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Literature
Faction Overviews: The Enclave (Fallout)
Considering I did one for the Brotherhood of Steel, it’s only proper that I do one for their rival, yes?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you THE ENCLAVE!
So evil, yet so stylish and lovable!
Why do people love them so much? Is it just because they fall in love with evil empires so much? From Star Wars, to Halo, to Gundam and beyond, it seems that they just can’t stop loving the bad guys.
Or is it just because they’re so damn patriotic?
PART 1: INTRO
For those of you not in the know, the Enclave is a faction in the Fallout universe that represents the last legitimate remnant from the government of the United States of America after the nation was nuked into near oblivion by Red China in the Great War that created the irradiated, post-apocalyptic setting for the Fallout universe. Think of it as the Byzantium to America’s Rome. Just like how the city of Constantinople became the sole remnant of the Roman Empire’s government as the Western Empire crashed an
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Literature
Faction Overviews: Fallout's Brotherhood of Steel
PART 1: INTRO
The Brotherhood of Steel is one of the more iconic factions in the Fallout universe. With their Paladins sporting the iconic power armor that has appeared throughout most of the Fallout games, the Brotherhood maintains a strong presence in the games and in the fans’ hearts. However, as a faction, they’re a lot less like a nation with a military, and more like a knightly order like those of the Middle Ages, what with their power structure consisting of knights and paladins, and their whole faction being split up into chapters across the former USA. The order consists of well-trained Paladins wearing power armor, as well as knights and apprentices who wear lighter armors below them, and the scribes and elders who wear clothing more akin to priests and monks. All of them are adept at using energy weapons against the enemy, and in most Fallout games, they usually are the one human faction that is most adept at using energy weapons, outside of factions like the Enc
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Literature
My Thoughts on Warhammer 40K: Part 4
Yes, yes, it’s cheating, but hey, this is my private thought dump, and its main purpose is for me to express my thoughts.
“But Vader999,” you may ask, “why do you have such a bone to pick with Warhammer 40K?”
Well, grab your butts, because here I’m willing to talk about it.
UNREALISTIC WORLD-BUILDING:
Part of what really grinds my gears about 40K is the rather unrealistic worldbuilding present in the lore. As someone who studies history, demographics, and other sci-fi, I just can’t help but shake my head whenever 40K’s lore makes such amateur mistakes, and the fact that its fans accept such things hookline-and-sinker makes me see them as morons when they don’t see such obvious failings in 40K’s lore, especially when said fans mock Star Wars for being a space fantasy yet hold up 40K as a realistic sci-fi.
PART 1: Demographics
I really can’t help but laugh whenever 40K fanboys laugh at Star Wars and call it unrealistic. Be
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Literature
Fallout NV: NCR vs Caesar's Legion vs Vegas, PT 4
PART IX: CIVILIZATIONAL LEVELS OF EACH NATION
Okay, so we’ve talked about the leaders, the strategies, the combatants, and many other topics. But what is it really like to live in the turf of all three nations?
First and foremost, we have the New California Republic. The NCR is basically not a bad place to live…….if you’re armed to the teeth and can protect yourself. Not to mention if you’re willing to part with a chunk of your income to support the NCR through taxes. The NCR rarely does anything to stop raiders, and sometimes even creates gangs unintentionally like with the Powder Gangers. Gangs like the Fiends even sense weakness with the NCR and go so far as to harass the NCR forces near their base at Camp McCarran. If the NCR is supposed to be a modernized nation, then what kind of modern nation gets easily harassed by bandits?
And of course, the taxes. Part of the reason why many traders dislike going through NCR territory is because the NCR taxes peo
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Literature
Fallout NV: NCR vs Caesar's Legion vs Vegas, PT 3
PART VIII: LEADERSHIP
We’ve talked a lot about the leaders of each side, but now, let’s actually grade the leaders of the three sides in Fallout New Vegas, and see which side has the best leadership, and the worst.
Starting off with the NCR, we begin with the worst. The New California Republic has four major military leaders: President Aaron Kimball, the former general and “Hero of the Mojave.” General Lee Oliver, the President’s trusted right hand. Chief Hanlon, the leader of the NCR Rangers. And finally, Colonel Moore, the officer in charge of Hoover Dam’s defenses under General Oliver and the Courier’s main contact if they work with the NCR. And of course, three out of four of these leaders get a failing grade. As previously stated, the NCR occupation of the Mojave is a disaster. Its troops are spread thin, picked off by bandits and Legion troops. Its Rangers are being misused, not given the full command and leadership positions that they bo
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Literature
Fallout NV: NCR vs Caesar's Legion vs Vegas, PT 2
PART V: COMBAT TACTICS
Now, we look at combat tactics, to see how the factions fight.
On a whim, when I was playing New Vegas, I decided to test the battlefield mettle of both the NCR and the Legion by invading both Caesar’s Fort and Camp Golf. Caesar’s Fort is home to Caesar himself and his Praetorians, Camp Golf is where a sizeable NCR Army force was stationed, along with the HQ of the NCR Rangers in the region. And from my experience, the former was harder to besiege than the latter. Caesar’s Fort is full of hardened killers charging at you, snipe one and three more will be at your throat. This is especially true of the Praetorian Guards, who rush you in close quarters with Ballistic Fists that fire a shotgun blast every time they punch you. The NCR soldiers and NCR Veteran Rangers in Camp Golf just hang back and shoot, and NCR Heavy Troopers mostly stick to the same strategy, only to occasionally break ranks and take out a Super Sledge to try and fight melee. That
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Literature
Fallout NV: NCR vs Caesar's Legion vs Vegas, PT 1
PART I: INTRO
Fallout: New Vegas is the most celebrated entry in the Fallout series of video games. Produced by Obsidian Entertainment, the genius masterminds behind Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, this game is their last entry in the Fallout series. The Fallout series is about a world where the Cold War lasted up to the 2070’s, after which the war became a conventional one and the nukes were launched right before the United States can claim victory, which ended with the world being reduced to an irradiated wasteland. The game itself centers around the life and adventures of a courier in the Mojave, a person who was shot in the head by some bigwig in a checkered suit while delivering a platinum chip. But the game also presents a major conflict between three factions: the democratic, American successor state known as the New California Republic, the militaristic society known as Caesar’s Legion, and of course, the ruler of New Vegas himself, Mr. Robert Edwin H
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Literature
40K SPACE MARINE: HOW WOULD I DO IT?
With many of my recent articles about 40K being rather negative pieces, I’ve decided to turn a new leaf and throw the 40K fanboys a bone: how to improve upon one of the better games that their franchise has graced the gaming world with.
Those of you who have read my 40K articles have noticed that I mention the 40K Space Marine game several times. The answer is obvious: because I have played the game, and I do love it. As I said, just because I’m a bit miffed at the 40K fanbase, doesn’t mean that I hate 40K-in fact, I do admire it in my own way, and the 40K Space Marine game sealed that fact. I even bought the Warhammer Kill Team game just to get the special content for the 40K Space Marine game’s multiplayer mode.
As for the game itself, it’s a wonderful cacophony of violence, gore, and big guns. Gunning down Daemonic hordes and their corrupted human allies was a treat. Gunning down Orks, a bit less so, but the basic fact is, I enjoyed the game and wished
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Literature
Warhammer 40K VS. Starcraft
Here I go again, going after the sacred cow that is Warhammer 40K.
It’s not that I hate 40K, I don’t. It’s just that sometimes, I can’t help but make observations that a lot of 40K fans ignore, especially since said fans can be quite a handful.
But this time, I’d like to tackle 40K’s relationship with another famous science fiction series. One that I have a very personal connection to. One that many 40K fans hate for supposed “plagiarism”.
Yes, today, we will talk about Warhammer 40K vs. Starcraft!
Starcraft, for those of you who are uneducated, is Blizzard Entertainment’s real-time strategy science-fiction video game that revolves around the three-way struggle between the humans, known in-game as the Terrans, the monstrous alien collective known as the Zerg, and the dangerous but elegant Protoss race. These races all have factions within them that also hate each other, from the Terran Confederacy waging war against the human rebel
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Literature
Feminism, Fiction, and the Sensitivity Issue, Pt 2
FEMINISM VS. FEMININITY
An issue that connects the many battles between feminists and anti-feminists when it comes to portraying female characters is the issue of femininity. The feminist attacks on the female 40K Imperial units, the removal of Ms. Bellum from the Powerpuff Girls, and, among other things, a concentrated push to create female characters like Sarah Palmer from Halo, female 40K Space Marines, and a new and androgynous She-Ra, all the while castigating classic female characters like Princess Peach and Princess Zelda (From the Super Mario series and the Zelda series). Feminists……...hate femininity.
If one takes a gander at the kind of heroines feminists want to introduce into the public eye, such as androgynous She-Ra, or the female Space Marines, there is one common thing linking them all: the fact that they are more akin to males than females, and the traits that mark them as feminine aren’t present. Female Space Marines would function just like the male
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Literature
Feminism, Fiction, and the Sensitivity Issue Pt. 1
Or as I’d like to call it: Beating a Dead Horse.
Because nothing makes people happier than to punch the local bully.
Yes, yes, it’s quite easy to pick on feminism right now. From the Anita Sarkeesians of the world blaming video games for imagined sexism, to their complete silence towards actual misogyny and sexism in other parts of the world, to the feminist rhetoric that might as well be summarized with the words “we hate men!”, feminism has become something of a target for many modern-day social commentators and political experts. From President Donald Trump triggering them with his “grab ‘em by the pussy!” comments to Gamergate advocates and anti-feminist bloggers storming the internet media, attacking feminism has become somewhat of a hallowed tradition in the internet. Want to start up a good conversation with a conservative, a libertarian, or a disillusioned leftist? Bash feminism. I’ve seen different strokes of people, from apoliti
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Literature
My Thoughts on Warhammer 40K: Part 3
ROOTS OF MY INTEREST IN WARHAMMER 40K
I first got into Warhammer 40K through Starcraft. Murmurs of how Blizzard was ripping off 40K got me to look at the series altogether. And at first, I liked what I saw. The Church-like aesthetics and background lore of war in space going on for so long intrigued me. I especially liked the Catholic iconography on almost everything, from their ships, to the Ecclesiarchy and the Inquisition. At first, I thought the Space Marines were the Imperium’s regular soldiers, which really made me impressed to think that there might be billions of these guys running around, but when I later find out that they were just elite units that barely numbered in the millions in a galaxy of billions, I was bummed out more than a bit. I was more bummed out when I figured that the Imperium could barely create anything that can compete with things like the Death Star, with those Blackstone Fortresses of theirs being something that they found, not something that they b
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Literature
My Thoughts on Warhammer 40K: Part 2
This is the second part of my entry on “My thoughts on Warhammer 40K”. My first part talked about the main premise of Warhammer 40K, the influences that gave rise to its many factions, and the reasons why I didn’t see it as the most powerful science fiction series in modern times, in contrast to the legions of fans who hail it as such. Now, I will delve deeper into this topic, and give the reasons why I don’t care much for Warhammer 40K’s lore, and why I have problems with some of its fans. And finally, why Games Workshop itself is holding back the series from its full potential.
THE LORE: WHAT IS CANON?
The main problem with 40K lore is that it does not have a set canon. Unlike Star Wars, Halo, Starcraft, Transformers, Gundam, Mass Effect, or the many other science fiction stories out there that have a set canon (or multiple canons, as Star Wars, Transformers, and Gundam can attest) Warhammer 40K, according to its writers, does not have a set canon.
Here
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Literature
My Thoughts on Warhammer 40K: Part 1
Yep, I’m just not gonna stop going after sacred cows.
First, Metroid, then Marvel, then Star Trek, then Morrowind, and now this……..
I’m such a jackass, aren’t I?
But let’s get down to business.
Warhammer 40K, for those of you who don’t know, is a science fiction series owned by a game company known as Games Workshop. It revolves around a tabletop game published by Games Workshop, and it is a dystopian future setting where the Imperium of Man, a faction that represents Earth and most of humanity, is beset by aliens, demons, machine threats, and traitors, while at the same time, the Imperium is ruled by a xenophobic, dogmatic, and totalitarian cult known as the Ecclesiarchy, which preaches to the populace the virtues of worshipping the Imperium’s founder, the God-Emperor of Mankind. The God-Emperor of Mankind, ironically an atheist in his brief tenure as Emperor, united the worlds of man under one rule and tried to bring the galaxy under he
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Literature
Elder Scrolls Fan Debate: Skyrim vs. Morrowind
One thing that has always bothered me about the Elder Scrolls fanbase is how…….divided it is. I’ve seen other scenarios of this, namely in the Star Wars fandom. For example, in the Star Wars fandom, we have the Legends fans, Disney canon fans, Mandalorian fans, Sith fans, Jedi fans, Clone Trooper fans, Clone Wars TV show fans, Old Republic fans, Grey Jedi fans, Palpatine fans, and so on. These overlapping and conflicting fanbases will debate each other to the death on an innumerable amount of topics, such as, “Are the Jedi correct, or are the Sith correct?” “Is the Force good or evil?” “Are the Mandalorians more morally superior to the Jedi, or not?” “Is Palpatine the strongest Sith Lord?” “Is Legends canon better than Disney canon?” “Which Clone Wars TV show is better?” On and on, these fans, who all identify as Star Wars fans, will endlessly debate, argue, and even troll those who disagree with
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Literature
POLITICAL SUICIDE
It’s not everyday we see someone commit suicide on national television……….
For those of you wondering, this article is about our dearly beloved President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. And how, with a couple of moves, he’s just obliterated whatever minor lead he had over his enemies, the Democrat Party.
Lest anyone forget, Trump did not win the past election in 2016 with a landslide. Mitt Romney, who ran for President against Barack Hussein Obama in 2012, had more votes than Trump did, and he still lost against Ol’ Barry. If it wasn’t for the Hillary-Bernie split spreading distrust among the Democrats, Trump might have lost the Presidential election. It was a weird combination of pragmatic, business-minded people, gamers who didn’t want the left to censor games for not catering to SJWs, and a populace angry and tired at the Democrats’ bad handling of the economy, that helped secure the victory for Donald Trump’s presid
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Considering I did one for the Brotherhood of Steel, it’s only proper that I do one for their rival, yes?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you THE ENCLAVE!

So evil, yet so stylish and lovable!

Why do people love them so much? Is it just because they fall in love with evil empires so much? From Star Wars, to Halo, to Gundam and beyond, it seems that they just can’t stop loving the bad guys.

Or is it just because they’re so damn patriotic?

PART 1: INTRO

For those of you not in the know, the Enclave is a faction in the Fallout universe that represents the last legitimate remnant from the government of the United States of America after the nation was nuked into near oblivion by Red China in the Great War that created the irradiated, post-apocalyptic setting for the Fallout universe. Think of it as the Byzantium to America’s Rome. Just like how the city of Constantinople became the sole remnant of the Roman Empire’s government as the Western Empire crashed and burned, the Enclave became the remnant of the US government as the United States of America was nuked to oblivion by the Chinese.

The Enclave is led by a president who is the legal successor of the President of the United States, and as such, the Enclave presidents style themselves as the legitimate presidents of America, the democratically-elected representatives of the people, despite the fact that virtually no-one outside the Enclave voted for them. The Enclave sat out the nuclear war and managed to survive it, waiting in remote bases and offshore installations like the Poseidon Oil Rig, researching and furthering newer technology such as new suits of power armor and more energy weapons for its troops. As the nuclear radiation died down, the Enclave began operations to try and retake the once-glorious American homeland that they once called home. However, what they found horrified them.

Super mutant armies cutting a swathe of blood across the land. Irradiated human survivors known as ghouls who were disfigured and modified by radiation. Animals mutated by the nuclear radiation turning into larger, meaner predators. Raider tribes slaughtering their way across the wastelands. And worst of all, most of the humans who seemed unaffected are irradiated! Permanently changed by their exposure to radiation, despite their pristine appearance. Outside of pure, vault-stock humans, most of the populace of the new post-apocalyptic America is dominated by irradiated freaks, one way or another. The pollution of the land was near-total.

PART 2: RECENT HISTORY

Seeing all this chaos, the Enclave, under the command of President Dick Richardson, decided to go for the nuclear (pardon the pun) option of eradicating all irradiated people and creatures in the US mainland. Creating a modified version of the Forced Evolutionary Virus that was once created in the Great War to make mutant super soldiers, they modified the virus to kill all mutated people, and they planned to spread it through the air from the oil rig which served as their base. However, a tribal human known as the Chosen One, the main character in Fallout 2, managed to stop the plan. One of Richardson’s guards, a mutant cyborg secret service agent named Frank Horrigan, tried to stop the Chosen One, and he detonated the oil rig in a futile attempt to kill said tribal. The tribal escaped, and depending on their choices, some Enclave soldiers could have escaped with them after turning on Horrigan. The destruction of the oil rig and the death of Richardson set the Enclave back significantly, especially since the rise of a new American state, the New California Republic, led to increased attacks on Enclave bases, as the Enclave base on Navarro was overrun by NCR forces that saw the Enclave forces as a threat, thanks to their past president’s xenophobic actions.

By the time of Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the Enclave has been split in two, just like the Brotherhood of Steel was. In the west coast, some Enclave personnel integrated with the NCR, with varying levels of success and failure. Some continued to languish in lamentation over their destroyed bases and their lost cause, while others have moved on, serving the communities of the former western US as doctors, soldiers, or whatever jobs they chose. However, the Enclave forces in the east continued the fight, under a new President, John Henry Eden, and his top military operative, Colonel Augustus Autumn. Using power armor that was further upgraded to be cheaper and easier to mass-produce, and banding together in the wasteland surrounding the former capital, Washington DC, they tried to take over the locals’ attempt to purify the water in the surrounding areas, although Eden and Autumn had differing agendas: Eden wanted to continue the Enclave’s plan of eradicating the radiation pollution by eradicating the irradiated populace, while Autumn simply wished to control them by offering purified water as a bargaining chip.

PART 3: PLAYER INTERACTION IN THE NEWER FALLOUT GAMES

This is where the player comes in for Fallout 3 and New Vegas, sister games created with the same engine and were only two years apart from each other. In Fallout 3, the Enclave serves the same role as it did in Fallout 2: as the main antagonists. In that previous game, the Enclave soldiers were introduced in a cutscene where they gunned down some vault dwellers with chainguns. Yikes. In Fallout 3, outside of John Henry Eden’s broadcasts, they’re introduced in the main plotline in a similarly sinister fashion, where their commanding officer, Colonel Autumn, kills the player character’s father and tries to take control of the man’s water purification system project, called “Project Purity.”

Enclave soldiers then begin appearing all over the Capital Wasteland, attacking other enemies as well as the player. While they’re intimidating and tough for beginner players, for players who have played other sidequests and DLCs before tackling the main story quests, they’re an easy source of good weapons and ammo, especially since they’re particularly vulnerable to the same energy weapons they wield. In that respect, they’re similar to Star Wars’ Stormtroopers, who easily go down when shot with the same guns they go into battle with. In fact, there’s a splinter faction of the Brotherhood of Steel called the Outcasts, who trade valuables in exchange for high technology. The player can easily get a huge load of medical items or ammo from them by just farming suits of armor and energy weapons from killing wandering Enclave soldiers and handing them over to the Outcasts.

In a quest to obtain an item called the Garden of Eden Creation Kit that was necessary for the water purifier to work, the player gets ambushed by the Enclave and taken captive. The player wakes up in an Enclave base, held in a stasis field after being stripped of all weapons and clothing. Here, the player is interrogated by Colonel Augustus Autumn, but his strained relationship with his president, John Henry Eden, begins to show. Autumn is overtly hostile to the player, and if the player gives him what he wants, he shoots the player unceremoniously while the player is still contained in the stasis field. However, the president has other ideas. If the player tells Autumn to sod off, Eden intervenes and tells Autumn to leave. The president then remotely unlocks the player’s restraints and gives them back their weapons and equipment, and he further instructs the Enclave troops not to bother the player. Eden has invited the player to talk with him personally.

Autumn, however, couldn’t just let things go, and he instructs his troops to attack the player and ignore the president’s orders. The base then erupts into chaos as the Enclave troops are fired upon by the base’s own remote turrets and automated robot defenders, the latter of whom are on the player’s side. Once the player gets to Eden, the player discovers that he is, in fact, an artificial intelligence, not a human being. Eden offers the player a chance to eradicate the mutant infestation in the capital: he gives the player a vial of the enhanced FEV virus that can eradicate all mutated and irradiated creatures by ingestion. He wants the player to put the virus into the water purifier so that any irradiated person or creature who drinks from the water will die, cleansing the capital area of all mutant and radioactive pollution, at an immense human cost. Eden realizes how dire his plan is, but then writes off the human cost as necessary casualties for the greater good. The player can accept the task, reject it, or pretend to accept it but don’t go through with it. In any case, the player can’t exit the base unless they take the FEV vial. If the player has a high enough science or speech skill, they can talk President Eden into self-destructing, by convincing him that he’s not a legitimate American president and that his programming is flawed. If he is convinced, the base is destroyed once the player leaves, but if that doesn’t happen, then Brotherhood allies like the radio host Three Dog will claim that the player has sided with Eden, even if they have no desire to use the FEV virus on the purifier.

The game then moves on to the final phase, where Elder Lyons’ chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel make a move to take the water purifier in the Jefferson Memorial, which is crawling with Augustus Autumn’s goons. Autumn’s Enclave soldiers serve as the final enemies in the game for the player in the main quest’s finale, and they would have been intimidating, had the game not given the protagonist’s allies, the Lyons’ Brotherhood of Steel, a giant robot by the name of Liberty Prime. Sure, whenever the player is cornered by at least 4 or more Enclave soldiers, they’re in a tough spot, but luckily for the player, they can hide behind Brotherhood paladins or Liberty Prime as they take potshots on Enclave troops. The final face-off is with Autumn himself in the purifier’s core, where he is guarded by two power-armored soldiers. He’s not that hard to finish off, but he can also be persuaded to back down by revealing that Eden has no faith in him, that the president trusts the player more so than he trusts Autumn, which causes the colonel to quit and leave, allowing the player to activate the purifier and end the game. If the player downloaded the Broken Steel DLC, they continue the fight against a remnant of the Enclave forces in the capital, but after that, the Enclave in the East Coast is gone for good, their technology and weaponry left behind as spoils of war for the Lyons’ Brotherhood faction.

Fallout New Vegas, however, has the exact opposite experience with the Enclave’s interaction with the player. Instead of wiping out the Enclave, the player is given the optional task of REVIVING the Enclave as their own personal army. If the player character, the Courier, enlists the doctor Arcade Gannon into their party, and if the Courier has done enough to gain Arcade’s respect, Arcade then reveals to the Courier that he knows several people left over from the Navarro base of the Enclave, and offers to have them help the Courier fight against the slaver faction known as Caesar's Legion. In the optional quest “For Auld Lang Syne,” the player is tasked with finding former Enclave officers and enlisting them. When the Courier has enlisted them all, they are then directed to go to an Enclave bunker near the mutant outpost of Jacobstown, where one of the Enclave officers, Doctor Henry, was working as a doctor.

The Enclave officers were friends of Arcade’s but since the Courier persuaded them to gather together to revive their squad, they take orders from the Courier, not Arcade. The Courier can then send them against Caesar’s Legion as planned, or pull a fast one on Arcade and have them help the Legion fight against the New California Republic, as payback for the NCR’s attack on the Enclave Navarro base.  If the NCR option is selected, one of the soldiers, Orion Moreno, storms out, having a grudge against the NCR. The Courier can pass a high speech check (80 speech) to get the guy to stand down, otherwise, they have to kill him. Gannon then asks the player whether or not he should fight alongside the Enclave forces, and if he is told to go back to Freeside, he gives the player his father’s Enclave Tesla Power Armor, as a final gift before he leaves for good. If the player convinces Gannon to fight alongside his father’s old friends, he wears his father’s armor and fights alongside the other Enclave forces for the NCR. However, if the player gets the Enclave to side with the Legion, Arcade storms off in anger, leaving the player for good due to their deception. Either way, the Courier is officially made a part of the Enclave team, and they are given a suit of Enclave power armor, as well as the training needed to wear it.

The Enclave forces then show up to fight at the final battle in Hoover Dam between the NCR and Caesar’s Legion. In the middle of the battle for the top of the dam, a Vertibird lands and drops off the Enclave strike force and they attack the enemy and aid the player. If the NCR/Mr. House/Yes Man side is chosen, an Enclave soldier with power armor and a chaingun follows the player, and if the Legion side is chosen, then two Enclave officers follow the player as they fight to reach the NCR command center. Either way, they become loyal to the player and fight alongside them, after giving the player a prized suit of power armor that has one of the highest defense ratings in the game.

The complete swerve in how the Enclave between Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas was handled might have been a response by Bethesda and Obsidian to fan complaints regarding how Fallout 3’s Enclave plotline was handled. In Fallout 3, even if the player becomes a faithful agent of President John Henry Eden, his men still rebel against him and open fire at the player, trying to stop the player from carrying out the President’s will in killing off the mutated freaks that pollute the capital. No matter how you play the game, the Enclave is your foe, similar as to how the Sith Empire in the Knights of the Old Republic games will always fight the player, whether or not they are Light Side or Dark Side. Fans of the Enclave complained about the railroading in 3, especially when they liked how President John Henry Eden was presented. So instead of having the Enclave be up to their old tricks in New Vegas, they instead made the Enclave officers be more sympathetic and friendly, while they created a new enemy in the form of Caesar’s Legion, a slaver society created by a savant who was a former NCR citizen, a man who crowned himself Caesar. They had the Legion be the army for “evil” players, the NCR/Vegas factions for the “good” and “lawful” players, and the Enclave assists the player no matter what, unless the player sends them to fight on the side of the enemy, as in, for example, the Courier sends the Enclave forces to fight for the NCR while they side with the Legion. Otherwise, the Enclave forces in New Vegas offer no resistance to the player and remain on their side, unless of course, the player kills them all. Considering the fact that the Enclave forces provide valuable backup for the final battle and give the player a sweet armor suit and power armor training to boot, betraying them is hardly the logical move. Most, if not all players, just harness the strength of the New Vegas Enclave to their advantage, getting themselves a suit of shiny power armor and extra guns for the final fight.

PART 4: ENCLAVE FIGHTING PROWESS

As for the Enclave’s fighting power, ever since their introduction in Fallout 2, they were established as a powerful, intimidating foe. In Fallout 2 and 3, they were the main threat, while in New Vegas, they were powerful allies whose help can be invaluable in the final battle. The Enclave is the most powerful of the US remnant factions in Fallout. While they do not have the numbers of the NCR, they do overshadow the Brotherhood of Steel when it comes to technological know-how and military might. Especially when the Enclave, unlike the Brotherhood, is constantly coming up with new tricks up their sleeve, constantly updating their weapons, armor, and equipment to be at their best. The Brotherhood just salvages tech from the old world and tries to use it to their advantage, while the Enclave innovates new tech that leaves the Brotherhood behind. If it wasn’t for the player’s intervention, the Brotherhood would most likely have been wiped out by the Enclave.

In Fallout 2, the Brotherhood of Steel rarely even made contact with the Enclave. They were too scared to even come out and face the threat of the Enclave, preferring instead to watch and wait in the shadows. At most, they tried to steal some Vertibird plans, but even their agent got killed by Frank Horrigan. The Brotherhood basically stayed out of the way while the Poseidon Oil Rig got blown up, and the NCR engaged former Enclave outposts like Navarro, conquering the outpost with superior numbers.

In Fallout 3, the Brotherhood relied on an old war machine named Liberty Prime to take “Project Purity” away from the Enclave, only for Prime to get destroyed by an orbital strike weapon harnessed by the Enclave, which then forced them to rely on the player to give them an edge in fighting the Enclave. And throughout the game, Brotherhood forces are amazed at the equipment used by the Enclave forces. For example, regular Brotherhood forces are annoyed at the fact that Enclave forces have easy access to plasma weapons while they have to make do with bullets and lasers, while gifting the Enclave armor to the Brotherhood Outcasts would make said outcasts very happy, since them getting a suit of armor newly-developed for combat situations is like giving rare pearls and diamonds to a treasure-seeker. This goes to show that the Enclave in Fallout 3, despite being weaker than the Fallout 2 Enclave, was still far ahead from the Brotherhood of Steel in terms of tech. The most the Brotherhood can do was repurpose an old war mech for battle, while the average Enclave soldier was wearing armor and using weapons far more advanced than those of the Brotherhood.

In fact, the Fallout 3 Enclave was weaker than the Fallout 2 Enclave due to one big reason: their soldiers used power armor with weaker defenses. In Fallout 2 and New Vegas, the power armor of the Enclave forces is made out of lightweight metallic alloys reinforced with ceramic castings at key stress points. The Enclave power armor in Fallout 3 is entirely made up of lightweight composites rather than the usual mix of metal and composite plates found in the previous version of the armor. By making it out of composite plates entirely, the armor is easier to mass produce, which explains why there were so many Enclave troops in Fallout 3. It also means that the armor is weaker than the previous versions, but still more advanced than the armor worn by the Brotherhood forces, which are several centuries old, designed to withstand Chinese bullets, and not as adept at protecting them against the energy and heavy weapons used by Enclave forces. The New Vegas Enclave forces were remnants of the Fallout 2 Enclave forces, hence why they used the older, stronger armor instead of the newer, cheaper one. To put it in Halo terminology, the Enclave soldiers in Fallout 2 and New Vegas are like the Spartan-2s, wearing prototype armors that made them more than human, whereas the Enclave forces in Fallout 3 are like the Spartan-3s, the Spartan-2s’ newer, cheaper cousins, meant for mass production.

And it shows: the Enclave forces in New Vegas are far more effective. If they go up against the forces of Caesar’s Legion, the Enclave forces wipe the floor with their best Centurions. Centurions are high-ranking Legion officers who wear parts of Brotherhood paladin armor, which are obviously trophies from dead Brotherhood paladins that they themselves killed. And yet the forces of the Vegas Enclave chew through them like they’re made of paper. This boogeyman enemy of the NCR, and a strike force of Enclave soldiers come in and make them look like fools. As the Courier tells the Enclave soldier Orion Moreno, the Enclave Remnants coming in to save the day makes the NCR look like pansies:

“The Remnants come in, guns blazing, showing the NCR how it's done. You actually don't want that?”

Keep in mind that this is the same NCR that smashed the Brotherhood forces in Helios One. The same NCR that so thoroughly crushed the West Coast Brotherhood that elite soldiers in the NCR forces wear power armor stolen from dead Brotherhood paladins. And yet if the player recruits the Enclave to fight against the Legion, the Enclave forces make the Republic look like pansies in comparison, especially when they chew through squads full of Centurions like a hot knife through butter.

To put things into perspective, the Enclave, untouched by the player, is stronger than the NCR or the Legion. Both the Legion and the NCR are stronger than the Brotherhood of Steel, down to the point where their elites wear parts of BoS armors or whole suits of said armors. In a pitched battle, Enclave soldiers would wreck Brotherhood forces, especially if the latter don’t have a giant robot whose skirts they can hide behind. So yeah, in terms of battle power, the Enclave has practically all the factions of Fallout beaten. Outside of House, perhaps, whose Securitrons have both energy weapons and heavy ordnance, the Enclave is the most heavily-armed faction in Fallout.

PART 5: APPEAL OF THE ENCLAVE

Just what is it about the Enclave that makes them very popular among the fans? They were designed from the ground-up as a despicable faction, a faction made to look as evil as possible. Their president in Fallout 2, Dick Richardson, is an obvious call-back to Richard Nixon, the President who stepped down due to a corruption scandal. Fallout 2 went so far as to make them genocidal maniacs, who want to eradicate almost all life in the American mainland, instead of just another gang of ruffians trying to take the place over. Fallout 3 railroads the player into fighting them, down to the point where even if the player made common cause with President John Henry Eden, his own second-in-command Colonel Autumn overrides his authority and has the Enclave soldiers open fire at the player. Fallout 3’s ending even describes President Eden as “sinister” and harshly berates the player if they sided with Eden and poisoned the water to eradicate the mutant infestation in the capital.

Yet, just like with the Empire in Star Wars and the Principality of Zeon in Gundam, the Enclave garnered a massive following among the fans, no matter how evil the authors tried to make them seem. The Enclave fanbase in the Fallout community is MASSIVE. Many fans express the desire to play as the Enclave, fanart of Enclave soldiers in power armor are present in much of Fallout fan art, and mods that allow the player to fight alongside the Enclave are popular among Fallout’s modding community. Down to the point where the Enclave was modded into games that didn’t have them. When the Enclave was nowhere to be found in Fallout 4, the fans moved to correct that error, and added mods that introduced the Enclave as a faction in the game, as well as Enclave power armors for the player to use.

Point being, the Enclave is one of the most popular factions in the Fallout universe when it comes to fan support. Is it because of all the cool power armors? Maybe. Is it because the Enclave projects such an air of patriotism so absent in the real-world modern society? Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s because of a combination of many of its aspects that it earns the fans’ respect. After all, they’re practically the Space Marines in Warhammer 40K, if those Space Marines carried stronger weapons and were card-carrying Americans whose patriotism makes Captain America look like a liberal hippie. They’re power-armored soldiers cruising through a hellish wasteland, carrying weapons that disintegrate their enemies into ashes or turn them into piles of green goo, and instead of worshipping some dilapidated corpse on a throne, they still believe in the American dream, and they have a plan to restore that dream, despite the fact that America in the Fallout universe got bombed to hell. Instead of fighting for an Imperium that was toterring into collapse for ten thousand years, the Enclave forces fight to retake America from the mutated freaks that infest it, and they constantly upgrade their equipment and weapons. Unlike the Imperium which shuns progressive sciences, the Enclave embraces it, to the point where they’ve reverse-engineered a virus that once created mutants into a virus that can kill them. If the Imperium was that smart, they’d have killed all the Orks and Tyranids by now, by creating a virus that kills the Orks and Tyranids upon contact. Despite the odds being stacked against them, the Enclave is able to adapt, and they would have won had the story not forced the protagonists of Fallouts 2 and 3 to be their enemy. Quite literally, they failed only because the story mandated it, by having the player wreck them.

There’s also the fact that the Enclave’s propaganda is far more catchy compared to the Imperium. Instead of glorifying some idiot Emperor who got screwed by his own son and is now reduced to a decaying corpse sitting on a throne, the Enclave propaganda glorifies the idea of America as it existed in the 1950’s, a vision of America that was free, powerful, and idealistic. It’s something that real-world people can relate to more, especially since many real-world Americans today, including its current president, Donald Trump, hunger for that old era of the 1950s America, where God and Country remained in the hearts of people, and when America was going through a golden age. People can relate to that more than they could relate to the agenda of some asshole Emperor of Man who tried to ban all religion and whose Empire became a bastion of superstition, ignorance, and fear. Considering that the Enclave propaganda radio in Fallout 3 plays patriotic music and has President Eden combine wise sayings from past presidents along with his own speeches of how he wants to revive America, and you have one grand patriotic jamboree that gets more of the Fallout community to be Enclave fans rather than Brotherhood of Steel and New California Republic fans. The only other faction with a sizeable fanbase in the Fallout fandom that can rival the Enclave in popularity is Caesar’s Legion, and that is mostly due to the fact that Caesar’s smarts and the Legion’s military professionalism has granted it a sizeable fanbase(along with some alt-right fans who admire the Legion’s stance on women).  

PART 6: THE ENCLAVE’S FLAWED AGENDA

Of course, we can’t talk about the Enclave without talking about their biggest screw-up, that being their flawed agenda in the Fallout universe-the agenda of wiping out all irradiated people in the US mainland, be they irradiated ghouls, mutants, or simple humans who have a bit of radiation within them. While from an environmentalist perspective, it makes sense, from a moral perspective, it’s horrifying. Many humans and mutants have adapted to carve out a decent living in post-apocalyptic America, and even some mutants can be reasonable people once one gets to know them. It’s no wonder that only the higher-ups of the Enclave know the full extent of their genocidal plans, whereas most Enclave soldiers simply believe they’re restoring order after the nuclear war devastated their beloved America. In Fallout New Vegas, the Enclave Remnant’s top officer, Judah Kreger, tells the Courier of how the average Enclave soldier thought about their mission:

“We all had a purpose, you know? I admit that some of the folks in charge were pretty ruthless. The rest of us, though - we were just trying to civilize things. The NCR was still new and it didn't look like they'd last all that long.”

And it shows: the regular Enclave personnel can interact with people without going genocidal against all irradiated humans and mutants. In Fallout 2, the squad right outside Frank Horrigan’s room can sign on with the player character who was a member of some random tribe, so they can all fight Frank Horrigan together and leave the Enclave’s oil rig base before it blows up. In Fallout New Vegas, Judah Kreger and Orion Moreno live near Vegas, their pilot Daisy Whitman lives in a town in Novac, and one of the soldiers, “Cannibal” Johnson, has even become a supporter of the NCR, down to the point where he won’t fight against the NCR if the Courier tells the Enclave soldiers to sign on with the Legion. Doctor Henry, the Vegas Enclave’s resident scientist, even works with Super Mutants in Jacobstown, proving that people who worked as servants of the Enclave can mix in with outsiders. Only the top leaders, like Presidents John Henry Eden and Dick Richardson want to wipe out all irradiated people, whereas the rest of the soldiers just follow orders. Outside of Eden, whose men betray him for Colonel Autumn, most Enclave soldiers fought for it until the end. Even Autumn’s men fought to the death rather than retreat in the face of Liberty Prime’s overwhelming power.

It is that dogged insistence on following orders that got most of these fine men and women killed. As I previously stated, the story of Fallouts 2 and 3 force the player to fight against the Enclave because of their leaders’ genocidal intentions. Good or evil, the player has to fight them and defeat them, and the player canonically wins, which means that the most advanced faction in the Fallout universe gets their asses kicked by the player, because the story can’t go on if the Enclave wins and does what they want to do.

The sad thing is, just like with Maxson’s Brotherhood, things didn’t have to end that way for the Enclave. They could have reconquered the US mainland conventionally, using tactics similar to that of Caesar’s in Fallout New Vegas: use military might to dominate the tribes, then press them into service as workers or soldiers. Considering that in Fallout 2, they had the numbers and the tech, they wouldn’t have any problems crushing any random raider tribe or upstart nation, and if they provide the communities of post-apocalyptic America some security, people will line up to support them, just as they did with Owyn Lyons’ version of the Brotherhood of Steel, which in Fallout 3 had no shortage of recruits. They can have their mutated agent, Frank Horrigan, crush any mutant leader that crosses the Enclave, and organize the super mutants into a force that fights FOR the Enclave and the good people of America rather than against them. Granted, the Enclave SHOULD keep the modified “Forced Evolutionary Virus” that kills irradiated humans and creatures as a backup, as a weapon to threaten uppity tribes and mutant warbands that continue to defy the government and threaten the people. Use it as a weapon of last resort if power-armored soldiers isn’t enough to solve the problem. Using such tactics, the Enclave could have dominated the American wasteland, unified the people of postwar America, and rebuilt the nation into that 1950’s-esque vision of the American dream that the Enclave wants to return America to. With more manpower and support from the outside, their chances of success would be more tangible, and the player would probably be on their side instead of against them. But obviously, the writers of Fallouts 2 and 3 needed a powerful villain, and making the Enclave a powerful remnant of the US government that serves as a genocidal threat against almost all the people of the setting was a quick way to make the player oppose them.

Once the Enclave gets separated from their flawed agenda, they can become a powerful force in the post-apocalyptic world. This is evidenced with the New Vegas version of the Enclave, which the player recruits as heavy shocktroops for their side in the Battle for Hoover Dam. Just like how the Brotherhood of Steel excelled the most as the “tip of the spear” for the NCR forces, so too do the Enclave forces excel in being the vanguard for the armies of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. If the Enclave’s mission was just to “civilize” the wasteland as Judah Kreger put it, they’d be far more successful, not to mention well-liked, by the people of the Fallout universe.

PART 7: COMPARISON TO OTHER FACTIONS

The power of the Enclave is based on the fact that they use the most advanced technologies and armors. The Enclave is the most advanced remnant of the United States, with access to all its secrets and technologies before AND after the nuclear war devastated the country. Just like how the Byzantines used flamethrowers and innovative architecture during the Dark Ages where even most monarchs barely lived in luxury, the Enclave continued to research power armor technology, furthering it and creating the power armors that we see in Fallouts 2, 3, and New Vegas. Their soldiers are equipped with state-of-the-art energy weapons that would make them more at home in Star Wars rather than some post-apocalyptic game reminiscent of Mad Max. The only time I’ve seen Enclave forces use bullets is one or two instances in New Vegas, where one Enclave soldier had a chaingun, and their officer had a machine gun. Otherwise, almost every Enclave soldier and officer, from Colonel Autumn to Orion Moreno, use energy weapons. The first time I fought an Enclave soldiers in Fallout 3, and they were taking potshots at me with plasma weapons and lasers. And the fact that the Enclave managed to reverse-engineer the FEV virus, a virus that creates mutants, into a mutant-killer, goes to show how advanced they are in the realm of science.

Even as their country was nuked and they were reduced to a few remote bases, they continued to innovate. Even as their numbers continued to dwindle, they continued to evolve and remain a threat, until finally, their embers were stomped out in Fallout 3, only to have a revival in New Vegas, where after their little stunt at Hoover Dam, both sides respected them out of fear for both versions of the endings:

NCR: “After their bold arrival at Hoover Dam, the Remnants disappeared as quickly as they came. Legends of their power spread throughout the southwest, a reminder of why people once feared the sight of vertibirds in the sky.”

Legion: “Merciless in their assault on the NCR, the Remnants struck fear into the hearts of even the centurions at Hoover Dam. Well aware of the full extent of their power, Caesar commanded his troops to not pursue them.”

Compare that to almost every faction in Fallout, and it almost seems unfair. To prove this point, we will compare the Enclave to the three other major factions in the Fallout universe: the New California Republic, Caesar’s Legion, and the Brotherhood of Steel.

ENCLAVE VS NCR

The NCR has the numbers for a war, but they lack a scientific focus, since at most, they rely on numbers to win against foes like the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave forces at Navarro. Their regular soldiers wear potato-sack uniforms with some leather armor, their rangers wear riot gear worn by pre-war police units, and their heavy-armored troops wear older models of stripped-down power armor that has almost none of the strengths of power armor aside from the defensive capabilities, which makes them even weaker than Brotherhood of Steel paladins, who themselves are already weaker than Enclave troops. Few of the NCR soldiers have the training to wear and use real power armor, which means that even if the NCR lucked out and ran into a massive armory of Enclave power armor suits, very few NCR soldiers could actually equip them, not without their techs sabotaging the suits and removing the parts that give the armor its strength.

There is also the fact that most of the NCR troops have barely even seen energy weapons, let alone used them, which again, means that in firepower, the average Enclave soldier outmatches his NCR counterpart. The NCR’s only real advantage over the Enclave is numbers. A powerful advantage, to be sure, but not one that can win them everything. And sure, the Enclave and the NCR both have skilled operatives: the Enclave with its troops, and the NCR with its Rangers. However, the NCR’s Rangers are few and far between, whereas the Enclave’s power-armored troops are always there wherever the Enclave operates. So while the Enclave’s power-armored troops are present in games where they’re a major power, with the NCR, their Rangers barely show up until the player is at a high-enough level.

So in an all-out war, unless the NCR has the advantage of numbers, the Enclave would win. And it shows: the NCR does not attack the Enclave before the oil rig base goes down. Only after most of the Enclave forces were blown up did the NCR find the courage to attack one isolated Enclave base in Navarro-sure in the idea that the base won’t have any reinforcements to back them up. With most of the west coast Enclave forces devastated by the oil rig’s destruction, and many Enclave troops moving east to work under President John Henry Eden, the NCR was able to wipe out the isolated Enclave base in the west. But make no mistake: if the Enclave had more numbers, they would crush the NCR. This is proven by the fact that the NCR didn’t move against the Enclave before the latter’s oil rig base goes down, because they know that if they did attack the Enclave while the Enclave can still reinforce its outposts, the Enclave would crush them decisively. It was quite fortunate for the NCR that the Enclave were relying on a plan to eradicate the irradiated humans with the FEV. If the Enclave in Fallout 2 simply used its standing forces to simply conquer and unite the American mainland, they would have crushed the NCR without a second thought.

ENCLAVE VS CAESAR'S LEGION

As for the Enclave and Caesar’s Legion, the Legion and the Enclave share some traits, that being training and discipline as well as adaptability despite defeat. Both Legion and Enclave soldiers are loyal to the bone, and few would turn on their superiors or go against their orders. That’s why the NCR was so hostile to both of them: it’s hard to find Enclave soldiers during the height of their power turning against the cause. They were also able to adapt despite their past failures.

In Fallout 3, for instance, the only person from the Enclave to be of any use to the player is the bloody PRESIDENT, and that was after his men betrayed him for Colonel Autumn. And he’s an AI, not a human being. There was that squad of soldiers in the Poseidon Oil Rig in Fallout 2, but seeing as how the place was going down and they were stuck guarding a mutant, it wasn’t that much of a surprise that they turned. The rest of the Enclave forces are disciplined enough to fight until the end. Some soldiers like Orion Moreno still held that discipline and fire within them-the kind of fire that tough leaders like Sergeant Arch Dornan had. Dornan was as tough as they came, almost like Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket, except with power armor. No wonder Moreno hates the NCR so much-he still believed in the Enclave even after it fell. And they were all well-trained in using power armor and energy weapons, in a time where many people struggle to use simple guns. And NCR soldiers couldn’t even wear power armor without the servos stripped out. In the same vein, Legion soldiers would rather die than surrender. Legion troops are universally impossible to recruit for the NCR. Even ex-Legion characters like Ulysses and Joshua Graham wouldn’t come back to turn on their former brothers. And their intense training gives them mastery over guns and melee weapons, making them far stronger than NCR forces. Legion Frumentarii like Vulpes Inculta have the discipline to sneak into enemy territory and mimic their customs and attitudes without being found out, while the average Legion soldier is more well-trained and disciplined than the average NCR soldier.

Both forces also adapt in the face of defeat. The fall of the oil rig in Fallout 2 didn’t dent the Enclave’s determination for its plans, as they managed to recover and regroup for Fallout 3. Heck, the fall of the oil rig and the Navarro base didn’t even stop them from developing newer suits of armor, like a new version of the power armor, a new version of the Tesla armor that is capable of absorbing energy attacks, and a so-called “Hellfire Armor” that protects from heat and is a favorite of Enclave troops using flame-based weapons. And again, the Enclave forces were well-equipped to hold Project Purity against the Brotherhood-if it wasn’t for Liberty Prime, they would have held out indefinitely. And later on, the Enclave manages to destroy Prime anyways, showing that they haven’t lost their teeth even after they lost the purifier. If the player accepts President Eden’s offer, the Enclave succeeds in its goal of purifying the wasteland, at least in the capital.

In the same vein, Caesar’s Legion adapted well after their defeat in the First Battle of Hoover Dam. After the Legate Joshua Graham was defeated in that battle, Caesar and his forces didn’t give up the fight, doubling down on their efforts to weaken the NCR and going for a more subtle approach to victory: they recruited tribes like the Khans to help fight the NCR, they were in the process of securing energy weapons from the Van Graffs family, they staged attacks on NCR camps like Camp Searchlight and Nelson, and they had their Frumentarii agents sneak around in enemy territory, sabotaging the enemy wherever possible and learning about their movements. A Legion Frumentarii at the NCR base at Camp McCarran kept the Legion informed of NCR troop movements so that Legion forces can place mines on the path of NCR troops, and he bombs Camp McCarran’s monorail line to sabotage the NCR’s capability to move men and supplies from one place to another. Another Frumentarii squad attempts to assassinate the NCR president, and if the player doesn’t intervene, they succeed. The Legion sacked the town of Nipton, a hang-out for both gangsters and NCR soldiers. Dialogue with the Legion’s second Legate, Lanius, even shows that in preparation for the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, he had his men sneak inside tunnels within Hoover Dam, which gives the NCR a nasty surprise when the battle starts and Legion troops swarm the Dam’s insides. It goes to show that for both of these villainous factions, defeat doesn’t dull their edge, so long as they still have leadership and numbers.

But while they have similarities, the Legion and the Enclave differ due to several issues: the Enclave is constantly coming up with new technologies for battle, whereas the Legion shuns tech outside of weapons that can be wielded by men. The Enclave wants to wipe out the primitive human tribes that have sprouted up after the nuclear war, whereas the Legion is working to dominate them. In these instances, the Enclave has both an advantage and a disadvantage over the Legion. On the one hand, the Enclave’s forces are not hampered by bans on chems, robots, and other such equipment. Meaning that their forces are well-equipped for battle and have the tech to heal themselves after a firefight. Unlike the Legion, which relies on primitive healing powders and the occasional Auto-Doc robotic doctors for medical support, the Enclave is more than happy to use chemical items and more advanced healing technology, and the fact that they don’t shun robot warriors like the Legion does bolsters their forces.

In fact, for Fallout 3, the Enclave leadership benefited greatly from having robotic warriors, as it allowed President John Henry Eden to protect the player when the troops at Raven Rock went rogue. The player character becomes a vital part in Eden’s plan, but Colonel Autumn can’t see the bigger picture and turns against the player, sending the soldiers of Raven Rock to kill the player character. Eden then uses the robots and defense turrets of Raven Rock to protect the player and keep them from harm. The fact that Enclave forces are continuing to innovate new technologies means that they have a combat edge over the Legion, one that the Legion can’t match. If an Enclave army meets a Legion army of the same size in an open battle, the Enclave forces would massacre the Legion troops, especially since the Enclave has power armors, energy weapons, and medical technology. Both armies are disciplined, but only one has power armors and advanced medical care, while the other is stuck using cowboy weapons, machetes, and sports gear for armor.

However, the Legion has the superior numbers, mostly because unlike the Enclave, they recruit locals. Instead of wanting to wipe them out, the Legion either recruits local tribes to join, or forces hostile tribes to be assimilated into the Legion. This policy gives them the same numerical advantage the NCR has, but unlike the NCR, the Legion wipes away the customs of the tribes they conquer, forcing them to train as disciplined troops under one banner, and one ideology: that of the Legion’s. Thanks to this, the Legion combined the discipline and efficiency of the Enclave’s forces with the large numbers that the NCR was known for. This gives them a large reservoir of manpower full of well-trained troops. What the Legion lacks in energy weapons, power armor, and robots, they have the sheer numbers to make up for that. The Legion is able to fight the NCR to a standstill, and if we compared the forces and battle tactics of NCR General Lee Oliver with that of Legate Lanius, the Legate and the Legion would come out on top, especially since Oliver’s men aren’t as professionally-trained as Lanius’ forces, and Oliver himself became a general due to political favors, while Lanius became the Legion’s top general because he was good at fighting and strategizing.

If both sides came at each other at the height of their powers, the Legion and the Enclave would have a tough time fighting each other. Both sides have well-disciplined soldiers. The Enclave would have the superior firepower and equipment, the Legion would have the numbers. The Enclave soldier can cause more casualties than his Legion counterpart, on account of the power armor and advanced energy weaponry, while the Legion soldiers can afford more casualties than the Enclave because of them conquering 87 tribes and using said tribes as pools of manpower to recruit soldiers from. The Legion’s Frumentarii might also be a problem for the Enclave, as Frumentarii agents are expert spies who can blend in with the enemy and carry out missions, from intel gathering, to assassination and sabotage. However, since most of the humans that work for the Legion are irradiated, if the Enclave employs the FEV virus in any capacity, be it to poison the water or spread the virus through the air, it would kill most of the Legion forces.

But outside of that, the two factions would obviously have a stalemate. The Enclave’s numbers are greater than that of the Brotherhood of Steel, as was evidenced with the Enclave forces in Fallout 3, where despite being a remnant of the Fallout 2 Enclave forces, they still had enough numbers to occupy many places in the Capital Wasteland. This means they can pose a larger threat to the Legion when compared to the Brotherhood of Steel, especially when each Enclave soldier employs advanced energy weapons and power armor. But on the flipside, the Legion still has superior numbers due to their open recruitment policy, and their harsh training regimen would mean that even if they don’t have heavy weapons and armor, they can still pose a threat, especially if they use high-caliber guns against the later, cheaper versions of Enclave armor. Of course, the Legion’s openly misogynistic ways might force the women of the wasteland to go and help the Enclave, but at most, the Enclave would keep these women simply as useable assets and auxiliaries, not as actual members, not unless these women are pure vault-stock humans whom the Enclave would most certainly recruit. President John Henry Eden did recruit the player character from Fallout 3, because he thought the player came from a vault, and was therefore a pure, vault-stock human who wasn’t irradiated. (Spoiler warning: he’s wrong, and the player can die from the FEV just like any mutated freak.)

ENCLAVE VS BROTHERHOOD OF STEEL

When compared to the Brotherhood of Steel, one must realize that the Brotherhood isn’t just one organization. They have the West Coast Brotherhood which operate in the Mojave, in California, and other western territories, and there is also the East Coast Brotherhood led by Owyn Lyons. And these are two very different factions with very different ways of operating and interacting with the outside world. But in general, some things about the Brotherhood remain a constant for both versions, and when compared to the Enclave, they’re not necessarily very favorable.

The Brotherhood prides itself in gathering technology kept from the era before the atomic war, and as such, their power armors are armors worn by US soldiers in the war between America and the Communists. Most of the tech they use are remnants of the technology used by America in their war against the Chinese. However, the Brotherhood has barely advanced from that tech level. Their whole modus operandi is to preserve tech and keep it out of the hands of more primitive and violent peoples, not to perfect it or push it further. Which means that unless the Brotherhood has some other advantage other than its standing forces, they’re going to get creamed by the Enclave, because the Enclave didn’t spend the past 200 years after the apocalypse just standing around and doing nothing. They were inventing newer suits of power armor, they gave their soldiers advanced weapons, and they even worked to reverse-engineer a virus that creates mutants into a virus that can kill them and any other irradiated creatures. And since each Enclave soldier is more well-equipped than the average Brotherhood Paladin, on account of the more advanced power armor and easy access to energy weapons like plasma rifles, in an open firefight, your average Brotherhood force would be outgunned by the Enclave soldiers, who are their superiors in numbers, tech, and firepower.

The West Coast Brotherhood, with its hostility towards outsiders and dogged insistence on loyalty to the Codex, would be crushed if they fought the Enclave. Hence why in Fallout 2, they wisely stayed out of the picture-because they knew that they didn’t have the numbers or the tech to stand against the Enclave. They obviously didn’t have the numbers for a protracted engagement, and they certainly have no aptitude for researching new tech to offer them an advantage against the Enclave. The latter point is reinforced by the fact that the West Coast Brotherhood has no aptitude for researching new tech and weapons. This is shown in Fallout New Vegas when the Courier, working with the Brotherhood scribe Veronica Santangelo, try to convince the Mojave Brotherhood Elder, Nolan McNamara, to pursue technologies that are unknown to the Brotherhood. Even if they present him with something new, like a solar-powered orbital laser, he chooses not to pursue new tech or interact with the outside world, and instead, Veronica and the Courier are confronted by hostile Brotherhood paladins who are convinced that they were trying to poison the Elder’s thoughts with heretical ideas.

This is in comparison to the Enclave forces continuing to develop new suits of power armor and weapons, to the point where in Fallout 3, they have developed the Enclave “Hellfire” armor, a durable armor made of “duraframe” components that is also heat-resistant, making it easier for troops with flame-based weapons to withstand any heat they might cause. With such close-minded ideology, the Brotherhood would be no match for the Enclave forces that actually do go above and beyond when it comes to innovating technology. And with the numbers advantage being on the Enclave’s side as well, victory would be assured for the Enclave.

To put it in the words of the former Brotherhood paladin Ishmael Ashur: “They're so obsessed with the technology of the past, they don't care what needs to be done for today and tomorrow. It takes real work to rebuild and run a city. But there isn't a machine to do it for them, so the Brotherhood ain't interested. Good riddance.”

And what’s worse is how the West Coast Brotherhood interacts with outsiders. By the time of Fallout New Vegas, the Brotherhood in the West has become so overtly hostile to outsiders, that they threaten to kill any outsider that dares to get close to them. If the Courier approaches their base at Hidden Valley, the Brotherhood paladins confront the Courier and tell them to strip down to their underwear and drop all their gear. If the Courier disagrees, they are shot on the spot. If the Courier agrees, the half-naked Courier is then led to Elder McNamara, who then places a bomb collar on them and forces them to get rid of an NCR Ranger. So basically, the Brotherhood just forced an outsider to strip down and be half-naked (which is more awkward when a female courier has to strip down in front of male paladins) after which they placed a bomb on them, essentially enslaving them. The same thing happens to the Courier if they follow the Sierra Madre broadcast to an abandoned Brotherhood bunker-they get captured by another Brotherhood elder, Father Elijah, who also has his minion slap a bomb collar on the Courier so he can force them to follow his orders to break into the dangerous, booby-trapped, Sierra Madre Casino.

What do we call people who strap bombs onto other people and threaten them with death unless they do what they’re told? We call those people terrorists. We brand them with that title and we hunt them down and kill them wherever we can find them. House was right to brand them with that word, when he described the Brotherhood: “They're a terrorist group, basically. Militant, quasi-religious fanatics obsessed with hoarding Pre-War technology.”

And the fact that the Brotherhood in the west practically resorts to terrorism means they have very few friends on the outside, which means that the Enclave won’t have any problem crushing them at all, especially when the Enclave has the numbers game down. Even President John Henry Eden recruited outsiders like the Fallout 3 player character without much problems, whereas McNamara has to be convinced of the Courier’s good intentions by having the latter act like a good little slave and do whatever the Elder wants. On the other hand, John Henry Eden has such trust in the Fallout 3 player character that he doesn’t even bother with bomb collars or any kind of insurances against the player. In fact, a virtuous player can just as easily tell Eden what he wants to hear, then turn over the FEV virus to the East Coast Brotherhood. Sure, that ruins Eden’s plan, but it goes to show that Eden saw the player as a person that he can reason with, whereas the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood and Father Elijah treated the Courier like a slave to be exploited.

Which means that even the Enclave, famous for wanting to genocide almost everyone in the US mainland outside of pure humans, has an easier time recruiting outsiders than the West Coast Brotherhood. And given the goals of the Brotherhood elders, with McNamara having his paladins accost people for tech if his chapter becomes free of NCR and Legion interference, and Father Elijah desiring the complete and total annihilation of the NCR and all life in the west, it’s hard to see people volunteering to help the Brotherhood there, especially when one of their elders was worse than the Enclave is in wanting to kill everyone, since Father Elijah wants everyone dead, even pure vault-stock humans. At least when Eden tried to recruit the player to commit genocide, he was nice about it.

However, the East Coast Brotherhood under Owyn Lyons and his daughter Sarah is a different story altogether. Like the NCR and the Legion, they recruit people on the outside and help people protect themselves from super mutants and other threats. This results in the people of the Capital Wasteland being more supportive of the Brotherhood, with local news anchors like Three Dog openly making statements in support of the Brotherhood. This has led to the Brotherhood having so many recruits from the outside, that they have to actually turn down the player in Fallout 3 when the player asks to join the Brotherhood. The East Coast BoS is swimming in popular support due to their protective actions in favor of the populace, and outsiders find it easy to help them. This leads to outsiders like Doctor Li helping the Brotherhood with their own problems, such as getting the war machine known as Liberty Prime online. Thanks to outsider support, the Brotherhood was able to get Liberty Prime online, and Prime decimated the Enclave forces in the battle for Project Purity, allowing the Brotherhood to seize control of the water purifier and use it to cleanse the water of radiation, earning them more popular support and outside help. And given how even Brotherhood initiates wear power armor, it goes to show that the East Coast Brotherhood can field more power-armored soldiers than their western cousins, thanks to more loyal volunteers pouring in.

Against such an enemy, the Enclave would obviously have a harder time. This version of the Brotherhood is willing to work with outsider scientists so they can innovate new ways to improve upon old technology. Doctor Li fixing Liberty Prime’s power issues was an example. And thanks to their large numbers, the Brotherhood under the Lyons family was effectively able to resist the Enclave in Fallout 3, and even defeat them in certain engagements, like during their battle around the Jefferson Memorial to take Project Purity back from the Enclave.

Of course, the Enclave wasn’t totally helpless: their armors and weapons were still more advanced than those of the Brotherhood, and we see the BoS soldiers after the victory in Project Purity wielding plasma rifles obviously taken from fallen Enclave troops, which goes to show that even they prefer Enclave tech when compared to their own. The Brotherhood Outcasts who split from Lyons’ forces so they could focus on collect technology are so enamored by Enclave tech, that their leader puts on the Enclave power armor suit if he was given a set by the player. The Enclave even manages to take down Liberty Prime using an orbital strike weapon in one of their battles. If it wasn’t for the player’s actions in the Fallout 3 DLC Broken Steel, the war between the Lyons’ Brotherhood and the Enclave might have gone into a standstill, or the Enclave might have eventually won due to their superior numbers. But obviously the player helps the Lyons’ Brotherhood, because they are so open and accepting of outsider support.

Perhaps the Enclave could have defeated the Lyons Brotherhood if they were at full strength, like they were in Fallout 2. Especially since they used sturdier power armors back then, and they obviously had greater numbers. But in Fallout 3, they were obviously at a standstill with the East Coast Brotherhood, especially since the Brotherhood recruits large numbers of people to be fielded as power-armored soldiers, as well as scientists from the outside to help them with technical problems. The East Coast Brotherhood is capable of adapting. So if the Enclave becomes too much of a threat for them, the East Coast Brotherhood might try to innovate a solution to overcome the Enclave, which makes the battle between them and the Enclave an even fight, just like how a fight between the Enclave and Caesar’s Legion would be.

Since the Enclave was gone by the time Arthur Maxson took over the Brotherhood of Steel, they had no interactions with said organization, but from what we can see in Fallout 4, Arthur brought the formerly enlightened East Coast Brotherhood back to the more backwards and hostile ways of the West Coast Brotherhood. His forces distrust outsiders, and he openly despises synthetic humans, desiring their total annihilation, even though they are living pieces of tech that according to older Brotherhood rules, should be studied and preserved.

While they have a massive airship and vertibirds, as well as Liberty Prime, if Arthur Maxson’s Brotherhood went up against the Enclave’s full might in Fallout 2, they’d still get screwed. Once again, their hostile ways towards outsiders wouldn’t endear them to volunteers from the outside the way the Lyons’ Brotherhood would. Which means that the Fallout 2 Enclave would mop the floor with them, even though they had that giant airship the Prydwen on their side. The Enclave would have the numbers to sweep the Brotherhood and clean their clock, perhaps even invade their airship and kill Maxson aboard his own floating palace. Even if Arthur Maxson’s Brotherhood sends Liberty Prime against the Enclave, they would just destroy it like they did before, with an orbital blast, or have their scientists hack it to turn it against the Brotherhood, just like how the Institute in Fallout 4 does when they attack the Brotherhood in their campaign missions.

Even if we reduce it to the Fallout 3 Enclave, they’d still have enough manpower and tech to destroy the Brotherhood. And considering the fact that Arthur fears unknown technologies like Synths more than he accepts them, it is likely that if Maxson’s Brotherhood gets cornered by the Enclave troops, they will die fighting.

So in retrospect, the Enclave would only lose to the NCR if the latter greatly outnumbered the former, and the former was at their lowest point. Otherwise, the Enclave would cream them hard, especially if the Enclave was at full strength with the Poseidon Oil Rig base functional. The Legion can give the Enclave an even fight, due to them having disciplined soldiers, an excellent spy network, and larger numbers than the Enclave bolstered by dozens of conquered tribes. The West Coast Brotherhood would get obliterated by the Enclave in a stand-up fight, whereas the Lyons’ version of the Enclave can fight the Enclave to a standstill thanks to outsider support and being open to tech innovations. Arthur Maxson’s Brotherhood, being almost an exact copy of the West Coast Brotherhood, would get creamed by either the Fallout 2 or Fallout 3 Enclave. Going by all these points, it is safe to say that the Enclave is the strongest faction in the Fallout universe, down to the point where the Lyons’ Brotherhood had to break away from tradition to defeat them, and the NCR could only defeat them if the might of the Republic was up against one measly base.

God Bless the Enclave! God Bless America!
Faction Overviews: The Enclave (Fallout)
And here I present the overview for the faction that people consider to be the rivals of the Brotherhood of Steel, the American remnant faction known as The Enclave. Needless to say, they're my favorite faction, even if their leaders were idiotic.
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PART 1: INTRO

The Brotherhood of Steel is one of the more iconic factions in the Fallout universe. With their Paladins sporting the iconic power armor that has appeared throughout most of the Fallout games, the Brotherhood maintains a strong presence in the games and in the fans’ hearts. However, as a faction, they’re a lot less like a nation with a military, and more like a knightly order like those of the Middle Ages, what with their power structure consisting of knights and paladins, and their whole faction being split up into chapters across the former USA. The order consists of well-trained Paladins wearing power armor, as well as knights and apprentices who wear lighter armors below them, and the scribes and elders who wear clothing more akin to priests and monks. All of them are adept at using energy weapons against the enemy, and in most Fallout games, they usually are the one human faction that is most adept at using energy weapons, outside of factions like the Enclave and the Van Graffs, the former being a remnant of the US government, and the latter being energy weapons merchants.

It was started by Roger Maxson, a captain in the US Army who was standing guard at the Mariposa Military Base. After discovering that the government was experimenting on prisoners of war with the Forced Evolutionary Virus, Maxson’s superior committed suicide and his unit turned to him for guidance. He then executed the scientists responsible for the experiment, and formally declared his desertion from the United States military. To his surprise, no response from high command was given, mostly because they were too busy fighting the Chinese. Once the bombs dropped, Maxson’s forces, including their families, were safe from the bombs and the FEV which was accidentally released. With no opposition left from the now-defunct US government, and the country becoming a nuclear hellhole, Maxson then led his forces into a government fallout shelter in Lost Hills, in a dangerous journey known to the Brotherhood as the “Exodus”, where they suffered casualties from some raider tribes and the harsh conditions of the wasteland. Maxson then set up the place as his new headquarters for his new organization-the Brotherhood of Steel. The Brotherhood then began to spread across the United States, in their efforts to salvage technology and preserve the past, to rebuild civilization their way.

The Brotherhood sees itself as the inheritor of the technology from the past nuclear war that saw to the annihilation of the US, China, and every civilized nation on earth. They scavenge pre-war technology for their own use, such as power armor and other technological marvels, in order to keep them out of the hands of people that might misuse them. They are also very protective of said technology, and would fight and kill over control of technology with other factions, be they raiders, Super Mutants, or even other human factions. As such, they make very few friends. The only exception was the Brotherhood from Fallout 3, where the Brotherhood Chapter in the Capital Wasteland made more than a few compromises and changes to be able to adapt to the situation there to fight both the Super Mutants and the Enclave forces. But by the time of Fallout 4, Arthur Maxson took over the East Coast Brotherhood, and he brought the Brotherhood to its more traditional ways of extorting technology from the populace, as well as an intense hatred for any non-humans, be they Super Mutants or synthetic humanoids.

PART 2: INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER FACTIONS

The Brotherhood has fought almost every major faction in the Fallout universe, but outside of the Super Mutants in Fallout 1, and the Enclave forces in Fallout 3, most of the major factions have been able to give them a good beating that makes them far weaker than most of the other factions. In Fallout 1, they helped the player defeat the Master and his Super Mutant army. In Fallout 2, they weren’t able to confront the Enclave directly, due to it being a remnant of the US government with more technology and resources than they did. In Fallout 3, they needed the assistance of Liberty Prime, a massive pre-war automaton designed to fight the Communists, in order to defeat the Enclave forces in the former US capital of Washington DC. And in Fallout New Vegas, the most popular of the Fallout games, they were basically a small player in the face of larger powers like Vegas, the New California Republic, and Caesar’s Legion. In Fallout 4, they had a mighty presence, but considering their only competition was the Minutemen (a small civilian militia) and the Institute (a group of scientists preferring to work in the shadows) it’s no big surprise that they were the strongest group in the game.

But why is it that they get shoved to the side in some of the Fallout games? You’d think that a group that is descended from former US army officers walking around in power armor and hoarding all the tech they could find would make almost any other faction look like crap, right? How is it that they were able to defeat the Enclave forces in the East, yet in other major Fallout games like 2 and New Vegas, they were sideshows? The answer is simple: they’re a knightly order, not a nation. While a knightly order can hold on to objectives and slaughter more primitive raiders, against nations that research and acquire more advanced technology or have superior numbers and professional military training, the Brotherhood would basically be nothing more but a distraction for them. And the fact that the Brotherhood tries to take advanced technology from anyone they don’t trust (read: everyone else but them) ends up with them antagonizing most factions in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, which then leads to the Brotherhood getting the crap beaten out of them by larger, stronger factions. Here’s a snippet from a Fallout New Vegas ending where the Brotherhood is left alone to do as they please:

“The Brotherhood used the battle of Hoover Dam as an opportunity to retake HELIOS One, and came to control the area between it and Hidden Valley. With no organized opposition, their patrols began monitoring trade along I-15 and 95, seizing any items of technology they deemed inappropriate.”

And here is another ending where the Brotherhood made peace with the NCR before the latter was driven out of the region:

“Due to their temporary truce, the Brotherhood allowed the NCR to retreat from the Mojave Wasteland without incident. In the relative peace that followed, Brotherhood patrols appeared along major roads, harassing travelers over any bits of technology they had.”

Would any civilized nation allow a group of such marauders, armored with power armor, to harass their citizens in such a brazen act of thievery? The obvious answer is no. No faction that wants to restart civilization can tolerate the Brotherhood so long as the latter keep doing what they always do. The factions in Fallout that are trying to restart civilization obviously either have advanced technology, or are looking to acquire it. A bunch of glorified tech bandits pretending to be knights would be considered the enemy of any force trying to restart civilization, hence why most of the factions in Fallout New Vegas wanted them dead. Caesar and Robert House, two leaders who are trying to rebuild civilization, see the Brotherhood as nothing more but glorified scavengers and terrorists:

Caesar: “The worst impulses of mankind, concentrated in one insane, backward tribe. The Brotherhood seems to have formed not long after the great atomic war. It's hard to know - they care little for history. Some of the Brotherhood scribes we captured further East didn't even know the name of their founder, Roger Maxson. They like to pretty up their mission with trappings of chivalry, but the truth is they're hoarders. They hoard technology. It's been 200 years, and they still have the mentality of scavengers. They say they're preserving these technologies, but for what? They have no vision. They offer no future. They're a dead end.”

Robert House: “They're a terrorist group, basically. Militant, quasi-religious fanatics obsessed with hoarding Pre-War technology. Not all technology, mind you. You don't see them raiding hospitals to cart away Auto-Docs or armfuls of prosthetic organs. No, they greatly prefer the sort of technology that puts people in hospitals. Or graves, rather, since hospitals went the way of the Dodo. We're talking about a coterie of bulging-eyed fanatics who think all Pre-War technology belongs to them. They're ridiculous! They galavant around the Mojave pretending to be Knights of Yore. Or did, until the NCR showed them that ideological purity and shiny power armor don't count for much when you're outnumbered 15:1. The world has no use for emotionally unstable techno-fetishists. Just wipe them out, will you!?”

Considering that the Courier in my playthroughs of New Vegas had no less than two Brotherhood Elders order their goons to strip her of everything and slap bomb collars on her neck, she had no problems agreeing with House or Caesar in wiping them all out. Both Elder McNamara and Father Elijah had their goons strip my courier of everything from clothes to weapons, and they slapped bomb collars on her to force her to do their bidding. Literally every interaction she had with the Brotherhood’s leaders is them stripping her half-naked and placing a bomb on her neck. Slapping a bomb collar on someone’s neck and threatening to blow it up if they disobeyed is practically a form of slavery, since by putting a bomb on someone’s neck, you’re quite literally forcing your will on a person and punishing them with death if they disobeyed. My Courier wound up getting enslaved by the Brotherhood-TWICE. Not even the Legion’s Caesar, a man known for enslaving women, did that to her. (In fact, in my Legion playthrough, he continued to patronize and reward her so long as she did what he ordered.) Hence why my Courier had no problems wiping out the Brotherhood for House or for Caesar. She agreed with both of them that the Brotherhood are just tech scavengers who benefit nobody but themselves, using chivalry to pretty up their mission of being glorified thieves who have no problems enslaving or killing others to get their way.

The only time my Courier spared them was in my NCR playthrough, where she sought to use them as meatshields for the NCR forces in the Second Battle for Hoover Dam, so she won their trust by working for them then had them ally with the NCR. Considering how outclassed the NCR was against Caesar’s Legion, she thought they needed all the help they could get. And that’s where the Brotherhood truly shined in the game: as elite soldiers helping a larger army win victory, as the proverbial “tip of the spear,” not as a faction on their own fighting a war against a larger faction that would inevitably end with their destruction. During the Battle for Hoover Dam, the Brotherhood forces slaughtered Legion troops who were too busy killing NCR soldiers to focus on the Paladins. And in the end, the only way to make the Brotherhood civilized in Fallout New Vegas was to literally marry them with the NCR and have the NCR win, as shown by the NCR victory ending where they made a truce with the Brotherhood:

“The Brotherhood and the NCR in the Mojave Wasteland declared an official truce, despite continued hostilities between the two in the west. As per their agreement, the NCR handed over all suits of salvaged power armor and in return the Brotherhood helped patrol I-15 and Highway 95.”

Other than that, the Brotherhood would just keep stealing technology until they get the stuffing knocked out of them by larger factions. For example, take their war with the New California Republic. In the West Coast, prior to the events of Fallout New Vegas, the Brotherhood of Steel fought against the New California Republic when it became obvious that the NCR wants to use tech that the Brotherhood isn’t willing to share. The NCR’s objective is to rebuild America the way it was before the war, while the Brotherhood’s objective is to keep technology out of the hands of those they don’t trust-and that included the NCR. This then led to a war where the West Coast Brotherhood was nearly annihilated. The NCR continued to push against Brotherhood forces as they pushed eastward into the Mojave, where they ran across another Brotherhood chapter led by an Elder named Father Elijah. Elijah took over the solar power plant Helios One and refused to give ground, leading to another war with the NCR. The NCR crushed them with superior numbers, Elijah went into hiding, and the new elder, McNamara, took over what was left of the Brotherhood and had them retreat to a bunker in Hidden Valley. They would then remain there, on the sidelines, as the NCR and Caesar’s Legion began fighting over the Mojave Wasteland, while Robert House and his New Vegas manipulated both factions. And in most endings for the game, the player just massacres what’s left of the Mojave Brotherhood for one of the three factions, ending their sad existence for good. There are only a few endings for the game where the Brotherhood flourishes-either as glorified patrol guards for the NCR, or as tech robbers harassing and threatening people over bits of tech they deem inappropriate.

PART 3: THE BROTHERHOOD VS. OTHER FACTIONS

In war, it's all about the numbers and statistics-and the NCR is the Brotherhood's superior on both ends. Only Caesar’s Legion matched the NCR in numbers and logistics, and the Legion is far larger than the Brotherhood. Plus, NCR Veteran Rangers and snipers can kill Brotherhood Paladins from afar using Anti-Materiel Rifles with armor-piercing ammo. As for the East Coast Brotherhood, fans of the Brotherhood would state that they can defeat the NCR with Liberty Prime. But such a claim does not hold up against the truth. In reality, it doesn't matter how many victories their pretty little robot is going to win for them; unless the entire Brotherhood is going to hide inside Liberty Prime, their forces would get decimated by the greater numbers and range of NCR forces. Plus, RUNNING Liberty Prime costs a massive amount of energy-so at most, Prime can give the Brotherhood of Steel a few victories until he runs out of juice, and then the East Coast Brotherhood would get annihilated just like the West Coast Brotherhood was when it fought the NCR. As was shown with their war against the Legion, the NCR can suffer heavy losses and keep on fighting. The Brotherhood can’t.

The NCR has been reverse-engineering power armor for their own ends, and they did reverse-engineer a vertibird to serve as their President's private transport. So what's to stop them from reverse-engineering Liberty Prime into being their pet as well, especially when some Enclave folks integrated with them, like Arcade Gannon and Cannibal Johnson, who can bring their tech expertise to the NCR’s use? And there's the fact that they have more manpower and resources, so the moment Prime runs out of juice, or the moment the Brotherhood lets their guard down, the NCR can push the Brotherhood back, capture/reprogram Liberty Prime, then pump him up with enough juice to screw the East Coast Brotherhood over.

The main reason Caesar’s Legion was able to dance around the NCR is because of advanced tactics: Legate Lanius, Caesar’s second-in-command, uses subtle infiltrators to get inside Hoover Dam while the NCR’s General Lee Oliver is busy planning out an assault on Caesar's Fort, while Caesar’s Frumentarii are busy sacking towns and planning assassinations and bombings all across NCR turf. Tactics and manpower, not technological strength, is what makes the Legion such a deadly opponent. Whereas the Brotherhood in the West was reduced into a shadow of its former self because the NCR screwed them hard, and when it came to tactics, they didn’t have anything that could save them, the way Caesar’s Frumentarii and his other strategists are doing for the Legion.

As Robert House said, "Ideological purity and shiny power armor don't count for much when you're outnumbered 15:1." Both the Legion and the NCR outnumber the Brotherhood greatly, which means that every man lost by the Brotherhood is a far greater blow to it than the loss of regular NCR soldiers or Legionnaires are for the NCR or for the Legion. Every Paladin lost by the Brotherhood is a loss it can’t afford. And judging by the amount of NCR Heavy Troopers and Legion Centurions that wear salvaged power armor or parts of said armor that formerly belonged to Brotherhood Paladins, it’s obvious they lost plenty of Paladins fighting against both groups.

As for Caesar's Legion, the group that gave the NCR so much trouble, Brotherhood fans look down on the NCR for not being able to defeat the Legion. However, fans who think that the Brotherhood can obliterate the Legion should take one good look at the Legion’s Centurions. Each high-ranking officer in Caesar's force wears a part of Brotherhood armor as a trophy. This implies one two things: one, that the Legion's Centurions hunt Brotherhood Paladins in the Midwest for sport as some kind of initiation ceremony, or two, the Legion has killed off entire chapters of the Brotherhood to the point where parts of Brotherhood armor has been made into standard-issue gear for the Centurions. Either way, it goes to show that the Legion, like the NCR, have hunted down the Brotherhood in their own domains, and Caesar even talks about how his forces have captured Brotherhood scribes.

So Brotherhood fans saying that the NCR is no match for the East Coast Brotherhood because the Legion gives them headaches doesn't make much sense, especially when Liberty Prime requires an insane amount of juice, and both the Legion and the NCR have annihilated Brotherhood forces wherever they expanded. While the NCR is inferior to Caesar’s Legion militarily, that does not dull their edge against the Brotherhood of Steel, especially when said Legion has either hunted Brotherhood Paladins for sport or has killed off entire chapters in their turf.

And even the mightiest of the Brotherhood’s Paladins are no match for the Securitron army of Robert Edwin House, where even the common robot soldier has armor and can pump the enemy full of lasers, grenades, and rocket barrages. Against such firepower and numbers, the Brotherhood might as well be one small company of knights going up against an entire Roman Legion, especially when the Brotherhood’s finest, their power-armored Paladins, would only be equal to the regular Mark-1 Securitron soldier that has armor plating and lasers, let alone the Mark-2 Securitrons who have grenades and rocket launchers.

The NCR and the Legion have both been adept at killing Brotherhood Paladins-The NCR Heavy Troopers wear salvaged power armor taken from fallen Brotherhood Paladins, while the Legion Centurions wear parts of Brotherhood power armor as part of their costumes. Both factions could easily get driven out by the Securitron army. This means that two factions that have basically made a sport of killing Brotherhood Paladins and taking their armors as trophies are either too scared to fight the full force of Vegas and its Securitron Army, or would get annihilated by them. In the House/Yes Man endings of Fallout New Vegas, the Securitrons in the Second Battle of Hoover Dam annihilate the vanguard of Caesar’s Legion, and after such a display of power, the NCR forces pack up and leave. Part of House’s new treaty with the NCR highlights how the Securitrons have used Caesar’s Legion as an example for those who cross them:

“For examples of ‘heavily-armed’ and ‘overwhelming force,’ I will refer you to the pitiless campaign of extermination my Securitrons will have visited upon Caesar's Legion by the time you are reading this document.”

When fighting the Brotherhood, the NCR runs them through and then takes their Paladins’ power armor as trophies, but against the Securitron army, the NCR would rather pack up and go home. That shows the kind of power disparity between the Securitrons and the Brotherhood Paladins-that an imperialistic, land-grabbing nation would have no problems killing Brotherhood forces and taking their armor as prizes, but the same nation would rather retreat than face the Securitron Army of Robert Edwin House. This shows that despite their technological aptitude, the Brotherhood is still second-fiddle to real technological geniuses like Mr. House.

So basically, the Brotherhood can only fight other factions if they’re small enough. Against larger factions, they’ll hold out for a time before inevitably being destroyed, like how the Spartans from Halo Reach were overwhelmed by the Covenant. In fact, the Brotherhood were getting kicked in the ass so badly by both the NCR and the Legion that, as I mentioned before, the elites of both sides, the Legion Centurions and the NCR Heavy Troopers, both wear armor taken from fallen Brotherhood Paladins. That’s the equivalent of a “what-if” scenario with the Empire from Star Wars where they crushed the Jedi so hard that every Stormtrooper captain or Imperial officer has a lightsaber hanging from his belt, a trophy taken from a Jedi he or someone else from the Empire killed. The Brotherhood Paladins’ armor are as iconic for them as the lightsaber is for the Jedi Knights, and yet other factions’ elite soldiers are running around wearing stolen Brotherhood power armor suits or parts of it, in the same way General Grievous from the Clone Wars wielded stolen Jedi lightsabers taken from the Jedi he killed.

Brotherhood Paladins are supposed to be the best of the best, wielding energy weapons that disintegrate enemies or tear them to shreds, and wearing power armor that makes them into living tanks, but other factions like the NCR and Caesar’s Legion practically made it into a sport as to how many Brotherhood Paladins can they kill and how much suits or parts of power armor they can take from the fallen Paladins for their own use, as either for protection in the case of NCR Heavy Troopers, or for showing off, as in the case of Legion Centurions. But, thanks to the Brotherhood’s hostile attitude towards outsiders and their propensity for stealing technology, they get less power than they should have, and as such, larger factions either crush them or send them packing.

PART 4: FALLOUT 3 AND 4, AND THE EAST COAST BROTHERHOOD

The Fallout 3 Brotherhood is the sole exception to this rule. Unlike the other versions of the Brotherhood in other Fallout games, the East Coast Brotherhood in the Capital Wasteland that fought the Enclave troops there were openly supportive of outsiders and fought to steal Project Purity from the Enclave so that everyone in the capital wasteland can have clean, drinking water. Thanks to their charitable approach, many people, including player character of Fallout 3, the Lone Wanderer, signed on with them and helped them fight against the Enclave forces. This led to them gaining Liberty Prime as an asset and winning the war against the Enclave in the East Coast. This open charity from Elder Owyn Lyons, the leader of the Brotherhood in the East Coast, is what led to others supporting them and helping them win the war for the Capital Wasteland.

Here’s the thing, however: Elder Lyons was practically a heretic in the eyes of old-school Brotherhood types. He fought not for the sake of the Brotherhood, but for the sake of the people of the Wasteland, and he simply used his position in the Brotherhood as its leader, and the Brotherhood itself, as a tool to secure the future for the people:

“When I came here, I realized for the first time that the Brotherhood's technology could truly save the survivors in this Wasteland. I chose to help them, even if it meant putting the Brotherhood's interests at risk. Some of my soldiers called me a hero. Others called me a traitor.”

Lyons went to war with the Enclave, not because they had technology that he thought should belong to the Brotherhood, but because he wanted to give people something they can hope for:

“I cannot -- I will not -- allow the Enclave to control the one thing that could bring even the slightest spark of hope to these people.”

So basically, the most positive example of a Brotherhood leader, the shining example of how much good the Brotherhood can achieve in this new world of the wastelands, and he’s a bloody heretic in their eyes. The Brotherhood Outcasts, a group of Brotherhood loyalists who hated Lyons’ idealism, left the order, and they only came back when Arthur Maxson brought the Brotherhood back into its more traditional role. In Fallout 4, Paladin Danse, one of the leading members of the East Coast Brotherhood after it was taken over by Arthur Maxson, speaks of Elder Lyons’ ideals in a rather negative tone:

“A decade ago, the Brotherhood had almost gone completely astray. The elder before Maxson sent us down a path that was leading nowhere. He was more concerned with charity than the preservation of technology. But when Maxson took over, he single-handedly re-prioritized the Brotherhood from the ground up, and put us back on the path to glory.”

But it was that path of charity that got the East Coast Brotherhood support from others. The path that led them to fight the Enclave with Liberty Prime, ending with a Brotherhood victory that saw them not only having a giant robot, but also Enclave tech such as Vertibirds, energy weapons, and power armor suits as spoils of war. Lyons’ path was not one of folly, it was one of wisdom. It was a path that led to the Brotherhood becoming richer and more powerful than ever before. With support from the outside, the Brotherhood was able to win wars, gain assets, and most importantly, gain the people’s love. By providing services like protecting people from mutants and the Enclave, the East Coast Brotherhood was able to grow and prosper.

Even the Brotherhood Outcasts who hated Lyons enough to the point where they seceded from his group pretty much do the same thing his Brotherhood does, like wiping out Super Mutant enemies in their places of business, while trading goods with the locals in exchange for scraps of technology. It is by providing services to the outside world does the Brotherhood prosper-by becoming a known faction that people on the outside can make deals with, both Lyons' Brotherhood and their Outcast rivals gain something in return: Lyons and his Brotherhood gained Liberty Prime and a large pile of Enclave tech, while the Outcasts get tech from local scavengers in exchange for goods that they trade in.

Part of why the Brotherhood in the East Coast became so powerful was because they went on that great heroic war that Lyons put them through. Thanks to Lyons, they had more manpower, and gaining manpower entails gaining the support of people. The NCR proselytizes and invites people to join in a democratic union, the Legion dominates and assimilates dozens of tribes to create a massive army. And Lyons was achieving that for the Brotherhood in the East Coast, making the Brotherhood more charitable and gaining for it a massive pool of support, not to mention taking massive spoils of war from the Enclave.

But, after Lyons’ Brotherhood went from the glory of defeating the Enclave and gaining Liberty Prime, Arthur Maxson led the Brotherhood back to a more traditional route, forgetting the lessons that the Lyons-era Brotherhood learned. Instead, when they fly into the Boston Commonwealth with an airship in Fallout 4, the Brotherhood under Maxson just comes off as a bully. In their quests, the player is tasked with extorting supplies like food from the populace for the Brotherhood, and unless the player is very diplomatic, the whole thing comes off as glorified raiders in power armor extorting the populace for what they need. Unlike the Lyons Brotherhood, which acted like a police force for the populace, or the Brotherhood Outcasts, who traded goods for scraps of tech, the Brotherhood under Arthur Maxson became what both House and Caesar saw them as: glorified raiders with technology, who hide behind a veil of chivalry to cover up their heinous deeds.

Lyons’ glorious experiment ended with another Maxson taking the helm and turning the Brotherhood back into glorified extortionists, the same kind of “terrorists” and “scavengers” that both Caesar and House despised. To put it into Star Wars terminology, if the East Coast Brotherhood under Owyn Lyons was the Rebel Alliance, then the East Coast Brotherhood under Arthur Maxson is the Galactic Empire, down to the point where them flying their airship Prydwen into the Commonwealth skies is akin to the Empire blockading a planet with a Star Destroyer. And unlike Emperor Palpatine, Maxson isn’t even pretending to be nice. At the very least Palpatine won control of the galaxy by winning the people’s hearts and minds. Maxson just rolls up in a huge airship dropping off Vertibirds and Paladins and killing anything that went up against them. Granted, them killing dangerous mutants and other threats to the populace is welcome, but them trying to state that their intentions are peaceful while flying around in the skies of the Commonwealth with a giant airship full of armored Paladins basically made most folks suspicious of them.

In fact, the Brotherhood under Arthur Maxson, celebrated by Paladins like Danse as a “return to glory,” has degraded even further into a racist, wannabe empire, a sort of Caesar’s Legion with less numbers and no sexism, replacing them instead with power armor and xenophobia. They want all non-humans to be destroyed, be they sapient mutants, ghouls, or synthetic androids. Not even the Legion, in all of its imperialistic brutality, was that harsh. At least the Legion simply sought to make use of people they deemed unworthy, but they mostly opted to enslave their enemies first, and reserved crucifixion only for the worst offenders. In fact, if the player spares the mutant Tabitha in Fallout New Vegas and repairs her robot, Rhonda, the two adventure in Legion territory, and given how their tales in Legion turf were popular with kids, it obviously didn’t consist of stories with them facing Legion racism or them dismembering Legion forces for trying to kill them:

“Tabitha and Rhonda went east, through Caesar's land. Occasionally tales of their exploits found their way back west, though few believed them. Eventually the stories concerning the duo were collected and published, and proved to be quite popular with children.”

But Maxson’s Brotherhood would rather burn bridges and make more enemies, despite the fact that people are already suspicious of them. The Minutemen militia obviously don’t like them, the Institute doesn’t like them, and their militant stance against all Synths make them a natural enemy of the Railroad organization that seeks to give Synths a better life. This, of course, means that many people would be out to stop the Brotherhood, and once again, numbers are a huge factor in a war, especially when in previous engagements, the Brotherhood lost against factions like the Legion and the NCR because the latter two had the numbers game won.

One of the main Fallout 4 Brotherhood characters, Paladin Danse, was himself a Synth, which was something unknown to him. When the truth comes out, Maxson demands his death, and the player can either agree or disagree. Instead of killing him, Maxson could have used Danse as the first of the Brotherhood’s Synths. Considering the Synths are living technology, and Paladin Danse is already a member of the Brotherhood, wouldn’t it be logical for Maxson to try and preserve Synths? To try and recruit them into the Brotherhood for study? Or at least to get them to his side? As in “Hey Synths! Work for the Brotherhood! Not only can we give you freedom, we can also give you cool power armor and energy weapons! You don’t trust us? Look! One of our top Paladins is a Synth! We can give you more opportunities than either the Institute or the Railroad can!” The main mission of the Brotherhood is to preserve and study technology. Danse is practically living technology, and a member of the Brotherhood to boot! The Brotherhood should be studying him, so they can get a better picture of the Synth phenomenon. They shouldn't cast him into the fire just because he's a synth. 

Instead, the Brotherhood under Arthur Maxson burns bridges when he should be building them. Unlike the NCR, which openly recruits Ghouls into outfits like the Veteran Rangers, or the Legion, which recruits and dominates more tribes for manpower support, Maxson’s Brotherhood barely lets human outsiders into the organization, while his overtly hostile attitude towards all mutants and Synths guarantees that he has more enemies than friends. And as impressive as their weaponry and power armor is, the fact that they send players who side with them off to missions where they extort food from the populace shows that the Brotherhood has a supply problem, which means that they can’t keep their occupation of the Commonwealth for long.

And the sad fact is, it didn’t need to end this way. Other factions of the Brotherhood like the Brotherhood of Steel Chapter in the Midwest, centered around Chicago, accepts almost anyone, from human outsiders, to sentient ghouls and deathclaws, to super mutants and machine legions from Vault 0. Maxson could have followed in their lead and recruited more civilized nonhumans into the cause, while dealing with barbaric super mutants, feral ghouls, and hostile tribes the same way they would deal with any human foe. Instead, his version of the Brotherhood would have become the very same thing their ancestors fought in the Capital Wasteland: an army of power-armored thugs killing anything that isn't human. If that sounds familiar, that is exactly what the Enclave was doing back in Fallout 2 and 3. Colonel Augustus Autumn and President John Henry Eden would be laughing at the Brotherhood from the land of the dead, knowing that the enemies that killed them essentially BECAME them.

PART 5: THE PURPOSE OF THE BROTHERHOOD, AND HOW THEY STRAYED FROM IT

Roger Maxson’s main goal, as is with the Brotherhood in general, is to preserve technology and keep it away from the hands of those who might abuse it, which in paper, is a noble goal, especially given how technology led to the nuclear war between the Communists and America, which then ended with the whole world getting nuked. But from the point of view of just about everyone outside the Brotherhood, from the Minutemen, to the Railroad, to the NCR, the Enclave, the Legion, and the leader of New Vegas, the Brotherhood has become the very thing it swore to destroy. The Paladins and the Brotherhood in general abuse their power over the more primitive settlers and force them to hand over anything the Brotherhood wants, from food stores to advanced tech, and if they don’t do so, then they will have to answer to power-armored Brotherhood Paladins who can vaporize them with energy weapons. By taking away tech that settlers and outsiders use to protect themselves from raiders and mutated animals, the Brotherhood has made itself a danger to every faction that wishes to use military technology for their own protection. In so doing, they ensure that the settlers outside the Brotherhood would almost always remain weak or primitive, reliant on the protection of Brotherhood Paladins, which only comes if they cooperate with said Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood in Fallout 4 sees Synths as a danger to society, as a symbol of of science gone wrong, but the Brotherhood’s use of Liberty Prime against the Enclave and the Institute would similarly be seen as such by factions like the Institute and the Enclave. It is quite hypocritical for Arthur Maxson and the Brotherhood to bitch about scientists in the Institute creating artificial humans, when they literally have their own Metal Gear, their own giant automaton stomping through enemy lines chucking nukes. From the point of view of those on the outside, the Brotherhood seems okay with all sorts of abuses of technology, so long as those abuses of technology are committed by members of the Brotherhood to increase its power. Elders such as Owyn Lyons who use their position in the Brotherhood and the forces they have to make a better life for the people of the wasteland are cast aside as heretics by the historians and Paladins of the Brotherhood, while wannabe conquerors like Arthur Maxson are seen as heroes who bring the Brotherhood back on its rightful and glorious path.

And the sad fact is, Arthur Maxson being a racist jackass is the tip of the iceberg of where the dark side of the Brotherhood’s ideology can lead to. The Brotherhood’s ideology can lead itself to some horrid abuses of power that few can dare match. As mentioned above, the player character in Fallout New Vegas, the Courier, can get enslaved by the Brotherhood of Steel TWICE-first, in the base game if the player enters their bunker and surrenders to avoid a fight, and second, when the player activates the Dead Money DLC to go to the Sierra Madre Casino. In both instances, the player is captured by servants of Brotherhood Elders who then slap bomb collars on them and force them to do as they are told, or else that bomb collar goes off, taking the Courier’s head with it. Caesar’s Legion only wishes they can be that brutal with their slaves. The Legion brutally rapes and tortures slaves who don’t do as they are told, but no slave of the Brotherhood would dare rebel against them. No crucifixions are necessary when bomb collars are available. Of course, out of the two Elders that the player meets in the game, Elder McNamara can prove to be reasonable if the player proves themselves to be of use to the Brotherhood-if the Courier acts like a good slave and does as he asks, he takes off the collar, and if the player keeps on serving afterwards, McNamara even honors the player and makes them a Paladin, giving them power armor as well as the training to use it. So I suppose a gift of power armor and training on how to use it is a good make-up present for trying to enslave the player when they first met.

The second elder, Father Elijah, is far worse. At the beginning of the Dead Money DLC, he has the Courier kidnapped and places a bomb collar on the Courier’s neck, forcing the player to do as he says so that he can access the secrets and treasures of the Sierra Madre Casino. Once again, any act of defiance is met with gruesome retaliation:

“Play stupid, play clever, make the mistake of saying ‘no?’ That collar on your neck will go off and take your head with it.”

Being the former head of the Mojave Chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, he was greatly distraught over his defeat at Helios One that he planned to use a toxic cloud he found around the Sierra Madre, as well as the holographic guards there, as a tool of revenge against the NCR. Instead of wanting to attack and take them over the way the Legion and Caesar want, Elijah’s madness against outsiders who dared to attack the Brotherhood drove him to want to exterminate the NCR with the toxic cloud, and use the Sierra Madre Casino’s hologram guards to kill the survivors. That is exactly what happens in the Dead Money DLC for Fallout New Vegas if the player helps Father Elijah get what he wants.

“In the years that followed, the legend of the Sierra Madre faded, and there were no... new visitors to the city. Years later, when a mysterious blood red cloud began to roll across the Mojave, then West toward the Republic, no one knew where it had come from. Only that it brought death in its wake. Attempts to find the source of the toxic cloud failed. The Mojave was cut off. Through the Cloud, lights were seen from HELIOS One. There were stories of ghosts immune to gunfire, who struck down anyone they saw with rays of light. The last chapter of the Mojave came when a modified REPCONN rocket struck Hoover Dam, releasing a blood-red cloud, killing all stationed there. All attempts to penetrate the Cloud and re-take the Dam failed, and both the NCR and Legion finally turned away from it, citing the place as cursed. In the years that followed, communities across the West began to die as traces of the Cloud began to drift over lands held by the NCR. Only two remained alive in the depths of the Cloud, at the Sierra Madre, waiting for their new world to begin again.”

Note that this is the only ending where Elijah honestly sees the player as a friend. In any other ending, even if you cooperated all the way and opened up the vault of the Sierra Madre Casino for him, even if you walk up to him carrying all the gold in the vault, he still tries to kill you, either by gun or by setting your collar off. The only way a player can get away with the wealth of the Sierra Madre is for them to stealthily sneak past Elijah as he goes into the vault, and he accidentally activates a trap that locks himself in the vault while the player escapes with the wealth of the Casino.  

And the sad fact is, Elijah’s madness stems from Brotherhood philosophy: he wants to use the toxic cloud from the Sierra Madre to kill all the NCR inhabitants so that they won’t be able to appropriate or “misuse” old world technology. His hate for them stems from the fact that he sees them as children playing around with old-world tech that doesn’t belong to them, and that genocidal hate for the people of the NCR led him to desire their total annihilation. Caesar’s Legion is nowhere close to that level of brutal insanity, despite the fact that they’re the kind of assholes who enslave and crucify people. When the player asks Elijah if he wants to attack the NCR, he goes ahead and proves that what he wants is far more than a revenge military strike on them:

“Attack? No, not attack them. Wipe the slate clean. Make the Mojave like it was meant to be: undisturbed by man. I'll send the Cloud, the Holograms. Bring ruin in my hands until only I stand atop the HELIOS One tower again. I'll scour Hoover Dam with the Cloud, rain its walls with spears from the sun - with an army of Old World ghosts behind me, Holograms all. I'll kill them until it's only me, me alone in a quiet world. In a world that's nothing like what happened at HELIOS One.”

Granted, Brotherhood fans will reiterate that there are many good people in the Brotherhood like Paladins Danse and Ramos, and Elder Lyons. But by the logic of the Brotherhood, Lyons is a heretic, while Elijah’s desire to wipe the slate clean with the cloud is basically rooted in the Brotherhood philosophy of keeping technology out of people’s hands. Since the NCR is too big and there are too many people there getting their hands on technology, the only way to achieve the Brotherhood’s goal with the NCR is to annihilate the entire populace with the toxic cloud of the Sierra Madre, leaving the old-world tech undisturbed by the NCR.

The sad thing is, I’m pretty sure this isn’t what the founder of the Brotherhood wanted. I highly doubt that Roger Maxson would have approved of his beloved organization enslaving people and supporting genocide. In fact, he deserted the US army because it became unethical, and ironically enough, his own organization has committed more than a number of unethical actions against the people of post-war America. Maxson started the Brotherhood as an alternative to the US, specifically choosing the imagery of knights and scribes who salvaged Western civilization after the fall of Rome, and he severed all ties between his people and the US government, due to its wars causing the obviously unethical destruction of the world:

“What we need is... purpose. But we cannot look to the America of old for that purpose. We have to build our own. So tonight, as we break bread together, let us forge together something new. Something strong. Something we can be proud of. Something we can build upon. We'll preserve what's best of what's come before and use it. And one day, we will reclaim what was lost. Let us forge a Brotherhood of Steel.”

“We need to do something bold. We can't just stay the U.S. Army. What's going to happen, and this is only a matter of time, is some general, or some goddamn politician is going to exit a Vault and start ordering us around. And worse, they'll order some grunt to start the whole goddamn cycle again. Another wave of nuclear death, and if that's not enough they'll do it again! You know they will, Lizzy. It ends with us. We won't let them.”

“Words have power, Lizzy. They build identity. They take on a meaning if you keep using them, even if it didn't exist to begin with. It was the Knights and Scribes after the fall of Rome that protected what was left of Western civilization. So we are the new Knights and our role is similar.”

Roger Maxson created the Brotherhood as a way to preserve and protect civilization, to nurture it and make sure that it doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the past: wanton genocide and cruelty, wars over resources, politicians and generals abusing their power over the populace. He created it as a way to make sure civilization lived after the bombs dropped. But instead, his Brotherhood, instead of protecting and nurturing civilization, wound up going to war with it. The West Coast Brotherhood went to war against the New California Republic, the East Coast Brotherhood tried to dominate the Commonwealth. Instead of trying to preserve civilization, they have waged war on it, trying to keep other factions more primitive than them, while killing or enslaving people that got in their way. Instead of being a boon to civilization, it became a hindrance to it. So much so that the one time the Brotherhood openly assisted in protecting people and giving them hope was later derided as one man’s folly and heresy against the Brotherhood’s principles. In reality, Owyn Lyons’ idealism was more in line with what Roger Maxson wanted, bringing back civilization and protecting it, while the other leaders of the Brotherhood, including Roger’s descendant Arthur, abused their power over civilization instead of contributing to it.

The real knights and scribes of Dark Ages Europe didn’t stop at preserving civilization. They tried to rebuild it. Knights and bishops worked with lords and kings to create stable, healthy kingdoms in what was once the old Western Roman Empire, creating towns and cities as well as protecting villages and farming communities from threats like the Muslims or the Vikings. They created empires of their own, kingdoms whose remnants still stand today: England, Germany, France, Spain, all of which were kingdoms formed in the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages. And the knights and scribes that Roger Maxson talked about helped with all of that. They didn’t just sit on a pile of scrolls and weapons from the Roman age and seclude themselves in some bunker, they openly engaged with the post-Roman society, and sought to rebuild it in the new world they occupied.

In an ironic twist of fate, the enemies of the Brotherhood like Caesar’s Legion and the NCR are doing the job Roger Maxson was trying to do, what with the whole “protecting and rebuilding civilization” mission. The NCR, despite all their incompetence, is trying to recreate civilization and preserve America’s values of democracy. As harsh as Caesar’s Legion is, they’re doing their best in wiping out raiders and monsters that threaten society, so that everyone, from Legionnaires, to traders and merchants, and even their lowly slaves, can live a long, safe, and healthy life, undisturbed by raiders and monsters. Even House and his New Vegas are doing things for civilization, as is evidenced by Robert House openly telling the player his plans for the future:

“New Vegas is more than a city-it’s the remedy to mankind’s derailment. The city’s economy is a blast furnace in which can be forged the steel of a new rail line, running straight to a new horizon. What is the NCR? A society of people desperate to experience comfort, ease, luxury. A society of customers. With all that money pouring in? Give me 20 years, and I’ll reignite the high technology development sectors. 50 years, and I’ll have people in orbit. 100 years, and my colony ships will be heading for the stars, to search for planets unpolluted by the wrath and folly of a bygone generation.”

So in a twist of ironic fate, the enemies of the Brotherhood, the ones that want them gone, are the ones doing everything that the founder of the Brotherhood wanted: preserving civilization, and reclaiming what as lost. Just as the knights and scribes of the West preserved its knowledge and ideas after the fall of Rome, so too do the NCR forces, the Legion forces, and House’s New Vegas work to reclaim what was lost after the nukes dropped on the USA. All three of them want the Brotherhood dead, and both the Legion and the NCR make a sport of killing Brotherhood Paladins and having their elite troops wear suits and scraps of Brotherhood power armor as protection or trophies. And ironically enough, they’re the ones doing what Roger Maxson wanted all along.

These factions are doing what the Brotherhood is supposed to be doing, whereas the Brotherhood itself engaged in some of the unethical behaviors that Fallout’s version of pre-war America had before the nuclear war, such as bossing people around, enslaving people with bomb collars, and desiring to use weapons of mass destruction to wipe out entire peoples that disagree with them. Just like with the Imperium of Man in Warhammer 40K, the Brotherhood became everything that that its founder despised, while its enemies wound up doing what its founder wanted instead. Just as the Tau from 40K became the idealistic civilization that the Emperor of Mankind wanted the Imperium of Man to be, while the Imperium became the very bastion of ignorance and superstition that the atheist Emperor despised.

I suppose Caesar was right: Dialectics has an odd way of changing the purpose of any group:

“Culture is an odd thing. Sometimes a tribe grows tired of its identity, grabs for an opportunity to reimagine itself. The tribe becomes its own antithesis. Everything flips to the opposite polarity. Dialectics tells us this can’t last. There has to be a synthesis, a final sorting out.”

The Brotherhood of Steel which originally imagined itself as the preserver of civilization, became a hindrance to it. It was made with the sole purpose of preserving civilization in postwar America, yet it became the enemy of postwar American civilizations like the Legion and the NCR. The one time it did what it was supposed to do was in the Enclave-Brotherhood war in the Capital Wasteland, and the man behind that war, the one who brought the Brotherhood in to help the people of the Capital Wasteland, Elder Lyons, was derided as a traitor and a heretic by the Brotherhood after he and his daughter died and Arthur Maxson rose to power. And sadly enough, for civilizations in Fallout’s post-war America, from the Commonwealth, to the NCR, to the Enclave and the Legion, the Brotherhood has basically become a nuisance to civilization, an enemy of civilization, or in the case of factions like the NCR and the Legion, an outright joke that was swept aside. Despite all their power armors, superior training, and technical aptitude, they can’t fight a major war on their own, not without massive outside support. I guess House was right in the end: ideological purity and shiny power armor is not enough to win a war when you’re outnumbered fifteen to one.
Faction Overviews: Fallout's Brotherhood of Steel
This is the first in a hopefully long series of articles detailing several factions and my views on them. Since I'm in a Fallout mood, I'll start with one of its most constant and iconic factions: The Brotherhood of Steel.
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Yes, yes, it’s cheating, but hey, this is my private thought dump, and its main purpose is for me to express my thoughts.

“But Vader999,” you may ask, “why do you have such a bone to pick with Warhammer 40K?”

Well, grab your butts, because here I’m willing to talk about it.

UNREALISTIC WORLD-BUILDING:
Part of what really grinds my gears about 40K is the rather unrealistic worldbuilding present in the lore. As someone who studies history, demographics, and other sci-fi, I just can’t help but shake my head whenever 40K’s lore makes such amateur mistakes, and the fact that its fans accept such things hookline-and-sinker makes me see them as morons when they don’t see such obvious failings in 40K’s lore, especially when said fans mock Star Wars for being a space fantasy yet hold up 40K as a realistic sci-fi.

PART 1: Demographics

I really can’t help but laugh whenever 40K fanboys laugh at Star Wars and call it unrealistic. Because realistically, 40K’s story basically eschews realism for drama and macho testosterone bullshit.

Now, I’m not talking about how they need the corpse of a dead atheist to fly FTL safely, I’m not talking about the fact that a race of space elves gave birth to a perverted sex god through a galaxy-wide orgy, I’m not talking about such things. That’s on the purview of fantasy, and that’s all fine by me, so long as it adds flavor to the world of 40K.

No, I’m talking about how unrealistic it is for the Imperium to be able to waste lives for so long. The 40K fans trumpet how the Star Wars Empire wouldn’t last 40 minutes in 40K because of how much of a total war they have with so many alien races and traitor heretic factions. So many people die on a regular basis, yet the Imperium still stands. And their reasoning for it is the size of the Imperium, how they have a militarized galaxy that is large enough to accommodate such losses as if they were a bug bite. Billions of people could get killed, and the Imperium would barely notice it.

To which I say: BULLSHIT. Pure, unadulterated, BULLSHIT.

The size of a nation doesn’t mean that they can have endless cannon fodder, otherwise Russia would have more people than any other country on Earth, which is laughable considering that the United States, China, and India each have more people than they do. That, and the fact that the Imperium has been tied up in total war with more than half a dozen foes for like, what, TEN THOUSAND YEARS!? With most of the populace drafted to make war materials or to join the army, how the hell are they going to find the time to breed? Let alone raise kids? And since the Imperium is a gender-neutral organization that has both men and women drafted in droves for the factories or the army, it’s not like women are going to be at home raising the kids, let alone popping the little brats out.

It’s not like they copied Caesar’s Legion from Fallout: New Vegas where the women are at home, pumping out babies and raising them, what with the female slaves serving as baby-makers and the priestesses educating the youth on the virtues of the Legion. Yes, the Legion is horribly sexist for forcing women focus on baby-making duties and keeping them away from the battlefield, but you know what they do have? More than half the population at home, pumping out kids and raising them. And if you noticed in Caesar’s camp, the people maintaining and readying the weapons are all dudes. Which means that the men are handling the manufacturing and warfare aspects of the Legion, while the women pop out and raise kids. And that means that there’s at least half the populace whose sole job it is to ensure that the future generation remains well-populated.

Does the Imperium have that? No. Instead, what we do gleam from the lore of 40K is that people in most of the Imperium worlds are forced to work full-time jobs manufacturing war goods or joining the Astra Militarum. This order includes the women, too, since we do see Imperial Guard soldiers that are female, alongside Sisters of Battle and other female Imperial forces. Which means there won’t be time for them to pop out kids, not when they’re hammering in to make more Lasguns or Flak Jackets, or they’re getting shot by Orks, Tyranids, Chaos Marines, or whatever monstrosity that decided to take a potshot at the Imperium this week. We see in our modern day how career women have less and less kids when compared to stay-at-home moms and mothers who get generous maternity leave policies from their bosses at work. Even if we remove the whole "endless war" thing out of the equation, the Imperium population should be dropping, not rising, due to the fact that most of the populace is forced to work outside the home one way or another.

So unless the Imperium has a VERY GENEROUS maternity leave policy (which I highly doubt that they do) then no, there’s no time for child-rearing, let alone popping out kids, so basically, the Imperium populace should have been exhausted in a matter of generations. They wouldn’t last 10K years, much less a thousand, since their Imperium is in constant war with outside forces and there’s no time for the Imperium to catch its breath and prosper, the way America did after World War 2 and the “Baby Boom.” I mean, take the two most populous nations on Earth: India and China. When was the last time either one of them fought a full-scale total war? When was the last time their existence was threatened? Even though they’re not necessarily rolling in the benjamins, they did have decades of peace, which meant that they have no problem having the government care for larger populace numbers, since they’re not at war with half a dozen enemies.

Now, if the Imperium didn’t have women working in the factories, or they openly kept women from the Astra Militarum, things would be different. I mean, heck, if they had the same policy as Caesar’s Legion, then I wouldn’t doubt them having high numbers. I could understand the Imperium having such numbers if, while the men are off in factories or at war, the women are at home, raising kids, or if the Imperium government selects women of a certain genetic stock and has the more successful Astra Militarum soldiers along with the Space Marines mating with them to produce children en masse. And 40K lore notes that cloning tech in the Imperium is seriously flawed to the point where it makes horrific abominations out of the originals.

I can buy it if yes, they have female soldiers and workers, but alongside that, they would have eons of peace where the Imperium as a whole is allowed to prosper and grow, where they take a break from 24/7 warfare and have several centuries’ worth of peace, then yes, I can buy that they have large numbers of people, since then that would mean that during those golden ages, the populace has had time to recover from the stress of war, and they’ve had time to repopulate and spread their legs, both territory-wise and literally. That’s why I can buy the Galactic Republic’s galaxy having 100 quadrillion people-there were times of peace and plenty, enough for the people to spread their legs and have more than a few baby booms. That, and the last big war before the Rise of the Empire pretty much involved robots and clones, means that the populace as a whole remained unmolested, and once Palpatine took control of the galaxy, he has countless trillions of people to rely upon as recruits for the army and manufacturing centers. I can buy Palpatine having bottomless pockets of manpower to draw upon for his Empire because the Republic had a thousand years of peace and prosperity before becoming an Empire, and because the last war before the Declaration of a New Order was basically between vat-grown troopers and walking automatons. I cannot buy the same for the Imperium, because they’ve been at TOTAL WAR for about ten thousand years, which should mean that their population and society would be at the breaking point.

It’s like, whomever wrote this story is like a fifteen year old trying to be an edgelord. “The population is constantly drafted to toil for the oppressive Imperium or used as cannon fodder by the military!” “The Imperium has been fighting back the gates of hell for ten thousand years!” You can’t have both, you have to pick one or the other. Things like war fatigue, morale drops, and the natural incentive of man to revolt against a regime that he isn’t getting the best out of would have destroyed the Imperium eons ago, whether or not they have a massive military or religious indoctrination. If the Imperium was prosperous and progressive, or if its policies encouraged the growth of loyalty from the populace, then yes, I can buy that the Imperium can fight off enemies for ten thousand years and have massive population stocks. But that’s obviously not what they have.

Even if they had more prosperous worlds pay in terms of resources, money, and blood for the less prosperous worlds, that would be a recipe for disaster, making it easy propaganda for the more prosperous worlds to embrace the Tau or the Chaos Gods if they’re forced to lose money and blood for the less-prosperous worlds. And no, “muh religion” isn’t enough of an excuse, considering that we did have religious states like the Kingdom of France devolve into atheism and rebellion because of economic pressure. People who have tasted wealth and prosperity will be more likely to rebel if that is taken aways from them, and people living in dystopian conditions have nothing to lose by rebelling, since at that point, going out in a blaze of glory is preferable to life in misery. That, again, would cause more people to join the Chaos Gods more than anything.

Part 2: Ceramite Armor

Space Marine power armor is, according to 40K lore, made out of ceramite, a substance that is made from a composite of ceramics and titanium. It goes a long way to explain why the Space Marine can be so mobile: titanium is a lightweight alloy that is sturdy enough to stand against pressure from weaker foes, yet light enough that it doesn’t weigh you down too much. The ceramic supports would likewise make the armor more durable while not being too much of a drag.

Here’s the problem, however………

Titanium may be seen as some kind of near-impervious armor in comic books, but in proper science fiction, it isn’t as durable as people think it is, since in real life, titanium really isn’t that strong. For example, in the Gundam Universal Century timeline, a mobile suit named the Kampfer that had its armor made from a titanium alloy ceramic composite was perforated easily by a Gundam pulling out some arm-mounted machine-guns and opening fire on the thing. Likewise, the Gundam itself is made from improved titanium known as “Luna Titanium,” which allows it to be strong and fast, but once the enemy breaks out explosive and energy beam weaponry, even the Gundam’s improved Luna Titanium is no match for that, and unless it has a beam shield, that beam rifle shot will go right through the Gundam’s armor. Titanium is the armor of the Spartans from Halo, for both the undersuit and the armored pieces. The Spartans still make a beeline for cover the moment their energy shields go down because they know their titanium armor is no match for Covenant plasma or even regular bullets. In Star Wars, TIE Fighters have Titanium Alloy Steel as their armor of choice, and they go down easily the moment blaster cannons are fired at them. So if ships made from titanium can’t survive blaster cannons, how can infantry armor made from titanium and ceramics stop blaster fire?

Hence why whenever someone tells me that Stormtrooper blasters can’t punch through Space Marine armor, I laugh. Whenever someone tells me that rockets and missiles can be stopped by Space Marine armor, I laugh. Whenever someone tells me such things, I can’t help but laugh, because I already know that such is not the case. That wouldn’t work in real life, and it certainly wouldn’t work in universes where titanium is the equivalent of hardened tinfoil.

Sure, there’s plenty of lore in 40K saying that Space Marine armor can withstand all sorts of punishment, but that’s from 40K lore, a lore where titanium IS tough when compared to everything else. But in universes like Star Wars, Halo, and Gundam, titanium is about as durable as tinfoil when put up against the weapons shown in said universes. So, it’s sad to say, but yes, Stormtrooper blasters, Covenant plasma rifles, among others, will have no problems blowing through Space Marine armor. Space Marine armor isn’t even purely made out of titanium, but titanium and ceramics, making them weaker than TIE Fighters and UNSC Spartans when it comes to armor density. Which means that those Plasma Rifles and E-11 Blasters will have no problems punching through Space Marine armor. They’re practically equal to, if not stronger than, the plasma weapons used BY the Space Marines.

This really gives me the vibe that the people who wrote this lore in the first place didn’t do their research. I can see why: they obviously based the lore on comic book science at the time, and comic book science treated titanium as a sort of near-indestructible alloy, so it would make sense that the 40K writers would have their Space Marines’ armor be partially made out of titanium, so as to explain why they’re near-invincible against most alien threats. But by making the armor a composite of titanium and ceramic, it makes the Space Marines look positively weak when compared to armors from proper sci-fi series. Whereas I’m sure they’ll wreak no end of havoc in a comic book universe where titanium shares a bunk with adamantium and vibranium as extra-dense metals, if these Space Marines got transplanted into the worlds of Star Wars or Halo for instance, they’d get easily murdered by Stormtroopers and Covenant goons without so much as a blink. Yes, they can be fast, but the same could be said of Jedi and Spartans. They were still hunted to near-extinction by Stormtroopers and Covenant troops. And of course, riding in a speeding vehicle like a speeder bike or a Covenant Ghost won’t stop Stormtroopers and Covenant troops from killing you, so it’s not like they can’t hit fast-moving targets.

And considering that there’s only 1 million of these guys, while the rest of the Imperium’s massive army mostly belongs to the redshirt brigade known as the Astra Militarum, then yes, realistically speaking, the Imperium would get creamed by the likes of the Galactic Empire, the Sith Empires, the Covenant, the Forerunners, the Protoss, or the Rakatans. Heck, the Rebel Alliance at this point would be able to kill Space Marines and stage hit and run attacks all over the Imperium, since the latter’s Space Marines wear the sci-fi equivalent of tinfoil and ceramics as armor. And considering that even the flagships of the Imperium like Macragge’s Honor have ceramite and steel as its armor, it won’t stand up to an assault by Rebel starfighters like X, B, and Y Wings, whose pilots shoot down titanium-armored TIE Fighters as if it was target practice. Sure, there’s void shields and steel armor, but void shields, as it was said in 40K lore, can be suppressed with enough firepower, (and ion cannons from B and Y Wings can disable shields) and steel is never said to be strong enough to hold back X Wing blaster cannons. So at this point, the Rebels can do to Guilliman’s flagship what they did to Vader’s during Endor.

Part 3: Military Tech Advancements

Part of the reason why I was really miffed with the lore of 40K is because of how unrealistic it is that the Imperium’s military tech advancements were very few and far between in the 10K years they’ve been at war with other alien species. I mean, as a Catholic, I gravitated towards the Imperium a lot, but seeing as how they’re so backwards and stunted just annoyed the hell out of me, especially when I do compare it to Catholic Europe and its history of developing technology.

Like, sure, I can buy that they can have a tech stagnation over the course of eons, if they were poor in resources and they were scattered across the galaxy like the Transformers were after Cybertron’s fall in the Aligned Continuity. In that timeline, the Transformers fought over Cybertron like cats and dogs, then the planet went dark, after which they ran off in search of new homes across the cosmos while their numbers and resources continued to dwindle. Hence why the Transformers we see in Transformers Prime were far weaker than the Transformers we see in Transformers War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron, even though they were all in the same timeline, and the latter two took place millions of years before the former. In the Prime show, the Transformers could barely match Gundams, yet in the two Cybertron games, they would have no problems taking out Gundams, with weapons like black hole grenades, mini-nuke Destronium rounds, cloaking and long-range chainguns, among other weapons, that could easily turn most Gundams into scrap metals.

And sure, fear of droids can stunt AI research, but not all weapons tech. Fear of the Iron Men in 40K is similar to people’s fear of droids in Star Wars after the Clone Wars, hence why Palpatine has a mostly live crew of soldiers supplemented only by the occasional battle droids. But again, that doesn’t stop the Empire from innovating new ways for Stormtroopers to kill people, like giving them better blasters than their Clone counterparts, to giving them proton torpedo launchers and arc casters, to flechette shotguns and blaster cannons. Both weapon and ship technology kept upgrading as the Empire kept going on, and even centuries later, the Empire was having new Star Destroyer models roll off the shipyards even as their new rulers, the Fel Dynasty, ran the Empire in the Legacy Era of Star Wars. So it should be the same for the 40K universe; have a fear for AI, but the rest of weapons tech, from ships to handheld weaponry, should be improving. By the time 40K rolls around, Bolters would be entirely replaced by Plasma weaponry for Space Marines, while the lasguns of the Imperial Guard would get stronger to the point where they can disintegrate a Chaos Marine from the Horus Heresy in a single shot.

The Imperium still has a massive resource and manpower pool for the greater majority of the 10,000 years that it held sway over the galaxy. In fact, part of its great strength that has been memed so much across the web is that it can afford massive losses in manpower and materials and still have more than enough to run its operations. So no, they do not have the same excuse that the Transformers had during their millions of years’ worth of war as to why their war technology decreased in quality.

As a historian, I’ve studied how technology, especially military technology, advanced over the years. And the one thing constant over the centuries was how military technology advanced. Kingdoms, empires, and republics rose and fell, people went from being overly religious to being apathetic or even hostile to religion, and the basics of race politics went from tribalist and insular, to open and egalitarian, and the one thing that didn’t change is how people found new ways to murder each other. Even during the so-called “Dark Ages,” military technology advanced. Armies from the fall of Rome to the First Crusade went from armed infantry forming legions of troops to mostly armored cavalry with greater mobility and speed. Composite bows gave way to longbows that can punch through chainmail and crossbows that can puncture plate armor. Full-body chainmail that can stop sword slashes and arrows became the norm. And as time went on, more developments arrived. Pikes that can skewer cavalry, muskets and cannons that not only punched through armor and thick walls, but sent the enemy forces into panic, conical bullets that improved accuracy of firearms, ironclad ships with more protection than wooden ships, U-boats that ambushed fleets of transports, until finally, we got to the modern age, with its machine guns, tanks, airplanes, and atom bombs. It didn’t matter who was in charge. It didn’t matter how religious they were. The only thing that mattered was they wanted to kill someone, and that was all they needed to develop new ways to kill people.

Hence why when I look at the Imperium barely developing any new tech for killing, I consider that to be bullshit. Especially for a nation like the Imperium, where killing and enforcing the Emperor’s rule is practically holy work for them-it’s basically a crusader state in all but name, and outside of the different deity they have, it has all the hallmarks of a crusader state: a state created by conquest, with a religious mission to hold its territory in the name of its god, and its whole existence is wrapped up in fighting threats from both heretics and outsiders. If anything, that would cause a blossoming of technological innovations for warfare, since killing the God-Emperor’s foes is Holy Work, and finding more efficient ways to do it would be in the favor of Divine Will. The Emperor’s Divine Will is to protect the people from Chaos, Xenos, and whatever other foul enemies in the void. It doesn’t matter what kind of retarded rules the Tech-Priests have. Finding new ways to kill the enemies of the Imperium more efficiently SHOULD BE A HOLY TASK BECAUSE THE IMPERIUM SEES SUCH WARS AGAINST HERETICS AND XENOS TO BE A HOLY UNDERTAKING. And the Imperium has the tech base, the resources, and the manpower to develop new technology. So nothing should be stopping them from developing new technologies of war. Down to the point where they can build Blackstone Fortresses of their own, rolling off factories during the centuries of war, while a 40K Imperial Guardsman could point his lasgun at a 30K Space Marine and vaporize the bastard in one shot, in the same way a common cop can point his gun at a Knight or a Samurai from the years of chivalry and Medieval warfare, and pull the trigger, killing said Knight or Samurai easily, with minimal training.

Instead, ironically enough, it’s the peaceful Republic of Star Wars that does that. Sure, the hand weapons look similar from the KOTOR era to the Clone Wars era, but considering they can already vaporize enemies with hand weapons all the way back in the KOTOR era, that’s already a mean advantage. But in terms of space technology, a Sith Dreadnought from the SWTOR era would barely be a match for an Acclamator-Class Republic troop transport from the Clone Wars, let alone a Venator Star Cruiser that was the mainstay of Republic fleets in the Clone Wars era. Space tech in Star Wars evolves, advances. In the SWTOR era, a .5 Class Hyperdrive is a superweapon, as one was in the super weapons stash of Darth Mekhis in the SWTOR comics. In the movie era? It’s so cheap that a smuggler who has debts up the ass from the Space Mafia has one. And once the Empire takes over, such innovations go up the ass, with command vessels, superweapons, prototypes, and stealth ships galore.

But the SW lore does make sense as to why such innovations happen: because even outside of the odd war with the Sith, the Star Wars galaxy has many summer wars within the factions of the Republic, as Phantom Menace showed us. Which is why even in times of peace, military technology in space advances. Hence why in the Episode V novel, a fully-charged blaster from a Probe Droid vaporized a wampa in one shot. Whereas if you want that result in 40K against an Ork of the same size, you’d need a Lascannon wielded by a Space Marine, whether or not you’re in the 30K era or the 40K era. Which is RIDICULOUS. Just as ridiculous as the fact that they can no longer build the massive Gloriana-class battleships that the Imperium once had built. The fact that the Imperium is in constant warfare should have made it so that such warships would have become increasingly common in the 10K years of constant warfare after the Horus Heresy, just as more and more Super Star Destroyers back in Star Wars were getting built as a response to the increasing threat of the Rebel Alliance, down to the point where Han Solo gestures to a Super Star Destroyer over Endor and states that “there are a lot of Imperial command ships.”

Again, this whole affair reeks of teenage logic. “Boo-hoo, the people of the Imperium are superstitious, they hate science, they were ruled by a theocracy, and theocracy despises science and progress! War makes the galaxy dystopian! THAT’S WHY THEIR TECH LOOKS SIMILAR AND ONLY HAS A FEW ADVANCES FROM TEN THOUSAND YEARS AGO! THEY’RE RULED BY A REGIME DOMINATED BY AN OPPRESSIVE RELIGION THAT HAS BEEN AT WAR FOR TEN THOUSAND YEARS!” It reeks of amateur, teenage logic that the real world laughs at. No oppressive religion worth its salt would stop the development of newer tools for its adherents to use to oppress nonbelievers, and constant warfare would FORCE people to innovate new weapons and ways to kill people. The fact is, real-world theocracies have NO PROBLEMS innovating new weapons tech to further its regime. Because why not? Newer, better technologies for war would propagate the regime in charge, as well as the religion in charge. Part of the reason why Christianity was spread so efficiently across Asia, Africa, and the Americas during the 1800s and 1900s was because Christians had guns, and their enemies either had no guns or had less effective guns. In the age of the Crusaders, Crusader chainmail was more sturdy than Muslim scale armor, and Crusader crossbows were far more effective than composite bows used by their Muslim enemies. Hence why the Muslims had to fight hard over the course of centuries to defeat the Crusaders at last-and even then, the Crusaders scored more than a few victories of their own, and even established kingdoms of their own, before they finally fell. And of course, real-world theocracies today like Iran DESPERATELY WANT advanced weapons tech like nuclear weapons, while religious Americans have no problems spending billions of dollars in an arms race to make sure the nation remains at the top of the weapons tech pyramid. And it is the constant years of warfare that humanity has experienced that leads to such tech advances in the first place.

The few religious people who might genuinely want peace would get shouted down by people who want to propagate the religion through force of arms. And whatever problems religion has with science, like evolution and heliocentrism, is far away from weapons tech science that religious people have consistently employed to make sure their religion stays at the top. So no, just because the Imperium lives under a theocracy, doesn’t mean that weapons tech science would halt in advances. And all those years at war would INCENTIVIZE, not halt, the production and innovation of new weapons tech.

Plus, since the Imperium considers war against the alien and heretic a holy undertaking, then developing new weapons of war would be holy as well, and the religious zealots in the Empire would be throwing away men, money, and resources to develop more powerful weapons tech. The way the Imperium is designed should enable all sorts of mad scientist-types to build new doomsday weapons for the Imperium. But that’s not what we have. Instead, we have a “stagnated society” due to “war and religion,” even though history teaches us that those two reasons would encourage new weapons tech development, not stunt it. You have a society that literally sees war (which they usually wage against foul aliens or heretics) as divine work, so them barely advancing in military technology over ten thousand years is bullshit, especially to a trained historian like yours truly. Basically, if the Imperium was more realistically based on its history of warfare and religion, then larger warships like the Gloriana-Class Battleships would be constantly getting farted out by Imperium shipyards as the war kept going on and on, and everyone from the Astra Militarum to the Adeptus Astartes would see constant tech upgrades to the point where, as I said, an IG soldier from the 40K era can easily kill a 30K era Space Marine, in the same easy way that a peasant with a rifle or a crossbow can kill a knight or a samurai by pointing his weapon at said enemy and pulling a trigger.

Part 4: Practicality of Space Marines

Space Marines are considered by the 40K fandom to be practically top of the heap when it comes to infantry units. Part soldier, part walking tank, part crusader, a Space Marine loudly announces his arrival onto the battlefield by loudly firing their bolters, stomping around against the enemy, yelling “FOR THE EMPEROR!” as they gut people with chainswords and power hammers. Space Marines are one in a million. Quite literally, with the Imperium army in the billions, there’s only 1 million Space Marines. 1000 chapters, with 1000 members each. Imperium fanboys like to think that they can triumph over almost all forms of infantry from other science fiction, from Stormtroopers, to Protoss Zealots, to Covenant Elites and Brutes, they can all take them on. But, aside from the fact that they wear the sci-fi equivalent of tinfoil ceramics for armor, there’s also the slight problem of how vulnerable they really are when set against other infantry units, even those of modern day’s.

A friend of mine once said, when comparing Fallout to the 40K universe, that the NCR Veteran Rangers from Fallout New Vegas can kill Space Marines. Looking over my notes on Space Marine armor composition and abilities, and my experience from playing Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, I had no choice but to agree, since by the time the Space Marines are close enough to engage Ranger snipers, they’d have already lost their heads. Said Rangers had no problem killing enemies with power armor and energy weapons that make bolters look like a joke, so having them fight Space Marines isn’t much of a jump. The NCR nearly eradicated an entire order of power armor-wearing warriors known as the Brotherhood of Steel, and said Brotherhood used laser rifles and gauss weapons capable of disintegrating their enemies or sending the dismembered chunks of their enemies' bodies flying across the battlefield. Clearly, far superior when compared to bolters. And yet the NCR, with its Veteran Rangers leading the charge, practically annihilated this “Brotherhood” in the field.

NCR Veteran Rangers wield anti-materiel rifles meant to punch through armored vehicles. Similarly, a player who wishes to eradicate the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel can use anti-materiel rifles to blow holes in Brotherhood Paladins and slaughter the whole chapter, one knight at a time. Cross-referencing it with my playthrough of 40K: Space Marines, where the most effective range the Space Marines have is up-close, and given their large profile, (and the fact that Space Marines in all the 40K visual media aren’t shown to be as fast as they are supposed to be in the novels) the NCR Veteran Rangers won’t have problems blowing holes in them.

So yes, I agreed with my friend on his idea, an idea that most 40K fans would find ridiculous. And the root of that agreement lay at the practicality aspect of it all: Space Marines, just like Jedi Knights, Spartan-2s, and many other sci-fi “super soldiers,” are somewhat impractical. And Space Marines are the most impractical of them all. Just like how the Jedi can be ten times more effective using the Force to help aim blasters despite their hatred of such weapons, and just like how the small victories the Spartan-2s give the UNSC back in Halo is barely worth the price tag for those soldiers, Space Marines have many, many weaknesses that even modern-day militaries can exploit.

Space Marines are, in essence, walking towers of Ceramite that give away their position by their loud weapons and their loud yelling that can be heard across the battlefield. Which basically makes it easy for a modern-day marine, a leatherneck, armed with an anti-materiel rifle, to splatter their brains across the battlefield. Since their armors are basically titanium ceramic composite, and titanium in real life really isn’t that hard, it won’t be that hard for said modern leatherneck to blow holes in Space Marines from a mile away, far away from bolter range. Unlike the Jedi, who have psychic senses and a limited sense of precognitive vision, and unlike the Spartan-2s who have a sleeker profile that’s harder to hit, a Space Marine has neither of these things, which makes it easier to hit them. A Librarian might have precognitive vision, but his larger mass makes it easier for an enemy to hit and harder for him to evade. And the fact that they have loud weapons and the tendency to yell in the middle of combat gives their position away and makes it impossible for them to evade the sights of enemy snipers. Hence why the Space Marines are largely impractical in a modern battlefield: the other side would just break out armor-piercing snipers and laugh their asses off as they fire from a mile away and blow holes through Space Marine armor, splattering their enhanced organs across the battlefield.

And of course, if the Space Marines have to rely on outside help like a fleet from above, nothing’s stopping modern-day marines from calling in drone strikes to bomb the Space Marines from afar. Which again, adds to the impracticality factor of the Space Marines when pitted against modern-day Marines.

Don’t get me wrong, the Space Marines look awesome killing their enemies. That’s part of why I was first attracted to 40K to begin with. Again, it seems like this series was designed for the obvious easily-excited teenagers: one look at those Space Marines and they’re easily hooked for life. They’re basically the embodiment of “rule of cool” right there.

But it seems that such is all that they’re good for. With all they spent on the Space Marines, the Imperium could have instead focused on making more of the Tempestus Scions or improving all the weapons and equipment of the Imperial Guard so that they can all be as well-equipped as the Scions. Especially since the Space Marines are what, a million men in an army of billions? Considering how large the Imperium military is, and how there’s only one million Space Marines, there would be entire wars that begin and conclude before Space Marines could even get there, especially with how slow FTL travel in the Imperium is when compared to other factions. Wouldn’t it be more practical to make power armor tech for the masses? To find ways to mass-produce power armor and train Space Marines faster and easier?

That’s why I preferred the Starcraft Marines to the 40K marines: not only are they produced in bulk, which means that wherever a Terran Confederacy or Dominion presence is, they are there in large numbers, but the fact that they’re practically walking targets is PART of their whole design strategy. Confederate and Dominion Marines are SUPPOSED to be cannon fodder, distracting the enemy long enough for the real stars of the show, the armored vehicles and starships, to win the day. The real meat of the Starcraft Terran forces are their armored vehicle divisions, their space units, and let’s not forget, those crafty Ghost agents who have explosive canister sniper rifles, itchy trigger fingers, and a tendency to drop nukes onto enemy bases. So it would be practical for Starcraft Marines to be such walking targets-because they were meant to be. They were criminals brainwashed by the state to become cannon fodder, and if giving them power armor and huge guns makes them even more of a distraction, then so be it. Basically, if the Imperium and the Dominion fought a pitched battle with equal numbers on both sides, your average Dominion soldier would easily outfight the average Imperium soldier, while the Imperium’s special forces like the Space Marines would be like tired hat to the Dominion forces who are used to seeing power armor in the battlefield. And with legions of power-armored marines distracting the Imperium forces, the Dominion could bring in their tanks and aircraft to hit important targets and win the day. If bigger enemies like Emperor Titans showed up, well, those Ghost units would find targets large enough for their nukes.

And of course, the Space Marine Terminators wearing armor made from Adamantium and Plasteel could be a threat………...if the enemy didn’t bring armored tanks into the equation. Granted, they can shake off anti-tank weapons, but that only forces the other side to try harder. Instead of anti-tank weapons, they’ll try something like, say, the Proton Torpedo launchers used by the Shocktroopers and Phase 3 Dark Troopers of the Galactic Empire from Star Wars, who use the same missiles that starfighters use to blow holes in capital ships. Or, the NCR Veteran Rangers can switch to explosive ammo for their anti-materiel rifles, adding more damage to a weapon already designed to punch through tank armor. The Fuel Rod Guns of the Covenant forces from Halo can fire anti-tank fuel rod shells in rapid succession, which can overwhelm the Terminator armor, and everyone from Brutes, to Elites, to even humble Covenant Grunts are trained to use them. The Siege Tanks of Starcraft can switch from their standard tank guns to their Arclite Shock Cannons, meant to destroy bases from afar, and Protoss Reavers can use their Scarab explosives, explosives meant to level whole colonies, against the Space Marine Terminators. And since their increased protection makes them less mobile, they would be more susceptible to these threats, which makes it safer for them to wear regular Space Marine armor instead, since they at least would have a better chance of evading weapons meant to blow holes in capital ships or level whole bases.

So when comparing the Space Marines to other factions’ special infantry, or even other factions in 40K, it seems that the Tau and the Eldar have it right: giving better weapons to regular infantry or making outright mech suits large enough to tackle whole armies may be the right idea after all, since at least, you increase the threat factor of the average soldier, and when your average soldier numbers in the billions, well, that multiplies your threat level rather considerably. Instead of worrying about the one in a million Space Marine that might never even show up, the enemies of the Imperium could start worrying about Astra Militarum soldiers that each pack more than enough firepower to kill Space Marines on their own. And with such soldiers numbering in the billions, the effectiveness factor of the entire Imperium military would multiply in droves.

Too bad they’re not going to do that, considering that the Imperium would rather let the common man die rather than bite the bullet and spend more on local army forces to improve their chances in the battlefield. It reminds me too much of the NCR, who in Fallout New Vegas, send legions of poor people in potato-sack uniforms to die in droves in the Mojave wasteland while power-armored troops guard cattle ranches.

I remember what I said to another 40K fan when I was discussing this matter at length, and I think it bears repeating here:

“The PDF and many local guard units are pathetic when compared to soldiers of other franchises. The Space Marines are a rarity, the IG is what most people encounter when they face the Imperium, and the IG is woefully under-equipped to face the many horrors of the cosmos, let alone soldiers from other sci-fi factions. The Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders, the Protoss, the Covenant, and the Decepticons would make short work of local Imperium forces, leaving the Space Marines to clean up their mess. But since some of these forces number over a million, that might not be so easy for the Space Marines, whose chapters are only about a thousand strong, each, spread out far and wide all over the Imperium. But that's what most 40K fans don't realize: the setting isn't written to be the strongest sci-fi, it was written as a rebuke of religious radicalism and fascism and how it stifles progress.

The IG are heroic in a sense, in that they're willing to do battles with killer robots, Ork hordes, Tyranid hive fleets, Chaos Space Marines, and fucking demons using what amounts to be a glorified flashlight that isn't even as good as the energy weapons in most other Sci-Fi shows and series. But heroic bravery can only get you so far. If will was stronger than steel, they'd all be invincible. Yet they're not. They're like the Republic military back in Star Wars during the Mandalorian Wars before Revan and his Jedi joined in: woefully under-equipped, outgunned, basically target practice for the Mandalorian elites who pranced around the battlefield wielding guns that disintegrate people and wearing armor suits that can block lightsabers. The IG find themselves in a similar situation; facing foes that would give even the battle-hardened Space Marines a tough challenge, except they don't have the gifts of full-body power armor, or large bolter and plasma guns, or the physical strength to engage with the enemy in melee.

I think this topic hit me the most when I was playing the Space Marine game's horde mode for the Chaos Space Marines. I was cleaving through IG soldiers as if they were ants, their lasguns barely even damaging me. I even saw Guardsmen charging at me wielding what looked like large BOWIE KNIVES. Here I was, this monstrous Chaos Space Marine, wearing jet-black armor adorned with spikes and skulls, using a jump pack to jump up and slam down on enemy troops, cleaving through both Orks and Ultramarines left and right with this big "FUCK YOU" power sword, and these idiots charge at me with knives. I was swatting down Space Marines and Psykers as if they were bugs, and here comes some idiot with a flak jacket, a buzz cut, and a knife, and he charges at me and takes a swing at me. I don't know whether to laugh or feel sad. On the one hand, their government is complete shit for not equipping their people right. On the other hand, these people must have big balls of steel to charge at me with something that is more fit to be used in cutting up food on the table. I ended their misery quickly-that was the most I can do for the servants of the False Emperor...........they were brave soldiers, and they deserved a better master.”

Looking back at that discussion, I still stand by what I said. And I still stand by my ideas. Hordes of 40K fanboys will disagree, as they always will do, but for me, what I go for is the truth. And the truth is, there’s enough large holes in 40K’s storyline to drive a Gloriana-Class battleship through, and the practicality and numbers just don’t add up when one considers what 40K fanboys keep blustering about how their Imperium has withstood all these threats. And yet, cries of “the Empire lost to Teddy bears at Endor and to a small Rebellion!” among others still continue, mostly because 40K fans don’t know any better. Here I come waddling in, wanting an honest discussion about comparing 40K to other series, and 40K fanboys are so deluded about their own series’ supposed realism that they ignore all the flaws and holes in it.

I guess some things never change. I’ve seen idiots in the Star Wars side, I’ve seen idiots in the Trek fanbase, Halo fanbase, comic book fans, among others, but 40K fanboys really take the cake for me right now. Maybe I’ll encounter a fanbase crazier than theirs, after all, the Steven Universe and Rick and Morty fanbases have even worse reputations.

Maybe, but that’s for another time…...
My Thoughts on Warhammer 40K: Part 4
In this article, I talk about the unrealistic world-building aspects of 40K, as well as the lack of what I would consider practicality.
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PART IX: CIVILIZATIONAL LEVELS OF EACH NATION

Okay, so we’ve talked about the leaders, the strategies, the combatants, and many other topics. But what is it really like to live in the turf of all three nations?

First and foremost, we have the New California Republic. The NCR is basically not a bad place to live…….if you’re armed to the teeth and can protect yourself. Not to mention if you’re willing to part with a chunk of your income to support the NCR through taxes. The NCR rarely does anything to stop raiders, and sometimes even creates gangs unintentionally like with the Powder Gangers. Gangs like the Fiends even sense weakness with the NCR and go so far as to harass the NCR forces near their base at Camp McCarran. If the NCR is supposed to be a modernized nation, then what kind of modern nation gets easily harassed by bandits?

And of course, the taxes. Part of the reason why many traders dislike going through NCR territory is because the NCR taxes people while not even looking out for their safety. Dale Barton, a trader in Caesar’s camp, explains why he’d rather stay away from the NCR:

“Between having to hire protection and getting slapped with taxes, it's more profitable to stick to Arizona and New Mexico.” (Note that Arizona and New Mexico are Legion territories.)

Depending on who you ask, the NCR is either a shining beacon of democracy, or it’s worse than the Mafia. Many Legion fans have noted that it’s more likely the latter, since at least the Mafia protects people who pay protection money, and roughs up any gang caught extorting people on their turf. But there were times when the NCR showed a backbone, like when Aaron Kimball was a general and he became the “Hero of the Mojave” for wiping out tribes that dared attack NCR citizens. If the NCR could keep that up, it would be a safer place to live in. However, that wasn’t always the case, and in NCR territory, yes, you have your freedom to vote for the politician of your choice, but any day while you’re away or asleep, some random raiders, a cazador insect, or a Deathclaw can break into your home and kill your entire family, and all the NCR can do about it 90% of the time is offer you condolences. While reminding you that you have to pay your taxes to support their operations, like that war in the Mojave that few people want.

Even the mighty Caesar himself used to be a citizen of the NCR, and his path to darkness started when the NCR failed to protect his family:

“Ironically, I was born a Profligate myself, a citizen of the NCR. My family lived not far from the great Boneyard. After raiders killed my father, my mother sought the Followers' protection. I was two years old. She found work at their Library, cooking and cleaning. I learned how to read and soon I was taking courses, free of charge.”

Basically, Edward Sallow’s father was killed, he and his mom wound up with the Followers, he started learning from the Followers, and then he headed east and met with the Blackfoot tribe. He started teaching them how to fight, they conquered other tribes, and once he gained enough tribes under his banner, Sallow crowned himself Caesar and made his tribes into the Legion. The rest was history: the NCR’s failure to protect its citizens literally ended up creating a monster that would end up being the NCR’s greatest foe, one that surpassed the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave Remnants in Navarro as a threat.

Speaking of those two factions, some NCR fans will claim that the NCR is more advanced than the Legion because they defeated the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel, enemies with shiny power armor, advanced energy weapons, and more tech and science. But as House stated, the NCR overcame them because of the numbers advantage. It was not due to technological might did the NCR win, the NCR won because they had a 15 to 1 advantage. Outside of the NCR Rangers, who are few and far between, most NCR troops will die fighting Brotherhood Paladins on equal footing, since even salvaged power armor and chainguns are no match for real power armor paired up with devastating energy weapons. The Brotherhood Paladins are similar to the Space Marines of 40K, but instead of using loud guns with explosive ammo, they use Gauss Rifles and laser weapons to turn the opposition into a mess of blood, bones, and organs or into a pile of ash. Plus, any idiot with an armor-piercing Anti-Materiel Rifle can blow holes in the armor of Brotherhood Paladins, so I suppose it didn’t take long for NCR Rangers and snipers to blow holes in Brotherhood Paladins. By the way, the same Anti-Materiel Rifles aren’t unique to the NCR: Legion officers carried them too, so that’s not a technological advantage on behalf of the NCR.

In fact, when it comes to technological advantage, the NCR is quite lacking. As per their previous agreements with Mr. House before the events of Fallout: New Vegas, the NCR was given the Camp McCarran air force base, with many planes lying around. Why haven’t they won this war yet? All they need to do is dust off those planes, fix them up to be ready to go, and drop bombs on Legion camps. They can literally just fix the planes and drop bombs on Caesar’s head and end the Legion threat once and for all. Or threaten to have the bombers fly east and flatten Caesar’s realm. And don’t tell me that they can’t do that because of how the apocalypse set people back in technology: some random tribe named the Boomers happened upon Nellis Air Force Base, and not only did they get the artillery on the base working, but they also could get a bomber working. Working for the Boomers, the player can retrieve a bomber that’s been underneath a lake for God knows how long. Yet once the Boomers have it, they managed to get it to be operational, and in the final battle for Hoover Dam, they appear on whatever side the player’s on and bomb the opposition into ashes. If some random tribe that crawled out of a vault can get long-range artillery and airplanes working, why can’t a Republic that has shown some technological adaptability do that? What, where they really that broke? Or does this mean that some random tribe in the wastes that lucked out and bumped into an air force base is more adept at technological adaptability than them?

Even NCR’s so-called “Democracy” can be called into question. The NCR campaign in the Mojave has few supporters outside of the President and hawkish military officers like General Oliver and Colonel Moore. As Hanlon stated, local officials back home in NCR turf don’t want to support the war because citizens see the Mojave as a money and blood sink, where their taxes get spent and where their family members in the army end up getting killed. The people in Mojave towns like Goodsprings resent NCR control once they establish authority over the area, and they flee the town just like how they would flee in the event of a Legion victory, not wanting to be taxed to death by NCR authorities. Many gangs and anarchists like the Powder Gangers have sprung up, calling for an end to NCR tyranny, while other gangs like the Khans would rather get in bed with Caesar.  Vegas elites like House and Benny see them as thieves, scheming to steal Vegas from the people who run it instead of purchasing it like an honest democracy.

So, to recap, in the Mojave, the locals don’t like the NCR, the elites of Vegas see them as thieves, and even people back home in NCR territory see the war as a futile gesture, they don't want it to keep on going. All the while, the NCR devotes power-armored troops to guard Brahmin baron holdings instead of committing them to war. The NCR has battalions of men that are as advanced as the Brotherhood Paladins, but they’re not sending them to war, the politicians in charge would rather have poor people in the army die in the Mojave than risk earning the ire of rich Brahmin barons.

The question that must be asked is this: WHO IS THE NCR FIGHTING FOR!? The people of the NCR? NO! The people want less taxes to be spent in the Mojave and for the soldiers to come home. The people of the Mojave? NO! Those people hate the NCR as much as they hate the Legion. House and the Three Families? NO! The NCR is scheming to take Vegas from them, instead of buying it like an honest country would or keep on protecting it as an independent ally, and both House and his Three Families know it, down to the point where one of the Three Family leaders (Benny of the Chairmen) was scheming to drive out both the NCR and the Legion just like House would, while another Family leader (the leader of the Omertas, Nero) was planning on aiding the Legion instead, to wipe out the NCR presence in Vegas. Yes, we have gotten to the point where some guys would sign on with an autocracy that enslaves people just because they’re tired of tolerating the NCR.

Caesar himself notes how the “democracy” of the NCR is a joke, an highlights how their best time was under an unofficial dictator-for-life:

“As a young man I was taught to venerate President Tandi of Shady Sands. The Founding Mother of the New California Republic. Did you know her Presidency lasted 52 years? And that her father, Aradesh, was the Republic's first President? Does that sound like democracy to you, or a hereditary dictatorship? The council didn't dare oppose her. She was too popular. She had the people's love. So things ran smoothly, more or less. And as soon as she was gone, as soon as there really could be democracy-what happened then? Ever since losing its queen, the NCR has been weaker, more diffuse. Democracy has been its weakness, not its strength.”

Caesar’s assessment of how the corruption in the NCR government runs rampant would be something that Chief Hanlon would find all-too accurate from his own experiences:

“Greed runs rampant. The government is corrupt, accepting bribes from Brahmin barons and landowners, to the detriment of citizens. The NCR is a loose conglomerate of individuals looking out for themselves. It's lost virtue. No one cares about the collective, the greater good. It's not built to last. I'm just hastening the inevitable.”

The NCR, in the end, is fighting for whoever's in charge, and right now, it’s Kimball and his military officers, as well as the Brahmin barons and rich people who grip the NCR by the balls.  The military war hawks and their president get to send barely-equipped poor people and rangers to die in the Mojave wasteland, while power-armored soldiers stay home and protect rich people interests from small-time raiders. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Send the least-experienced and least-equipped low-ranking grunts to deal with small-time bandits plaguing cattle farms, while the power-armored elite would go to the Mojave to assist the more experienced soldiers and the NCR Rangers in the coming battle with the Legion! Granted, that would ruin the element of surprise by having power-armored walking tanks galavant around the Mojave bearing the flag of the NCR’s double-headed bear, but it would project one hell of an image to the Legion, and that image would convince the average Legion soldier that picking a fight with the NCR would most likely end with their heads on pikes, what with NCR Rangers and their long-range rifles backing up the power-armored troops who would pound the Legion troops into pancake batter should they engage up-close. The Legion’s vaunted focus on melee combat would suddenly look silly when entire platoons of NCR soldiers wearing power armor won’t even be tickled when the Legionnaires come at them with machetes.

Some people might say that the NCR DOES have Heavy Troopers with power armor, but they wear stripped-down versions power armor that does not have the benefits of regular power armor. They have the weight effect, but a suit of NCR “salvaged” power armor has less protection than a suit of regular power armor, nor does it have the strength upgrades that power armor usually comes with. Imagine Spartan armor from Halo or Space Marine armor from 40K, except it doesn’t have the strength upgrades that usually come with that power armor because the techs stripped out the servos to make it easier for regular men to wear. They’re nowhere near as strong as actual power-armored troops like the Enclave forces or the Brotherhood of Steel.

As it stands, there’s only ONE PERSON in the NCR army FOR THE ENTIRE GAME who wears proper, working, NCR power armor, and that is Colonel Royez-a bonus boss you can fight on the road to the Mojave Outpost if you nuke the NCR at the end of the Lonesome Road DLC. He’s the only one wearing an actual suit of working power armor that is decorated with NCR symbols, while the rest of the NCR special forces are either wearing stripped-down power armor that isn’t as good as the real thing, or Ranger armor. And those are the lucky guys who weren’t stuck with potato sack uniforms and dinky guns for weapons. The most well-equipped NCR soldier in the game, and he serves the role of a glorified road guard instead of playing any important role in the game.

Many NCR fans argue that the NCR is a democracy, and that no matter how corrupt it is, it can change to be better. Sadly, however, it seems that Caesar has a far easier time changing than them. Once Caesar wins victory over New Vegas, he starts changing, showing acts of mercy in instances like with the Enclave Remnants, the Boomers, the Followers, the female Courier, and even Arcade Gannon, the doctor who despises him so much. Instances where he would previously crucify or enslave everyone involved. However, once the NCR takes over towns like Goodsprings, or faces the Kings and the Followers without any prior diplomatic ties, they either expel or tax the living crap out of them, showing how the NCR barely changes outside of having a military victory. In fact, they’ve had FIVE YEARS since their previous victory against Caesar in Hoover Dam, and yet they’ve changed for the worse since then. Instead of improving, they kept losing 1000 men per year. They lost enough men to form an actual, honest-to-God, Roman legion right before the start of the game.

Even if the NCR wins the Second Battle for Hoover Dam, what’s to say that an NCR-led Mojave won’t change for the worse again? What’s to say that more corruption, taxes, and ignorance of people’s safety won’t come creeping back in? The NCR not only won in the past, but they’ve had five years to prepare for Caesar’s return. And since they don’t even send the player to kill Caesar, unless the Courier kills Caesar on their own, Caesar can come back in a matter of years with a new legate and more forces once his Legion has had time to recover. The same goes if Caesar died, but Lanius was spared, and he left Hoover Dam and the Mojave to fight another day. Sure, killing Lanius is the standard path for NCR players, but killing Caesar isn’t. So if the player does nothing but the main quest, Lanius can be dead, but Caesar would still live and come back another day, while the NCR would go on forcing their regime on people who don’t like them. Which means barely anything would have changed at all. Heck, if the NCR starts taxing Vegas and the surrounding areas, that could lead the the downfall of the economy of Vegas, since it greatly relies upon visitors and people coming in to develop the place. Why would gamblers with money come to Vegas if, aside from losing in some games, they can lose money to tax hounds? They’d leave Vegas in a heartbeat, and the tourists would leave with them. Which would then leave the NCR with a husk of a city that’s not as useful as it would be under someone like House or the Courier, who show no signs of taxing the place heavily.

The only advantages that the NCR has is that they don’t force their ideology down upon the populace the way the Legion does. They don’t forcibly enslave women, they don’t kill all mutants or crucify people who use drugs, so basically, that is an advantage. Plus, if you do find a way to get rich despite all the taxation, you can bribe NCR senators and other politicians to be on your side, so that, at least, they would be an advantage for people who know how to make money. Perhaps you can pay the NCR to send their power-armored brigades to guard your cattle farms. And of course, the NCR Veteran Rangers are some of the best soldiers in the whole Fallout: New Vegas game. Perhaps THE best, at least in long range.

In the end, the NCR isn’t a bad place to live, if you want a western-style democracy, if you can protect yourself, and if you know how to make money. And if you don’t mind having that money spent in wars that drain the treasury, or having your relatives in the army be sent to some faraway desert where they might die. But if you’re looking for competency in government, you’re shit out of luck. Best look elsewhere, like Vegas or the Legion. Because the NCR is so backwards and incompetent that the best part about them is when they leave you alone.

Next up, we have Caesar’s Legion, and depending on who you’re talking to, it’s either a massive improvement over the NCR, or a massive downgrade. People from recently conquered lands that the Legion took over, women, and people who love their tribal identities would obviously state that the Legion is far worse than the NCR, but settler communities, regular men who serve in the Legion, and the merchants and traders would probably say the opposite. Since the Legion enslaves people from recently-conquered lands, forces women into domestic servitude and baby-making duties, and eradicates tribal identities, many women, tribals, and people outside the Legion view it with utter contempt. But of course they do, because they get the short end of the stick in Legion turf. Whereas the Legion’s conquests benefit settler communities that have chosen to settle in Legion territories, as well as traders and Legion recruits. They all see the Legion as a better place, thanks to the fact that the Legion territories have nothing in the way of local threats. Dale Barton, the merchant inside Caesar’s camp, talks about how safe it is to do business with the Legion:

“Hell, I don't even need to travel with guards most of the time in Legion territory. All the bandits are dead or run off.”

Trade is cheaper in Legion territory, making it easier for merchants to travel since they not only don’t need to hire bodyguards, but all the local threats no longer exist. This, of course, helps the economy in Caesar’s turf blossom even more, since traders and merchants will naturally find it more appealing to do business in Caesar’s domains. So long as they don’t try to sell forbidden items like chemicals to the Legion forces, they’d be considered fine. This means that even though Caesar’s Legion is a sort of traditionalist state, its support and protection of free trade would help its economy rise faster than that of the NCR’s, where only rich and wealthy people can prosper. In contrast, in Caesar’s Legion, even middling merchants can prosper, due to the fact that not only does Caesar barely tax them, but his eradication of all local threats means that the merchants can save money and skimp out on hiring mercenaries for protection.

Caesar’s forces have already wiped out all the bandits and dangerous creatures in Legion territory, which means everyone from slaves to praetorians will no longer need to worry about the likes of raiders in Legion turf.  With that security comes a price: women, slaves, and captives from recent conquests do not have the freedoms that most NCR citizens take for granted. Of course, they’re not getting taxed to death by the NCR, but they’ll be forced to supply free labor, and for the female captives and slaves, they’ll be forced to pump out kids for the Legion. But the thing is, they’re completely safe, and outside of complications with childbirth (or the odd crucifixion for disobedient slaves) most slaves could probably lead long, healthy lives, so long as they don’t cross their masters. So it’s basically the choice between freedom and no safety, or safety and no freedom for them: either you live in a free society that steals a good chunk of your wealth through taxes and doesn’t protect you for shit, meaning that you’ll have to fend for yourself, or you can surrender to the Legion and be forced into being a soldier or a slave, and be safe for the rest of your life in exchange for forced service.

Speaking of soldiers, Legion troops are far more professional and well-trained than those of the NCR’s. And unlike the NCR, where even the army is driven by favors (like how Chief Hanlon got the short stick despite defeating the Legion before, while Lee Oliver becomes a general due to him being close friends with President Aaron Kimball) the Legion military is driven solely by merit. One big proof of this was how Caesar treated the Legion’s co-founder, the Malpais Legate, Joshua Graham, after Graham made an ill-advised attempt at chasing Chief Hanlon’s forces into Boulder City after the Legion drove the NCR from the Hoover Dam. After the Legion was crushed in Hoover Dam, Caesar had the Malpais Legate covered in pitch then set on fire and thrown into the Grand Canyon. Caesar made a statement with that punishment: nobody, not even the highest-ranking commander, is immune from punishment if he fails. Hence why Lanius retreating from Hoover Dam is a great risk for his own life: if Caesar is still alive, Caesar would most likely punish Lanius for his failure. It’s only if Caesar is dead would Lanius’ retreat be of no personal threat to himself, since by that time, Lanius has no superiors in the Legion with Caesar dead.

The Legion does have prohibitions: prohibitions against chems and advanced medical operations due to the addictive nature of chems. Prohibitions against machine labor due to it leading people to be “lazy.” Such prohibitions make the Legion seem primitive, and yes, it does make them look primitive. However, considering the fact that Robert Edwin House is entirely reliant on his army of Securitrons (House’s whole plan hinges on his robot army being operational, if they get sabotaged in any way, he’s fucked.) and how some of the more degenerate and ruthless gangs overdose on chems, there may be something logical behind Caesar’s primitive logic. But if Caesar’s approach to machines and medicine is primitive, his approach to his military is surprisingly progressive, at least by his own chauvinistic standards, since again, women can’t serve in it.

Every higher-ranking soldier in the Legion, from Decanii, to Prime Legionnaires, to the dreaded Centurions and Praetorians, all earned their posts at the highest levels of Legion governance through hard work and sacrifice. They all gained their higher posts due to their skill and accomplishments in battle. Caesar and his officers promote soldiers not based on favors or name recognition, but on merits and accomplishments. If the NCR had a similar military doctrine, Chief Hanlon would be the head of the NCR military by now, whereas Lee Oliver would be some chump officer dealing with office paperwork at best.

Legion Centurions even made a point to make their armors out of the different armors of the enemies of the Legion, just to show how badass they are: the centerpiece of the Centurion armor is an armor piece from a Super Mutant’s armor, the right pauldron is from a Brotherhood Paladin, and the left arm part of the armor is from an NCR Ranger’s armor. By making the armor of the Centurion from the armors of different enemies, the Legion is making a statement: our elites spent their time killing the elites from other factions, be they Super Mutants, power-armored Brotherhood Paladins, and NCR Rangers. Meaning that in their tours of duty, Centurions have spent their time scrapping with the best of the best, and that they are fit to lead, because they’ve killed enemies that would have given regular Legion troops a lot of trouble. This goes to show how the Legion’s forces are led by the best.

And as previously stated, the Legion forces have defeated other threats that NCR fans would think is far above them. Two out of the three armor pieces from the Centurions belong to such foes: Super Mutants and Brotherhood Paladins. Super Mutants are massive, humanoid mutants who wield heavy weapons and have immense strength in hand-to-hand combat. Brotherhood Paladins wear power armor and use energy weapons that can easily disintegrate or dismember infantry units. And by the looks of the Centurion armor, the Legion has dispatched such foes in the past, meaning that in their expansion westward from the east, they have come across enclaves of Super Mutants or bases belonging to the Brotherhood of Steel, and have wiped them out. Considering Caesar’s uncompromisingly negative attitude towards the Brotherhood, not to mention the lack of Super Mutants in Caesar’s army and lands, it’s safe to say that Caesar had them both wiped out. This, of course, raises the Legion’s threat level significantly, having dispatched enemies with tremendous physical and technological advantages over regular soldiers. If they are able to take down technologically-advanced Brotherhood Paladins, freaks of nature like the Super Mutants, and experienced NCR Rangers, then that goes to show that the officer corps of the Legion forces are very well-experienced indeed, and that the Legion, in the past, have taken down enemies with enormous natural strength like the Super Mutants, or enemies with strong technological backgrounds like the Brotherhood of Steel.

Plus, we do see the Legion employing advanced technology to a degree. Many Legion officers carry weapons like Anti-Materiel Rifles and Marksman Carbines, as well as Super Sledges and Thermic Lances. Those are not the kind of weapons that primitive barbarians use. Most other Legion troops use regular rifles and machine guns alongside machetes and power fists. And as evidenced with their attempt to make a deal with the Van Graff clan, Caesar is interested in energy weapons tech and wishes to have his Legions employ such tech in battle. So Caesar’s Legion isn’t completely primitive when it comes to technology: they only want tech that won’t have a potential drawback in the future for society.

Basically, Legion is a safe, but draconian society, and its prohibitions on technology and medicine has done nothing to dull its edge, since they are still chasing after other technological advantages. And as a society, the Legion is safe, but controlling. Caesar’s law is “my way or the highway,” but Caesar’s way does provide safety and security for his subjects, be they traders, settlers, or slaves. Whereas someone can prosper in the NCR by being heavily-armed and wealthy from the start, in the Legion, one can prosper by A) being born a man and B) working your way up the ranks of the army. There are high-ranking positions for women, such as the priestesses who indoctrinate future Legion soldiers, but that’s obviously not the fate of most women in Legion turf, where either they are humble settlers, or slaves used by the Legion for labor and baby-making.

The Legion, in the end, is a complete over-reaction to the problems of the NCR. The NCR is a loose conglomeration of people without care for the common good? The Legion will work for nothing BUT the common good, even if it means some people don’t have freedom. The NCR is easily controlled by rich people influencing politicians? The Legion will only have one politician, Caesar, and he’s not going to be influenced by the rich. The NCR doesn’t provide security for traders and slaps taxes on them? The Legion barely taxes them and kills all bandits and dangerous creatures, making it easy for trade. The NCR leaders allow for nepotism in terms of command structure promotion? The Legion had Caesar burn his own second-in-command to a crisp when the latter failed in battle. The NCR allows for equal sexes to serve in the army? The Legion only allows men to serve in the army. If the NCR is a thesis for a society, then the Legion is its antithesis, all the way to the last detail.

However, since the Legion is an autocracy, any of its policies can change by the word of its leader. Caesar, being their emperor, can easily force the Legion to accept or change based on a single “yes” or “no.” While the NCR’s politicians might spend years debating on whether or not to change policy, Caesar can easily change policy with his decisions. We see this with how Caesar’s Legion transforms after he takes Vegas: as he himself described it, Caesar sees his Legion as a nomadic army, and he sees the seizure of Vegas as said army getting its own Rome, turning itself into an actual nation with an army that protects the citizens and the power of the dictator, instead of an army that’s constantly on the move.

“My conquest of the Mojave will be a glorious triumph, marking the transition of the Legion from a basically nomadic tribe to a genuine empire.”

As I previously stated, Caesar begins changing his attitudes once he takes control of Vegas. Whereas in his previous system, he would have crucified the likes of Chief Hanlon, the Followers of the Apocalypse, or Arcade Gannon, he spares them, allowing the Followers to leave, giving Hanlon a quick death through decapitation, and even enjoying debates with Arcade Gannon despite the latter’s obvious hate for Caesar. In the past, Caesar called for the eradication of individual tribes and groups that can pose a threat in the future, but he spares tribes like the Boomers and the Enclave Remnants, even though they have more than enough firepower to turn his beloved “New Rome” into a smoldering corpse pile, especially when the latter has power-armored troopers and the former has working bomber planes and artillery. And of course, the biggest change of them all: Caesar honors a female Courier for helping win the battle against the NCR. Caesar in the past would have probably enslaved the female Courier and forced her to be a kitchen cook or a sex slave after her usefulness has ended, but in the Legion ending for the game, Caesar reins in the chauvinism and honors the female Courier as a national heroine, placing her face on the coin, basically giving her a similar status to Legate Lanius. Basically, the head of a chauvinistic army that enslaved women in the past now honors a female warrior as their new national hero.

This basically shows the biggest advantage that the Legion has over the NCR: the dictator’s supreme power. While it can be used for horribly abusive ends, it can also lead to positive changes when Caesar sees wisdom in change. He begins honoring promises to tribes like the Boomers and groups like the Enclave Remnants. He starts showing mercy to groups and people who hate him, like the Followers of the Apocalypse or Arcade Gannon. He reverses his sexist policy on female fighters and openly honors a female Courier as their new national hero. So perhaps other things that Caesar banned in the past, like complex medical science and robot soldiers, can also be one day allowed. And in the end, Caesar’s Legion exists to correct the problems of the NCR.

Perhaps once society stabilizes and the problems of the wasteland disappear one after the other, Caesar, or his successors, might change policy in order to fit the times. After all, that’s what real-life societies once did, remember? Society wasn’t born democratic, nor was it born with an appreciation for the sciences, for sexual equality, or for civil liberties. Those things came with time, as people decided to want more from their governments and life became more stable, hence the need for all-powerful rulers began to wane. Perhaps in fifty to 100 years’ time, the Legion could give birth to a new democracy as well, or make a compromise between an autocracy and a democracy like how other civilizations did. Perhaps Caesar Jr. or another successor of Caesar’s might follow his old man’s footsteps and loosen up the Legion’s strict methods. But that is all conjecture. It is both a positive and a negative-the leader can change the Legion for the better, but he can also do it for the worse, as those who have seen Lanius succeed Caesar as the new ruler of the Legion in one of the Fallout: New Vegas endings can attest….

If we want to look at an autocrat that looks towards to future, we have to turn to Robert Edwin House and his civilization of New Vegas. And while it’s basically a city-state, the fact that it’s a preserved part of the old world puts it leagues ahead of both the NCR and the Legion. And in his city, people have the advantages of both the Legion and the NCR, with none of the weaknesses. Wherever the Securitrons keep things secure, people can live their daily lives in peace, protected from monsters and raiders, but they also aren’t under the regime of a despot who would prevent them from accessing medical technology or prevent women from taking up arms. Sure, in the beginning of the game, Vegas barely has any power outside of the city, but House’s power increases after his Securitron army goes online, and after that, he takes control of the entire Mojave Wasteland. He wipes out gangs like the Fiends, he sends both the NCR with their taxes and the Legion with its fetishes for crosses and slavery packing. Which leaves the people with a civilization that is secure, strong, and isn’t invasive when it comes to personal morals.

Of course, House’s ship does have rats in it. His very loose attitudes towards the Three Families that rule the Strip in his name have left them wanting-two out of three family heads are plotting to betray him already. Benny and Nero-the leaders of the Chairmen and the Omertas respectively-are plotting to get rid of House, with Benny wanting to usurp House’s plan to evict both the NCR and the Legion from Vegas, and Nero wanting to use the Legion to evict the NCR from Vegas. The fact that he has a rather dispassionate approach to government does breed these kinds of threats from within, just like how the NCR’s hapazard governance and lack of security accidentally created Caesar’s Legion. Similarly, House has done little to endear him to the people of the Mojave, since they see his surveillance of their affairs as intrusive, and some even mock him and rejoice in his death of the Courier does kill him. Just as with Caesar and the NCR, the people view House as just another authority figure, butting in on their lives. But, when compared to the NCR taxing people to death and the Legion enslaving them, an old-world corporate man keeping an eye on things seems relatively harmless by comparison.

And in House’s turf, what do we have? The trappings of civilization, back from the past. When House takes over the Mojave, the endgame narrator notes how he basically brings back the pre-war world in its full glory:

“Mr. House's Securitron army took control of Hoover Dam and the Strip, pushing both the Legion and the exhausted NCR out of New Vegas. Mr. House continued to run New Vegas his way, a despotic vision of pre-War glory. The streets were orderly, efficient, cold. New Vegas continued to be the sole place in the wasteland where fortunes were won and lost in the blink of an eye.”

House offers the people of the wasteland a glimpse into the old-world glory of Vegas, and in his city, people live, people dream, people win and lose fortunes, but most of all, people can afford to live in decadent splendor. They can dine in the Ultra-Luxe’s Gourmand restaurant, they can bury themselves in Gomorrah's whores, they can go to the Tops and watch musical performances, they can enjoy the kind of life that people could barely even dream of in the outside world. The outside of Vegas is akin to the Wild West: people can live and die never knowing luxury, living hand-to-mouth, always in danger of getting shot in the face by another gang or killed by whatever kind of mutated monstrosity in the Wasteland. Inside Vegas, the Securitrons put down any threats, the sights, sounds, and lights of the city are always with you, there’s no shortage of work, and winning fortunes can be as easy as playing a hand of blackjack, so long as you’re lucky.

And as previously stated, House plans much more than that for civilization, since he wants to use the money earned in Vegas to re-ignite the high technology development sectors, put people in orbit, and finally, send colony ships to search for new worlds that remain unscarred by nuclear fire. So in terms of civilizational planning, House obviously reigns supreme, since the end goal of his plans is to give humanity a new home: one that isn’t an irradiated shithole full of monsters and radiation.

PART X: FINAL GRADE

And here we are at last, the final grade for all three sides. For the NCR, for the Legion, and for House’s Vegas.

And of course, the one with the worst grade is the NCR. If I were to give it a grade, it would be at most, a C+. As it stands, the NCR is barely even a civilization.. It is a civilization where you are free. Free to choose your job, free to take up arms, free to vote for your politician of choice…….so long as you don’t mind losing a chunk of your wealth to a government that won’t even protect you, and you’re well-armed enough to protect yourself. Oh, they’ll protect THEIR interests, such as Hoover Dam and the Brahmin barons’ cattle farms, but if you’re a regular citizen, you’re shit out of luck. Unless someone twists their arm to protect local towns, or if the local gangs themselves gave the NCR a reason to hunt them aside from “harassing townsfolk,” then they won’t protect the people out of the kindness of their own hearts. So basically the NCR is a good place to live-if you’re already wealthy enough to afford the taxes, and you’re well-armed enough that bandits and monsters generally leave you alone.

And in the end, they have no bigger plans after defeating Caesar in the Second Battle of Hoover Dam; all they would do is expand, tax towns like Goodsprings, and do the same crap they’ve always done-force others to live by their taxes and laws while barely caring for the people they tax. Their ineffectiveness in the face of Legion aggressiveness, losing Nelson and Searchlight to the Legion, as well as not knowing about the sack of Nipton and being unaware of the large spy network Caesar has, along with the fact that their leaders, like General Lee Oliver, are chosen through political favors, goes to show that in a stand-up brawl, the NCR would lose to the Legion.

They talk a good game, and there are people in the NCR who genuinely do good work like the Rangers, but they’re not the top brass, and the top brass themselves are open to more than a bit of nepotism, even in the face of a war that can break the NCR in the Mojave. Winning the war for the NCR does almost nothing to affect the NCR in the long run. Outside of giving them more posts to garrison, all they do is tax, expand, and move on. Which, given how overextended and poorly-protected many NCR outposts are already in the Mojave, might not be the best for them. They’ll have to jack up the taxes and extend their forces even more now that the Legion is gone. Unless the Courier spent their time wiping out gang leaders, then gangs like the Fiends and the Powder Gangers remain a threat for the populace.

The only things that redeem them are A) powerful elite troops in the form of the NCR Veteran Rangers, which are powerful enough to give Brotherhood Paladins and Legion Centurions a run for their money, and B) the fact that they do allow people to vote for politicians of their choice, which, in a sense, is what democracy should be, but in practice, it isn’t a perfect system.

In fact, if you want to help the NCR, the best option is to screw them over and go with the Yes Man/House endings where you crush the Legion, then use a massive Securitron army to drive the NCR forces out of the Mojave. The Legion gets annihilated, the NCR no longer has to overextend and tax its people for an expensive campaign in the Mojave that gets 1000 soldiers killed every year, the Securitrons take over security detail without hiking up the taxes, the people of the NCR can go to Vegas for work, gambling, or pleasure, and the NCR soldiers can go back home and do something useful……….like protecting the people of the NCR. You know that a faction is so bad when screwing them over and stopping them from expanding is actually more beneficial for their people than just helping them win wars and expand more.

Caesar’s Legion would get a solid B, if only because they’re effective and frightening at the same time. They have equal bouts of fame and infamy: they have safe settler communities that barely need security, but they also enslave and kill as they move across the Wasteland. They keep trade going by making sure that merchants and traders are safe from bandits and monsters, because they killed all the bandits and monsters. They also force most women from conquered lands to be sex slaves or menial workers, with a select few becoming priestesses. Their army is well-oiled and organized as a meritocracy, with the better fighters getting a higher rank, but they make sure no woman fights in the Legion, depriving them of potential fighters and giving the NCR more ammo for propaganda aside from the whole “female slavery” thing.

The fact that they’ve kept the NCR under the ropes even after the NCR’s previous victory at Hoover Dam goes to show that Caesar’s Legion is an effective military. And Caesar himself as a ruler starts to show some class when he does take Vegas, giving the Followers time to leave, respecting Arcade Gannon as an intellectual foe, giving Chief Hanlon a quick and honorable death, leaving the Boomers and Enclave Remnants to be free, and even honoring a female warrior like the female Courier as a national heroine. Caesar is capable of both wisdom and tactical brilliance, which are good traits in any ruler.

Caesar as a dictator basically shapes his Legion in his vision of a just and lasting society, and his vision is equal parts good and bad, especially since Caesar himself is a smart, but flawed man. Yes, in a post-apocalyptic shithole, it makes sense to keep most women away from the battlefield to make sure that your next generation has proper parents and numbers, but some women can have the gift for fighting, and should be given that chance to prove themselves, like how Caesar eventually does with the female Courier, which at that point, goes to show that a woman can help the Legion win the war all by herself, with only minor backup from Caesar. Yes, it’s good to have a meritocratic force that looks down upon failure to encourage success on the battlefield, but punishing people like Joshua Graham to the extent that he was punished (setting him on fire and throwing him down the Grand Canyon) and letting Lanius go full Decimatio (killing 1/10th of the men) on failed brigades basically does the NCR’s work for them. Such actions rob the Legion of manpower and skilled fighters. Manpower is still manpower; failed soldiers can be made to serve as menial laborers alongside slaves, and Joshua Graham was still a skilled fighter, as was shown in the DLC Honest Hearts; demoting him to frontline fighting duty as a Decanus or a regular Centurion and away from Legate command status would have been more appropriate as a punishment for his failure. Caesar’s dogged insistence on avoiding advanced medicine outside of Auto-Docs keeps his men from getting addicted to chems, but it bites him hard in the ass when he gets a tumor and he needed outsiders like the Courier or Arcade Gannon to save his ass from it.

So basically, Caesar’s Legion would get a solid B, if anything, because of the fact that it is an effective fighting force, but Caesar’s ideals are not what the Legion fights for, since they fight for Caesar himself. The rather erudite Super Mutant leader Marcus, the leader of the Mutant settlement in Jacobstown, points out the biggest flaw in Caesar’s Legion:

"Caesar thinks he can change human nature. Most of the Legion is following Caesar, not Caesar's ideals. When he's gone, it'll crumble. Might not happen overnight. Might take a few decades. But it'll happen. Basic human nature - greed, ambition, jealousy - will see to it."

Caesar can talk a good game about “bringing the torch of knowledge to the wastes,” wanting to get rid of government corruption, wanting to create a better future, wanting to create a genuine empire out of nomadic tribes, but at the end of the day, he’s surrounded by yes-men who all have a brutal penchant for violence, who do things not because they see it as a path to the greater good, but because they were told to do so by someone in a higher post than them. Like the minions of the Imperium of Man from Warhammer 40K, they can easily turn into the very same thing their Emperor hated if the right conditions are met. If Caesar dies and has no real heir, or if his heirs drive the Legion into the dirt, then it’s game over for them.

Just as the Emperor of Mankind who hated religious superstition wound up having his Imperium become a bastion of it, so too could Caesar’s Legion become a bastion for the same tribal brutality that Caesar himself despised if he’s out of the picture and his successors screw things up. This means that Caesar ought to get to work quickly to secure an heir or a means of electing successors, and fast. Maybe after he wins control of Vegas, he can create an Imperial Senate like that of Rome’s, or marry the female Courier or some other woman and pop out a babe of his own blood to eventually succeed him. Or maybe both. And he’d better make sure to teach the Legion troops the value of cultivating culture and reading books, because if he doesn’t, his beloved Legion could descend into the same barbaric anarchy that he so despised once he is gone. Hence why despite the Legion’s effectiveness, as a military, as a culture, as a civilizing force that is working to get rid of raiders, monsters, and anything that threatens settlers in this new world, it can all still fall apart at a moment’s notice, especially since by the time of the game, the Legion troops are basically still tribals: they’re still aggressive rapist murderers. They don’t resemble the soldiers of a civilized society, they resemble barbarian tribes united under one chieftain.

And the thing is, these problems didn’t need to exist in the first place, at all. Caesar’s folly for creating a brutal cult of personality with himself as “the Son of Mars” is to blame for such problems. If the Legion was simply the military arm of the Followers of the Apocalypse, using Roman tactics and knowledge from the past to civilize the land and bring tribals into civilization, it wouldn’t be so bad, in fact, that would be the ideal situation for the Legion. Caesar could explain that he’s just a great fighter and historian, and he’d openly state his mission, not as a Son of Mars, but as the man who brings the torch knowledge to the wasteland, and resurrecting civilization by uniting tribes through warfare and eradicating their more barbaric traits would be his stated goal. If that was the case, then everyone from the more civilized tribes to even House and the NCR would be supporting him all the way through. But the fact that Legion troops still relish in rape, slaughter, and torturing the enemy goes to show that Caesar has failed in civilizing his men. He hasn’t taken the tribal out of the tribes that he has conquered-he only gave them new outlets to unleash their tribal fury. Cannibalism, rape and killing simply gave way to crucifixion, rape, and organized slaughter. And the fact that Caesar basically turned his whole Legion into a cult of personality means that any civilizing force he might have imparted upon them would be overridden by the “yes-man” aspect of his Legion, which would just enable his own barbarity.

Finally, House and his New Vegas get an A- for their efforts. House’s domain is the most civilized and effective out of the three, giving the denizens of the city same kind of security Caesar does, so long as it is within the walls of Vegas, while giving people the same freedom the NCR would, allowing them to use technology, chems, and have women be free agents who take up arms, all without excessive taxation or a lack of care for people’s safety. Within the walls of Vegas, House gives people the best of both worlds, and none of their weaknesses. The tribes that he recruited and civilized have become business entrepreneurs with the know-how of not only how to act civilized, but also make money the way the old-world rich people do. House’s efforts of civilizing people have been obviously a great success. And of course, his Securitrons are already tough enough on their own, but once upgraded, they can plow through the best of the NCR and the Legion as if carving a cake, as was evidenced in the House version of the Battle of Hoover Dam, where Securitrons have no problems wiping out whole scores of Legion Centurions and NCR Veteran Rangers.

However, House gets an A- instead of an A, because he barely cares about Outer Vegas and the crime-infested dump that it became, when he could have easily recruited gangs like the Kings or property owners like the Van Graff clan and the Garrett Twins, the former of whom sell energy weapons, and the latter of whom own a casino of their own that they run. House could have easily recruited them, have them work with his Securitron army, and secure places like Freeside, keeping it free from the thugs that constantly molest that place.

In fact, two of the people who live near Vegas, Judah Kreger and Orion Moreno, are former US military officers from the Enclave. If House knew that, or if he even bothered to check up on people in Outer Vegas long enough to find that out, he could have recruited them alongside the people in Freeside and Outer Vegas to create a modern army. They’re former Enclave officers, and they’ve got access to a bunker with Enclave power armor suits inside. And House, running a city full of casinos and services, would naturally have the wealth and resources to make more. House can easily make his own army of Enclave-style power-armored troopers that can give the Brotherhood of Steel some real competition, especially when they take that and mix it with the energy weapons from the Van Graff’s stock in the Silver Rush. He can literally make his own army of Space Marines right there, and he missed that chance.

Not to mention the fact that sections of Outer Vegas like Freeside is so ridden with crime and disparity, that the Followers of the Apocalypse had to set up a makeshift clinic in Old Mormon Fort to tend to the sick. When talking about the Brotherhood of Steel, he bemoans the fact that “hospitals went the way of the dodo” but he could easily funnel money into the Followers’ operations in Old Mormon Fort and upgrade it to an honest-to-God hospital. By showing the people of Outer Vegas that he cares, House can paint a more benevolent image of himself. As it stands, his image is that of a callous, uncaring authority figure, to the point where nobody really cares if he dies, and when he does die, some people even revel in it, from commoners in the streets, to both the Legion and the NCR. For these shortcomings, House gets an A- instead of a full A or A+. But still, the fact that he has plans for the future that reach far beyond that of what the other factions have, to the fact that he has a working city that is not only safe, but also free from both excessive taxation and overbearing government authority, means that House has it made.

In conclusion, the NCR is the worst of all three factions, because their democracy is questionable at best and the freedom they provide you comes with a caveat of you having to protect yourself on your own, as well as them taxing people heavily. The Legion is somewhat in the middle, because while they provide a stable society with a meritocratic army, the cult of personality around Caesar as well as some of the Legion’s more restrictive rules prevent it from achieving its full potential. Robert House and his “New Vegas” is the best faction to roll with, since that faction combines the best of the NCR’s freedom and the Legion’s stability, with none of the drawbacks, and House only gets a minor subtraction from a perfect score because there are some things House could have done better, but he obviously beats both the NCR and Legion in everything, from freedom, to civilizing force, to military strength and long-term plans.

Well, what can I say?

THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS!
Fallout NV: NCR vs Caesar's Legion vs Vegas, PT 4
In this final part of my article on Fallout: New Vegas and the comparison of the three factions, I take into account the differences in civilizational levels for all three factions, as well as give them their final grades. 
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PART VIII: LEADERSHIP

We’ve talked a lot about the leaders of each side, but now, let’s actually grade the leaders of the three sides in Fallout New Vegas, and see which side has the best leadership, and the worst.

Starting off with the NCR, we begin with the worst. The New California Republic has four major military leaders: President Aaron Kimball, the former general and “Hero of the Mojave.” General Lee Oliver, the President’s trusted right hand. Chief Hanlon, the leader of the NCR Rangers. And finally, Colonel Moore, the officer in charge of Hoover Dam’s defenses under General Oliver and the Courier’s main contact if they work with the NCR. And of course, three out of four of these leaders get a failing grade. As previously stated, the NCR occupation of the Mojave is a disaster. Its troops are spread thin, picked off by bandits and Legion troops. Its Rangers are being misused, not given the full command and leadership positions that they both need and deserve in order to maximize results in this war. Add in mounting casualties and a distaste for the NCR occupation from both the people of the Mojave AND the people back home in the NCR, and we’ve got ourselves a class full of clowns, with only one exceptional honor student.

President Aaron Kimball was originally a general, one whom even the mighty Caesar respected. Caesar noted how Kimball had a strong start as a military man:

"A man of potential, held back by the craven political context he inhabits. You realize he was a general? "The Hero of the Mojave," they called him. A title he earned by extirpating lesser tribes that dared attack NCR citizens. His responses were swift and draconian. President Tandi, the "founding mother," coddled hostile tribes... but her successors were less naive, so they gave Kimball free rein. And after a respectable military career, what does he do? Become a politician. What better way to stunt the growth of leaders, not to mention whole cultures. A leader shouldn’t have to kowtow to those who serve him. With so much energy wasted on those below, how is he ever able to move forward?"

Kimball’s original idea to take Hoover Dam wasn’t a bad one either. The power and water it provided helped his popularity soar in the early years of his Presidency. His previous attacks on tribals that dared harass NCR citizens made him respected as a hero in the minds of the people. Then when the Legion first came, his forces, under Chief Hanlon, were able to secure victory against the Legion, defeating Joshua Graham, one of the Legion’s co-founders. But in the five years that his forces occupied the Mojave, Kimball’s victory has turned into a slow defeat, with mounting casualties, growing discontent back home due to the war and the expensive occupation force, and the fact that they were unable to annex the Mojave into the NCR in the last five years. He won the battle, but he’s losing the war. His response? Place his buddy Lee Oliver in charge of the NCR forces in the area. For a man who once climbed the ranks as a general, Kimball has such weak instincts when it comes to putting people in charge. You’d think he’d promote Hanlon for the epic victory over Joshua Graham, but nope. Hanlon rots away in some resort owned by the NCR, while Oliver is placed in charge, in a blatant act of political nepotism, while the NCR faces a foe tougher than both the Enclave and the Brotherhood of Steel. It seems that being a politician has stunted Kimball’s growth as a leader, as Caesar feared. Instead of remaining a steely-eyed military man, Kimball began giving away favors to friends, to the detriment of his countrymen.

Which then brings us to General Lee Oliver. As I’ve already stated multiple times, Oliver’s a chump. He’s no Sun Tzu or Napoleon. People like Boone in the game openly admit that Oliver is in that post because he’s friends with Kimball. If he wasn’t, he’d be filing reports in some office while someone like Chief Hanlon would be calling the shots. Oliver’s handling of the Mojave campaign has been disastrous for the soldiers: as stated previously by Hanlon, they have low morale, they have little discipline, they’re barely equipped to fight, they’re spread out too thin, they’re easy targets for the Legion, and they’re losing so many men a year; 1000 a year, to be exact. This paints a very poor picture for General Oliver’s leadership in the Mojave campaign. He’s the kind of general that’s not properly manning the supply lines, the kind who is letting his men die in droves, the kind who deployed them in a way that makes it easy for his enemies to dance and pirouette around the defenses and take out bases like Searchlight and Nelson.

And what’s worse is how he handled the NCR Heavy Troopers and NCR Rangers. Oliver has his beloved Heavy Troopers take center stage in the fighting, placing them in key camps alongside Rangers and regular troopers. The problem is, they’re no more experienced than the regular soldiers is, their only advantage, as I said, is heavy weaponry and armor, which would work in close-quarters combat, but from afar, where Legion snipers can use Anti-Materiel snipers with armor-piercing rounds? That’s not going to work. And since in the Battle for Hoover Dam, he deploys most of them against the player, while ignoring Lanius and the rest of the Legion, who at most, fight scattered Rangers and regular soldiers. Which means that while some pro-Legion players will be throwing their controllers in anguish when they fight Oliver and his Heavy Troopers at higher difficulties, the rest of the Dam would be falling fast to the Legion, ensuring that the Legion will take control of the Dam either way, whether or not Oliver and his Heavy Troopers killed that one courier working for the Legion.

And the way Oliver deploys the Rangers is by either A) having them lounge around in Camp Golf doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, or B) just serve as sentries in camps while other officers give the commands. NCR Rangers are some of the best and brightest the NCR has ever produced. Especially the Veteran Rangers, who can take heavy damage from the enemy and yet deal heavy damage of their own, courtesy of their stronger weapons. Plus, being RANGERS, they have experience scouting ahead against the enemy and surviving out in the wild-useful talents for commanders to have when their soldiers are fighting in an irradiated wasteland. Having them lead and command the regular soldiers would increase their combat and survival capabilities, but nope. At most, they’re glorified sentries and bodies to be thrown at the enemy-which is the worst thing you can do for them. I have a feeling that if Oliver played the average strategy game, he’d be sending specialist units to die in droves along with the rest of the cannon fodder.

Specialist units are made for specific tasks. They are not made to be cannon fodder or easily-killed sentries by invading armies. Rangers would be more useful setting up ambushes or leading special strike squads into Legion territory. Remember Primm? That town overrun by criminals, where the NCR was driven away? A few Rangers could have scouted out the town, gauged the enemy’s strength, then have a strike team come in and kill the criminals. In Boulder City, where the Khans held NCR soldiers hostage, the Rangers could have snuck in and assassinated the Khans to rescue the captives.

Oliver’s lack on knowledge when it comes to battle, paired with the fact that he’s the leader of the NCR forces, shows that the NCR, unlike the Legion, is not a meritocracy. You’d think a democracy of all places would put high value in merit, but this incident proves otherwise. The only way to prove to him that his war is a lost cause is to fight for the Legion and annihilate most of his defenses in Hoover Dam. Only when his defense is at their last legs can he be convinced that the war is lost and he needs to bring his men home before more people die. And the player has to be one persuasive guy in order to pull this off.

As for Cassandra Moore, the Colonel under Oliver, she’s basically his yes-woman. Seeing any problem as a nail and herself as a hammer, she has few solutions that don’t end in violence. Some gang named the Kings don’t like NCR citizens? Kill them all. Brotherhood remnants are here in the Mojave? Kill them all. The Great Khans consider siding with the Legion? Kill them all. House doesn’t want to become the NCR’s bitch? Kill him, too. Really, it’s like she heard the song “Rains of Castamere” and decided to make that her main guide for dealing with any opposition. An NCR Courier/player who wishes to build alliances instead of just killing all opposition would find themselves contradicting Colonel Moore more than once. Mostly because an NCR player who wants to build alliances with other factions and parlay them into greater power for the NCR would gain her ire. An NCR player can get the Khans to desert the Legion, can get the Kings to work with the NCR, and can even get the Brotherhood of Steel remnants to fight for the NCR despite their previously hostile relationship, and yet instead of seeing the military value of turning former enemies into military assets that can be used against the Legion, Moore’s first option for these groups is her only option: the same option Lanius has for failed Legion troops. Except unlike Lanius, Moore obviously wouldn’t stop with just killing a tenth of the offending party.

Chief Hanlon talks about her destructive tendencies to the player when asked: "She's better at making graves than making friends. Bring in Moore and the earth will be razed. Fields will be salted." Moore herself talks about how much her uncompromising attitude gets the brass on her side: "Those few people in a position to countermand my orders only care about results, and in that regard I never leave them less than pleased."

A second-in-command is supposed to look at opportunities that the man in charge may have missed. To pose questions to the commandant and offer alternative solutions other than the regular path. To be able to look at the logistics and see what can be made into an asset. And yet Moore ignores the fact that the Khans, Kings, and Brotherhood remnants can become NCR assets, since they can be made into NCR allies against the Legion. Winning the war against the Legion is the most important thing in the story for the NCR as a whole, and yet Moore’s approach would rob the overstretched and under-equipped NCR forces of potential military assets that can free up NCR troops and add pressure against the enemy. Turning former allies like the Khans against the Legion would put pressure on Caesar’s foothold in the region. Getting the Brotherhood of Steel in the NCR’s pocket will end with power-armored Paladins turning Legion troops into chunky salsa or atomized dust with their energy weapons. Getting the Kings to ally with the NCR can get them to help NCR citizens in Freeside, freeing up NCR troopers to go elsewhere.  

Finally, we look at Chief Hanlon-the one man on the NCR side that actually has a history of defeating the Legion forces. Granted, he had to blow up Boulder City to do so, but the results speak for themselves. As the leader of the most experienced and battle-hardened outfit in the NCR military, you’d think that this guy would get top billing and be the head honcho for the NCR forces in the Mojave. But just like how Grand Admiral Thrawn was sent to the far reaches of known space by Emperor Palpatine in the old Star Wars Legends canon, Hanlon was relegated to the sidelines by General Oliver and his military officers. Ever since then, he’s had to sit and watch as Oliver made one mistake after another, and he became convinced that the war is hopeless. Hence why he started sabotaging the NCR efforts in the Mojave by manipulating intel reports to scare the soldiers. He wanted them to go home, forget the Mojave, and keep NCR soldiers from dying in a pointless war.

Hanlon is a traitor, all right, but he’s the kind of traitor who loves his men. He’s definitely no Judas Iscariot. He’s a caring man who doesn’t want them getting shot for some politician’s stupid war. If he had a weakness, it’d be his heart. He loves his men so much, not just the Rangers, but the regular NCR soldiers as well, that he would rather abandon the Mojave to Caesar rather than see another NCR soldier die. In retrospect, if he had the balls to fight to the end, Hanlon would be operating behind Oliver’s back to save the NCR occupation from Oliver’s disastrous decisions, striking against the Legion while defying orders from Oliver to stay put. Heck, if I were him, I’d react to being kicked upstairs by gathering all the NCR Rangers and leading a suicide mission to attack Caesar’s camp at Fortification Hill. If our occupation forces are failing in the Mojave, I’d make sure to take Caesar down with me in one last blaze of glory. But the fact that he’d rather have the men retreat shows that he’s sentimental; he’d rather see his men live even if their side loses, rather than have their side win with high casualties. As a military figure, despite his successes, this marks him as a failure. But as a human being, this makes him better than most, since he treats his soldiers like he would his own children, down to the point where he’d abandon a rich land to the enemy just to save his kin. He’s certainly far better than a stunted politician giving nepotistic favors, a General Failure whose whole campaign is marked by one catastrophe after another, and a Colonel yes-woman whose ax-crazy strategies could cost the NCR dearly in the coming fight against the Legion.

Speaking of the Legion, we have Caesar and his trusted warlord, Legate Lanius. Edward Sallow proved his military strength when he forged the Blackfoot tribe into a weapon of war that conquered other tribes. After taking in enough tribes, he crowned himself Caesar and made all the tribes under him into one tribe: his Legion. Ever since then, he’s spent decades conquering one tribe after another, until by the time of the game, he’s gained 87 tribes under his belt. As stated before, Caesar, in the New Vegas storyline at least, is very adept at the arts of war. Ever since the defeat of his previous Legate, Joshua Graham, he’s since done many things to make up for that defeat. His Frumentarii spies have infiltrated Vegas, Camp McCarran, and other locations, giving him eyes and ears on the enemy and other neutral parties like the Courier. He’s made alliances with two factions: one of Vegas’ Three Families, the Omertas, and a tribe known as the Great Khans who despise the NCR. He’s made plans to weaken enemy morale, like assassinating President Kimball and taking outposts like Nelson and Searchlight. He’s even in the process of making a deal with the Van Graffs energy weapons dealers, so as to give his men the firepower advantage by getting their hands on some laser and plasma weapons.

What we see here is a very determined and intelligent mind, one that plans ahead and makes sure to cover all bases. Intel? The Frumentarii. Local influence? Omertas and the Khans. Weakening the enemy? Blowing their president’s head into bits would suffice. Firepower? Van Graffs and their energy weapons. He even offers the player the chance to execute Benny, the guy who shot them in the face in the game’s intro, just to get the player on their side, by offering them a dish of revenge served cold.

However, that doesn’t mean he’s covered everything. Caesar’s refusal to allow women to fight and his insistence on enslaving them allows the NCR a line of propaganda that can turn people, including female players, against the Legion. His dogged insistence on no chems due to their addictive nature bites him in the ass when he gets a tumor. His refusal of using robots like House’s Securitrons (due to him not wanting his men to become decadent and lazy) robs his Legion of a massive tactical advantage that could easily crush the NCR without too many losses on the Legion’s side. Similarly, his refusal to recruit the Brotherhood of Steel robs him of a potential asset as well, since the Brotherhood have energy weapons and power armor, as well as a raging hatred for the NCR. The least he could have done is recruit them to be cannon fodder for the upcoming battle, then plan to turn on them afterwards. (Although some cut content shows Caesar allowing for an alliance between the Legion and the Brotherhood so long as the latter attacks the NCR-held Helios One and keeps the NCR busy during the Battle for Hoover Dam.)

Still, with the NCR led by a general who acts before he thinks, and with the enemy’s smartest leader seeing things as hopeless, perhaps Caesar doesn’t need all these advantages at all-just the ones he has, they are good enough, considering how haphazard the enemy leadership is. And in the end, once he does win and he transforms his Legion from a nomadic army into a legitimate military for a nation-state, Caesar becomes less brutal than he was before, sparing groups like the Enclave Remnants, the Boomers, and the Followers, where in the past, he would have destroyed them. While at the same time getting rid of threats to his reign like the Brotherhood of Steel as well as the Powder Gangers and the Fiends, the former of whom he sees as hoarders who work towards nothing but a dead end, and the latter two are degenerate raiders who terrorize the populace. Caesar starts honoring his word to tribes like Boomers, he spares the Followers despite their mutual disagreements with each other, and he begins to use his army for police actions instead of raiding and pillaging, by wiping out threats to the populace like the Fiends and Powder Gangers. So perhaps in the future, Caesar might change his policy on medicine and robots as well, and his attitude towards women does begin to change if a female Courier gave him his victory-he openly honors a female warrior and makes her a national hero, putting her face on a coin, despite the fact that past interactions between the Legion and women have been mostly negative, ending in either menial servitude or sexual slavery.

Lanius, on the other hand, is more akin to a rock. While he still honors a female courier, Lanius, upon succeeding Caesar in the ending where the Legion wins but Caesar dies, shows no signs of change. He eradicates the Followers for trying to “defame the original Caesar’s noble origins,” he sends men to try and take out the Enclave remnants, to no avail, and in the instance where Hanlon surrenders to the Legion personally, at Camp Golf, unlike Caesar, who has the man beheaded as a sign of respect for a worthy adversary, Lanius just crucifies him along with the rest of his Rangers. Lanius is a battlefield commander, first and foremost, and as Caesar said, his main presence in the battlefield is to inspire the men and make them more scared of the guy behind them than the army in front of them. Legion fans have compared him positively to General Oliver, in that he really is that “final boss,” a single warrior who can easily mop the floor with the player in hand-to-hand combat if the player isn’t careful. Whereas Oliver has no special qualities as a warrior and hides behind NCR Heavy Troopers, Lanius engages the player alongside his Praetorians up-front, and only when he loses half his health does he retreat to regroup and counterattack.

However, he might not be the dumb brute everyone else makes him out to be. Caesar makes it seem that Lanius has no mind for logistics, that all he’d want is victory, and damn the men if they don’t succeed:

“Lanius is savage. Savagely loyal, too, but only to me-he has no love for my Legion. But this has its uses. He has no attachment to his men. No compunction about battlefield losses. All he cares about is destroying the enemy. When another Legatus or Centurion fails to achieve results, I send Lanius in to make things right. His first step is to beat the failed commander to death in front of his assembled troops. Then he orders the ritual of Decimatio. It means “decimation,” but in Ancient Rome the word had a very specific meaning-a punishment for cowardice. The legionnaires are lined up in ranks. Every tenth man steps forward and is beaten to death by his brothers.”

But Lanius himself shows a different side of things, especially when he talks about how hard the Legion fought to take control of the east, only for Caesar to waste too much of its blood in the West:

“The East was a hard-fought campaign. Even now, Caesar drew too much of the Legion’s blood needed there for…...this.”

Using the barter skill to talk with Lanius gets him to remember an episode in Denver where the Legion forces were starved of resources and many died. He even compares it to the Mojave and the West, and he sees how garrisoning the West has cost the NCR dearly:

“Long ago, when taking Denver, I had to face such a challenge. Many died, over many years, to claim the city as ours. It was the lines of food and water that nearly broke the Legion’s strength, and the lack of tribals near that cursed city. What I felt in that struggle, I felt as I saw the map of the West. The West is a trap. The bear has already been caught in it, and it is dying.”

And after Lanius is persuaded by the player to retreat, Lanius talks about how he won’t have the Legion sacrificed on Hoover Dam, wishing instead to return at a later time, when his men would be at top strength:

“Hoover Dam is but a place. I will not have it be the gravestone of the Legion-whether quickly, as you describe, or slowly, through attrition.”

Lanius shows a certain common sense that Caesar doesn’t have. Caesar, with his head stuck in the clouds and talking about philosophy and politics, seems to be the one who doesn’t care for battlefield losses, hence why there’s no option to talk him out of conquering the Mojave and Hoover Dam. But Lanius can be talked out of taking Hoover Dam by just talking about how hard it would be to hold the Mojave and the West, and Lanius, a man of the world who knows about how the Legion struggled to take the East and how many of the Legion troops being sacrificed in the war against the NCR would be better used to protect Legion holdings in the East, realizes that the war is a lost cause and retreats. Sure, the player has to be very persuasive about it, since Lanius is a bloodthirsty warrior, but unlike Oliver, who only retreats when he finally sees that the war is lost way too late, Lanius sees the logistics side of things, and can be persuaded that even if the Legion can win and take the West, they’d need all of the East to hold it, and that, he knows, is impossible.

That’s the kind of sense that Oliver and Moore both lacked. The kind of forethought that Kimball lacked. For a guy who executes Chief Hanlon by crucifixion, he sure shares more than a few traits with the Ranger leader, like a knowledge of logistics and an understanding of how hard it is to run an occupation force in a foreign land. Unlike Oliver, Lanius sees it as a concern that too many Legion troops are either dying or getting preoccupied in the West when they should be in the East, protecting previous holdings. Lanius sees retreat as a possible option, something Kimball and Caesar won’t even consider. So while Lanius is a raging animal in war, the fact that he does take the logistics of the war seriously, and the fact that he will disobey Caesar and retreat from Hoover Dam if persuaded, despite the obvious punishment from Caesar waiting for him if he does, shows that he can be reasoned with. Of course, if Caesar is already dead, there’s nobody to punish him, but if Caesar is still alive, and Lanius retreats, well, Lanius is obviously putting more than his reputation on the line if he goes back to Caesar empty-handed.

Lanius is the second in command that Moore should have been. The kind of general that Oliver should have been. Not only does he fight the enemy personally, but he takes into consideration the logistics of the operation. He disobeys orders from the top when he realizes that they’re not worth it. He’s willing to put his life and reputation on the line if it means that the Legion gets to fight another day. Compare that with the NCR, which doesn’t care about mounting casualties or the logistics of their operation, and that makes Lanius out to be smarter than most give him credit for. Even though he’s the kind of guy who orders decimation on his own men, he does realize in the end that sacrificing his men for pointless goals will gain him no good, a lesson that Kimball and his pet Oliver have yet to learn.

And finally, we have Robert Edwin House, the “Prince” of New Vegas. Again, just like in planning and army strength, he far outclasses both sides, especially in terms of leadership and logistics. Of course, being a well-educated billionaire, this is to be expected of him. He’s basically an old-world genius dealing with enemies that didn’t have the benefit of the wisdom that comes from knowing the old world like the back of his neck. As a leader, House has already planned on how to defeat both the NCR and the Legion, as well as how to expand his influence afterwards. By the time the player meets him, he already has a plan to defeat the NCR and the Legion and establish New Vegas as the nucleus of an independent empire, free from both the Legion and the NCR. His plans are so foolproof that when the player overthrows him and tries to establish Vegas as their own domain, the AI Yes Man and the player pretty much stick to House’s script of upgrading the Securitrons, pretending to be NCR allies, annihilating the Legion forces with the upgraded Securitrons, then using the Securitron army to force the battered and weakened NCR forces to leave.

House’s strategies as well are well-planned, although he could be more than a bit egotistical and sure of himself. His plan to save President Kimball from a Legion assassin isn’t out of any goodwill, but due to him wanting to have Kimball be a scapegoat for the NCR public when their forces get booted from the Mojave:

“Kimball's entire political career is inextricably bound up with the NCR's occupation of the Mojave. It's his war. If I compel the NCR to retreat, Kimball will be the sacrifice offered to the gods, so decent NCR citizens can get on with their lives. In retrospect, the Mojave and Hoover Dam will seem like one man's misadventure. Kimball will be blamed, not me. Not New Vegas."

Mr. House's dialogue at the ending where his forces win and the player compels General Oliver to leave indicates just that-House wants to use Kimball as a scapegoat for the NCR public: "No need to worry about the General, by the way. He'll be held responsible, publicly disgraced... 36.5% probability of suicide, by my estimate... Kimball won't be able to save him - he'll be too busy getting thrown out of office."

Consequently, his dialogue concerning the possibility of Kimball’s death shows how House looks at the potential consequences of him driving the NCR out of the Mojave with their President having died there:

“The Hero of the Mojave would become the Martyr of Hoover Dam. And when, subsequently, I force the NCR to retreat, They lick their wounds, and dream of righteous vengeance against New Vegas. Hello, embargo, farewell, tourist economy.”

His judgements on how to handle the different tribes across the wasteland have merit, but sometimes can come up short. Like everyone else, he makes an alliance with the Boomers, to ensure New Vegas has the firepower to succeed. And like both the NCR and Caesar’s Legion, he wants the Brotherhood of Steel destroyed, mostly due to the fact that he sees them as ridiculous terrorists:

“They're a terrorist group, basically. Militant, quasi-religious fanatics obsessed with hoarding Pre-War technology. Not all technology, mind you. You don't see them raiding hospitals to cart away Auto-Docs or armfuls of prosthetic organs. No, they greatly prefer the sort of technology that puts people in hospitals. Or graves, rather, since hospitals went the way of the Dodo. We're talking about a coterie of bulging-eyed fanatics who think all Pre-War technology belongs to them. They're ridiculous! They galavant around the Mojave pretending to be Knights of Yore. Or did, until the NCR showed them that ideological purity and shiny power armor don't count for much when you're outnumbered 15:1. The world has no use for emotionally unstable techno-fetishists. Just wipe them out, will you!?”

Then again, it’s not like as if Caesar and Colonel Moore have different opinions of them either:

Caesar: “The worst impulses of mankind, concentrated in one insane, backward tribe. The Brotherhood seems to have formed not long after the great atomic war. It's hard to know - they care little for history. Some of the Brotherhood scribes we captured further East didn't even know the name of their founder, Roger Maxson. They like to pretty up their mission with trappings of chivalry, but the truth is they're hoarders. They hoard technology. It's been 200 years, and they still have the mentality of scavengers. They say they're preserving these technologies, but for what? They have no vision. They offer no future. They're a dead end.”

Colonel Moore: “Any Brotherhood survivors likely harbor a deep grudge against us. We can't afford to leave such an enemy alive. Any other objections? Maybe you'd like to bring the Brotherhood some flowers?” (Note however, that the Brotherhood CAN be persuaded to help the NCR in the game, so Moore is wrong about them not being reasonable for the NCR)

Considering that my courier has had previous negative experiences with the Brotherhood, where no less than two Brotherhood elders had their goons strip her of her armor, clothes, and weapons while slapping bomb collars on her neck, she’s more than likely to agree with House and the others when it comes to the Brotherhood.

So basically, even when House tries to force his judgements on the player, he still gives a damn good reason for it that even the other factions can agree with. However, unlike the Legion and the NCR, House doesn’t need Brotherhood Paladins, because unlike the other sides who throw legions of cannon-fodder troops at each other (where having some Brotherhood Paladins show up with power armor and energy weapons could tip the scales dramatically) House has his Securitrons, and by the time the player’s gotten far enough in the story with House, they’ve already given House the Platinum Chip and upgraded the Securitrons. Meaning that House by then would have an army of robots that not only use gatling lasers and machine guns, but also fire grenades and rockets at the enemy, making them more than a match for the Brotherhood Paladins.

His terms for the NCR once he wins control of Hoover Dam are also surprisingly fair, all things considered, once the battle is over:

“TO GENERAL OLIVER (or highest-ranking survivor)

TO THE NCR PRESIDENT

TO THE NCR COUNCIL

FROM ROBERT EDWIN HOUSE

As Chief Executive of the Free Economic Zone of New Vegas, I hereby demand the IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL of all NCR military personnel from New Vegas and its surrounding territories.

a) Yes, "all military personnel" includes NCR Rangers.

b) "New Vegas and its surrounding territories" includes (but is not limited to) Hoover Dam, McCarran International Airport, HELIOS One, and the El Dorado substation.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE that my vast army of heavily-armed Securitrons has been rather inflexibly programmed to respond to acts of aggression with overwhelming force.

a) For examples of "heavily-armed" and "overwhelming force," I will refer you to the pitiless campaign of extermination my Securitrons will have visited upon Caesar's Legion by the time you are reading this document.

b) Any NCR military personnel who do not withdraw from New Vegas and its territories will be seen as committing an "act of aggression."

NCR civilians are NOT subject to this order of withdrawal! They may visit New Vegas freely, enjoying all that the Vegas Strip has to offer!

So long as NCR military personnel comply with this order to withdraw, electricity and water will continue to flow from Hoover Dam to the NCR.

a) Electricity: 5 caps per kilowatt hour.

b) Water: 5 caps per gallon

The NCR Council's Office of Budget will receive invoices bi-weekly. Prices are subject to change without notice.

Cordially,

Robert Edwin House
Chief Executive
Free Economic Zone of New Vegas”

In a time where people spend 20 caps a pop for every bottle of clean water, selling the NCR a gallon of clean water for 5 caps, a quarter of the price for a bottle of clean water, is quite cheap, not to mention generous. That, and the fact that NCR civilians are still allowed to go to Vegas, meaning that any soldier of the NCR who doesn’t want to trek back home to California can just swap uniforms for civilian clothes and head to Vegas to wine and dine in the finest city in the region or work for Vegas to earn an honest living. This goes to show that House isn’t interested in screwing the NCR over-he just wants Vegas to be free, but he’s got no problems making deals with the NCR and serving its populace. In the end, he just wants to be the prince of his own domain, but unlike Caesar, he’s not a moralizing brute, and unlike the NCR, he doesn’t wish to tax people to death.

“I have no interest in abusing others, just as I have no interest in legislating or otherwise dictating what people do in their private time. Nor have I any interest in being worshipped as some kind of machine god messiah. I am impervious to such corrupting ambitions. But autocracy? Firm control in the hands of a technological and economic visionary? Yes, that Vegas shall have.”

House is an autocrat, and he makes no illusion when it comes to that. His word is law in Vegas. His views on freedom and the potential of the other factions shows how House doesn’t put much stock in either one. House really doesn’t have much faith in the kind of democratic society that the NCR is trying to resurrect: “Nothing to impede progress. If you want to see the fate of democracies, look out the windows.” And of course, he has a very low view of the other two factions, seeing them as regurgitations of the past: “To your untrained eyes, it may look as though mankind is making a comeback. In the NCR, you have something that resembles a nation state. Savage as it is, in Caesar's Legion, you have an organised society. But neither of these offer a future. They're both regurgitations of the past.”

So basically, House is the kind of guy who is set in his ways, but that’s because the ways he has work. He sees himself as far smarter than both sides, and that breeds a certain degree of arrogance, but in the end, he’s right more than half the time. Unlike the NCR, his forces aren’t sloppy and overextended. Unlike the Legion, they don’t bring death and slavery wherever they go. When you win the Battle of Hoover Dam for him, House keeps Vegas nice and clean, while the Securitrons eradicate any threats that might rise up, and the people continue on with their lives, with people coming to New Vegas and enjoying life in the city.

House, in the end, is the synthesis of both Caesar and the NCR: Like Caesar, he’s a full autocrat who uses his intellect and planning to secure his victory and his city’s future, and like Caesar, he recruited former tribes into his forces, although unlike Caesar, he didn’t eradicate their identities; he simply gave them new names and they became the Three Families that helped run the city. Like the NCR, he’s trying to preserve the past for future generations, although the specifics of which part of the past was different between him and the NCR. He’s dictatorial enough to the point where he doesn’t tolerate dissent, but relaxed enough that he’s willing to let people live their lives the way they want to so long as they know who wears the pants in the relationship. So quite obviously, House is the best leader for the Mojave in the game’s main story. He can ensure that the people of the Mojave prosper and are protected from gangsters, and he’s more than willing to let the people live their own lives in peace so long as they tow the line.
Fallout NV: NCR vs Caesar's Legion vs Vegas, PT 3
In this part, we talk about the leadership of all three sides, and how they stack up against each other. Part FOUR will finish the series with a description of the civilization level of each side as well as a final grade.
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