A few more collected points. Some are bugs, some are observations, some are suggestions. As usual you have to decide what is important and what isn't. I tried to be as brief and thorough as possible, and as that's a contradiction I probably didn't achieve either, lol.
Minor design issue: In the character screen the headline of the Melee Weapon and Outdoorsman skill descriptions reach beyond the window. Which in both cases leaves black spots when selecting another skill until refreshing the screen. And in the case of Melee Weapon it also makes the last part unreadable (the “+ ST” part is outside the window). FO2 RP Mod has a similar issue, except that it uses a smaller font (I think) and only Melee Weapon touches the border (leaving the black spots) but that's a minor thing really. Anyway, you may check FO2 RP Mod and consider using that font size and/or phrasing for the skill headlines, especially for Melee Weapon.
Sabrina Hostility trigger: Another minor one
As mentioned before there is this mechanic that hostility needs Line of Sight (or something like “detection range”) to trigger. And some characters that should attack after being offended don't or only attack with delay (like when walking closer to them or behind the LoS blocking object like a desk or counter). Normally, this is not an issue, as that scenario usually occurs naturally. However, I found another one which is not problematic as such but a bit odd: when flirting with Sabrina in Sedit, she rejects and if then offending her, it probably should cause hostility but because of the locked door it doesn't trigger. And the player can continue to talk to her as if nothing happened. This is not a big deal, but perhaps the “offending line” could cancel dialogue with Sabrina, rather than triggering hostility? Especially as the only option to trigger that hostility is to lockpick the door next to her and that seems to trigger hostility anyway. No matter if I talked to her first or not. So the option to offend her as a male appears to have no actual consequence.
Companions leaving party: thoughts and suggestions
When I played around with Drools I played around with other companions as well.
During that I found that:
Gabriel does leave me (unless I pay) when: accepting to kill Rodriguez. And when learning that Vex is behind the kidnapping. In both cases Gabriel seems to disappear from the game (?). I thought about this for a while, until I realized that Gabriel going to Vex probably kills him (Vex hates Gabriel). And wouldn't it be funny, if Gabriel betraying the player by selling info to Vex would put his corpse at Vex's place. Perhaps with a comment when looking at his corpse like: “Seems Gabriel lost his last gamble. See you in hell, bastard.”
In the other scenario, Gabriel could return to his spot at the casino, and turn hostile with Rodriguez's gang, as he does when the player attacks the mafia without having Gabriel recruited yet. Why does he just disappear instead? (Note: It seems that recruiting him seems to remove him from the gang of Mexicans, i.e. when asking him to wait, and he returns home after a week, he does not react when attacking the Mexicans.)
In addition what if the disappearing Gabriel has quest items in his inventory, wouldn't they be gone, too? And wouldn't it be better if Gabriel returns into the game in both scenarios (once alive and hostile and the other time dead)?
The same goes for Lystra when she searches for her brother alone, or leaves after the Aran thing went down. In both cases her inventory disappears with her. Perhaps her corpse may appear somewhere, too, when she decides to travel alone. That could be rather cool actually (like finding her dead in Corath or, even better, in a special encounter that could trigger a week after she left: “The search for her brother has come to a tragic end. Poor, Lystra.”, perhaps with some hint at what killed her, like corpses of ghouls, raiders or deathclaws around her). In the other case when she ran off to save her home (which always triggers on DQ) her stuff may appear in her room (i.e. when Elisa informs the player that Lystra's body has been found outside the wall), or her corpse could actually appear “outside the walls” like among the spikes of the Suburbs map or at the east gate of Imperial City. Although I don't like that one. Perhaps she could just give the items back to the player when she leaves after the Aran thing (similar to what happens when selling a companion to Falber).
Anyway, not sure if this is worth messing with, as losing quest items should be rare. Besides, most quest items are used immediately except a few like electronic parts. Plus the scenario can probably never be fully avoided. For example, a companion may die in an encounter the player has to run away from (all items lost). Or the closing of IC (as may happen when apprehending Anonym) may cancel access to a “waiting” Lystra etc.. However, the real interesting aspect is probably the story development, either by finding Gabriel's corpse at Vex's feet or in Vex's basement or by finding a dead Lystra out in the desert after she left to search for her brother on her own. Both would be very cool additions.
Silly steal/plant XP exploit with companions
Slot310DeadEnd2 (see next point): In this one it can be tested to steal inventory from Keri & Gabriel back. Both are back home (aka CC and Casino). I think they never react to that (steal/plant can fail, but no consequence) and each steal/plant is +10 XP. Which is a dumb exploit, (dumb, as it's a lot of time spend for a few XP), but still an exploit that can be set up (ask a companion to wait, spend a week until they go home, then steal/plant for unlimited XP). Although, if needing XP it's much more fun to just wander around the desert and kill stuff for XP, than spending an hour going through their pockets, so...ignore?
Note: Especially as this exploit helps when losing a companion due to karma or quests, see the previous point (i.e. it allows to get the items back without repeatedly reloading).
Kidnapping of David (minor trigger issue)
I found a slightly unfortunate trigger. I've tested it and apparently Vex will turn hostile when I hit a Sedit kidnapper before doing the final report to the leather guy (i.e the report after the “Nanny is dead” or “the cops followed me”). That report tells me to see Vex (which also appears to spawn David back into the game, i.e. into Vex's basement, and removes the Sedit kidnappers from Vex's gang, so I'm free to kill them
The problem is, it may happen that I can't or won't hit a kidnapper. In which case Vex tells me “you got a job to do”, but there is nothing left to do. (The Nanny is gone, killed either by me or Carpenter (I assume), David is removed from the game and the kidnapper is dead).
Here is one example: http://www.filedropper.com/slot308deadend3
(in this one, I did not kill the Nanny but got followed. The cops then killed two kidnappers (leather guy (so I can't report back) and a standard thug). This had no consequence at the time. The remaining kidnappers would neither talk or attack me, so I travelled to AQ (that's where the save is). However, Vex only tells me to go back and do the job. If I do, the remaining two kidnappers are suddenly hostile, and when I kill them, then Vex will trigger the “You messed it up” comment and attack when I get close to him.) This is basically how the quest is supposed to end when I mess up (kidnappers and Vex attack me). It just triggers awkwardly, as it's not “failing” (leather guy died and David won't be delivered) that triggers Vex's hostility but “hitting a kidnapper” (i.e. they eventually turn hostile because leather guy died, and after I hit one of them, Vex will turn hostile, too). I recreated this save (http://www.filedropper.com/slot320noreaction
) to show that once leather guy has been killed the remaining kidnappers won't attack me immediately, which leaves me at this odd dead end without directions. This situation only clears up (i.e. into hostility) when I talk to either of them first (red floater) and then leave and re-enter the map. Which is not optimal. I assume the red floater and hostility should trigger the moment combat ends, but it doesn't for me. (Note: Getting leather guy killed is fairly simple, just stand behind him, and press space. The cops usually burst him down.)
In these saves: http://www.filedropper.com/slot309deadend
(in AQ) and http://www.filedropper.com/slot310deadend2
(in Sedit), I also got followed by the cops but during the fight it happened that a kidnapper hit a Little Hub inhabitant by accident, pulled the whole map and the whole gang got wrecked. This means I can't report to leather guy, nor can I hit a kidnapper, and Vex never changes his “You got a job to do.” The same thing should happen (I assume) when the whole gang got wrecked by the cops, which isn't likely, but may happen with a few lucky bursts, especially when the player doesn't contribute to the fight (pacifist run).
Isn't is possible (assuming I understand the trigger correctly) to adjust Vex's hostility trigger from “you hit a kidnapper” to “you hit a kidnapper and/or leather guy is dead” i.e. the quest is failed the moment I can't spawn David back into the game (aka into Vex's basement)? This way I have hostility with Vex the moment the quest is “failed”.
Please, remember that the final report to leather guy (which puts David back into the game) should cancel this trigger, so that it's still possible to double-cross the Sedit kidnappers, once they have no use anymore (i.e. as it is at the moment), as that is a rather cool option.
Anyway, the point of all this is that it may be better if the death of leather guy (for any reason) sets Vex and the remaining kidnappers immediately hostile, rather than having to travel (leave & re-enter the map) before hostility triggers, or ending up in a scenario where causing hostility has become impossible (as all kidnappers are dead).
Minor Nanny issue thing
When I'm told to meet the Nanny during the kidnapping quest, and I don't talk to her but just kill her, the quest enters a state of limbo. The kidnappers keep telling me to meet the Nanny, and the Nanny won't return from the dead.
This is really a minor thing (if someone tries to break the game, it's their fault), but is it possible to have the Nanny be a “citizen of Sedit” until initiating dialogue with her?
This would be a slightly cheesy fix, but could avoid the limbo. However, if a player won't reload (after causing town hostility), but flee Sedit and report to Vex it would still be: “You got a job to do” although the player can't go back to Sedit because of the hostility. Still, this may be a bit more satisfying until the player tries to fight his way through Sedit, and then be told by the kidnappers to meet the Nanny (…) (“Back through the whole town?! But I'm out of ammo!”). Not optimal. Unless “town hostility” in Sedit makes Vex (& the kidnappers?) hostile, too, (i.e. the moment Sedit is in uproar it should mean that the player messed up the kidnapping and Vex should attack?). This (town hostility cancelling the quest) could be an option. However I'm not sure how that would interact with other scenarios, like killing the ghouls? Or when causing Sedit hostility outside this quest? I think in the first case, hostility would only trigger if returning to Sedit before the time-period is over. So that should be OK, and in the second case it would need to be connected to the kidnapping quest (i.e. Sedit hostility cancels the quest (i.e. Vex won't give it) and when the quest is already active it turns Vex hostile, and once the quest is over, Vex is disconnected from Sedit again)? Not sure if that makes sense, but “town hostility in Sedit” being a fail-state that triggers Vex to attack during the kidnapping may be an interesting option (see also the next point).
Anyway perhaps this point is not worth bothering with, as the player isn't supposed to skip dialogue with the Nanny. Plus it may cause new bugs and problems etc. But I thought I mention it.
Fighting the Nanny at the CC pen
During the kidnapping I have to meet the Nanny which results in a fight. This scenario is very cool, but it can behave oddly or turn out underwhelming. For example, it is rather easy to stand and fight, as no one reacts to it. Once that has been figured out this scenario always results in all three cops and the Nanny dead (there is not even any need to “run into the desert”, just kill them all and report to leather guy).
Second, it takes very little (like hitting a brahmin by accident) and Little Hub will turn on the cops and wreck them. I also saw the Falcon Flight ghouls and their bodyguards attack the cops as they hit one of the combat armour cops by accident, who then also proceeded to hunt down and kill the Nanny for me (…).
I think this scenario is frightening when played for the first time. And I think a beginner would not dare to attack the cops because of town hostility, and then may find it difficult to take out the Nanny in time. However, that novelty runs out quickly. Especially when companions just stand in the street and kill the cops. Another point is that the nanny is rather aggressive. She very often is actively following me (charging), until I hit her once, after that she usually turns and runs. Knowing this, one can actually run away, and have the nanny following one to the edge of the map, before disposing of her, which feels a bit wrong.
Here are a few thoughts: 1. Can the Nanny be set to “run immediately” (abject coward) making it a nasty: you have only one or two shots at the fleeing Nanny, before the player has to “run into the desert”. And failing to kill the Nanny, would mean the “being followed scenario” would happen more often (which is cool). However, I'm not sure how annoying this would be for players (hunting fleeing NPC's is normally a nuisance), and how intuitive it is for a player to give up the chase and run away. Alternative you could at least disable her charge, and let her just stand in place until she flees. I'm not sure how much is possible but I remember that David Carpenter is very passive as a companion. 2. Make the three cops citizens of Little Hub, so that they a) don't get attacked by everyone the moment they hit a brahmin, and b) force the player to “kill the Nanny quick” or “run” as fighting and killing the cops on the public street won't be an option anymore (causes town hostility). The second group that follows and attacks at the hideout may be explained as “happened in a back alley” so no one noticed it. (It may also be worth it to consider upgrading the 3 cops to Sniper Rifles and/or Scoped Hunting Rifles, so they scare the player off and are more accurate (Long Range and Scope), which may also help with them not hitting the brahmin etc. when using burst).
However, these are just ideas, and probably not good ones (not sure if town hostility can be made to work that way). In fact, this encounter may become very messy if attacking the 3 cops causes town hostility, especially with all the many different factions in Little Hub (ghouls and combat armour cops, normal cops and citizen/caravan guards, the nanny and her 3 cops and last the kidnappers). Although town hostility is currently the major risk of that fight, but not because of hitting the cops, but for the risk of hitting a bystander or brahmin by accident. So the discouragement to fight the cops on the street where a brahmin may get hit is already in the game, just that it's avoidable by being careful (lure the cops around a corner). Perhaps it would need a stronger indicator like Leather Guy says: “If you meet the Nanny and she gives any trouble kill her for all I care, but if you see cops “RUN!” into the desert. Don't start a fight on the street. Having the entire city coming down on us is the last thing we need.” etc. And this way the scenario may play out more often that they either kill the Nanny (not followed) or fail to do so in time and must run from the cops (and will be followed), resulting in a second, tougher fight.
Does that make sense?
I had an unfortunate door block. I led the cops to the hideout, fought, took a lot of damage and stepped away from the door to heal. The kidnappers then attacked the last remaining cop (who remained outside) and killed him. Now, they are all standing in the door frame and I can't push them (http://www.filedropper.com/slot311doorblock
). I don't think I can get out of this.
I think this is a very rare scenario. But perhaps, all cops need to storm the building (which they sometimes do, but sometimes one remains outside and shots at the leather guy) or the kidnappers need to “walk back into their positions” after they moved off their spots (as Rua does when the fighting ends, for example).
Reporting to Vex
When ending the kidnapping, Vex sends one away. The reply options are a bit unclear (http://www.filedropper.com/vexdialogue
), as it's not obvious which is the aggressive one and which is not. Perhaps change the first option to “Screw (you/this), I'm out of here.”
When handing him all weapons you could consider to move the weapons into MacGyver's inventory. There is no important reason to do this except for the Gold Nuggets, which are classified as weapons, and needed for the Ghoul quest. Losing the gold nuggets this way should be ultra rare, but if it's not a big deal (?). Besides it may be nice if the player can steal the weapons back (may be an option to reloading). Or remove Gold Nuggets from the list of weapons. Apparently MacGyver ignores the Alien Blaster as a weapon
and he could treat the Nuggets the same way.
Pus, dialogue error
When selling the bag of body parts the two options are “It's a deal” and “Fair enough”. Both wordings mean to agree, but the second option actually results in a no-deal and should say “Not fair!” or “Not enough.” http://www.filedropper.com/pussellbagerror
(just in case, as it's only the first offer (I think) that has this issue. When repeated, the wording is fine).
Killing the children for Chuck is -25 (-10 & -15) karma for personal kills only. Companion kills don't count. Which is an oversight, imo. There are several instances where the player loses karma no matter who killed the civilian (casino fight, for example) and I feel it should apply here, too. I don't think the player should be allowed to avoid the karma loss by letting the companions carry out Chuck's dirty work. At least the -15 could always apply indifferent of who scored the kill.
Small point: When Chadwick is captured by the doctor's in Dead Quarter, he disappears after a while. He also disappears when I have an operation and leave the map. Shouldn't he disappear during the screen-fade (i.e. when talking to Falber after waking up)? At the moment there is no connection to Chadwick having been used as a donor for one's own operation (as he's still there after the OP) and it would be a nice touch (aka creepy) if that connection could be made more obvious, i.e. you go to sleep (Chadwick's there) you wake up (Chadwick's gone), and now we are together for ever
Suzan, oh, Suzan
There is a slight issue with Suzan, as I can get the quest to lure her to Chadwick. Then I can convince Chadwick to show Francis his necklace (or kill him in the ring). And doing this does not cancel the option to lure Suzan (that's the error, as at this point it should probably trigger her reward dialogue (Geiger counter) when talking to her). In fact I can tell her to go see him and she ends up dead in Chadwick's home. No one reacts to it, and I can still hire her when talking to Wanda (ghost sex!? bit of a rip off, isn't it?). http://www.filedropper.com/slot286suzanghost
(in this save the option is open (not reported to Francis yet) and Chadwick is already in jail).
Perhaps Suzan's reward dialogue could be triggered the moment Chadwick is dead or in jail. And not when reporting back to Francis (as I think it is atm?).
Addition: This also works with the Disgusting necklace. I can get the quest to lure Suzan, then steal the necklace, talk Suzan into visiting him, and then report to Francis with the necklace. Same outcome: Ghost sex.
So my first suggestion was ignorant
, well kind of. I think killing/arresting Chadwick, should cancel the option to talk Suzan into seeing a client and trigger her reward dialogue instead. But that won't cover the necklace option. Perhaps sending Suzan to Chadwick, could cancel the option to report to Francis (with the necklace). Instead Suzan is registered as “dead” (Wanda reacts “She left. I don't know where she is. I'm a bit worried...” etc.), and when reporting to Francis with the necklace, it causes Chadwick to run off (i.e. he despawns) and Francis comments: “You're too late, he killed Suzan and did a runner. No good bothering any further. And yes, it means I won't pay you. Get out of here.” and both quests are failed? (And Wanda could say her “Why did she do it...” etc. line). However, that would mean Chadwick would run without his necklace (?) and the player keeps it. Which isn't logical, but the next time the player sees Chadwick he'll be lamenting the loss of his necklace, so that would add up at least.
Chadwick murder conviction
I'm not sure if it's on purpose, but the solution to steal the necklace and handing it to Francis does not give +10 karma (male and female), as does the speech option and the fighting in the ring option (either by oneself or a companion). XP, caps and town rep is in all cases the same.
Couldn't the necklace spawn the moment the “convict Chadwick” quest is active, rather than using either “proof” dialogue line. At the moment it is very easy to miss the necklace entirely. Why not spawn the necklace immediately? (Is it because “convicting” requires dialogue? Or to keep it a mystery until confirmed in dialogue?). Not sure. But you may take a look if “activating the quest” isn't the better trigger to spawn the necklace. At the moment it is really easy to miss. I think the trigger is “logical” as a first time player would not randomly check the inventory without confirming first that it actually is Chadwick (aka dialogue), but the very particular trigger makes it more hidden to a second time player, who has to figure it “when” to check the inventory, which is a bit weird.
Tyler Morrow quest
His quests seem to be cancelled when the kidnapping starts. He has two dialogue-replies when asking him about work & mentioning Sanchez, first, he says (too many people lurk around) and then (the boy has been kidnapped) and that never changes I think. However, the kidnapping quest does not cancel his quest-line but only the initial job offer
What I can do is: get the offer by Tyler Morrow, decline, start the kidnapping and then change my mind with Tyler Morrow. (His dialogue has two options: “work/mention Sanchez” which is declined, and the “I changed my mind” option, which still works, despite the kidnapping going on). And I can then follow both quest-lines simultaneously (which I really, really like!), until Carpenter dies (which cancels the kidnapping by turning Vex hostile).
This may be intended, as it works rather well (!), but it may also be an exploit. However, I would really like to make this the “standard way”. And rather than cancelling the “I changed my mind” option with Morrow, I would remove that Vex and Tyler cancel each other. The only cancel for the kidnapping could be Carpenter's death (i.e. reporting back to Morrow after the poison has been administered) or learning from Mimi about the kidnapping. I think that would make the kidnapping a nice addition to either path (good or evil), that may or may not occur. But being locked out of it by going with Tyler (which is already a decision between Tyler/Kevin or Nicol) feels too restricting. Like a third wheel. And having to replay the whole mod, for one quest only, feels wrong. So, please, consider to integrate the kidnapping into the “evil path”, rather than having two “evil play-throughs” with only one quest variation (Kidnapping instead Tyler).
I played through this “exploit scenario” in various ways and it seems to work fine. The only oddity is that the cops behave as if Carpenter is still alive (at the gate and inside the villa), but that is indifferent of the kidnapping (i.e. the last Morrow quest doesn't adjust the cops dialogue either). So in both cases the cops at the gate and inside the villa may slightly adjust to reflect that the sheriff is dead (or not here, as it's Tyler at the station now). (not a big deal though). And it should be noted that Morrow says “once I've kicked his wife and son out of the villa” which may need adjusting too, either to a neutral “clean the villa of his remaining family/house-hold/rabble” or a second version mentioning only his “widow”.
Regarding logic, there is the backstory that Morrow can't act because of the kidnapping. But I would say that all of Morrow's quest are carried out by a single outsider (the player), which takes care of the “I can't act” angle. However, you may consider to adjust Morrow's original reason to strengthen the point, like: “My hands are tied with the recent (activity around the villa/kidnapping) and I do need an outsider, someone no one suspects and who can't be linked to me.” etc. rather than saying “it's impossible”. And, last, some activities like bribing Jeffrey and the cook may reflect the kidnapping as well. Jeffrey: “You want me to do this, while all this shit is going on?! Well, it's your funeral. And it will cost you.” or Cook: “How can you think of something at a time like this. With poor little David kidnapped and all. [She becomes thoughtful.] Well, it may take his mind of things. And with all this evil business going on, I guess it may do him some good to be cheered up a little.” However, it's not a big deal. After all neither (Jeffrey or Cook) adjust to the kidnapping during the “gold nugget” quest either, they still agree to steal the nuggets or distract the sheriff regardless of the kidnapping of David. So they could also agree to swap the hip flask regardless.
Anyway, if you don't agree, and this is a bug/exploit, that must be fixed, you could also consider to do me the favour and forget I reported this loophole, and allow me to continue exploiting it in the future, thanks
Mutated Toe and healing
Getting healing from Falber while having a sixth toe is instant death. However, I can get healing from Yaotzin as a Mutant-Hunter while having six little piggies, and it has no consequence. Isn't that an oversight? As their healing should detect the toe, too, and should cause amputation, combat or instant death (which would be the easiest solution: “We can't have on of our own mutate and live. I hope you understand. I'm sure you do. [Strong hands grab both your arms and accompany you to the execution chamber.] We'll honour your sacrifice for the purity of mankind. [He (salutes/nods at) you.]”).
For convenience the HIV cure (blood sample and injection) may be excluded from this, and still work without detecting the toe. The argument could be that the HIV diagnosis does not include a whole physical, as treating wounds would. Anyway, it would make sense that a Mutant-Hunter with a mutation would need to hide, and visit other doctors.
Mutated Toe AG Bug?
By accident I found an old post saying that getting the toe amputated by Yaotzin is -5 AG. And that never happened to me. I have a character (http://www.filedropper.com/slot316toeandag
) who gets -7 AG (from 8 to 1), and another (http://www.filedropper.com/slot317toeandag2
) who gets -4 AG (from 6 to 2). No matter what I do it won't change. (I tried healing, removing radiation, curing HIV etc.). Is is possible that the issue is Gifted, and some mix up with “-5 AG but not below the minimum”? So the -4 AG is correct (the minimum for Gifted is 2), but the -7 bugs out (?).
Lystra Leaves: Timer
This took me some time to figure out. At first I thought I discovered a bug, but after several test runs, I believe it's actually good design. And after some more time, I realized there may be an exploit.
What happened was: I had Lystra and normally she leaves after (13 days (warning), 13 days (2nd warning), 13 days (leaves), Falcon has not been triggered). However, I wanted to grow a sixth toe and decided to rest in the desert to do so. Eventually two months had passed, and Lystra was still with me, which was confusing at first.
I speculated a lot and tested it, until I realized that her timer (of 26 days) won't start before the first warning (which needs to enter a map after 13 days have past). And only after the player has been warned once, will those 26 days start to tick down. Which is good design as it avoids to catch the player off-guard. And because of this I was able to keep her with me for 2 months, as I postponed the first warning by resting in the desert (i.e. I didn't enter a map that could trigger her warnings).
So that's good, and not a bug as I initially thought. It just confused me at first.
However, while testing, I also tested how the timer behaves when she leaves because my karma dropped below 50 or when I ask her to wait. In both cases the timer continues from the point I dropped her off. The only exception appears to be when she returns home. In that case the timer resets to 13 days. Which is a good idea, as 13 days allows to reach Corath (similar to the Falcon bonus, which also seems to add 13 days, I think). However, is it a good idea? As there is the exploit that I can ask her to wait shortly before she is about to leave, wait a week, pick her up in AQ again, and get another 13 days. (Note: I tested this with 1 day remaining on her timer, and when I picked her up she left within a day, but when I waited and picked her up in AQ it reset to 13 days. I also checked if it works twice in a row and it did). Knowing this makes losing her basically impossible. And perhaps, she shouldn't go back home when the quest for her brother is active but disappear instead (i.e. after the first warning, she'll wait for a week if removed from the party (karma or asked to wait), and if not picked up by then, she'll search for Sindian alone, instead going back home to AQ and wait there.) I think that makes sense. Not sure if it's fair or transparent though.
(P.S. remember the idea that the player may find her corpse in an encounter when she leaves like this, as I suggested above.)
Leaving companions in the desert
When I leave Mutt or Drools in the desert they disappear. However, when I leave Keri, Lystra or Gabriel on a desert map, they respawn on any other desert map I enter, until a week passes and they return home. Once it even happened that Lystra left me at the start of an encounter (hostile wanderers) as the timer to find her brother was up, and she fought with me (which should be normal, as companions (“usually” *see note) behave like that when told to wait, aka dropped out of the party). Then I left the map, and in the next encounter she spawned again and fought with me again. However, she was gone when I entered AQ, so I dismissed it as a minor glitch possibly caused by the combat after she left me. Otherwise, companions left in the desert would not spawn into encounters, but only on empty desert maps. Anyway, as Mutt & Drool disappear immediately, couldn't Keri, Lystra and Gabriel immediately return home, too, when left in the desert?
*i.e. they join combat as long as they are close by. However, Gabriel, if waiting at the casino, does not join me when I attack the mexicans, but neither does he attack me. Not sure how Keri and Lystra behave. But I assume they would be triggered by town hostility. At least Keri does. Not sure why Gabriel doesn't behave similarly? (both can be checked with Slot310, see above).