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Fallout faction overhaul project
God told Moses that the tribes of Cain would not be welcome in Zion. The White Legs are as close as I have seen, beyond hope, beyond redemption.”— Joshua Graham
Forming from the survivors of the Great War from Salt Lake City, the White Legs are a very primitive tribe of scavengers. They lack basic survival skills, including food preservation, tanning, even basic hunting and cooking. They survive by taking what they need away from other inhabitants of the wasteland, especially tribes in regions around the Great Salt Lake near the ruins of Salt Lake City, where their primary camps are normally located. They have been particularly bitter enemies with New Canaan for decades, fighting them for supplies and territory.
They were usually kept at bay thanks to New Canaanites and the Desert Rangers, until the latter were absorbed into the NCR in 2271. By 2277, the Rangers were completely integrated into the NCR Rangers and abandoned frontier outposts. The emboldened White Legs, normally raiding northeast of Caliente, pounced on the I-15 and traffic passing through it northwards. The situation got so bad that the route was entirely abandoned, culminating in the destruction of bridges over Virgin River that sealed that region as White Legs' territory.
The increased territory and numbers presented a problem, as the White Legs found themselves unable to sustain themselves through just raiding. Unable to develop skills that would allow them to settle and unable to take cities with their primitive arsenals and skills, the White Legs were poised to die out within a generation, imploding as a result of their success. That's when the Legion's emissary, Ulysses, arrived. In return for the destruction of New Canaan and the death of all of its inhabitants, the White Legs would be inducted into the Legion. Caesar couldn't care less. New Canaan was just collateral damage, of course. Their real goal was the assassination of Joshua Graham. Under Ulysses, the White Legs learned new combat skills and gained new weapons, recovered from Old World and New Canaan caches. Thus strengthened, the White Legs started raids throughout former Utah and parts of Nevada for the Caesar's Legion, killing all.
Ultimately, they managed to sack New Canaan in 2281. They waited until Graham and the bulk of the city's defenders were away, before attacking under cover of night. Under Ulysses' leadership, the White Legs blitzed the city, before its denizens could mount an effective defense. Few managed to flee the city into the surrounding countryside. The White Legs killed all without mercy, including the elderly, ill, and children. Anyone who didn't get away fast enough. The city was then set on fire, to prevent anyone from returning. Those trapped in buildings were burned alive, including Bishop Mordecai. The ruins were then salted, to ensure nothing could grow there again.
The White Legs then pursued the refugees into Zion, to finish them off and gain their place at Caesar's side. Little did they suspect that Graham would be a tough nut to crack - as would the Courier, coming into the canyon with a Happy Trails caravan.
The White Legs are a raider tribe that revels in destruction. Accordingly, they boast a militaristic lifestyle based off of strength and combat acuity. Everything they have has been acquired either by picking through ruins of the Old World or raiding more capable wastelanders. Their leaders are chosen on the basis of their prowess and savagery. Salt-Upon-Wounds, their chief, was reputed to have slain a hundred men with his power fist, achieving his position. However, this form of leadership is notoriously unreliable and cannot prevent a rout by superior forces.
White Legs are superstitious and dislike pre-War buildings, which they consider to be taboo. Superstitions contribute to their strong tribal identity, together with two additional factors. First, they speak a pidgin language, heavily borrowing from various pre-War languages, isolating them from other tribes. Second, while composed primarily of men and women of Caucasian descent, all White Legs cover their bodies in white chalk and identical war paint on their faces, reinforcing their distinct identity. This was also done to help them camouflage in their native territory of the Great Salt Lake (a barren salt pan). The White Legs attack all who do not have their appearance. The dreadlocks worn by the tribesmen are a tribute to Ulysses. By appropriating the hairstyle of a former Twisted Hairs tribesman, they wished to show respect, thanking him for teaching them how to wage war on New Canaan and providing them with new weapons to do so. They only succeeded in tarnishing their legacy.
Tactically, White Legs warbands heavily rely on ambushes, to deny their targets the ability to form a defense. Hiding behind cover such as trees, rocks, and even bushes, they attack when they believe they have the upper hand. These warbands are split into two basic types: ranged and melee units. Ranged tribesmen include White Legs storm-drummers, who specialize in firearms, usually using the White Legs' signature "storm drums", but also various types of two-handed rifles, ranging from the varmint rifle to the anti-materiel rifle. They also carry a melee weapon as a backup weapon. White Legs light-bringers, on the other hand, specialize in makeshift explosives, typically fire bombs or grenades, with a pistol or submachine gun as a backup weapon.
Melee fighters feature White Legs pain makers, who specialize in melee weapons, carrying either a poisoned bladed weapon, or a Shishkebab. They also carry several throwing tomahawks for ranged combat. White Legs bone-breakers focus on unarmed combat and are tougher than other warriors. They have slightly more health than other White Legs warriors and are armed with a random unarmed weapon, ranging (depending on level) from brass knuckles to the mantis gauntlet.
Relations with the outside
Due to their hostility, the White Legs have little to no relations with any of the tribes of Zion and attack anyone who isn't one of their own. Any group that works with and is associated with their enemies (namely, the Sorrows and Dead Horses to the New Canaanites) is also in danger of violence. The defeated are routinely scalped for trophies.
Their only alliance is with the Legion. Ulysses manipulated the White Legs into believing that the Legion will provide for them, but in truth, their only purpose is to kill Joshua Graham and destroy New Canaan. Beyond that, the White legs are too primitive to consider integration and should they survive the events in Zion, they are ruthlessly exterminated by the Legion. The modus operandi is similar with other tribes the Legion targeted. Twisted Hairs were also promised integration on favorable terms, in exchange for their talents, only to be assimilated by force, with defiant tribesmen crucified along the I-40. Of course, the Twisted Hairs were expert trackers, rather than pure scavengers incapable of sustaining themselves.
The White Legs are scavengers and their gear consists of whatever tools the tribe managed to acquire. Their distinct armor is usually a collection of salvaged armored plates coupled with cloth and leather held together by belts and ropes, with any non-combat gear carried on these makeshift harnesses. Their weapons represent an eclectic mix, ranging from simple melee weapons such as tomahawks, through Shishkebabs stolen from talented wastelanders, to jury-rigged weapons like mantis gauntlets. Ranged weapons include a variety of firearms taken from armories and caches. Their signature weapon is the Storm Drum, a pre-War .45 Auto submachine gun. The bulk of these weapons was taken from an armory near Spanish Fork. All ranged weapons are in invariably poor condition, as the White Legs do not know how to maintain them. What they don't know how to fix, they discard. As a result, their camps resemble large trash heaps, rather than settlements of civilized folk.
Behind the scenes
[H]ow the DLC shipped was not how it was planned. The tribes in Zion are descendants of a mix of North American native people as well as other American citizens and European (of various non-native ethnicities) tourists/campers. This survives in the language of the Dead Horses, for example, who use a large number of German-derived words.
In the first design docs for HH, every tribe was supposed to have members from all of the F3/FNV ethnic groups. However, there was a complicating factor: body art. The various tattoos and body paints we needed to texture the bodies multiplied the number of required textures. They couldn’t simply be layered on (as they can in F4), but were entirely new body textures that dramatically increased the amount of texture memory being used. For that reason, each tribe wound up having only one body texture per sex. This compressed their ethnicities into homogenized blends, with Dead Horses being a darker tan, Sorrows a light tan, and White Legs (under the body paint) fairly pale.
As a minor point, Daniel was specifically supposed to be (and was, in data, for most of development) Asian. I don’t know when, how, or why he was switched to Caucasian, but that’s how he shipped. It’s frustrating, because those changes slot Joshua and Daniel as white guys among (mostly) brown folk when 1) they weren’t supposed to be white guys and 2) the tribes were specifically called out as ethnically and culturally mixed without any real-world analogues.
Regarding the “natives as aesthetic” criticism, the patterns we used for the three tribes’ body art are not based on any current or historical native American body art (AFAIK). There are in-fiction explanations for each tribe’s specific choices. The White Legs initially colored themselves white to blend into the Great Salt Lake (where they are from) and they dread their hair out of reverence for Ulysses. The Sorrows use the river pattern to reflect their suffering and their connection to the Virgin River in Zion. The Dead Horses mark various accomplishments on their skin and decorate their clubs with .45 shells out of their respect for Joshua Graham.”— Joshua Eric Sawyer, Frog Helms Fan Club
Helping the White Legs wouldn't really help the Legion in any substantive way unless you consider helping Caesar clean up an embarrassing mistake to be inherently pro-Legion. It's worth noting that if you do Chaos In Zion and actually kill Joshua Graham yourself, the White Legs still aren't accepted into the Legion. Caesar just wants Graham dead and the White Legs are the scumbags to do it. We discussed doing a White Legs-oriented path through Honest Hearts but a) it would have been out of scope and b ) it still would likely have ended with you doing essentially Chaos in Zion: killing Daniel and/or Joshua Graham.
In retrospect, associating the White Legs with the Legion was probably my key mistake. Take the exact same tribe doing the exact same thing and remove their association with the Legion and people would not conclude that opposing them [equals] opposing the Legion or that helping the New Canaanites [equals] helping the Legion's enemies. The New Canaanites, though fundamentally opposed to the Legion, aren't really the parties in conflict. Caesar hates Joshua Graham, regardless of the lack of threat posed by New Canaan, the Sorrows, and the Dead Horses.”— Joshua Sawyer on Bethesda forum
- Completing Crush the White Legs permanently disables any White Legs in Zion, preventing their appearance. Flight from Zion allows for remnants to appear.
- Their facepaint is similar to the headshot facepaint in Brink, another game by Bethesda Softworks.