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Fallout Lone Wanderer (Athena Griffin) face closeup with tam

Lone Wanderer

(Dr. Athena Griffin)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Fallout video games series (1997-present) takes place in an over-the-top post-apocalyptic setting. It mixes a Mad Max aspect, 1950s atomic horror conventions and various “after the Bomb” influences.

For a primer, see our sample Vault Dweller (the Player Character  in the first Fallout game). DC Heroes players can also refer to the generic deathclaw entry for scale explanations.

This profile is the first in a series. It describes the character at, in Fallout 3 terms, level 1 to 4. There’ll like be three successive profiles but for now, only #1 is online.

We do need another hero

Our series of Fallout writeups presents the world, storyline and some technical aspects as seen by the Player Character in the game.

However, the protagonist of the Fallout games is left for the player to define. They are only known by a generic name (the Vault Dweller, the Chosen One, the Lone Wanderer and the Courier in, respectively, FO, FO2, FO3 and FO New Vegas) and there’s very little “canon”.

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

Most entries include technical considerations about reflecting the gameplay – see below.


  • This profile features a sample or customized Player Character – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • My test screenshots (mostly landscapes) have been archived in a large Flickr album ; many shots are screensaver-viable.
  • This profile assumes a specific video game playthrough – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile features tabletop RPG mechanics about the video game’s gameplay – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile features non-canon hypotheses about in-game events and mechanics – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.

Soundtrack

The Four Tops’ Reach out and I’ll be there is the official soundtrack of this character profile.


Background

  • Real Name: Dr. Athena Rothchild Griffin
  • Other Aliases: The Lone Wanderer.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Dr. James Griffin (father, status unknown), Dr. Catherine Griffin (mother, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: A shack in Megaton, in the Capital Wasteland (formerly Virginia).
  • Height: 5’8” Weight: 140 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black (dyed dark red)


How glad am I to be superhuman

Fallout 3’s Lone Wanderer is manifestly superhuman. They can withstand an impressive amount of damage, rapidly heal wounds, learn every skill in the game within a few weeks, function without sustenance or sleep, deliver called shots with superhuman aplomb, etc.. All for no apparent reason.

This results in a gameplay I found zestless. So my game is modified to be quite harder when it comes to combat, exploration, levelling and survival. This is what will be reflected here, rather than the vanilla gameplay experience.

That’s a break from our usual policy to reflect the dominant gameplay experience, but sometimes a mutant gotta do what a mutant gotta do.

This version of the Lone Wanderer still has superhuman aspects, but :

  • These are explicit and special, rather than being a gameplay conceit.
  • The power level is lower than in vanilla FO3.
  • The article emphasises the survival aspect that dominates this modded version.

Normally I’d write lots and lots of material about how I modded my copy of Fallout 3, but instead I ended up contributing to a much better, S.T.E.P. guide to mod the eff out of Fallout 3 .


Powers & Abilities

Dr. Griffin is remarkably healthy and in solid shape. She’s strong, fast, resilient, well-coordinated and has excellent reflexes. She has robust training in :

  • Firearms operation.
  • Mechanics.
  • Electronics.
  • Applied chemistry.
  • Basic computer science.
  • Field medicine.

At this stage Athena is not genuinely tougher than most of the marauders she fights. But she’s way smarter, more focused and more collected.

Doctor Griffin in Arctic combat armor

Her technical and medical skills are invaluable in the Wasteland. She can maintain, repair and improve all sorts of personal equipment. At this point though, most of her efforts are about refurbishing, cleaning and reinforcing her firearms.

Guns degrade quickly due to sand, poor quality gunpowder, radiation, aged materials, poor metallurgical facilities, a lack of people trained in maintenance, etc.. Keeping them from falling apart and ensuring that they can shoot fully loaded rounds with less-than-awful accuracy is a lot of work.

Dr. Griffin’s medical skills are very practical. They include various advanced military first aid techniques. She can use stimpacks correctly, greatly increasing their efficacy compared to an unskilled “jab, inject and pray” user. Athena also is an expert at cleaning and stabilising all sorts of wounds.

Despite its 1950s trappings, beforetime medical technology was very efficient, and a competent physician can work wonders.

Universal soldier

Though Athena is pretty sure there’s something special about her, she’s not certain what at this stage.

  • She heals very quickly (particularly when she sleeps).
  • Her wounds do not get infected and bleed very little.
  • Her bones do not seem to quite break.

The fractures are always very clean and fix themselves very quickly, like with some felines, provided she can apply a stimpack and a milspec brace.

Doctor Athena Griffin in Megaton

She also seems to have some sort of combat awareness or “seventh sense”. This manifests as a sensation of unease and a specific hallucinatory smell as she considers certain tactical actions that would likely have ended badly for her. She has quickly learned to trust these intuitions.

Dr. Griffin also seems to have a strong adrenergic response in combat, allowing her to perform certain actions with great stability and alacrity.

(These model the in-game healing (with the character having the Wasteland Doctor Perk), the “die-and-retry” and “save-and-try” gameplay resulting from the difficulty, and the Bullet Time mod (with the character in Fallout 3 having the Swift Reflexes Perk). It also foreshadows various durability and cyborg Perks that will appear later on.)

Ordnance

Dr. Griffin’s main weapon is a Chinese assault rifle. These weapons of the Red Menace are relatively widespread in the Capital Wasteland. They also fire the same 5.56mm round as the National Guard’s regulation assault rifle.

This specific weapon was bought for a pittance since it was corroded, mud-caked and nearly unusable. But Athena carefully refurbished it using a concoction based on Abraxo cleaning powder , and parts from other wrecked rifles.

Dr. Griffin also has two refurbished magazines, but never had enough bullets to fully load both. Ammunition is prized and quite expensive in the Wasteland.

To spare her meagre stock of 5.56mm rounds, Dr. Griffin also carries a battered, slightly radioactive .32 bolt-action hunting rifle. Its cracked barrel has been fixed using welding (the metal coming from tin cans) and duct tape. While it is clearly not a good weapon, it allows for short-range (often less than 20 metres) sniping tactics.

A common method is for Athena to sneak in, shoot a single opponent dead from hiding, run away, and move to a completely different shooting position. The .32 can more or less do this job.

Doctor Athena Griffin sneaking into enemy ruins with her rifle

Athena often uses weapons pilfered from fallen enemies, since she doesn’t have enough ammo not to. It also reduces wear and tear on her guns given their bad condition. Past examples have included a 9mm Sten-style submachinegun (built from sheet metal in the Wasteland) and a fearsome .44 Magnum Desert Eagle handgun.

The Eagle is in pretty good condition, but Dr. Griffin doesn’t carry it since she has exactly one .44 Magnum bullet left.

She also wears a reinforced Vault 101 jumpsuit that offers some protection against minor assaults (such as mutated ticks, bites from small animals, or light firearm rounds at long range). Furthermore, she has some old-fashioned biking goggles to protect her eyes.

Odds and ends

Dr. Griffin’s lockers are full of scavenged devices and scrap metal — from pressure cookers to ovens’ pilot light, from leaf blowers to vehicle parts — and damaged guns. All of this is meticulously cleaned and organised, and is an invaluable source of parts.

In particular she has used this stuff to assemble pretty good hand-made medical equipment. It is her equivalent of the traditional doctor’s “black bag”.

She also stores reserves of scavenged food and drinks, including a large stash of Nuka-Cola™ bottles. This is the famous, beloved and radioactive soda that has come to symbolise America. One of her gadgets is a food sanitizer, which detoxifies and partially de-irradiates food and drink. This dramatically facilitates long-term survival.

As a former Vault dweller, Athena sports her trusty PIP-Boy 3000 wrist computer. Albeit clunky-looking it :

  • Monitors her health.
  • Includes rough cartography software.
  • Can receive radio emissions.
  • Has a very short range Geiger counter.
  • Acts as a personal organiser.
  • Was modified to also function as a crude flashlight.

History

Athena Griffin is the daughter of Drs. James and Catherine Griffin. She was born in 2258. Catherine died of cardiac arrest shortly after childbirth.

Athena was thus chiefly raised by her dad, a medical doctor. However the younger physician working with Dr. Griffin, Dr. Jonas Palmer , also frequently spent time with the kid. He thus became a second parent/big brother figure.

As far as she can remember, Athena always lived in Vault 101, in a corner of Virginia close to Maryland and the District of Columbia. Vault 101 was completely sealed off and autonomous. It is run in an authoritarian manner by its Overseer.

Athena-Griffin-Fallout-3-Lone-Wanderer-h4

As she grew up, she came to realise how unpleasant 101 was. The population had been dwindling for more than a century, resulting in a small community. All were closely watched by thuggish police, living in a dreary routine, and toiling constantly to maintain their aged Vault so it could run forever.

Little Athena was an unpopular kid. She had but one friend from infanthood to adolescence – Amata Almodovar , the daughter of the Overseer. Amata was also unpopular due to her father’s position. And like Athena, she had lost her mother while she was still a baby.

Come on girl, reach out for me

From infanthood on, Athena was under extensive medical monitoring by her father. She had twice-weekly blood tests, and a monthly unspecified procedure requiring general anaesthesia. When she reached age 10, she received her first age-appropriate work responsibilities from the Overseer. Dr. Griffin also started an intensive, clandestine training regimen for her.

This training included :

  • Medical training focused on field medicine, military medicine and dealing with harsh environments. When Athena was 18, Dr. Griffin had her take a pre-War test, and her results would have qualified her as a medical doctor back then.
  • Technical training ranging from computer science to auto mechanics, with an emphasis on maintenance, security and kit-bashing solutions with limited resources. Part of this training was done with Vault technician Stanley Armstrong , maintenance expert and PIP-Boy programmer.
  • Markswomanship training using a patiently-rebuilt pre-War BB gun. Vault 101 having an endemic radroach  problem, Dr. Griffin had Athena hunt these semi-dangerous pests in abandoned Vault sections.
  • With the help of Vault police officer Herman Gomez , this training eventually escalated to using a 10mm pistol instead of her childhood BB carbine. It also involved lots of practical work in gunsmithing and hand-loading.

Doctor Athena Griffin scavenges a grocery

The dutiful Athena trained despite her father’s refusal to answer any question. It gradually became obvious that she was significantly smarter, stronger, faster and more disciplined than any kid her age. After some incidents the three-man gang of Vault 101, the Tunnel Snakes, learned to give her a wide berth.

However, this also reinforced Athena’s social isolation.

Illegally investigating, Athena discovered that :

  • There were no birth records for Dr. James Griffin.
  • There were no birth or death records for Dr. Catherine Griffin.
  • James’ security file was classified well above the others

Furthermore, Ms. Griffin realised that her own medical file was a complete fake done by her father. The examinations described had never been performed, and the results from the innumerable tests that had actually taken place were nowhere to be seen.

And your world around is crumbling down, darlin’

A few weeks after her 19th birthday, Athena was woken up by a scared Amata. Dr. Griffin had just left Vault 101 in unclear circumstances. This was a shocking incident as no one was supposed to ever, ever leave the Vault.

This triggered a security crisis. The cops beat Dr. Palmer to death, assuming that he had been an accomplice.

Amata told Athena how to flee the Vault, and despite the poor odds Ms. Griffin made it outside. Amidst the fighting she glanced at more classified files. In doing so she learned that, contrary to stated policy, a scouting expedition had been sent outside in 2241. The report told about a settlement nearby, which apparently was relatively welcoming.

Dragging all sorts of hastily stolen supplies behind her, blinded by the sun and choked by the dust, the disoriented Athena crossed eerie ruins until she reached this village – called Megaton.

And you’re drifting out all on your own

Within hours, and despite her disorientation and general gruffness, Dr. Griffin made as many friends as during the previous 19 years of her life. Both Lucas Simms , the sheriff-mayor of Megaton, and Moira Brown, the zany owner of the Craterside Supplies shop, took a liking to her. They gave her invaluable advice about how to behave and survive.

Doctor Athena Griffin aiming her Chinese rifle

Athena also inquired at Megaton’s saloon. As she suspected, her father had quickly passed through after fleeing the Vault. However, the saloon’s owner wanted money to tell her in which direction Dr. James Griffin had left.

Much more puzzlingly, the man assured her that James had been in Megaton almost 19 years before, carrying a baby Athena in a portable crib laden with complicated electronic devices. According to the saloon guy, Dr. Griffin had then somehow gained access to Vault 101.

After a lifetime of Vault 101 propaganda about all being born in the Vault and dying in the Vault, Athena couldn’t accept these assertions. But less reflexively, she knew there had to be an explanation about the oddities surrounding her father.

I’ll be there to always see you through

Megaton was named after the atomic bomb at its centre. The large bomb hadn’t exploded on impact, but had dug a large crater. Survivors settled it as it offered some protection from the elements.

An outside party then gravely misread Dr. Griffin and offered money so she would detonate the bomb. She warned Sheriff Simms, then saved the Sheriff’s life when the arrest went bad. Dr. Griffin also removed the neutron trigger and the malfunctioning conventional explosive charge in the bomb, leaving it undetonatable. As a reward, Simms granted her the keys to an empty shack in Megaton.

Simms and Brown amply warned her about the dangers of travelling across the Wastelands to find her dad. As a result Dr. Athena Griffin ran short expeditions around Megaton. In particular she tried to scout nearby ruins occupied by raiders occasionally attacking the village.

This did not go too well and soon degenerated into violence. During these short, sharp clashes Dr. Griffin realised to her horror that her foes were mutated cannibals. As a newly-minted local, and knowing she wouldn’t travel overland anytime soon given these dangers, Athena decided to eliminate the raider threat to Megaton.


Description

Tall, athletic, strong-looking and with regular, friendly features. Compared to most Capital Wastelanders, she looks at the pinnacle of health – and she is.

Athena is seldom seen without her beloved tam. A tam is a slouchy, woolly hat usually meant to hold a rasta’s dreadlocks. She doesn’t actually have dreads, but long straightened hair that are more or less dyed red and kept in a sort of messy bun under her cool hat.


Personality

At this stage, Athena mostly is the strong and silent type. She’s completely out of her element and keenly aware of it. So mostly she asks questions, listens to people, and behaves in a neutral and reserved manner. This is a good idea, since her actual personality isn’t pleasant.

Athena’s father gave her an excellent education in African-American history, and in particular had numerous fascinating historical documents about Black American life right before the War.

This ranged from political activism such as the Council of Negro Leadership  and Thurgood Marshall , to emerging artists that were practically unknown by non-African-Americans – Jackie Wilson , Smokey Robinson , the Four Tops  or the Marvelettes .


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Dr. Athena Griffin

Dex: 03 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Responsibility
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Refugee
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 001
Init: 015 HP: 015

Powers:
Blunting: 01, Enhanced Initiative: 04, Precognition: 03, Regeneration: 03, Superspeed: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Precognition only applies to physical combat situations.
  • Regeneration only accelerates BODY Recovery Checks whilst asleep, but will stabilise wounds and prevent severe bleeding even when awake.
  • Superspeed only for Mental Tasks, only for acquiring new skills and knowledge. It is a Skilled Power.

Skills:
Gadgetry: 04, Medicine: 04, Military science (Danger recognition): 05, Military science (Survival): 03, Scientist (Computers): 02, Thief (Locks and safes, Security systems): 02, Weaponry (Firearms): 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Athena operates in a Genre with realistic Gadgetry rules – inventions are generally a major, lengthy, costly engineering project.
  • Military science (Danger recognition) is Contingent Upon Precognition.

Advantages
Familiarity (US History, African-American History, Tamla-Motown catalogue), Headquarters (Confined, Megaton), Ultraluck.

Bonuses and Limitations:
Ultraluck is Contingent Upon Precognition.

Connections:
Sheriff-Mayor Simms (Low), Moira Brown (Low).

Drawbacks:
Socially Inept.

Equipment:

  • PIP-BOY 3000 [BODY 04, Medicine (Diagnosis): 05, Military science (Cartography): 03, Data storage: 09, Detect (Radiation): 00, Flash (Steady illumination only): 02, Radio communications (Receive only): 04, Superspeed (only for Mental tasks by the PIP-BOY 3000 using its own Skills) 03].
  • ARMOURED VAULT 101 SUIT [BODY 04, Skin armour: 01].
  • Chinese assault rifle [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 06, Range: 03, Ammo: 08, R#04, Advantage : Autofire, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, use the listed Range instead].
  • .32 hunting rifle [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 05, telescopic vision: 01, Limitation: Telescopic vision only for shooting purposes, as it represents the iron sights, R#03].
  • Telescopic baton [BODY 03, EV 03, Miniaturisation: 01].
  • Stimpacks (x4) [BODY 01, Damage Transference (No Delay, No Damage Taken): 02, Grenade Drawback, Limitation: the user must have 4+ APs of Medicine (First Aid). If that’s not the case, the APs of Damage Transference are halved].
  • A medical tools kit and a repair tools kit allowing her to use these skills without penalties, though the repair tools aren’t taken in the field since they are too heavy.

By Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Fallout 3 video game.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 13th of December, 2014.

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