While I enjoyed the sneaky, hidden freedom fighters just as much as the next guy, I always felt like they were a little out of place as a major faction able to brawl with the Brotherhood at Bunker Hill. With that said, here are some small changes I would make to the faction which would make a big difference.
- Super mutants in the Railroad
With the apocalypse and raiders, most people have enough on their plate without having to deal with synth freedom. That's not to say that there wouldn't be a few people swayed to the cause, but the Railroad needs greater numbers than that. Who else would have a greater beef with the Institute than their monstrous creations? Maybe mutants don't necessarily care for synth freedom, revenge could be a strong motivator for the more intelligent ones. Basically, what this would mean in game context is adding one or two NPC intelligent super mutants to the Railroad HQ who could talk with the player a bit about what they do and their motivations. You could get into level list integration of Railroad Heavies but I'm trying to limit this the work.
- Desdemona is not the leader of the Railroad
The player should not know who runs the Railroad. Desdemona is great, but she isn't quite evading the Institute level. This change helps emphasize the organization's secrecy and allows it to seem a lot bigger than it actually is. The Old North Church can remain as the HQ of the Railroad, but there should be someone or something higher up giving directions. If the player never gets to know or meet this mysterious person, the Railroad remains a weakened threat in the Commonwealth, even after getting their HQ destroyed by the Institute/Brotherhood. This justifies the Railroad Heavies that you can still encounter after finishing the main story. This could be done through notes, terminal entries, and maybe an NPC. It could be the kind of thing a player wouldn't even know about unless they were paying attention to what they were reading. My personal choice for the code-name Railroad's director would be "The Conductor".
- The roads most traveled…
One thing that I felt none of the factions fully took advantage of was the fact that there are 2 major cities to operate out of, one of which is specifically for outcasts and drifters. The roads to these cities are (lore-wise) consistently traveled by caravans going all over the Commonwealth. Why not have an outpost in Goodneighbor that can only be accessed through the right quest or reputation in the Railroad? What about a secret sewer near Diamond City? An abandoned safe house on the outskirts of Quincy? Giving the Railroad more locations makes siding with them more of an asset to the player, especially for survival mode players who don't want to use the settlement system.
Overall these changes would make the Railroad a stronger fighting force that can navigate downtown Boston with ease due to their super mutant agents. They become both more mysterious, and more helpful to the player.
What do you think? Are there any changes you would make to this?
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