Fallout 4 contains lots of potential surprises. Some of these were supposed to be surprises, but some of them may only be surprises to me because of my expectations and my history with the previous games. In this section, I'm going to talk about a few such surprises. This will barely scratch the surface.
Stop! Thief! — Fairly early in my travels and while being accompanied by a companion named Cait, a tough, scrappy young woman with issues and a vaguely Irish accent, I was doing some building at one of the settlements. I had gotten out of my armor to save some fusion core juice. While I was building, we got attacked by super mutants. I'm pretty well leveled, armored and armed by this time, so I'm thinking to myself, "You poor, sorry bastards. This was bad timing on your part." I turn to run to my power armor .. just in time to see Cait get into it and take off.
Up to that very point, I had no idea that companions (or anyone besides Brotherhood of Steel NPCs) could use power armor. So there I am chasing after Cait and my power armor, trying to get her into a conversation so I can make her get out. She wasn't having it. I'm yelling at my computer, "Get out, you bitch!" as she's mowing down super mutants all over the place. Sounds kind of funny in retrospect. I just couldn't believe she Bogart-ed my power armor! Of course, after that, I had my various companions use power armor quite often. However, most companions damaged the power armor they were using practically from the moment they got into it, and usually very badly. If there was a cliff or building they could fall off of, they never hesitated to do so. I eventually just left them out of the power armor altogether. Saved me tons in repairs.
Don't Start What You Can't Finish — Once, I was visiting a settlement named Country Crossing. It happens to be near but also under a group of Gunners that have made their home on an overpass. Now, I have no idea why, but the Gunners started shooting a random brahmin (cattle) nearby. I saw what they were doing, but I wasn't concerned, really. The settlers, however, got pissed. They pulled out their weapons and took off out of the settlement and attacked the Gunners. Keep in mind, the Gunners were shooting at some random brahmin - not the settler's brahmin. Maybe, they were all P.E.T.A. members - I don't know. The settlers were winning as I had put most of them in decent armor and gave them all better weapons. Then they ran up against the Gunner Captain in power armor and with a minigun. At that point, I came to the rescue. I still have no idea what made them decide to go on the offensive. I'm sure it's scripted somehow, but it surprised the heck out of me.
Fun With Elevators — At some point, Bethesda had to figure out what to do about companions and how they navigate elevators. The problem was that a player enters an elevator, companions sometimes just won't follow. They often stop and stand just outside of the elevator. There's no way to push them into one that I could find. Bethesda fixed this by making the elevators and/or companions "magical." When I took an elevator, if the companion wasn't inside, they would either magically appear at the place where I got out or teleport into the elevator with me somewhere along the trip. Eventually, regardless of the companion I was with, I would just push the elevator button without even hesitating to wait for them. The clips below are of a companion named Piper Wright performing such magic. The first one shows her just magically appearing on the top floor of a building without ever being on the elevator. (There is no other way up that I know of - especially not one that would get her up there in seconds.) The second shows her teleporting into the elevator while it is traveling.
Roaming Quest NPCs — If you decide to help support settlements, every so often you will get told that a settlement needs your help to fight off ghouls, or raiders, or super mutants, or rabid badgers, or something else that they just can't fight off themselves (even if you have given all of them very good armor and weapons and they outnumber the invaders 2:1). They ask you to help (i.e., That is, to kill everyone at some other location on their behalf).
I finished one such quest and went back to the settlement to turn it in. There was nobody there with the little square-bubble icon over their head indicating I could end the quest by talking to them. I searched everywhere in the settlement. Finally, I turned off all other quests so only that one was shown on the map, and the person I needed to talk to was way far away from the settlement I had just helped. I'm in WTF mode at this point.
If you have the perk that lets you set up supply lines, you pick one of the settlers to start a route between their home settlement and some other settlement. They are technically still part of the settlement; you even have to save a bed for them in your total bed count in order to keep the settlement happy. However, they travel - somewhat slowly - between the two settlements and their tag changes from "settler" to "provisioner." It also seems that in some cases, the quest giver/receiver for settlement quests are randomly picked. In this case, the provisioner was chosen as the person to turn the quest into. Luckily they were pretty near the other settlement so I could fast travel and find him. I think I still had to wait to turn the quest in as the settlement nearby was up in arms fighting off a pack of vicious dogs, but at least I found him.
Vegetable Starch is Adhesive — I hope that's not a spoiler. I'm pretty sure it's not meant to be. While it's possible to complete the entire game and never craft (much of) anything, most of us will probably pick up the perk to craft armor or weapons modifications. I picked up both pretty much from the start. I quickly came to realize that one can never have enough adhesive. I would drop weapons and armor to make room for duct tape and wonderglue. It was pathetic. At some point, I was cooking up something and noticed ...
That's five .. yes, five .. adhesive each. The recipe was probably always there, but I hadn't noticed. Once I did, I had all of my settlements making the ingredients. Vegetable Starch may be the single best reason to even have a settlement.
Named NPCs Can Be Killed — Any time a settlement is attacked, almost all the settlers join in on the defense - even if they are armed with just a corn stock. (Actually, they all come with a pipe pistol to start with, but the corn stock might have been more effective.) In many settlements, there are already a few settlers there when you discover it. (In gaming jargon, those settlers are also known as non-player characters or NPCs.) Those settlers have a name, and they usually give you the quest(s) you need to do to get the settlement "aligned" with you. (Once aligned, you can use the workshop and build there.) A number of times during a skirmish, I had seen the named settlers incapacitated - where they sit on the ground and stop fighting or fleeing. However, they always recovered after the fighting ended. I had just taken it for granted that all named NPCs in a settlement could not be killed. That turned out to be wrong.
The original settler in the settlement Egret Tours Marina is Phyllis Daily. Sometime after I had become aligned with that settlement, I went back to find her dead near the entrance to the building where I found her.
I'm pretty sure that in this case, there's at least one quest path where I would have to at least fight, if not kill her, so she had to be killable. I didn't go down that path, but I assumed even if I did, she would become incapacitated and the typical "You win! I give up!" ending would ensue. I guess not. I wasn't at the settlement when she was killed, so I don't know how or when it happened.