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The Pacifist Report: What You Can and Can't Do Without Killing


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So, for no particular reason I decided to build my first character without putting a single point in any weapon skills; the goal was to beat the game without personally ending a life. Also no destroying any robots, no squishing any bugs, nothing that would trigger 'Enemy Killed'. That went for companions too. Sending robots back to their charging pods or putting enemies to sleep was allowable, however.

The end result? A pretty big success, in fact. The main quest did not require me to actually kill anyone, and I was able to complete the vast majority of sidequests. There are points where killing might seem inevitable, such as the radio tower; but they are ultimately avoidable.

Since I saw some other people interested in a 'pacifist run', I thought some might be interested what exactly you can and can't do, as well as what they'd need to pull it off. First, some tips:

 

What you need to know

In Fallout: New Vegas you had relatively little control over the companion AI; if you had them with you, they would shoot. It's important to realise that this isn't the case in The Outer Worlds: companions can be set into 'Passive' mode, which will prevent them from attacking under any circumstances unless specifically ordered to. This is good; companions provide massive buffs to your skills, so for a no-kill run they can be very important failsafes.

To put it in perspective, by bringing SAM and Max along I was able to boost my Intimidate by 43 points, while still providing large boosts to Hack and Science. They're useful. Inspiration and Determination, though, are largely irrelevant beyond the level 60 Inspiration perk; double the skill boost from companions, which is very enticing, but maybe not worth the investment. I am unsure whether it applies to the Companion Perks that boost your skills further while a companion is in the party.

It's also important to have a good understanding of the stealth system. Since you can't access terminals while in combat, it's generally going to be important to stay in stealth -- even ignoring that if seen people'll shoot at you. You can, however, still pick up items and leave/enter areas in combat, so the running wildly approach is sometimes an option.

So: crouching in tall grass makes you virtually invisible, and inside you'll want to make good use of cover and enemy patrols to make your way through areas. You'd be surprised by the amount of back and alternate entrances; if going in through the front seems impossible, it's not a bad idea to scout around. Hacking/Lockpicking will open up routes and potentially save you from having to scour areas/bodies for keys.

 

What quests I couldn't do

Spoiler
  • A Cysty-Dance with Death: The alternate to helping Catherine take over Clive's factory or teaming them up is this quest. Clive asks you to kill Catherine instead -- that's a no-go, and there's no alternate solution. Do Slaughterhouse Clive instead, if you get involved.
  • Fistful of Digits: This quest is about hunting down multiple people and taking their fingers as proof. No non-lethal alternative here, sorry.
  • Foundation, and potentially the Board questline: If you either sided with the Deserters or put Adelaide in charge of Edgewater, you will be forced to do this quest to advance through the Board quests. This involves wiping everyone out with robots, so is kind of a no-go. You can technically avoid blood on your hands personally, by setting the robots to kill civilians, but then you have to kill the robots. Which is obviously the real sin here. If you redirected power to Edgewater and left Reed in charge, this quest won't trigger and you can move on to the rest of the Board's content.
  • Mandibles of Doom: You've got to take out a manticore to rescue a guy from it; not an option.
  • Mr. Pickett's Biggest Game: Ends with you killing and looting a mega manticore.
  • Space-Crime Continuum: Theoretically completable, I think. The problem was, I was unable to get up a ladder needed to reach a terminal without waking up an annoyingly-placed bug. I didn't try using the perk that reduces your detection range when companionless, so that could be an option. As-is, being detected prevents me from using a terminal that would let me continue the quest. Alternatively, you may be willing to use a terminal to gas the bugs -- this will kill them, but it is a 'non-combat' solution, for what it's worth. Enemy Killed XP pops up for doing so, however.
    • Being unable to do this quest also locks off The Ice Palace and The Chimerist's Last Experiment, despite them being otherwise doable.
  • Solution Vital: On Groundwater, you'll be given this task to go find out what happened to Captain Irion. The guy's been taken by bandits; as far as I could tell, the only way to save him is to kill them all. If you're interested in a completionist minimum-kill run, technically you can also resolve this quest by shooting Irion. What a hero.
  • Star-Crossed Troopers: You can make a lot of headway in Nyoka's quest, but from the start it bills itself as a lead-up to fighting a mantiqueen. It's not lying. Earlier on in the quest, you'll have to kill some primals for their Pheromone Glands; I don't know if there's an alternate way of gathering that, but it's a moot point.

 

What you think you might not be able to do, but can

Spoiler
  • Brave New World: You probably know you can talk down Sophia Akande, but I can say I didn't have to put any points in weapon skills to do it. I think I had an Intimidate of 100? All your allies from previous stories will also storm the place against your wishes, an act that's kind of fruitless given you'll probably infiltrate the place with a disguise, but hey, it's the thought that counts.
  • A Few Kindred Spirits: You don't have to kill the marauders. You just need to get to Zoe to talk to her -- as far as I know, without being detected by anyone. If you're detected everyone will open fire. But I was able to sneak behind her, quickly uncrouch and speak to her. She has alternate dialogue mistaking you for another marauder, but otherwise the quest proceeds as normal. In the likely event that after the conversation you're spotted, just leg it out of there.
  • Friendship's Due: Felix's companion quest. You can carefully avoid Felix triggering Harlow hostile at the last minute by saying that the traitor must've been making things up, but if you just can't help yourself, rubbing the evidence in Harlow's face and then fleeing back to the ship as everyone in the map opens fire on you is a valid solution. Talk to Felix afterwards to wrap up the quest.
  • Pay for the Printer: Specifically, the optional objective to save Zora's team. On my playthrough they were able to resolve the fight themselves; I didn't actually notice them when I first came up the mountain, and when I found them they were already fine. They thanked me for my help, and I awkwardly nodded.
  • Radio Free Monarch: Part of the main quest, it tells you to eliminate the marauders, complete with a 0/7 counter. Don't. Up the elevator you can find a terminal, allowing you to set up a fake fire alarm and trick the marauders into fleeing.

 

What I didn't do, but you probably can

Spoiler
  • All Halcyon in a Day: Theoretically should be doable through using stealth to reach the beacons, didn't run across the quest as I played.
  • Journey Into Smoke: I just missed this quest by accident. Should be perfectly doable, though.
  • Little Memento: Missed it again, but should be doable via stealth. As far as I know, you just need to loot a dead body.
  • Makes Space Suits, Won't Travel: I believe you can get some of the materials from Sebastian Adams in Stellar Bay; I don't know off the top of my head if you can get all the clothing. It'd seem likely, but also a hassle.
  • Spratkings: Thanks to odenip33 and Beefy_Bureaucrat on Reddit for confirming that, looks like this quest is doable. You should be able to go and loot dead sprats. You won't be able to clear out the rapts, but the quest should still be completeable.

 

What I did, but you might disagree with

Spoiler

Canid's Cradle: The finale to Monarch's questline requires you to either side with one faction or convince them to negotiate. This is completely skippable, I believe, but just moving on with the main quest leads to a bad ending for the planet. I brokered peace between the two factions, which required Zora to oust Graham; unfortunately, Graham refuses to stand down and Zora opens fire on him. This technically doesn't have to involve you killing the man, but Graham will die due to your actions.

 

Other notes

The marauders at the start of the game, near your ship? They don't need to be dealt with, not even by talking the guards into fighting them; you can just stealth past them. ADA's fake-venting stunt will scare them away, as the two Spacer's Choice people will tell you.

If you put out a fake tracking signal for Phineas, I wouldn't count it against the run but he'll kill a few people having prepared his defenses, which Sophia will wave in your face. I don't actually know if you lock yourself off anything by sending a real signal; and of course, if siding with Phineas you probably don't have to send anything at all.

To my knowledge, Nyoka's companion quest cannot be completed; fortunately, everyone else's can be finished.

 

Every quest I was able to complete by location, to my best recollection

Spoiler

Companion quests

  • The Cleaning Machine
  • The Empty Man
  • Friendship's Due
  • Drinking Sapphire Wine
  • Don't Bite the Sun
  • The Low Crusade
  • Worst Contact

Emerald Vale

  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Comes Now the Power
  • A Few Kindred Spirits
  • The Frightened Engineer
  • The Long Tomorrow
  • Die, Robot
  • The Illustrated Manual
  • A Small Grave Matter

Groundbreaker

  • Passage to Anywhere
  • Balance Due
  • The Puppet Masters
  • The Distress Signal
  • Happiness is a Warm Spaceship
  • The Doom That Came to Roseway
  • The Silent Voices
  • Who Goes There?
  • Salvager in the Sky

Roseway

  • By His Bootstraps
  • Vulcan's Hammer
  • The Amateur Alchemist

Stellar Bay

  • Radio Free Monarch
  • A Family Matter
  • Herrick's Handiwork
  • Passion Pills
  • The Grimm Tomorrow
  • The Secret People
  • The Stainless Steel Rat
  • BOLT with His Name
  • Errors Unseen
  • Flowers for Sebastian

Amber Heights

  • The Commuter
  • Pay for the Printer
  • Odd Jobs
  • Sucker Bait

Other Monarch stuff

  • Slaughterhouse Clive

Byzantium

  • The Demolished Woman
  • Long Distance
  • Kept Secret But Not Forgotten
  • At Central
  • Why Call Them Back From Retirement?
  • Cupid of the Laboratory
  • The Lying Earth

 

 

Edited by Fence
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

A little update, I'll probably update the main post soon-ish. First, someone on Reddit found out and told me about a way to complete Space-Crime Continuum without killing any of the bugs, among some other things:

Quote

Just like OP has mentioned, there is an annoying mantipillar right by the top of the ladder (ladders don't seem to count as crouched) and once you reach the top of the ladder, the mantipillar aggroes within a second and initiates combat preventing you from using the console. I was able to sneak past it before it's aggro meter filled up by combining lots of sneak (152 with Nyoka + Felix + 60 inspiration) and Tactical Master perk, which gives you 5sec of normal movement in TTD. I popped TTD at the top of the ladder and this way I was able to pass the mantipillar quickly before her meter filled and high sneak reduced her aggro very quickly to the point where I could just seat up there.

All around you probably would be able to TTD crouch to the console with much lower sneak and activate the console before the mantipillar aggro meter fills fully. Because I forgot to park my ship and quest marker was pointing to that console I had to do it twice, so this method seems reliable if executed correctly. You would need to be level 22 or get some flaws to unlock the Tactical Master perk.

This is nice! With that done, the rest of the quest is beatable, as are The Ice Palace and The Chimerist's Last Experiment -- allowing you to bring this questline to its conclusion. I haven't replicated it in-game for myself, though.

On the more, uh, technical side of pacifism, ymfah did a no-kill run of the game and wiped out Edgewater without shooting either the people or the bots himself, which you can see here. You can find Ludwig Miller in the remains of Edgewater and, with Inspiration 10, convince him to fight back against the robots. Probably he'll end up dying if you leave it at that, but if you help by blocking the robots' attacks, he can manage to take them out. This isn't exactly in spirit with most 'pacifist' runs, which is half the fun of the video, but if you just want to avoid personal combat -- my main hard rule was just to avoid Enemy Killed notifications -- it's a technical solution. The best kind of solution.

Of course, if you don't want to wipe out a town, the alternatives of either siding with Phineas or leaving Reed in charge are still possible.

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  • 3 months later...

Good and helpful post - thank you @Fence.

I'm bumping up against this in my current playthrough.  Solution Vital.  Lame there's no other solution than to walk up shooting guns.  I even tried luring the bandits into all the nearby primal nests, get two groups of enemies fighting each other, rescue the guy while they're busy, classic "clean hands" solution.  I can (barely) get the two groups together both attacking me but somehow they seem completely unaware of each others' existence.  :(

Edited by Zombra
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Posted (edited)

Unfortunately my hard-drive's busted, which means I can't, right now, update anything concerning the DLC. That said, it looks like Murder on Eridanos is capped off with an unavoidable-but-too-hard boss fight. If anyone knows a way around that, feel free to give me a shout or mention it here.

  

On 1/15/2021 at 3:25 PM, KortenaerLELY said:

In A Cysty-Dance with Death there's an option of convincing Clive to pay retributions to Catherine and talking her into excepting it.

Slaughterhouse Clive and Cysty-Dance with Death are technically two separate, mutually-exclusive quests. Cysty-Dance is triggered by offering to murder Catherine for Clive, which is obviously a bit of a no-no for a no-kill character; teaming them up will not complete it to my knowledge.

Edited by Fence
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