| ||This page is a part of the Fallout: The Apprentice contest. It should not be confused with in game content.|
Before you start reading this description of my fan-made FO2 dungeon (part of the Fallout: The Apprentice contest), imagine a little change in story from the original Fallout 2. Imagine that Dr. Wong in San Francisco actually bought Chip’s spleen for cannibalism and that Wong is a member of an infamous black magic sect known as the Fading Stars (more about them will be showed in the third challenge). The Fading Stars organise rites that involve human torture, dismemberment and cannibalistic rites, and the Vile Chapel, their HQ, will be the dungeon I’ve created for this challenge.
The Vile Chapel is a location in northern California in 2241. It is a hidden location that only appears in the map if the player has talked to Dr. Wong in San Francisco and asked about Chip’s spleen. If the player convinces – through a Speech check – Wong to admit that he has bought the spleen for cannibal consumption, he/she can have a chance to find out about Wong’s link to the Fading Stars, and asking further, the player can find out about the location of the Chapel and get a written indication for membership (only possible if the player has over 90 Speech points). Getting access to the Vile Chapel is necessary for the completion of the quest Get Chip’s Spleen back from the Fading Stars. There are two ways of completing the quest: a pacific one, after the player has passed all Speech checks with Wong and convinced Nimrod to give back Chip’s spleen; or fighting their way through the Chapel until the last underground level.
The Vile Chapel lies on a site that used to be a pre-War Catholic building. When the Fading Stars migrated to the west in 2212, they found the building to be a strategic location, since it stands among an excessive amount of ruins and debris that form a deformed maze around it, thus making it difficult for anyone from the outside to find it. They began a process of excavation and built two underground levels to house their guild and develop their dystopic, quasi-nihilistic ideals. After getting settled, the older members of the infamous sect set a sort of challenge for young members to travel across the wasteland in order to spread the word about their belief that there is no way to respond to the world’s cruelty other than with cruelty itself. The place became well-known as a den of degeneration, bloodshed and weird rituals that involved cannibalism and torture. Nevertheless, very few individuals actually know about its location, and the Fading Stars say that only the strongest are able to understand the cruel life of the wasteland and witness death and suffering without going mad; they assert that the ones who are able to do so will be able to find the Vile Chapel and be one of them.
The Vile Chapel seems like a regular Catholic chapel, which is located among piles of ruins of a forgotten city in California. The way to the Chapel is a very difficult one to find, and the challenges along the way are only for the strong of spirit. The narrow streets and alleys that cut their ways through the wrecked buildings (like veins through human flesh) offer numerous dangers, including vicious creatures (such as radscorpions and deathclaws), and decaying buildings that can fall on anyone passing by. Once inside the Chapel, the player will find strong local resistance scattered through three levels. The area that comprehends the Vile Chapel location is made up of 3 sections:
Section 1 – The wild alleys
This is the entrance of the old and now desert Californian city where the Chapel is located. It is a myriad of alleys that take to 4 different streets that lead out to the next section. Five of these alleys form the initial layout, with ruins of buildings and houses surrounding them. Along the way, the player will eventually find different challenges that each alley offers. Three bandits with simple shotguns will be located on the northernmost one; two deathclaws will be on the next one; the third one will have four small and one large radscorpion(s); two wanamingos will stand on the fourth way; finally, two radscorpions and one large deathclaw will be on the southernmost one. As aforementioned, out of the four ways into which the five alleys lead, only one will actually take to the next section; the other three will have explosive traps that will most probably kill the player instantly. These are randomly sorted and are probably the ones with easier challenges (however, this is not certain, nor is it clear to the player during the game). It is hard for the player to predict which one is the right one, since the descriptions of the alleys state that they are too dark and almost always partially blocked by excessive debris. A Traps check will decide if the player perceives the mines and is able to avoid them and turn back to look for another way.
Section Two – The street of sacrifice
After the player has dealt with the creatures and the maze of the wild alleys, he/she is directed to a single street, this time a wider one, surrounded by higher buildings. In the middle of the street there is a wounded woman lying on the floor. She calls for help and the player has to talk to her (if he/she refuses to do so and simply passes by, several mines will be set just ahead and the player – as well as the hurt woman – will instantly die). When in conversation, the woman says that her name is Stella and that she was caught by Fading Stars members (whom she calls the “weird bastards”), beaten and tortured. She says that they are extremely cruel and sadistic, and that the player has got to help her. Two dialogue options come up: one allows the player to heal her with three stimpaks and let her go, whereas the other one says “I don’t care about your suffering, bitch. This is a cruel wasteland. Live… better yet, die with it!”, leaving the poor woman to her own destiny. After making either one of the two decisions, the player is allowed to follow to the third and final section.
Section Three – The Chapel (Surface Level)
The player arrives at the main location, which is just a simple chapel with a large sign of a dagger up front. Two individuals in black robes guard the entrance, and seven more are inside. A large lobby comprehends the whole of the surface structure of the building. Ruined benches are scattered all over, and a secret passage on the northern corner of the Chapel is found if the player walks towards it and if he/she has 6 or more Perception points. This secret passage is actually a manhole that leads to the underground. In this section, the reception that the player will receive will depend on whether he/she has killed the woman from the street of sacrifice or not. If he/she has done so, the guards will ask him/her about their intentions there (having talked to Dr. Wong and asked for a written indication will be essential for convincing them to enter). If not, they will turn hostile towards him/her after telling him/her: “Fool creature. Your passing here will be as painful as our existences. You failed to comprehend that the weak do not deserve the privilege of a swift death”.
Section Four – The Chapel (Level 1)
The first underground level of the Chapel is a collection of narrow catacomb-like corridors, filled with traps and with a sign that says “And before his mansion he created a throne, which was huge and was upon a four-faced chariot”, a passage from the Gnostic writings of “On the Origin of the World” describing God’s creation of his home. After passing through the corridors full of simple arrow-shooting traps (with some corridors having less traps than others), the player will get to the far side of the level, which has five large radscorpions, and at the end, a closed gate that gives access to a staircase leading down underground. In order to open the gate, the player has to solve the puzzle that involves the passage in the sign at the beginning. Just left of the gate, three images are engraved on the wall: a chariot, a mansion and a throne. The player has to activate each of the pictures with the “use” cursor; they have to be activated in the same order in which the words are found in the passage (that is, mansion>throne>chariot). If the player has 7 or more Perception points, the description “Three strange pictures on the wall may be referring to the order of God’s creations in the description back on that sign” will appear. It is important that the player reads closely the passage in order not to have to go back and read again, thus risking getting more damage from the arrows traps. After activating the three pictures on the wall in the correct order, the gate will open and the player will be able to descend into the final level of the Chapel.
Section Five – The Chapel (Level 2)
The player finally arrives at the last section, the second underground level of the Chapel, which is consisted of a large vestibule and the main room, separated from each other by a large wooden door. There are four Fading Stars guarding the vestibule that is located before the main room, all of them armed with Pancor Jackhammer shotguns. The main room houses the three main Fading Stars: Dhalia, a woman who is in charge of recruiting potential members for the sect; Octavius, a brute and resolute man in charge of the Chapel’s defences; and Nimrod, the leader of the strange group, who stands behind the altar, sitting on a tall throne surrounded by a pool of blood. In case the player has killed the woman, the guards will ask about his/her business there. Having got the written indication from Wong will lead the player to a private conversation with Nimrod and membership acceptance (which does not bring any significant change in the player’s course in the game, rather than the Torturer Karma status). However, getting it is a hard task, since two positive Speech checks are needed to convince Wong. If in failure in getting hold of the authorisation, what is left for the player is to simply wipe out the Stars; an also difficult task, since all the regular members are armed with a pancor jackhammer shotguns, Dhalia and Nimrod with a plasma pistol, and Octavius with a plasma rifle. The key for the big entrance door will be on one of the guard’s body. If the player kills Nimrod, he/she will find 2000 NCR dollars, 10 Stimpaks and a Fading Star Leader’s Robe. There is also a 5000 XP and a 45 Karma rewards. In case the player solves the problem pacifically (through convincing Nimrod to just give Chip’s spleen back; Speech 90 or more required), only 3000 XP will be rewarded.
Get Chip’s Spleen back from the Fading Stars: Chip is a vagrant from the PMV Valdez ship stationed in San Francisco. He bet his spleen in a card game. The merchant and information trader Lao Chou, who won the spleen in the game, sold it to Dr. Wong, a Shi scientist that has a shady background and link to the Fading Stars. They acquire the human spleen from Wong to be used in a cannibalistic ritual to take place in the Chapel. The player has to investigate Chip’s spleen’s whereabouts and take it back from the Fading Stars in the Vile Chapel, either through several dialogue successes or through force.
- The player has the option to invade the Chapel using Stealth. In this case, he/she has to sneak upon one of the front guards to get the key to the entrance door, then avoid being seen by the Stars in the surface lobby. Then, after getting past the first underground level, the player has to use a similar approach to get past the guards in the large antechamber of the second underground level where Nimrod is. A Lockpick level of over 85 points is necessary to unlock the main room’s door. The spleen is inside a locked icebox at the back of the main room (lockpick 80 or more required). In order to complete the whole course of the quest without being seen, it is advised that the player has over 100 Stealth points and that he/she takes no companions inside.
- Some Yakuza bandits found in random encounters around San Francisco may mention the Vile Chapel in their fight lines, such as when they say “I shall slay you painfully like they do in the dark church!”
Behind the scenes
The passage on the sign of the first underground level is taken from a Gnostic manuscript written by the ophites, a quasi-manichaeistic sect that believed that the Hebraic God was a liar and that the material world was his perverse creation. The Fading Stars have a similar belief on the world.