|For Joshua Graham in Van Buren, see Joshua Graham (Van Buren).|
The Malpais Legate
The Burned Man
Joshua Graham (known formerly as the Malpais Legate, and in folk legends as the Burned Man) is a Mormon missionary, co-founder of Caesar's Legion and its first Legate. After Graham's troops suffered a humiliating defeat in the First Battle of Hoover Dam, Caesar ordered him coated in pitch, set on fire, and tossed into the Grand Canyon, as a reminder that failure will not be tolerated, even among the upper ranks. Graham survived the fall, unlikely as it would seem. Stripped of all power and glory, he returned to New Canaan like a prodigal son. Upon learning of the city's destruction, he became the acting war-chief of the Dead Horses, aiming to deliver God's wrath upon the White Legs. His legend and his new moniker, the "Burned Man," strikes fear into tribals and superstitious legionaries who believe he lives on as a vengeful spirit.
- 1 Background
- 2 Interactions with the player character
- 3 Inventory
- 4 Notes
- 5 Notable quotes
- 6 Appearances
- 7 Developer quotes
- 8 Behind the scenes
- 9 Gallery
- 10 Sources
- 11 References
Joshua Graham was born in Ogden, Utah and spent his formative years learning the trade of a missionary. In 2246, he left to spread the word of God across the wastes. He traveled along the I-15 and route 89 south to Arizona. It was along the way into Arizona, that he would have his fateful encounter with two Followers of the Apocalypse, Bill Calhoun and Edward Sallow, who had been dispatched to study the tribal dialects that had begun to emerge in the post-apocalyptic world. Graham, who was fluent in many of these languages, decided to help them on their task and joined the nine-person expedition.
In 2247, the group visited the Blackfoot tribe. Whether they were tricked or whether Graham made an error with translation is not clear, but what is clear is that that the small group of the Followers of the Apocalypse soon realized that they would not be allowed to leave. At the time, the Blackfoots were at war with seven other tribes, a war they were clearly losing. Unwilling to be destroyed along with them, and against the wishes of Calhoun, Sallow chose to use his knowledge to train the Blackfoot tribe in the art of warfare after witnessing their lack of knowledge firsthand. He showed them how to clean and maintain guns, operate with small unit tactics, create their own explosives, and to strike at their weakest enemies first; divide et impera - divide and conquer. He quickly impressed them enough to the point where he was made their leader and took the name "Caesar". Joshua Graham remained with Caesar as a translator but soon enough, translation became giving orders and giving orders became leading in battle, training and terrorizing. Calhoun, for his part, was sent back to the Followers to inform them of Caesar's actions. Eventually, all seven tribes were either destroyed or incorporated into Caesar's army, and at this time, Caesar, together with Graham, formed the Caesar's Legion out of the tribes that had either been conquered or had chosen to capitulate to avoid extermination, and Graham became Caesar's first Legate.
Though he was neither a particularly brilliant strategist nor tactically flexible, his menace and brutality were infamous. The atrocities he committed made him feared by friend and foe alike. He was dangerous, unpredictable and, above all else, legendary for being impossible to kill, even by NCR Rangers: his "death" at the hands of 1st Recon sharpshooters was reported no less than five times. Such was Caesar's trust in him that he was tasked with leading the Legion at the First Battle of Hoover Dam, so that the Legion could use it as a power source, and a staging point from which to eventually take the city of New Vegas itself. The Legion were initially successful, and the NCR initiated a tactical retreat to Boulder City, laying explosives and sniping Legion officers as they approached. Graham, unable to adapt his tactics, and intoxicated with his own victory, did not smell the C4 until it was too late, and the Legion were dealt a crushing blow, as the city exploded around them. Caesar, infuriated with his loss, held Graham personally responsible and ordered his execution. The Legate was coated in pitch, set on fire and thrown into the Grand Canyon by the Praetorian Guard as an example to the rest of the Legion that Caesar wouldn't accept failure from even the highest ranked members.
Even years after what is generally assumed to be his death, Caesar's Legion still does not speak of him by his true name under penalty of death, by order of Caesar. Any rumors of his survival are played down by the higher ranks of the Legion, but lower ranking legionaries and slaves speak of the Burned Man as if he is a vengeful spirit, waiting to return. Caesar is very much aware of his survival, sending scouts and assassins to patrol the territory east of the Colorado River for any sign of him, betraying a fear that the Burned Man may seek revenge.
His second baptism at the hands of the Legion and subsequent survival transformed him, rekindled his faith and removed his pride and vanity. After an agonizing three-month journey, he left the Grand Canyon through the northern edge and he returned to New Canaan, where he was welcomed as if he had never done anything to shame them. His return would inevitably mean doom for the Mormon city, as Caesar desperately wished to see him dead. In 2281, the White Legs, on orders from Caesar, wiped out the city, killing everyone. The remaining thirty or so refugees scattered, and Daniel, another Mormon missionary, and Graham made their way towards Zion Canyon, where they settled together with the native tribes. Still pursued by the tribe, Graham put his mind to defending the valley, becoming the War Chief of the Dead Horses and attempting to rally them against the White Legs as Caesar had rallied the Blackfoots against their enemies years ago, in the hopes of breaking the spine of the enemy tribe and taking vengeance for New Canaan; as well as finding redemption for his past crimes.
Despite his former allegiance to Caesar's Legion, the Burned Man does not hold any ill will towards any allies with the NCR. To him, the NCR is still redeemable in his eyes, stating that the greed of man is what led to the Great War and that only through faith in God and prayer and genuine acts of kindness can humanity hope to prevent history from repeating itself.
His hatred towards the Legion stems not just from the fact he was made an example of by Caesar, but also Caesar's belief that his will alone will unite the wasteland under the Legion's banner and his refusal to let anything stop him. Ultimately his greatest enmity is for himself; for letting himself get swept up in Caesar's rise to power, for falling in line as his Legate and for perpetrating the innumerable atrocities that helped establish his rule. What he believed may have been the start of a society of equals under one banner has become a totalitarian culture dominated by one man.
Interactions with the player character
|This character is a temporary party member.|
|This character is a merchant.||Caps: 1500-2000|
|This character can repair items.||Repair cap: 100|
|This character starts quests.|
|This character is involved in quests.|
- Arrival at Zion: Follows-Chalk thinks you should speak to Joshua for some help for your stay in Zion.
- Chaos in Zion: Killing Joshua Graham (or another storyline-essential character) will start this quest.
- Civilized Man's Burden: Joshua may be asked of his opinion on Follow's-Chalk leaving the tribe and exploring the civilized lands.
- Flight from Zion, Crush the White Legs: During the final quests in Honest Hearts, Graham will become a temporary companion to the Courier.
- Gone Fishin', Roadside Attraction, Tourist Trap: After speaking to him, he will instruct you to collect items to supply to the Sorrows.
- The Grand Staircase: After having obtained the map of the Grand Staircase, you may give it to either Joshua or Daniel.
Effects of players actions
- If you have killed Caesar, you have a dialogue option to tell Graham that Caesar is dead. He does not give much of a reaction, but notes his surprise that Caesar died before he did and gives his opinion about the future of the Legion.
|#||Slide||Voice-over narration||In-game condition|
|1||After a long and troubled life, Joshua Graham finally found rest in Zion. In the end, his unswerving militancy had accomplished what the NCR's finest sharpshooters and Caesar's wrath could not. The New Canaanites took comfort in the belief that their brother's soul would again dwell in Zion at the end of days.||Kill Joshua Graham.|
|2||The threat of the White Legs ended, Joshua Graham helped the Sorrows and Dead Horses tend to their fallen comrades and secure Zion. The Courier's words had stayed Joshua's wrath in his darkest hour, and in sparing Salt-Upon-Wounds, he was changed. While he continued to advocate militant opposition to the enemies of New Canaan, he sometimes showed quarter to those who crossed his family. Eventually this new spirit would diminish the myth of the Burned Man in distant lands - a small price for the peace it brought to Joshua Graham.||Help Joshua Graham defend Zion Valley and exterminate the White Legs, then convince Joshua Graham to spare Salt-Upon-Wounds.|
|3||With the White Legs crushed, Joshua Graham led the Sorrows and Dead Horses in tearing apart and burning the corpses of their enemies. He set about training his army in the "Way of the Canaanite," and soon the New Canaanites and tribes of Zion were feared well into the Mojave. Legends of the Burned Man grew even more depraved, and terrifying.||Help Joshua Graham crush the White Legs and then allow Joshua Graham to execute Salt-Upon-Wounds.|
|4||Though the Courier had stopped Joshua Graham from executing Salt-Upon-Wounds, the war chief still fell in battle. The White Legs defeated at Three Marys, Joshua led the Sorrows and Dead Horses in tending to their comrades and burning the corpses of their foes. He continued to advocate militant opposition to the enemies of New Canaan and showed little quarter to those he fought. And yet he was changed. He no longer reveled in the brutality and cruelty for which he had been known in his former life. His inner demons, if not extinguished, were at the least... appeased.||Help Joshua Graham crush the White Legs and kill Salt-Upon-Wounds yourself.|
|Joshua Graham's armor|
Joshua Graham's headwrap
|A Light Shining in Darkness|
Joshua's Pistol Whippin' .45
Drops on death
- Ulysses believes that Graham's personality will be the end of him.
- Even when he was the Legate of Caesar's Legion, Joshua Graham always wore his personal SLCPD armor.
- In the G.E.C.K., Joshua Graham is defined with the unique class, "Destroying Angel", similar to how his counterpart Legate Lanius has the unique class, "Legionary Badass".
- When you first enter dialogue with Graham, he will refer to you as "the Courier he didn't expect", and then go on to say, "then again, he wouldn't have come with a caravan". The implication is that he expected Ulysses, rather than the player, to come and attempt to assassinate him, adding to the evidence of Ulysses' allegiance to Caesar's Legion.
- If you ask him a "personal" question about his burns, he says that he is in constant pain from them. He reveals that he is immune to chems (only stimpaks work on him), and every day has to remove the bandages he wore the previous day and put on fresh ones. He mentions the pain he feels when removing the bandages, saying it feels the same as when he was set on fire and tossed into the Grand Canyon. He does this because "it is better to be clean than comfortable", implying that he replaces his bandages daily to avoid infection.
- Similar to Father Elijah and his holographic avatar image, Joshua Graham has a slightly different in-game appearance when compared to the Honest Hearts cover art. In the game, he has pale blue eyes instead of bright blue and his burned skin is more grey around his eyes.
- As your follower, Joshua will refuse to open his inventory or wait, and he will neglect your requests to talk with him.
- Pickpocketing only works on Joshua while he is asleep.
- Joshua Graham is the only Fallout: New Vegas companion with "good" karma, while all of the other companions have "neutral" karma.
- If you throw frag mines around Graham when he is following you he will tell you not to throw them all over Zion.
- Joshua Graham is one of the few named non-player characters in the game to be affected by the Sneering Imperialist perk.
- If the player helps the Sorrows evacuate Zion, there will not be a slide dedicated to Graham in the ending slideshow of Honest Hearts.
- "I have been baptized twice, once in water, once in flame. I will carry the fire of the holy spirit inside until I stand before my Lord for judgement."
- "I don't enjoy killing, but when done righteously, it's just a chore, like any other."
- "I survived because the fire inside burned brighter than the fire around me. I fell down into that dark chasm, but the flame burned on and on."
- "I want to have my revenge. Against him. Against Caesar. I want to call it my own, to make my anger God's anger. To justify the things I've done."
- "Any society that derives its power and authority from the will of man alone lives apart from God and will crumble in the end."
- "Lastly, waging war against good people is bad for the soul. This may not seem important to you now, but it's the most important thing I've said."
- "It is one thing to forgive a slap across my cheek, but an insult to the Lord requires... no, it demands correction."
- "Happy are those who do the work of the Lord. Zion belongs to God and the people of God. It is a natural temple and monument to his glory."
- "Make the first shot count, you won't get a second one."
- (to Salt-Upon-Wounds) "Kale watcha nei conserva oh! You understand me, don't you? Don't you?!"
Lanius' armor seemed inappropriate for Graham. Though it's unlikely that Joshua would have worn the same clothes then that he does when you meet him in Honest Hearts, there weren't a lot of other appropriate clothes for him and his outfit does make him stand out as particularly unusual - which, even among the Legion, he was.”— J. E. Sawyer, (when questioned on why Joshua Graham doesn't wear a traditional Legion's armor)
It's not as simple as being "set on fire". After suffering a terrible failure, he was humiliated by his superior and the people he commanded. He was cast out and left for dead. His entire reason for living was gone. When your entire way of life is completely destroyed, it has a profound impact on how you view yourself and your place in the world. Because all momentum is lost, the experience causes you to evaluate and re-evaluate how you have reached this point -- and how to move forward.
There are thousands, if not millions, of examples of soldiers in history who engaged in ruthless -- often cruel -- behavior in times of war only to either return to an "ordinary" civilized life later. Some of them have no problem with what they did, others repress their memories as much as they can, and still others suffer strong crises of conscience that force profound changes in them. As Graham describes, his path to becoming the Malpais Legate was made up of many small compromises that turned increasingly sinister and brutal. At first he thought he was making the best of a bad situation and doing what needed to be done, but in the end he and Caesar had built a society on a foundation of fear and brutality. Caesar had a more grand vision for where the Legion was going, but Joshua Graham was caught up in the day to day maintenance of a tribal army engaged in bleak and often monstrous behavior. It was not until he was removed from that environment that he was able to reflect on his past. He could have chosen to blame Caesar, but in the end he blamed himself. The only people he knew in the world who could possibly accept him were the New Canaanites, so that's where he headed.”— J. E. Sawyer
Because re-hiring a voice actor (especially a high profile actor like John Doman) isn't always simple, and touching Caesar's dialogue in the core game -- well, it's already really complicated, and introducing elements that could affect the critical path is pretty dangerous, especially if it's accomplished through the DLC files (because we couldn't patch it).”— J. E. Sawyer, (when questioned on the possibility of including Graham-related dialogue with Caesar)
Speaking of Kurtz, was that character in any way a direct influence for Graham in Honest Hearts?
Only slightly. Graham and Caesar were in it together, in different ways. While Caesar never had a radical shift in his approach and ideology, Joshua Graham had a slow slide followed by a dramatic fall and "rebirth". Joshua Graham was inspired by characters like Rodrigo Mendoza from The Mission and T.E. Lawrence.
That said, Honest Hearts has a lot to do with personal motivations and why being honest to yourself about them is important. In many ways, Caesar is dispassionate -- or at least less passionate than someone like Joshua Graham, or even Lanius. Caesar is an odd sort of philosopher; Joshua Graham is a zealot. Caesar is also hypocritical or at least "bends" his own rules when it suits him. Joshua has to lie to himself to rationalize what he does. He can't live with an internal contradiction.
They are also very different types of leaders. Caesar leads by telling people what to do and wowing (or terrorizing) them with the results. Joshua Graham leads by personally doing things that (typically) terrify both his allies and his enemies. As Joshua says himself, he's effectively a war chief of the Dead Horses. He's not the sort of guy you ask for opinions on how to repair a road or develop infrastructure.”— J.E. Sawyer
Yes, that's always there for Crush the White Legs. Before you go in, Joshua tells you that you're about to engage in an extermination. Many of Daniel's fears have less to do with war and violence themselves and more to do with the path of warfare and the type of warfare in which Joshua engages. At some point, I think Daniel states that Joshua is (paraphrased) the poster child for the worst effects that a life of war can have on a person. Life on the warpath with Joshua Graham is more about slaughter than vigilance.”
I had wanted to develop a religious conflict in an RPG for a while, one that wasn't presented as pro-religion vs. anti-religion. I didn't want to use a proxy/fictitious religion and I didn't want to use religion as the set-up for a series of jokes. My first idea for Honest Hearts was a direct conflict between Joshua and Daniel where Joshua was more like his pre-fall self, but I didn't think the characterization would be particularly interesting and I didn't think players would struggle much with the decision of whom to support. It didn't take long for me to change the main conflict to one about Joshua and Daniel vs. an external threat, with the player's choice revolving around which leader to support. I think we often present players with a choice between two bad solutions and we ask them to decide which one is least bad. With Honest Hearts, I wanted the player to decide which solution would produce the most good.
I wanted the player's first encounter with Joshua to be very reductive. In way, I wanted the player to be initially disappointed. They hear legends of this fearsome, terrible, demonic figure and when they first see him, he's doing the equivalent of putting his pants on one leg at a time: sitting at a table maintaining a stack of guns. Even internally, some people complained about his appearance. They wanted him to be huge and monstrous or they wanted his first encounter with the player to involve him brutally gunning down White Legs. I believed that for his character to feel right in the context of the story, he needed to be a man first and the monster later. But that expressed desire on the team made me ask for the graffiti players see on the way to see Joshua: an entire cliff face dominated by the image of Joshua with tiny White Leg corpses falling down below him. In the image, he's like Goya's Saturn, dwarfing and destroying everyone around him.
Presenting the conflict with Daniel posed some challenges because Daniel is not a living legend, i.e. he is even more of a normal man than Joshua is trying to be. Additionally, Mormonism is not a pacifistic religion (and its soteriology does not depend on pacifism), so the conflict could not reasonably by framed around violence vs. non-violence even in the post-apocalyptic version followed by the New Canaanites. Daniel's concern was about larger issues than fighting or not-fighting; he was concerned that Joshua's lapsed nature would cause a whirlwind of warfare that would pull everyone far away New Canaanite traditions to the point where religion was virtually abandoned in favor of a war cult surrounding Joshua.
I had expected that most people would support Joshua, in part because of Joshua as a character but also because of the nature of gameplay in Fallout (i.e., violence is almost always a solution). I did not expect that the Survivalist's logs (written by John Gonzalez) would push so many more people toward supporting Joshua. I think it's an interesting example of players finding their own connections between the two stories and making an emotional connection that pushes them in a particular direction.”— J.E. Sawyer
I didn't sit down and think "gonna make this dude a Greek tragic hero". I knew that Joshua had to be in an unresolved state, moved on from his life with the Legion but in a state of denial about his current motives. Joshua's struggle is about what burns inside him -- light that illuminates or fire that consumes.”— J.E. Sawyer
I think it's worth noting that in even Van Buren's documents, a lot of the references to the Hanged Man's "evil" refers to past acts. In VB, he was seemingly a man without purpose. While his characterization by others and his tendency to laugh off/ignore attempts by others to control him could have been interesting, it really ended at "nasty guy who says and does creepy stuff and is a badass". There were specific instances (such as at New Canaan) where he would specifically avoid conflict and showed some additional depth, but he effectively had no character arc within the story.
Personally, I think the "wow so crazy" type characters aren't particularly interesting or insightful because they only exist in pure fantasy and, as such, can't really be related to. I think it's important for characters who are influencing player opinions to be more-or-less human. If you can't put yourself in the character's shoes, it's hard to empathize with him or her.
Joshua was inspired by a lot of different characters and things. The apostle Paul, Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert DeNiro's character from Roland Joffé's "The Mission"), T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia, and others. His outfit was designed to feature body armor but look somewhat "old west"/preacher in style -- hence the low-collar white shirt, sleeve garter, and the cut of the ballistic vest. The rattlesnake skin on his belt, shoes, and gun are symbolic but also intended to reflect that "western" feeling. The stitched patterns in his shirt were supposed to be tribal markings from the Dead Horses and were inspired by a scene from The Mission where Mendoza receives patterned body paint from the Guarani. I remembered a white dress from PJ Harvey's White Chalk tour where she had lyrics stitched into the cloth in black thread and I just put the two ideas together.”— J.E. Sawyer, Formspring response from May 27, 2011
Behind the scenes
- Seth McCaughey and Joshua Sawyer together created the gun maintenance animations.
- A malpaís is a landform characterized by eroded rocks of volcanic origin in an arid environment. This describes many areas, but is strongly connected to the southwestern United States because of the Spanish settlers that gave the landform its name (malpais means "badland" in Spanish).
- Within the G.E.C.K. there exist references to a map above the western cliffs of the Colorado river designated "MalpaisLegionCamp", indicating that such a location once existed in an earlier version of New Vegas but was later removed. Notably, a reference for Benny is found there, should he survive the events that took place at the Fort.
- Both in Van Buren and in Honest Hearts, Joshua Graham was written by J.E. Sawyer.
- His calm, collected incarnation in Honest Hearts is vastly different from the angry, uncontrollable Van Buren version.
- Graham's relapse is based upon the parable of the Lost Son.
- Graham's self-described "baptism by flame" seems to be a dual reference to both his "death" at the hands of Caesar, and his symbolic rebirth by way of the Mormon laying of hands, which is also known as "baptism by fire".
- The inspiration for Graham came from a lot of sources, such as Paul the Apostle, Rodrigo Mendoza from The Mission, and Lawrence of Arabia. Also, the tribal markings on his armor were a reference to Rodrigo Mendoza as well.
Joshua Graham's burned face on the cover art of Honest Hearts
Joshua Graham making his way to New Canaan after killing several assassins of Caesar's Legion
- No Mutants Allowed posts on Van Buren
- Fort Abandon design document
- New Canaan design document by J.E.Sawyer
- Burham Springs design document by J.E. Sawyer
- Blackfoot design document by Sean K. Reynolds