All posts by Simmery Simulacrum

Yes, it’s that time again. In this episode, I’ve used the Conquest mod to start a new location a bit south of Covenant. It has two fairly unique features: (1) it’s located on another dam; and (2) it’s unusually peaceful. The dam part is interesting because it actually holds back water on one side, making for some wonderful elevation challenges and opportunities. The peaceful part is genuinely unique. This is the only settlement I’ve found or started that has no enemies of any kind.

Because it’s so complex, this tour will be broken into two parts. If there’s a rationale for the division, I guess it’s size. This part emphasizes smaller structures and interiors. Later, I’ll go into the larger, more exotic features.

Here’s one of the entrances to the settlement:

I don’t ordinarily use walls, since they don’t really keep enemies out. This time, however, I wanted to see how I could glitch things for a cobbledy, rickety effect.

Here are the living quarters. Yes, more stilts and elevation:

I’m so pleased with the Nuka Cola wall.

Here is a walkway adjoining the two dorm structures:

Potted plants!

Here’s an interior of one of the dorm rooms:

I found some nice blankets. Also, my wiring is improving.

I decided to include a library. It seems to me that reading would be valuable to settlers, especially since they can’t watch Cake Boss on TV.

If you return books late, this robot will find you and kill you.

When they’re not reading, settlers drink, so here’s one of the bars:

I don’t want you to think settlers drink a lot. Mostly, they just sample the bouquets and that sort of thing.

Finally, since one side of the dam holds back water, I thought settlers ought to fish. This area is where they process them.

Sometimes, people have a hankering to gut fish. Go figure.

So tomorrow or soon afterwards, I’ll show you the bigger, cooler stuff. I’ll end by saying that I would live here in a second. In fact, I built myself a little house, which I probably won’t show because I have some, ah, you know, private things in there. You wouldn’t be interested.

Just in case anyone is still looking at my Fallout 4 things, I thought I should provide an update. Recently, I’ve been working on two new Conquest outposts. I like to build near water for some reason. Maybe it’s because I would be attracted to ponds, lakes, and sea-fronting views if I were a miserable settler.

The first place is Caldeira (again, I don’t get to pick the names — the Conquest mod has a limited list). It’s located down the shore from Nordhagen Beach. In an earlier post, I showed a couple of preliminary efforts here, so now I’m returning to it. By the way, forgive the fuzziness of some of the pictures. This is a result of 1980 resolution on a 27-inch monitor, I think.

Here’s an aerial shot to convey the size.

Eesa beeg.

A side shot:

I like the market on the water and the funky metal guard tower.

Here’s one of my guards, making sure that the Prydwen doesn’t go anywhere.

You can’t have too many ham radios.

I’m especially fond of my water-processing building. I mean, there’s lots of water, so why not process it?

I like big mysterious machines painted in utility-yellow.


Next up is Dunn Outpost, which is located across the street from the General Atomics Galleria. Situated on a pond, this location was challenging because not one scrap of ground is flat.

Settlers like to go across the street to visit the robots.

A side shot featuring the hilly terrain and the pond:

Eesa big, too.

This place has hilly, rocky terrain — tough to build on:

The hills are alive.

Lots of support structures are needed:

One of the engineering marvels of the post-war world.

Did I mention that everything is on rocky, hilly terrain?

Nothing can stop progress.

A shot featuring a rooftop bar, a guard tower, and the pond:

That flag actually waves.

One of my dorm rooms (still working on the wiring):

I like the rug.

Another dorm with a laundry:

Those washing machines and dryers actually work. . . . not really.


There you go. Maybe I’ll have more unless I come to my senses and start a new game.



During a break from my Conquest settlement scouting, I decided that Spectacle Island needed the following structures: (1) a shrine to me, (2), a square dancing barn, and (3) a zoo. The first two aren’t especially interesting. The zoo, as far as I’m aware, is unique. Maybe someone else has managed to put a passel of mean-spirited creatures in one building, but they’ve been deadly quiet about it. Here, then, is a tour:

Visitors arrive at the entrance, which advertises the feature attraction.

The zoo was indirectly inspired by Necro, so I wanted to credit him.

Because I’m not a savage, I included an information booth/gift shop.

The robot doesn’t say much and works cheap.

Some incidental specimens, including an angler and a stingwing

These attractions don’t offer much, but I couldn’t leave them out.

Some of the residents are even less exotic:

A mirelurk and the ubiquitous, beloved bloatfly

The more dangerous critters, like fog crawlers and deathclaws, are kept near the back of the zoo:

Special precautions are taken with the more irritable fauna.

Nearer the entrance, I have some molerats and a radscorpion (for the kiddies):

This was as close to a petting attraction as I could manage.

Eventually, visitors see the main attraction, a mirelurk queen.

The sign is used because I couldn’t find one that said “Please keep hands out of the glass.”

Finally, in addition to the gift shop, I included more refinement in the form of a restaurant:

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a protectron to cook?

And that’s all. I hope to find a new Conquest location soon.


The Boston Airport build was challenging because it wasn’t really an unauthorized settlement. As I mentioned, Bethesda seems to have given it a workshop mainly so you could build an endgame contraption. It took quite a lot of work to shape it into anything resembling a BOS outpost. As I was doing it, I came across something that answered my question, “Is there a mod that lets you build anywhere you want?” Indeed there is. It’s an ambitious project called Conquest, which initially seems to have been designed as a camping aid for Survival players. The author expanded it into a device for placing a workshop and build area pretty much wherever you like. It has a few problems, but the benefits outweigh them.

So far, I’ve made three Conquest “outposts.” Because the build areas are so big, I’ve been able to create town-size areas in weird locations.

My first project was Lyon Outpost (the mod pre-names the settlements, so I couldn’t call it “Muppetville” or whatever). It’s located on an existing dam near an existing neighborhood called Forest Marsh. The dam idea intrigued me.

Lyon is built on a dam northwest of Oberland Station.

Here’s an early shot of me standing in front of Lyon’s gate. Much has been added since.

Me, looking and feeling my best.

Night shot of the rear side of Lyon:

One of my objectives was to blend the settlement into the already existing Forest Marsh neighborhood.

Another place I’m working on is called Ferani Outpost. This one is just south of Drumlin Diner. A challenge here was building around trees and figuring out where I could and could not obstruct the road.

Ferani is a large settlement not far from Concord. I added the pile of tires on the right (thanks to the USO mod). Any other tires you see were there already.

Ferani again:

Notice the road passing through the settlement. This is a very busy caravan and provisioner route. The traffic goes on day and night.

Finally, here is the “water-front” side of Ferani. It’s build on a sort of lake.

I’m planning to make this more of a recreational area.

My most recent project is Caldeira Outpost, which is a close neighbor of Nordhagen Beach. Here is what it looked like before I started:

Prebuild shot of Caldeira. What a mess.

And this is an early build shot of the same location. The stairs leading up to the greenhouse were a nightmare to build. The market in foreground is built over the water (I love building things at water-facing locations.)

Early days yet, but you can see that this will be another big settlement.

That’s all for now. I’m rather excited that the Conquest build areas are so large. Some are the size of Sanctuary or close to it. Translation: I’m no longer making settlements; I’m building towns. Soon they’ll have law and order, schools, and churches. We might even get a railroad.



Greetings. Sorry to have been away, but then so have you all.

I’ve been busy building a Brotherhood of Steel outpost at the Boston Airport. As you may know, this location counts as a settlement, but it doesn’t really function that way. You can’t place a settler beacon; nor can you find much room for crops or water. It’s mainly there as a location to build an endgame contraption. However, using various mods, I was able to overcome all of this. The airport is already occupied by the Brotherhood of Steel, but I was able to append a proper “outpost” with beds, crops, and other fru-fru. Here is a tour:

Visitors arrive at the exterior, which is more heavily guarded than you see in the picture:

BOS Boston Airport Outpost exterior — it has more guards now

If you’re admitted to the interior, you see this peculiar monstrosity:

Weird statue “liberated” from the GNN building – the Bros have no explanation for why they liked it so much (pay no attention to the water leaking from the roof and puddling on the carpet)

Unlike the Prydwen, my outpost actually has enough beds for everyone:

Upper floor – sleeping quarters and mess

Another shot of the upper floor:

Someone’s going to get in trouble for sloppy footlocker placement.

Here is the Infirmary, which is sensibly placed right next to the nuclear generator:

Jedi mind trick: there is nothing wrong with this arrangement.

Too many settlements fail to account for restrooms. I have not overlooked this necessity:

A latrine (may not be safe for work)

Here is a gratuitous supply shot, which is really an excuse to show off some BOS power armor:

Security, unstowed supplies, and someone’s unattended power armor

The outpost commander insisted that his quarters be simple and austere, but no one listened:

Quarters of our glorious commandant

I thought it would be appropriate to have a briefing room. I was using simple benches, but the NPC’s kept sitting on them backwards:

Briefing room with projector (doesn’t really function — this is a lighting/poster trick)

Finally, we have the base kitchen, where only the finest squirrel bits are prepared:

The kitchen (possibly the most sanitary location in the Commonwealth — if you look closely, you can see a pot in the sink — the near stove actually functions as a cooking station)

There you go. This is fairly rough, but I’m adding polish, details, and clutter where I can.


This is just an update on my Fallout 4 settlement-building binge. I’ve made quite a lot of improvements to all the settlements, and I’ll get to those in future posts, but today I wanted to share what I’ve done at the Castle. As you know, this location is one of the big deals in the Minute Men story line. I’m not sure why, other than the introduction of a Mirelurk Queen and the tutorial on building artillery. Once you’ve cleared the place and built your cannons, you very likely won’t pay attention to it again until Preston calls on you to defend it during a fairly exciting attack by whatever factions you’ve managed to upset.

Recently, I’ve been giving the Castle some thought, and it seems to me that Preston had in mind two things when he suggested taking it over: (1) an iconic headquarters to demonstrate the strength of the Minute Men (not in the spirit of intimidation but, rather, assurance for potential settlers), and (2) a training facility for the roaming bands of Minute Men you see occasionally on your travels. Far be it from me to pay attention to anything Preston says or thinks, but it began to sadden me that the Castle was little more than a roomy settlement with walls and cannons. It should be a symbol of strength and relative prosperity. It should announce to the Wasteland that the Minute Men are more than a shabby collection of nomads doing random good deeds. They are the hope of the devastated Commonwealth. Settlers should see that they’re reasonably organized and up to something bigger than rescuing kidnapped daughters and shooting up various rowdy-dowdies.

So I began to reconceive the Castle in a manner befitting a purposeful faction. I also decided to give mods another try. I was careful about which ones I chose and how I ordered them, so they work pretty well. I could tell you which ones they are, but that would require looking up their names, and I would rather show you some pictures.

When travelers and provisioners approach, they see this (actually more, but this is as much as I could get into the frame):

For educational purposes, the fort is clearly labeled.

Most attacks come from this side, so it’s a little better fortified than the others. Sorry about the illumination on the signs. Fallout 4’s lights are usually either too dark or too bright.

As part of their training, Minute Men scrubs spend long hours shooting at cutouts of gangsters, weird glowing silhouettes, and cartoon renderings of park bears.

Recruits are expected to shoot miniguns vigorously at non-threatening figures.

I know you were wondering about the clinic in the last shot, so here it is again. The look is not really in keeping with the rest of the Castle’s decor, but Preston wanted a proper state-of-the-art medical center for those times when recruits shoot themselves or each other — or simply fall off the walls. As an excuse for the shiny look, I’ll tell you that an experienced patrol ransacked what they could find from the Institute’s rubble.

If I could find more Institute crap, I would add it.

I’m rather proud of the combination barracks/market. Never let it be said that the Minute Men can’t salvage great signs.

All of this was hard, but the hardest part was illuminating the “Public Market” sign.

Now, since the Minute Men are becoming a force to be reckoned with, etc., it’s only proper that they would find abandoned military vehicles and drag them to unlikely spots. In this shot, they’ve gotten hold of a vertibird and are doing their fumbly best to refit it.

Yes, I’m aware that a service light tripod leg is hanging off the edge, but I’m not redoing this screenshot.

Finally, as part of their training, recruits learn about melee engagements with multiple attackers. This is a another reason for the clinic, so I guess Preston was more far-seeing than I thought. (That didn’t keep me from exiling him to Red Rocket and making him wear a dress and a chef’s hat.)

Sorry for bragging, but I think this is one of the coolest screenshots I’ve ever seen.

So that’s all for now. As mentioned above, I’m working on other settlements and will show those as time allows. I’m especially fond of Nordhagen Beach. In a future update, you may get to see the fishing poles I’ve been painstakingly planting around my custom dock. I may also show you my pampered lone human at Graygarden.


As I’m in between games that really interest me, I’m spending time in Fallout 4 again. Presently, I’m level 138, so I’ve done just about everything there is to do, barring loading an early save and joining the Institute, which I have no interest in doing. So that leaves the other half of the game, namely settlement building. Initially, I wasn’t too intrigued by this aspect, but over time I’ve become quite invested in it.

You would think that a company touting this Sims Tycoon element as a selling point might make it more approachable. Sadly, Fallout 4’s village crafting is notoriously clunky and full of bugs, and yet there’s something about it — maybe the challenge of getting around all the shortcomings — that I really like. It seems to me that Bethesda intentionally made settlement building a little frustrating so you would be drawn into the silliness of it. Think about it: why couldn’t they just give you proper surfaces everywhere and make everything snap together correctly every time? Part of me thinks that they screwed up a lot of things and didn’t bother to fix them, but another part thinks they meant to give players a very imperfect set of circumstances in a very damaged world.

As an example, Hangman’s Alley is a strange little rookery just northwest of Diamond City. It’s a narrow gap between two buildings, with extremely limited ground space. If you get more than about ten settlers, the place becomes unbearably overcrowded. You have only sparse locations for crops and water pumps, and the bed management is nearly impossible. The only solution (and I think Bethesda meant for you to reach this conclusion) is to build upward.

Hangman’s Alley by night – my high-rise solution.

Settlers get unhappy when they can’t path correctly. They also get out of sorts when they don’t have a proper roof over their beds. Hangman’s Alley does not make pathing, bed provision, or anything else easy. You have to be especially creative with food and water management. As a “bonus,” you’ll eventually get a brahmin (one of those two-headed cows) to fertilize your crops. These animals are well known for blocking access and parking themselves in a tiny room you would like to enter or exit. You can get them to stay in a certain area if you provide them with a feeding trough, which is fine at someplace like Abernathy Farm, but where do you put it in a crowded slum? You have to make the entire ground level area a pathing and crop-growing surface, and the only way to do that is to put as much as you can in the air.

Hangman’s Alley by day. Notice all the lovely room at ground level.

This aerial solution can apply to other places that seem to give you more room but can be deceptive in their other provisions. For instance, Croup Manor is on the northern end of the Nahant archipelago. When you find it, you’re pleased that you have a decent amount of ground, and you think you’re getting a free house. The mansion is fairly spacious and interesting. Unfortunately, it’s in very bad repair and full of dead ghouls. In fact, unless you’re unusually creative, you can’t really use the house and maintain proper settler happiness levels. Also, while the grounds are more expansive than what you had at Hangman’s Alley, you don’t have that much area for crops, water, and the rest. The mansion almost overhangs the ocean, but the build area discourages the use of big water purifiers. In short, you’re more crowded and limited than you thought. There’s enough room to do things and provide pathing if you can work around the house issue. You can try to repair the house, as some youtubers have done with mods, but since I don’t like using mods, I decided to encircle the structure with my living spaces rather than try to struggle with the broken parts and the ghouls.

At Croup Manor, sleeping quarters and defense surround the house. My market is on the left.

An even stranger problem confronts you at Murkwater Construction Site, the southernmost settlement in the game. As the name suggests, Murkwater is a swamp. There’s plenty of room, but the ground is uneven and about half of it is calf-deep in water. It’s more difficult than one might imagine to grow crops here, and pathing becomes really problematic if you don’t watch what you’re doing. Once again, you have an onsite house, but it’s demolished and therefore useless. The aerial solution comes to the rescue. Everything goes on stilts.

At Murkwater Construction, practically everything has to be elevated above the swamp.

Speaking of water, one of the more interesting settlements is Egret Tours Marina. Located on the Charles River, a good long walk southwest of Diamond City, this property has buildings in place but, again, they’re very damaged. The good news is that there’s plenty of water and room. Sadly, not only are the buildings generally useless for habitation; they’re laid out in such a way that getting from one structure to another is a logistical nightmare. To make proper use of the settlement, I decided to create catwalks and dogruns, a process that was more complicated than the picture suggests.

Egret Tours Marina is a lovely settlement once you connect the buildings.

But it works. I and my settlers can get from any point to any other point easily and rapidly, and that makes everyone happy. I was so pleased with the catwalk thing that I used it again at Spectacle Island, where you have to do a surprising amount of work on roofs.

I’m especially proud of my boxcar solution at Spectacle Island.

So to sum up: I think that Bethesda made a lot of mistakes in their implementation of settlement building, but I can’t help believing that they messed up an equal number of things on purpose. The building part of the game is frustrating, but this is what makes it so interesting. Everything is a challenge. Everything requires you to be creative and come up with workarounds. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I could do it for hours.


I’m still having a good time and am making reasonable progress for a casual player who doesn’t group. And therein lies the problem with Seasons — you really have to group in order to get high paragon numbers, and high paragon numbers are what you need to survive the hardest parts of Seasons. I don’t want to group with strangers, so I may not finish.

Then again, I may get far enough to obtain an extra stash tab, which is all I want.

My demon hunter is coming along really well, thanks to Blizzard’s much improved drops, some good fortune related to goblins, etc.

She presently has a decent Unhallowed Essence set:

As you can see, it’s a simple setup that centers around Multishot and Vengeance. I have enough cooldown to keep Vengeance up nearly all the time. I think I have a fairly good synergy and a relatively good balance between damage and survivability. You’ll notice, however, that I need better jewelry. The Traveler’s Pledge amulet is incredibly good, and I have two more really good ones sitting in the stash. The rings, sadly, are not so great. What I need is a good Focus/Restraint set for this build. I have a workable Focus but no decent Restraint.

Well, I’m in Torment 10 now, so maybe things will get better. I can do a level 46 Greater Rift comfortably. To improve my legendary gems, I’ll have to get a little uncomfortable, but them’s the breaks.

Diablo 3 remains a fast game, and this character is ultra-fast. Sometimes she’s so fast that I almost lose control of her. Her low resistances are offset somewhat by the demon hunter’s native “cheaty teleport” skill Vault. It’s clear to me that Blizzard favored this class from the get-go. They gave her the advantages of Diablo 2’s sorceress and essentially crippled the D3 wizard.

Oh well — now I need to do a set dungeon in order to finish the “Slayer” chapter of Season 10. After that, the big hurdles will be Conquests — those stupid hoops you have to jump through to get a stash tab. Oh, and let’s not forget completing a level 70 Greater Rift (which is why I need more paragon points).

I was surprised to learn that patch 2.5.0 went live yesterday since Season 10 doesn’t start until March 31. But hey, that’s okay.

2.5.0 is mainly a “quality of life” patch, adding the Armory and other fairly interesting features. Other changes are not especially substantive, but some sets and legendary items have been improved. A new thing is Primal Ancient items, though I personally think they’re yawn-worthy.

I’m so pleased with this wizard that I had to share a little. This is a lightning build, and it is very, very powerful.

Diablo 3 has traditionally not been very good to the wizard’s lightning abilities. The signature skills are more novel than useful, and the spenders have been woefully lacking in power. Come to think of it, Blizzard has ignored two elemental build possibilities if you include cold. It’s true that Archon is an arcane element, and they do offer the Vyr’s set for that focus. They also provide Firebird if you want to go all fire all the time. But lightning has been their real stepchild.

Enter the amazing legendary ring called Manald Heal. As you can see, the perk works with the wizard’s Paralysis passive and has a 15% chance to proc as much as 14,000 percent weapon damage. That . . . is . . . huge.

Let’s take a moment to examine how the build works.

As you can see, Paralysis is chosen as one of the passives. The Manald Heal ring has been cubed so I can use the amazing properties of the Legacy of Nightmares ring set. Notice the perk: as long as LoN is your only set bonus, every ancient item you  have confers 100% additional damage. That, folks, is a lot of hurt.

I have tried to raise my attack speed as much as possible. The synergy offered by the Shame of Delsere belt and the Gogok of Swiftness legendary gem is off the chain. I need this to increase the chance of that 15% proc, and it works. Arcane Torrent is also a fast skill (aided by the shoulders), and the hydras spit out lighting quite rapidly (two of them, thanks to the cubed Serpent’s Sparker). The Myken’s Ball of Hate source does its job nicely. There’s hardly ever a time when enemies aren’t paralyzed and taking immense doses of lightning damage.

For survivability, you can’t go wrong with the Aquila Cuirass, as long as you can keep your Arcane Power over 92%. This is helped along by the cubed belt. Also, since I can’t use Teleport, I have to rely on the extra health I get from the amethyst in Leoric’s Crown, but mainly I’m counting on the Deflection rune of Magic Weapon working in concert with the Ashnagarr’s Blood Bracer. I’m pretty happy with the result. In fact, everything in this build contributes meaningfully to my protection and the humiliating zappery of monsters. (I’m still looking for an ancient pair of Tasker and Theo gloves –

If you feel inclined to bow down, I’ll understand.