Who are you, that you do not know your history?”— Ulysses
What is the Divide?
Since this is the first time you've seen this, I'll start off by explaining to you exactly what this is. The Divide is a weekly segment which will take a topic, question, or a concept, and two users with different opinions on the subject will give their views and sides of the story. This subject may or may not be Fallout-related. After their views have been shared, other users may vote on a poll deciding whose point of view they agree with more. Users may also leave comments discussing the subject themselves. In the future, should anyone wish to participate in the Divide, or if anyone has any poll ideas, please feel free to leave me a message on my talk page!
What is going to be tested in the Divide this week?
This week's subject is the Capital Wasteland chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel. The questions asked will be as follows: 1.) What do you think of the overall goals of the Capital Wasteland Brotherhood of Steel? 2.) How do you feel about Elder Owyn Lyons? 3.) If you could change them, would you? What would you change and why/why not?
Who will be Dividing this subject?
On one side, we have Agent C, who is debating in support of the Capital Wasteland BoS. On the other, we have Tagaziel, who is infamously against the Capital Wasteland BoS.
First user's side
In Defence of Lyons
Within us fallout fans who are proud to wear the badge "Dinosaur", the portrayal of the Brotherhood in Fallout 3 is often Criticized; Lyons is accused of abandoning the goals and codexes of the Brotherhood - but this criticism is in my view unfair.
Common among this criticism is that the Brotherhood have turned into a bunch of "Do Gooders" at the expense of their goals of preserving technology. However, in this criticism I feel that several key factors are overlooked:
To quote a man who once conquered most of Europe, an army marches on its stomach. Lyons without outsiders has no way of feeding his troops, to quote a man who should know, initiate Cabbot, the Brotherhood are not farmers - those with interest in such things leave the Brotherhood, so growing enough to feed his group is not an option except in the extreme long term. There is no supply train from Lost hills, leaving Lyons with two non exclusive choices - trade or raid. The Brotherhood has a long history of trading with outsiders - In Fallout 1 you can join a trade caravan to lost hills, Trade caravans aren't in the habit of going places where there there's nothing to trade. The attacks on the Super mutants in DC are as much for their own enlightened self interest as to be seen as Heroes - The BOS are not immune from Super Mutant bullets. Also helps convince people to keep prices down: "We're the brotherhood, we keep the mutants off your back, feeding us is in your best interest, how about 50% off?" The Brotherhood haven't abandoned their goals - they're raiding a library for lost knowledge and are rebuilding Liberty Prime. Okay, Survival may have bumped down the priority a little, but they're still the Brotherhood, they're still preserving yesterday's knowledge. This leaves the last possible problem, and its a biggie, Purity and Lyon's free water supply to anyone who asks... But again, this is in their own enlgihtened self interest. Keeping the people who are creating new food alive and trade routes to get food from elsewhere is in their best interest - remember they aren't farmers, and a healthy farmer with clean water produces food better than a farmer with accute radiation poisoning. Meanwhile, the actual technology that produces the water is firmly under their control.
In short, Lyon's goals are no different to the rest of the Brotherhood. He's just chosen to be a bit smarter than the average bear and not be a complete bastard. In the long term, his actions will allow the Brotherhood to better achieve its proper goals - the goals that some feel he's abandoned in exchange for a long term view.
If anything, I'd only change the outcasts, and make this difference more noticable. The outcasts, rather than barter for food would just simply seize by force - remember they aren't farmers and if they aren't going to trade, they have to get their food somehow; given their weapons and armor they could be the most effective raiding force in the Capital Wasteland. Make it appear that the Outcasts are taking the "easy short term" solution, whereas Lyons is building for the long term growth of the BOS - he would find a great ally in Veronica, who seems to have the same thoughts, but isn't in a position to do anything about them.
Agent c 20:52, May 31, 2012 (UTC)
Second user's side
The problem with Lyons is that he doesn't have a clear goal, nor a well defined, sound strategy. His leadership of the D.C. detachment can be considered erratic at best and irredeemably incompetent at worst. First, let us consider what the Brotherhood actually does, as opposed to its stated goals. Owyn Lyons makes a big point of helping the locals, as do his men. But how do they help them? Why, by hunting supermutants in downtown Washington DC! That's important, right?
Well, no. No, it isn't. Supermutants have been infesting the Capital Wasteland for nearly two centuries now and until Lyons' arrival, the people of the wasteland had no real problem with them. Practically no one in any of the major settlements mentions them as a problem, not even as a nuisance (with the single exception of Big Town, a town connected to the abysmal failure that is Little Lamplight), so the only conclusion is that they aren't nearly as much of a threat as Lyons makes them out to be. Meanwhile, real, tangible threats to the wastelanders roam freely unchecked: slavers of Paradise Falls, savage raider groups, deathclaws, crazed robots... The list of existing threats is long, yet Lyons completely ignores actual problems and focuses all the efforts on the most irrelevant issue: supermutant infestation in the uninhabited downtown Washington D.C.
Did I say uninhabited? Oh no, wait. It is inhabited. By Lyons' personal sycophant, Three Dog. A radio that only says positive things about you and fights the "Good Fight" (whatever that may be) surely must be a strategic target, as a source of propaganda, to win the hearts and minds of the locals? Maybe. But in order for propaganda to work, there needs to be some fertile soil for its seeds to grow, and Lyons so far has only left barren, inhospitable rocks in his wake. For example, there is an actual supermutant outpost a short walk from Rivet City, an outpost that threatens caravans passing north of Jefferson's Memorial on their way to the carrier. It falls within the DC urban area and as such should be within Lyons' scope of operations. But mysteriously, while he can devote entire companies to defend an irrelevant radio station and its antenna, when it comes to actually defending humans, he's mysteriously unable to do anything.
This can be considered the real reason behind Henry Casdin's departure and the formation of the Outcasts. He could stomach a shift in the focus of the mission, but when Lyons' leadership became increasingly erratic and the entire Washington chapter gradually turned into a parody of a knightly order, he decided that enough is enough, and left to pursue the original goal of the entire trip to DC: identifying, stockpiling and cataloguing tech. The biggest irony here is that Casdin and the Outcasts are actually better at doing what Lyons says he does, and they aren't even trying. Consider the fact that Outcasts have long range patrols scouring the Capital Wasteland for technology, killing anything that poses a danger to them. These patrols unintentionally make the wasteland much safer, as they are exterminating raiders, yao guais, deathclaws and all manner of other threats, big and small. Then add to it a second fact: that Outcasts actively offer deals to outsiders, exchanging valuable medical supplies and military-grade ordnance for technology. They even reward people for bringing them spare parts. And this is far more than Lyons has ever done for the wastelanders. Which would explain why he forbade everyone in the Citadel from speaking of the Outcasts - it wouldn't do to be constantly reminded of just how big a failure you are.
Some might consider the water caravans after Project Purity is taken and reactivated as proof that Lyons is helping the wastelanders, by giving them free water. However, the entire debacle about Project Purity is nothing, but a lengthy trail of incompetence on every possible level. First, the entire rationale for Lyons' aggression against the Enclave is Li's explanation that "it's just wrong" for the Enclave to occupy the purifier. Lyons makes no attempt to communicate with them, no attempt to reason, negotiate or strike a deal. No, he designates them as a threat and everyone in his cheerful little fanclub immediately supports this idea and goes to fight them without a second thought. It gets better when the purifier is back in Brotherhood hands. Then, Lyons gets another bright idea: let's exterminate the Enclave and simultaneously start giving people water absolutely for free! The stupidity of this decision should be self evident, but I'll list the key points just in case:
- Pursuing the Enclave means stretching troops thin, and Lyons never had much of them to begin with.
- Caravans are a lengthy, expensive venture, that demand a large investment of men, supplies, ammunition and time. Lyons doesn't have much to spare, yet decides to kickstart the program either way, because he's good willed. Unfortunately, good will doesn't buy food, ammunition and good will.
- In conclusion, Lyons incompetence will cost him his entire personal army in the end, as he's constantly generating loss, losing men and supplies, while getting nothing in return (except for personal satisfaction).
If after reading the above you still think that Lyons has a bright future ahead of him, I'll refer you to a blog post I made, addressing this very problem.
And now, the last point. What would I change? Personally, I'd scrap the Brotherhood (maybe leaving the Outcasts in, but with a different name for obvious reasons), the Enclave and the supermutants altogether, and build an original story revolving around original factions. Maybe play up the Chinese-American conflict and show a struggle for control going on between a powerful ghoul nation built in the ruins of DC by ghoulified Chinese infiltrators and American survivors disillussioned by the war and various factions that popped up in the wasteland? Megaton even has a dual-language sign for the Brass Lantern.
That is all. Tagz out.
So...you've heard it, Nukapedians. With whom do you agree?
- I would like to convey my personal thanks to DragonBorn96, who made the logo that you see at the top of this page. Bravo, Lord Frazzlybottom! *claps*