TL;DR – You’re not the general and you go around fighting strong raider factions and winning the Commonwealth.
I am sure there are numerous posts and videos about this topic already but I thought I would throw my hat in the ring. Mainly, I do this because I've been replaying the game. While I find the game fun, the plot and factions are lack luster. Almost all factions should have major changes and minor factions added in, I will focus on my favorite faction in the Commonwealth – The Minutemen.
The Minutemen function as the Yes Man faction from New Vegas. I applaud Bethesda for attempting to mix some aspects of New Vegas into Fallout 4, but it feels like they went through the motions without making logical story choices. Yes Man made sense as a fall back option because he sincerely cannot say no and is immortal. The Minutemen should be an existing presence, even if they are on the back foot, and thus shouldn't be treated as the default and safe faction.
The Minutemen have no aspirations. See above, but the Minutemen should be a full faction and thus should have beliefs and goals rather than just as a vessel for the settlement system.
Minutemen Quests are boring. The Minutemen specific quests (not including Inside Job/Nuclear Option) are When Freedom Calls/Sanctuary, Taking Independence, Old Guns, and Defend the Castle/With Our Power Combined. All in all about four types of quests for what is a major faction. The other quests are of course the radiant quests that send players throughout the Commonwealth in order to establish settlements. There needs to be move variety and choice in their quests instead of the repetitive murder stuff at this location quests.
Basically fixes that make the Minutemen a functioning faction.
Faction Status The Institute will serve as the Yes Man option. I won't go into details here but this makes more sense anyhow. This frees the Minutemen to be on equal footing with and surpass the Railroad and the Brotherhood in terms of depth.
Faction Leader The Minutemen need a leader who is not the Sole Survivor. Preston doesn't work either, his status as both companion and radiant quest hub just don't work for a plot driven faction leader. For this imagined rework I will assume the General of the Minutemen is some old grizzled veteran. Someone who came from Minutemen blood and watched as the infighting tore the group apart. He believes in the mission but if it weren't for his lieutenant, Preston and his undying faith in the Minutemen, he would have given up a long time ago and settled down to farm. Let's call him General Turn for ease.
Faction Goals This is obvious but the goal of the Minutemen should be to reclaim their former status in the Commonwealth. This means dealing to major and minor factions. Negotiating treaties. Eliminating threats. And eventually the establishment of the Commonwealth Provisional Government.
Faction Enemies The Minutemen are technically ambivalent to the main story, so let's inject them with a reason to get involved. General Turn dislikes the Institute because he lives in the stories of his grandfather who helped try and build the Commonwealth Provisional Government, until the Institute wiped out the local leaders.
Also, the Minutemen should be in conflict with all major raider factions. This rewrite will assume the raider factions are real factions. (These should be in the game as Minor factions but this isn't the place for that discussion.)
- Geographic Awareness The way settlements are taken in this game for the Minutemen are weird. Why would they not look closer to them for places to call home? Simply put, unlocking areas will be done in a way that makes geographic sense, chaining settlements close together first.
I take some ideas from this post so I will link it here. https://www.reddit.com/r/Fallout/comments/exjjkd/how_to_fix_the_minutemen/
For ease of use will make the Minutemen take a three act structure for their story.
Act I will follow the same path as the initial quest line of the Minutemen. When Freedom Call and Sanctuary both happen gameplay and location wise. Story wise we change some things though. Preston Garvey is not the last Minuteman and you are not made the general.
You set up Sanctuary and Preston says that he could use your help. He lost the General while escaping, making some last stand against some raiders, and he asks you to find him. You find General Turn in Corvega and save him from Jared, a member of Libertalia. Giving your report he seems hesitant about you at first, but trusts Preston's better judgement. You go to Red Rocket together, which operates as the Minutemen outpost for Sanctuary. This will also be the quest hub until Minutemen gain strength.
The rest of Act I progresses until you capture the four settlements located in the Northwest. Some can be stumbled upon like Starlight or Sunshine, but Abernathy and Tenpines will have actual quests. (You'll notice I've taken out Zimonja. Really too small and out of the way to be a settlement.)
The Abernathy Quest is fine. Ack Ack would be a former member of the Forged. This adds some flavor to the character which other people can comment on later.
Tenpines would have a Gunner related quest. One of their settlers is taken by a Gunner and you need to find them. For now you just see the Gunners as a cruel mercenary group.
Notice that each of these quests introduces the major factions that we will eventually deal with later on a grander scale. Perhaps this would allow for various factions to develop character like specific weapons they use or armor or battle tactics.
Act II starts to diverge. After securing a corner of the Commonwealth for the Minutemen, General Turn eventually tells you of an old Minutemen base, called the Castle. He sends you on the next quest which is just to scout out the area. You find the Mirelurks and the eggs and then you are prompted to escape.
General Turn sends you on the next set of quests to once have supply lines into Boston. Taking Graygarden, Oberland, and Hangman.
Graygarden has a decent quest.
Oberland could be resolving some internal issue. Someone in the settlement doesn't believe in the Minutemen and thinks the Gunners have the strength to keep the Commonwealth in line. Eventual leads to some small battle, maybe a fight between Graygarden settlement and Oberland. Perhaps there could be a way around the conflict. There should be some tension in trying to respect the wishes of local settlers and the necessity of taking this strategic location.
Hangman should just be a raider camp that needs conquered. Let's say the Rust Devils since they don't have an introduction.Though I imagine that maybe there is a Gunner captured there. Talking to him gives you info on the Gunners. Maybe a quest line eventually. You can kill or release him. This is where we can start getting more info on this minor faction.
Preston would want you to expand. This is where the player can be prompted to slowly move westward from Sanctuary, remembering that settlements are taken in a logical geographic pattern. The main opposition here would be the Forged.
The Slog, County Crossroads, and Greentop along with Finch Farms could relate to this minor raider faction. Doesn't have to be direct. Could be that other factions are moving around because of the Forged, say mutants who are forced to start raiding because the Forged cut off food supplies. A neat way to end this is some battle at Saugus Ironworks with the Wiseman leading a small militia with you against Slag.
Small note. Lets play with the map. Take out Costal Cottage as a settlement and once you work with Barney Rooks, Salem becomes an allied settlement. Eventually he could produce special types of Minutemen relating to the Salem Militia
Act II ends with Taking Independence. Depending on number of settlements and total population your force could be as small as you, Turn, Preston, and a few friends, or could be a real militia counting in 15-20 based on settlements. The small edit is that rather than arriving right at the Castle, you have to move your force from Hangman through Boston and to the Castle, losing men to Supermutants and Raiders. The last hurdle before the assault are Clint, Baker, and Tessa, the Gunners of Quincy. You beat back a percentage of their Gunners and they retreat. With your beaten forces you fight the mirelurks and take the Castle.
Begins immediately following the Castle.
Turn sends you to meet with the three cities of Boston (Diamond, Good Neighbor, and Bunker). You meet with each, do a few quests, fight some Gunners, etc.
I won't flesh this out too much but some major conflicts I could see are the interests of the various factions. One conflict is the cities themselves as they all try to vie for power you have to make decisions that anger one city in favor of another. The other conflict I think could be what kind of Minuteman you are. Are you the kind and caring person always ready to help, even if it costs the young organization resources? Or are you willing to go a little cruel and use some Gunner tactics to secure the resources you need?
These conflicts allow you to decide what kind of Minutemen is being built. Depending on choices some/all of these settlements will trade with the Castle. Completing this line will make the Minutemen have a greater presence in Boston through roaming patrols and caravans will have Minutemen guards.
Ronnie will eventually come around as well. She will give you Old Guns and of course you can start bombarding the Commonwealth to pieces. She also will have persistent quests to collect weapons, ammo, or armor. After certain numbers of radiant quests, Minutemen throughout the Commonwealth will be better armed.
Radio Freedom guy needs a name. Regardless, he takes over directing you to settlements, specifically in the Northeast part of the Commonwealth.
There are two factions here that need to be dealt with (1) the Forged and (2) Libertalia. The Forged are detailed above.
Small aside. Libertalia should be its own minor faction led by Wire who is a former Minuteman. I think the struggle for Libertalia is what the quest line should focus on. Now that the Minutemen are reforming Wire begins to regret his raider lifestyle, but of course the raiders there want to continue who they are. The quest line here could be deciding what direction they should become — raider paradise or Minutemen settlement. This could terminate in a fun battle.
Preston wants to of course help settlements. This is where I want to move more stuff on the map. Murkwater and Jamaica are not interesting settlements Instead we'll take University Point, where the Minutemen will start butting heads with the Institute. Preston's questline focuses on taking Quincy.
A major focus will be the internal struggle between Clint, Baker, and Tessa. Clint is a former Minuteman like Wire and Tessa distrusts him. Baker is there as some sort of mediator. Small aside. I think we could play with this a lot to make a couple Gunner faction quests. I'll mention some notes at the end.
This quest terminates in Clint to rejoining the Minutemen or staying a Gunner. A New Battle of Quincy would happen and then Quincy would become a settlement.
Act III terminates with the end game. Eventually the Battle of Bunker Hill happens where Minutemen are present. General Turn recognizes the threat of the Institute. He will recall something of the Commonwealth Provisional Government and how his grandfather was murdered at the Massacre. Now Turn makes the institute the priority. He believes that the Minutemen could bring everyone to the table but the Institute can't be allowed to do what they did before. As a ranking officer Turn asks you how we should deal with the Railroad and Brortherhood. Ally with them or eliminate them. You do so. After which we go through the Nuclear Option quest and you rid Boston of the Institute.
Something short here. But I imagine Turn, Preston, and Ronnie giving you quests throughout the Commonwealth. Securing settlements, taking out threats, preparing arms. Minutemen patrol your areas of control in gear based on the quests you've completed and you continue to explore the wasteland. The question of the Commonwealth Provisional Government is left open and not resolved but there are hints it could happen. Maybe in some ending slides you see Kessler, Geneva, Hancock, Sturges, and some others sitting at a table meeting with Turn at the head of the table finally smiling.
Real quick since raiders are so linked to the Minutemen I wanted to mention something here. A lot of this focuses on Nuka World because it is linked to the Minutemen in weird ways. I don't like Nuka World story wise. It seems clear that Bethesda wanted a really cool looking set and combat arena and weren't sure how to fill it. The raiders are just the bonus added because people wanted to raid the Commonwealth.
Nuka World shows the weakness of having the Minutemen be the Yes Man faction given that even though you are enslaving people, Preston still follows you as the General of the Minutemen and will give you quests so you can finish the game. That's stupid.
The Raider Factions are interesting given that they are the qualities of raiders distilled. But them allying to make some merchant/raider utopia is weird and doesn't make sense. Just gut them all.
If Bethesda wants a raider faction….then there are plenty in the Commonwealth. Take your literal pick of any faction and they are interesting. It's weird because they named a lot of raider leaders only for you to murder them and read about them rather than interact with them. As seen in the long explanation above, the raiders already have neat sub factions and any one of them could work as the raiding faction.
The Forged are an up and coming group trying to prove its metal with a relatively fanatic and crazy leader. Libertalia is made of various smaller factions trying to survive lead by a former Minutman struggling with his new role as raider. The Gunners are the literal opposite of the Minutemen. They are a cruel mercenary faction willing to take any job so long as the price is right. Lest we forget also the Rust Devils, the Triggermen, and the L&L Gang. Just pick one to flesh out.
Also there are numerous named raider leaders that have problems with one another within the text of the game, but only hinted at through terminals. The most memorable for me was Red Tourette's conflict with Tower Tom. How interesting if this were part of some smaller raider conflicts or part of the conflicts listed like Libertalia/Forged/Gunner. Fleshing these out and creating minor factions with conflict allows for some really interesting story telling.
All of these factions, as shown above in my explanation, also have some sense of regionality which allows for quests to support or dethrone them. Or potentially expand them if you wanted to. This would be the way better option to add raiding into this game.
However, this means we have an open DLC slot and I don't know where it would go or what it would do. I'll leave smarter minds to write something from scratch for a DLC.
If you've made it this far, thanks. I know this is long and winding and crazy but I've been really thinking hard about how to create interesting Fallout 4 factions that have real depth and grip to them. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I'd love to hear them!
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