It seems one month per update might end up as my average, unfortunately. I'll try to rectify this, but christmas is coming.
This is going to be a really talky update, so be ready to sit and listen for a while.
I don't have much choice, so yeah, I'll go.
Not until you take yours bub!
Ugh.....Ok, but only because you specifically said it was temporary.
You're damned right they will!
Wow, of all the things to trigger a level-up, the tiny XP gain from arriving at Caesars Fort and sneaking a pistol inside was enough to get use to level 11. The trait we took at the start to slow down levelling in return for higher starting skills has really had an impact.
I continue to focus our skill points into our two primary skills, as well as into the ones governing locked doors and terminals because those continue to stymie us at points. I don't see much advice for how to focus our skill growth or what kind of perks to take on the even levels, so I'll continue going with my gut unless adviced otherwise.
If this were Fallout 3 I'd be hesitant to force any skills past 80 so quickly, since there are the Bobbleheads and the various skill-boosting armors to consider, but New Vegas has the higher-level weapons require maxed out skills to avoid accuracy penalties, so maxing out your primary combat skills ASAP is a smarter call. As for Sneak, can't have too much of that, and we're not likely to find anything more stylish than Benny's Suit that also improves sneaking, unless we go into a certain DLC.
So, this is Caesar's Fort. Something tells me they don't get a lot of door-to-door salesmen.
....I'm not going to like it here.
Maybe I spoke too soon, there is a merchant here.
I'll see...So, you ever get to see the big guy around here?
He thinks he's big news, gotcha. What about you, you don't seem to be Legion.
Isn't be an independent businessman in the middle of territory occupied by crazy assholes who communicate with machetes kinda dangerous and unprofitable?
Ah, I see. So you save your drugs and chems for the NCR?
So much for Free Market Capitalism. So, if Legion territory is the place to do business, lets do business.
....On second thoughts, you don't have anything worth my time.
Its not entirely true, but Barton is under the same restrictions we are and can't stock weapons, and understandably his chems stock is limited too. He does stock a lot of miscellanous items as well as an interesting selection of weapon mods, probably because he'd be the only trader that someone working for Caesar would regularly see, but right now he has nothing for our regular loadout.
I take the time to look over the outside of the Fort before entering, and find some ammo boxes in one of the trenches. I don't know if it'll be any use to us since its cheap surplus ammo, but at least there was something to find.
On one side of the Fort: all the tents of Caesar's Legions....
And on the other, Hoover Dam in the distance.
I thought I'd take the time to look around. Last time I was here I was sorta in a running gun battle the entire time.
Huh. I guess they start them young in Arizona.
That's nice. Now if you'll just let me get inside...Ok, in the Fort. Now for-
Ugh. Ron, if the Brotherhood weren't the snobbish assholes they are, they'd be indistinguishable from every other Wasteland mob who know how to screw lasers together. They can't change that without losing their identity.
Sure, sure. You can try once we're not in Camp Dudebro.
Yeah, I'd imagine malnourished women with 500 pounds of grain strapped to their back would be pretty easy for someone with a machete to handle.
Guy, I barely even looked at you. What is your beef with the no-sausaged gender?
You may yet.....stop hassling me? But only if....Whatever. Who do you make dance in this sand pit to make the days go by?
Well I'd imagine if they could lift their arms, some of them might try. What about mister Big Badass Legate Lanius?
Right. And I'm sure he can fire lasers from his dick too.
Oh wow, there's actually a lady here.
No, I'm fine. You're the camp doctor?
Uh....You're using a one-to-one mix of the stuff, right? I mean, you can mix in more root to take the sting out of it, but really you should be using equal amounts if you want to actually make it last longer.
The Survival check to know this is all of 20, just a tiny amount off the base score, which we got from our starting Trait. It'd be rather difficult to not know this, implying Siri really didn't get much training at all. But its pretty obvious that the Legion don't put much stock in medicine, or having their slaves know things.
Oh, now that I've helped you out, do you have any proper medicine for sale?
(That's unlikely to happen....) Where did you say you were from again?
Yeah, they really add to the decor of the place, huh? So.....conditions....
.....Well. They're dumb. What about Big Richard Lanius?
...I have an incredible urge to buy some very large bullets now.
Even if there's fuck all in their cases, I still feel morally obligated to steal from these guys.
Stealing from these crates is how you get weapons in here if you didn't shoot your way in or sneak a gun past the cards in the first place, but since we're low level there are only pistols and basic shotguns in here, which probably wouldn't be enough to take on the whole camp unless you were really good. I'd imagine if you come here at level 20, then loot the camp, and start from one end, and had high Sneak and Guns, you could do it, but if you have high sneak you should be able to sneak in your weapons anyway...
Looks like they have some old firepower here, but its busted compared to the stuff the Boomers have.
I think I'll leave however I want to. So, you know how the Legion gets all its dogs then.
And then you train them?
Like that big one beside you?
Speaking of bitches, I wanted to hear about this Lanius guy everyone is bigging up.
Really? I thought talking was forbidden for slaves.
Have we heard about the Burned Man before this? I can't recall.
Fine. You wait here Ron.
That's your fault, not mine.
Soooo.....This is the grand throne room. I get not having a roof most of the time but still, I was expecting more skulls and gold.
If we hadn't killed Benny before, we'd find him here, adding much-needed color to the room.
I want to note this book before we continue. This book is the entire reason I ended up killing Caesar in my last playthrough, because the game makes one seemingly trivial mission require you to come here if you don't do it in one particular way.
(The man himself. Shorter than I hoped, taller than I feared. And he does not have the thighs to pull off that skirt.)
Daring is what I do.
Its a casino, sometimes you give them money and it dissappears.
I wanted to look you in the eyes and see if you were the real deal. So far, I'm not dissappointed. (That much.)
I am someone worth admiring, yes. But you've been getting all this intel on me?
Well, noone sees me coming, they just see me walking away from the aftermath.
What are you looking to start, Mister Caesar?
Smart thinking. And what are you hoping I'll do once I'm inside?
Yes, O Mighty Caesar.
Come on Ron, they're giving us exactly what we want.
There's the building, and more legion tents to loot.
Ok, here we go. Lets see if this thing is still useful.
This hatch that opens is right beside the console: If they really used dynamite to try to open it, how is the console still intact? Is the whole building made out of Vault Armor?
In we go, Ron.
Huh, another of Houses Ego Monitors....Agh shit, rads. Good thing I'm still hording all this Rad-X.
The radiation isn't too bad, but I still had to use 2 Rad-Aways and 2 Rad-Xs by the time I was finished.
....Well shit, the place is on alert. Looks like we'll be going hunting then.
The Protectrons are good at spotting me, but with the Assault Carbines natural armor-piercing, it makes short work of them.
Lets see if there's anything here we can use.
Ooh, computer terminals! You know what that means!
This is bullshit total bullshit the password was obvious this thing is busted.
At least I have these with these no room of robots can be that much of a threat they're really handy like that.
Why is everything broken I'm an assassin not an electrician this is double bullshit House is an asshole I meant was.
Actually it's pretty useful that we didn't open this door because there's nothing inside but a pack of deadly Sentry Bots.
Ooh it this my robot army I hope there's more than this I want this plan to be the most awesome.
Sniper rifle beats shortrange turret really turrets aren't all that big a deal.
In the next corridor a turret took off a third of my health.
If you were actually following Caesars command, these 3 regulators would be what you'd be aiming for. Put a few rounds in each and run for the exit before the place blows. Obviously, we won't be.
Urgh, what was I doing? Oh right, this looks like the control room I wanted, but it sounds like there's something inside.
Or there was, but then I had pulse grenades.
Gotta love how the grenade reduces the turrets to shrapnel but does nothing to the mission-vital computers.
Make or break time.
Now hopefully I can get past the schlubs above, either by talk or lead.
Ugh....You're killing my buzz here.
Goddammit why does this have to be so tedious?!
Indeed, oh most perceptive of tyrants.
Oh yeah, that thing? I guess he must have sent it to everyone in the Mojave.
I see. Well, I think I might be able to arrange something with them soon, Mighty Caesar, one way or the other.
But, before I go, we haven't had a chance to talk about you.
Well, to start, what about all these big burly bodyguard you have protecting you. What's so special about them aside from having shotguns strapped to their fists?
(So your guard are the best in your army, but your lose everyone in your army who's almost but not quite good enough. Harsh, but fair.)
So, I'd imagine it was Vulpes who gave you all that intel on me?
(Because you gotta be arbitrary when it comes to picking your talented.)
And the Frumentaarii handle all the non-brute stuff for your forces?
And for the brute stuff, you have Lanius.
This doesn't sound like you got a new leader for your armies. It sounds like you got a trained Deathclaw.
So what you're saying is that this man has killed more of your troops than any enemy you've faced. And you're sending him against the Dam.
Considering it was the NCR....How exactly did you lose last time?
I heard something about the commander from last time, something about a 'Burned Man'?
K, geez. So, what exactly do you think about the NCR?
Well, the NCR peasantry did vote for her 13 times, if I recall.
(These are downsides?) But, even so, the NCR does have a lot of military power. Not a trivial foe.
(I'm sure that would be a triumphant day for human rights.) So, how did you get here, to being the Invincible Caesar?
Ahaahahaha! Really? You were one of those nancy give-away Followers?
What changed you from battery lamp to corpse bonfire?
(These don't need to be differentiated.)
I see. So, what did you do with your first little army?
This is historically one of the big deals with the Roman Empire, once you were at war with them they would go balls out and do everything to win. Anyone who resisted got the 'salted earth' routine.
(Why send anyone back? Just ignore the NCR and they'll never find out until its too late.) And since then, you've been conquering all the tribes you could find?
I get that. But, why this ancient history angle? Why ape a guy who was a legend even before the Great War?
The 'Pax Romana'?
(Or entertainment for bored soldiers.)
So, you're out to crush the NCR because you hate their bullshit democracy and incessant squabbling over bottlecaps and their insistence that they don't just want to kill each other when they totally do?
(I read books!! Its not my fault you only get to read Helga's Dianetics if you suck up to the Followers.)
(I can't say I'm not impressed with the plan, but the results so far seem...mixed.)
One last question....what's that wierd gizmo in your bedroom back there?
...Yeah. Its good to be the Caesar. Well, I'll go see about the Boomers then.
Probably the last Legion reputation boost we'll ever get.
Hey, Mister Barton, I have some, er, junk I....found. Please buy it without asking questions?
Yes, let's surf down-river.
Welp, Caesar still has his honor. That or he really thinks he can get me to be his toady if he butters me up.
Now, to get out of Cottonwood Cove.
Right after I finish robbing the Legion.
Even more slaves, but these ones aren't ever carrying stuff. They're just being prepped for their lives of abuse and starvation, I guess?
.....Caesar invited me.
Dude. I have already gone with Lucy and come back. We've been gone an entire day. What kind of scout are you?
Jesus, I am so glad to be out of that pit of wasted testosterone....oh, one last bit of bullshit.
A Great Khan runner, getting a comeuppance. Whatever.
Talk to the people who care.
Ron, do you know any travelling songs?
Anders here is another example of the designers forgetting to put certain things in on their minor but noticable details: You never actually get the option to get Anders down off that cross until you accept a quest to do so from another Khan, so if you come to Cottonwood Cove first, you have no option but to leave him to suffer until you get around to finding the Khans. Even if you destroy the town below so there are no Legion keeping Anders guarded!
But Lat is just leaving him because she's a bitch. Dunno why Veronica doesn't help him, guess Lat is being a bad influence on her.
So, that was Caesar. He's an ambitious bastard, with a few grains of justification and moral ambiguity, but mostly he's a dick who uses waves of dumb macho soldiers kept in line by brutal training and fear of horrific death, supported by the labour of hundreds of slave women. He's basically like House, justifying his current tyrannical behaviour by claiming that it'll lead to a better future where the tyranny will lead to better lives for all. Actually, you could look at the NCR occupying the Mojave in a similar way. The similarities are probably not accidental.
At this point, the game is sending us back to the Boomers to finish their quest and finally get them to support one side or the other in the final battle. But, we've also completed one of Yes Mans objectives, and, we've gathered a bit of loot we might want to manage. Should we head on to the Boomers directly, or stop over in the Strip to report in? And, when we do get the Boomers on side, are we to tell them to fight on the NCR or Legion side? Are we planning to string Caesar along, or will our next meeting being through a gun barrel?
Answers and any other suggestions in the comments, please. I'm still up for doing various sidequests or other distractions if people want me to.