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The I Put a Spell on You quest is a major side quest within Fallout New Vegas, located in Camp McCarren. It can be completed in many different ways for either the NCR or the Legions benefit.
Fallout New Vegas is world-renowned for its mammoth achievement in terms of storytelling, world-building, and immersive qualities. These accolades come not just because of the world design, the specific questlines, or even the dialogue.
Instead, I would argue that the brilliance of New Vegas comes from the ability the player has to decide their path throughout the primary mission. Not to mention several of the significant side quests.
The developers give the player character these decisions to make, each with their micro or macro effect on the world around them. For example, should the player decide to side with a particular faction within the game, this decision will shape the rest of the game’s questlines, the actions the player must take to bring their chosen faction to the forefront of the Mojave power struggle by games end.
However, the player can also decide whether or not they should kill Ringo for the Powder Gangers or save him and the town of Goodsprings from these harrowing villains. In contrast to the one detailed earlier, this decision has very little consequence in the overall game and yet will affect the player as they try and move about the Mojave through Powder Ganger territory.
Hopefully, then, you can see how New Vegas builds into the foundations of its world this sense of choice and consequence for one’s actions. This is the very essence, I believe, of the game and why so many fans keep returning to the title well after its initial release.
As mentioned earlier, however, one of the main ways the player’s decisions affect the overall outline of the games is via the decision of faction allegiance. While this decision can be changed until a certain point in the main questline, the player will still have to choose for definite at a certain point.
The subsequent missions are given to the player after this stage differs from one another either entirely or only slightly. This I Put a Spell On You New Vegas guide will cover the I Put a Spell on You quest, which is offered to the player regardless of which faction they side with, NCR or Legion.
The basic outline for this quest is that there has been information leaking out of the largest NCR encampment within the Mojave, Camp McCarran. Therefore, the player is tasked with finding the leak that feeds this information to the Legion. The player will then pursue this task differently, considering which faction they are aligned with.
Therefore, with all that being said, let’s take a look at this quest through the eyes of a player who has, for some reason, decided to side with the NCR during their playthrough.
NCR Quest Guide
To obtain this quest in the first place, the player will most likely either speak with Camp McCarren’s commanding officer, Colonel James Hsu or complete the quest The Fingers of Suspicion.
Either of these actions will begin the quest, with the NCR higher-ups within Camp McCarren wishing for someone from the outside to investigate out of fear and mistrust for those already inside the walls of the camp.
A Wild Goose Chase
The player will then be pointed toward Captain Curtis and Carrie Boyd. By speaking to these characters, the player will find out that there has been some suspicious activity taking place within the camp, alluding to the actions of a spy.
Once these NPCs have given the player all they can, you will once again be directed to another member of the NCR, Corporal Sterling, who will subsequently tell the player some interesting information regarding the spy and break-ins over at the bases control tower during the night.
With this information in hand, the player must once again cross the base and return to Carrie Boyd, data in hand. When talking to Carrie, the option to ask about the break-ins will be available this time. She will then tell the player all she knows, giving the lone wanderer an access key for the watchtower in the process.
Now, armed with the access key and all the information one should need to catch the spy red-handed, the player should head on over to the watchtower and wait around for something suspicious to take place.
Don’t worry if you decide to go off and kill some Deathclaws on a whim, though; the quest will keep going whilst your away, the window for the spy’s capture seemingly being unlimited.
However, once you do finally get around to staking out the location in question, the player should wait in a secluded area outside the tower until around 12:55 am. At this time, the player will see none other than Captain Curtis entering the watchtower.
Alternatively, however, the player can merely enter the tower around 2:50 am. Entering at this time or directly following his entry at 12:55 am will allow the player to overhear a conversation he is having on the tower’s radio, provided the lone wanderer remains undetected and hidden at the bottom of the stairs.
During this conversation, the player will hear of the plan to plant a bomb on the monorail track within the base, updating the player’s quest with the task of disarming the said bomb.
Options, Options, Options
At this stage, however, the player can choose to either directly confront the traitorous Captain or go directly to defuse the bomb. Should the player decide to confront the Captain, make sure to engage him in dialogue first; this conversation will ultimately turn hostile, forcing the lone wanderer to clip the wings of his fellow soldier.
Suppose the player takes out the Captain without engaging him in dialogue first. In that case, the Colonel will become upset upon reporting the manner of the spy’s death, disagreeing with the lone wanderer’s method of dispensing justice.
Killing him after he turns hostile, however, should bring the player no hostility from other NCR soldiers or any other form of standard NCR based repercussions; however, this being a Fallout game, a bug is known to happen wherein the soldiers on the tarmac outside of the tower will turn hostile until the incident is reported to James Hsu.
After Curtis’ death, loot his body for the bomb’s activation codes and report the matter to Colonel Hsu. This will result in the player being rewarded with some caps and XP for their trouble.
Alternatively, the player can leave the tower right at the point of the quest update to diffuse the bomb that the spy has already planted. To do this properly, the player will either need to have a Science skill of 45 or an Explosives skill of 35.
If you have one of these skill levels, head to the monorail, which can be accessed via a door located on the second floor of the camp’s main terminal building, to the northeast of the camp. The monorail carriage should be there when the player goes through this door; the lone wanderer has to locate the bomb inside the car.
If you’re having trouble finding it, maybe take a look in the air vents beside the inside door of the car. The player will use one of the previously listed skills to disarm the bomb at this stage.
Alternatively, the player can also wait until Curtis is outside the watchtower and pickpocket him for the disarm code to complete this stage without confronting him first.
After the bomb has been dealt with and Curtis is still alive and unaware of his plan’s failure, the player will need to head back to good old Colonel Hsu to complete the quest and receive the appropriate caps and XP reward.
Completing the quest in this manner will see Captain Curtis commit suicide before the NCR officials can punish him for his crimes. A true legionary to the end, it seems.
Lastly, the player can also choose to head back to Curtis after the bomb’s deactivation. Confronting him at this point with Craig Boone by your side will grant a History Point for the I Forgot to Remember to Forget quest, Boone’s unique and somewhat challenging to complete companion quest centered around his wife’s horrid capture and subsequent death as a slave.
Should the player not be satisfied with all of the previously listed possible NCR-sided endings to this quest, please don’t worry, as there is still one more. Should the player either mess up their investigation and subsequent surveillance of Curtis, killing him before the radio conversation can be heard properly within the watchtower, the player will have to report to James Hsu with the news.
The Colonel is not a very stupid man. So he, therefore, rejects your opinion that Curtis was the spy based on the fact that you gained no proper evidence before you sentenced him to death, most likely from behind like the animal you are if you choose this option.
Either way, Colonel Hsu will not fully believe Curtis’ guilt in the matter. Therefore no further action is taken regarding his planting of the bomb on the monorail, resulting in the player being unable to deactivate it.
The monorail, therefore, blows up and leaves the player both in the right about Captain Curtis but with a relatively lower level of XP and cap reward from Hsu compared to the other methods of completing the quest.
- Should the player kill Curtis while being in stealth after the confrontation, it lowers the risk of the soldiers outside becoming hostile towards the player.
- If Curtis catches the player before he enters the terminal, a speech check of 50 will need to be passed for the quest to remain intact. Passing this check will see Curtis leave until the next night. If the player fails this check, Curtis will begin firing on the player.
- Camp McCarren is located just to the south of New Vegas and north of the West Pump Station.
Legion Quest Guide
The quest begins in the same way as any NCR-driven character would find it, by reporting to and asking Colonel Hsu if he needs any help. However, the player should have already completed the quest The Finger of Suspicion before this point, allowing the lone wanderer to gain information about the spy from a conversation with Martina Groesbeck.
Groesbeck is a friend of the Legion inside the strip. The lone wanderer is subsequently informed of the rather disturbing leaking of information from the camp to the Legion. Of course, the difference is that in this playthrough, the lone wanderer will think this spy operation to be excellent news, anything to make the NCR pay for being the worst people in the Mojave after all. Okay, okay, I might be a bit biased here.
For the Legion
Anyway, as I was saying, once you get the quest from the commanding officer of Camp McCarren, you will once again head on over to Captain Curtis. With the information provided to you by your dear friend Martine, the player will have access to a dialogue option that states, “I know who you are, and I work for the Legion too.” Telling Curtis this will allow him to trust you, filling you in on his plan like the ally you are.
After this conversation, the quest will update and point the player towards a garbage can inside the camp’s main building, in front of the ticketing area. The player will then have to do something rather disgusting and poke their way through the contents of a dirty old bin, which probably hasn’t been cleaned since 2077, to find Curtis’ items.
Inside the bin, then, the player will find everything one might need to blow up the monorail, complete with a detailed sabotage plan and the explosive charge needed.
Getting to Work
After receiving everything relevant out of a nearby garbage can, the player can go back to Colonel Hsu and offer to take the lead in searching for this horrible miscreant spy. This will then proceed the quest further, directing the player to the monorail in question.
The door to the monorail will be guarded by a set of NCR soldiers who stand round the clock save for a change of shift at 9 am and 6 pm. Should the player lack the needed high NCR reputation to simply walk past these soldiers, just wait for this shift change, and walk on into the monorail building.
However, an additional and definitely more satisfying way to get into this area of the camp is to borrow/steal an NCR uniform from somewhere and put it on. Wearing this faction armor may not score you to man point with Legion soldiers outside of the camp, but it will get you past the soldiers posted at the door as they just wave you on through without a second glance.
Once in, the lone wanderer must make their way inside the monorail car and plant the bomb. The location for the bomb is inside one of the air vents just to the right of the car’s door. After setting the bomb, the player will be instructed to leave the car and watch it depart.
Should the player leave the area entirely, not watching the car explode, the quest may fail as the event would not occur in an unloaded area; therefore, the player needs to remain inside the monorail area until the explosion is over.
The Frame Job
Once this section of the quest is done, it will become important to throw suspicion away from yourself and Captain Curtis to maintain your own life and the Legion’s mole inside Camp McCarren.
This is when the quest will update and instruct the player to plant the appropriate items in Davey Crenshaw’s footlocker. The items needed to be placed in his locker include Abraxo Cleaner, a conductor, a fission batter, the monorail sabotage plane, and Wonderglue.
Davey Crenshaw is identified as being the perfect target for a frame job such as this due to his undesirable character and reputation inside the base. Not only is he known for being wholly self-centered and undisciplined, but he is also famous for his rather poorly thought-out pranks.
The most notorious of which is the leading of a Brahmin into the upstairs section of the terminal building and his penchant for destroying NCR computer technology and, therefore, camp security wherever he goes. All of this combined makes a pretty good fake Legion spy if you ask me.
After planting all of this in the soldier’s footlocker, the lone wanderer can head back downstairs and outside via the main doors. Once the player finds Crenshaw via the map marker, the player can use a dialogue option to discuss a new and exciting ‘prank’ with private.
Should the player have a Sneak skill of 40 or above, they can say to the private that they just pulled a prank on someone by pulling the pin on their grenade. After Crenshaw tells the player how he “cannot wait to see the look on the guy’s face,” the dialogue box will vanish, and the grenade warning indicator will appear on screen, forcing the player away from Crenshaw before he explodes. Rather funny if you ask me.
Once the evidence has been planted, and the least funny prankster in the Mojave has been dealt with, the player can head back to Colonel Hsu and tell him about Crenshaw’s apparent spying and subsequent death, leading him to thank the player with a reward of 100 caps. Straight after this, the player must report back to Captain Curtis, where the quest’s real reward will be 550 XP and 150 caps. Doing this, therefore, completes the quest.
- If the monorail does blow up, the securitrons over in the strip may comment on it.
- Private Crenshaw was known as a problem child before the incident, and therefore it was easy for the NCR to believe he would spy for the Legion.
- The garbage can from which the player retrieves the secret items at the beginning of this quest is only interactable at this stage of the game, never before.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Who is the Legion spy in Camp McCarren?
Answer: Captain Ronald Curtis is the Legion spy within the walls of Camp McCarren. Within the NCR, he holds the rank of officer and heads up Bravo Company at the camp. However, his real identity is that of a Frumentarius or spy within the Legion, going by the codename Picus.
Question: Where is the doctor at Camp McCarren?
Answer: The Camp McCarren doctor is Dr. Kemp, and he can be found at the corner of the concourse inside Camp McCarren.
Question: What is the best faction to join in Fallout New Vegas?
Answer: While many would point to the NCR in response to this question, it is my opinion that the best faction is Caesar’s Legion. Not only does the player manage to progress through the ranks within this faction much more quickly, but the quests they provide the player with are more entertaining in the long run.
Question: Can you play Fallout New Vegas after the ending?
Answer: No, similar to Fallout 3 before the release of the Broken Steel DLC, the player cannot continue their character’s storyline after the conclusion of the main quest in Fallout New Vegas.
In conclusion, then, the I Put a Spell on You quest is certainly one of the more unique storylines running through Fallout New Vegas. This, combined with the unique stealth opportunities provided by the quest, certainly makes it one of my favorite quests to complete; however, it has got to be said that the NCR version of the quest is simply better than its Legion counterpart.
A rarity in New Vegas, as in my opinion, the Legion is where the fun is at mostly. Either way, though, I hope this guide has truly helped you, no matter which faction you choose to complete the quest in the future. Good luck out there!