Group of seven people.
The characters you create are full-fledged rangers. They never ignore orders and are always reliable. That’s not all, however. As you explore the wastelands, you will meet brave souls who are ready to join the Desert Rangers and help you in your endeavors. At one point, there may be up to seven people in your group. ,
Like the four basic, almost free-will machines, the NPCs that come together have their own stories, ambitions, goals, and visions. In a word, they are independent and will not follow you blindly. Apparently they are no different and you can control them just like your characters. However, you will soon find out that they do not always agree with your actions. Such an NPC may leave the party or even become hostile if you, for example, go against the welfare of his community or open fire on friendly NPCs. Not always they will also want to part with some elements of their equipment. The most common problem is to act independently during the battle, i.e. Each turn there is a random chance that the NPC will decide what he wants to do. This can be either an attack or a flight, especially in the case of injury. In addition, the characters that you attract have their own preferences for opponents, that is, targets that they hate. They deal more damage to such opponents, but there is a risk that they will go out of control when fighting them. On the other hand, there are also targets they won’t point their finger at, such as Vulture’s Cry won’t shoot at a neutral animal. To limit the risks of NPCs getting out of control, you can develop the Leadership skill. However, there are limitations that you cannot overcome. Remember that you should really avoid giving very powerful weapons to NPCs because you might be surprised in an unpleasant way. Also, you can change their weapons before you end your turn. Rarely,
With an attempt to recruit an eighth member, you need to decide who is going to leave the party.
Enlisting someone’s support comes down to talking to them and choosing the appropriate dialogue option. Some of the NPCs are only available after you complete the main quest in their location, but some of them will be ready right away. If there are already seven people in your group, you will have to remove one character. The NPC you fired is most often sent to the Ranger Citadel, and their equipment is transferred to the leader’s inventory. Later, in the Citadel, you can reconnect them. At any time, you can also remove the NPC you have recruited (but none of the first four!) by clicking “Reject” in the character window.
The more characters in the squad, the wider the available skill set and more firepower, but at the same time leveling up more slowly, since the experience is then divided among more characters. Experience is reflected by a yellow bar next to the character icon. When it fills up, use the radio to contact General Vargas. The character will then rise to the ranks of the desert rangers and gain survival points. As a rule, the level of the NPC you attract is of a lower level than the rest. They should be able to make up for this relatively quickly (at lower levels you need fewer experience points to level up). The best strategy is to play as a constant seven (or less if you don’t like crowds) without juggling between group members and dying. Thus, your party will be at the highest level.
During your explorations, you may also meet allies. It can be animals, people, cars. You can recruit them to your party through conversation or certain skills, and although they cannot be controlled, they will follow your group and generally help you in combat. This category also includes characters associated with individual quests, who join your group for the duration of the quest and disappear immediately after that. Unlike them, cars and tamed animals will chase you until they die, or you drive them away, if at all possible.
Your group members offer various bonuses. In the case of non-combat animals such as goats or cows, they provide a bonus to the statistics of the character that tamed them. Each animal increases its attribute and the bonus can be no more than +1, but you can keep multiple animals at the same time. Fighting animals like alligators will help you in combat just like machines and people. Vehicles and animals can be included in the party both before and during the battle, provided that the corresponding skill test is successful. This is especially useful during battles with multiple opponents or strong ones.
Depending on their strength, your party members can either serve as valuable combat aids or as cannon fodder, an extra supply of CON, if you like. This is limited in the case of animals and, in the case of robots, theoretically unlimited because you can repair them for free. The only thing you need is a fairly advanced mechanical skill. Humans and animals require first aid kits, and they run out sooner or later.
Unfortunately, the lack of control over your allies can result in those who fight in close combat being shot by those behind them. Also, a possible path is for one of your allies to attack too hard and get killed by friendly fire, grenade blast, or allied shots just because he was in the line of fire. Companions cannot be rendered unconscious, and with zero CON they simply die. That’s why it’s better to clear the area beforehand and then offer to the quest giver so he can join you. If that’s not an option, it’s best to get between them and the opponents. Rangers can be healed, but your companions can’t. This is especially true for those companions whose quest requires you to travel between locations because they will engage in combat with random groups of enemies.
You can have several companions and tamed animals at the same time. The only condition is that your companion is connected to the quest. In other words, if you meet Lector on your way (Provost, you can find him in the Railroad Nomad Camp) and then Wax (an abandoned railroad station) who are not connected to any quest, and you decide to take them both on as your companions , only one of them will follow you in each location. After one of them dies, another takes his place.
Of the interesting companions, Vax, the combat android, is definitely worth mentioning. You will meet him at an abandoned train station in Arizona. He has too many CON points (barely 50), but he has an energy pistol against people, and even better against machines. It always attacks with fire blasts, can attack twice per turn, and is strong enough to kill a honey badger in one hit with a bit of luck. In addition, it can be resurrected countless times for free and gains a temporary AP bonus if the lockpick skill is successfully used on it. The train station is in a tight spot, mostly due to the Shredders, and Wax’s AI can perform stupid maneuvers, but in Arizona, it proves indispensable in combat. Proper use of the machine in practice means reducing the level of complexity across the entire area. You have to watch out, because with his firepower, Wax is able to destroy both opponents and group members. Outside of Arizona, Wax proves to be useless.