My tips for recruiting level 4 merchants (Doc Weathers, The Scribe etc)

fallout 8 - My tips for recruiting level 4 merchants (Doc Weathers, The Scribe etc)

In my current, ongoing play-through, I managed to recruit all random-encounter merchants (Doc Weathers, Ron Staples, Trader Rylee, Smiling Larry, and The Scribe), and I would like to share some tips, in the hopes that they will be useful. I am playing on survival and I only have a single mod installed, which is the Unofficial Fallout 4 patch (also first time playing with this, or any, mod).

A few important tips:

  • To recruit all of the above merchants, you will need the following perks: Local Leader, rank 2, Medic, rank 1, Cap Collector, rank 2
  • Avoid fast travelling (as I said, I'm on survival, so not an option for me), as fast travelling will greatly reduce the number of random encounters you have.
  • It might not be enough to fulfill the population- and perk-requirements for the "work for me?"-option to show up! You might have to have built the relevant store beforehand. It should be of type emporium, meaning that you will also need Cap Collector perk, rank 2, in addition to the obvious Local Leader rank 2 requirement, or, for Doc Weathers, the perk Medic at rank 1 is needed to build a clinic. This was causing me the most grief as I couldn't, at first, figure out why the "work for me?"-option failed to appear, even though I had enough population and the relevant perks. Once I built the proper store, it appeared. I actually didn't even assign a normal settler to it in the meantime while I was waiting to bump into the relevant merchant, but don't know if that matters.
  • Avoid doing any progress in the quest Mechanical Menace, because if you do, several of the "fluid" random encounter spots will be very likely to greet you with Rust Devils instead, reducing your chances of finding Smiling Larry and The Scribe. I actually got too close to the site where the fight in Mechanical Menace takes place while doing Boston after Dark, and Ada managed to fight off the attacking robots herself, which caused the quest to proceed to the next stage, namely "talk to the robot". This is enough for the Rust Devils to start appearing! I had to reload and struggle a bit to finish Boston after Dark, without getting unwanted progress in Mechanical Menace. Not listening to the radio broadcast won't protect you from this, as the quest, which is given automatically upon reaching level 15, proceeds automatically if you get too close to the scene where Ada is fighting.
  • There are population requirements for these merchants. To maximize population, you should have high charisma, the higher your charisma, the more settlers you can potentially attract to your settlements. I did this with a charisma of 6. However, charisma is not all! Your settlers need to have jobs, because if there are too many unemployed at any given settlement, no more settlers will show up, regardless of your charisma. If you have unemployed settlers that you don't know what to do with, build scavenging stations for them to give them a job. It might be worthwhile to build the Vault-tec population management terminal to more easily track if you have unemployed settlers. Also make sure all your settlements are linked with supply chains.

Unfortunately, there are some bugs in the game that make certain random encounter locations only trigger once or get stuck. These problems have been fixed in Unofficial Fallout 4 patch. It appears. from the changelog, that the mod also fixes some other bugs related to these merchants, which might be important.

Although the merchants listed above are all met during random encounters, there are some differences to keep in mind.

Doc Weathers and Ron Staples can be encountered in camp-site random-encounter locations. There are several such places, reachable very early in the game. Here follows three places where you can encounter Doc Weathers and Ron Staples.

  • Hill with camp near Abernathy Farm, near bridge leading towards Sunshine Tidings Co-Op.
  • Camp next to road going from Starlight Drive-In towards area of Thicket Excavations/Tenpines Bluff. From Starlight Drive-In main gate (with the gate behind you), just take the road to your left, up the hill, and the camp is on the right side of the road. It's a very short walk.
  • Follow road south-ish from Drumlin Diner towards an overpass entry with a small gunner post (that includes a turret). Below the overpass is a camp.

Just keeping checking these spots at relevant times, and you should find Doc Weather and Ron Staples quite quickly. Note that Ron Staples only appears at night, it seems (makes sense, since he is a bar man). Possibly Doc Anderson can only be found during day time, not sure.

Regarding Smiling Larry and The Scribe. These two guys are the hardest to find, in my experience. Only appear in certain fluid random encounter spots (i.e., where the encounter is moving). I met Smiling Larry outside Police Precinct 8 (this might be one of the random encounter spots that works more reliably with the bug-fix mod installed), but couldn't recruit him at the time. Next time I met him, was on the road outside Revere Satellite Array, heading towards Reeb Marina. Now I could recruit him (due having built the store he wanted…).

I met The Scribe in the classic place for him, which is on the road, along the river, between Cambridge Police Station and Cambridge Polymer Lab, but he also has other spawn points. I could easily have missed him, because I was actually running back up towards Sanctuary, and when I came up to near Cambridge Police Station, I realized I hadn't seen any random encounter at all. So I decided to backtrack, and lo-and-behold, he had spawned behind me, and was now walking up towards Cambridge Police Station. So always make sure you double check if you pass the area, if no random encounter appears, it may have spawned behind you.

Finally, Trader Rylee. As you know, she is first seen when one enters Longneck Lukowski's Cannery for the first time, having an argument with Theodore. After that she exits the cannery and will start appearing in camp site locations. However, what I did was that I started talking to her as soon as she is done with Theodore, but before she exits the building. Then I could recruit her. However, at first, that seemed to bug out the quest Mystery Meat, as Theodore didn't offer it to me. But there was no need to worry, as it turned out, because the quest started automatically as I took the elevator down to the basement of the cannery (which Theodore had told me not to do), and I could complete it without any issues. If this behaves the same way without the bug-fix mod installed, I don't know.

Regarding Vault-Tec Rep and Anne Hargraves (two other recruitable level four merchants), these are in static locations and do not require a guide on how to find them. However, at least in the unmodded version of the game, when you talk to Vault-Tec Rep the first time after he has appeared in your settlement, you must select the dialog option to offer him a job, or you won't be able to assign him to a store. This dialog is only shown once so don't miss your shot! If you can re-do that conversation (and select the proper responses) with bug-fix mod installed, I don't know. Better not take any chances. 🙂 Note that you don't need to pre-build any stores to send these two potential merchants to one of your settlements.

This was the first time I had it as a goal to recruit all of them, so I spent six points in charisma in my initial build distribution to be able to get Local Leader early and set up supply lines to get the combined population count up. I got a recruitment beacon set-up very early in Sanctuary and claimed four, five other settlements quickly. I didn't bother going to Concord and "enabling" the minute men this time either, actually, but you can if you want to. Now I have almost 30 people living in Sanctuary, at level 70 at the time of writing this, and still didn't rescue Preston. 🙂

Sorry for a wall of text, I hope this helps someone! I was having a bit of problems doing this myself, and couldn't find a really good, complete guide, just fragments here and there, so that's why I wanted to collect and share what worked for me.

Good luck!

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