Lanius's bad reputation is undeserved

Discussion in 'Fallout: New Vegas Discussion' started by Apollyon, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    If I had a looking glass into the future I could predict what I should and shouldn't do. The integrity of any given decision is relative to your current situation.

    The background info on the NCR's intel of neighboring factions is thin so nobody really knows whether they knew of the approaching horde of Dick's sporting goods patrons. The NCR's position at the time was that they had to root out a heavily armed & armored group of soldiers sitting in their backyard. They wanted the power plant so nuking the crap out of them was out of the question.

    Assuming they knew the Legion was on their way: their decisions become more grim because now they know for sure they'll be caught between a rock and a hard place. Football Jockey's on one side and King Arthur's discount knights of the round-table on the other.

    In the context of having the big guns and technology, yeah one can argue that probably throwing precious manpower into funnels is a poor strategy, but the NCR essentially would have lost the greater war against the brotherhood had it not been for manpower. It was the only viable option.
     
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  2. KingArthur

    KingArthur The John Doe of NMA

    Jun 25, 2018
    The way I’ve always seen the Republic is very similar to the Civil War Union; they think one decisive battle will knock the smaller Legion down for the count, not expecting a protracted conflict.

    The Confederacy came within a gnat’s dick of winning the ACW, mainly because of a string of early victories that demoralized the overconfident Union.

    As the Union found its footing, it realized the South couldn’t fight a war of attrition, or maintain a longer conflict that the South had ironically created. The same thing is happening in the Mojave. The people who need a swift victory are the Legion, not the NCR (which they will have, provided the Courier either doesn’t get involved or joins them). But the Republic doesn’t realize this, and thus wastes lives.
     
  3. Eshanas

    Eshanas A Smooth-Skin

    690
    Jul 6, 2016
    The NCR is overconfident and arrogant. They went into the Mojave following the Khans and Vipers and other shite tribes who were using the area as a base to hit the NCR. Then the BOS war spilled over there. Then the Legion comes along. Hell I bet most of the NCR just sees the legion as nothing more than another tribe. Hoover Dam was just a nice cherry on top their rangers found while scouting out the tribes to annihilate, for political kudos back home.
     
  4. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    Are they more or less arrogant than a guy who literally built a house of cards on a snowballing horde of conquered slaves and put himself at the top as some sort of god king?
     
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  5. KingArthur

    KingArthur The John Doe of NMA

    Jun 25, 2018
    Hey, don’t talk about House that way.
     
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  6. NMLevesque

    NMLevesque Commie Ghost

    617
    Jul 2, 2016
    That sounds like headcanon. I don't know what you're basing that on.

    "These are complicated military manoeuvres that don't just "happen", as you make it sound...They need to be planned, on multiple levels, in order to be successful."

    Guerilla warfare has a low entry requirement.

    "There's a method to these things. A thought-process that needs to be maintained. What equipment do the troops need? What kind of training is required? What does the doctrine look like? How will terror be used to the greatest effect? etc. Questions that concern generals."

    They run around in old sports equipment with machetes, and attack any enemy that is close to them. I don't see what you're reading into this.

    "Furthermore, it is short-sighted to look at Hoover Dam and accuse the Legion of using "bad tactics". Were the Allies bad tacticians at Normandy?"

    That's not at all comparable...

    "Whether the assaults on Hoover Dam were a great strategic idea is questionable, but such were Caesar's orders, and not something Lanius approved of, as you know. Ironically, this suggests he is in fact more strategically capable than Caesar."

    Then why doesn't he change the strategy? The only thing that changes is that someone figured out that they could sneak in through the pipes. Either leader uses that same approach.

    "On the topic of recruitment, you make it sound as though it is easy to brainwash and forcibly beat soldiers into obedience.

    I make it sound like it's not an act of charisma, which it isn't.

    "...Legion-wide we see not fear or resentment, but pride and conviction."

    We see that anyone who even begins to question an aspect of the Legion is executed. It's survivor bias. I'd also say it's an example of brutality. Silus also exists.

    "Finally, I'd love to give you more examples of Lanius's actions in-game, but sadly there are really too few to build an accurate picture of."

    That was my impression, but I don't think the way he's described is contradicted by any character, including Lanius himself.

    It's not either or. Though I would add that the Rangers use sound tactics and strategies.

    They could have taken literally any other route into the Mojave and ignored the dam...the only reason they didn't is because of egotism and obsession.
     
  7. KingArthur

    KingArthur The John Doe of NMA

    Jun 25, 2018
    @NMLevesque
    1) Yes, knowledge of terrain and enemy movements, accurate analysis of enemy weaknesses, deception and covert operations, a clandestine network across half a country, all so easy to achieve. That's why every spy network and every guerilla army in history ever has succeeded :nod:

    2) Except that's not what they're doing. They're attacking strategic points and enemy holdouts. Again, this requires successful analysis of enemy terrain, plans, and territorial layout. This is not an easy task, which is why they don't pick any random soldier and promote them to an officer position. One thing in the Legion spy network goes wrong, ONE THING, and the operation fails. Yet, the frumentarii remain covert and the Legion's countless attacks succeed. The only failure I can truly think of was the first battle of Hoover Dam, and that was caused by poor leadership, which kind of proves my point; everyone has to work in conjunction. The Legion is good at this; Hell, they excel at it. The NCR doesn't know its head from its asshole and their own higher ups (Hanlon) are diverting intel because they fear another battle with the coordinated Legion and the likely Pyrrhic victory even if they do win the second battle.

    3) How is it not? Give me a valid reason besides "the Legion is evil"

    4) Why doesn't any soldier change a strategy they don't agree with? Insubordination isn't dealt with using a slap on the wrist, in any army. To use another WWII analogy, Eisenhower's original plan for the African Front involved a costly night attack that would've led to horrid casualties had even one thing gone wrong. He cancelled the plan at the last second, fearing any fallout. Had he actually used it, things would've been terrible for the Allies and any soldier that diverted from the mission would have been punished, obviously.

    Oh, and I know you're probably one of THOSE people so here's my source for the WWII story: https://www.amazon.com/Army-Dawn-1942-1943-Liberation-Trilogy/dp/0805087249
    I highly recommend this series of books, they're fantastic.

    5) Legatus Lanius beats his men into shape, sometimes enforcing decimata. He's probably the most brutal drill instructor in the history of the Fallout world, and his men see him as someone to be respected, revered, and emulated. That's not just the work of fear alone.

    Put it this way; Cannibal Johnson remembers Arch Dornan fondly. Anyone who played Fallout 2 can see why a man like Dornan would have to be oddly charismatic in order to be remembered as such by a subordinate. Now crank that drill instructing harshness up to 11, and while you're at it do the same with that reverence and fondness. That's how Lanius's men see him.

    6) I will concede this point, to an extent; but Silus is also quoted as saying that he doesn't care whether he lives or dies, because in his eyes the Legion is finished. Naysayers like Silus are what turn great armies into something less; instead of being prepared to pull through, he gives up. Someone like Silus is not what you wanna base a faction on.

    7) I'd say Lanius himself does disprove the enemy perspective; he's not a lumbering, idiotic brute, but an articulate leader of men who somehow gets the soldiers he sees as expendable to love him. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.
     
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  8. Veers

    Veers Fire when ready.

    63
    Jan 3, 2017
    The real Caesar fought several battles that were considered foolhardy and against heavy odds, but won decisively.

    And the importance of the Dam can't be understated. Control the dam and you control the entirety of Nevada from Vegas up to the border of New Reno, gain a hydroelectric plant capable of powering most of your territory, and fresh, clean water for it.
     
  9. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    Caesar has dialogue describing how much of a prick Lanius is. Vulpes thinks he's a big idiot who cares little about the Legion or the men under his command. When he takes command he beats the people previously in charge to death, then kills some more guys to make sure they got the point. He blinds his slaves so they can't look at his face when his mask is off. Everyone in the Legion mostly hate him.

    He's just a 40k commissar in bronze armor. The men don't follow him because of his example, they follow because the alternative is getting your face beaten to a pulp or cleaved in two by his sword.
     
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  10. Apollyon

    Apollyon It Wandered In From the Wastes

    107
    Apr 29, 2017
    Common sense about how armies work.

    If you're going to make the (foolish) point that successful guerilla warfare is easy, make it. Don't beat around the bush with nonsense like this.

    A fair question, but it doesn't detract from the point I was making. The fact that Lanius recognizes that a second Hoover Dam might be a strategic mistake stands. There could be numerous reasons why he still chooses to go ahead with it.

    If they wished to desert they would and could, so I don't think your suggestion holds any merit.

    Silus is also under threat of death and torture, so what exactly does he prove?

    You're being selective. When Silus reflects negatively on the Legion or Caesar under threat of death, you choose to believe it. When legionaries reflect positively on the Legion or Caesar, supposedly also under threat of death (questionable, but that is not the point), you choose to discredit it.

    But since everything Silus says is true, I suppose the inevitable demise of the NCR at the hands of the Legion is cannon now too?

    You cannot have your cake and eat it too, Profligate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
  11. Apollyon

    Apollyon It Wandered In From the Wastes

    107
    Apr 29, 2017
    You're speaking in hyperbole.

    Commissars lead by example, and summary executions are a last resort. Your analogy undermines your argument.
     
  12. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    The creation of Legion grunts isn't left to imagination. Beating people into submission, and/or brainwashing children, and then asking them whether they like the Legion isn't going to inspire a believable response.

    You're just hand waving @NMLevesque's point.

    You can't brush it aside with "wElL tHeY cAn dEsErT iF tHeY wAnT tOo" knowing full well that we don't know how commonplace desertion is within the rank-and-file and whether or not it's even successful. Do they actually manage to escape or are they captured and executed? It's a mystery box.

    We are told half of the picture and it's all coming from brainwashed, subjugated tribesmen. This is the equivalent to asking a slave if his master is kind and benevolent while his master is within earshot.

    Summary executions are not last resorts in 40k. It's liberally applied by Commissars in that universe - more so in penal and conscript regiments because morale is constantly a coin toss. The Cain and Gaunt novels have skewed the perception substantially.

    If you're hung up on it not being a direct 1:1 then I can say Lanius is just a really bad 40k commissar. Hopefully that'll slip under your logical fallacy radar.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
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  13. KingArthur

    KingArthur The John Doe of NMA

    Jun 25, 2018
    I’d say the analogy of Lanius being a bad commissar is inaccurate, simply based upon how, from what we see, Legion morale is at an all time high. If Lanius was summarily executing soldiers left and right, why would they be so prideful of being a part of the Legion?

    They don’t see the Legion as a detriment, but rather a sense of purpose. A chance to be something more. And Lanius’s methods, if anything, strengthen that point of view in the eyes of the Legionaries.
     
  14. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    Because the Legion track record up until the Hoover Dam has been a snowball of victories. You can always keep morale up when you turn a blind-eye to pillaging, looting, raping provided that you win the battle. The alternative to losing is decimation until you win or there's nothing left. If you're the commanding "officer" you're caught between a toss up of achieving victory at any cost or getting your head crushed by discount Mountain.

    It's anarchy masquerading as enthusiasm and discipline. The Legion immediately falls apart the moment Caesar and Lanius die.
     
  15. Apollyon

    Apollyon It Wandered In From the Wastes

    107
    Apr 29, 2017
    This is besides the point and a different discussion altogether. I was exposing a double standard in NMLevesque's arguments.

    Regardless, important aspects of a commissar are the ability to lead by example and inspire the troops, through both fear and courage. Lanius does these things and does them well. Your analogy stands, and eloquently supports my point, regardless of your intention.
     
  16. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    It's a serious point that gauges whether rank-and-file troops are expressing something of their own volition, and not because the alternative to doing so is being put to the sword. Plus Silus, despite undergoing torture, was quite adamant in his belief that he would sneak out of the airfield with or without the Courier's aid. Whether he does is unknown because it's tied to a non-timed quest.

    It's really pretentious that you keep trying to twist it around as though it supports your point. Knock it off.

    You keep saying he does these things well, and I'm contending that he doesn't really do it that well without scaring people shitless.

    Commissars like Gaunt and Cain lead by example because they actually bond with the men and women of the Regiments they lord over. Even Cain gained the respect of a unit of Catachan fighters who had an alarming rate of reporting dead commissars assigned to their unit who were victims of "Ork snipers." They make a point that the really bad commissars don't last because they usually just get murdered and reported KIA. There's a perceivable level of camaraderie between the commissar and the men.

    There is a total absence of this between Lanius and his men. It begs the question as to whether this inspiration is borne out of fear of getting your face pulverized by Lanius, or because "wow this guy is really cool and even though he's a hard ass he's shown that he can be a likable, relatable hard ass when it comes time to R&R."
     
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  17. Veers

    Veers Fire when ready.

    63
    Jan 3, 2017
    It's easy to forget, but a large amount of content was planned to have the player travel to Arizona and visit the Legion capital city, Flagstaff. They have a large number of free citizens living under them, and tolerate traders and other independent settlements. Legionaries themselves are indoctrinated under Caesar, but they're not the main population of the Legion. Remember that what we see in the Mojave is, literally, an invasion force. They have an economy, cities, a government, and citizens beyond that. Even as far as Lanius goes, Caesar has other Legates. The Legion is much larger and more expansive than just their war camp near Hoover Dam.
     
  18. BigGuyCIA

    BigGuyCIA Yer fond of me Lobster!

    Oct 26, 2016
    Right, but it's also punctuated by the whole women being slaves and breeding stock for officers. There's also the assimilation of tribes that Caesar originally said could maintain their autonomy provided they serve the cause. The 'free citizens' are likely not free at all.

    It's Starship Troopers with sporting goods and machetes instead of pulse rifles.
     
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  19. Veers

    Veers Fire when ready.

    63
    Jan 3, 2017
    Again, slaves in the Mojave. Female citizens, no. Caesar says he believes their role is to build society and keep the Legion going, but that doesn't mean they're all breeding slaves. He even says they're teachers and healers, and if they're responsible for the education of Legionaries, they're obviously pretty important to his entire idea. A female Courier also gets just as much respect for helping him as a male does.

    And I don't really think it's like Starship Troopers.
     
  20. KingArthur

    KingArthur The John Doe of NMA

    Jun 25, 2018
    How is this any different from any ancient or medieval army?

    Also, Boone himself admits when you kill Caesar that it might not even slow the Legion down.

    The Legion may be stricter in terms of leadership than the adaptable NCR, but it isn’t just a house of cards like you make it sound.

    Vulpes Incluta is head of the frumentarii, and as such doesn’t answer to the Legatus. His men are arguably more efficient and adaptable than any others in the entire Legion. Saying that his men will desert when the Legatus dies is extremely short sighted.