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Every Fallout player knows this simple truth about the wasteland: danger lurks everywhere. From raiders to super mutants to slavers, there all are kinds of threats roaming around the irradiated landscape of the former United States of America. For the average citizen of the wasteland, surviving from day to day is a struggle requiring skill, adaptability, and pure dumb luck.
The NCR Rangers are not your average wastelanders.
This group of elite, highly-trained soldiers acts as the protectors of the New California Republic and the Mojave Wasteland, stamping out raider gangs and slavers when and where they can. They also protect the republic from attacks from Caesar’s Legion, an ever-looming threat seeking revenge on the NCR and its Rangers ever since the First Battle of Hoover Dam.
While their mission has evolved from merely fighting slavery in the young republic, the Rangers remain committed to the protection of all citizens of the wasteland from harm. They are the trenchcoat-wearing, rifle-toting guardians that keep the wasteland from falling further into tyranny and anarchy. If you have questionable morals and catch a glimpse of black riot gear and the unmistakable red tint of a veteran Ranger’s visor, your days – if not minutes or seconds – are numbered.
Looking to learn more about the NCR Rangers, their history, and the role they play in the Fallout games? This NCR Rangers guide aims to provide with you all of the essential information you need to know about the group for your journey through the wasteland. Lock and load and focus your aim – it’s time to delve into the group known as the NCR Rangers.
Bottom Line Up Front
- The NCR Rangers are an elite group of soldiers within the New California Republic army.
- The group was originally formed to fight the spread of slavery within the New California Republic and its neighboring areas.
- The NCR Rangers were vital to Caesar’s defeat at the First Battle of Hoover Dam.
- NCR Rangers hold some of the most prestigious and dangerous positions in the NCR, such as acting as bodyguards for the NCR President, Aaron Kimball.
Note: This guide contains spoilers.
In the years since the nuclear bombs fell all over the world in the Great War, slavery reemerged as a practice in the wastelands of the country formerly known as the United States of America.
One man, Seth, decided more needed to be done to fight against the slavers and raiders that threatened peace in the New California Republic, which at that time was still known as Shady Sands. In response to the growing threats all around Shady Sands, Seth founded the Rangers.
By the year 2241, the NCR Rangers had built up a considerable amount of power and political clout. They had risen to the highest ranks of the republic and acted as bodyguards for the NCR President. They began to stretch their reach to the lands outside of Shady Sands, sometimes even conducting missions outside of New California Republic near places like New Reno.
The Rangers were constantly strapped for manpower despite their popularity and fame. To make up for this, they mostly operated undercover in hidden outposts to avoid confrontation with groups that outnumbered them like the Slaver’s Guild.
The successes of the NCR Rangers continued to pile up. As the word of their heroics spread, so did the reach of the New California Republic itself as it continued to swallow new lands and towns into its territory.
The Desert Rangers and the Ranger Unification Treaty
Things were not faring as well for a different group of rangers to the east. Simply known as the Desert Rangers, a group inspired by the exploits of the Texas Rangers long ago, they operated mainly in Nevada with some presence in Arizona and the Zion Canyon area in Utah.
The Desert Rangers were committed to a similar goal to that of the original NCR Rangers: protect the people of the wasteland from violence and wrongdoing. They were successful for a while until they met Caesar’s Legion.
By that time, Caesar’s Legion had grown from its humble beginnings as a desert tribe to the massive army we all know today, thanks to the leadership of Edward Swallow – better known as Caesar himself. Unable to ignore the slavery and acts of savagery perpetrated by the Legion, the Desert Rangers soon found themselves in combat with the group.
The Desert Rangers had better training and better equipment by far, but the Legion had the superior numbers. The Rangers were eventually defeated and pushed out of Arizona. They were forced to look for any ally they could find and the NCR was a natural fit given their similar goals.
Thanks in part to the efforts of Chief Elise, the commander of the NCR Rangers at the time, the Ranger Unification Treaty was signed at the Mojave Outpost in 2271. The terms of the agreement were two-fold. First, the Desert Rangers agreed to become part of the NCR Rangers, fully forming the group as we encounter them in Fallout: New Vegas. Second, the NCR agreed to protect the territory that Caesar’s Legion was beginning to encroach on, which included southern Nevada, New Vegas, and most infamously, Hoover Dam.
In commemoration of the Desert Rangers being absorbed into the NCR Rangers, a large statue was constructed at Mojave Outpost. The statue depicts an NCR Ranger and a Desert Ranger shaking hands.
The First Battle of Hoover Dam
Six years after the signing of the Ranger Unification Treaty, Caesar’s Legion attacked New California Republic forces stationed at Hoover Dam. Chief Hanlon had become the leader of the NCR Rangers by that time. The fighting was vicious and it appeared that Caesar’s Legion had the upper hand until Hanlon put in motion a key plan.
Hanlon is renowned for his unique tactics and use of traps. These skills were on full display at the First Battle of Hoover Dam. Taking advantage of the Legion’s aggressive offensive strategy, Hanlon and presumably other NCR Rangers helped to lure them to Boulder City, which had been rigged with explosives. The majority of the city was destroyed along with a sizeable portion of Caesar’s forces.
Caesar’s Legion, completely caught off guard and badly wounded, retreated across the Colorado River to safety. When you first begin Fallout: New Vegas, you find the wasteland in this state as Caesar prepares for another attack on Hoover Dam and the NCR readies its forces to defend it.
Key Members of the NCR Rangers
Seth is the founder of the original group of NCR Rangers. When we meet him in the first Fallout game, Seth is the captain of the security forces that protect Shady Sands. He keeps the town safe from outsiders and ensures that visitors to the town follow all of its rules.
He is utterly devoted to protecting Shady Sands and its citizens, a fact that is not lost on Aradesh, the town’s leader and eventual founder and first president of the New California Republic.
After his disappearance and presumed death, Seth became an almost saint-like figure to the people of the republic. He is remembered as the First Ranger of the NCR Rangers and his likeness is even featured on the NCR’s $20 bill.
Chief Elise is another key figure in the history of the NCR Rangers. She’s a bit on the younger side, but her combination of battle skills and experience in the NCR led to her rise through the ranks of the Rangers to eventually become their commander.
As commander, Chief Elise helped to broker the Ranger Unification Treaty between the independent Desert Rangers and the NCR Rangers. The Desert Rangers became a part of the NCR Rangers in exchange for assistance in protecting areas of Nevada and the Hoover Dam.
The decision by Elise to welcome the Desert Rangers into the fold is a huge turning point for the NCR as it led to an all-out war with Caesar’s Legion at the First Battle of Hoover Dam.
Chief Hanlon is the leader of the NCR Rangers during the events of Fallout: New Vegas. He’s a veteran of the group with more than 40 years of service under his belt. He even joined before Elise and her eventual stint as commander of the Rangers.
Hanlon is a central figure in the First Battle of Hoover Dam. He planned to lure Caesar’s men into Boulder City and blow them up along with the entire city. Hanlon’s success was integral to the NCR’s victory at Hoover Dam.
Though he staunchly defends the republic and its people, he sometimes finds himself at odds with President Kimball and the generals of the NCR Army, especially Lee Oliver.
Hanlon supports abandoning NCR engagements in the Mojave Wasteland because of the great losses they have suffered at the hand of Caesar, despite the recent successes of the NCR Army and the Rangers.
Free the Slaves in the Slave Pen, for the Rangers (Fallout 2)
If you want to align yourself with the NCR Rangers in Fallout 2, you’ll have to accept this quest to free enslaved NCR citizens. Freeing the slaves requires a lockpicking skill of at least 25.
Chief Elise will give you a Ranger pin after this quest, making you an official member of the NCR Rangers.
This affects your standing with other Rangers, who will greet you positively, and slavers, who are more likely to act with hostility towards you.
Cold, Cold Heart (Fallout: New Vegas)
This quest introduces us to the Mojave Outpost, the location where the NCR Rangers and Desert Rangers agreed to consolidate and sign the Ranger Unification Treaty. After you witness the gruesome aftermath of Caesar’s Legion’s presence in the town of Nipton, Vulpes Inculta, one of Caesar’s most trusted men, will command you to tell others of the Legion’s power and the pain and suffering they can inflict.
To do so, you must travel to the site where the Desert Rangers and the NCR Rangers became one: the Mojave Outpost. This is one of my favorite early moments of Fallout: New Vegas. As you travel to the outpost, the large statue built to memorialize the Ranger Unification Treaty looms over the Mojave Wasteland, a reminder to players as they start the game that there’s a whole history of important events that took place before the events of Fallout: New Vegas.
To complete the quest, simply speak to Sergeant Kilborn. He often walks around the entrance of the Mojave Outpost near the statue.
Return to Sender (Fallout: New Vegas)
Chief Hanlon is a hero to both the NCR Rangers and the NCR itself, make no mistake about it. However, this quest presents a different side of Hanlon and his concern for the future survival of the NCR.
Sergeant Reyes of Camp Forlorn Hope tasks you with delivering updated radio security codes to various Ranger stations throughout the Mojave. After doing so, you return to Reyes, who tells you she’s received some confusing intel reports. She then asks you to confirm them with a few other officers and then asks you to speak to Chief Hanlon about the inconsistencies.
It’s at this point that we learn that Chief Hanlon has been falsifying reports to create confusion within the NCR and its army. He’s done this to convince the leaders of the NCR that their war against Caesar’s Legion is futile and prolonging the conflict will only result in the needless death of more NCR soldiers. He’s convinced that the manpower needed to hold the Hoover Dam will stretch the NCR far too thin to survive.
You have four options when deciding how to deal with Hanlon. The first option is to tell him you’re going to turn him in. Doing so will cause him to commit suicide after you leave his office. You can also choose to let him continue with his actions, which quickly completes the quest. This is the easiest of the four options if you’re indifferent about the outcome.
The other two options are the more difficult of the four, in my opinion. You can kill him yourself, which runs the risk of turning the whole NCR hostile towards you. You can also kill Caesar before confronting Hanlon, which will give you the option of convincing him to stop the false reports because the Legion is sure to fall without its leader.
Eureka! (Fallout: New Vegas)
This is the final quest of the game should you choose to side with the NCR in the Second Battle of Hoover Dam. It is the culmination of all of the missions you have completed and all of the relationships you have forged up until this point. You’re tasked with fighting your way through Caesar’s forces and forcing Legate Lanius to surrender.
As the quest unfolds, you eventually come across a group of veteran Rangers on the top of the dam, dressed in their riot gear armor and helmets with red visors. This is easily one of the coolest moments in the game as you get to fight side-by-side with the fabled Rangers. You get to choose how the veteran Rangers will help you for the rest of the battle.
The options include having them push forward with you, having them support you with snipers, or having them fall back to safety. If your speech is high enough, you can ask the Rangers to push ahead without you, a choice that is regarded as a suicide mission by the Rangers. Despite this, they will follow your orders.
Question: Can I become an NCR Ranger in Fallout: New Vegas?
Answer: While you can become a Ranger in Fallout 2, you can’t join them in Fallout: New Vegas because the NCR Rangers aren’t an actual faction. However, you can get pretty darn close, at least in aesthetic. Complete quests for the NCR to raise your reputation with them to at least “Liked.” After doing this, speak to Colonel James Hsu, who will give you the key to a safehouse located just south of REPCONN Headquarters.
Inside the safehouse, you’ll find all kinds of NCR goodies including the iconic suit of NCR Ranger combat armor and a ranger helmet. This armor is the same kind that’s worn by veteran NCR Rangers and is featured on the cover of Fallout: New Vegas.
Question: Who founded the NCR Rangers?
Answer: Seth found the NCR Rangers and is considered to be the First Ranger. The NCR Rangers have changed some since their founding, most notably due to the Ranger Unification Treaty which merged them with the Desert Rangers of Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.
Question: How can I save Chief Hanlon?
Answer: There are two ways to prevent Chief Hanlon from committing suicide or from having to kill him yourself. The first way is to turn a blind eye to his wrongdoing. He’ll continue to fabricate intel to confuse the NCR with no one knowing. The other way, and what I consider to be in line with the morals of the NCR Rangers, is to kill Caesar before confronting Hanlon. While this is no easy task, if you like Hanlon as a character and want to keep him as leader of the NCR Rangers without feeling that he’s compromised, this is the best solution.
The NCR Rangers are easily one of the coolest factions in the Fallout series. I like them so much I wish there had been an option to fully become a Ranger in Fallout: New Vegas. I feel that would have added more gravity to many of the decisions you have to make concerning the republic and Caesar’s Legion, especially when it comes to Chief Hanlon and the revelation that he was fabricating intel reports.
With rumors swirling about the possibility of a Fallout: New Vegas 2, we may be treated to another Mojave Wasteland-centric Fallout story in the future. If that’s the case, I hope the Rangers are included as a big part of the next plot, and hopefully the chance to join them, too.
Regardless if Fallout: New Vegas 2 ever comes to fruition, travelers of the Mojave Wasteland should remember one thing: you can count on the NCR Rangers when you need them most.