All lose in different ways, a dam of corpses, towns of corpses, scattered across the sand. But whose, in what shares? Even the dealer doesn't know.Forecast: A rain of blood will flood the desert and not purify it.”— The Forecaster, Fallout: New Vegas
The Mojave Wasteland is the new name for the old world Mojave Desert and the primary setting of Fallout: New Vegas.
Compared to the Capital Wasteland, the Mojave survived the Great War relatively unscathed, but not for lack of trying on the part of the Chinese. At the culmination of the Sino-American War, seventy-seven atomic warheads were launched at the city of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, but due to intricate defense systems set in place by wealthy businessman Mr. House, fifty-nine were forcefully disarmed mid-flight, nine were blasted out of the sky by a laser defense system atop the Lucky 38 Hotel & Casino, and only nine hit the surrounding desert.
In the years since, the Mojave has largely been ignored by the developing post-apocalyptic civilizations, such as the New California Republic in the west and Caesar's Legion to the east, thus allowing enemies of such civilizations (raiders, slavers, the Brotherhood of Steel and super mutants for example) to prosper there. For years, Vegas sat at its heart, decayed by almost two centuries of neglect. When NCR scouts reached Hoover Dam with the intent of expanding the NCR's borders, pre-War Securitrons rolled out onto the old Las Vegas Strip and rallied the three tribes occupying the city, claiming to act on behalf of Mr. House, the man who had saved the city decades prior. By the time NCR reached Vegas, the city was in full working order, and the NCR returned to Shady Sands with tales of an oasis of light in the middle of the desert, untouched by war. An arrangement was made by the Treaty of New Vegas in 2274, whereby the NCR were given 95% of Hoover Dam's power output and McCarran International Airport as a regional headquarters, and the Strip, (and secretly Mr. House) retained its sovereignty, as well as the remaining 5% of power.
Since then, the combined armies of eighty-six conquered tribes had arrived from the east, led by Caesar and his Malpais Legate, seeking a city to call their capital. The Legion launched a massive initial attack on the dam and the NCR troops stationed there, but were repelled by the NCR. Most of the credit went to Chief Hanlon for issuing a tactical retreat to Boulder City and luring the Legion into a trap that leveled half of the town, then routing the surviving Legionaries back across the dam. This ultimately led to the execution of the Malpais Legate. The outcome of the battle created a delicate balance of power, whereby the tensions between the three large powers in the region (the Strip, the NCR, and the Legion) are the only factor keeping one another from attempting to seize total control of the region; should one attack the other, the third would take advantage of the conflict and attack in turn.
The nine warheadsEdit
As mentioned before, Robert House stopped 68 of the 77 warheads aimed at the Mojave and Las Vegas. Of the nine warheads that got through House's defenses, none came close to New Vegas and were aimed at parts of the Mojave, pocking the surrounding desert, and government facilities (or in proximity). Only eight of the craters created by the warheads can be seen on the map. Starting from the top of the map, a crater is left in the mountain range south of Nellis Air Force Base. At Black Mountain, two craters are found with one direct hit on a part of the complex and another hitting a ravine to the south of the complex. Further south on opposite ends of the map are the Mesquite Mountains crater to the west and Cottonwood crater to the east. And at the very south are three relatively new craters at the Old nuclear test site that are still emitting radiation.
The Mojave Wasteland is synonymous with the old world Mojave Desert, spanning large portions of the pre-War states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah as part of the Four States and Southwest Commonwealths.
The Mojave Wasteland has significant diversity in terms of inhabitants and landscapes. In the northwest, the super mutant and nightkin-friendly settlement of Jacobstown overlooks the valley from the snow and pine-covered mountains. To the west, the Great Khans have settled in the vibrant cliffs of Red Rock Canyon. The independent settlements of Goodsprings and Primm sit amidst the encroaching New California Republic from Mojave Outpost and the Powder Gangers, a group of escaped convicts, from the NCR Correctional Facility and surrounding camps. The forces of Caesar's Legion are slowing seeping east across the Colorado River at all possible junctures, from their mainstay at The Fort, the newly captured town of Nelson, the destroyed settlement of Nipton, and Camp Searchlight, a former NCR stronghold sabotaged by means of radiation. Their forces gather strength each day, readying themselves for a second offensive against the NCR for control of the much-coveted Hoover Dam.
The central region hosts tall and imposing mountain peaks with accompanying valleys, one of which shelters the remainder of the area’s Brotherhood of Steel chapter. A group of deranged super mutants and nightkin have taken residence on the foremost peak of Black Mountain. The independent settlement of Novac struggles with neighbors consisting of irradiated abominations, while businesses such as the Gun Runners, Crimson Caravan Company, and the 188 Trading Post traders attempt to keep commerce viable amidst the growing chaos.
Fringe groups in settlements circling the middle of the region, such as the Kings and Followers of the Apocalypse in Freeside, citizens of North Vegas Square and Westside, all actively exerting their independence while supporting and sheltering those who call the neighborhoods home.
In the center of it all, the glowing jewel of the desert, the New Vegas Strip’s casinos light up the night sky, contently continuing business as usual by attracting those who wish to partake in the allure of riches. Yet similar to the surrounding powers that be, also quietly fortifying itself as a power against all those who may attempt to breach its walls is the secretive benefactor of the beautiful city itself.
The Spring Mountains are a mountain range of southern Nevada, running generally northwest-southeast along the west side of the Las Vegas Valley and south to the border with California. Most of the land in the mountains was owned by the United States Forest Service as part of a Southwest Commonwealth Conservation Area. The mountain range is named for the number of springs to be found, many of them in the recesses of the aforementioned Red Rock Canyon, which is on the eastern side of the mountains. Examples of locations within this region are Goodsprings, Devil Peak, Mummy Mountain, Mount Charleston, Red Rock Canyon and Vault 22 along Nevada State Route 157 and Nevada State Route 159. Locations such as Floyd Lamb State Park and the Corn Creek Dunes are situated in the foothills of Mount Charleston along Highway 95.
New Vegas ValleyEdit
The Las – or New Vegas Valley is a basin area surrounded by mountains to the north, south, east, and west of the main metropolitan areas of the region. It was originally named by Mexican explorers, with vegas translating to meadows. All perimeters, except the northwest, are foothills or mountain ranges, such as the Spring Mountains to the north and west, the Las Vegas Range and Sheep Range to the north, McCullough Range to the south, Frenchman Mountain and Lake Mead to the east. Locations include the New Vegas Strip, Camp McCarran, Freeside, Westside, Vault 3, Nellis Air Force Base at the northeast corner of the valley, and Camp Golf and Lake Las Vegas in the southeast.
Interstate 15 traverses through Jean Pass before descending into the valley, entering the semi-rural south Vegas area. After passing the Strip, the road elevates and turns northeast, continuing through Freeside until turning sharply north before reaching Nellis Air Force Base towards Garnet.
Highway 95 enters just northwest of the 188 trading post and follows the course of the valley. First traveling northwest through Henderson until where it elevates and continues northeast, skirting Frenchman Mountain (which contains Vault 34) until it abruptly turns northwest. From there it continues over the north Vegas suburbs until, just before Freeside, it descends to ground level and merges into urban Vegas.
McCullough and Mesquite RangesEdit
The McCullough Range covers the central portion of the in-game map. It runs parallel to both Interstate 15 and the main railroad system of the region. It is surrounded by three valleys, the Las Vegas Valley which lies to the north, the Ivanpah Valley to the west, and the Eldorado Valley to the east. Traversing the range is Nevada State Route 164 which begins in the Ivanpah Valley and ends in Searchlight. Locations include Nipton, Black Mountain, Jack Rabbit Springs, Primm Pass, scorpion gulch, Wolfhorn ranch in the foothills and the REPCONN test site.
The Ivanpah Valley features several locations including Primm, Jean Sky Diving, Sloan, Hidden Valley, and the Ivanpah Dry Lake. To the northwest of the valley is the Mesquite Mountains and the mining towns of Sandy Valley and Ripley.
Opposite of the McCullough Range is the Mesquite Mountain Range, which is the location of the Mesquite Mountains crater, the canyon wreckage to the Divide and the Mojave Outpost. The outpost is built along Interstate 15, which traverses the mountain pass between the Clark Mountain Range to the north and the Mescal Range to the south. At the foot of the mountains is Nipton Road which passes through Nipton into Nevada. At the border, it becomes Nevada State Route 164 continues through the Crescent Mountains into Searchlight.
El Dorado Valley and MountainsEdit
The El Dorado Valley is bordered by the McCullough Range to the east, the River Mountains to the north-northeast and the Eldorado Mountains to the southeast. Highway 95 traverses the valley and meets Highway 93 at the 188 trading post, connecting Boulder City to Henderson. Locations include the El Dorado dry lake, Vault 11, HELIOS One, and Novac.
The El Dorado Mountains run north to south, parallel with the Colorado River. The range stretches all the way from Camp Searchlight to the Hoover Dam and within the region contain locations such as Boulder City, Nelson, the Techatticup mine and the Lucky Jim mine and the abandoned Brotherhood of Steel bunker.
The Highland and the McCullough Ranges are separated by a narrow valley, where Ranger station Charlie, Legion raid camp, and the broc flower cave are situated. This valley connects HELIOS One with Nevada State Route 164, running parallel with Highway 95 along the powerlines. Continuing east, Nevada 164 terminates at Highway 95 in Searchlight. From there it continues east as Cottonwood Cove Road through Cottonwood Valley to Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave.
Lake Mead and the Colorado RiverEdit
The Colorado River flows from the Rocky Mountains southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the lower end of the Grand Canyon before widening into Lake Mead, formed by the construction of the Hoover Dam. U.S. Route 93 passes over the Hoover Dam into Arizona. After leaving the confines of Black Canyon, the river emerges into the Lower Colorado River Valley. After passing Willow Beach and Cottonwood Cove, it flows south past Bullhead City, which borders the southernmost point of Lake Mojave, where it continues past the Cottonwood crater and Dry Wells area south toward Mexico.
Due to the fact that few bombs hit the Mojave, rebuilding society has been less challenging than in other parts of the country. The pre-War buildings and factories are more intact, allowing businesses such as the Gun Runners and Michael Angelo's workshop to continue to run and operate. Technology is more well preserved, thanks to the lack of nuclear fallout, and items such as the neon signs that dot the New Vegas Strip, the monorail within Camp McCarran or the massive generators of the Hoover Dam, have been repaired to proper working order.
Everyday society is stable in some areas and not in others. While small-time traders and traveling merchants along Highway 95 and the Long 15 are able to operate, it is a fraction of what the larger and more organized traders and caravans are capable of. The larger entities have the advantages of manpower and firepower, and those that have managed to acquire pre-War technology, such as the Crimson Caravan Company, prove even more successful. The problems with corruption and oversight are still evident, and trading monopolies exist, created by the acquisition of small-time suppliers that are either bought out by larger companies or simply cannot keep up with the competition.
Super mutants are less common here than other parts of the country, and most who are residing in the area have chosen to do so in their own community of Jacobstown or the more hostile Black Mountain. They are also considerably more intelligent than the Vault 87 super mutants.
Separating New Vegas from the rest of the Mojave exists a vast expanse of desert where many dangerous creatures such as deathclaws, feral ghouls and radscorpions thrive. This generally causes most travelers to traverse along NCR controlled highways or hire mercenaries to escort them.
Casinos and gambling are popular among the locals in the area, making the New Vegas Strip a popular hub of activity for merchants, caravans, NCR troopers, opportunists and everyday people wanting to hit it big at the slots. The main casinos, The Tops, Gomorrah, and the Ultra-Luxe, are run by the three tribes that settled in New Vegas. Each has its own personal rules and customs, other than the universal rule against carrying weapons into their casinos, and are overseen by Mr. House and his securitrons.
Politics, as always, play a large role in the society of the Mojave. The NCR is finding its war with Caesar's Legion both increasingly unpopular back in California and expensive to fund. Caravans and merchants heading to and from the Mojave deal with exorbitant taxes and fees imposed on them by the NCR. Caesar's Legion is coming ever closer to finding out what happens when their absolute ruler, and god, finally passes away and is facing the question of what truly unified the Legion in the first place, Caesar's ideals or Caesar himself. The casinos on the Strip have their own agendas and Mr. House has his own mysterious plans for the Mojave and more specifically, the Strip.
Politics in the region boils down to three major powers: the NCR, Caesar's Legion, and the Free Economic Zone of New Vegas. The NCR's goal in the region is to annex the Strip as an NCR territory and completely settle the region as NCR land. Many NCR soldiers and former soldiers, such as Craig Boone, believe this is not possible until the NCR takes the fight to the Legion and takes out Caesar himself; only then will the NCR be an unchallenged power in the region and able to safely settle without danger of constant attack. This sentiment is brought on by the commanding officer in the region, General Lee Oliver, constantly ordering his forces to hold the line, despite objections from his subordinates such as Chief Hanlon, Colonel James Hsu and Major Dhatri. They feel that the position the general is putting them all in, holding the line against the Fiends, ordering Chief Hanlon to not pursue the Legion at the First Battle of Hoover Dam or ordering the NCR Rangers into a support role when they have more skill than the NCR's heavy troopers, are racking a higher body count than would actively pursuing an offensive campaign against these opposing entities, which each one feels the NCR is capable of doing.
The Legion's goal is to make the Strip its new capital, replacing Flagstaff to the southeast. It also desires complete control of Hoover Dam as it is a strategic position to defend a source of clean water. They are less interested in the power the plant provides as they reject advanced technology, believing it a crutch rather than a tool to be used. The Legion, despite a devastating defeat at the First Battle of Hoover Dam, has once again emerged from the east and actively attacks NCR outposts and camps from its base at Cottonwood Cove. Camp Forlorn Hope is an excellent example of how the Legion has regained strength, as they took the nearby city of Nelson and repeatedly assault the camp, lowering morale among the camp's inhabitants. Once the Legion takes a position, they seem to be able to hold it effectively, without much resistance. This is the opposite of the NCR, which is constantly losing footholds in positions in the eastern Mojave.
Meanwhile, Mr. House fortifies his position on the Strip, letting the conflict between the NCR and the Legion play out. He believes that the fewer soldiers of each organization who try to impede his progress at the next battle of Hoover Dam, the better. He patiently bides his time, waiting to exploit vulnerabilities generated by one faction attacking the other.
- The Mojave Wasteland did not receive nearly as many nuclear attacks as other parts of America and is gifted with many plants as a result of the lower radiation levels. Nevada agave fruit grow in abundance, as do banana yucca fruit. The ever-present radioactive fallout has still altered some of the native life, with glowing mushrooms a common sight. Snow is also present in the area, so it appears that the pre-War climate was not as significantly affected, or has at least recovered in part.
- As a result of the lack of nuclear damage, a large number of native and familiar species have continued to thrive in the Mojave Wasteland. A variety of birds including ravens are seen in the wastes, pecking through debris and vegetation for food. Fish are present in Lake Mead and several other smaller reservoirs. Coyotes have managed to survive in the wasteland with little to no mutation. Despite this, the Mojave wastes are still peppered with mutated species, such as bighorners, brahmin, along with night stalkers and cazadores, the last two due to experimentation at Big MT.
- Unlike the Capital Wasteland, the Mojave Wasteland has some form of a stable ecosystem. Water encountered throughout the Mojave is safer to drink and some instances are free of radiation, plant life is found consistently throughout the area, and various animals are encountered on a regular basis, thriving in the mostly undisturbed lands.
- Many portions of the wasteland have remained untouched by humans since the Great War (such as Vault 22 and H&H Tools Factory), while others have been resettled (such as Freeside and Novac).
- According to Chief Hanlon, the state that was once Nevada is more fertile and has more water and foliage than California, as the population in California has exploded and caused the need for expansion east in search of new opportunities and land.
- Very distant explosions, artillery, and gunfire can be heard regularly throughout the Mojave Wasteland.
Behind the scenesEdit
- The Mojave Wasteland is based on the real world Mojave Desert, stretching across equivalent portions of the states of Nevada, California, Arizona, and Utah.
- The sky in the Mojave is astronomically correct. The Moon changes phases each day according to the month.
- The Mojave Wasteland map as seen in the Pip-Boy features a larger scale than the map of Fallout 3's Capital Wasteland and the actual play area is similarly larger:
Joshua Sawyer: We built our map following natural features of the Mojave Desert extrapolated from USGS topographical data. The Mojave Wasteland is pretty close to the Capital Wasteland in overall tiles. When people compare the two and conclude that the Mojave Wasteland is tiny compared to the Capital Wasteland, it's sort of odd. It's the equivalent of comparing two non-scale-equivalent maps of California and Colorado and concluding that Colorado is larger than California because the map occupies more pixels in a square encapsulating it. We tried to alleviate this disconnect in Honest Hearts by putting a dotted line around the outer wall of Zion Valley. Like the Mojave Wasteland, Zion Valley was also constructed by using USGS data as a starting point.”— https://rpgcodex.net/forums/threads/an-archive-of-josh-sawyers-formspring-from-april-2010-through-march-2013-over-1-mb-of-text.128571/ Joshua Sawyer
Joshua Sawyer: It would not have solved line of sight issues. The Mojave Wasteland has deeper valleys/higher mountains than the Capital Wasteland, so in some cases the highest points of ostensibly walkable terrain overlook areas that look bad from a high vantage point.
This was the first time any of us had used this technology, so many of the best practices for building only became apparent in retrospect, unfortunately. Were we to build the Mojave Wasteland again, we would make different choices in how to lay out the areas.Some of this can be seen in Zion Valley. The only collision blockers we used on that map were to prevent people from getting stuck while dropping down from higher elevations. ScottE and the other world builders put a lot of effort into making sure that people could scale anything on the interior of the valley, and the outer cliff faces tower far above the rest of the terrain.”— Joshua Sawyer
- ↑ The Courier: "What preparations did you make to save Las Vegas?"
Robert House: "On the day of the Great War, 77 atomic warheads targeted Las Vegas and its surrounding areas. My networked mainframes were able to predict and force-transmit disarm code subsets to 59 warheads, neutralizing them before impact. Laser cannons mounted on the roof of the Lucky 38 destroyed another 9 warheads. The rest got through, though none hit the city itself. A sub-optimal performance, admittedly. If only the Platinum Chip had arrived a day sooner..."
(Robert House's dialogue)
- ↑ The Courier: "Okay, what are you supposed to be doing?"
Hanlon: "To protect against all forms of tyranny. As simple as that. Thirty, forty years ago, the wasteland was full of despots. Slavers. Raiders. Tough-talking hoodlums with gangs who liked to kick around towns. Back then the NCR military was still young. Couldn't cover much ground. It took groups like ours to tip the balance back to the good guys."
- ↑ The Courier: "I'd like to know more about the NCR."
Dennis Crocker: "I can provide a quick history lesson, if that's what you're looking for. In 2274, President Kimball sent the NCR army into the Mojave in force, with the objective of occupying and repairing Hoover Dam. Rangers and army scouts had confirmed that the dam was basically unoccupied and could be restored to an operable condition. Upon arriving at the dam, however, they discovered that a large force of tribals and robots had occupied it. This was our introduction to the Three Families, the Securitrons, and, of course, Mr. House. Using his Securitrons as intermediaries, Mr. House called for parlay. He claimed his forces had occupied Hoover Dam in order to safeguard it for our arrival. And that he was ready to turn it over to us, so long as we could agree to terms. Those terms became the Treaty of New Vegas. The Treaty recognized Mr. House's sovereignty over the Strip and granted us rights to establish military bases at the Dam and McCarran Airport. The NCR is legally permitted to send 95% of the electricity produced by the dam to our home states. The remaining 5% goes to the Strip. The treaty actually makes it illegal for the NCR to prevent its citizens, or troops on furlough, from visiting the Strip. Once on the Strip, our citizens are subject to arrest - or punishment - by House's Securitrons, though that's a rare occurrence. Our troops enjoy a different status. It's illegal for the Securitrons to take action against them. Of course, it's also illegal for our troops to carry firearms on the Strip, so there isn't much trouble they can get into. Our military police does an adequate job of keeping the troops on furlough in line. I don't envy them that task. The embassy was established a few weeks after the Treaty was signed. Basically Mr. House handed us a dumpy little building he had no interest in renovating. I'm the third ambassador to hold this post. And the first, I think, to accept its limitations. My predecessors had ambitions of engineering the annexation of the Mojave. They thought they'd convince Mr. House to join up. I've never even spoken to the man - or whatever he is. Maybe the situation will change once we've beaten the Legion once and for all."
The Courier: "Go on."
Dennis Crocker: "Now we mostly just keep track of the NCR citizens and troopers around and make sure they don't get in trouble, but that's Captain Pappas' job. I keep myself busy with paperwork and reports that get sent back to the NCR. It's mostly busy work, but every once in awhile, we make progress."
- ↑ Cottonwood crater and Mesquite Mountains crater
- ↑ Black Mountain craters and Nellis Air Force Base crater
- ↑ Mountain Ranges of the Las Vegas Valley
- ↑ JE Sawyer