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Video Game / Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel

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Life in the Brotherhood is about to change...
"There are three simple rules to follow with Brotherhood equipment: if you damage your weapon, you will spend a week in the box. If you damage your armor, you will spend a week in the box. If you lose either, I'll kill you myself. And one more thing, ladies... Welcome to the Brotherhood of Steel."
Paladin Ryczek, welcoming the main characters.

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel is the third installment in the Fallout series, and the series' first spinoff. Released in 2001, it was developed by Micro Forte and published by Interplay Entertainment. The game took a departure from the first two games. While, at its core, still an RPG and uses the same SPECIAL system as the previous games, the focus is now on tactical combat. The official stance on the game from the current IP owners Bethesda is that it's Broad Strokes canon.

It's 2197, and the Midwestern Wasteland is an okay place to live. Sure, Chicago is in ruins, there's monsters everywhere that can tear your head off easier than you could swat a fly, almost all the water is irradiated, there are large groups of Super-Mutants who escaped the destruction of The Master's army that want to Kill All Humans, and... Actually, the Wasteland is a horrible place to live. But it's not like you have a choice.

And then everything changed. A huge storm caused gigantic airships to crash-land nearby, and soldiers in huge suits of technologically advanced armor marched out of them, setting up bases. They are the Brotherhood of Steel, and they are not happy to be here. They are the descendants of the United States military, surviving the Great War in a secret military base, and their stated duty is to protect the technology of the past, so that the future may benefit from it.

The Brotherhood is at a loss, however, for their carefully built airships have been destroyed before they could return to their home base, and they now have no way back. They will not be missed, however, because they've been exiled from the Main Brotherhood, due to an argument which has lasted years: Should the Brotherhood remain a closed faction, secret and pure, dwindling as the decades go by, or let in the clueless Wastelanders that may misuse the gifts of the Brotherhood? The survivors of the crash were the ones who decided upon the latter choice.

And now they are forced to stand by in their decision, because the majority of this new Brotherhood are now dead and buried under the rubble of the airships, and they've got to replace them fast, or the Wasteland might just swallow them up. And that's where you come in. You were one of the ones they chose, among others, to join the Brotherhood, and as a test, you will be leading a bunch of other initiates to disperse the nearby Raiders that are causing trouble. If you succeed, you will be fully incorporated into the Brotherhood; If you fail, you can just go back to the Wasteland.

You sure as hell aren't gonna fail.

Not to be confused with Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel, the Action RPG developed by Interplay Entertainment for consoles that has since been declared Canon Discontinuity.

Tropes that apply to this game shall follow. This is law.

  • Actionized Spin-Off: Though it uses the same interface and much of the same elements, Tactics is a lot more combat-oriented and linear than the two games before it.
  • A.K.A.-47: Averted, surprisingly, and this is often cited as one of the less-popular aspects of the game. Instead of the fictionalized guns of the first two games, many of Tactics' weapons are modern weapons appearing under their own names.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Maximum six initiates in your squad, one of which is you and cannot be replaced. Them's the rules.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Supermutants tend to do things like getting stuck in one place, charging at a vehicle with a melee weapon or shooting their own team members. And all enemies routinely fail spot checks regarding mines.
    • AI pathfinding leaves something to be desired. Your team tend to march in a straight line, which can cause problems when you tell them to run but a unit that is winded or has a crippled leg is ahead of the rest of the team.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: While most of your gear can be scavenged off enemies, the real good stuff can only be found from your bunker quartermasters. And you need to rise in the ranks before they'll start selling the good stuff.
    • Which makes sense - much of this technology (like energy weapons) isn't exactly easy to use, and the player isn't the only one who needs it. Not to mention the last thing the brotherhood wants is for someone to run off with the Power Armor or something.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: The player finds an APC in one of the missions. Slow, but well-armored and carries a lot of gear.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most non-human squadmates fall under this category.
    • Ghoul recruits. Unless you focused your recruits towards specific skills only, then they will most likely have the highest skill percentages in several categories. However they cannot use lower to mid tier human armor, which is the only kind you'll have for a long time. The only armor they can use is rare or only available in the late game. They also cannot use weapons that use a specific sprite animation (heavy weapons). Due to a technical issue with the game engine, they are not immune to radiation. They also don't get perks as fast as humans. Finally several of them start with the "Glowing One" trait, which grants them small bonuses with the penalty of irradiating the rest of your squad, including other ghouls without the "Glowing One" trait.
    • Deathclaw recruits. They are fast. They are strong. They are tough. They tear through metal armor and supermutant skin like tissue paper. Their blows have a knockdown effect that stunlocks anyone they hit. They have no weapons or armor whatsoever, require a lot of micromanaging, do not gain perks as fast, and show up just in time for the point where Big Guns become the alpha and omega.
    • Dog recruits. Very similar to deathclaws, minus their durability, plus a higher perk rate and only available in multiplayer.
    • Robot recruits. High damage resistance and can use any weapon effectively. However they have low health, do not receive any perks, and there's only one of them in single player.
  • Badass Cape: All the late game armor comes with a snazzy side cape. Reaver bandings come with a traditional, if short, variant on the back.
  • The Beastmaster: Beastlords, who use their psychic powers to control all manner of creature from giant cockroaches, to wasps, to dogs, to wolves. Except deathclaws; they control them by holding their matriarch hostage.
  • Boring, but Practical: Human recruits. Most don't really have anything special about them. What they do have is variety: variety of recruits to choose, variety of weapons they can use, variety of armor they can wear, variety of perks, and so on. It's telling how the player character can only be a human and the vast majority of recruits are human as well.
  • Brain in a Jar: The Big Bad, the Calculator, is an amalgam of around a dozen of these. Potentially you or Barnaky as well, in the ending.
  • Broad Strokes: There are some minor inconsistencies with previous games here and there, but the main events are still canon. Rule of Thumb: If the events don't clash with canon of the main games, it's canon.
  • Combat Medic: Stitch, who is part of your squad from the beginning. He's not a long-range shooter (and crap with machine guns like SAWs or M-60s), so give him a shotgun (and plenty of Medkits & Doctor's Bags) and let him go to work.
  • Crouch and Prone: An important feature. Crouching and going prone slows you down but increases your stealth and accuracy.
  • Chained by Fashion: Oddly enough power armor has a chain wrapped around the left shoulder. Why? Because it looks cool.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The Browning M2 can be equipped with depleted uranium shells.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Several
    • Getting your hands on enough AK-47s to equip the entire squad allows to blow through the early game with ease, offering consistent firepower, burst option and loads of ammo. This can be done as early as the 3rd mission, and a single AK can be looted already in the 2nd mission.
    • You can get an FN FAL as well as EMP shotgun shells if you get the merchant random encounter, the EMP shells let you bust the turrets in Preoria mission very easily.
    • If you encounter the Brotherhood prison random encounter, you can kill the two paladins using poison or drug overdose and take their miniguns.
    • If you encounter another merchant, his guards can be killed using drug overdose, and they carry Jackhammers, which let you make short work on deathclaws.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Paladin Ryczek, the BOS veteran trainer in the opening video. He makes it clear that he will get the recruits' asses if they mess up just about anything. A set of promo graphics has him giving said recruits a Training from Hell.
  • Easy Amnesia: Horribly, horribly averted. The leader of the super mutants is one of the leaders of the Brotherhood who sustained a horrible head injury and started to forget who he was. He also becomes schizophrenic, eternally violent, and gains various other signs of a serious concussion gone untreated.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • As things progress From Bad to Worse, the Midwestern Brotherhood expands their membership to former raiders, Ghouls, Super-Mutants (which are still on the Holy Genocide List back west), intelligent deathclaws, and even a robot not controlled by Calculator.
    • Especially prominent with the Super-Mutants. The Brotherhood have never actively searched out ghouls to kill (they just have a nasty tendency to shoot first when they see them), and allying with deathclaws was never an option (what with them being non-sapient) before. Tracking down the remnants' of the Master's Army, on the other hand, was the official reason for the Brotherhood's expedition east in the first place.
  • Flechette Storm: Flechette rounds are available for shotguns. Quite effective against unarmoured opponents, but most late-game enemies just shrug them off.
  • Framing Device: The whole game is a transcript from Brotherhood archives about achievements of the Warrior, your character.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: According to Fallout lore, Ghouls are actually healed when exposed to radiation. However, due to a limitation of the game's engine, the Ghouls you can recruit in this game are poisoned by radiation just like normal humans. They do get a bonus to radiation resistance though.
  • Gatling Good: The Gauss Minigun. One of the most powerful weapons ever.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Midwest Brotherhood in a nutshell, even dips into Designated Hero at times. Sure, they'll bring peace to the wasteland and protect your communities. And sure, they'll very willing to accept surrenders and offers of truce. But they'll still demand conscripts for their services, muscle their way into your territory, and even have labor camps for captured enemies and mutants in the Barnaky ending. In one instance they even force captured raiders and Beastlords to transport a radioactive nuke to an irradiated tunnel for safekeeping, but refuse to provide Rad-X or Radaway due to short supply.
  • Grenade Launcher: Not the most effective weapon around, but it gives Small Guns parties some explosive goodness. Also handy for equipping anyone without good small guns skills, like medics.
  • Guest Fighter: Riddick of The Chronicles of Riddick film series, who is found in the "Pitch Black" special encounter.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy": Namuk, a raider prisoner, said to have been repeatedly tortured and his "little tribal" couldn't take it anymore.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Either the Browning M2 due to armor reduction on target (with depleted uranium shells), or the Gauss Minigun.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Beastlords have degenerated to the point of taking up cannibalism. But then again they don't consider themselves human to begin with.
  • Immune to Bullets: All kinds and types of mechanical enemies are made of and covered with reinforced steel and other materials of equal durability. Unless anti-tank or EMP weapons are fielded, your attacks will be literally reduced to scratching.
  • Joke Item: The chauchat, a French WW1 light machine gun whose frequent jams have been flanderized to epic proportions. It can be found in a hidden cache, but it's not even usable as a melee weapon! To clarify, literally the only thing a character with it equipped can do is reload it, you won't even get any cash for selling it!
    In-game description: Renowned as the worst machine gun ever issued to any army at any time in history. Unreliable and poorly constructed, it was considered unusual if the gun fired more than one burst before jamming. It makes a completely useless addition to any arsenal.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • The 'Mutate' perk. Worthless in Fallout and Fallout 2 where you pick your traits at the beginning of the game, unless you end up deeply regretting one of your trait choices. In this game however, it can be used to make all your squad members Gifted retroactively, and is well worth the perk slot.
    • The water gun. It seems like as much of a toy as in real life, but you then realize that you can find bottles of concentrated acid lying around, and the robots aren't exactly acid-proof.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Springfield. One squad of brotherhood soldiers, multiple hostage-taking situations each with enough enemies and hostages to outnumber your squad 2-to-1. And the hostage takers are all linked up by radio, so once you start shooting all hell breaks loose all over the map. Oh, and you have to save everyone. Good luck.
    • The Kansas City mission is this in spades. To get the best ending to this mission, which unlocks ghoul recruits, every defender must live. Since the mission features waves of super-mutants going against lightly armored and armed ghouls, you will be Save Scumming quite often on this section. Oh, and the mutants begin their attack the moment you step on the field, and you are required to guard 4 entrances separated by long and windy sections of fencing. This leads to Guide Dang It! moments as the player figures out how to win this scenario (Hint: beginning turn-based combat IMMEDIATELY upon entering gives you a fighting chance.). At least the ghoul's AI is pretty good in this section, with the defenders using cover and not charging into the hordes of mutants.
  • Machine Worship: The Reaver Movement, which makes the Brotherhood look positively secular by comparison.
  • Midquel: Takes place between the first two games.
  • Mildly Military: The East BoS is considerably more lax than the West one. It not only comes from fielding New Meat and using locals as replacements, but also things like drug stimulation during combat are not a breach in protocol - they are norm.
  • Multiple Endings: Once the final enemies are defeated, the squad is offered a Last-Second Ending Choice; save the Calculator by donating a squad member's brain, or let the Calculator self-destruct. However, more endings are available if one was able to spare General Barnaky or make it to the Calculator with a 100% Good Karma squad member. The canon ending, however, is the one where the Calculator is destroyed.
    1. Let the Calculator self-destruct. This allows the Brotherhood to capture Vault 0 and use it as its primary base of operations. However, the Calculator was in fact the most valuable asset the Vault housed - without its databanks, the vault is just another cache of old technology, not a new industrial resource — so the Brotherhood's plans to reunite with its West Coast origins will have to wait.
    2. Donate a squad member's brain. This turns the Calculator into an ally capable of restoring the Midwest within the next decade or so. However, that person goes mad with power and secretly kills the Brotherhood leadership to rule alone. But at least it forbids mutant persecution out of expediency.
    3. Donate General Barnaky's brain. This is tricky, as the squad has to collect a memento from his corpse several missions earlier, carry it into battle against his cyborg boss form, and survive long enough for him to come to his senses. Same as #2, save he kills off the mutants.
    4. Donate a good squad member's brain. This is a cast-iron pain, as the Calculator's sub-brains are considered innocents who cost you loads of karma when you kill them. Same as #2, but the Calculator does not go mad with power and works with the Brotherhood leadership to heal the wastelands.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: As Horus, the raider boss of the first mission, is dying, he points out that the Brotherhood is no different from the raiders in that both exploit the "savages" of the wasteland.
  • One-Hit Kill: The bazooka is this on low armor targets. A critical burst can do the trick too.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Potentially your squad, but certainly the Midwest Brotherhood by necessity. After being cut off from the main branch back west the Brotherhood had to start conscripting local tribals to bolster their numbers. After that they start including friendly ghouls. Then they ally with intelligent deathclaws. Then they form an alliance with Super Mutants. Then form an uneasy truce with the Reaver Movement, a bunch of technology worshipping raiders. Finally they include salvaged humanoid robots.
  • Robot War: against the Calculator and its forces.
  • Rocky Mountain Refuge: The center of the entire Vault network is Vault 0, located in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex near Colorado Springs; it was one of the few Vaults not intended to be part of Vault-Tec's experiments carried out at the other Vaults, as that was where the most valuable scientists and advanced technology would be kept. Though things went horribly wrong anyway, after the Calculator went rogue and took over the Vault. However, once the Calculator is defeated, Cheyenne Mountain can also become the new base of operations for the Brotherhood of Steel.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: Zig-Zagged. Sure, the game is basically a tactical shooter with very linear plot, but it's not trying to convince anyone it's something more. On the other hand, combat by itself grants almost no experience points - they are earned for different, often optional, mission objectives.
  • Save-Game Limits: Enabling "Tough Guy" mode at the start of the game limits saves to in-between missions ala Fire Emblem, but gives bonus XP in return. Otherwise, you can save at any time, as many times as you want.
  • Schmuck Bait: One of the supermutant missions features an entrenched group of the green nasties camped on a hill that overlooks a series of trenches and embankments. The path leading up to their camp is liberally covered in mines and the mutants have clear line of sight to far beyond the bottom of the hill (whereas you, the player, do not). This section isn't required for any objective and can be completely ignored, as the mutants will not come down the hill. "So, they must be guarding something good" will be the mindset of many players. Killing all of the mutants and clearing the camp yields about 10 rounds of 5.56 and 10 caps, plus whatever loot the mutants had. This is a seriously underwhelming prize.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: General Barnaky. If he wasn't already, the events of the game does this to him.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: You start out fighting rag-tag bands of outlaws and raiders. You then move on to the more organized beastmen, who have freaky mutation powers and deathclaw allies. Then you meet the remnants of The Master's army. They last just long enough to let you come into contact with the Reaver Movement, who are replaced by the Calculator and its robotic forces who were already hitting the Mutants and Reavers hard.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Beastlords and Deathclaws talk like this.
  • Take That!: You can find an authentic recreation of a Klingon D'k tahg dagger in the bunker beneath Preoria. The description mentions how it is an exact replica of a dagger from a popular sci-fi TV series, and it's very existence shows just how pathetic the show's fanbase was.
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: "XXXXXBeer" can be found in the sleeping raiders hut in Freeport. Its description says it's a very strong imported beernote  that "Tastes a bit like weewee."
    • There is also a new flavor of Nuka Cola available in the Midwest: Nuka-Yellow. It isn't lemon...
  • Tank Goodness: Yes, you get to drive a tank. However, it only holds five passengers (less than a full squad) and there is very little ammo for the gun.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The mentioned all around .50 cal shells made of depleted uranium. You can get only few belts of it and only in very complex way, thus conserving them for the rest of the game. On the other hand, by the tail end of the game, you won't even hesitate for a second to load them.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Stealth has only three uses in this game: getting to a tactical position, getting the first strike on the enemy and getting the mines planted on the paths of enemy patrols. When enemies start using rocket launchers, you start to understand how useful it is.
  • Villain Has a Point: Horus might be a raider who preys on the weak, but he's not wrong when he says that the Brotherhood does the same thing, no matter how much they claim to fight for a more noble cause.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Macomb. Until this point, you could just move forward and shoot everything hostile in sight. If you try this on macomb, all raiders will get a first strike at you. Halfway through the mission, one of them is equipped with a rocket laucher (One-Hit Kill on low level armor like the ones you will likely be wearing at that point). To make things worse, there is another one near the end. Hope you put some point into sneak skill to sneak two guys behind him and shoot a burst.
    • Quincy too, when earlier you can just go in guns blazing, this is the first time you encounter Deathclaws. That is, unless you are lucky enough and managed to get Auto Shotguns or Miniguns early.
  • Telepathy: Brotherhood Scribes conclude this to the reason for Beastlord's control over animals and insects. Unfortunately the cause of the mutation is unique to a single place and too impractical to acquire so the Brotherhood abandons the idea.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: You can have a squad of up to six recruits. If any of them dies you can replace them with one of the dozens of replacements. But if the player character dies it's game over. Them's the rules.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Midwestern Brotherhood is still a quasi-fascist militant organization with the goal of monopolizing all technology like its parent organization on the West Coast. Unlike the original BoS they allow outsiders into their organization, operate similarly to the NCR in that they provide protection and aid to nearby tribes in return for manpower and supplies, and aim to share the technology they possess to their protectorates for the common good. In all of the endings they eventually transform the Midwest into a stable, secure place to live and share non-military technology with their protectorates, though they are still non-democratic.
  • Zeerust: A bit inconsistent with the rest of the series, but the game still maintains a retro-futuristic look.

Alternative Title(s): Fallout Tactics