when she is helpless in the story, it is because she is facing circumstances that she simply is not capable of dealing with given her tools, health, and situation. These are circumstances which any regular person or any regular soldier would be incapable of dealing with. She is a force to be reckoned with in the capital wasteland, when at the head of an assault. But the fact is that the Pitt, and the problems encountered there are at that point, the Lone Wanderer's territory, his ballgame, and it's a whole different league. And if anyone could do anything the Lone Wanderer does, then he wouldn't have risen to the messianic heights which FO3 places him on. Therefore I had to tone her down a little bit.

Besides in the game, she didn't actually do all that much. She is the Boba Fett of Fallout 3.

-She rescued GNR (but LW had to kill the behemoth).

-She led the assault on the purifier (but let Liberty Prime do all the work)

-She rescued LW from the Landcrawler. (But didn't fire a shot, from what I recall)

That's basically it. Nothing in there suggests she's any more badass than any other member of the Lyons' Pride or the rest of the Brotherhood for that matter. She just holds the highest rank. She's a very competent soldier. If you're looking for badass, try star paladin cross. She and James crossed through the middle of the western DC ruins with a baby and made it all the way to Vault 101 without any problems. That's impressive.

Where is the romance? I want to see LW and Sarah on a romantic wasteland romp proclaiming their eternal love for each other and getting to know each other at the deepest possible levels, never mind the fact that the super mutants are loose and people are getting skinned by raiders…

Again, the Pitt journey is meant as more of a nightmare than a grand swashbuckling adventure. Given that fact, there's not much opportunity or room for a romance subplot, because the characters are always busy simply trying to stay alive.

I have a problem with most of the Sarah Lyons/LW romances on this site. Things tend to happen too fast, or the characters are always with each other instead of doing what they would do, which is put duty first.

I tried to take it slow, and let them grow close and get to know each other during the times when they caught a break. Unfortunately these were few and far between.

I feel that by the end of Broken Steel, both characters are adults with other responsibilities neither of them would be willing to drop, even for each other, and that only close proximity for a period of stressful time would develop from friendship into love, seeing as how mutual respect was already established.

To explain it another way, this story isn't about their eternal love for eachother, it's about how a possible romantic relationship could start. And it would take a while; the Wanderer as I wrote him wouldn't be the same if his shell were cracked so easily.

Where are Fawkes and Dogmeat? I want my companions!

Chris Nolan knows that no sidekicks make a better batman. The same rule applies here. I was looking for a Lone Wanderer who at least on the surface was not used to having other people around. Slightly misanthropic and ill at ease around people who aren't trying to stab/shoot him in the back. Though I do love Dogmeat, and will probably include him as a pet that lives at LW's house in any future stories.

The Lone wanderer is the LONE Wanderer, and much more interesting from a drama standpoint when he works alone. It leads people to question why he works alone.

Besides, I've read soooo many good fics on this site that had banter between the companions which was either out of place, or out of character. Mostly both. It tended to screw up more than it fixed.

What's with the Brotherhood in this book, man? They're not idiots!

No they aren't. But after twenty years of fighting the supermutants, no one had even the slightest idea where they came from? Something is wrong there. Also, you never hear that the brotherhood attacked a super mutant camp. The CWBoS is always on the defensive. I just don't see how they're playing the game as being very smart.

If being undermanned was their only problem, they should still have been able to hit the supermutants where it hurt i.e. vault 87, cutting off access to the FEV virus.

I don't view them as a "professional military" any more than I view the Talon Company as professionals. The only truly professional army left was the Enclave. The Brotherhood is more of a pseudo-religious cult with access to big weapons and power armour. It's much more obvious to those who have played at least half-way through fallout 1, 2 and New Vegas. They aren't all powerful. But they are the most powerful force for good in the capital wasteland in 2277. Under those circumstances they do stand in for a professional army.

Howlett is Wolverine's last name. And Jason's dad's first name is James, which is Wolverine's first name, so…

This was not intentional, but it's kinda hilarious and I think I'm going to stick with it, just for kicks.

Is there going to be a sequel? And when is it coming?

I have at least three other ideas in mind for this series, two of which you saw glimpses of in this story. There Will be a sequel, probably two.

But I'm going to say it right now, they're both probably going to lack the introspection of this one.

Is "Brutus" an original character?

Yes he is. I'm not going to say any more than that, though.

As more questions are asked, I'll answer them and expand this section.

In conclusion, thanks for the read and review if you left one.