Moral Conundrum: Decapitate the Legion or not?

Discussion in 'Fallout: New Vegas Discussion' started by CT Phipps, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Half-way Through My Half-life

    Sep 17, 2016
    Hey folks,

    I was thinking about Fallout morality because I have no life and it occurred to me there's an interesting question in the game which is worth pondering. Basically, it's a question of Order vs. Chaos as the greater evil and whether a wicked order is worse than a complete anarchy. I generally play Wasteland messiah types and I'm trying to think about which is better for the setting as a whole in dealing with Caesar's Legion.

    On my end, I usually never hesitate to kill Caesar and then eliminate Legate Lanius because I believe the destruction of the Legion should be accelerated as quickly as possible. Mister House says that the Legion will disintegrate without Caesar and virtually everyone agrees with him in one manner or another. The Legion practices slavery, oppresses women, and is also as ridiculous as the Brotherhood of Steel (*hock spit*) in that it venerates a Rome which never existed and is Luddite in nature.

    HOWEVER, there's the fact that Raul mentions that the East was EVEN WORSE before the arrival of the Legion. Say what you will about the Son of Mars but at least he was enforcing a status quo. Unfortunately, it's an EVIL status quo. One which also obliterates local identities, cultures, and enforces a pointless militarism where everyone is a servant of the state. If Caesar is not eliminated, then the Legion may continue on to attack again or conquer other lands.

    Then again, Caesar is kind of doomed anyway since he's a figure suffering a brain tumor and it might be a good thing to eliminate him now rather than let him degenerate even further due to its influence. Certainly, Lanius is in a position to assume direct power that way as he's second in command of the military and his only (apparent) rival is Vulpes Inculta. To have Caesar continue to rule, you'd have to save his life and that's going the extra mile for a psychopathic dictator.

    Lanius, by contrast to Caesar, is a violent murderous savage who wants nothing more than to conquer and sack the region rather than incorporate it into their Empire ala Caesar. His ending is the darkest of them all. However, there's the simple fact Lanius seems to be a more honorable figure than Caesar himself and has some understanding of Barter/Logistics. Putting him in charge of the Legion and sparing him might result in a more barbarian society out East but not necessarily a worse one. Certainly, he'll have less interest in obliterating local identities and societies.

    So, what is the right decision?
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  2. Prone Squanderer

    Prone Squanderer A bit of a Sillius Soddus.

    Jan 3, 2016
    And we do?

    Joking aside I think it's good that a game can get you thinking about these kind of subjects.


    The right or wrong decision is entirely dependant on your position towards the Legion. If you support the Legion, specifically Caesar's vision of the Legion, it would be the right decision to save him.

    I used to kill Caesar with every play through but as I've gotten older I see the Legion in a different way. Raiders have effectively ceased to exist within Legion territory, Legion citizens do not rely on technology and chems are banned, their former lives as tribals make them hardy and used to living off the land and they work for the collective rather than selfish gains. On the flip side, as you've pointed out, they've had their identities erased and forced into Legion life, not to mention the atrocities they commit such as slavery and massacring settlements. Medicine and helpful technologies are banned and no one is free to lead their own life as they might want to.

    I still prefer supporting Mr House or the NCR but I understand why some people do support the Legion. It's a shame we're not able to further explore Legion society beyond Caesar's war machine.

    Depends on what exactly the 'wicked order' and 'complete anarchy' is. If life with complete anarchy is a much worse existence than wicked order, chances are I'd pick the order.
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  3. Arnust

    Arnust Maybe you've seen it, maybe, in a dream...

    Feb 2, 2016
    So TL;DR: Legion thread?

    Firstly, I think that it's pretty stupid to judge them in our own, today's, standards. And by the first looks. And- okay.

    This encapsulates pretty much what I'm gonna say:
    Do you think that they BELIEVE in "God Mars"? That they are strict luddists? That they are straight up barbarians? That Lanius eats babies for breakfast?

    No, no they don't. Or it's exaggerated. They (Cesar and the governing elite) need the people under their rule AND their enemies to have an image of them, that doesn't actually need to exist. It's not quirkyness, it's what ruling is about.

    What do you think that we humans were doing until proper goverments as we know them were created? Living in piles of crap, happy with one another in the planetary eqivalent of Goodsprings? Everyone by himself or with their family like if it was the Ice Age, 12,000 years ago?

    No, we got together under a roof and one of the monkeys put a crown on himself, and so the others would accept hsi whims as long as their needs were satisfied by doing that. When it didn't, they try and get themselves or other one into the ruling spot. And so it is until this very day. Everything else is a modification of just that.

    They employ slavory as a practical and social messure? Boo hoo, it only became a crime against humanity in 1926, and still is used and is part of some modern countries' culture. Also it's not done to citiziens, it's on their enemies and "inmates". Don't remember how the chaste system works, if any.
    Oppression of women? Uh, no comment. The NCR isn't explicit with reject towards the woman and so they get the same chances as men do becouse Tandi being an important figure in their recorded history. Otherwise, same thing; humans aren't programmed to be equal to women, simply becouse how reproduction works in the first place.

    They want you to think "Oh no, they'll enlist my children as slave cannon fodder! And my wife and daughter as human livestock!" while they have happy (or serving, who cares) farmer couples back on the east. They wouldn't just rape every female that goes off to the street in THEIR territory, and neither in foreign either. They aren't "Raiders" or "Fiends".

    Lanius is just a soldier with spooky armor, made a symbol. Also it was implied somewhere that this one is Lanius #2 or even #3. Out of gameplay, he could be just a mascot for all we know. Doesn't have to be a Goebbels. On that, that's what Vulpes pretty much is. A bit less "on it" becouse he doesn't have much backlash for acting normal.

    "The right thing" is "anything". NCR is the fast road to redo or mistakes, Independent a half measure, and the one in discord, either a totalitarian or the base for something new (or at least not as downhill as NCR). House, can't really say. Quite like Independent.

    Rant over, for now.

    • [Like] [Like] x 4
  4. Prone Squanderer

    Prone Squanderer A bit of a Sillius Soddus.

    Jan 3, 2016
    Agreed, it's important to understand the EDIT: standards of the Fallout world first before making any judgements. I remember someone saying that for all the Master knew there was no optimistic future for humanity unless something was done, which makes the Master's motives more understandable.
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  5. Jogre

    Jogre It's all JO'Ger now

    Oct 25, 2015
    Funny thing is about New Vegas, while we can piece together what the long-term fate of the wasteland, there is still lots left in the dark, as we can't be entirely sure what the exact details will be. Adds a sense of realism IMO, that you can't know everything.

    We don't know which parts of the Legion's ideology Caesar genuinely supports, and which parts he's using as a means to an end. Clearly from conversations with Caesar, you can see that he has long-term goals(For example when he talks about being the antithesis of the NCR, and forming something which can truly fight against the dangers of the wasteland.), however were Caesar to take Vegas and stay in power, we don't know entirely what his next moves would be, whether he would soften up on some of Legion's harsher stances, or whether he would continue annexing tribes. We simply can't speculate what his ideal world would be.

    Lanius on the other hand, doesn't have the same knowledge Caesar does. As far as he's aware, Legion culture is genuine, as opposed to being a front for Caesar's long term goals. Were Lanius to take over, Legion's slavery and conquering would probably be blown way out of proportion, as Lanius likely genuinely believes there is nothing wrong with that, as opposed to using it as a means to meet his ends. Lanius's legion would in many ways be far more authentic than Caesar's, but far harsher.

    As for what if they both die. Again, we don't know. We know Legion will likely collapse, but we don't know for certain what kind of collapse would it be. Would tribes try and reassert there identity?, Would Legion be thrown in to a civil war?, Would it become a power vacuum where the most powerful political factions take the lead? We simply don't have enough information to make an informed judgement on what this would turn out like.
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  6. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Half-way Through My Half-life

    Sep 17, 2016
    The thing about the Master is, of course, that he ignored what was growing up in the Wasteland because he BELIEVED humanity was doomed.

    Ditto the Enclave.

    Both were wrong.

    In the case of Caesar, I am comfortable condemning him for his society being the worst sort of totalitarianism mixed with misogynist and misandrist treatment of both genders. Women are horribly treated as birthing factories and sex toys but men are turned into nothing but mindless meat for his grinder--every bit as bad.

    HOWEVER, the question of whether that's preferrable for the every man for himself tribalist/raider society is a good question.

    And is Lanius better than Caesar or no Legion at all?
  7. Arnust

    Arnust Maybe you've seen it, maybe, in a dream...

    Feb 2, 2016
    But @CT Phipps, they aren't an egalitarian society. Okay. So what?

    What does "everyone's equal!" actually bring to a society with the ultimate objective of creating Civilization, by their ideal if possible? Or any, as a matter of fact? More lady scientist or soldiers? They are taking care of the men that do that, and baking more!

    (Don't hold that against me!)

    You say that such society is corrupt from the ground up and that shouldn't even be becouse of that? That it'll just collapse by itself? Then what about, like, all human history and contemporary examples?
    That's what I really don't get about your thinking Phipps, you seem to embrace this utopic anarchism, yet compare any other ideology with the one you live in with barely no perspective of 12,000 years of history. I wouldn't say that it's a SJW approach becouse it isn't at all, but you don't seem to see humans living happy with a simple life, even if it's a 20 hour work schedule or they died at age 30 average by order of a chieftain or an emperor, or poverty conditions.

    I do believe that someday we'll change, for real (if we arent extinct by then). But this doesn't look like it's what is happening in the Fallout universe. With even a more fatalistic approach, and only context is the real difference.
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  8. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Half-way Through My Half-life

    Sep 17, 2016
    That's kind of a oroboros you've created, isn't it? "They aren't an egalitarian society. What does everyone's equal actually bring to a society with the ultimate objective of creating civilization?" If the purpose of civilization isn't to achieve egalitarianism, what good is it? If we're throwing out the idea of making the world a better place for better establishing society, then we can just as easily state the best thing to do is to commit genocide on every single Caesarian citizen and build a properly civilized society of equals on their bones. The purpose of civilization is to serve the happiness and well being of the world, if not then it's worthless. Cutting the happiness of 50% of the population is a shitty way of going about that.

    Which assumes the bloody enslaved soldier Caesarians used as cannon fodder by Caesar is any better than being raped repeatedly until death as the results are fundamentally the same--broken in mind, body, and then discarded.

    You recognize this is a thread about morality, right? Also, this isn't about history but Caesar's Legion in particular which the game has characters multiply state about its collapse. According to House, Caesar's Legion will collapse without him. This isn't me making a moral judgement about the Legion (which is the whole point of this thread) but me pointing out in-universe facts. The question is whether it's MORE moral to keep Caesar alive so he can keep the Legion's lands from devolving into anarchy or whether it's better to let him die and let Lanius take over or whether to kill both so the collapse is faster.

    I think my other posts have wandered into my goal of discussion here actually. Amusingly, I generally don't play the anarchist in my Fallout games. My Lone Wanderer was all about rebuilding civilization as best could be done in Fallout 3 and so was my Sole Survivor who, despite the game's shit writing, I repeatedly tried to make into someone who would use the Institute and Minutemen to create the beginnings of a nation state.

    I'll get to my RL politics but the actual ideal of this thread is from a Courier who is trying to maximize the happiness/"Good" for the Mojave Wasteland people which I suspect is irrelevant of anarchy vs. order. In that respect, Caesar's Legion represents an existential threat to the Mojave people however long it exists as well as NCR. HOWEVER, the people living in Caesar's land may benefit from the order he's imposed despite it's atrocities and use of slavery.

    So, the question is, which is better? A land with Caesar Legion, for all its flaws, or a land without it so something better can emerge? Which I will address with my RL politics but away from this section.

    In the case of anarchism in the Mojave, Caesar's Legion represents a pure example of authoritarianism and its flaws. He's a cult of personality that causes massive amounts of human suffering for the ostensible benefit of the many but which the benefits of are questionable. He has brought "order" but is order anything worthwhile and if so, for who? The Merchants have benefited in Caesar's land but the people themselves? It's akin to the sci-fi story of "Those who walk away Omelas." The Roman Empire was extremely successful because of the suffering and profit of its subject people. That's how empires work. So does Caesar on the back of slavery. Ashur had a similar argument in The Pitt.

    An appeal to the past is useful because the majority of history is awful and we've perhaps risen above that. Certainly, NCR is a more successful empire because it has more territory and more technology if we're measuring "success" as it also hasn't sacrificed the rights of its individual citizens. If we're trying to build civilization not for the purpose of happiness of citizens but some nebulous ideal of a healthy nation-state, I'd say NCR is the better choice. Even if it's not NEARLY as sustainable as Caesar's Legion (props to Caesar, NCR survives by scavenging pre-war tech and is nearly to its population maximum).

    House, I'd argue, is actually the poorest choice for dictator because he only wants to rule a city-state and make it a Vault City technopolis. His vision, while the grandest, is limited by his myopic desire for his own snow globe of a city.

    So, I suppose when discussing this, the question is:

    "What do we want and who do we want it for?"
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  9. Arnust

    Arnust Maybe you've seen it, maybe, in a dream...

    Feb 2, 2016
    How naîve is that? People do things to improve THEIR living conditions. Rulers expand and war to secure their power and wellbeing of his subjects. IF in the way of that, their living conditions improve, great. But it's not the goal. There may be more selfless rulers, but in the end they'll choose their people over anybody else.

    When you declare war on a neighboring kingdom, you don't think "Let's make this world a better place for everyone!", you think "Those bastards surely will kill our children, we better strike first. They also have some mighty good lands. A bunch of good looking women and working men, too."

    Eventually, they will come back to being a democracy, even if it's by a Costantinoble-like division.
    Like talking to a wall...

    For me, it may be that I don't think that you CAN kill Caesar. It's a gameplay concession. Realistically, you'd have to leave companions at Cottonwood cove, and all of you stripped of gear ENTIRELY (you'd still have the chance to pass something with incredibly high sneak and wear something unassuming with speech). And even if you tried something at the tent, there would be ten, twenty or a bloody hundred frumentarii, and even if you somehow killed Caesar (bare fists or sneaked in something), you'd be most certainly dead and your companions decapitated after a radio call.
    You could even be only be able to talk to him by a radio/monitor like House or the Vendortron.

    Who cares about the atrocities and such when they work? You are saying that the Legion doesn't work becouse you don't share their ideals.
    "Okay Legionaries, get that Phipps fellow on a cross. Spread jam on him if you feel like it, the vultures might come sooner" End of the problem.

    Now, on Caesar. We are just underinformed of what'd happen. If he's cured of the tumor, he'll last for a good while. If not, just Vulpes takes jis post until they find a replacement. Don't know where you found that Lanius, of all people, would be the new emperor. It's like giving an establishment to the janitor when the patron retires, it makes kind of sense but there are way better candidates.
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  10. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Half-way Through My Half-life

    Sep 17, 2016
    Arnust, we're in the game world, not dealing with hypotheticals. Besides, there's a perfectly valid method of killing Caesar which DOESN'T involve the "Boone" method.

    You can murder Caesar on the table by convincing him you can cure his brain tumor and then talk Lanius out of killing you.

    Besides, you can win Caesar's trust BEFORE turning on him.

    Also, the premise of the thread is "Which is more moral" so why are you talking about the amorality of conquest?

  11. Arnust

    Arnust Maybe you've seen it, maybe, in a dream...

    Feb 2, 2016
    Well, that's just how I view it. If you don't manage to kill EVERY Legion member in the Mojave, you'd likely not live to tell about it. You have to sleep sometime, after all...

    As I said, IMO they are gameplay concessions. The only time to really piss off the Legion by your actions that doesn't involve going homicidal is being pushy abput Edward's affliction that one time. if this was, say, Fallout 1/2 you'd REALLY have to measure your words and moves to get on the boat or backstab them properly.



    Legion sucks for all that we know of, strictly in-game content wise. Just leaving Zeeesar alive would be batter.

    Uh, aren't you? Y'are coming with "People being forcibly slaves no matter what but with some security"
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  12. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Half-way Through My Half-life

    Sep 17, 2016
    Honestly, Boone is probably the best person to eliminate Caesar but it wouldn't be an attack on the camp but far far away where no one ever knows who did it.


    Even so, I always felt Caesar should have been essential unless you did the Doctor assassination. It would mean you had to be very very clever to kill him.
  13. Arnust

    Arnust Maybe you've seen it, maybe, in a dream...

    Feb 2, 2016
    Unless Boone has a Jetpack or a Veribird I see it complicated, lol. That's the point of fortifications.

    ç / setessential 00121fef 0


    EDIT: Actual ID
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
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  14. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Half-way Through My Half-life

    Sep 17, 2016
    Which don't really do much against sniper rifles. Of course, Caesar's Legion gets some plot armor as there's no way a non-technologically adept military that disdains modern logistics and production could stand up against something like NCR. But I'm cool with the Rule of CoolTM because I like the idea Caesar's Legion is badass enough not only to defeat NCR unless opposed but that they conquered territory from the MBoS.
  15. Charwo

    Charwo It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Mar 9, 2017
    This is really simple question: Does Caesar's Legion deserve to be destroyed? The answer is an unwavering yes, in and of itself.

    But the question is a bit more complex. Caesar's vision is awful, and plunging Arizona back into chaos would be better in the long term than that vision. But here's the thing: what if Caesar's Legion is the cocoon and wastelander society is the caterpillar that is turning into a butterfly inside it's confines. That's the dilemma my character faces: she doesn't want to kill the butterfly; she thinks that given enough time and space for commercial and infrastructure recovery, the wastelanders will control the wealth and means of production and basically all the economic clout of the region and will be able to break free of the Legion's grip. I think she's deluded in this, but it's a legitimate position to have.

    In the end, I recommend being thorough. Kill Caesar, wipe out his camp, kill every Legionary you come across, and help the NCR chase the Legion to the ends of the Four States and let NCR pick up the pieces. They aren't great, but they they aren't total incompetents.
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  16. Prone Squanderer

    Prone Squanderer A bit of a Sillius Soddus.

    Jan 3, 2016
    Nitpick but I think you mean Lucius. He's the one that confronts you as soon as Caesar dies.

    Essential? Get outta here.

    In all seriousness yes lore wise it's more believable to kill him during the brain operation or by Securitron army, but don't take away the choice to blow his head off or defeat his men in hand-to-hand combat.
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  17. The notorious OVB

    The notorious OVB Minster of Truth

    Dec 28, 2016
    I joined Legion because I like romans, nothing too fancy
    • [Like] [Like] x 1
  18. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Half-way Through My Half-life

    Sep 17, 2016
    It makes no sense but I do like when Boone gets to kill Caesar. It's like the best Christmas gift you can give him other than a nuclear winter.
  19. CerberusGate

    CerberusGate I should save my game in a whole new slot

    Jun 6, 2016
    This is my usual MO for the Legion.

    The world they exist in can't use our modern standards properly (especially in the regions where the Legion lives) due to how primitive their region is, considering all the homicidal tribals. However, to me at least, the modern standard usage is fair game in NCR territories since modern society is recovering in that region.

    I do think the Legion will suffer an ideological crisis and face the risk of utter collapse after Caesar dies. Since he is the only one who knows the truth about the Legion (and probably did not share his vision of the Legion with said truths to his followers lest he lose his self-proclaimed title as the Son of Mars), I think the Legion will face problems when it comes to directions. The differing views and opinions of the main leaders seen in-game (Lanius, Vulpes, Lucius etc.) may erupt into a civil war and may tear the Legion apart.
    • [Like] [Like] x 2
  20. CT Phipps

    CT Phipps Half-way Through My Half-life

    Sep 17, 2016
    The issue of using modern standards to judge the Legion is complicated by the fact the Legion is a monster by the standard of primitive tribals because it was created by a modern man using his idea of a neo-primitive society created with a bunch of history textbooks.