Storyline Theory Regarding TFTB and BL3

Another thread here got me on the subject of character motivations and reminded me of something, and I’m going to throw this out here because I don’t recall seeing anyone else post an idea like this.

I’ve been thinking lately that Vaughn hiding the Pandoran Vault Key from Lilith (she says that he knew she was looking for it and he deflects) and Rhys being reluctant to give too much information on the Promethean Vault and Key to the Crimson Raiders was supposed to be a clue that maybe the Tales cast learned something about Vaults that they’re trying to keep a lid on. Unfortunately if that is the case it’s another thing to throw onto the pile of “mysterious” plot threads that have gone nowhere.


At the point of Fight For Sanctuary Vaughn is a little out of his mind after going native. On his last sidequest he has us looking for his Object of Power, so what’d a Vault key if not the greatest object of power?

At the time the sunstealers found it it was one of a kind and the crux of BL1 &BL2. Also Vic’s sidequest in Ascension Bluffs explains what happened with the key.

Vic says in there that Vaughn told her to hide the key. His clan went behind his back to sell it to the COV. At this point Vaughn is already friends (or at least on good terms) with Lilith and knows that she’s looking for the key. He wants to hide it from her too.

This isn’t me defending Vaughn’s characterization, by the way. I try to keep my criticisms fair but one thing I absolutely fully blame on the writers is the complete destruction of Vaughn as a character between Tales and BL3. The characters in Tales have so much depth, and instead they took one quirk and made it his entire personality. He went from nervous, nerdy accountant who happened to be super ripped under his clothes (funny!) to gym bro stereotype (annoying)!

Part of his character arc in Tales has him feeling like he’s becoming the dead weight of the group. In the bio dome, Rhys goes to hack the security turrets and has Sasha watching his back, and Fiona goes with Athena to collect the Gortys fragment. Vaughn is basically left to babysit an old man. But by the end of the story he’s stepped out of his friends shadows to become a leader, helping the survivors of the Helios crash to find their way on Pandora.

And then in Fight For Sanctuary all of those people are killed off screen and Vaughn just wants to be a bandit lord for no reason.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic. The point is that I think they were trying to go somewhere with Rhys and Vaughn being allies of the Crimson Raiders but being hesitant to help them open the Vaults. But as with so much of Borderlands 3, even if I’m right I’m still just annoyed that it’s another loose thread.


Well, that’s projecting his motivation for hiding it. The Key was what made New Pandoran Army attack Sanctuary and Kill his first bandit clan.

Even outside of the Tales lore, his first instinct was to hide it, potentially to protect them until he could reach out to Lilith, makes sense.

FFS, and I have a thread on this, has identical plot beats of BL3, and it was developed after the BL3 story was done:

Rescue Vaughn, whose whole clan got killed after the bad guys took the Vault Key.