Sounds simple enough.
I've played Fallout 3 since release, always happy to go back into the wastelands and hunt for more little corners I've left undiscovered and more wastelanders to talk to, trade with, and blast to kingdom come. The only place I have yet to explore is the Dark Side of the Karma meter. I've come close, keeping my Karma below saintly with snide remarks and rampant theft, but when the opportunity arrives for the first big act of evil, the detonation of a town of settlers, I always shy away, and in the end, save them from the bomb.
The first time or two I did it was because it seemed a more immediate way to gain XP and it kept more side quests open. You can't ask a pile of ash if she wants help writing a book about exploring the wasteland. Additionally, travel out to Tenpenny towers seemed daunting to my low level character and helping the Megaton townies could be done without leaving the neighborhood.
The third time though, I decided I'd give the Tenpenny offer full consideration and spent some time leveling with side quests before setting off on the slog to Alfred Tenpenny's fortified hotel. All the while I kept my dialog angry, making snide remarks to the townies that I would soon be slagging. (By the way, I never understood the complaint about not being allowed to kill children. Those two Megaton brats are pretty surely dead when their homes are floating motes of geiger-happy dust.) Anyway, I told Burke "maybe so" adding that he should give me extra money since I'm hot (Black Widow perk on a female character this time around) and then set out to see what my boss's boss was like.
See, if you save the town, they give you a rusty old sheet metal house to be your home base. Alfred Tenpenny however, offers you a luxury suite at his hotel once you've thrown in with his lot. I decided that if his tower was going to be my stomping grounds, I should find out what my neighbors were like. Security buzzed me in (I decided not to off that ghoul arguing on the doorstep, just in case he could be significant later) and I took the grand tour, riding up and down the building and chatting to all of the characters I found.
These guys are total dicks!
Seriously. Ever character in the Towers is a self congratulatory, arrogant pin-head. I thought Myra was getting on my nerves in Craterside Supply; at least she was irritating by accident of her being a few points short in the Common Sense stat. The towers' shopkeeper was asking for a smack from the moment she opened her mouth. Security were trigger happy and intolerant, random characters would only spout lines about how great it was to be them in snob voices. And Tenpenny . . . gawd. He was full of sinister villain dialog and his justification for the demolition of Megaton was to reclaim the real estate. Really? Is there some housing shortage that will be alleviated by urban renewal? I decided then and there that if these jerks were going to be my neighbors after I nuked Megaton, I'd rather be back there getting cheery greetings from Billy Creel.
It wasn't the call of justice and honor that swayed me from my evil ways. It was the fact that the company a villain has to keep are just such total dicks. So with a few snide remarks, I left and then sought out the ghouls who had been turned away from the gates to Tenpenny Tower. They had a bone to pick with Tenpenny and I was eager to make that self-righteous prick suffer.
Even after my elevation to savior from disarming the nuke, I've still kept on stealing and doing minor wrongs, but it doesn't seem to make a dent. Even helping the slavers of The Pitt didn't make me a horrible bastard. I don't really mind though because the Sheriff is always glad to see me, even after I've just picked his pocket.
I guess the only way to be a total dick myself is to go the Chaotic Evil route, and just shoot everyone whose path I cross. It would make the game harder but it would mean I don't have to cozy up to other evil types. But I think I'd be missing out on a lot of experience points if I blast Sierra Petrovita instead of going on a trek across the wastes looking for bottles of glowing soda to add to her collection. And with no one giving me a place to stay, there really is no rest for the wicked.