Lonesome Road Talk (obviously spoilers)

Discussion in 'Fallout: New Vegas Discussion' started by WelcomeToNewReno, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    The Mojave contains a false mint for bottlecaps and, if I remember correctly, the false bottlecaps have no value. Mojave traders aren't stupid.
     
  2. DevilTakeMe

    DevilTakeMe Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    463
    Sep 12, 2011
    It's not that the counterfeit caps have no value. Alice McLafferty said that an influx of even a few fake caps (even a few thousand) here and there won't damage the economy, but a working press can flood the market and cause inflation, devaluing currency.

    It's only completely obvious counterfeits that lose their value (notably, there are actual counterfeit bottle caps which have no value, while in the Sunset Sasparilla Headquarters (with the bottlecap press), there are crates of bottlecaps that have been minted there that are considered "real."

    That could be explained that the counterfeits are somehow flawed enough to not be accepted as currency, while the printed caps retain value.

    The assumption, of course, is that the chits from the commissary are so close to bottlecaps that they're considered the real deal to other merchants.
     
  3. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    I was talking about the counterfeit bottle caps in the shack, not the press-busting mission.

    Ok. But that's nonsense.
     
  4. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    Didn't get that feeling. All LR estabilishes is that the Courier at one point in his life delivered a parcel from Navarro to the Divide. Everything else is either Ulysses' speculation (to which the player can object, in fact) or up to player choice (see conversation options with ED-E when Ulysses speaks through him).

    The original ED-E was sent to the West Coast by Whitley to avoid disassembly. The one in the Divide was copied by Hopeville and Ashton assembly systems. It's a bit of a stretch, sure, but I wager it was done because using the original ED-E could possibly break his companion scripts and quest triggers (and we all know how fragile they are).

    Site of a Big MT meteorological experiment gone awry, which was what created the dust storms in the first place. Abandoned for many years, it was settled in late 23rd century and eventually occupied by NCR forces.

    Then came the 'splodey McGuffin.

    People don't always make perfect sense, nor do they have to. Ulysses lost his original tribe to the Legion, was indoctrinated into it and suffered through the Divide disaster. If he made perfect sense after that, it'd feel cheesy, at least to me.

    Got to agree here.
     
  5. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    And then smacks me about the head with it. The point of this DLC, according to MCA, was to show how even the smallest choices can have major consequences. But this wasn't a choice. So it's stupid.

    Cool, so you agree. A better way of adding ED-E was already posted elsewhere in this thread. This was clumsy.

    I was talking about the idyllic nation Ulysses glorifies. What am I supposed to care about it? I never knew it.

    Yeah, great, but we're talking about literary characters. Ulysses sucks as an antagonist.

    And then works for the Legion, and attempts to disable NCR so the Legion can dominate. Uh-huh.
     
  6. DevilTakeMe

    DevilTakeMe Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    463
    Sep 12, 2011
    I disagree that Ulysses sucks as an antagonist. I like that Ulysses has insane backwards logic. He's trying to "shoot the messenger" without actually shooting the Courier, in itself a logical fallacy, as it's not the bearer of bad news who needs blame. I don't mind that Ulysses has it wrong from the start.

    It's the circumstances in which he becomes an antagonist that I find unfulfilling.

    Such as you point out that there's no choice in what made Ulysses antagonistic to the Courier. The Courier brings a package to Hopeville, which causes the destruction. There's no proper build-up to the conflict between Ulysses and the Courier, and it kind of smacks of a stalker preying on someone else for an imagined slight against them. The emotional investment and tension just aren't there.

    Not to mention, it inserts backstory that the Courier has been to Hopeville, even though we get absolutely no background on the area or what it used to be like except after the fact.

    He's not a big fan of the Legion these days. He was a Vexillarius as well as a Frumentarii, it seems. Carried the flag of the Bull, but became enamored of the Old World at some point and carried the US flag from that point on.

    Which he then believes will fall apart once they reach the Pacific Ocean, dissolving into infighting once there are no more worlds for Caesar to conquer. All he's really doing is breaking the stalemate and then letting the Legion kill itself off under its own weight. He wouldn't care if the Legion were destroyed by missiles instead, for the NCR would overextend itself and eventually collapse (though that might take longer).
     
  7. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Based on the fact that you can in fact blow up the heart of both the NCR and the Legion, that doesn't really work. He can effectively destroy them both but chooses not to based on some ill-defined hunch that the Legion will dissolve anyway? Hah.
     
  8. Lexx

    Lexx Testament to the ghoul lifespan
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    Someone on the SA forums wrote some stuff about the DLCs. It's pretty interesting and worth to share, imo.

    About the DLCs:
    [spoiler:3c548d3b38]
    In Dead Money we have the theme of letting go of your hopes/dreams/fortune/etc being the hardest thing. We have this expressed through the vault full of gold bars at the end that you cannot take with you if you want to get out of there alive. (Lets just forget about abusing game mechanics or all the stimpacks you can take with you or whatever other bull**** you want to come up with. You are missing the point) You go through all of this to get to the treasure and in the end you have to let go and just leave. When you are asked what compelled you to follow the radio message to the Sierra Madre the answer that comes up the most is that you were curious, you wanted to know what you would find. There's also the recurring theme of beginning again.

    Honest Hearts is kind of a separate thing because it was made my Joshua Sawyer instead of Chris Avellone so it doesn't really fit into the ongoing story. There are some intertwining things about Ulysses training the White Legs though. They end up worshipping him instead of the Legion, just like how the Dead Horses worship Graham instead of his Mormon ideals. Following a symbol, not what it represents.

    Old World Blues is about history repeating itself. The world was destroyed by science and stupidity a long time ago. Now we've got this group of idiotic scientists living forever and creating scientific horrors with no regard for the consequences, trapped inside an endless loop of death and rebirth. They gently caress around, play at war then they have their memories wiped and start all over again. They don't know there is a world outside their crater, they are literally shortsighted. We also have Elijah, Christine and Ulysses running around here bringing Dead Money and Lonesome Road into all this. Ulysses asked the head brain a question that freaked him so badly he erased all memory of their encounter. ("Who are you, that would forget your own history?")

    In Lonesome Road we have Ulysses sending you the message, come and find me. He talks to you through ED-E and tells you how to reach him. Why you ask, why do I care about any of this? Why should I come find you? He tells you, because then you'll know the answers. Why I'm here, why I hate you etc. You can leave if you want, there is nothing stopping you but you will never know the real story. It comes back to curiosity. He is talking to you the player as much as your character. Why are you playing this DLC? Because you want to know what the deal is with this Ulysses guy. You don't have to play, you can just go and take over Hoover Dam. You have his plan, setting off the nukes. Repeating history. Your history of destroying the Divide. World history when we blew ourselves up. Pay attention to his dialogue and he will mention that he wants to "begin again" and that letting go is the hardest thing etc. The core themes of the DLCs are all brought back in Lonesome Road and in Ulysses himself. [/spoiler:3c548d3b38]

    And about Ulysses himself:
    [spoiler:3c548d3b38]

    I'm not sure if I'm underestimating goons but I don't think you are actually getting the whole deal with Ulysses. He's not an ultra badass warrior poet genius character. He's an incredibly messed up individual whose life, culture and way of thinking was shattered by the Legion. His tribe believed a lot in symbols and what they mean (his whole thing where he freaks out at the White Legs copying his hair style without getting the meaning behind it) He takes his name not from Odysseus the traveler but from Ulysses S. Grant, the warrior who turned a country warring under 2 flags into a country living under one.

    He follows Caesar but he doesn't give a poo poo about the Legion or believe in anything it stands for beyond a symbol that could possibly unite the land. If everyone lives under one banner then nobody gets their lives destroyed by someone bearing another. He wears his coat with the American Flag on the back because that's what symbol this land used to follow. A symbol more powerful than the Bull or the Bear, a symbol that united a nation. The other Ulysses believed in that symbol and it worked for him.

    Then there is you, just a regular courier. You are ferrying poo poo from out West into the Mojave and back. In between the two there is some small town built on an old US Army missile base and they decorate with American Flags cause those things are everywhere around here. As you are going to and fro you are creating trade lines with this place and their town is getting a bit more successful just out of necessities sake. It becomes a trading hub between the main civilization back in the west and the frontier of the Mojave. NCR decides they want this place because its got great strategic value, since the route to the Mojave goes right through the middle of this place. The Legion decides if they want it then we'll just gently caress it up.

    Ulysses gets sent down to do some damage and he sees this place, a bustling trading hub covered in symbols of the Old World. Not NCR or Legion, just good ol' USA. It's a big deal to him so he wants to know more, he's really into history so he finds out this place used to be basically nothing until the Courier started traveling along the road and opening up trade lines. Now this town, covered in symbols is a symbol itself. Ulysses decides this place is important. It represents something more powerful than the Bull or the Bear. This is the Courier's home, the place he built, one man, up from nothing. A symbol of the Old World returning, strong as ever. Ulysses resolves to find out more about this great man. Or woman but lets say its a dude for simplicities sake.

    The Courier is basically just a regular dude delivering packages, the reason he doesn't really remember The Divide is because it didn't mean anything to him. Its this town along the way to the Mojave. It used to be pretty small but they expanded a bit. It's not a symbol to you so you don't really remember it. It's just a place. You pass through hundreds of towns a year. You never stayed long or did anything there so why remember it?

    Ulysses is doing his thing when he finds out the Courier is going to be delivering a package to The Divide. He's coming back! He hasn't been around in a while, this must be important. So he tracks down the Courier and starts shadowing him. He sees the package and its some computer gizmo with a US flag stamped on it. Hoooooly shiiiit something is going down here. Ulysses is all about this. This is like The Symbol. The Courier drops off the package then keeps on walking. Ulysses doesn't notice, he's transfixed by this package. What could it be? Someone plugs it into a computer, ****s around with it and it starts talking. This is probably a countdown I'm assuming. It stops and a bunch of nukes in their silos under the town go off and there is fire and earthquakes destruction everywhere. The Courier destroyed his home, the place he built with a symbol of the Old World. This is so uncool. Ulysses life and beliefs are shattered once again even harder than before. Later he's all depressed delivering packages when he sees the order forms for this latest hob. The Courier's name is on this list, mother****er is still alive! He's can deliver this platinum chip thing, I've got plans to make.

    Basically Ulysses is a goon who finally meets Christian Bale and cries when Bale tells him he doesn't give a poo poo about Batman, its just a job for money. [/spoiler:3c548d3b38]
     
  9. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    His description of Ulysses vaguely describes but circles around the main problem of Ulysses, which is exactly that, vagueness. Ulysses believes in notions that have no substance except what you attribute them, namely flags and nations, and then utterly refuses to attribute any substance to them. That's inherently self-contradictory, and it's what makes him so vague and unsatisfying.

    Also the description of the Divide as the perfect place or the Courier's role in it as "his home" still make no sense.

    The thematic ties, especially with Dead Money, did occur to me too, and I mention as much in my review. There's a solid if shifting arc in theme underlying all the DLC.
     
  10. Gethsemani

    Gethsemani First time out of the vault

    6
    Sep 22, 2011
    Ulysses is obsessed with the power of symbols. It is apparent in the White Leg recording, where he is apalled to realize that the White Legs uses the symbols of his old tribe (the dreadlocks) without realizing what they mean. He realizes that Caesar is the symbol of the Legion and the only thing keeping it together and that he followed Caesar, not the Legion.

    But Ulysses is aso disillusioned with his symbols. No matter how powerful the old USA was, no matter what power the old flag represented, the USA is gone. His old tribe is gone, their symbols now used in a hollow mockery by the White Legs. Caesar will die and with the symbole gone, the legion will fade. The NCR has a symbol but beneath it is a leadership who doesn't seem to truly believe in their own symbol.

    To me, Ulysses seems to be a man who lost his way. The symbols that he has spent his life attributing meaning to have become hollow to him. Ulysses has realized that history is bound to make all those symbols empty, no one will remember his tribe, eventually people will forget about the USA. By destroying the NCR and letting the Legion collapse, he's sending their symbols to the same fate.

    It is the act of a man who has realized that everything he thought had meaning actually has none. And he blames the Courier for making him see it, with the destruction of the settlement he found in the Divide.
     
  11. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Well stated, a good summary, though you're not telling me anything new.

    I'd say, again, the disappointment comes from the lack of substance in his philosophy, his obsession with what is essentially meaningless, which ends up making him a rambling madman.
     
  12. Gethsemani

    Gethsemani First time out of the vault

    6
    Sep 22, 2011
    Isn't that kind of the point? Ulysses has held onto his symbols even after they've lost their meaning. Ulysses as such can be seen as the counter-point to the Courier within the DLC arc. The Courier has learned the lessons in Sierra Madre, Zion National Park and Big MT. But Ulysses didn't, he came looking for answers while asking the wrong questions.

    As such, Ulysses is a rambling madman, I think that's the point. He's a representation of what the Courier could have been. Without the courier as his counter-point, Ulysses lacks meaning and substance. But put into relation with the Courier, he becomes a reflection of what happens when you fail to let go and cling to symbols that's lost their meaning.
     
  13. willooi

    willooi It Wandered In From the Wastes

    128
    Aug 23, 2010
    Anyone know what it's like to go through LR via a Legion playthrough? Surely if you share that hatred of NCR, despite Ulysses' grudge against you, it'd be 'easier' to have him side with you (even if it's via a nuke-NCR endgame)?

    Dammit, wish I hadn't deleted my previous Legion-centric saves...
     
  14. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Oh yes, that metanarrative is key, and is again something I mention in my review (it is funny to see many of my own points reflected in other people's thinking here), but that doesn't make the actual narrative, or its culmination any more satisfying. I think most people will feel disinterested and let down by LR's arc (the bad set-up of Hopeville, the blame put on you for something you - the player - never did, the cliche evil villain end), no matter how interesting it is as a narrative experiment in retrospect.
     
  15. Gethsemani

    Gethsemani First time out of the vault

    6
    Sep 22, 2011
    I definately agree there. My first thought as the ending slideshow rolled was "That's it?" which felt extremly odd seeing as how I had been quite happy with the endings for the other DLCs (Honest Hearts excluded). My main point of contention againt LR is probably that it promises us answers that never show up and keep so many things vague that it just barely stands as its' own story. It drops hints of things that has happened, about letting us know something more about our silent, faceless protagonist. But in the end? We are left knowing that you dropped something off in the Divide and that it activated the bombs. That's it.

    While I can see how they wanted to keep things vague as to not step on the player's idea of their courier, it also make things messy. Because it hints at answers we are never given. All in all, LR is a very weak narrative on its' own and only raises itself up when you take the overarching DLC arc into account.

    Especially the fact that we never get to see the community that the courier supposedly destroyed jars me. It would have allowed for some introspection and some emotional attachment to the scenario presented. As it is now, we are told that the courier is a bad, bad person according to Ulysses but we never get to experience it for ourselves. It is that lack of emotional hook that really puts LR down for me. I was going through it because I had laid down ten euros to play it, not because I wanted to confront Ulysses.

    As with Honest Hearts, I'm torn in my feelings for Lonesome Road. On one side it has a very interesting meta-narrative and it ties up the theme of the DLC-arc nicely. But as a stand alone product it feels lacklustre.
     
  16. :::SILUS:::

    :::SILUS::: Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    313
    Aug 18, 2011
    Ok, i see everyone is acting shy so i'll go ahead and be the first one to ask. Is Ulysses a gay cannibal? :?
     
  17. DevilTakeMe

    DevilTakeMe Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    463
    Sep 12, 2011
    Crazy person thinking crazy isn't exactly unheard of.

    It does work. He doesn't object if you decide to fire missiles at both the NCR and Legion.
     
  18. The Enclave 86

    The Enclave 86 Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    394
    Jul 5, 2010
    The Courier didn't deliver any parcel from Navarro, rather if you free ED-E it is explained that Ulysess over-road his systems and made him think that he had found Navarro where Ulysess was.
     
  19. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Eh, Enclave 86? The detonator the Courier delivers to the Divide was of Enclave design, though I don't remember it specifically being mentioned in relation to Navarro, but it was probably from there. Not sure what ED-E has to do it with it.

    Also, am I the only one who mentally pronounced ED-E as "Edie" as in female, rather than "Eddie" as in male.
     
  20. The Enclave 86

    The Enclave 86 Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    394
    Jul 5, 2010
    I don't recall it being said as being of Enclave design, rather that it had Old World symbols on it - presumably government/military so I guess it is Enclave.

    Speak to ED-E in the pod that he's in after getting captured, he says that Ulysess's merely took control of his systems by making him think that his goal - Navarro - was close by.

    No you are not, it's still irrelevant though. Sure Whitley now calls it Eddie but he was touched in the head and thought it was his son; ultimately it's an asexual machine with a personally over it's base functions - a lot like the Sink machines.