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Fallout 2 Chosen One Alessa belly shirt

Chosen One

(Alessa-Maria Hassan) (Profile #1 - Arroyo)


War. War never changes.


Context

This is a possible version of the protagonist of the classic Fallout 2 video game (1998).

In the game the Chosen One is an indeterminate figure with no past and no characterisation, and is implicitly male (though characters of both main genders can be created).

Thus, we follow our usual approach for when video game protagonists are undefined or overwhelmingly generic – we present a fleshed out possible take.

When it comes to Fallout :

There’s more context to be explained if you’re a Fallout 2 fan… but just read on. This is a chronological series of profiles about this version of the Chosen One, so there’s no need to explain *everything* in the first entry.

Said chronological series goes :



Background

  • Real Name: Alessandra-Maria Hassan
  • Other Aliases: The Chosen One, the Human Radscorpion.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Jolene Hassan (grandmother, probably deceased), Patrick O’Day (grandfather, deceased), Maeve Hassan (mother, deceased), Morlis Stalking Hound (aunt), “El Hidalgo” José Suarez da Caridad Stalking Hound (father), Santiago Hassan (younger brother), Nagor Sun High In Sky (cousin), Feargus Stalking Hound (nephew).
  • Group Affiliation: Arroyo Tribals.
  • Base of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 5’5″ Weight: 128 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black


Powers & Abilities

Alessa’s mutant brain is wired all wrong. Her ability to feel pain, fear, sadness, shame, regret, guilt, discomfort, pity, etc. is almost non-existent.

Likewise her ability to feel fatigue, boredom, lassitude, etc. is abnormally low. She has no difficulty conducting a given task again, and again, and again, and again… as long as necessary.

She is highly intelligent and perceptive. This is quite possibly for the same reasons radscorpions are way smarter than their ancestors.

Much like a radscorpion she’s remarkably adapted to the wasteland. Weaknesses and needs were burned away to leave a high-speed, low-drag predator.

Like many mutants, Hassan is sterile.

Mutant edge

These properties give her many edges. Here are some example :

  • Repetitive, drill-based physical training is nothing to her. She is thus in very good shape, and can flawlessly execute stock combat techniques since she practised them thousands of times.
  • She can lie without the slightest hesitation and without any physical symptom. Even somebody like Daredevil might not be able to read her physiological responses.
  • She can operate alone in the Wasteland. Cold, heat, dust, thirst, hunger, fatigue, loneliness, glare… have very little impact on her performance.
  • If, say, she’s getting strangled or is drowning, she can react calmly and efficiently. She will not experience any instinctive panic from the pain and having her air flow cut.
  • She can remain motionless for hours, probably while camouflaged.
  • She feels nothing when hurting and killing people or animals, and does so without any hesitation. Her killer instinct is essentially at 100%.
  • She can perform field surgery on herself, if physically feasible. The pain, fear and disgust are almost immaterial to her. A typical example is to stabilize, clean and suture an accessible wound.
  • She can study for hours, never losing her focus or growing bored.

Skills

The Chosen One is an adept outdoorswoman, experienced with arid mountains, badlands and deserts.

Fallout 2 - the village of Arroyo and its stone head statue

The village of Arroyo and its giant head stone statue. Click here for an extended version.

Unlike many tribals, she’s been taught to read and count. In fact she’s well better at both than the vast majority of “civilised” people in the Wasteland.

She is also skilled at manipulating people, exploiting her ability to seem earnest and sincere even when lying through her teeth. But she also has genuine charisma, mostly stemming from her attractiveness, vitality, smarts and intensity.

She is well-trained with the traditional weapon of her tribe. This is a stone-tipped spear that qualifies for the Neolithic, but not by much. However, she was also trained to handle firearms, though it was done using plink guns.

Alessandra-Maria has a morbid interest in the workings of the minds and bodies of humans and common animals. This reinforces her manipulative abilities, but also makes her a pretty good doctor.

She’s even capable of conducting crude but competent field surgery, or to use chemicals from plants to elaborate a treatment for psychiatrically troubled persons.

Gear

As she leaves her tribe, Alessa has but a handful of leather-and-skins hot weather clothes, and a messenger-bag-sized crude leather satchel. There’s trail food in the bag, and she uses a Vault 13 plastic container as a canteen.

She’s armed with her good spear, plus a backup. The good spear has its flint head worked with a better percussive technique than usual, make it sharper and more durable.

Incongruously, she carries two high-tech items inherited from her grandmother. On her right forearm is a trusty PIP-Boy 2000 personal computer. It still runs all right after decades, and after having enduring all of Jolene Hassan’s adventures. It can also record high quality audio and video.

On her scalp are Jolene Hassan’s spare sunglasses. This is a large, dated pair of Ray-Ban Aviator  shades.


Video

The entire intro for Fallout 2 with the Restoration Mod active, in 720p.


History

(This history refers to a specific playthrough. It also has some embellishments to paper over the game’s narrative weaknesses. These will be discussed as they appear.)

Alessandra-Maria Hassan is the granddaughter of Jolene Hassan. Jolene was the now semi-mythical Vault Dweller who saved the world during the 2160s.

After her adventures the Dweller found herself saddled with rebels who left Vault 13 to live outside. These were obviously going to die in short order in the wasteland if not provided with guidance and protection. The Dweller ended up founding the village of Arroyo  in a prime spot, surrounded by canyons and thus easily defensible.

She agreed to have as many travellers as possible join the tribe at Arroyo. This way they could train the locals in survival, agriculture, hunting, shelter-building… so she’d be left alone.

Arroyo

Arroyo adopted a low-tech, animist, elders-dominated tribal culture over the decades. But the population was low on martial potential. With its matrilineal culture, Arroyo decided that the descendants of the Vault Dweller would be trained from mother to daughter in fighting and exploration. They would serve as a tribal champion.

A half-buried bunker was repurposed as the “Temple of Trials” to become a small training facility. It could also serve as a refuge. But it was unlikely this would ever be needed. Making Arroyo inaccessible was as simple as cutting the rope bridge leading outside.

The Arroyo village in Fallout 2

The village of Arroyo. Click here for an extended version.

Though Arroyo reverted to stone spears and the like, more high-tech equipment was kept for training at the Temple. That included a Ruger MkIII .22 LR pistol, a US Air Force .22 survival rifle, and basic gunsmithing, handloading and bullet-casting equipment, for the Dweller’s descendants.

(In the game, the Temple of Trials is instead an inexplicably large and sophisticated structure that serves as a widely-reviled, tedious “dungeon” of debatable utility. That this makes no sense is even lampshaded  in the dialogue, thus adding to the vicarious embarrassment. Let’s pretend it never was.)

Chosen Ones

Alessandra was thus trained by her mother – or rather her parents. Though officially Maeve Hassan was the one with the Chosen One (champion) training, she was terribly nearsighted. It was thus her husband who was discreetly taught marksmanship. Everybody just hoped there wouldn’t be a major problem during this generation.

Arroyo got lucky. There was never a situation Maeve Hassan couldn’t handle with her impressive knife-fighting skills. Furthermore her daughter, born in 2221, had 15/10 eyesight. In fact she was devoid of many human frailties. A mutation had made her a stone-cold predator of the wasteland.

Maeve Hassan later died in childbirth, though Alessandra’s little brother Santiago could be saved. Alessandra-Maria being sterile (and having zero interest in children anyway), the matrilineal descent ended after but two generations. Arroyo will probably have to allow for a male Chosen One or ditch this tradition.

The drought

Starting in 2240, Arroyo was hit by a bad drought. It gradually became evident that the village was doomed.

The Elder of the Arroyo village in Fallout 2

The Elder of Arroyo.

The village elder  went for an odd solution. She knew that all Vaults had been equipped with portable super-tech. It was capable of establishing a thriving community even in a post-apocalyptic environment. This device was marketed as the GECK (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) . Finding a spare one would likely be sufficient to protect Arroyo from droughts for generations.

The one in Vault 13 had presumably never been used. Thus, locating the ancestral Vault to obtain their GECK would save Arroyo.

Wasteland

With the help of her mentor, the shaman Hakunin , Alessandra-Maria quickly finished preparing. Hakunin realised that the somewhat inhuman Alessa was a time bomb if she stayed in one place. Furthermore, he correctly assumed that a nomad life would suit her better.

Given the paucity of resources in Arroyo she left with but a small sum, two spears and some clothing. Though she looked just like another destitute tribal girl, the truth soon became obvious.

There was now another mutant super-predator roaming the wasteland.


Description

Alessandra-Maria is a vital, muscled, highly fit 19-year old of more or less Mexican origin. There’s also a fair bit of African and Native Central American DNA in there. Though her grand-dad was proud of his Irish roots, most people looking at him would have guessed Mombasa rather than Londonderry.

Obvs, our portraits are original creations. For posterity’s sake there’s also a shot of how the character’s sprite looks like in the actual game. Even with Tim Cain’s  mad skillz, 1998 was… a long time ago, technologically.

Speech

The Chosen One usually speaks in chopped-up sentence fragments, a bit like Rorschach in The Watchmen. This effect mostly comes from eliding the pronouns referring to herself. She doesn’t think of herself as an “I” – she just is. Thus, she doesn’t naturally say “I” or “me”.

Fallout 2 Chose One Alessa Hassan faint smile high angle

Click here for a larger version.

Most people assume that she speaks that way because she’s a tribal using some patois of English. They fail to notice the patterns.

Unless she’s making efforts to sound like a normal human Alessa’s rapid, clipped speech tends to endlessly arc back to what she wants to have and what she likes having – whether possessions or experiences. She also tends to randomly focus on trivial details then move on, since her mental hierarchy of what is important is… nonstandard.

Holy vestments

Normally, Alessa wears the standard tribal outfit – tight brown leather trousers, and a crude brassiere/short tank top made of tanned skins. Her PIP-Boy is also set on tanned skins wrapped around her forearm.

When she leaves on her quest, she’s given a relic – the Vault jumpsuit once worn by Jolene Hassan. It was kept in good shape. Though it’s a key symbol for her tribe, Alessa doesn’t particularly care for that. But it is robust and has many convenient pockets.

At this point, Alessa still uses her sunglasses as just a fancy headband.


Personality

Alessandra-Maria has no intuitive understanding of fairness, justice, or good and evil. The usual human reaction of repugnance toward something unfair is simply absent. She has a hard time developing genuine emotional attachments – especially with men, whom she primarily sees as an interchangeable source of physical satisfaction.

Devoid of inhibitions, Alessa is chiefly interested in the three Fs – feeding, fighting and sex. She doesn’t mind how she gets those.

In the real world of the 2010s, Alessandra-Maria would likely be some sort of psychotic monster. Her mutant mindset is vaguely reminiscent of fictional, exaggerated versions of an anti-social disorder. She can evoke the pop fiction figure of the super-sociopath.

However her mutation isn’t actually similar to these. Much less any real-world mental disorder.

The human radscorpion, part 1

Rather she’s super-adapted to a post-apocalyptic environment where life is cheap. She is optimised as a lone predator, but not an indiscriminate one. She doesn’t have a normal sense of empathy, but she is fully able to function in society without being handicapped or causing harm. And she’s entirely able to think long-term – probably better than most “normal” people.

Fallout 2 - the bridge of Arroyo

The bridge at Arroyo. Click here for an extended version.

Though she doesn’t care about people, she’s more than smart enough to manage them. She realises that she can make them like her so they’ll give her good food, good weapons and access to the more attractive men. She also realises that in the wasteland, a lot of people will pay her to do another thing she likes – kill.

She thus thrives as a post-apocalyptic warrior, enforcer and mercenary. She deals fairly with her clients and keep them happy. Then they let her rake in cash, alcohol, food, sexual favours, ammunition, information, clean water, a shower and sleeping in a clean bed, etc. without any further effort. As far as she’s concerned, this is great.

The human radscorpion, part 2

As another example, Alessa doesn’t knows what pain is, and cannot empathise with the suffering of another. But she can see that a person is in pain, understand that it is important for them, and deduce that they’ll probably reward her if she helps. Or have friends who will.

Likewise she has no understanding of fairness. But she’s observant enough to fake it. She’ll replicate other people’s behaviour that seemed successful. In her experience, people who think that their dealings with her are “fair” are dramatically less likely to try to double-cross her. Over enough interactions, it builds up to a sizeable benefit.

Alessandra-Maria’s sense of identity is non-standard. The lack of vulnerability or suffering means that she considers herself more as a series of actions than a person in the human sense. Because she’s generally the active subject rather than the one acted upon.

Likewise she has a spottier sense of “the past” than humans do. This is because her learning processes do not include a notion of punishment. She can only process positive reinforcement. Her mistakes and painful failures leave very little trace, making her memories poor in contrasts.

(To be continued.)


Quotes

Alessa: “Can do. Will bring you their heads in two days, perhaps three. Now, let’s discuss payment upon completion. Want 300 bucks, a hot bath, half the jerky in that bowl and to fuck that guy over there.”
Hamlet leader: “You… ah… you mean Hong ?”
Alessa: “Whatever. Oh, also need a bag to put the heads in. Won’t keep the bag afterwards. Deal ?”

(Stops in mid-sentence, narrows her eyes and completely stops blinking, then suddenly points in a flash of motion) “Your spear. The edges and tips are very thin. Very sharp. How do you work the stone that way ? Want to learn. Can you show ? That looks good. For killing.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Alessa the Chosen One (Earliest)

Dex: 04 Str: 02 Bod: 04 Motivation: Psychopath
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Adventurer
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Wealth: 001
Init: 016 HP: 020

Powers:
Iron will: 05, Obscure: 08, Sealed systems: 02, Superspeed: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers are Form Function.
  • Iron Will also adds to her RV against negative emotions such as shame, guilt, sadness, regret, pity, etc..
  • Obscure only applies against attempts to read or detect her emotions or motivation. It applies against lie detection.
  • Sealed systems only to enhance her RV against radiation, thirst, hunger, fatigue and suffocation.
  • Superspeed only for Mental Tasks, only for acquiring new skills and knowledge.

Skills:
Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Artist (Actress): 03, Charisma (Intimidation, Persuasion): 05, Martial artist (AV, EV): 04, Martial Artist (OV, RV): 03, Medicine: 02, Military science (Survival): 01, Thief (Locks and safes): 05, Weaponry (Firearms): 04, Weaponry (Melee): 05

Advantages:
Ambidextrous, Familiarity (Arid environments survival, Psychiatry, Veterinary medicine, Psychology, Low-tech DIY, Shamanistic rituals), Iron Nerves, Schtick (Called Shots (Weaponry, Martial Artist)), Pain management (Medium)).

Connections:
Arroyo tribals (Low).

Drawbacks:
Misc.: Hassan is visibly a tribal girl, which may draw prejudice from higher-tech people.

Equipment:

  • Sharpened spear [BODY 02, EV 04] and a backup spear [BODY 02, EV 03].
  • PIP-Boy 2000 handheld computer in a forearm sheath [BODY 02, Data storage (incl. audiovisual): 10, Military science (Cartography): 02, Medicine (Treatment): 03 (Limitation – Medicine is limited to simple diagnoses)].
  • Healing powder (x8) [BODY 01, Damage Transference (No Delay, No Damage Taken): 01, Grenade Drawback].

Design Notes

Those’ll be in the second writeup, heh ?


Everybody was kung-fu fightin’

The unarmed combat skill in FO2 is purely offensive. It provides no avoidance or resilience abilities comparable to the Martial Artist (OV, RV) Subskills. Hand-to-hand defensive abilities exist, but appear at higher levels and take precious, precious perks.

Thus, direct modelling would stick with Martial Artist (AV, EV) Subskills, but it would be… odd for unarmed combat to work differently in this universe. On the other hand, it would help reflect the flow of isometric Fallout combat.

So I ended up with a murky compromise, as often.


Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Chosen One (Alessa-Maria Hassan) (Profile #1 – Arroyo) — Averaged PL5.8

STR STA AGL DEX FGT INT AWE PRE
00 02 02 02 04 02 01 01

Powers

Mutant predator ● 12 points ● Descriptor: Mutation, FEV
– Ignores pain — Enhanced Advantages (Great Endurance, Second chance (Pain-induced effects))
– Ignores fear — Enhanced Advantage (Fearless)
– Ignores mental fatigue — Quickness 1 (Limited 2 to learning new skills and knowledge)
– Ignores emotions — Enhanced Impervious Will 3, Second chance (Emotion-based effects), Concealment 1 (from detecting her emotions)

Devices

PIP-Boy 2000 ● 2 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: Electronics
– Personal digital assistant — Feature 1 (Computer and digital camera)
– Cartography app — Feature 1 (The PIP-Boy can be used to create and store crude but accurate maps. I suspect it has some hardware like a rangefinder to help with that)
– Medical monitor — Treatment 4 (+4) (Limited 2 to diagnosis)

Combat Advantages

Chokehold, Close Attack 1, Defensive roll 2, Improved Critical (1 Rank in Unarmed, Melee, Firearms), Power attack, Range attack 2.

Other Advantages

Equipment 1, Fearless, Great Endurance, Second Chance (emotion-based effects, pain-induced effects).

Skills

Athletics 3 (+3), Deception 4 (+5), Expertise (Arid environment survival) 3 (+5), Insight 3 (+4), Intimidation 4 (+5), Perception 4 (+5), Persuasion 2 (+3), Ranged combat (Firearms) 2 (+6), Technology 5 (+7) (Limited 2 to Security), Treatment 1 (+3).

Equipment

Sharpened spear Piercing Damage 3, Reach 1, Improved Critical 1 ● 5 points

Offense

Initiative +2
Unarmed +5, Close, Damage 0
Sharpened spear +7, Close (Reach 1), Damage 3, Crit 18-20

Defence

Dodge 05 Fortitude 06
Parry 05 Toughness 02*/04
Will 09**

* Without Defensive Roll
** Three Ranks are Impervious

Complications

  • My mom says you’re all primitives Alessa is visibly a tribal, which may lead to prejudice from “civilised” persons.

Powers Levels

  • Trade-off areas. Attack/Effect PL 5, Dodge/Toughness PL 5, Parry/Toughness PL 5, Fort/Will PL 8.
  • Points total 80 Abilities 28, Defences 13, Skills 14, Powers 12, Devices 2, Advantages 11. Equiv. PL 6.


By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Fallout 2 (1998 video game)

Helper(s): Darci, Roy Cowan, Peter Piispanen.

Writeup overhauled on the 17th of January, 2017.

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