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I always found the Legion a realistic example of how such a horrible system could come into being. They started as just a random tribe of raiders among a hundred. A completely random one ended up with Caesar in charge, and he gave them technology and strategic advice. But he demanded unquestioning obedience, which he gave them because everything else he was giving them was awesome, so this seemed like just more good advice. All the children were brainwashed to Caesar's ideology so their opinions were irrelevant, and all the civilians remembered how utterly terrible the place was before, so even his brutal rule seemed like an improvement. By the time they met the NCR, everyone was so indoctrinated that they didn't even consider that maybe the NCR might be a better option, and Caesar used fascism and hatred of the "other" to make sure of it.
Yeah the Legion is destined to fall apart one way or another, but I never found its existence improbable. It's like a fire: It can burn for a while, but eventually it will die out.
Count me as another person who's fine with the way the Legion is portrayed in game and doesn't think any aspect of them is a waste. Sometimes I feel that "grey morality" is on the same level as Badass Normal - an ideal people are drawn too because it seems more attainable on the surface, and therefore view as inherently better than the alternatives.
@PRC 4 Eva: Lemme alter the argument a bit here: Why do you think The Legion being morally grey would be more interesting? What argument or statement would that make, and would it be better than the one that they did?
The game's portrayal of The Legion isn't turn-your-brain-off sort of entertainment, it's a high-minded statement. The game is arguing that strongman autocracies are necessarily evil, and The Legion's atrocities are argued to be an inevitable consequence of their values.
Also, frankly, the game isn't exaggerating much. It's a fair, even downright nuanced portrayal of strongman autocracy. I'd even go as far as to say it falls into Poe's Law, as a lot of what Caesar says is pretty much indistinguishable from the actual propaganda of a strongman autocrat.
You'll note the strongman in such situations are actually quite infirm. Ghaddafi, Hitler, Caesar, Immortan Joe, Trump, etc. Plagued with ills from gout to cancer to plain old obesity. The "strong" part is as often an illusion as not.
One of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips was an old Sunday strip where most of it is in black and white. It ends with a regular color panel of Calvin's dad telling Calvin that his problem is that he sees everything as black and white. Calvin retorts that sometimes that's the way things are.
Here's the wiki fandom entry with the strip
Watterson has noted in the anniversary book that when he argued with his editors about licensing, they accused him of black and white thinking.
Edited by M84 on Feb 26th 2019 at 10:11:53 PM
What makes altering Legion to be more grey better? It makes siding with the Legion a more valid choice other than "my Courier is just an evil psychopathic asshld (acting against their own interests if they are a female Courier)"
Funnily enough, I was actually going to ask another altered question in from the other direction: What would simply removing the rape camps hurt from the narrative?
And does shifting this to any other faction to make them the "black" faction help the narrative in any way? If so, how? If not, why not?
Also, "there are no benefits to strongman autocracy" - except, ah, it's not a chaotic power vacuum full of warring factions, nor is its decision making tied to pandering to the lowest common denominator. Iraq after the fall of Hussein, Libya after the fall of Ghadaffi, and really most of the Middle East after the Arab Spring disagrees with you.
If that was the point, it was a dumb one.
Agreed. We don't LIKE strongmen in our societies... but it doesn't mean they aren't effective in some areas of the world.
Western Democracies dislike them because they are basically an anathema to the liberal way of life - it challenges individual freedoms and the voice of the people in their own governance.
And they are hideous to democratic states. But in a hideous wasteland you can see the appeal of an authoritarian certainty, cutting through indecision. It's why Kings, Emperors and so forth were prevalent. And also as animals we tend to defer to authority figures. It's in the bone.
But Fallout is a narrative, under the main quests, about fighting against those sorts of "old ways" - against a domineering Master; against a resurgent evil of the Old Government Enclave (TWICE); and trying to grow society via co-operation.
The Legion is appealing if the world is hideous; the NCR is bloated but a more recognisable and safer society in that way.
So what does making them Grey do? It turns the choice between "Evil raping slavers" and "jaded democracy" and "anarchy" into: "Authoritarian structure (Past)"; "Decaying Democracy (Past)"; and "Anarchy (Past / present)"
Of course that's if you don't automatically think Authoritarianism = evil. I don't like it (Because you're reliant on the authority at the top being actually effective) but some find it appealing. And it's probably WHY people try to explain away the Legions actions.
But New Vegas is a bit of a jaded view; the NCR is clearly slipping into the old behaviours of the past; under House it'd be a literal recreation of the past but with more robots.
Do the Legion need to be "grey"? It depends if you want an unambiguously evil faction or perhaps an authoritarian faction that has an alternative view you can go with. But, arguably, House is that faction and the Legion are the Evil version of authoritarianism and DO need to therefore be evil. Because then the choice is Authoritarianism BUT WITH COSPLAY.
Not to mention the fact that fallout posits a rather positive view of the world, sure bad things happen, societies come and go. But people keep on living and will rebuild.
A game whose tagline is "war never changes" isn't going for a wholly positive message. The point is that even after nearly destroying itself, humanity still is at risk of falling into the same kind of behaviors and mindsets that nearly rendered it extinct in the first place. In previous games this was embodied best in the Enclave. In New Vegas, it's the Legion.
New Vegas at least adds the caveat that while war never changes, people can change.
I think, in a way, that Fallout needs a Black faction in each game. A faction that is indisputably morally worse than the others. Factions that more or less represent whatever mistakes and sins that ended the Old World in the first place.
Edited by M84 on Feb 28th 2019 at 2:30:04 AM
@PRC 4 Eva
It does actually state that they're "raider free" and what have you. It's a pretty realistic picture of an autocratic, militaristic dictatorship and all its pros. I can totally see why someone would follow Caesar and have no problems empathizing with them.
There is House if you want an authoritarian faction, and there is the NCR for a militaristic faction. In fact, I do have authoritarian, militaristic, and imperialist leanings, and I think the faction that best represents these values is...the NCR. The Legion, by contrast, are the sorts of backwards savages a harsh but fair system is designed to protect against.
The thing with The Legion is that they actually aren't "harsh, but fair", nor are they there to make people "secure" or "civilized". They want to make sure that people are strong. Civilization and security are antithetical to their goals because civilization in their mind makes people weak, and the weak must perish. Their ideology would be unrecognizable otherwise. For example, Caesar refuses to use snipers or a robotic army despite sitting on top of one, because those are the weapons of civilized men. Using them would make society weak in his mind. If his soldiers aren't strong enough to not need them, then they must die. This is the fundamental cornerstone of The Legion's ethos.
And yet, even then, they can't resist delving into hypocrisy, like attempting to repair a howitzer, which is very much a hallmark of "civilized" warfare in which the "strength" of the men fighting matters little.
To my knowledge, the Legionaries using the howitzer express disgust that they have to use it at all. The task to repair it is given by Lucius, who seems to be just about the most reasonable and not brainwashed as far as Legion high command goes.
I'm pretty sure you, as a Legion (semi-independent) contractor, can snipe Kimball all you want and not receive flak for it though. And then there's a matter of that Auto-Doc thing in Caesar's tent...
Edited by FergardStratoavis on Feb 27th 2019 at 12:08:00 PM
Caesar speaks highly of Vulpes as well, who embodies all the traits the Legion find distasteful. Well the ones that the giant they have on hand views as distasteful.
The Legion in general bends very far out of the way for The Courier, which is probably for gameplay reasons. Caesar's willingness to throw out half of his rulebook to employ a female scientist sniper is probably less a sign of hypocrisy and more The Courier demonstrating Mary Sue/Gary Stu powers. To be fair, Western RPGS like the Fallout series grant considerable leeway for Sue-protagonists (it's practically desirable).
It is, however, telling that The Legion's smartest decisions are often the ones that are either out-of-character or hypocritical.
i like popping vulpes' head and putting his body in the strip fountain
Too bad that requires you to NOT kill him in Nipton though.
I don't even talk to him, just shoot him in the furry face as soon as I see him lingering at the scene of the Nipton massacre.
I think it took til my third playthrough until I realized I didn't actually need to kill him.
I mean, if you're not on the legion's side, they actually DO send a sniper to take out Kimball, along with a bomber/saboteur.
The whole "Raider Free" as a "pro" of the legion's militaristic dictatorship falls apart when you remember a full 50% of their population (the female half) lives in permanent slavery, being repeatedly raped to grow the legion's constant need for soldiers (Thanks to their idiotic tactics), and that's when they are not beaten from childhood by the male half for various sadistic fun.
A full 50% of the Legion's population frankly lives worse than if they did live in a place with raiders. There's no raiders... because the Legion is basically a super organized group of raiders to begin with.
It's the big dark mark against the legion. There's almost no conceivable benefit that can justify their action. And if you're gonna make them more "grey", that the main point.
Edited by Ghilz on Feb 27th 2019 at 8:49:39 AM
waiting to kill him is not a downside because then i get to kill the legion's big cock spy in front of the entire strip
Doesn't that instantly get the robo-popos after you, though? The entire "shoot an (apparently) innocent man in the back in broad daylight in the middle of the Strip"?
I think both he and the replacement spy are exceptions to the rule. Can't confirm that though.
Copbots can't get mad at you if crouching makes you functionally invisible. Dude just developed a gunshot wound entirely at random in broad daylight.
Alternatively, kill the robocops, too.
I think the irony is the Legion works perfectly for who its supposed to work for but people are trying to make it work for everyone. It works for un-mutated indoctrinated men and Caesar.
Yes, women and civilians are fucked but that's part of the benefits.
The whole thing depends on abusing other people for their own gain.
It's also not just a authoritarian culture, it's an explictly evil slave culture. It's just people wanted that from Fallout 3 and now they got it.
It only really works for a small % of men, as well. As Sawyer has gone to great lengths to point out - most men in the legion are uneducated soldiers from childhood who'll die young.
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