Would there be Bandits in Pandora Without Dahl?

In “Safe & Sound”, “Perfectly Peaceful”, and “Minecart Mischief” (Caustic Cavern missions), we learn (from Tannis) that Bandits on Pandora are abandoned Dahl Miners and that the Atlas Crimson Lance and whatever other forces they sent only came to Pandora (from many galaxies away) because of the Vault rumours that Dahl excavations began as they uncovered Eridian artifacts and whatnot.

So, is every single Bandit on Pandora only there because of Dahl?

I’m not super familiar with the Borderlands timeline, but it was my understanding Atlas was on Pandora first.

The Pandora article on the Borderlands wiki seems to agree.

Atlas was on Pandora looking for alien technology. Dahl came in later to setup mining operations (and probably hoping to find some of that alien tech themselves). After the first vault key was found, Atlas ran Dahl off Pandora with some pretty ugly fallout (including the convict laborers being let loose on the world and Tannis getting her back story).

Hyperion came along towards the end of the first game (though, according to BL2 and supported by TPS, they’d been observing for quite a while). After the first vault was opened, Hyperion took out what was left of Atlas’ leadership and Atlas withdrew in another messy retreat. Some of Roland’s messages found around Sanctuary indicate that many of the Crimson Lance became bandits after Atlas left them behind.

So yeah, a bunch of bandits on Pandora are off-world convicts brought in by Dahl as slave labor. But there would have been bandits long before Dahl showed up, and the Hyperion takeover resulted in more people going rogue and turning into bandits.

Also, there are the Slabs, and Vaughn was originally from Hyperion.

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Sounds like Australia’s history, and Elpis is actually Tasmania.


Staying with this comparison, that would mean:



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According to Tannis, Dahl was busy until Atlas showed up with their Crimson Lance forces, so that wiki article is wrong (surprising, I know). Dahl abandoned everything - including the Lost Legion of Col. Zarpedon on Elpis - rather than fight Atlas. Atlas already had alien technology; Dahl sent Tannis to Pandora in the hope that they too could uncover some competing alien technology.

This all happened before the vault hunters arrived in BL1, which is why the place is littered with both Dahl (Sanctuary etc.) and Atlas infrastructure.

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Actually, my understanding is that Dahl was actually on Pandora first. Atlas had found a Vault on Promethea, and had reverse engineered the tech there to make better weapons. Dahl was hoping for the same thing, so they settled Pandora, bringing in lots of criminals for free labor to build up the infrastructure, and also bringing in Tannis to try to find alien ruins. Unfortunately, Pandora had been settled when most of it’s wildlife had been in hibernation; when everything started waking up, things started going badly. Then, Atlas heard that there actually was a Vault on Pandora. They dispatched the Crimson Lance under General Knoxx to take the Vault for themselves. At this point, with the hostile wildlife on one side, and the Crimson Lance “flexing their various muscles” on the other, Dahl decided that the planet was more trouble than it was worth, and left. However, since the majority of the workforce was made up of criminals, they didn’t bother extracting most of the people there. Tannis says that the bandits you fight used to be family men and the like, and I don’t doubt that at least some of them are, but a lot of the reason that there are bandit clans is because the planet was left with a lot of criminals after Dahl pulled out.

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It’s all super contradictory though, because there’s things like boats out in the middle of deserts(who was there thousands of years ago when wurmwater was still an ocean?) and the fact that Salvador comes from a native village which the wiki also claims “had no prior knowledge of vaults,” even though as far as we know everyone who’s ever come to Pandora was related to vault hunting in some form

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As is typical, the colonisers are deliberately ignorant of those who came before them in their version of history.

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Hmm. Now I’m going to have to finally take a soldier through BL1 and pay attention to the logs. (I have a 69 siren and hunter, and my berserker beat PT1, but my soldier is still sitting in Fyrestone.)

Anyhow, if that’s true then Dahl is responsible for all the bandits in a roundabout way: if Dahl hadn’t colonized Pandora, the vault wouldn’t have been discovered, Atlas and Hyperion wouldn’t have showed up, and there would be no humans at all living there, let alone bandits.

Not sure how old Salvador is, but Maya is about 30 (27 years with the monks, plus whatever time before as a baby and however long it took to reach Pandora), so let’s say Salvador is 30 for the sake of discussion. BL2 takes place about 5 years after BL1, so if Dahl was around 25 years prior to BL2, Salvador could have been born on-planet without any contradictions. Even if Salvador was 4 or 5 when his family arrived on Pandora, he could still be “from Pandora”.

As for a village with no prior knowledge of vaults, that does seem suspicious.

It also always struck me as suspicious that Dahl, Atlas, or Hyperion could have somehow found out there might be vaults on Pandora unless someone had already been exploring Pandora to discover alien civilization or its remnants. Which lends credence to the notion that some kind of human civilization was already established on Pandora before vault hunting was a thing.

It’s possible Atlas found a vault map on Promethea, and Dahl found the location of one on Pandora somehow (spy, security breach, loose lips, whatever). If Atlas knew where dozens were, it’s not too odd that Dahl beat them to Pandora. But then why are all the vault hunters headed to Pandora, rather than the many other planets Atlas would be advertising for? We could chalk it up to only hearing about vault hunters who ended up on Pandora, but Maya and Gaige both talk specifically about Pandora, not “one of the planets with vaults, I guess I’ll try Pandora”.


I would think because Pandora is the planet both Dahl and Atlas had their hopes on, it seemed like the surest bet of another vault popping up.

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By the time BL2 starts, Dahl and Atlas had given up on Pandora. If Dahl only knew about Pandora because of Atlas, they might just be out of the running. But Atlas would still have access to all the other vaults, so I’d expect them to have set up shop on another planet and start advertising by then.

Gaige was running from an arrest warrant, so Pandora’s lawlessness would work for her, but Maya wouldn’t have any particular reason to pick the used-up, has-been planet over a pristine, new planet full of exciting new discoveries. And I’d think Gaige could offer vault-hunting services to Atlas in exchange for making her problems with the Eden-5 government disappear, which would be a much better deal that slumming it on Pandora.

Unless Atlas only knew about Pandora because of Dahl, who only knew about Pandora because of previous settlers. And Atlas was therefore back to square one in finding new vaults.

But what do I know?

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Theory throwing time!
Caveat: the narrator I’m following is definitely totally and absolutely reliable. It’s this one:

“I have been assigned to this sector by my superiors to find evidence of abandoned alien technology similar to that found by our competitor, the Atlas company, in the ruins on Prometheus; technology that many believe made them the superpower they are now. This kind of find seems astronomically improbable on a rock like this, but my benefactors believe in it enough to waste my considerable talents.”

  • Tannis, Hidden Journal: Day 1

This supports what @swk3000 wrote. DAHL went to Pandora hoping for a find like Atlas had on Prometheus. Dahl did neither know for sure that there was a Vault, nor did they follow Atlas to Pandora. For now, nothing indicates Atlas coming first.

“When I attach scientific inquiry to something like the Vault, I am greeted with silly nursery rhymes and slack-jawed soliloquy about a man who knew a man who knew a man.”

  • Tannis, Hidden Journals, Day 43

Obviously there were rumours about a Vault, but those seem to be as precise and convincing as the story of the jumbug in TPS. But this might explain why whole villages knew nothing about Vaults: simply because the Vault was a myth or a rumour not worth investigation.

“And then I noticed the emissive glow on the rocks at the dig site…”
Tannis, Hidden Journals, Day 76

“With the investigation of the symbols and glowing patterns at the site we have finally unearthed arguably certifiable proof of the existence of alien life having been here on Pandora.”
Tannis, Hidden Journals, Day 119

Alien life: Yes., proof of a Vault: uhm, still none, but hopes may rise.

“Two days ago, I explained to my mother how the translation program I was writing would greatly help me understand exactly what all this Eridian text I’ve attempted to decipher actually means.”
Tannis, Hidden Journals, Day 321

“Day 481. It’s true. It’s all true. My program did it. Program. Program… I am now certain that the Vault is here, and that the symbol has something to do with opening it!”
Tannis, Hidden Journals, Day 481

Between Days 119 and 481 we go from yep alien life to The Vault is Real and it’s here! And Atlas showed up, because:

(Parallel reading) “So, the Dahl miners found it difficult to get the Eridium off-planet, and soon found themselves wrestling with the Atlas corporation as they fought over the same resources. As it turns out, word of a Vault can travel many galaxies.”

“As it turns out, Dahl turned tail when the Crimson Lance showed up and flexed their various muscles. The central issue being that Dahl brought many workers here, including myself, and left without evacuating most of us. The bandits you fight out there used to be family men, workers, scientists… We’re all broken because of them.”
Tannis, Minecart Mischief transcript

We know when Dahl did “turn tail” from this:
“Day 493. Dahl Corporation just shut down their mining operations here on Pandora. I think they are insane. Or, that is, whoever is making the decision is insane.”
Tannis, Hidden Journals, Day 493

“Day 616. Sometimes, I wish I had never been given this assignment, and never come to Pandora. Dahl has asked me to leave. The transmission said it’s time to go. Everyone has left - except the criminals who they’ve let loose.”
Tannis, Hidden Journals, Day 616

And one more for good measure:
“The people that inhabit this salted dustball are as ignorant as I’ve seen in this galaxy.”
Tannis, Hidden Journals, Day 43

Some deductions from all that:

  1. Pandora had human settlements before Dahl went there.
  2. Dahl went to Pandora hoping for alien tech, without reliable knowledge there would be a Vault. Aside: it’s open for discussion if Pandora was the only frontier world Dahl sent science teams to. As can be seen from Axton’s story they are active on enough worlds.
  3. Dahl was there before Atlas. The Dahl miners had trouble getting the Eridium off-planet and soon found themselves wrestling with the Atlas corporation. Is it confirmed in any way that Atlas came for the Vault and not for this exciting new resource Eridium?
    Anyway that still supports that Atlas came second and disrupted Dahl’s mining operations, leading to Dahl “turning tail” on Day 493. Dahl leaving Pandora was done around Day 616 of Tannis’ journal, still a while before the Vault Hunters arrive.
  4. Atlas kicked Dahl off the planet. Dahl tried to evacuate some key personnel (Day 616) and left the rest, including Zarpedon on Elpis and Hector in his mine. Meanwhile Hyperion observed.
  5. At some point Atlas left Pandora and Hyperion moved in. Correct me if I am wrong, but there are no stories of Hyperion winning an epic battle against Atlas. As seems to usual for Megacompanies in this universe, they abandoned part of their troops, which in turn resorted to banditry.
  6. Lots of the abandoned Dahl miners, scientists etc. turned Psycho or Bandit (Minecart Mischief).
  7. Since there is no society or frontier society without criminals, there would have been bandits anyway, but maybe not such numbers of them. So Dahl is responsible for lots of the bandits on Pandora.

There are lots of contradictions left. If Dahl had such a lucrative mining operation going on, why didn’t Atlas just take over? Who sailed the Wurmwater or Deep Fathoms seas as @1sirus2 pointed out? If there were humans for at least over 200 years, why did the last opening of the Vault go unnoticed?


BL1 and TPS and TftB:

  • Athena exacts revenge on Atlas by waging a one-warrior war against the corporation. This involves enlisting the original Vault Hunters in BL1, but she nearly kills Cassius when she discovers he’s Atlas in TftB. (Knoxx DLC, Knoxx echoes in TPS on Elpis, TftB)

  • Meanwhile, Hyperion isn’t exactly sitting passively - Nakayama assassinates Atlas’ CEO (accidentally, I assume!) and Jack ends up owning Atlas for $1. (TPS, TftB)

I forget now if Hyperion-Atlas is mentioned specifically in the recordings detailing the accomplishments of the Founders in that museum hall on Helios (TPS) but there’s definitely more than simple economic espionage in the back story.


To throw things off a little more, Zed says in one of his echo logs that he was born in Fyrestone. :smiley:


Good catch! I don’t think it’s stretching things to assume that there were at least some non-Atlas non-Dahl folks on Pandora throughout the entire game ‘history’. They could have been there before Dahl showed up, or they could have simply moved there when Dahl started operations for the opportunity (hey - someone has to open up a bar, you know!). Or, they could have been family of Dahl employees.


I’ll look into that tomorrow. TPS is the one I have the least hours in and I didn’t play Tales, so I am sure I have some holes in my lore. This needs further research :wink:

I am sorry if I insinuated that but I don’t assume Hyperion to sit passively. What you see of Tassiter doesn’t allow that…

Simple question regarding the Dr. Zed quote: How long has Dahl been on Pandora?

Going by Tannis ECHO recordings she has been on Pandora for 718 days and an unknown number of days between her scattering her recordings and the arrival of the Vault Hunters, meaning at least 2 earth years.
If we are talking Pandora days, it’s quite a while longer:
Day 43 on Pandora, at least I believe it to be the forty-third day I’ve been here. The moonlight cycles are difficult to get used to. The planet rotation day is over 90 hours long

That would nearly quadruple the time spent there. Just a thought…
Both would be much too short to explain Dr. Zed bring born in Fyrestone as the child of Dahl employees.

Or Mr. Blake for that matter - I really hope BL3 gives us some more of him, even if it’s just echo logs.

Edit: edit wars is it? :stuck_out_tongue: Two can play at that game! :wink:

All I know is, before the original four VHs showed up on the bus in BL1… I don’t think there’s anything in the Tannis echoes that would allow us to pin down exactly when they were recorded relative to the arrival of Lilith et al.


Yes please. One of my favourite NPCs in Borderlands