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Bottom Line Up Front: Legate Lanius is the second in command of Caesar’s Legion and serves as supreme battle commander for the entirety of the Legion’s forces within the Mojave and beyond. His monstrously large frame and equally astounding prowess in battle make him a worthy adversary or supporter to the Courier.
I don’t know about you, but for me at least, Obsidians take on the Fallout universe; Fallout New Vegas is simply the best entry in the franchise to date. After playing well over a thousand hours within this franchise, I have come to this decision, and therefore I think I have some authority on the matter.
While I agree that some of the other games in the franchise are more technically groundbreaking or trendsetting, such as Fallout 1 and 4, I still hold onto the fact that Fallout New Vegas‘ storyline is simply unbeatable in almost any measurable way dimension.
This storyline is not only brilliant due to the actual events that the player gets to experience but also because of the branching arcs which take place due to the player’s decisions and actions, allowing for a different experience every time you boot up a new playthrough. This, combined with excellent dialogue and even better characters, creates an overall experience and ambiance that is still, to this day, unbeaten, in my opinion anyway.
Regarding the characters included in Fallout New Vegas then, I want to take a particularly close look at one of the more interesting and yet overlooked NPCs one comes across in the game, Legate Lanius.
This faceless colossus is often forgotten about in the Reddit discussion concerning people’s favorite characters, and therefore I believe it’s time he got his dues. Not only does the character have a ton of lore behind him, but he is also one of the most well-developed and though-over characters in New Vegas and, therefore, the whole Fallout franchise altogether.
With all this being said then, in this Legate Lanius Guide, we’re going to take a look at the amazing story of Legate Lanius and how he got that incredibly cool helmet in the first place!
Before The Courier
When one starts up Fallout New Vegas and launches into their save or a new game, there will inevitably be a short loading screen that will endeavor to impart some exposition or helpful tips to the player while they wait to actually play the game that they have spent their hard-earned dollars on.
One of these loading screens tips states, “Legate Lanius, the Monster of the East, is the military commander of all Caesar’s forces in the field. He is legendary for his devotion to Caesar and for his ability to sense weakness in any army.”
This is the quote many players have in mind when they finally meet Legate Lanius. Whether you have sided with the Legion or not, I am pretty sure there might be some apprehension from most players about the possibility of facing such a legend in combat. But how did he gain this position and legendary status, you ask? Well, it’s a rather long story.
First of all, I must note that there is no definitive information regarding the background of Legate Lanius. Instead, a man such as him has created many origin myths within the lower ranks of Legion soldiers, somewhat muddying the waters as to what is fact and what is fiction. So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at these possibilities.
Caesar’s Version of Events
If Caesar is to be believed, which I would advise against personally, Lanius was once a member of the Hidebarks tribe. This Arizona-based tribe, as the story goes, came into contact with the Legion during their period of initial expansion into the state of greater California, just after Caesar emerged from the Grand Canyon.
Therefore, Caesar and his then second in command, Joshua Graham, pursued the tribe in an effort to bring their fighting strength into the Legion fold, strengthening their army and wiping out a potential outside threat in one move.
As you might imagine, however, with a man literally named the Monster of the East within their camp, the Hidebarks ended up as a thorn in the side of the Legion’s ever-encroaching paw within the region, delaying their expansion plans by months past schedule.
During this time, it was even reported that the future Legate managed to wipe out an entire squad of legionnaires by himself, felling a ridiculous number of soldiers on his own. Eventually, however, the Legion did manage to surround the tribe via the use of their superior tactics and manpower.
Sadistic Recruitment Drive
After the Legions surrounding of the Hidebarks camp, the chief of the tribe decided that fighting any longer would be futile, only resulting in his and his people’s eventual gruesome deaths; therefore, he decided to surrender. Once again, you would be right if you assumed that someone known as the Monster of the East would not be happy with surrendering.
In fact, the future Legate became so enraged that he lashed out and killed 15 members of his own tribe before the nearby Legion troops entered the settlement and managed to subdue the man turned beast.
With rumors of his prowess in battle already in circulation throughout the Legion, undoubtedly leading to the ear of Caesar, and now the rage-induced massacre of his own people, the future Legate was an obvious m pick for the Legion’s upper ranks.
Therefore, after the man was brought under control by the Legion, Caesar not only offered him a place in his army but also gave him a magnificently forged iron mask to cover the scars and wounds he had sustained during his battle with his own tribe and his subsequent Legion subdual. Not a man to look a gift horse in the mouth, the future Legate accepted this rather generous offer from Caesar with only one condition.
To acquire this man for the Legion, Caesar would have to let him kill all the surviving male members of his final tribe, most likely out of retribution for their cowardly submission to his new master. Caesar, of course, being the fascist dictator he was, had no issue with this senseless violence, and therefore the future Legate entered the Legions ranks.
- Legate Lanius was reportedly recruited during the years directly following his exit of the Grand Canyon.
- The now Legate is Caesar’s second in command and is therefore in charge of all battle strategy and Legion troops in the field.
- If Caesar is either killed by the player or dies during the quest Et Tumor, Brute? Lanius will take full control of the Legion.
Rumors Throughout the Legion
Lucius, one of Caesar’s most trusted men, actually disagrees with his supreme leader’s version of events regarding Lanius’ origin story in a rather interesting turn of events.
To his recollection, Lanius was not some member of a wayward tribe, brought into the fold via Caesar’s leniency and headhunting.
Instead, Lucius recalls that Lanius was, in fact, brought up in Legion slavery. During this time, Lucius states that the young boy’s prowess in battle was second to none, never losing a single battle.
This same combat ability would therefore allow the young boy to become a fully indoctrinated legionary by the age of 12, a feat which has never once been repeated.
The hound master of the Legion, Antony, once again comes to the player with a different version of events regarding Lanius. More in line with the story originally told to the player by Caesar, Antony states that Lanius did indeed come from the Hidebark tribe. However, his version of events differs from Caesar’s in some very important ways.
First of all, Antony will tell the player that whilst it did take a great deal of time longer to overrun Lanius’ tribe, it actually took several years, not the months stated by Caesar.
Then, in another twist to the original tale, Antony will tell the Courier that there was no mass slaughter of Lanius’ tribe at the Monster’s own hands.
Instead, the story goes that the men of this tribe were instead brought into the Legion’s forces, with Caesar denying the now Legate’s demand for bloodshed.
Whilst not technically a member of the Legion anymore, Graham was still the second in command over the Legion when Lanius entered into their services. In fact, it is Graham’s former position that Lanius now holds after Caesar’s punishment of Graham left him near death and dumped him back into the Grand Canyon.
To this end, then, should the stories told of Lanius be true, Graham would have no doubt either heard of them or directly interacted with the young Lanius prior to his forced exile. However, the former Legate denies all knowledge of the Monster incarnate.
This is interesting because Graham is actually the only person one can talk to during the events of New Vegas about Lanius, who is not within the Legion’s sphere of control; therefore, he has no reason to lie, no loyalty to Caesar to protect.
Therefore, if we are to believe Graham, all other accounts of the man’s origin must be reconsidered and possibly ignored as mere myth. However, these possible myths bring to the fore an even more interesting question regarding Lanius – why?
- Legate Lanius had taken the job as second in command, below Caesar, not long before they moved into the Mojave.
- Since Graham does not know Legate Lanius or where he came from, we can most likely dismiss the origin stories spread by Caesar and other members of the Legion.
- Graham goes by the pseudonym The Burned Man in many conversations dotted throughout the Mojave. The Courier then comes across him as a key character in the Honest Hearts DLC.
The Myth of Legate Lanius
At this point, you wouldn’t need to be a scientist over at the Big MT to realize that the myth of Legate Lanius and the near deification of the soldier is deeply important to the Legion for some reason.
Some would suggest that this is because he has become somewhat of a symbol for the might of the Legion, a figure which has been raised above the common soldier, and therefore his origin story has become important.
The myth, therefore, goes that his very name, Lanius, Latin for ‘butcher,’ was only given to him after many brutal victories of the enemies of the Legion. This brutality, combined with his origin story, makes him a vital piece in Caesar’s net of control over his Legion; by having Lanius in his pocket, he effectively manages to rule the rest of his soldiers out of fear.
Caesar would also go a step further by stating that Lanius will only listen to and be loyal to him, not actually caring for the organization as a whole. Not only does this statement, whether true or not, bolster the legend of Lanius, it also helps cement Caesar’s position.
What We Know to Be True
While some people will argue over what is true and false in Lanius’ backstory, there are certain aspects of the soldier’s life that we know for certain or via educated guess.
The first and probably most important of these facts is his prowess in battle and his proficiency as a military commander and strategist. No matter who you may speak to about this Legate, nearly everyone will either agree or refuse to disagree with this fact; many of his own soldiers will even describe him as a vicious beast and a monster once he is set loose in the field of battle.
Caesar also states that man has an uncanny ability to detect weaknesses in his own and other commanders’ armies and that he has a singular focus when placed on the field of battle, uncaring for his soldiers, only concerned with the overall result and winning the overall battle and therefore war.
This belief that Lanius has, that victory in war is the only real goal of any military commander, likely comes from his belief that civilization can only prosper via the crucible of war. Therefore Lanius believes in the survival of the fittest and the right of the strong to take advantage of the weak.
Lanius himself would say that the weak are only useful in making the strong even stronger. A principal one could see to be fostered by the Legion, especially during their formative years. On the other hand, however, Lanius is very particular in how a war is fought and subsequently won
During the events of New Vegas, for example, we can find that Lanius directly disagrees with the treacherous methods adopted by Vulpus even though he recognizes that his actions are in service to Caesar and, therefore, Lanius’ ultimate goal of conquering the Mojave.
Instead, Lanius feels that wars and battles should be fought via an honorable code of martial conduct wherein the strength of a man and his army are directly tested against another’s.
In Vulpas’ case then, Lanius feels that the potential Legion victory over the NCR at the Hoover Dam may be sullied and ruined by these sly tactics.
The Events Before New Vegas
As with almost all major characters in Fallout New Vegas, the development team took time to think about Lanius’ years prior to his arrival to Hoover Dam, placing great detail in his many years as Legate and second in command of the fascist organization.
His main job during these years was overseeing the Legion’s eastern campaigns, focusing directly on the domination of independent tribes out in the wasteland. In essence, his entire job was to strengthen the weakened Legion after his predecessor’s failure at the first battle for Hoover Dam. The most famous of these missions took place in Colorado, wherein the ever merciful Legate put many non-consenting tribes to the sword in a brutal massacre.
In particular, though, the attack on the Hangdogs tribe stands out even in Lanius’ long rap sheet wherein he threw members of the tribe onto a fire pit and their revered hounds. The sole and evil motivation behind this was so they would continue to burn even in the afterlife as per the Hangdog’s religious beliefs.
Whilst all of his individual missions and operations resulted in great Legion victories, the sheer pace and lack of respect for his men’s needs pushed the Legion supply lines to a breaking point after years of continued expansion.
This issue, therefore, grew in size until it worked to jeopardize the entire campaign, resulting in the Legate re-evaluating the necessity of strong logistically planning and supply chain security. This realization made Lanius sure to never repeat such a mistake.
Lastly, just before Caesar deemed the Legion strong enough to take Hoover Dam once more, the Legate would march his forces into the state of Utah. Within this once great state (I assume, as I have never been there), the Legate and his legionnaires managed to assimilate a total of 14 tribes into the Legion’s ranks, massacring a further five who refused to capitulate. After all, was said and done, the Legion and Lanius were well and truly ready to march on the Dam once again.
- Legate Lanius was tasked with rebuilding the strength of the Legion after their humiliation at the first battle of Hoover Dam. The same humiliation saw Joshua Graham punished and burned alive.
- Lanius managed to assimilate 14 tribes into the Legion in the state of Utah alone, massacring a further 5.
- Lanius actually viewed the NCR as worthy adversaries on his journey to the Mojave, commending their ability to fight at long range and tactical abilities.
Interactions with The Courier
Even though one could correctly say that Lanius is a rather key character concerning the main plot of Fallout New Vegas, we don’t actually come into contact with him until the final events of the main storyline.
Should the player side with the Legion and, therefore, with Lanius, the player will meet him first at the beginning of the Veni, Vidi, Vici quest, wherein he will give the final order to both the player and the gathered Legion soldiers to march on the Dam.
After this, the player will not actually see the famed fighter on the field of battle, only bumping into him again once the dust settles and the NCR is defeated, at which point he will congratulate the player on hard-earned victory.
Don’t Tread on The Bear
As with all major quests in the latter stages of New Vegas, the player’s decision to side with whichever faction will consequently result in a different final climax to that Legion-inspired end; therefore, if the player sides with the NCR, Mr. House, or Yes Man, your final and only interaction with Legate Lanius will be slightly less amicable.
These quests, named: No Gods, No Masters, All or Nothing, and Eureka!, all result in the player facing the Legate as an enemy, with only certain, increasingly harder skill checks keeping the Monster of the East from charging at the player’s throat. In both Barter and Speech, these skill checks increase from 55 all the way to 100. The successful and varied options chosen during these skill checks state alternate arguments to the Legate.
Speech Skill Route
The speech options, which begin with the Courier informing the Legate how “the battle is already over” and therefore fighting each other would be futile. The next check of 65 sees the Courier speak on how the Legion has tried and failed for many years to take the Dam. However, Lanius disagrees with this, stating that the Dam has only ever seen lowly men such as Graham at the head of the Legion army, not him.
Next, a speech check of 75 begins wherein the player asks, “And then, what of the East?”, going on to postulate that if it takes all of the East to take the West, then surely taking the west will weaken the east.
Lanius disagrees with this mentality, stating that after the Dam falls, nothing will stand in the Legion’s way. However, the player continues to push on this matter with the first 100 speech check stating that it is the people of the west’s weakness that will harm the Legion, the sheer vast space that the Legion would have to occupy in order to hold the west would mean losing the east.
This last check makes Lanius realize that the Legion would ultimately fail to hold the Dam and lose the east if they tried to hold it, therefore he opts to retreat instead.
Barter Skill Route
If the player tries to settle down Lanius from a fight via the Barter skill route, the first speech check will be at 55. It will involve the player telling Lanius that the Legion may take the Dam, but holding it is a whole other ball game.
Lanius debates this idea by stating that the strength of the Legion behind such a Dam would break anything thrown against it. However, the player’s next barter check of 75 states that it would not be the NCR they would have to worry about breaking them, it would be their own supply lines.
Lanius then states that they will harvest what they need from the west along their journey, the courier thus retorts by stating that the Legion’s actions throughout the Mojave have ensured no settlements or their people will help them. The Legion’s second in command then debates this by saying that there are many slaves and communities they could make do their bidding along the way.
At this stage, the Courier has two options, one barter check of 100 which states that the west is not self-sufficient as it is and thus depends on the NCR supply lines and the caravans they operate.
The second, 75 skill points option states that the communities or towns the Legate speaks of are already fading away after the Legion destroyed Nipton, butchered Nelson, and poisoned Searchlight.
Whichever the Courier chooses will still result in the Legate realizing that, much like his time in Denver, supply lines and their efficiency to support a people dictate a success or failure, now seeing that the west cannot support itself and will not have the correct supply lines, the Legate decides to return east.
Taking on the Man Mountain
Should the player either find themselves failing these skill checks or wanting to simply test themselves against one of the most challenging NPCs in the game, then there are some things the Courier should consider first.
The developers of New Vegas clearly didn’t want the player simply rolling over their final enemy in their game. Not only is Lanius one of the toughest in terms of max health in the game, but his actions are also heavily scripted. This not only forces him to act differently in combat to almost every other NPC in the game, but it also ensures that he gives the player one hell of a fight.
Some of the key scripted actions Lanius takes during your battle involve his own health. Should the Legate fall below 60% during your altercation, he will take one of his Legion-provided Healing Powders. This aid item will therefore see the Legate regenerate 8 HP every second for a total of 27 seconds. This works out to a total regeneration of 216 HP. Making the battle that little bit harder.
Then, should his health continue to fall as low as 40%, your final opponent will actually be seen to manipulate the mechanics of the game himself as he runs away from the player into hiding in order to further restore his health.
Therefore, this action will make Lanius temporarily non-hostile towards the player, thus ceasing all ally attacks on him and restoring all of his limbs to 100% health. What a crafty so and so! Once he deems himself healed enough, he will return to his original position to continue his battle with the player character.
As you might imagine, someone known as the Monster of the East might have some special traits up his sleeve. The first is his incredible speed; Lanius moves 80% faster than all other NPCs in the game and can actually outrun the player even with his long legs crippled.
Lanius also has significantly more fatigue points than any other NPC in the game, resulting in knocking him out becoming a near-impossible feat. He also cannot be disarmed of his mighty Blade of the East or reverse pickpocketed, ruling out hand-to-hand combat and sneaky grenade plants.
Lastly, Lanius’ famous weapon, the Blade of the East, has a 15% knockdown chance, resulting in his ability to constantly knock the player to the ground.
If it has become set in stone that you are to fight the monster, the dialogue options just prior to the fight will give the player a karma check, determining the difficulty of the fight. To put this system simply, should the player have good karma, Lanius will decide to fight the player in an honorable way, one on one. However, should the player have a poor or evil karma rating, the player will have to fight Lanius and the rest of his soldiers in one horrid affair.
- The items worn and used by Legate Lanius are special and cannot be picked up by the player, except for the helmet, which can be acquired for the remainder of the mission. Even the weapon he drops is a slightly different version to the one he uses himself.
- The player cannot meet Lanius before the final events of the game’s main questline.
- Lanius is Latin for Butcher.
- A height modifier is applied to the frame of Lanius, making him 1.15x taller than the other human NPCs in the game, clocking in at 6 foot 11 inches.
- Lanius is deeply scripted, making the player’s final confrontation with him all the more difficult.
So, there we have it, a complete guide to one of the most formidable opponents in the Mojave wasteland and possibly beyond. The Monster of the East is certainly one of my favorite characters in New Vegas, not just because of the challenge he presents but the rich and complex backstory that grounds him in the Fallout universe.
This backstory is one only known to a few avid Fallout fans, with the game making the player go out hunting for it. With that being said, however, you hopefully no longer have to after reading this guide. So, the next time you come up against the beast from the EastEast, make sure to pack plenty of Stimpak’s!
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Why does Lanius wear a mask?
Answer: According to Caesar, Lanius wears a mask due to the injuries he sustained during his tribe’s capture by the Legion. However, some say that the mask simply helps create the myth of Lanius the Legion monster.
Question: What tribe was Lanius from?
Answer: Lanius was most likely from the Hidebarks tribe before their annexation by the Legion.
Question: Is Legate Lanius more than one person?
Answer: We simply do not know the answer to this question for certain. However, we can speculate that, since he is a symbol for the Legion, there is a possibility that the actual man behind the mask has changed over the years, thus resulting in the myriad accounts regarding his origins.
Question: What does Legate Lanius mean?
Answer: Legate is the highest position under Caesar within the Legion, whilst Lanius is Latin for ‘butcher.’