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Behind the Bright Lights & Big City is a special section included in the Collector's Edition of the Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide, providing a more detailed background for the factions appearing in the game. It is made of a huge amount of highly detailed images with descriptions and detailed paragraphs on game lore.

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Part I: Welcome to New Vegas[]

Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.449


The year 2281. Thirty-seven years have passed since the conclusion of Fallout 2. The New California Republic has expanded east to occupy Hoover Dam, but there it has stopped, opposed by Caesar's Legion, a cruel nomadic tribe of slavers with an immense army. In the four years since the Legion first attempted to take the dam, both sides have gathered strength, and a showdown is imminent. At stake are the vast hydraulic and hydroelectric resources of the dam, as well as the Vegas Strip, recently relit and in full swing under the rule of Mr. House's Three Families.

Greed is a Savage Force[]

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New Vegas is a refurbished monument to every species of greed—avarice, lust, gluttony, sloth—and the player will have occasion to witness how greed operates at every level, from the desperate tinhorns who flock to the city in hopes of striking it rich to nations and tribes driven to expand their wealth and territory, whatever the cost in human lives.

Again and again, the player will see the savagery of greed, the violence, mostly physical but also emotional, to which it gives rise. Not every individual and faction the player encounters will come across as unremittingly grasping and degenerate, but every individual and faction will know greed and have a relationship to it. The player will also sense the fear and desperation beneath the greed, the terror of losing that which one most covets: the belief that if only the thing desired can be grasped and held, all will finally be well.

Rigging the Game[]

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Tinhorns and rubes by the hundreds come to New Vegas to test their luck. Muttering prayers, they squeeze up to the gambling tables, beseech-ing Lady Luck to smile upon them. Such is the losers' take on luck: probability made personal, desperate hopes and bad math. Winners never leave winning to chance. They calculate the odds, weigh risks against rewards, and do everything they can to hone their edge. They don't play the game—they rig it. They stack the deck. In Vegas, the Brahmin barons and so-called high-rollers are just losers with deeper pockets. The only winners are the casinos, because they're the ones who rig the games.

The NCR, Caesar, and Mr. House are playing to win, and before they roll the dice they're going to do everything in their power to rig the odds in their favor. The player can become a faction's ace in the hole, or a nightmare cooler who disrupts every faction's best laid plans—your choice.

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Important Dates
Date Event
2077 October 23. The Great War.
2138 Mr. House regains consciousness.
2161 Fallout: A Post Nuclear Role-Playing Game begins.
2242 Fallout 2 begins.
2274 Mr. House recruits the Three Families as his personal army. The NCR occupies Hoover Dam.
2275 Camp McCarran established. Hoover Dam restarted.
2276 The NCR defeats the Brotherhood of Steel at HELIOS One.
2277 The NCR successfully repulses Caesar's Legion's assault on Hoover Dam. Fallout 3 begins.
2278 The NCR massacres dozens of Great Khans at Bitter Springs.
2281 Fallout: New Vegas begins.

Part II: All Aces. The New Vegas Power Players[]

New California Republic[]

National Pride[]

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Ask almost any NCR citizen, and he or she will tell you: the NCR is the greatest nation on Earth. And it's only going to get better. For over 65 years, it's gotten bigger, stronger, and richer. Its military can kick anyone's ass and has done just that on several dramatic occasions that the citizen can tell you about. NCR citizens get to choose their leaders; they have rights guaranteed by law; and a lot of people are making good Caps and moving up in life.

It's hard to argue with them. Especially since the NCR is the only nation known to exist at this point in history.

Blame towards... [Insert Chosen Group of Idiots Here][]

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Though it may seem paradoxical to their claim that the NCR is the greatest nation on Earth, NCR citizens frequently proclaim that their nation is "riding to hell on a hand grenade!" due to the incompetence or malfeasance of one or more groups of idiots.

The blamed parties range from politicians (the ruling council is a "pit of Radscorpions") to the wealthy Brahmin Barons ("they got even bigger teats than their herds, with four to five council members dangling off each one!") to Ghouls, Super Mutants, and other monsters ("you gonna tell me some mutie with horns like a brahmin's gonna sit next to my Stephie while she learns her a-b-c's? Not if you value your teeth!") to the ever popular hobby of blaming citizens from a State other than your own ("Damn Shadies!" or "Damn Hub-Heads!" or "Damn Glowsters!" et cetera).

Controversy over Economic Development[]

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The NCR's economy is based on two resources: its great Brahmin herds, and swaths of land that have been restored to arable condition. These provide the nation with meat, leather, and starchy vegetables. During President Tandi's presidency, regulations limited the number of cattle head and the acreage of fields that could be owned by a single person. Despite constant pressure from the Stockmen's Association and Republican Farmer's Committee, such regulations loosened only a little so long as Tandi was in office. Following her death, however, they eroded until President Kimball overturned them completely.

As a result, the past 12 years have seen the rise of the Brahmin Barons and Agri-Barons: captains of industry who are, by post-apocalyptic standards, spectacularly wealthy. This has given birth to a number of cottage industries, from the rebirth of luxury goods production to "journalism" that reports on the latest purchases, commissions, and "life lessons" of the newly rich and famous.

The past 12 years has also seen a change in attitudes towards collective welfare. Citizens of the NCR rarely face significant dangers on a daily basis, and survival is an assumption rather than an aspiration. Citizens are far more reluctant to share food and other resources, and the person who provides services free of charge, whether it's something as quotidian as sewing or as rarefied as surgical expertise, are now the exception rather than the rule.

An added economic strain is the scarcity of salvageable goods. Sixty-five years of scavenging has done a good job of picking clean the wastes of what was once Southern California. Rare are those individuals who can make a living by scavenging and hunting what they need.

A consequence of these economic and cultural transformations has been the rebirth of wage labor. Whereas one's labor was until recently seen as benefittingIn-game spelling, punctuation and/or grammar and belonging to a collective (whether a family or small town), it has now become a commodity. To earn their keep, many citizens must seek an employer and trade the sweat of their brow for Caps.

Citizens of the NCR hold a variety of opinions about these developments. Many boast of their nation's economic strength; others decry what they feel has been lost. Many curse the selfishness of their fellow citizens, usually while pursuing aims that will benefit only themselves or their families. Here in the Vegas wastes, however, nearly all citizens will agree on one matter: opportunity has dried up back home, and to earn a fortune, one must come East.


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By law, the NCR prohibits persecution and discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or religious belief (so long as said religion does not advocate violence). Legal protection of Ghouls and other mutants was added in 2205, though enforcement of these rights has been spotty. For the most part, the NCR's practices live up to its ideals, but there has been some retrenchment since the death of President Tandi. Aaron Kimball's popularity was amplified by a reactionary undercurrent, especially among males, calling out a need for a "strong man" to lead the NCR forward. In the years since Kimball took office, male military officers have been promoted disproportionately to females, and discourse arguing the differences between males and females has reappeared.

Civic Militarism[]

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The NCR boasts a large standing professional army. Under President Tandi's administration, military duty was honored as preforming patriotic duty. The armed forces grew in size but were used primarily to secure territorial borders and to respond to tribal attacks. Tandi's restraint in such relations, and the diplomatic overtures that accompanied them, were so remarkable as to earn her the title "Great Mother" among some of the tribes surrounding the NCR.

Under Kimball's regime rhetoric promoting the patriotism and heroism of the NCR's armed forces has been constant, but the actual reputation of the military has worsened somewhat. While it is still regarded as an honorable profession, economic conditions driving citizens who might previously have eked by to enlist have tarnished the military's luster. To make matters worse, the NCR's expedition to the Mojave has failed to annex New Vegas, and soldiers struggle with the difficult climate and being so far from home for extended periods of service.

Controversy over the Vegas Frontier[]

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The NCR spread east into Nevada in large numbers just five years ago on a "humanitarian mission" to "bring the light of civilization to the savage wastes of the Mojave." Hoover Dam was the symbol of the expedition-reports from the Followers of the Apocalypse had confirmed that it was still intact as early as 2170-and its occupation by NCR troops in 2274 was a celebrated event. Even more exciting was the restarting of the dam's hydroelectric plant eleven months later, which dramatically improved the access of many NCR citizens to electricity and water.

Since then, most of the news has been bad. Skirmishes with local tribes and the first battle for Hoover Dam have cost the lives of more than 400 of the NCR's soldiers and civilians. Until the oft-promised annexation of New Vegas becomes a reality, the government continues to spend much of its budget on "safeguarding the region" while in return receiving not one Cap in tax revenue. The expedition has proved to be an enduring, low-intensity political embarrassment for President Kimball.

Among NCR citizens, the most common political attitude is impatience. They want Vegas annexed; they want it over with. Most expect that this will finally occur once Caesar's Legion has been "beat for good." Opposition to the Vegas occupation amounts to a vocal minority, and of these, most oppose it as a waste of lives and tax caps. The more radical opinion that the expedition amounts to the imperialist subjugation of an unwilling territory is seen as unpatriotic: the kind of pap spouted by the good-for-nothing agitators like those Followers of the Apocalypse.

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Important Dates
Date Event
2196 Tandi (Aradesh's daughter) is unanimously elected President by the NCR council. Her popularity is to prove enduring: she will continue to serve in office until her death in 2248, at the age of 103.
2242-2243 The events of Fallout 2 takes place.
2248 President Tandi takes ill and dies at the age of 103. Her presidency has lasted 52 years. Vice-President Joanna Tibbett assumes office.
2253 President Tibbett is removed from office by a vote of no confidence following her "timid" response to the massacre of 38 NCR citizens at the hands of Mojave raiders. Her replacement, President Wendell Peterson, orders three battalions of NCR infantry into the Mojave.
2270 The extirpation of tribals in the area of present-day Bullhead City is complete. "The Pacification of the Mojave," as it comes to be known, makes General Aaron Kimball a national hero.
2272 The NCR's Mojave outpost is established.
2273 Aaron Kimball retires from the NCR military and runs for office as one of Hub's political representatives (or "governors," as Hub idiosyncratically calls them). Less than two months into his term, Wendell Peterson is voted out of office and Aaron Kimball becomes the NCR's next President.
2274 NCR forces move east and occupy Hoover Dam. The NCR reluctantly signs the Treaty of New Vegas recognizing Mr. House and his stewards, the Three Families, as the rightful owners of the Strip. The Strip opens for business.
2275 Camp McCarran is established as NCR Headquarters in the Mojave. Sporadic fighting begins with the Mojave Brotherhood of Steel. The NCR government withdraws official support from the Followers of the Apocalypse and founds The Office of Science and Industry.
2274 Hoover Dam restarts and the Strip blazes with light. The first trickle of privileged, curious NCR citizens visits the Strip.
2276 Conflict with the Brotherhood of Steel escalates, culminating in decisive victory at HELIOS One. The Mojave Brotherhood is considered "neutralized."
2277 Fallout 3 begins.
2277 Legion forces under the command of the Malpais Legate fail to wrest control of Hoover Dam from the NCR. Despite heavy casualties, the NCR's victory is celebrated back home.
2278 Following the abduction and killing of four soldiers, NCR troops assault the Great Khans' settlement at Red Rock Canyon and massacre several dozen men, women, and children. This event goes unreported in NCR press.
2281 Fallout: New Vegas begins.

Caesar's Legion[]

Rebirth of the Son of Mars[]

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The adolescence and young adulthood of the man who calls himself Caesar were spent as a scribe of the Followers of the Apocalypse. While this boy had a quick mind, he made for a scribe of uneven ability, for his success in academics was equal to his interest in the subject assigned. Nor was he a favorite among his fellows. Though athletic, handsome, and petulance held him back. He never felt that he belonged among the Followers, and blamed them for it. Their rigorous devotion to scholarship was stifling, their mission to ensure that humanity would never repeat the mistakes of the Great War was ridiculously naive. The boy longed for something more.

When the time came for the boy to leave the Boneyard and trek the wastes as part of a nine-person expedition, wanderlust soon curdled into disappointment. The primitive conditions of the tribes the expedition encountered disgusted him. Inferior people all, wretched in their squalor. Still, he seemed to discern, amid the chaos of their petty struggles and everyday atrocities, the true order of the wastes-and it was one of anonymous, amoral liberty. The wastes called to the boy as a blank slate upon which a man of will could write his own destiny.

During the same period of the time that the boy was coming to these insights, the expedition uncovered a cache of well-preserved historical texts. Among with adventure fiction and comic books, history had always been his favorite subject, and so the task of cataloguingIn-game spelling, punctuation and/or grammar and studying the texts fell to him. Though the boy had long been aware of basic facts concerning many ancient empires, these new texts filled in many previously obscure details. Reading The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire rendered him a veritable hermit for two weeks. But even that could not have prepared him for the Commentarii, the account of the military campaigns of Gaius Julius Caesar, written by the man himself. Reading Commentarii changed the boy's life. Unfortunately, it was destined to change the lives of thousands more, and for the worse.

In Gaius Julius Caesar the boy found a man who seamed to have fulfilled the full measure of potential greatness allotted to him by fate, a man whose career spanned political accomplishment and military achievement in equal measure. Such adventure! And intrigue! And cool uniforms! The boy's frustrations with his lot in life gained sharp focus. In reading about Caesar, he was like an ant scurrying about the feet of a regal statue. He resolved that he would go to any lengths necessary to change the course of his life. The Commentarii would be his blueprint. In an illiterate, benighted world, who would ever know that Caesar was not his original creation?

That night, Caesar offered a different sort of assistance to a tribe his expedition had contacted recently: weapons, medical supplies, and tactical expertise. He led several tribal accomplices back to the expedition's camp and through its defenses, and there oversaw the murder of his eight fellows. Within a week he was leading the tribe on ever more ambitious raids against neighboring bands of raiders and tribals.

True to Caesar[]

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Many years have passed, and by post-apocalyptic standards, Caesar's accomplishments have been prodigious. But the man's hunger for greatness has never been sated. Having assembled a loose nation of slavers and slaves, having won countless "wars" against inferior peoples, secretly he still feels like an upstart, an amateur-a barbaric King of the Gauls, instead of a lofty emperor of Rome.

To advance, he needs two things: a Carthage and a Rome. In the NCR he has at last found a great adversary, against which he can wage a military campaign worthy of history books. (Indeed, worth teaching his subordinates how to read and write, so that future generations can read his own Commentarii.) And in Vegas, powered and watered by its great dam, he has found a capital worthy of, well, a Caesar. Contrary to the old saw, Rome will be built in a day. With that out of the way, the next step will be to proclaim his apotheosis. All good Roman emperors became gods, although that was usually done posthumously...

Besides a (highly unlikely) military defeat, Caesar fears one thing only: exposure. The denizens of the wastes are too ignorant to realize that his entire empire is a grand act of plagiarism, but the Followers of the Apocalypse know exactly who he is and what he has done. Should his tribe discover that he cribbed the entire culture from books about ancient Rome, rather than having its customs dictates dictated to him by Mars...well, it's very unlikely that could happen. And he won't let it happen. That is why his forces have a standing order to kill all Followers of the Apocalypse on sight, and to brutalize all "civilized" or learned captives and haul them before Caesar's interrogators. Those who make the mistake of saying, "Hey, you guys, it's like you're emulating the ancient Roman empire," end up as severed heads on poles.

Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.461

Important Dates
Date Event
2226 The boy who would become Caesar is born.
2231 Unable to care for him, the boy's father abandons him to the care of the Followers of the Apocalypse.
2231-2246 The boy is raised as a scribe of the Followers of the Apocalypse.
2246 The boy, now a young man, sets out to explore the wastes as part of a nine-person expedition. He unearths a cache of literature about the ancient Roman Empire and encounters the historical figure of Caesar.
2247 Inspired by his reading and the freedom offered by the wastes to write his own future, the young man conspires with a tribe to murder the other eight members of the expedition. He declares himself Caesar. Within a week, he is leading the tribe on ever more ambitious raids against neighboring bands of raiders and tribals, growing his forces by taking slaves.
2248-2274 Caesar conquers the tribes of southeastern Utah, southwestern Colorado, the western edge of New Mexico, and the northern half of Arizona. By 2250 he has declared himself the Son of Mars. By 2255, he has established a capital of sorts amid the ruins of Flagstaff.
2275 Legion scouts reports the NCR has occupied and restarted Hoover Dam, restoring electrical power to the Strip. Caesar begins planning war against the NCR.
2275-2276 Legion forces gradually assemble east of the Colorado River. The NCR becomes aware of the threat when scouting parties fail to return from expeditions east.
2277 Legion forces under the command of the Malpais Legate attempt to seize control of Hoover Dam. Casualties are heavy on both sides. The NCR retains control of the dam. Having completed a campaign of conquest in New Mexico, Caesar announces that he will come to the Vegas wastes and command the next assault himself.
2281 Fallout: New Vegas begins.

Mr House[]

House Arrest[]

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When blaring civil defense sirens heralded mankind's doom on October 23rd, 2077, the citizens of Las Vegas bore witness to an astonishing spectacle. Huge laser cannons unfurled from secret housings in the roof of the Lucky 38 casino and Hoover Dam's intake towers and began spitting blasts of green fire into the sky, destroying warhead after warhead and sparing Las Vegas's urban center and the dam from direct hits. Citizens filled the streets and cheered. And then they died horribly from the lethal fallout that blew in from the dozens of warheads that detonated around Las Vegas.

Though Mr. House's missile defense grid performed admirably, the Great War was in actuality the day of his greatest setback. Having spent decades preparing for the statistical inevitability of atomic war, house found himself forced to protect Las Vegas with buggy software. Had the Great War occurred even 24 hours later, House would have received and installed Mark II of his defensive systems' operating software. Instead, the disc containing the upgrade-which had just passed quality assurance-was buried in the irradiated ruins of the Sunnyvale, California lab where it was developed.

Defending Las Vegas from atomic destruction set off a cascade of system crashes that plunged the Lucky 38 into darkness and nearly killed Mr. House. Running on a trickle of emergency power, the electrode-studded command helmet by which he controlled the Lucky 38 shorting out with maddening frequency, the replenishing salve bath and pharmaceuticals he'd spent billions to develop going rancid, his ensconced body aging, House battled to reboot his data core with an older version of the operating system. It was a daily struggle that would grind on for nearly five years, inflicting a physical and mental strain so severe that House lapsed into a coma when the reboot was finally achieved.

When House finally came to, decades had passed. Immediately he began using his Securitron robots to search out human settlements, and eventually he was able to hire salvage teams in the distant west to search for the priceless upgrade disc in the ruins of the Sunnyvale. The disc was not to be found for many years, during which time House was forced to improvise an ad hoc defense of the Vegas region against the encroachment of NCR forces, namely the recruitment and employment of the Three Families to augment his downgraded Mark I Securitron robot defenses.

A Vision for New Vegas[]

Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.463


Mr. House proposes an automatic future for New Vegas: undisputed authority of a technocratic visionary. His long-term goal is to use the attractions of New Vegas as an economic engine to reignite mankind's technological progress. While he has no desire to control every aspect of the lives of those would inhabit the region, neither would the ways and means by which he achieves economic and technological progress be up for discussion. As the ruins of the former world mutely attest, democracy is a failed experiment. The time has come for Mr. House to heroically save Vegas for the second time, forging an independent, dynamic, high-technology enterprise zone.

So long as Mr. House's basic rules are followed, his intentions are to take a "hands off" approach towards the subjects of his kingdom; he is effectively a libertarian dictator creating his own version of paradise rooted in the old world. If the player supports Mr. House, she is supporting the New Vegas libertopia, a place where the strong rule unfettered for as long as they stay strong and where the weak are continually trampled underfoot. But it's a place where Mr. House wants you to dream, that someday, you could be onIn-game spelling, punctuation and/or grammar of the strong.

Note: This is the description underneath the image of the in-game Mr. House. Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.463


At the ripe age of 281, Mr. House is physically frail in the extreme, his appearance evoking pity or disgust.

Long, greasy white hairs sprout from beneath his command helmet, and from his sunken cheeks.

He is emaciated to the point of being skeletal, bones visible under pale, translucent skin crisscrossed by faint blue blood vessels.

House's command helmet is not detachable - we don't want to imply that the player could put it on and take his place.

The helmet might be bolted right into his skull, like a "halo" used to stabilize severe neck injuries.

Or it might not be a helmet at all, the top of Mr. House's skull having been removed and fitted with transistors and vacuum tubes.

It's essential that the helmet feature indicator lights or similar gizmos that can change states to show whether Mr. House is plugged in or unplugged.

Part III: Characters and Creatures[]

Note: This chapter is composed of highly detailed images and descriptions of what the image is, comparisons of images and descriptions of specific parts of images.

Companions and Tribal Factions[]

Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.465


Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.465


Cybernetic dog with dog brain in a sealed glass container (like a robobrain), PROPERTY DENVER POLICE (or DPD) is stenciled somewhere on the body and a faded red Legion bull stenciled on another part (almost invisible). He's part German shepherd, part robot. Ideally he exists/works on the standard dog skeleton/animation, so that should be kept in mind.

Mutations and Wild Abominations[]


Part IV: Making Your Point[]