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New Reno: An Overview
When the nuclear war came, New Reno wasn't high up on anyone's target list. New Reno made it through the war and resulting chaos relatively unscathed. After the radiation levels subsided somewhat and people began to re-inhabit the region, New Reno became a magnet for unsavory characters of all stripes.
In Fallout 2, New Reno does not play a significant role in the Chosen One's quest to retrieve the GECK. One part needed to repair Vault 13's computer system can be obtained at the weapons vendor in the city, but aside from that the place can be largely avoided. But in terms of quest availability and therefore experience point collection potential, New Reno is a veritable gold mine.
The city is dominated by four rival gangs, whose organization and mode of operation closely mimics the standard mafia tropes from films like the Godfather and every TV police drama. In a way, New Reno is kind of like a Grand Theft Auto minigame embedded in Fallout 2. The primary quests offered are given out by the four mob families, and range from courier duties to full on assassinations. Performing duties for one family results in more important assignments, and can culminate in becoming a "Made Man" or "Made Woman" who is effectively a member of the family awarding the honor. Of course this status itself even tracks with New Reno's near-parody of standard mafia tropes: Made men and women will be attacked by the members of any other gang.
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The Four Families of New Reno
Obi Wan hadn't been to New Reno when he thought Mos Eisley was bad. Scum and villainy abound in the city, and are concentrated in the four mobs: the Salvatore, Bishop, Wright, and Mordino families.
The Salvatore family is small but close knit, and led by a geriatric patriarch with serious health problems. Perhaps it is his anger at being near death or just something in the blood, but Salvatore is a vicious man, even for a mobster. The size of the family is more than offset by its equipment: the family is in bed with the Enclave and has received laser pistols in exchange for delivering chemicals to Enclave teams. Due to the advantage wrought by possession of these energy weapons, the Salvatore family is a growing power in New Reno
The Bishop family dreams big. The leader of the organization is a power hungry dictator with ambitions that far outstrip mere dominance of a single post-nuclear town. Bishop is involved in dirty dealings from Vault City to the New California Republic, and exerts political pressure by funding mercenaries and assassins. Indeed many players' first trip to New Reno may come when given a suitcase by a man in Vault City, who is in fact a spy for the Bishop mob. Of course, Bishop's predilection for politics has other costs - his wife is bored and unsatisfied and his daughter is a drugged out sex fiend. Both of them will happily sleep with male characters, and Bishop's wife will sleep with female characters as well.
The Wright family is the sad sack crew of New Reno. They have an entire sector of New Reno all to themselves, and they need it: there are swarms of children running around the area. The Wright family has only one advantage: a large alcohol brewing operation. Then again, the fanatic loyalty of the Wright children to their mother and father can be a strength in and of itself.
The Mordino family is probably the most powerful at game start. This is due not to any particular superiority in intelligence or organization - the Mordino family produces the drug Jet, which is highly addictive and which they alone can manufacture. They have succeeded in getting the gold mining town of Redding hooked on their products, which has resulted in their effectively owning the main supply of gold coinage produced in the Wasteland.
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New Reno Quests: Main Quest and Family Locations
As said before, the only part of the player's main quest that necessitates a trip to New Reno is fixing Vault 13's computer system. The arms vendor, Eldridge, is located in the west corner of New Reno in the shop called New Reno Arms. Quest help shouldn't be needed too badly here, but just in case the player gets lost: once in New Reno, go north (up) one zone, then bear west (left) wherever possible until the boundary of another zone appears. Once in the western quarter head down - Eldridge's shop is right next to the zone-out area heading to the world map towards the bottom of the area. Be warned: the component is expensive, and it may be necessary to go through some other quests in New Reno to earn enough money to buy it.
As far as family specific quests go, each family has its own starting quest that a player with a decent speech skill can access. The Mordino family owns the Desperado Casino on the main strip in the first zone a new arrival will enter. The Bishop family is one zone up from there, and own the Shark Club casino. They share this zone with the Salvatore family which is located a bit to the left of the Shark Club in Salvatore's Bar. The Wright clan is off to the right, in east New Reno, and their zone is accessible if the player heads to the right from the Shark Club.
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Quest Assistance: Starting the Mordino and Salvatore Mission Paths
In Fallout 2, New Reno offers a wide variety of missions for players who don't mind associating with mobsters. Be warned: the missions are often quite adult in character and are almost guaranteed to earn the player some bad Karma (in game only, one hopes).
The Salvatore family missions are accessed by heading upstairs at Salvatore's Bar and chatting with an unfriendly fellow outside the door upstairs. Ask for work, and after trying to blow the player off the thug will hear from Salvatore himself, who will bring the player in to offer a nice revenge quest.
This involves finding a man who cheated Salvatore out of some money. Naturally Salvatore, being a mobster, is more concerned with the insult than the loss of cash. He wants the man killed as an example, and will test the player's loyalty by asking about the money after. The man in question can be a tough one to find. His name is Lloyd, and he's gone to ground in the basement of the Desperado Casino. Pick a lock to get to him, them take him prisoner and make him take you to the money. Be sure to make him do any digging and go in front of the player when entering any rooms. But don't let him out of sight for too long: he's a tricky one.
Salvatore's quests are pretty easy from then on - at least to find where the player needs to go. Shaking down the local druggist is simple: just remember that as a mobster the player is owed respect. The last two missions will involve escorting crates to the Enclave and the assassination of another mob boss: no biggie, right?
The Mordino quests are fairly straightforward. A courier mission to the Jet factory, a porn studio shakedown, and a rival mob boss assassination - nothing too difficult.
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The Bishop and Wright Family Missions
The Bishop family is tougher to crack. First off, walking in and asking for a job won't work. The player must get into Vault City, talk to a man preaching downtown near the security office, convince him that the player is a friend (act like a true believer), and then bring a briefcase to Bishop. From there, the player will be assigned to assassinate a couple NCR officials and make it look like an accident.
In all honesty, a step by step walkthrough of the assassinations would spoil the fun. Just talk to everyone, follow every lead, and do the deed when it is time. Or, in one instance, change sides and kill off Bishop instead...
The Wright family quests are first tricky, then difficult. First, the player is asked to track down the person who forced one of the Wright sons to OD on Jet. This quest can only be solved via detective work - you'll have a list of suspects, so talk to everyone and try to piece together what happened. Look for evidence at the death scene and talk to other, related people around New Reno. Quest help for this one can only go so far, as the player can actually accuse almost anyone with sufficient evidence.
Once completed, the next mission involves hard fighting, not detective work. The head of the Wright family will provide a map to a secret military base, and ask for the player to get inside. The haul of weapons and other goodies is immense, but there's no trick to getting through the base: take good guns, lots of ammo, and lots of stimpacks. Its a rough ride.
Fallout 2 User Manual, Black Isle Studios
All images are screenshots taken by Andrew Tanner