|Important Items in This Area|
Time to continue making progress towards Novac. There’s a road running east-west near the Wolfhorn Ranch, the Raided Farmstead and Camp Searchlight. Two roads run north from this road from Wolfhorn Ranch to the west and Camp Searchlight to the east. Both of these roads encircle some badlands in the middle and link up at Novac. All of this is clearly visible on your Pip-Boy map and we’ll start out by exploring the badlands between the roads.
Broc Flower Cave
Start out by finding Broc Flower Cave along the south central part of the badlands between the road, north-east of the Raided Farmstead. As you might expect there are plenty of Broc Flowers to harvest here. Harvest how you wish, then make your way up a ramp to find the entrance to the cave and head inside.
From the entrance of the cave head south-east until the path splits. Don’t worry, it’s not another Searchlight North Gold Mine clone. Follow the southern fork past a mine cart with a radioactive barrel in it. Yeah, you’re going to catch some RADS down here. Follow the tunnel until you reach a small chamber filled with radioactive barrels and some of the Giant Rats who live in these caves. Don’t take them too lightly, despite their common status as low-level fodder in most games, these particular Giant Rats can be dangerous, and the XP they give accounts for this. Still, nothing a little caution and a Cowboy Repeater can’t fix. Once this room is clear continue through it into some more tunnels to the north-east, head up a slope and onto a walkway above a large, Giant Rat-infested chamber. Try to snipe the Giant Rats from the relative safety of the high-ground, but be wary of more vermin in a nearby lab, which you can reach by following the ledge to the east.
Speaking of the lab, when the Giant Rats are dead give it a search to find a Programmer’s Digest magazine on a table to the south. Near a table in the middle of the room you’ll find some surgical supplies, a pair of First Aid Boxes, an Ammo Box, a Doctor’s Bag and some chems. To the north-east you’ll find a desk, near which is a Sunset Sarsaparilla Crate, and near that is a Radiation Suit. On the table you’ll find a Programmer’s Digest magazine, a Today’s Physician magazine, some chems and the unique weapon Ratslayer .
Weapon Info - Ratslayer: Ratslayer is essentially the poor-man’s Gobi Campaign Scout Rifle, dealing about half as much damage, which, when targeting powerful foes with high Damage Thresholds actually makes the gun considerably less appealing. It also fires quite a bit slower, and has horribly high Action Point consumption in VATS, so if you need to clear out tough foes quickly, this is not the weapon to use. On the other hand, is uses common 5.56 ammo, isn’t terribly expensive to maintain, and can be repaired with Varmint Rifles, which are themselves cheap, common, and sold by many merchants. It also has every Varmint Rifle attachment, including a scope and silencer, and has a high critical multiplier making it a great sniping weapon… provided you don’t expect too much out of it and use it against weaker foes. All in all, it’s a good replacement for the Cowboy Repeater.
Once you’ve looted the lab, drop down off the ledge nearby and into the radioactive barrel-filled chamber… hopefully now either devoid of Giant Rats, or severely depopulated. Kill whatever critters move, then search near some radioactive barrels in the center of the chamber to find an Ammo Box, a Knife, a copy of Lad’s Life and a .357 Magnum Revolver. Once done head south-west into a tunnel, which will eventually take you back to the entrance. See that? A clean loop of the place; no backtracking. Good stuff.
Legion Raid Camp
From the Broc Flower Cave head west to find the Legion Raid Camp. The Rangers over at Ranger Station Echo weren’t lying about them missing Legion patrols, but to let them set up a staging camp west of Cottonwood Cove? Just shameful… Anyways, the slaves the Legion took from Nipton (which Boxcar told us about), are gathered around a campfire in the middle of the camp. Although they’re Powder Gangers, it’s only right to free time… because slavery is bad and all. Of course, if you free the Legion’s slaves right in front of them, they’ll get angry, and while the camp is sparsely populated, why get the Infamy? If you are sneaky enough to remain undetected, you can free the slaves without issue. You can also put that lovely Ratslayer to use and snipe the Legion guards from a distance. As long as you don’t get detected, you won’t gain Infamy. Failing those two things, you could always get lucky and have an NCR patrol stumble upon the camp and resolve the situation for you. Once both Powder Gangers are freed the quest Booted will end and you’ll get a quest reward, including a significant amount of Powder Ganger Fame.
|For freeing the Powder Ganger slaves||100 XP Powder Ganger Fame|
Note: An NPC you can recruit shortly has a character-related quest that can only be triggered by completing anti-Legion activities. Simply put, have him in your party when you do certain things and you make progress towards unlocking his quest. Freeing the Powder Gangers here is one such trust-boosting event, so if you can to do this quest, you might just want to leave the Powder Gangers alone for now.
Reputation Note: You should now have enough Fame with the Powder Gangers to bump your reputation up to "Smiling Troublemaker" or higher, dependent upon past actions, of course
Walking Box Cavern
West of the Legion Raid Camp you’ll find Walking Box Cavern, outside of which a large, mixed group of Nightstalkers lurks. Again, running backwards and shooting them with Ratslayer or a Cowboy Repeater works fine, but if you’re having trouble with them… well, avoid the cave for now, as there’s only going to be more inside. Nightstalkers occupy an odd category when it comes to difficulty; they can be dangerous due to their poison and numbers, so you’ll want to stay out of melee with them, but they’re too weak to bother wasting .308 Rounds or wear and tear with the Gobi. Ah well…
Head inside the cave, go down a ramp and head north-west, stopping when you find a side-chamber to the north. Use Ratslayer to exterminate a handful of Nightstalkers in this room - a task at which it excels - then continue south-west down the main tunnel a bit to find a Duffle Bag full of goodies. Once it has been looted continue down the winding tunnels to the south-west until you spot another side-chamber to the west, which is also crawling with Nightstalkers. Assassinate them then search the room to find another Duffle Bag near an egg clutch, which contains Combat Armor, Reinforced, amongst other loot.
Snyder Prospector Camp/Wrecked Highwayman
Leave Walking Box Cavern and fast-travel back to the Broc Flower Cave. There’s more stuff to the north, but unless you want to fight a pack of Deathclaws (which you may well be capable of successfully doing, with the Gobi) you should avoid it. Besides, it’ll be a part of a fun "Deathclaw extermination" part of the walkthrough if you leave them for later, when you’re a bit higher level and have more resources.
Anywho, from Broc Flower Cave head north-west to find two more areas; the Snyder Prospector Camp to the south or the Wrecked Highwayman, more to the north, depending on which flavor of north-west you chose. Before bothering with any of those two areas, however, it’s worth pointing two interesting fauna in this area. In the imaginary triangle between the three areas (the Wrecked Highwayman, the Snyder Prospector Camp and the Broc Flower Cave) you can find Bighorners wandering about… which… again, easy XP. You’ll also find Legion and NCR patrols wandering around through here, which aren’t a problem if you’re neutral with both of them. You can, however, witness them fighting it out, and opportunistically snatch the loot off the fallen. Not like they’re going to need it any more, right?
As for the two areas… they’re not quite as interesting. At the Snyder Prospector Camp you can find some mundane loot on a metal shelf and a Sunset Sarsaparilla Star Bottle Cap on some books near a Bedroll. At the Wrecked Highwayman you can find… well, a car stuck in some muck. There also tends to be Bloatflies hovering around, which are nuisances more than threats. When they’re gone, search the truck of the car to find a bunch of assorted loot including chems, energy weapon ammo, junk and a Sunset Sarsaparilla Star Bottle Cap. Behind all this junk is a Footlocker with a Power Fist inside.
Highway 95 Vipers Encampment
Continue north-west from the Wrecked Highwayman to find the Highway 95 Viper’s Encampment which… like it’s name says, is a Viper ganger encampment along the highway. Another indictment of the NCR’s power in the region. Kill the Viper Gunslingers near the camp however you wish; they’re not too strong, and can probably be beaten down with Spiked Knuckles or easily sniped with Ratslayer. Once they’re dead loot them and explore their camp to find some Ammo Boxes an other minor loot in the handful of shacks that make up the camp.
Ranger Station Charlie
Past some mountains to the west of the Highway 95 Viper’s Encampment location you’ll find Ranger Station Charlie. In the trailers outside you can get some minor loot, and in the building you can talk to Comm Officer Stepinac who will tell you that the leader here is out on patrol. Other than that… loot three First Aid Boxes in the first room and move on. Not a very interesting place.
Leave Ranger Station Charlie and follow the train tracks north to the outskirts of Novac. It took a while, but you’re finally here. What? No, it didn’t count the first time during the New Vegas Medical Clinic run… because reasons.