Yesterday I posted about the developer discussion on dialogue and related matters in Let’s Have A Dialogue. One of the questions dealt with memorable NPCs.

Those who go back far enough may recall Floyd from Planetfall. He might be memorable, but I didn’t like him, really. I always considered his “innocent kid/puppydog” personality to be manipulative on the part of the designers.

Others may opt for Mort in Planescape: Torment. That sassy skull did have a way with him. But the NPC who came most readily to my mind had no lines at all.

Dogmeat wasn’t your typical NPC. After all, he was a dog. Just some mangy little mongrel guarding the door of a house in Fallout. In my innocence, I fed him an iguana-on-a-stick, and then found him following me, wherever I went.

Just that one meal made him my pal for life. His life, anyway. Nothing scared him. No opponent was too big for Doggie. “You’re attacking my pal? I’m gonna rip ya to shreds!” was pretty much his attitude.

Of course, sometimes that protection was a nuisance. A lot of combat in Fallout was tactical, and Doggie’s tactics were simple: rush in head on and chomp the enemy.

Many was the time I wished for just one command to give him: stay. I’d have been satisfied with that. But he was, so to speak, his own dog, and did as he pleased.

He was one tough little mutt. As I went deeper into the game, however, I became increasingly worried. The enemies were getting harder and nastier. Sooner or later, we were going to come up against something too much for him. I dreaded that time.

That moment came when we ran across the Deathclaws. Doggie held on longer than I expected, but alas, eventually he gave up the ghost. Poor Dogmeat. At least he went down fighting.

In subsequent plays, I was careful to avoid Doggie; I couldn’t go through that sort of nerveracking experience again. Once was more than enough. As it was, that killer canine was the only NPC I ever took with me in the game, and it was accidental, too.

So yeah, you can talk about Floyd, or Mort, or SHODAN, but for me, Dogmeat is (ahem) top dog in the memorable department.