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The New California Republic or N.C.R. is mentioned or included in many of the Fallout games throughout the years, including their first appearance in Fallout 2 and holding a major role in Fallout New Vegas. The role played by the N.C.R. in the Fallout franchise is an interesting one.
As many true Fallout fans will know, the games have been obsessed with sitting their players down in front of hard moral and ethical decisions right from the franchise’s genesis. Therefore, this has led the game developers to focus on implementing storylines and organizations that place the player in rather tough spots.
This is where, I believe, the N.C.R. and the genius behind their conception comes into play because, on the face of things, this organization appears to players as the most recognizable form of the power structure in relation to the IRL world.
However, as the player ventures throughout quests given by the N.C.R., you soon learn that much like real democracy and military organizations, all is not what it seems.
Bottom Line Up Front: The N.C.R. sprang up from the settlement of Shady Sands, growing to power via the actions of the player character in the events of Fallout 1 and 2. The N.C.R. now closely resembles the pre-war United States and its government suing for democracy via military dominance wherever they go.
With all that being said, we must first look at the N.C.R. right from their genesis in order to fully understand the organization and give some true context for all this juicy, thought-provoking content that will come later. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get into our New California Republic guide!
The History of the New California Republic
Vault 15: A Melting Pot
The founding of the N.C.R. goes way back to the days shortly after the Great War. After the bombs fell in October 2077, many of the surviving humans on the planet lived in underground vaults. One particular vault, Vault 15, would remain closed between 2077 and 2097, opening only due to population pressures.
During this time locked away underground, many of the residents grew close to one another, their incredibly diverse backgrounds and ethnic persuasions only serving to strengthen the bonds within the vault.
All was good in the vault then until it was inevitably forced open by mounting pressure from a few of its inhabitants. As the vault opened, many would leave right away, going off into the wasteland to form groups of their own.
Therefore, I think it’s interesting that the same vault that established the N.C.R., also established the Vipers, Khans, and Jackal raider gangs. An interesting dichotomy, to say the least.
Those who remained in or near the vault would continue to do so until the spring of 2122. It appears that around this time, the vault had begun to look like a shadow of its former self, having been stripped out and damaged by the multiple gangs that sprung up from the vault over the years.
This left the remaining inhabitant’s little choice but to pick up their belongings and to find somewhere else to call home. Thankfully, however, they did have a little trick up their sleeves, the Vault 15 G.E.C.K. or Garden of Eden Creation Kit.
This piece of pre-war era technology developed by the Vault-Tec corporation, the same company that designed and built Vault 15, would enable the residents of the vault to terraform a piece of post-apocalyptic land in order to make it more habitable for themselves, harnessing the power of the nuclear wasteland and putting it in the hands of these vault dwellers. This is how Shady Sands came into being.
Shady Sands: A New Beginning
The area originally established back in 2122 as Shady Sands was little more than a little rut at the side of the road, a humble place where very few former vault dwellers would rest after a long day of trying not to be murdered by raider or Deathclaw. However, as you may have guessed, it would not stay that way forever.
Due to the player character’s actions in Fallout 1, the Shady Sands settlement would enjoy peace for some time. Not only had the vault dweller managed to wipe out the great Khan threat, which ruminated close to the settlement, they would also make such an impact that other raiders would purposefully give the settlement a large birth for fear of the same level of retribution.
These years of peace and prosperity did wonders for the development of Shady Sands, allowing the citizens time to develop their small settlement into a powerful post-Great War community and eventually becoming the single largest urban area built from nothing in the entire continental United States post-Great War.
Therefore, this thriving population made the area a powerful economic entity within New California, which allowed Aradesh, the leader of Shady Sands since its founding, to propose the idea of forming a republic.
The N.C.R. is Born
After Aradesh’s proposal, it was not long until he had set up a tribal government under the banner of the New California Republic. At the beginning of this new republic, the main job of this tribal government was to form a constitution that would uphold the values and ideals of this republic, of this new thing called the N.C.R.
It was not long after this founding that the new leaders of this N.C.R. would notice that via additional and improved trading routes, the cultural exchange taking place between themselves at their capital of Shady Sands and the surrounding settlements grew and grew until a quasi-national identity began to take hold.
Therefore, this identity would push the N.C.R. to think about expansion into other territories. Combined with these trade routes and constitutionally held ideals, this national identity would soon spread to Junktown, the first-ever territory to be absorbed into the banner of the New California Republic, becoming its first provisional state.
The New California Republic would then continue on with this trend of cultural annexes until their growth spread far enough to officially become a republic under law, voted into existence as a conglomerate of five unique states: Shady, Los Angeles/Boneyard, Maxson, the Hub, and Dayglow.
The Second President
After the death of Aradesh in 2196, his daughter Tandi would take his seat. She rose to power via a unanimous vote, Tandi would go on to make her father proud by becoming the most influential leader post the Great War that the continental United States had or has ever seen.
Not only did she win all subsequent re-election campaigns, serving a total of ten terms until her death finally unseated her, but she also did more for the people of New California and their quality of life than anyone else.
Tandi would realize soon into her first term as president that the infrastructure left behind from the old world could simply not cope with the expected rise in the population under the New California Republic’s new regime. Therefore, her government had to act swiftly in order to not accept a bottleneck in terms of services for their people.
First of all, she would work on the old infrastructure, improving it greatly for their use; they did this by clearing roads, finding new forms of transportation, and building homes as well as forts for their ever-expanding youth population.
This, combined with a no-nonsense attitude towards any threats made to their republic and the fostering of countless trading caravans, resulted in an incredibly prosperous republic that seemingly functioned better than many of our states today.
She did all of this via the economic power and dependability granted by a vast herd of Brahmin, held under the control of her republic’s government. The meat and leather resources from this herd benefiting her people greatly.
- The N.C.R. began as a simple settlement called Shady Sands, morphing into a powerful republic thanks to the player’s actions in Fallout 1 and 2.
- Junktown was the first provisional state of the N.C.R., their shared culture due to increased trade caravans and proximity to one another made the process fairly easy.
The Economy of Expansion
As with any great nation or economy, the need to expand into new territory is almost unquenchable. Even though Tandi seemingly had done everything right up until this point, she and her government hit a snag in their plans to expand into the north.
The area to the north of the republic, formerly a member of the pre-war state of California, presented a unique challenge for the N.C.R. For the first time, they were confronted with established and insular communities in the form of Vault City and New Reno.
These difficulties, combined with the republics’ possibly foolish decision to set up their own economy based on the dollar backed by a gold standard, would inevitably lead to a period of great struggle for the burgeoning republic.
So, to put it simply, the N.C.R put themselves in a position where expansion into the north is extremely necessary. You see, not only does the northern territories of California hold the settlements of Vault City and New Reno, but the town of Redding also resides there.
This town is home to a massive gold ore mining operation, and therefore, without controlling this gold source, the economy that the republic has now pursued for some time would become worthless under the system of the gold standard.
This may be the first time in the history of the N.C.R. wherein their expansion and their wishes became more important to those whose territory they needed. Before their self-created dependency on gold, the N.C.R. had never forcibly pursued a territory, but this was the situation they found themselves in.
No matter what their original constitution’s values, the N.C.R. had to expand into the north. Thankfully, however, the Chosen One, the player character in Fallout 2, had come along by this point to help them out of this jam.
It is through these player characters’ trials and tribulations that the N.C.R. does finally manage their expansion into these territories, bringing not only Redding under their banner but also Vault City, New Reno, and New Arroyo.
It is also important to note that during the reign of President Tandi, the military might of the republic soared to new heights.
Not only did they become more militaristic in terms of their defense of already held/established settlement, wiping out threats with severe impunity, but they also ensured their continued dominance in a number of ways—the least of these operations including the attack on the famous Enclave Oil Rig in 2242.
In one fell swoop, the N.C.R. managed to destroy the remnants of the Enclave, a major thorn in their side, and capture their huge cache of weapons and Vertibirds in the process, further strengthening their cause.
Economics Under Kimball
After President Tandi, the N.C.R. stalled in development. It was not until the arrival of General Aaron Kimball in 2273 that real change was seen within the N.C.R. again.
Retiring from the army in 2273, the former General now politician ran for a seat in the congress of the Hub, gaining the presidential seat after only two months.
Soon after this appointment, the General would seek to establish a stronger hold on the Nevada region of the republic’s territory, ordering a forcible occupation of the Hoover Dam complex as his first action as a sitting President in 2274.
This seizure of the Dam would soon lead to increased power and water flowing into the homes of republic citizens, subsequently increasing his popularity among his citizens almost instantly. However, this was a decision that would soon be met with violence.
This conflict, seen alongside some of Kimball’s other presidential decisions would begin to turn the republic into something very alien to its original purpose, something a lot darker and more akin to the process of capitalism we see in our world today.
These laws he removed, now allowing brahmin and Agri-barons unlimited amounts of cattle and field acreage, would, in my view, begin the end of the N.C.R. as a mostly positive force in the wasteland.
- The northern territories of New Reno, etc., only came into the N.C.R.’s fold after the player character’s actions in Fallout 2.
- President Kimball can die in the plot of Fallout New Vegas should the player either kill him as part of the Legion questline or fail to stop his assassination by the Legion as a member of the N.C.R.
War, War Never Changes
As you might imagine, with any story of a once praised hero turning to the dark side, the N.C.R.’s downfall into deceitful and profit-driven politics came an increase in conflicts.
After the appointment of Kimball as president and his subsequent thirst for power and economic bonuses, the rest of the wasteland began to take notice, questioning the operation of the N.C.R. in general.
This led to several concentrated bouts of extreme conflict between the N.C.R. and the other surrounding organizations, who seemingly did not like the path the N.C.R. had chosen to go down.
Entering the Mojave
Whilst we cannot blame President Kimball for the N.C.R.’s presence in the Mojave, we can still circle back round to him in regard to some of the major problems which developed subsequently in this region. For now, however, President Wendell Peterson must face the questioning of this piece.
After the death of President Tandi in 2248, the vice president at the time, Joanna Tibbett, took her place and served for five years. Tibbett served well by all accounts until the massacre of 38 N.C.R. citizens within the Mojave region of Bullhead City.
This atrocity committed by a band of Mojave-based raiders was deemed unacceptable by the N.C.R. government at the time. However, President Tibbett’s reaction was deemed ‘timid’ by their government, resulting in their ousting from the presidency, soon after, President Peterson was elected.
This election would then bring the N.C.R.’s expansion into the Mojave territory as retribution for the aforementioned atrocity in the region.
This period of time would see an increasingly militaristic N.C.R. fighting several bands of raiders and gangs in the Bullhead area of the Mojave for over 17 years.
This continued fighting would serve not only to push the N.C.R. more towards violence but also to enhance the reputation of then General Aaron Kimball, becoming a national hero in this time.
Soon after this, Kimball would become president and continue his predecessor’s reign of tyranny over the Mojave landmass. However, their quest for control in the Mojave region would not go as simply as planned.
Instead, they found numerous sources of opposition in the forms of Caesar’s Legion, Mr. House and his Strip employees, and the remnants of the Brotherhood.
To this end, the N.C.R. came to an agreement with Mr. House to allow the New Vegas Strip their freedom whilst increasing their footprint in the region, establishing Camp McCarran in 2275 along with their full military force.
War #1: The Brotherhood of Steel
As mentioned, several groups throughout the Mojave saw the N.C.R.’s expansion into the region as the threat it was, and the Brotherhood of Steel is one of the first. So, in response to this invasion into the region, the Brotherhood recognized the disparity between their dwindling military force and that of the N.C.R.
Therefore, they decided to continue and even increase the habit of seeking out old-world technology from the less powerful members of society. The N.C.R. subsequently saw this and apposed their actions, bringing the two forces together in a great conflict outside of HELIOS One.
This final great battle between the two forces in late 2281 would result in the Brotherhood being overrun by the sheer numbers of the N.C.R., forcing the iconic Fallout organization to retreat into the mountains with less than half of their Mojave chapters strength remaining, where they would remain in relative obscurity.
War #2: Caesar’s Legion
As any Fallout New Vegas fan will know, the N.C.R. and the Legion do not particularly see eye to eye on a lot of things. In fact, they may disagree on pretty much everything except their wish for total domination of the Mojave. In this respect, and the extent to which each will go to achieve said domination, the two are not so different.
After the defeat of the Brotherhood, the N.C.R. enjoyed a period of relative calm. During this time, however, as the Legion grew stronger and stronger, the N.C.R. met with issues in the form of destroyed supply lines following the events in The Divide and Death Valley.
This limited the N.C.R.’s supply lines to only traveling through the I-15, causing significant backlogs and delays to any potential reinforcements or supplies. Recognizing this for the opportunity that it was, Caesar, in his lust for power in the region, mounted an attack on the N.C.R.’s most treasured base in the Mojave region, Hoover Dam.
The First Battle for Hoover Dam
This first battle would truly be the greatest ever test faced by the N.C.R.’s military, forcing them to really dig deep if they were ever going to beat back the slave army of Caesar and Joshua Graham. Luckily enough for the N.C.R., they did manage to scrape together an impressive victory via the use of superior tactics.
Legate Joshua Graham would lead his troops at the beginning of the battle against a garrisoned force of N.C.R. troopers, only for Chief Hanlon, the chief N.C.R. tactician for this battle, to draw him and his troops into a trap.
Sensing their coming defeat, Graham managed to rally his soldiers into breaking through this line of N.C.R. troopers, seemingly forcing them to retreat into Boulder City. Graham foolishly marched his troops into Boulder City, wherein the dwindled numbers of N.C.R. troopers managed to hold both he and his men off long enough for the N.C.R.’s feint to work.
It turns out that it was all a trick, allowing General Oliver’s reserve troops to route the Legion’s forces, trapping them in the city.
The N.C.R. subsequently abandoned their remaining troops within the walls of Boulder City and ignited the explosives they had planted previously within the city, breaking the entire structure down around the Legion forces, destroying any hopes of a Legion Victory.
The Second Battle for Hoover Dam
The years which followed after the first battle for the Dam resulted in the N.C.R. more or less maintaining their position within the Mojave, unable to proceed due to the power of Mr. House and the Legion.
However, this would all change when their savior in the form of the player character comes around again to possibly help them in their final push for Mojave dominance.
Much like in Fallout 1 and 2, the Fallout New Vegas game holds the N.C.R. as a key component to the main storyline. Should the player choose to side with the N.C.R., the player will work with Ambassador Crocker to ensure the N.C.R.’s victory at the coming second Battle for Hoover Dam.
Throughout New Vegas, there is a feeling that this second battle is coming; Caesar has rebuilt his strength after the first war, rolling 14 new settlements into his regime and mounting up again, therefore, should the player side with the N.C.R., they will have to either bring all the other major factions within the game on side or deal with them appropriately.
Therefore, all of this will lead to the Legion launching another push on Hoover Dam, only to be foiled by the strength of the N.C.R., their allies, and the lone wanderer. Thus establishing the N.C.R.’s control in the region for many years to come.
The player must either eliminate or bring on side Mr. House, The Boomers, and The White Glove Society to ensure an N.C.R. victory at the second battle for Hoover Dam.
- Should the player not save the life of President Kimball, the main quest for the N.C.R. can still continue.
- Joshua Graham can be met in the Honest Hearts DLC in Fallout New Vegas, even though you are led to believe Caesar killed him in the base games dialogue.
Major Figures in the N.C.R.
This character was the first-ever leader of the Shady sands settlement as well as the first president of the N.C.R. Founding Shady Sands in 2142; he can be described as a good man who simply wants the best for his people in a troubling world.
This character remained in the vault even after its initial opening due to population pressures, only leaving after a brutal attack by raiders made the underground bunker virtually unlivable. This attack forced him to leave his vault along with the G.E.C.K. in order to establish Shady Sands.
The player can meet this leader through the events of Fallout 1, wherein he will appear slightly standoffish and untrusting of the player at first. However, after the vault dweller saves his daughter from the Khans and wipes out the radscoprian threat for Aradesh, the player will be greeted as a friend by the leader of the N.C.R.
This character is the daughter of Aradesh and the eventual leader of Shady Sands and the New California Republic after her father’s death. When the player first meets Tandi in Fallout 1, she is a young girl of 16 who is later captured by the Khans, forcing the player character to go find and save her, slaughtering all Khans in their wake as they do so.
After the player saves her in Fallout 1, the peace and prosperity which followed were capitalized by her father, leaving her in the position of president of the New California Republic after his death and a unanimous vote from the sitting council. What followed was a reign of extreme success, serving for ten consecutive terms until her death in 2248.
This character would end up as the sitting president of the New California Republic during the events of Fallout New Vegas, after being inaugurated in 2278.
Prior to his stint in politics, he had been a successful general in the N.C.R.’s army, bringing the people many great victories during the initial 17-year long war experienced after the N.C.R.s initially entry into the Mojave. His swift rise through the ranks was helped mostly by his actions again the tribes of the Sierra Nevada in 2269.
Due to these continued successes, he became known as the ‘hero of the Mojave’ and enjoyed free rein under President Peterson.
His presidency can be summed up in a few words, corruption, war, and domination. Not only has he removed several policies implemented by the most successful N.C.R. president, Tandi, allowing the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer, but he has also entered the N.C.R. into several unnecessary wars in the interest of further land grabs.
So, there we have it, a comprehensive guide to the New California Republic throughout the Fallout franchise, starting way back in their humble beginnings in Vault 15. If you ask me, the N.C.R. found in Fallout New Vegas is a far cry to the organization founded by Aradesh and brought to power by his daughter Tandi.
Whether this downfall happened slowly over time or at the hands of President Kimball, we do not really know. Either way, the manner in which the republic operates throughout the wasteland today, I would argue, to be no better than the Legion, at least Caesar is honest about his motivations!
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Should I Pick the N.C.R. or the Legion?
Answer: Both organizations have their good and bad sides. The Legion is obviously evil but the N.C.R isn’t much better in the long run. Either way, both their questlines are very interesting.
Question: How Old is the New California Republic?
Answer: The N.C.R. was founded in the year 2186, 24 years after the events of Fallout 1. This would make the organization 95 years old by the beginning of New Vegas.
Question: Who Created the N.C.R. in Fallout?
Answer: The dwellers of Vault 15 founded the N.C.R. after the events of Fallout 1 allowed the area of Shady Sands to prosper.
Question: What is the New California Republics Capital?
Answer: Shady Sands, the first-ever settlement set up by the Vault 15 dwellers, now stands as the republic’s capital. This settlement now boasts an impressive population of over 3000 people.