Fallout faction overhaul project
|For the generic characters, see Powder Ganger.|
Reputation image from Fallout: New Vegas.
Chain gangs, really. The NCR brought them in from California to work on the rail lines. Problem is, it turns out that giving convicts a bunch of dynamite and blasting powder isn't the best idea.”— Trudy
In the distant past, the NCR Correctional Facility was the Jean Conservancy (aka Southern Nevada Correctional Center), a low-security all-female prison. When the NCR occupied the Mojave, it became a perfect spot to house prisoners on a work release program. The inmates were tasked with maintaining a railroad alongside the Long 15 under military supervision, keeping the vital link between the Boneyard and New Vegas alive. However, as the war with the Legion escalated, more and more prison guards were redeployed to the Colorado against the warden's objections. Coupled with the fact that the inmates routinely worked with explosives to blast through rock or old train cars littering the tracks and were used as essentially slave labor for a major infrastructure project in grueling conditions, an uprising was a question of time.
Under the lead of Samuel Cooke, a small group of inmates gathered weapons and explosives before rebelling against the military police staffing the facility. Blasting their way out of the cell block, they quickly overwhelmed what little NCR personnel was present at the site, killed the warden, and established their own rule. The prisoner population dispersed, with some following Cooke into Vault 19, others staying with Eddie as Powder Gangers, and some heading out to cause mayhem throughout the Long 15.
The revolt shut down Highway 93 and the NCR's main road to Vegas. The situation worsened when the Powder Gangers stole Sloan's dynamite supply, shutting down Quarry Junction and inadvertently unleashing deathclaws on the quarry and the highway. Eventually, the gangers established a sizable presence outside the prison, with a ring of camps around it, focused on raiding caravans that tried to push through to Vegas and launch attacks to terrorize the local towns of Goodsprings, Sloan and Primm.
There are several groups of loosely organized Powder Gangers that organized quickly after the prison break. Many remain in the prison and have been raiding surrounding areas under the leadership of Eddie. There are factions of Powder Gangers spread far along the southwestern part of the Mojave Wasteland, all the way down towards Nipton.
The smaller groups of Powder Gangers are all lead by a strong or cunning underboss, like Joe Cobb. A large contingent of Powder Gangers can be found in Vault 19, under the leadership of Samuel Cooke, although there they are identified as escaped convicts.
Due to their hostility, the Powder Gangers have little to no friendly relations with outside groups. They are hated by both the NCR, for disrupting trade caravans and ambushing patrols, and Caesar's Legion, for harassing Legion raiding parties west of the Colorado River. In fact, if the Courier gets too close to their camps wearing Powder Ganger faction clothing, they will typically attack even if the Courier is on good terms with them.
Neutral relations are not completely unheard of, as seen in Nipton, although they are very rare. The willingness of Samuel Cooke's group to join the Great Khans suggests, at least some respect is held for them, though no formal relations will exist between the two groups without intervention from the Courier. Even they think the Fiends are a pack of strung-out freaks, they try to avoid.
Interactions with the player character
The Courier has several opportunities to aid the Powder Gangers in their activities. The first of these is participating on the raid on Goodsprings. After gaining their trust, Eddie will have the Courier running errands and the Vault 19 Powder Gangers will ask for help around the Vault. A couple enslaved Powder Gangers can also be released from the Legion raid camp.
The favored and most common weapons among the Powder Gangers are explosives, primarily the powder charges and dynamite, which they acquired during their time in prison and escape and from Sloan, the nearby quarry town. However, they also have a large arsenal of guns, some stolen, others looted from dead NCRCF guards.
- There are several looted caravans along the Long 15 with Powder Gangers hovering around the area. One in particular, a Crimson Caravans caravan slightly northeast of Jean Sky Diving, has a rather sinister scene with a few dead guards, the only female of which is stripped of her outfit (unlike the male guards, who are still wearing their leather armor).
- The Courier: "Powder gangers?"
Trudy: "Chain gangs, really. The NCR brought them in from California to work on the rail lines. Problem is, it turns out that giving convicts a bunch of dynamite and blasting powder isn't the best idea. Was a big escape not too long ago. Some of 'em stuck together so they could make trouble. That's what we're dealing with now."
- The Courier: "What can you tell me about the prison?"
Eddie: "The NCR called it a "work-release" prison. We lucky prisoners got the privilege of fixing up the rail lines and blasting rock for new lines. They got sloppy, though. Some of us managed to hide away some dynamite, and look who's in charge now."
(Eddie's dialogue (Powder Gangers))
- Warden's Terminal, [Guard transfers to the east.]: "They're transferring away three more of my men. They tell me it's all to keep the situation at the Dam under control, but what about this place? The situation here has become dangerous for my men and I - I know it, my men know it, and the prisoners know it. It's only a matter of time before something happens."
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.43-44: "Powder Gangers
The NCR Correctional Facility is the dominant location of the central Mojave Wasteland. In the distant past, it was the Jean Conservancy, a low-security all-female prison. Under recent NCR control, it was used to house prisoners on work release. The prisoners worked the railroad parallel to the Long 15 under NCR trooper supervision, maintaining the vital land link between the Boneyard and New Vegas. Eventually, prison guards (NCR troopers) were pulled away to run Colorado River boarder patrol. When the guard staff was low, the prisoners executed a daring and violent escape.
Because the rail crews often used explosives (typically dynamite) to blast through rock or get rid of train cars that were locked/fixed to the line, the prisoners inevitably acquired small amounts that they hid in their cells. When they made their break, they blasted their way out. The interior of the prison was clearly the scene of a large riot where the prisoners used explosives, improvised weapons, and stolen NCR trooper equipment to break through multiple walls and scatter through the desert. A lot of the prisoners weren't in on the escape plan formally; they just got caught up in the moment. Consequently, a lot of them didn't really know where to go when the dust settled. A large contingent of Powder Gangers can be found in Vault 19 through many squatted in the prison and have been informally raiding since then."
(Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide faction profiles)
- The Courier: "Tell me about the prison break."
Samuel Cooke: "A beautiful thing. Saved a little blast powder here, hid a makeshift weapon there, and one day I orchestrated a little symphony for the NCR."
(Samuel Cooke's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Tell me about the correctional facility."
Hayes: "Most people just call it NCRCF. That's NCR Correctional Facility. A little bit ago the convics there staged a coup, killed the guards that weren't able to escape, and have been ransacking the area since then."
- The Courier: "Where'd the Deathclaws come from?"
Chomps Lewis: "They moved into the quarry after the Powder Gangers came through and made off with most of our dynamite. We shut the quarry down while we waited for the NCR to get us some more blasting sticks, but now the Deathclaws have shown up. The NCR's a no-show, and my men and I have got nothing to do but sit on our asses all day. It's damn frustrating."
(Chomps Lewis' dialogue)
- The Courier: "Tell me about the Powder Gangers."
Chomps Lewis: "They're a bunch of escaped cons from down south. The NCR was using them to maintain the railways as part of their sentence. I don't know who screwed up, but the Powder Gangers are loose. It was one group that attacked us and took our entire supply of dynamite."
(Chomps Lewis' dialogue)
- The Courier: "One of the convicts from NCRCF is looking for a pardon so he can protect Primm."
Knight: "One of the Powder Gangers? They've been nothing but trouble for us - why would we want one of them anywhere in an official capacity?"
(Knight's dialogue (Fallout: New Vegas))
- The Courier: "Do you have any information on the convicts?"
Hayes: "Not much. They've taken to calling themselves Powder Gangers. Mostly because they've taken to using the explosives meant to clear boulders as weapons. They got organized faster than I would have thought, most of them at least. Thankfully the small group in town here seem to have split off from the main force, so they aren't getting anything in the way of support."