This is how I go about completing The Wasteland Survival Guide, from entering Megaton for the first time to turning in the final quest. Sometimes I do the main quest along the way, sometimes I don't, but it doesn't change the basic way I go about it.
There are times when it's necessary to drop off items at My Megaton house; I tend to play that by ear, but I usually try to do it whenever I'm in town.
Upon entering Megaton, I immediately speak with Lucas Simms - not like I can avoid it, anyhow, but I would even if it wasn't mandatory. After the forced conversation, I exit dialogue, quicksave, and re-enter dialogue; this allows me several chances to pass the speech check and get the extra caps for disarming the bomb. I go through the dialogue options and accept the quest The Power of the Atom. Next, I go speak to Burke, refuse or accept his offer, and then speak to Simms again, ratting out Burke. I return to Moriarty's by a different route than Simms takes (going past Craterside Supply) because it's faster, then enter right on his heels. Once their dialogue starts, I try to speak with Burke which causes their dialogue to be interrupted. As soon as he pulls out his pistol, I make a valiant effort to kill him before he can use it, but I usually fail. Then I loot Burke's and Simms's bodies, disarm the bomb, and talk to Harden Simms for my reward. Also, on one of the trips to Moriarty's I speak to Colin or hack his terminal to find out where dear ol' Dad went, thus updating Following in His Footsteps.
Next, I travel to Craterside Supply and speak to Moira, accepting her quest (duh). I agree to travel to Minefield. Then, I change my active quest to Following in his Footsteps, run back behind Megaton, grab the sniper rifle in the false rock, then follow the map marker until I arrive at the Super-Duper Mart. I switch my active quest back to The Wasteland Survival Guide and clear out the place (without using the sniper rifle), making sure to open the fridge in the front area of the store and then the Pharmacy Supplies med-kit in the back. After dealing with the second wave of raiders, I make my way to Ridgefield.
There's a path that leads to a water tower on a hill overlooking Ridgefield. I follow that path because the hill affords an excellent spot from which to shoot Arkansas and nullify the threat he poses. The top of the hill is a random encounter location, and for the most part I've found hostile random encounters there. I deal with the encounter if necessary, then find a spot where I can get a clear shot on Arkansas. I equip the sniper rifle and locate him (if I haven't spotted him already), crouch, zoom, and fire. I typically quicksave before zooming for the kill shot, in case I miss. Once Arkansas is dealt with, I descend into the town, blowing up cars with my main weapon (often nothing more than a 10mm pistol at this point, though sometimes I get lucky and find a hunting rifle.
- I won't use assault rifles at this stage because of ammo concerns, and I have a mod that rechambers the hunting rifle for 5.56mm instead of .32 caliber; that same mod changes the .32 pistol to a .357 Magnum and changes the ammo to .357 Magnum ammo.
Blowing up cars will detonate any nearby mines; the others I will either disarm or set off with shots from my primary weapon or sidearm. I go up and loot Arkansas, take his sniper rifle and key, loot all the ammo boxes, etc. then with that key I loot all four houses, taking only what I need plus any pre-War books I find. I use the weapons and/or armor I've looted to repair my own gear, then head back to Megaton.
Drink the waters of the Glow
Upon arriving back in Megaton (sometimes with a stop at the Scrapyard to pick up Dogmeat), I don't immediately visit Moira. Instead, I return to the bomb and start drinking the water that it's sitting in while standing as close as I can to it. That gives me 2 rad/sec constant exposure and an additional 20 rads every time I drink. I do this until I pass 600 rads. Then, I climb up to Craterside Supply, save, find a spot with the proper elevation and jump off, breaking my leg(s) and getting my health below 50%. This often takes several tries, or occasionally needs a second jump to reduce my health below 50%. Alternately, I find a place away from NPCs, drop a few of the mines I brought back from Ridgefield, and then fire at them while standing on them, setting them off. This can be repeated as needed to cripple limbs and reduce health to below 50%. Now, I limp my way up to Moira.
Upon speaking to Moira, I turn in the Minefield quest with a snide answer. I then ask about food and medicine, and accept that one with a dialogue option that indicates that I've been to Super-Duper Mart and found food and medicine there; I finish that one up with a sarcastic remark as well. Same goes for the radiation one, except that I'm too tired to be snide. Then, I start in on the second chapter. I agree to get injured, then exit conversation and wait for the quest to update, then speak to Moira again; I tell her that this really hurts, and answer her question about how it feels with a rather hostile answer. Then, I accept the mole-rat repellent task.
A repellent task
I'll either head off to the Tepid sewers or to the RobCo Facility to get that fast-travel point for later, because there's more than enough mole rats inside for the quest. I kills my 10 mole rats and head back to Moira. Again, I answer with the snide option upon turning in the quest, then accept the final task: mirelurk spying.
Something lurking in the mire
I travel to the Anchorage Memorial, but I don't go in via the recommended way. Instead, I walk around the edge of the area, occasionally checking my local map for a door to the Facility Offices; it's underwater, and I can never remember exactly where it is. I find that door, swim down and go inside. I find a spawning ball and hide the observer inside, then return to Moira. I lie to her about some castle that they're swimming around, which gets her all excited in childlike wonder.
Then I accept her proposition to start on the third chapter. I don't always complete these in any order, so I'll just list 'em in the order that they're shown on the quest page; as always, I answer with the snide response upon turning it in.
Research Rivet City's History
I accept this quest and fast-travel to the Anchorage Memorial. I follow the river south towards the Citadel, picking up fast travel points as I go. I take out the raider's nest (which shows up on my map as a fast-travel point due to a mod; the fast travel point is called the Malice Motel) and cross the bridge to the Citadel, get the fast-travel marker there, then go back across the bridge. Usually on the approach from the north I'll start blowing up cars around the Malice Motel, then turn my attention to the cars on the big bridge across the Potomac. I make my way across the bridge, blowing up every car and motorcycle along the way. Occasionally one of the blasts will somehow hit a scavenger on the banks of the Potomac, at what that aforementioned map-marker mod calls "God-forsaken hellhole" - if it does, then I jump off the bridge into the water, then swim over to the bank and kill him (with the karma loss that goes along with it); if he's not hostile, then I get the fast travel point (it's just barely possible to get it, if I stand at the exact right spot) and fast-travel to God-forsaken hellhole. Once there by whichever means, I follow the river, killing centaurs and super mutants, then cross the road to the Irradiated Metro, and past it to the office building. I enter the building, and ascend to the skybridge (disarming the one trap, a rigged shotgun), and kill the super mutants that lie in wait there to ambush unsuspecting travelers. Then, I return to the bridge and explode any cars I missed, and explode any along the road that the bridge leads to as well. I continue towards Project Purity, blowing up cars as I go, until I reach the bridge leading to the Jefferson Memorial which is the last of the cars before Rivet City. I then proceed to Rivet City, usually taking out the super mutant camp along the way and freeing the prisoner.
Once at Rivet City, I speak to Harkness and gain access, then go talk to Bannon about the city's history. Then, I go talk to Belle Bonny about the city's history, mentioning that Bannon said he started the town, which angers her. From there, I go talk to Horace Pinkerton and get the real scoop. Oftentimes I'll complete The Replicated Man while I'm there; and if I'm on the right step of the main quest, I'll speak to Dr. Li as well; otherwise I'll avoid the Science Lab entirely.
If I have any companion with me, I'll go to the locked door and tell him or her to wait there. I then traverse the underwater passage to the other side of the door, unlock it, exit, and tell my companion(s) to follow me. I go talk to Pinkerton and advance the quest(s), then (if not doing Replicated Man) head back to Moira.
This one's easy. I head to RobCo, equip a melee weapon if I have one (the repellent stick is usually sufficient if I have it with me), then head up to the top floor, fix and hack the mainframe, and turn off the option that makes the protectrons hostile. Then I return to Moira.
Arlington Public Library
Before leaving Megaton, I make sure I have all the pre-War books I may have stashed in my Megaton house. Depening on my mood and whether or not I have the fast travel marker, I'll either fast-travel to the Citadel or Wilhelm's Wharf, or I'll just head due South from Megaton. Either way, I'll blow up cars along the roadway as I go. I'll usually check out the fast travel point near Alexandria Arms along the way as well, then head into the library. I'll be nice to Senior Scribe Yearling and turn in all the books I brought with me for 100 caps each, then head to the back where the BoS soldiers are fighting raiders. I stay out of it as much as I can, allowing the Brotherhood soldiers to take all the damage. Sometimes one or both will die in that room; if both die, then I'll kill the surviving raiders and loot the Power Armor off the soldiers. Otherwise I'll loot the soldier that died (if any did) and any useful loot off the dead Raiders. I then head to the Children's Wing and again stay out of the fighting as much as possible to try and get the BoS soldiers killed. If any of them die, I loot them for their power armor and then proceed to the Media Archives.
Once in the Media Archives, if there were any surviving BoS soldiers from the Children's Wing, I determine which one has the most health and repeatedly try to talk to him; his buddy will walk off towards the raiders while he'll stay put, making it more likely for that one to get killed. As soon as the raiders spwan, this trick stops working and the soldier runs off to help his buddy, but since he arrived first he'll be the one they go after, usually, and he'll often die. More power armor for me. If I can, I'll repeat the talking trick again and let one with the least health trigger the mine on the next floor, which may kill him or may just weaken him. He'll often die either way. Eventually they'll get to a room with a bunch of raiders and two turrets; I let them all fight it out and then if any raiders or a turret survives, kill it and loot all the dead for useful loot. If any BoS survives to this point, they will stop here. If they came from the lower levels, then they'll return to the lobby; but the one that spawns on this level will stay at this location if he survives. In that room is the ink container, sometimes I grab that, sometimes I don't.
I then head up to the third floor, hack the terminal that controls the turret up there and cause it to frenzy, then throw grenades towards the wall on the other side of which are a group of raiders. Sometimes I'll deactivate the turret first and mine the corridor, then return to the terminal and activate it before throwing the grenades. Once those raiders are dispatched, I access the terminal in the room they occupied and complete the objectives. I head back downstairs, turn in to Yearling any additional books I found, and then head back to Moira.
- I used to think you had to be on this part of the Wasteland Survival Guide quest in order to turn in books, but that's not the case.
Nothing special about this part, none of the dialogue options after turning in the final part have any effect on the outcome. I just get my reward and go on my way.