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Caesar’s Legion is one of the main factions in New Vegas that you can complete the game with. They have one of the more unique questlines combined with some interesting moral questions, all rooted in Roman history.
In Obsidian’s first and only take of the Fallout franchise, Fallout New Vegas, players are presented with a rich and diverse world, full of choices and alternate endings stemming from said choices. The player is faced with black and white, good or bad moral decisions within this game and morally ambiguous ones. This was, in my opinion anyway, a welcome change to the so-called “morality” system in Fallout 3 wherein a player has the tough choice, whether or not blowing up an entire town full of innocent civilians is the right thing to do or not—a choice which should be pretty evident to anyone above the sentience level of a typical house plant.
Fallout New Vegas changes all of this, however, by placing in the game complex micro, non-game-changing decisions and huge decisions, especially which faction the player ends up siding with. To put it simply, within the game, the player can choose to finish the main questline with four main factions. Firstly, we have the NCR or New California Republic, which serves as a force something akin to the US military prior to the war.
Their goal was to re-establish democracy across the wasteland. Secondly, we have Mr. House, the richest man in the world before and after the bombs fell. This 1950’s noir villain will wish the player to use the power of the platinum chip to activate his army of sentry bots in order to flush out all other factions from his New Vegas homeland, establishing complete control over the area.
Thirdly, the player can complete the game with the help of Yes Man, this security built originally by Mr. House was hacked by your mortal enemy, the black and white suit-wearing Matthew Perry voiced, Benny. This hack by Benny removed Yes Man’s loyalty from Mr. House and left the incredibly annoying robot under the player’s control after Benny is subsequently removed, of course. With the help of Yes Man, the player can therefore sabotage the other major factions in New Vegas and take control of the area for themselves.
What Is Caesar’s Legion?
The last faction we will talk about is the entire point of this Fallout Caesar’s Legion Guide and, therefore, the main subject, Caesar’s Legion. As you may have guessed from the name, this band of misfits is inspired by and shaped in the image of imperial Rome. When found in New Vegas, they are led by a man calling himself Caesar, who subsequently wishes to use the lone wanderer’s fantastic ability to quick save and load themselves through tough spots in order to take over the Mojave wasteland.
This Legion is stylistically similar to the marauders and slavers found in Fallout 3, known for their often ragged-looking apparel and apparent love for being all-around terrible people. With frequent crucifixion, enslavements, and murders being witnessed by the player throughout the game, it takes a certain kind of player to warm up to the Legion on their very first playthrough.
This force is most like the NCR in the context of New Vegas, serving as the only other significant military-like power in the region. However, they are incredibly underfunded and manned in comparison to the NCR, looking more like guerrilla fighters than an actual standing army. Their weapons and outposts are not as sturdy or impressive. However, they do have the power of evil behind them. Their willingness to do anything in their fanatical dedication to their leader truly makes them a force to be reckoned with in the Mojave.
How did the Legion Begin?
To understand the beginning of the Legion, we must first understand the origins of the man behind this cult of murderers. Edward Sallow, otherwise known as Caesar, was born in 2226 in the Boneyard area. This places his birth somewhere in the region of Los Angeles and technically makes Sallow a member of the New California Republic, with this area counted among their most important holdings.
After the child’s birth, it was not long before tragedy struck, his father being murdered by raiders in 2228, making the young Sallow only two when his father passed. Searching for somewhere safe in this horrid wasteland, Sallow’s now widowed mother sought refuge among the Followers of the Apocalypse. This humanitarian organization focused on providing care and education for those in need across the wasteland, took in the mother and young infant.
Sallow’s mother began working in the camp library and cooking occasionally to pay her way. Having a mother who worked in the library greatly benefitted Sallow and soon made him a student above reproach; he was taught throughout his studies to “bring the torch of knowledge to the wastes.”
Whilst he did thrive under the care of the Followers, the young tyrant to be found their ways too imposing and naïve; therefore, when the opportunity arose for Sallow to explore more of the wasteland, out from under the watchful eye of his mother and Follower elders, he jumped at the chance.
The Grand Canyon Expedition
Edward Sallow set out on his quest in the year 2246, making him 20 years old. Accompanied by a Mormon missionary called Joshua Graham, a specialist in tribal dialects, and a physician named Calhoun, the three Followers, set out to study the religions of the tribal natives within the Grand Canyon.
In what many would consider being the worst piece of luck since the Great War, Sallow would soon stumble upon a cache of historical books, including The History of Decline, Fall of the Roman Empire, and Commentarii by Gaius Julius Caesar. You know, the books are read either by history buffs or guys who like to call themselves ‘Alpha Males.’ After discovering these now ancient texts, Sallow became obsessed, reading and re-reading them for over two weeks straight.
During this intense studying, the group continued along their journey into the Grand Canyon, eventually meeting up with a tribe called the Blackfoots. Their initial interactions were said to be positive, with Graham being able to communicate effectively with their members; however, as with all stories in the wasteland, something went wrong.
The tribe, for some unknown reason, grew hostile towards the group of Followers and thus captured them, hoping to sell them back for a hefty ransom. Eventually, Graham would grow to blame himself, stating that he perhaps interpreted something wrong and made a huge mistake, landing him and his friends in this predicament, but nothing has ever been confirmed.
Rags to Riches
At the time of their capture, the Blackfoot’s were at war with seven other tribes within the Canyon; their numbers had been dwindling for some time, their weapons and supplies following a similar trend. In a fit of inspiration, the captive Sallow, in the midst of objections from Calhoun, decided to utilize the tribe’s weaknesses to his and his fellow captive’s benefit. He would soon teach the tribe everything he had learned from his recently studied cache of books.
This included drilling them in small unit tactics, the making of explosives, and many other things. He would then teach them lessons he had learned from living in the wasteland all his life, such as proper weapon maintenance, firearms training, and ammunition crafting. After this, it wasn’t long until he had earned for himself a position of respect and command within the tribe, leading them into battle with the weakest of the seven tribes, the Ridgers.
Under Sallow’s leadership and with their new military proficiency, the Blackfoot tribe would make easy work of the Ridgers, totally destroying their forces. This is when Sallow first began turning into the man the player finds in Fallout New Vegas, as after they beat the Ridgers ability to continue fighting, Sallow would order his men to kill every man, woman, and child, totally eradicating the tribe in one quick act of genocide. With this new military leader haven proven his efficiency, the tribe formed around him and moved on to their next target, the Kaibabs tribe.
For this assault, Sallow decided that a frontal offensive was not necessary. Instead, he opted to surround the territory of the Kaibab tribe until an envoy was sent out to meet with him. They refused to surrender initially, even after being surrounded by Sallow’s force, so the Blackfoot’s escorted the envoy to the site of the massacre, where the bodies of the Ridgers were left piled high. This site effectively traumatized the tribal warrior who had, up until this point, only seen small-scale battles amongst tribes. The sight of Sallow’s Roman-inspired brutality frightened him and his fellow tribesmen into submission.
It was not long until Sallow gained enough power, absorbing each tribe into his own as he conquered them. With each tribe destroyed, his force grew, his power and position becoming unquestioned. Sooner than expected, he had defeated and absorbed all of the tribes into his own.
This had been his goal all along; by absorbing these feuding tribes into one monolithic faction, all squabbling was set aside for the good of the one. Soon after, Sallow would deem his forces strong enough to venture outside of the Grand Canyon, with the end goal being the continued domination of the entire wasteland. At this point, he took on the mantle of Caesar, forming the Great Tribe: The Legion, henceforth known as Caesar’s Legion, in the image of Imperial Rome.
In 2247, Caesar thought his position secure enough that he sent his physician, Calhoun, back to the Followers in order to warn all he passed that Caesar was not to be interfered with, spreading the tales of his atrocities. Joshua Graham decided to stay and was made the Legion’s first Legate, a position similar to that of a general IRL. In the years after this, the Legion would continue their ways, conquering regions and settlements as they went, absorbing them into their rolling death machine.
In this time period, Caesar would conquer the entirety of Arizona and a portion of New Mexico and holdings in Utah and Colorado. Caesar would seemingly pick his target effectively, never skirmishing against forces that could even nearly match him in the strength of numbers or weapons. Much like the period of British colonization under King George the 3rd. Continuing with this apparently brilliant strategy, the head of the Legion would declare himself the Son of Mars by 2250, setting the capital of his kingdom amid the ruins of Flagstaff in 2255.
Caesar’s Quest for More
This total domination would, of course, not be enough for Caesar; it never it for tyrants and dictators. Therefore, he would begin setting his sights against the New California republic not long after 2255. In order to make this dream into a reality, Caesar would change the entire scope of the Legion’s operational structure, setting them on a course of all-out war with NCR as he believed that, with their destruction, the entirety of their lands and peoples would be assimilated into his mighty Legion, creating one nation under him.
Throughout the game and within game guides to Fallout New Vegas, there are countless references to Caesar’s obsessions with Hegelian dialectics and his belief in the antithesis conflict. In other words, Caesar believes that much like Newton’s third law of motion, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so too does conflict.
In this Hegelian case, Caesar believes himself to be the subject or root center and, therefore, according to Hegel, must have a sufficient and directly opposed opposite or antithesis. Caesar, therefore, believes that his antithesis and, thus, the mortal enemy is the NCR. Therefore, besides Caesar’s want for power, the Legion was apparently always destined to face off against the NCR.
The battles which followed after this new direction was set were small in scale, up until the first battle for hoover dam in 2277, four years before the player woke up in Doc Mitchell’s house in 2281.
The Legions First Major Defeat
In the first battle for Hoover Dam, Caesar had been led by then frumentarius, Ulysses, to believe that the Dam was a symbolic Rubicon, a river crossed by Julius Caesar in 49 BC which ultimately led to his complete dictatorship over Imperial Rome. Therefore, Caesar dedicated much of his forces towards this landmark victory, placing his Legate and friend Joshua Graham at the head of the spear.
Graham would thus lead his troops against a garrison of NCR soldiers at Hoover Dam, only to be drawn into a trap by Chief Hanlon of the NCR Rangers. After being led into this trap, NCR and Ranger sharpshooters targeted Graham’s forces, forcing Graham to command his legionaries to break through the enemy lines at a supreme cost. However, they managed this, breaking through General Oliver’s lines and forcing the NCR to retreat into Boulder City.
Graham would have believed the battle almost over as he marched his troops against the cornered NCR troops. However, this retreat was simply a feint to give the rest of the NCR’s forces a chance to surround the Legion, trapping them and their unlucky fellow soldiers within the city. A mass of explosives was then set off, decimating the entire town, turning the buildings into pieces of shrapnel, effectively killing or majorly wounding the majority of the Legion force under Graham.
Surviving this, Graham would flee amongst a mass of NCR counterattacks and synchronized flanking attacks. Eventually, he would return to Caesar and beg forgiveness. As you might imagine, Caesar is not a very forgiving man so, in an effort to display that failure was unacceptable even at the highest levels of command, Caesar ordered that Graham was to be stripped of his rank, covered in pitch and set alight, thrown back into the Great Canyon.
- The Legion was set up in the image of Imperial Rome, and this explains the crucifixions and brutality of the Legion.
- The Legate Lanius’ sword is the deadliest sword and melee weapon in the game.
- Graham would survive the burning and rise to power amongst the tribes of the Grand Canyon. The player will then meet him, covered in bandages during the Honest Hearts DLC.
- Throughout the game, Joshua Graham will be heard about DLC installed or not, as the ‘Burned Man,’ a subject of many folk and tribal legends.
When We Meet the Legion
When the player character finally comes across the Legion, four years have passed since this humiliating defeat, and Legate Lanius has taken Graham’s place. In these four years, the Legion has dedicated itself to regaining the strength it lost during the first battle for Hoover Dam, readying itself for the next bout.
To do this, Lanius has managed the acquisition of 14 new tribes, assimilating their strength into the Legions. Therefore, this has left the Legion almost ready to re-march on Hoover Dam; all they need is a little bit of help from the Lone Wanderer.
However, all is not looking up for the Legion. As the player arrives, Caesar is beginning to report an issue with persistent headaches. This, accompanied by a sickly look and loss of weight, leaves the tyrant looking very frail. These headaches would eventually grow in severity until they actually affect his ability to lead. Further reports of a loss of mobility in his left leg and frequent blackouts mid-conversation lead the tyrant to self-diagnose a brain tumor; however, he cannot be sure.
- The player can help cure the tyrant during the quest Et Tumor Brute. This quest title is in reference to the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar in which the name character states, “Et tu, Brute?” meaning, “You too, Brutus,” as his friend betrays him.
- If the player has killed Caesar, two companion points are granted, thus helping the player gain access to Boone’s personal quest.
- As the soldier rises up the ranks in the Legion, their weapons and armor get better also.
Caesar’s Legion Main Characters
Caesar, born Edward Sallow, founded the Legion alongside Joshua Graham in 2281. In total, before the player arrives on the scene, Sallow has conquered a total of 87 tribes, owing all to military tactics learned from the writings on Julius Caesar and his complete lack of remorse.
Caesar is arguably the most crucial figure in the game when it comes down to his effect on the world around the player. Should the player kill him at any point, the dialogue options which the courier hears throughout the Mojave are numerable, with many exclaiming to one another within the player characters’ earshot that it is “So great that Caesar is dead.” The murder of Caesar will even make it into the broadcast of Radio New Vegas.
- Caesar was born as a member of the NCR until his father was murdered and his mother moved into the protective arms of the Followers of the Apocalypse.
- Caesar rose to power whilst being a captive in the Blackfoot tribe, using his knowledge of post-Great War-era weapons and military tactics to take control of the suffering faction.
- Caesar suffers from an illness throughout the game, which is most likely a brain tumor.
- Whether Caesar lives or dies through the main questline, the player can still complete the game with the Legion.
Throughout the base game, there is little mention of the co-founder of the Legion. Although he was the first-ever Legate under Caesar’s command and an excellent warrior, his defeat at the first battle for Hoover Dam resulted in his being sentenced to death via burning alive. While this is true, we do hear tells throughout the game about ‘The Burned Man,’ a seemingly God-like folk figure, a figure we find out to be Graham over the course of the game and the Honest Hearts DLC.
Originally a member of the Followers of the Apocalypse like Caesar himself, this Mormon missionary and linguistical expert traveled with Caesar to contact the tribes found in the Grand Canyon. As mentioned, as punishment for his failure at Hoover Dam, Caesar tossed the still-burning body of Graham back into the Grand Canyon as punishment, a fate he miraculously survived, rising to be the leader of the Dead Hoses tribe by the time the player finds him during the Honest Hearts DLC in 2281.
During the time in between these leadership positions, Graham suffered greatly. Having a natural immunity to all medicine resulted in his suffering every day at the hands of his burn wounds, resulting in his having to change all of his body spanning bandages each day to ward off infection.
Despite this, however, after he managed to make it back home to New Canaan, the former Legate was welcomed home with open arms, his past crimes against humanity seemingly forgotten. It was then, during his time between returning home and the player meeting him, that he sewed the seeds of the ‘Burned Man’ legends. He maintained his anonymity by threatening the men under his lead to keep his identity a secret under threat of death.
- When the player meets Graham, he has finally been made to pay for his past. The White Legs tribe was equipped by Ulysses and attacked New Canaan while Graham was away.
- Graham’s friends and neighbors fled and took shelter under the protection of Graham, or another missionary called Daniel, the leader of the Sorrows tribe.
- If the player kills Caesar, Graham does not express the delight you would expect, merely stating that he thought he would be long dead before Caesar.
The Legate, which rose to power after the humiliation and exile of Graham, is probably one of the most challenging opponents the player will face throughout the game. His incredibly vast and damaging sword, combined with his immense size and armor ratings, leave him a mean feat for any courier to take down.
Before he made the rank of Legate or was even in the Legion, for that matter, there is not much known. However, we do know that he was a member of the Hidebarks tribe, based in Arizona. Therefore, the Legion and Caesar would thus first encounter the man during the time of significant expansion, around the same time when they began taking over areas of Utah.
During the Legion’s first encounters with the imposing man’s tribe, he would routinely wipe out squads of their soldiers by himself, delaying the Legion’s push into the region greatly. During this time, with the intense amount of frustration he provided for Caesar, it was most likely that he became a most valued recruit.
It was this value placed on the man by Caesar that would save his life. Upon the Legions surrounding his tribe’s main camp, his leader would surrender, choosing life instead of extermination. This decision sent the future Legate into such a rage that he had murdered 15 of his fellow tribesmen by the time he was subdued. Hearing of the massacre, Caesar has him saved and brought into Legion care for his wounds.
By the time he came around, Lanius would find that he had lost half of his face during his battle; for this, Caesar would offer him an iron forged great helmet, with a face engraved into the visor. Caesar then offered him a position in the Legion, an offer Lanius would only accept should the tyrant allow him to slaughter all of the remaining males from his tribe. Caesar, being a man of sheer malice, would allow this, save for the younger boys who he deemed too valuable to the future ranks of the Legion to be thrown away like that.
This is but one tale of the Legate’s origins. However, other conflicting stories can be heard from other legionaries surrounding his origin. However, whether he was born into the Hidebarks as a normal tribesman or a slave within another tribe, his general skill as a warrior remains unchanged.
Many even states that from the age of 12, he was yet to lose a battle. Another interesting fact is that if you ask Graham about the Legate, he will report to having never heard of the man who replaced him, even though Arizona was long under the Legion’s control before Graham’s exile.
Related: Comprehensive Legate Lanius Guide
- Should Caesar die during the course of the game, Lanius then becomes the leader of the Legion.
- Lanius is Latin for Butcher, a title given to him after many great victories for the Legion; his true name is unknown.
- Upon his death, the player can loot his Blade of the East, but not his Legate’s armor and helmet.
- Both Graham and Ulysses mention Lanius in their respective DLCs.
So, there we have it, a complete and detailed guide to Caesar’s Legion, one of the most formidable factions you can find in any part of the wasteland, let alone the Mojave. For me, the Legion is one of the more interesting factions in the game series. Not only are they deeply rooted in ancient Roman history, but they also have a unique backstory concerning their beginnings.
Whilst their character development in Fallout New Vegas is kind of lacking, I suppose we can excuse that considering the amazing time pressure the guys and gals over at Obsidian were under to get this game finished. In summary, then, do take the time to play as a follower of Caesar in one of your New Vegas playthroughs. It truly opens up another side of the game for the player and is well worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can you kill Caesar without breaking the game?
Answer: The simple answer is yes; one of the best things about New Vegas is how the story adapts and changes to the player’s actions. Depending on the stage at which you manage to dispatch Caesar, the player will still be left with plenty of options to complete the main storyline.
Question: Can you join the Legion as a Female?
Answer: Whilst the Legion’s doctrine specifically states that females cannot join the Legion, the game does allow the player character to side with the Legion, with no differences in the dialogue or plot concerning which gender the player is. This is quite a weird plot hole if you ask me.
Question: What does Caesar’s Legion want?
Answer: Caesar’s ultimate goal is to conquer and defeat the NCR and thus roll their citizens into the Legion’s war machine, creating a monolithic culture under his leadership. This would also make his military strength unmatchable across the rest of the wasteland and thus allow him to take over the remainder of what was the US.
Question: Should I side with the NCR or Legion?
Answer: Who the player should side with morally speaking is not quite clear in New Vegas. Whilst the Legion are recognizably more brutal in their punishments and practices. The NCR is also seen throughout the game to be a little less than upstanding, frequently requiring the player to damage the lives and freedoms of citizens throughout the wasteland to help with their goals. However, the storylines for both of these factions are relatively similar, sharing a lot of the same tasks. Although, I would say the Legion’s stand-alone quests are slightly more unique in the grand scheme of things.