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The following pitch meeting was recorded at Bethesda Softworks HQ in Rockville, MD with the development team and the respective CEO, and it documents Crimson Frankie's proposal of a new Fallout: New Vegas DLC, called Behind the Rising Sun .
CF: Hello, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for coming. First of all, I'd like to state that I appreciate the precious time you've dedicated to attend this proposal of a new DLC, Behind the Rising Sun. I can assure you that'll be worth the effort.
First of all, I'll talk about the location and context in which the DLC will operate. Behind the Rising Sun will be set in Modoc, involving the local population and some marauders that migrated from the Den after organising a local criminal group that ravaged the "tough, but honest community" with their constant threats against the social peace and their taking over Becky's Casino, in 2278. So much for prosperity and false safety...
Anyways, this criminal organisation in the Den consisted of remnants of old gangs and slavers - who called themselves The Tears - that did not have any place in Den's thriving population, and wanted their own way; but tried to achieve that by taking advantage of the city's wealth, so they gathered weapons and manpower, and assaulted the whole city at a large scale. In 2280, after they had known about the also prosperous city of Modoc, they wandered east, until they got to the Modoc Forest, now green and alive again due to the intervention of an old friend that fertilised its soil when passing through the area during a long travel east.
The Tears observed the habits of Modoc's populace for months. They structured a plan to seize the city from its inhabitants, drive them off and keep their riches. The surrounding forest would help them keep a low profile in the meantime. But there came a day when a wandering child found their camp hidden in the woods, and ran off to warn his relatives and other Modoc citizens. The Tears busted into the town, killing men, women and children, but having their numbers shortened as well, and were eventually driven out. They would return some days later, burning the surrounding forest to force the citizens out of the place, thus leaving behind all the remaining goods for the raiders.
But what happened was that Modoc citizens sought shelter into the caves of the Ghost Farm, under the rule of their allies, the Slags - led by Vegeir's daughter, Obscura. Farrel was one of the few male survivors, so he became the Modoc remnants' leader, together with Jonny. The Slags welcomed and housed the desperate citizens of Modoc, and soon they all knew they had to call for help, since The Tears would not leave the town so soon (they were still seizing the spoils and setting camp in the area). So they sent a letter through a caravan that was passing through a road nearby to Jas Wilkins (Rose's daughter), in Sloan.
Bethesda: Okay, interesting. But how is the player in the Mojave supposed to know about what happened in Modoc? More specifically, how are they going to trigger the quest in Behind the Rising Sun?
CF: That's easy. As soon as they leave Goodsprings vicinities, a messenger will be triggered. This messenger will say that "Word has been travelling that you're a notorious courier, and that you survived a hell of an injury. Can you consider what's written in this letter? If so, meet Jas Wilkins in Sloan". The letter tells everything about the problem, and that there is a good amount of caps in it for the Courier if he/she can go to the caves in the Ghost Farm and help the citizens of Modoc get back on track and fight off the Tears. After talking to Jas, she will inform the Courier that a caravan will be waiting for them near the Mojave Outpost. If the player exploded the place in Lonesome Road, they will have to get past the Long 15 to reach the exiting point, where the caravan will be relocated.
Bethesda: Fine. But once getting there, how are they not going to meet raiders right up front?
CF: Simple; they will be led into a tunnel right before the town area, and all there will be around are burnt down trees, with no way of crossing them. The tunnel leads into the Slags' cave.
Bethesda: Why Modoc, Frankie? Why not a bigger city like Vault City, New Reno, or Shady Sands (aka NCR)?
CF: Modoc has a great plot that wasn't properly explored, in my opinion. The Slags are a fascinating faction, and the apparently simple concept of Surface-Underground has a lot of significance in a post-apocalyptic setting. Besides, there is a lot more to be done in Modoc, whereas Vault City is a compact area (which shortens the possibilities of side quests, and even the gameplay time), New Reno has a lot of things already found in the base game city, and Shady Sands: well, let's just say that there are not many interesting threats and twists in the home of the greatest army in the west. That's why Modoc, which comprises a much vaster area than just the little town, sounds more interesting.
Bethesda: How will be the caves, and what will there be of interesting things for the player to do?
CF: The caves network will be huge, and comprise half of the DLC area. Traders will be found there (guns and supplies). Side quests involving killing Giant Cave-rats (new creatures) to get meat and hide, killing parasite plants, killing Tears located in separate outposts up above in the forest. All of these will be side quests given to the player by Slag members.
Bethesda: Important that you mention the forest. What about it?
CF: The forest will comprise the other half of the DLC area (together with the town of Modoc itself). I'd say that the forest would be 35%, and Modoc urban area, 15%.
Bethesda: But then wouldn't Modoc be too small, since it's the focus of the DLC?
CF: Let's say Modoc is the whole area, since the forest will be called Modoc National Forest (as it is in the real world). The town itself will be full of good looting, and the Tears will not be hostile at first (which will give way for the player to find trading and even some Caravan players), since there is another way of solving the local problem, not only through force.
Bethesda: Tell us about this second way of solving the problem.
CF: The main quest will involve spying on the Tears and finding weak points in their organisation. Sneaking will be a strong point in the DLC. Killing key members, retrieving ammo for the survivors, until eventually killing their leader and main members. But what can be a bloodshed can also have a diplomatic resolution. The Tears' leader, Big Max, will ask for some favours (scaring off Geckos, and eventually killing their Mother Gecko in a cave in the burnt forest area), until he/she gets enough confidence from the main Tear to be able to talk about negotiation. That will be the peaceful way of solving the main dilemma (not without some quests before to entertain the player).
Bethesda: Fine. Finally, tell us about your idea for the title? How did you come to "Behind the Rising Sun"?
CF: That's in the lyrics of the song "Atomic Bomb Blues" (1947) by Homer Harris featuring Muddy Waters. It's a song with post-apocalyptic themes (the title says it all), and there are three lines in which they sing "Wrote my baby, I was behind the risin' sun (2x)/I told her, don't be uneasy, because I'm behind the atomic bomb". Hiding behind the rising sun gave me the idea of using the Courier's help (as though he was the rising Sun), at the same time hiding in the Slags' caves (a thematic irony, since the Slags themselves can't stand sunlight, yet they have been Modoc's light up until the beginning of the quest). Besides, the song itself carries much of the Fallout concept and feeling.
Bethesda: Thanks, Frankie. We will have an internal meeting and discuss your idea.
CF: Thank you for having me here. Consider it reasonably. Here is a flashdrive with further info on the location and some characters.
- The contents of Frankie's flashdrive are as follows:
Modoc in 2281
Modoc has changed a lot since the last hero's visit. The Slags, originally in good terms with the citizens from the surface, had set deals with the latter, but are now hiding them in their caves from the raiding group (The Tears) that came over from the Den. It has been four months since the raid, and the city of Modoc is in ruins, also serving as settlement for the Tears, who decided to prolong their stay, due to the abundant supplies and good conditions of living. The Modoc forest that surrounds the city, once green, is now burnt down, a vile deed performed by the Tears themselves to trap the Modoc inhabitants inside the city and wear them out until they give up and leave. Many were killed, many survived. Out of the survivors, some hid into the Slags' caves, others fled to the Mojave, living in Westside (some of Westside citizens will eventually mention "I miss home", or "They burnt down our forests back home. At least the NCR keeps presence here, and we can feel safe").
The Tears are a group of raiders that are formed by ex-gangsters and ex-slavers from Den. After Metzger was disposed by the Chosen One, and order was established in town by Becky, the criminals were fragmented, and marginalised by the populace. With no place in the Den's society, they had nowhere to go. In 2270, they reunited under the name of The Tears (a reference to their mournful feelings towards Metzger's death, a scar from the past still fresh on some of them), and eight years later, they began small assaults on the local population. The small robberies and verbal threats became murders, and murders became pillage. In 2279, Den was a hellfire, with Becky having been assassinated by The Tears, and the NCR providing no aid to the community whatsoever. The raiders, seeing no more to do in Den, went east, leaving a permanent outpost there under the command of Aidan, the Torturer. Upon reaching Modoc Forest, they got interested in the riches that made that land grow green, unlike the rest of the Wasteland. They soon found out that a town was in the middle of the forest, and that a thriving society lived there. That was when the aforementioned conflict against the Modoc citizens began.
The Tears will not be hostile towards the player at first, so that the player can have deals with them too, or solve the main quest in a pacific way.
Big Max is the Tears' leader in 2281. He arose to power since he was the one who organised the plot against Becky in Den. He is a strong man (his height is slightly higher than the average character in Fallout: New Vegas), and very smart. He usually stays inside the City Hall.
These can be found inside the Slags' caves, usually close to the main built area. They are simple people, but are desolate by the unfortunate events, and usually will say lines such as "What did we do to them?", "Now, what's gonna happen to Modoc?", "Farrel said that you are strong and can save us. I hope he's right", or "Our forest, burnt down! Many fled east just to avoid that sad sight!".
Farrel was chosen the leader of the Modoc citizens after the incident. He is a former farmer, but has been retired for over two decades. He is a very old and weak man, but full of wisdom and sense of leadership, and says that "These people once treated me like an animal, a thief. Now they're looking up to me. It's amazing what time does". The Courier has to talk to him to receive the first quest, "Planting the Seeds from Below".
Jonny is the son of Balthas, the former city tanner. Now a middle-aged man, Jonny handles guns control and organisation of the militia that will get revenge on the Tears. Jonny is driven by his anger, and says that "I have to honour my father's memory and be a brave man. In all these years, it's the first time I have to prove that I can truly defend my people". Jonny will be a temporary companion to the Courier when in the last stages of the main quest.
The Slags are the caves dwellers in Modoc. They have been living underground since the Sealing, when their ancestors hid from the bombs in the caves. The Slags are peaceful and wise people, and have large farms underground and a well-structured network of corridors and concrete walls. Since the Chosen One passed through Modoc, in 2241, the Slags and the people of Modoc have been living in peace and trading relations.
The daughter of Vegeir (former leader of the Slags), she inherited the leadership over the underground people. She also inherited the resoluteness of her father, and leads her people with generosity and organisation. She can be talked to if the player wants to get side quests that help the Slags with their underground problems.
In 2281, Modoc is divided into three major areas: the Forests, which also comprise the city per se (which is the second major area), and the Slags' caves.
Modoc Forest is a dangerous place, and it has been burnt down by the Tears. There are eight Tears Outposts around the area, all of them identified by map markers. Also, some caverns with mole-rats, geckos, wolves, and radscorpions can be found in considerable numbers. Another kind of danger comes from the local Deathclaws, recently arrived when attracted by the smoke from the fire. Modoc Forest Deathclaws are slightly stronger than average Mojave Wasteland Deathclaws. One of the side quests given by Big Max involves killing a pack of vicious deathclaws that are threatening one of the Tears Outposts, whereas another is about killing some geckos and their "mother" in a nest to the southeast.
The town is partly burnt down, and a lot of debris can be found here and there. The main building is the City Hall, a three-story building that stands in the town centre. Big Max can be found inside the City Hall, as can most of the Tears. They have brought guns and ammo in mass to the place, so it’s a good place for looting. Around the City Hall, there are many houses, and a post office can be found in the east. There, Gregor, a member that is in charge of trading, can be found setting up shop. His products are mostly stolen from Modoc itself. Besides, the farms are located northwest. There is a pack of Brahmin, and some maize farms.
The caves are a vast area that consists of a network of wild tunnels that converge into a closed area, large and with concrete walls. This area is where the Slags reside. There are dormitories and some shops about (a gun shop, an armour shop, a small diner, and a clinic). The wild parts surrounding the Slags’ HQ contain many Giant Cave-rats, and killing them earns a good image towards the Slags.
Planting the Seeds from Below – Upon arriving in Modoc, the player is directed to Farrel, who assigns him/her with reconnaissance missions (smaller objectives in the main quest, such as stealing guns from the Tears, finding out about their plans on staying, stealing documents from Big Max’s personal safe), and ultimately tells him/her to gather all equipment and join Jonny and the other Modoc citizens and Slags to attack the raiders. Alternatively, the player can suggest a pacific ending to the dilemma, talking Big Max off Modoc lands (the Tears’ leader will ask for some favours first, which come in many side quests). After finishing the main quest, all the Modoc inhabitants will be seen coming back to the surface, and Farrel will give Jonny the power over the administration of the town.
Behind the Rising Sun features new creatures (such as the Modoc Forest Deathclaw, or the Giant Cave-rat), armours (like the Slag Leather Armour), and guns (such as the Slag Spy Shotgun, a silenced pump-action shotgun).
- As with all other add-ons in Fallout: New Vegas, Behind the Rising Sun raises the player's level cap by 5.
- If the Courier kills Big Max and the Tears, some of their heads will be found on stakes stuck on the ground just outside Modoc.
- The player can return to Modoc whenever they want after the DLC is completed. The caravan will be in the Mojave Outpost as usual. The traders in Modoc will be back, and the Slags will still have small, repeatable side quests (hunting down Giant Cave-rats, collecting gecko hides...).
Behind the scenes
- The Modoc National Forest is a real place in northern California.
- Obscura's name comes from Latin feminine for "dark", "obscure". The name may sound strange for regular humans, but it is considered honourable among Slags.