The Brotherhood of Steel is a quasi-religious technology-based organization operating throughout the wastelands of post-war North America. They see themselves as the savior of pre-Great War technology and seek to control the access of it by others in their areas of power.
The Brotherhood of Steel was founded right after the Great War by Roger Maxson, a former Captain in the United States Army. On January 3, 2076, Maxson was part of a military dispatch led by Colonel Robert Spindel to monitor the activities at a West-Tek facility in California. One year later, the team and all West-Tek personnel were relocated to Mariposa Military Base to protect their research for the United States government.
During October of 2077, Maxson and his team discovered the true purpose of the West-Tek scientists: using military prisoners as unwilling test subjects for their engineered Forced Evolutionary Virus (F.E.V.). Once the secret was out, the facility collapsed into chaos, leading to the commanding officer of the base, Colonel Spindel, suffering a complete mental breakdown and committing suicide. Maxson, now the unofficial leader, arrested most of the West-Tek scientists and were later executed.
Captain Maxson and his men declared desertion from the United States Army via a radio address. However, there was no response from the Army due to their focus on the escalating conflicts with China. On October 23, 2077, the world fell to nuclear apocalypse with the Great War. The remaining persons at the Marisposa Military Base survived the nuclear holocaust, thanks to Maxson ordering all personnel and their families inside of the base just a couple of days earlier.
In November 2077, Maxson led the remaining personnel and supplies out of Mariposa and to the Lost Hills government fallout shelter further south. The people who survived the exodus claimed the Lost Hills bunker for themselves and established it as the headquarters for the newly formed Brotherhood of Steel.
Early Years: The Appalachia Chapter
With the Brotherhood safely secured within the Lost Hills bunker, Maxson began reaching out across the continent using pre-war satellites to find allies and managed to contact a friend from his time in the Army, Lieutenant Elizabeth Taggerdy, who was in Appalachia. Taggerdy was initially reluctant to respond to Maxson after his desertion from the Army but was won over after learning of the atrocities that Maxson had uncovered.
Taggerdy agreed to use Camp Venture as a training ground for new Brotherhood personnel. Camp Venture had previously been a backwoods training camp for members of the Free States, a prepper group that believed a nuclear war was imminent. It was around this time that Maxson began implementing the ideals that would guide the Brotherhood of Steel in the future, centered around a duty to preserve the technology and knowledge of the old world. In addition, by 2082 he had developed the Brotherhood's rank structure and insignia as a way to divorce the organization from its roots in the pre-war Army.
The Brotherhood chapter in Appalachia saw early success in recruitment despite butting heads with the Responders, an organization of surviving emergency personnel from before the war, over supplies. Their commitment to Maxson's new mission ended after encountering the Scorched, humans infected with a violent plague that connects them to a hive mind. With their powerful winged Scorchbeasts, the Scorched posed a significant threat to the Brotherhood and the rest of Appalachia. The Brotherhood believed the Scorched represented a possible extinction event for humanity, and began receiving supplies from Lost Hills to combat the new opponents.
The fight against the Scorched turned out to be an unsustainable war of attrition for the Brotherhood of Steel. Eventually the pre-war satellites used to facilitate communications between Lost Hills and Appalachia failed, leaving the Appalachia chapter on its own. Before communications were severed, Maxson forbade Taggerdy from using nuclear weapons against the Scorched. Believing no other options remained, Taggerdy and her remaining forces launched a last-ditch effort to destroy a Scorched hive on August 18, 2095. The attack was successful at eliminating several Scorchbeasts, but Taggerdy and the rest of the Brotherhood were killed in action and the Scorched threat remained.
In 2134, when a faction of the Brotherhood began to petition the Council of Elders for permission to explore the ruins of the West-Tek research facility, in hopes of discovering technological artifacts. The Elders denied the request due to extreme radiation levels around the facility after being hit during the Great War. The leader of the faction, Sergeant Dennis Allen, ignored the Elders' ruling and took his followers on the expedition to the facility, bringing advanced weapons and technology with them.
Despite the splinter faction, the Brotherhood continued to grow under the leadership of Elder Maxson. They began refining their technology and solidifying their societal structure, officially forming the orders of Knights, Paladins, and Scribes. The following year, in 2135, Roger Maxson died from cancer. Succeeding him as High Elder was his son, Roger Maxson II.
The Brotherhood began vast expansion in the 2150's, extending their influence out into the surrounding areas. They quickly asserted themselves as a major power in New California and the post-war West Coast. During this era of expansion, a raider group known as the "Vipers" rose to prominence. In 2155, the Brotherhood sent out a handful of squads to track down the Vipers, one of the squads led by the High Elder Maxson II himself. Unprepared for the relentlessness and religious ferocity of the Vipers, the Brotherhood squads were forced to retreat. Tragically, Maxson II was killed during the fight, having been nicked in the face by a poison-tipped arrow. His son, John Maxson, succeeded him as High Elder.
After Maxson II's death, Head Paladin Rhombus launched a full-scale campaign against the Vipers. With the full might of the Brotherhood behind him, Rhombus wiped out the Vipers and driving the few remaining survivors northeast towards the Sierra Madre mountain range. During the campaign, the Brotherhood came into contact with the Hub, a major trading settlement in Southern California. The Brotherhood hereafter opened up full trade relations with the Hub, with numerous caravans traveling directly between the Hub and the Brotherhood's headquarters at Lost Hills.
The Super Mutant Threat
In 2162, the Vault Dweller arrived at Lost Hills seeing entry into the Brotherhood. Not taking him seriously, the Council of Elders gave the Vault Dweller the task of retrieving the records of Sergeant Dennis Allen's expedition into the West Tek facility, known locally as "The Glow". It was a fool's errand that is used by the Brotherhood to deter would-be initiates. To the Council's surprise, the Vault Dweller succeeded in his mission and recovered a holodisk recording of Sergeant Allen's doomed expedition. Consequently, the Vault Dweller became the first outside in decades to be accepted into the Brotherhood of Steel.
It was at this time that the Vault Dweller told the Brotherhood of their discovery of the Master and his plan for his mutant army. With the permission of High Elder John Maxson, a squad of Paladins was dispatched to Marisposa, where the Master and his FEV vats were located. The Brotherhood, with the help of the Vault Dweller, defeated the Master and drove his mutant army east, freeing many human settlements surrounding the area.
It was at this time that the Brotherhood of Steel reached their peak in technological advantage over the wastelands of California. They had a veritual monopoly on power armor, supercomputers, and advanced medicine. With the spread of this technology, the Brotherhood became a major research and development house in New California.
The founding mission of the Brotherhood of Steel is the preservation of technology and knowledge for future generations, by way of recovering, restoring and recording the knowledge and technology of the world before the Great War. The Brotherhood also endeavor in theoretical and experimental aspects of science, including biology, physics, and chemistry. They strive to contain advanced technologies that are deemed potentially dangerous, until they believe the outside world is ready for them. When that time comes, the Brotherhood would go public in full force, restoring the desolated Earth to pre-war humanity.
West Coast Brotherhood (Mojave Chapter)
The west coast division is the original founding chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, and hold the highest seats of power. The Brotherhood’s main headquarters is at Lost Hills bunker, where the Brotherhood was originally founded. Lost Hills holds the seats of the High Elder and their ruling council. It is also the Brotherhood’s center for scientific research and military activities.
By 2242, the Brotherhood of Steel had expanded across the wastelands of California. Their many installations included military bunkers in Den, San Francisco, and Shady Sands - the capital of the New California Republic, or NCR. These installations were constructed to be hidden from the public eye, so that they will be more difficult to attack.
East Coast Brotherhood
In 2254, the Brotherhood of Steel sent a large contingent eastwards across the United States, led by Elder Owyn Lyons. Their primary goal was to make contact with the lost Midwestern chapter of the Brotherhood, whom were sent east to track down the remnants of the Master’s army. Lyon’s dispatch miscalculated their route and ended up marching all the way to Pittsburgh. After eradicating the slavers at The Pitt (a city built within the remnants of old Pittsburgh), they came to realization that the east coast was in far worse shape than the west. The Brotherhood took the surviving civilians and moved towards Washington, D.C.
When reaching Washington, D.C. and discovering the remnants of the Pentagon - the headquarters of the United States military before the Great War - they established their official base of operations beneath its ruins, naming it the Citadel. Their top priority is protecting the people of the Capital Wasteland from the hordes of Super Mutants.
The Midwestern branch traces its origins back to the 2160s, when a splinter faction sent out to track down the remnants of the Master’s mutant army. When their airships crashed outside of Chicago, they lost all contact with the Brotherhood leadership at Lost Hills, and have acted independently ever since. While the east and west coast chapters prefer more a more isolationist approach, the Midwest Brotherhood rule over a large area between the former states of Illinois and Kansas. More open to the outside world, they constantly draft villages in the wasteland into their ranks and under their control.
Their main bases were established and rebuilt from pre-war military bunkers. Following tradition of the Brotherhood, they named their bases Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. Their power armor is completely different from the other versions used by the Brotherhood, and have the appearance of a mix between the pre-war T-series and the Enclave’s X-01 variants. The origin is unclear, though it is speculated that the group found special research facilities around Chicago which have the means to produce these suits.
After the death of John Maxson, Head Paladin Rhombus became the new High Elder. When the Master was killed and his mutant army driven out of New California, the remnants moved east to Texas, setting up a new base in the Secret Vault under the leadership of Attis. Receiving criticism from the Elder Council, Rhombus led a crusade to wipe out the army once and for all. When arriving in Texas, the Brotherhood discovered an abandoned prototype vault, and set up their main base of operation inside. They also created an icon for the new Texas Brotherhood, representing their principal mission of eradicating the threat of all super mutants.
In 2231, High Elder Jeremy Maxson sent out an expeditionary force, composed of five Paladins, to expand the Brotherhood eastward. The force, lead by Andrea Brixley, was tasked with finding the personal bunker of pre-war Senator Todd Peterson. When Brixley discovers the bunker, they refurbish it for habitation and set up their main base of operations.
Over the next decade, the expeditionary force continued to explore the area while forging relationships with the local tribes. In 2242, Jeremy Maxson renamed the bunker after his ancestor and founder of the Brotherhood, Roger Maxson, and sent a full company of troops to set up occupation. He also promoted Brixley to Elder with the rank of General, giving her command of the bunker and all of the Colorado Brotherhood.
Very little is known of the Montana branch of the Brotherhood. The only information available is that they are based in a large bunker somewhere in the state and, as of 2277, are led by a man named Elder Patrocolus.
Members of the Brotherhood can pursues roles in one of the four major castes: Scribes, Knights, Laners, and Paladins.
Scribes are the scientists of the Brotherhood; in charge of keeping the knowledge and technology of the organization. They research and reverse engineer recovered pre-war technology, as well as experimenting on new technology built upon their gathered knowledge. There are three orders of Scribe, each dedicated to a different type of technology. The Order of the Sword is focused on offensive military technology, the Order of the Shield works on defensive capabilities, and the Order of the Quill dedicates their work on non-combative/military knowledge.
The Knights are the craftsmen and technicians of the Brotherhood. They are responsible for manufacturing and maintaining the stockpile of technology, providing repair and technical services where they are needed. Knights also are trained soldiers, performing patrol duties and scouting reconnaissance.
Lancers operate as the Air Force equivalent of the Brotherhood. They are tasked with the maintenance and operation of the Vertibird fleet and other flying vehicles. The Lancer caste was formed shortly after the Purifier Conflict, when the Brotherhood acquired a large number of Vertibirds from the Enclave.
Paladins are the primary military fighting force for the Brotherhood. In charge of all security and activities outside of their bases, they are equipped with the best weapons and equipment in the Brotherhood. Each Paladin is a highly trained and skilled combat veteran, and only able to become a paladin by being promoted from the Knights.
In the West Coast division of the Brotherhood, the newest members and trainees are called Initiates. After performing well enough in the training process, they are promoted to Senior Initiate. Later on, they will be promoted to a Journeyman in either the Knights or Scribes caste.
- Apprentice Scribe
- Journeyman Scribe
- Senior Scribe
- Head Scribe
- Apprentice Knight
- Journeyman Knight
- Senior Knight
- Head Knight
- Junior Paladin
- Senior Paladin
- Head Paladin
The East Coast division is organized slightly different system than that of the original Brotherhood on the West Coast, employing a greater number of ranks for each caste.. There are three main paths that a new Initiate can take: Army, Air Force, or Civilian role. The East Coast is the only detachment that utilizes a separate caste for the operation of flying vehicles, called the Lancers. They also put Scribes under a “Civilian” title, and the Knights have been merged into the Army role with Paladins, although the latter being the higher ranks.
- Scribe Initiate
- Senior Scribe
- Head Scribe
- Star Paladin
The Midwestern branch has a ranking system that is different from both the East and West Coast divisions. The Scribes have no ranks and act as both the scientists and engineers, taking over the roles of the Knights, who have been merged into full-time military along with Paladins, with the former becoming the lower ranks of the latter. The Generals of the military act as the Generals in the pre-war Army and Marine Corps. The only military rank higher is Commanding Officer, or CO, who is charge of giving mission orders to the Generals and then through the chain-of-command. However, the Command Officer receives permission and orders from the Elders, who assign the role of CO to one of the Generals.
- Senior Initiate
- Senior Squire
- Junior Knight
- Senior Knight
- Knight Commander
- Junior Paladin
- Paladin Commander
- Paladin Lord
- Commanding Officer
Chain of Command
The High Elder is the overall leader of the entire Brotherhood of Steel, including the other Elders. All known High Elders are descendants of Roger Maxson, with the exception of Rhombus.
Known High Elders
- Roger Maxson (2077 - 2135)
- Maxson II (2135 - 2155)
- John Maxson (2155 - ?)
- Rhombus (? - 2208)
- Jeremy Maxson (2231 - ?)
- Arthur Maxson (2283 - Present)
The Elders are the Brotherhood of Steel’s ruling council, often the leaders of localized splinter groups of the Brotherhood. Under normal circumstances, the ability to become an elder is reserves only for Paladins. However, there have been a few exceptions, most recently Elder Elijah, who was a Scribe before becoming an Elder.
The General is the commanding leader of the Brotherhood’s military They still report to the High Elder and Elder Council, only making military moves with the Council and High Elder’s approval.
Used only by the East Coast Brotherhood, Sentinel is a rank between Paladin and Elder. The first member to achieve this rank in Sarah Lyons, the leader of the elite Lyon’s Pride unit. It is possible for the Sole Survivor to attain the rank of Sentinel if they complete the main questline of the Brotherhood. Sentinels do not require orders from the higher ranks, and usually conduct rogue operations at their own will.
The Head Paladin is responsible for all Paladins in their Brotherhood division. They choose which paladins lead each squad of Knights and the sites that are suitable for different headquarters. They regularly hold meetings with the High Elder, Elders, Head Scribe, Generals and Head Knight. The only people Head Paladins report to are the High Elder and Generals, no one else. Normally they do not go out into the field of battle, but will do so under critical circumstances. Even in the field of battle, Head Paladins will normally be at the back with the Generals to help plan strategic maneuvers.
The Head Knight have the same responsibilities as Head Paladin, but over the lower Knights. They give out missions and orders to the other Knights, and report back all incidents involving Knights to the Generals, and Elders. Depending on the severity of a situation, they may also report directly to the High Elder.
Inquisitors are a special rank help only in the Midwest Brotherhood. They are the elite special forces in charge of law enforcement and intelligence, sort of the equivalent of the modern CIA/FBI of the United States. They often using brutal and violent tactics in their interrogations and intelligence gathering, partially due to their job not being restricted by most of the Brotherhood’s codes.
Paladin Commanders are the leaders of Paladin squads and reports directly to the Head Paladin
Knight Commanders, like their Paladin equivalents, are the leaders of individual squads of Knights. They report directly to the Head Knight.
Star Paladin is a rank held only in the East Coast Brotherhood. It is a rank directly below Sentinel, but above Paladin. As of 2077, during the Purifier Incident, the only known member of this rank is Star Paladin Cross. However, ten years later, several Star Paladins can be found with Arthur Maxson’s army in the Commonwealth.
Paladin Lords are a rank with special forces groups of the Brotherhood. They lead rogue special operations that operate outside of the main military, reporting only to the High Elder and Head Paladin. As their techniques and missions often clash with the Brotherhood regulations, their identifies and operations are often kept secret from the Generals. The squad members under Paladin Lords are to follow orders without question, and are forbidden to talk about their missions with any other members of the Brotherhood.
Knight Captain is another rank used only by the East Coast division. As of Fallout 3, there are only four members of the Brotherhood who hold this rank: Knight Captain Dusk, Gallows, Colvin, and Durga. They command a full company of Knights and Paladin, and take orders only from a Sentinel or Elder.
Also a rank exclusive to the East Coast, Knight Sergeants have command of two or three squads as well as command of a base outpost. The only two known member to achieve this rank are Knight Sergeant Wilks and Dawes.
Senior Paladins are veteran Paladins who are being considered for a promotion to Paladin Commander, Paladin Lord, or Sentinel. They are the most respects among the lower ranking Paladins.
Senior Knights are veteran Knights who are being considered for a promotion to Paladin, Knight Commander, or Knight Captain. They are very well respect and are among the top mechanics and engineers in the Brotherhood.