Unlikely Valentine, which has you fighting mobsters in a vault to rescue Nick Valentine, is a main quest that feels like a side quest. It’s really fun, but it feels so detached from the main narrative that I actually think it would work better as a side quest. Here’s how it could happen without reworking the story in any big way.
The big problem with Unlikely Valentine is that it is unnecessary. All your character needs to do is ask someone in Diamond City if they know about a bald man with a scar down his face, and you’d figure out pretty quick that he has a house there. The option isn’t available, and so you have to rescue Nick so he can give you this information.
The fix to this problem is simple: let your character ask about Kellogg, but make it a red charisma option. You’re still more likely to have to find Nick, but if you’ve specced into a charisma build, you’re rewarded by being able to skip the mission. This makes sense in the world as well; Kellogg’s reputation precedes him, and nobody would wanna potentially anger him by telling some stranger where his house is. Nick is used to danger like that, so he’d have no problem telling you.
Another possibility is making Piper a key part of this section. She’s an investigative journalist who would have no problem investigating someone dangerous, and she could give your character the information about the mayor having a key to Kellogg’s house if you don’t have the master lockpick skill. Acquiring the key would work out the same way as it does right now, but after gaining access to Kellogg’s house, your trail runs cold.
This gives another split based on your actions. If you encountered Dogmeat and made him a companion, then your character can infer that he could track the scent. If not, you can ask around about Nick. People would tell you that he’s great at finding people, and has a dog that’s a natural at it. Just like the charisma option for Kellogg, this creates the potential for having to play Unlikely Valentine anyways, depending on the choices you’ve made. Nick is already acquainted with Dogmeat anyways, so finding him to use Dogmeat doesn’t contradict the story as is. You could also make Dogmeat disappear from Red Rocket if you didn’t encounter him, forcing you to run the quest.
This revision to the quest better incorporates choice and RPG mechanics, giving you options to avoid this quest and instead turn it into a side quest if you’ve made certain choices beforehead. It lets you ask an obvious question that potentially won’t go anywhere. It gives the game an opportunity to introduce Dogmeat to you if you missed him, which is helpful considering he’s the only companion that doesn’t nullify the Lone Wanderer perk.
Thoughts on my proposal? I’d love to discuss how this could be potentially improved.
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