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While many people are still divided over Fallout 4, there is one thing that is undeniable, the fact that many of the side quests and events that occur throughout the game are a massive step forward for Bethesda in terms of their understanding of the Fallout universe and what is required of them as creators within this IP.
In my opinion, the little side quests dotted around the Commonwealth truly make this game stand head and shoulders above Fallout 3. These quests are often filled with light-hearted banter, amazing characters, and some world-building lore that helps root the player in the world, something I truly thought was missing at times throughout Fallout 3.
The best way to discover a side quest in any RPG is by accident. I think that any good RPG should encourage players to explore the vast and diverse open world around them by littering the landscape with interesting side quests that can only be found by rampant stumbling in vague directions.
In this instance, the Here There Be Monsters side quests hit the nail on the head, with very few world or dialogue features pointing you toward the quest and the interesting revelations that occur within. To me, this is a wonderful way to experience a game, and it varies slightly from other giants in this field wherein developers point you towards their cool quests right from the get-go, as they worry you won’t find all of their hard work just by accident. Having the confidence to sequester some cool quests here and there is a mark of an excellent RPG.
So, with all that being said, why don’t we jump right into the titular quest we will be walking through in this Here There Be Monsters Guide, a quest which I would easily consider one of the most unique in both Fallout 4 and 3. Let’s go!
Finding and Triggering the Quest
To find this quest, the player will first have to travel to the Shamrock Taphouse and locate Donny Kowalski, who will be milling about the docks just behind the famous old Irish pub.
The Shamrock Taphouse is situated in the Waterfront area of Boston. If you are struggling to find the location, head down the east coast of the map and keep going until you come across buildings such as the Postal Square. From here, you can head southeast and find the old pub.
Once you have located this pub, you can activate this quest in two ways. Firstly and most commonly for new players, you can speak with Mr. Kawolski, a young man living around the dock area at the time. When you speak with Danny, he will energetically tell the player about his recent obsession, the sea creature living in the water just off the pier.
The player has the option to tell Danny that he’s probably only seeing an eyestalk peeking out of the water. However, he will remain convinced regardless of your arguments. The player is then directed to swim out into the harbor to investigate this strange thing pocking out of the water. Eventually, after braving some decent radiation spikes, you will come across the Yangtze, a submarine that has seemingly docked just below the surface.
Alternatively, the player can skip this conversation with Danny altogether and swim out to the big metal pole sticking out of the water, discovering the Yangtze and kicking off the quest. But where is the fun in that?
A Submarine Fit For Steven Segal
Once you make it onto the roof of the Yangtze submarine, the Here There Be Monsters quest will pop and instruct the player to enter and investigate the cold-war-esque piece of equipment.
Once you enter the submarine, the confined nature of the submarine design doesn’t exactly allow the developers to encourage the player to ‘explore’ their new surroundings. Instead, as you enter the vessel, you are confronted by the captain of the Yangtze, Captain Zao.
Who Is Captain Zao?
When you meet the captain, a couple of things are immediately clear. First of all, he is a ghoul who has apparently been alive since the start of the Great War, more than 200 years prior to the events of Fallout 4.
Through your dialogue with the captain of the Yangtze-31, you will learn that he was the man responsible for nuking the Commonwealth, executing his orders as the Great War began. This same firing of his submarine’s nuclear payload turned him into a ghoul, something that he treats as little more than karmic retribution.
Through said conversation, it is also clear that Zao feels very guilty for his actions and regrets the devastation he caused you, your family, and your loved ones. However, he is still shocked to hear that more than 200 years have passed since that fateful day.
Helping the Old Captain
During your initial conversation with Captain Zao, you learn he is not listing off the coast of Boston for no reason; in fact, he is stuck. After firing his nuclear payload, the vessel stopped working for some reason, and he has been stuck, existing on scraps and whatever morsels he could get his hands on for 200 years.
In order to get the submarine up and running then, Zao will need the player to help him retrieve an item pivotal to the submarine’s operation, a dampening coil. According to Zao and his prewar intelligence, this item can only be found in what remains of the Saugus Ironworks building, assuming that it has stayed in said location for over 200 years.
There are three different rewards for this quest depending on your level of skill in Speech. First, the captain will offer the player some pre-war money, suggesting that it must still be valuable in some way. While he is not wrong, the amount he is offering is not exactly enough to warrant a trip into the Ironworks, so ensure you push him further using the speech dialogue option.
His next offer will be to reward you with some bottlecaps he has scavenged over the years. While more tempting, you really want the third offered reward, his military officer’s sword, imaginatively named Zao’s Sword.
Here Be Hundreds of Mobs
After you agree to help the old captain, your quest marker will update, sending you to Saugus Ironworks, one of the most iconic buildings in the entire Commonwealth. So iconic, in fact, that many players will have already visited it and the raider-type mobs inside before ever coming across the Yangtze-31.
However, if this is your first time, you will need to head directly south from the Slog and westward from Hub City Auto Wreckers. Once you arrive, and even before you enter the building, the fun will begin.
The Saugus Ironworks is nutritious throughout the Commonwealth for the level of defense and aggression shown by those who man the walls of the complex, these raider-type enemies who exist under the banner of ‘The Forged’ are all incredibly well geared for whatever level the player may be and wander around the compound in incredible numbers, easily making the Ironworks one of the most heavily defended default enemy locations in the game.
Once you arrive at the foot of the building, or within a 50-foot radius, expect to start taking some damage from the many guns lining the railings and catwalks above. The player can take their time here, eliminating these enemies with a long-ranged weapon before entering the building, or they can run on into the building and tackle the Forged in a much more traditional, face-to-face fashion.
Entering the Building
Once you manage to break your way inside, the player must begin their hunt for the dampening coil. This coil is located on the very top floor of the main Ironworks factory, and so the player must make their up through the building, engaging with Forged fighters and turrets the entire way.
This section of the quest is particularly difficult because the factory consists mostly of walkways and catwalks, all with mesh metal floors that can help the enemies spot the player and fire on them from pretty much anywhere. Should the player try and steamroll their way through these areas, it will end very badly for them, especially when you consider the Forged members’ penchant for fire in the form of Molotoves and Flamers.
My top tip for anyone trying to tackle this maze of bullets and fire is to try and take out the turrets first. They are quite well hidden behind corners, frequently taking the player off guard should they not be expecting them, but you can usually find a little hole or crevice to get a couple of shots off where the turret cannot see you.
The Blast Furnace
As you proceed through the building and the Forged gang members, you will eventually make it to the blast furnace room, the last stop in your fetch quest journey, and the dampening coil’s location.
As you enter the room, your prize sits delicately behind the main enemy and commander of the Saugus Ironworks gang, Slag. As one would expect, the Forged leader is very well-geared, complete with a raider-style suit of power armor. However, when you first enter the room, he will not immediately attack the player, instead entering into dialogue with you before the bullets start flying.
However, this dialogue tree is nothing more than a short delay before the action kicks off again, with Slag saying pretty much nothing useful or inspired during your entire conversation. Annoyingly, there is no way to resolve the issue with anything else but violence, I would have liked a speech, pacify, or even an intimidating option here as a little break from all the fighting, but that is not how Bethesda rolls, apparently.
In the end, Slag and all his men will be dead, allowing you to easily retrieve the dampening coil and exit the Saugus Ironworks building. However, if you exit via the roof to hit a quick fast travel, expect to come up against some more Forged gang members before your quick exit.
A Hero’s Welcome
After your battle at Saugus Ironworks and escape from the Forgers, you will then be directed back to the Yangtze and good old captain Zao.
When you make your way to him, he will, of course, be pretty happy with your achievement, finally allowing him to make moves towards leaving a spot he has inhabited for over 200 years. However, it is quickly apparent that the coil was not the only thing keeping him stagnant. Zao will tell the player that in order to get moving again, his submarine will need fuel again in the form of some nuclear material. When I first heard this, I thought that this would be pretty simple; after all, I was standing aboard a nuclear submarine.
However, before you can make moves to find this nuclear material, Zao informs you that there is indeed some nuclear fuel on board, courtesy of a nuclear missile that failed to fire during the initial barrage of the Commonwealth; from this, you are to salvage the needed fuel. Although, before you go thinking that this is just a normal fetch quest, Zao answers a question that was running around in my head this entire time, where are the rest of his crew?
Apparently, Zao is not the only surviving member of the Yangtze crew. However, he is the only one to have kept his sanity and not be turned into a feral by the radiation sickness.
To find Zao’s crew and the much-needed nuclear fuel, the player must follow the quest marker to the lower levels of the submarine, eventually coming face to face with the remnants of Zao’s crew. Here, you will need to fight through several feral ghouls until you reach the missile room.
Thankfully, a submarine is still a submarine, no matter what universe it is in; therefore, the player need only move forward down a linear path to reach the bulkhead. However, through this journey, you will have to stride through some pretty decent radiation spikes, reaching 20+ rads a second at its height.
The player will meet with Zao’s former first mate in the final room. As you would expect, the radiation has apparently respected this man’s former rank, turning him into a glowing one, just for that added extra challenge in a cramped location.
What follows is your typical Fallout 4 fight, culminating in the player needing a Rad-X. Once you collect the nuclear fuel, head back to captain Zao.
Making Her Seaworthy
Once all of Zao’s former soldiers have been decimated by your awesome power, head back up to Zao and give him the nuclear fuel, the ghoul captain will instruct you to insert the dampening coil in the correct spot, followed by a nuclear warhead.
You must do this in the correct order, or the submarine will explode, killing the captain and the player. However, once done correctly, Zao will reward the player with his captain’s sword and three homing beacons, each capable of ordering a nuclear strike from the Yangtze on a specific target. A pretty OP weapon if you ask me. Once the player leaves the submarine, the quest is officially complete.
Unique Quest Items
One of the reasons that so many people love this side quest is the rewards you get for a job well done. There are a few side quests in Fallout 4 that reward the player with a unique weapon, but almost none of them give you two completely unique items as a sign of appreciation. With this being said, let’s take a look at the two items Zao gives the player.
This sword is unique in Fallout 4, not just because of its name but it is also a unique design, styled after 7th-century Jian double-edged swords.
This weapon was only issued to soldiers at the rank of captain or above just prior to the Sino-American war.
Base Weapon Stats
- Damage: 16
- Speed: 16
- Weight: 3
- Value: 50
These homing beacons can call down a nuclear missile strike on any given target, completely annihilating everything in its strike vicinity.
Sadly though, this nuclear strike’s actual damage and blast effect will be similar to that of a mini-nuke. However, you can reverse pickpocket the item to call in a targeted strike on an NPC, which is quite fun.
Base Weapon Stats
- Range: 93
- Value: 0
- Weight: 1
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I start Here There Be Monsters in Fallout 4?
Answer: In order to start this quest, head to the Shamrock Taphouse and find a kid named Donny Kowalski, who will be hanging around the docks behind the building. He will tell the player about the submarine thinking the vessel’s viewport is some sea monster.
Question: What happens if you install the warhead before the dampening coil in Here There Be Monsters?
Answer: If you accidentally or on purpose install the nuclear warhead in the submarine before the dampening coil, you will end up exploding the submarine, killing the sole survivor and captain Zao.
Question: Does the Yangtze submarine leave the Fallout 4 map after it is fixed?
Answer: Although the entire point of the quest is to get the vessel up and running again, the Yangtze will not actually leave the harbor after the mission is complete.
So, there you have it, a comprehensive guide to one of the most unique quests in Fallout 4. There are many things to love about this quest, but my favorite aspect has to be the implications of Zao’s story on the lore of the Fallout universe. Through this quest, we learn that Zao and other soldiers like him regret their actions, leading to the nuclear destruction of the entire world.
I hope that you also enjoyed this quest and found my guide helpful in the process. I wish you good luck with your adventures in the wasteland and in helping captain Zao. See you soon!