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Fallout Factions: The Brotherhood of Steel - Culture

  • Member
    May 9, 2016

    Having examined the storied past of the Brotherhood, you can get a good idea of what kind of people they are, but that is only one part of their character. Knowing how they think, operate and organize themselves is equally important. That's what we'll be looking at here. What makes these elite warriors tick?

    The Chain That Binds is the cornerstone of our organization, the rock that supports the great tree of the Brotherhood and its myriad branches. It holds that:

    1. Orders are to flow from on high down through the ranks. An order from a superior must always be obeyed, that their wisdom may be carried out without hesitation.

    2. Orders are to observe the flow and not skip ranks. A superior may only give orders to his direct subordinates, and not to those beneath them. In this way harmony of intent and cohesion of thought is maintained.

    I. Organization

    Just as it's roots were military, the Brotherhood today is military organization, and it's ranks suggest as much. That said, their hierarchy bears little resemblance with the Old World military that they were born from, which is natural, considering the cause of their divergence.

    The Brotherhood is led by a council of Elders, who are usually former Paladins. Each Elder is elected by the council and may oversee a chapter in addition to their role on the council. Some Elders function more exclusively as the heads of chapters, as some of them are spread quite widely across the continent. The Elders defer to a High Elder, the true head of the organization, who has often been a descendant of Roger Maxson. However, that too is an elected position, and need not remain in the bloodline. The body of the Brotherhood is divided into three castes covering all it's primary objectives:

    1. Scribes - The Scribes are of course the keepers of Brotherhood knowledge, the scientists and researchers whose work it is to understand recovered technology, pass that understanding on. They primarily reverse-engineer what new technology is uncovered, but occasionally they produce new tech themselves. The Scribes are in turn divided into three branches: The Sword, The Shield, and The Quill, focused on offensive, defensive and non-combative technology respectively. They also teach the youths of the Brotherhood when they begin their training.
    2. Knights - Akin to military engineers, the Knights are responsible for maintaining Brotherhood stockpiles, particularly the weaponry. They are often the ones sent out to procure found technology, or to scout out new items, and the ones most likely to be encountered patrolling the wasteland. Though they provide an essential service, the Knight caste is sometimes considered transitory, as those Knights who prove the most capable in combat may be trained to become Paladins, and are the primary source for replenishing the ranks of that caste.
    3. Paladins - The true sword of the Brotherhood, Paladins are the highly trained and elite combat force, charged with protecting the organization. This entails internal security and operations in the wasteland. They have a fearsome reputation, as much for their razor sharp skills as for their cutting edge weapons and equipment.

    Members of the Brotherhood in training are called Initiates, and eventually join the Scribes or the Knights, though sometimes they are groomed through the Knights to become Paladins. Arthur Maxson, the last living descendant of Roger, was an initiate receiving instruction with the D.C. chapter of the Brotherhood, mentored by Elder Lyons and his daughter, Sarah Lyons.

    II. Objectives

    The Brotherhood's mission, at least as it is written, is to preserve technology and the knowledge of its use for future generations. The believe that technology is what will restore humanity to its former glory. However, the Brotherhood focuses almost exclusively on combat tech; weapons and armor, which they believe must be kept from those who would misuse until they deem the populace "ready" for it.

    However it is often (reasonably) argued that the ideology of the Brotherhood has been corrupted from what it once was. A long policy of isolationism has bred extreme distrust for outsiders, and has evolved into a belief that the Brotherhood is superior to all other peoples and factions, and rather than trading technology to those who might be "responsible" with it, they now almost exclusively hoard it. And "preserving technology for those wise enough to use it" has been reduced to "outlast the rest of the world, so that we alone inherit it."

    One of the weaknesses in the modern Brotherhood mission is that almost all non-combative knowledge is ignored or looked down on. Were the Brotherhood actually to inherit the Earth, they would have little to no knowledge in how to provide for themselves.

    III. Brotherhood Life

    The vast majority of the Brotherhood are descendants of Roger Maxson's security detail and surviving scientists from the Mariposa research base; they rarely recruit outsiders except in dire situations, and when these outsiders prove to be exceptional individuals. A notable exception is the chapter under the command of Elder Lyons on the East Coast, who has numerous recruits from the wastes. Because of their isolated nature and small numbers, it is often viewed as an imperative that members of the Brotherhood reproduce. As a result, same-gender relationships are strongly discouraged. Despite these measures, though, the Brotherhood continues to dwindle. The average modern Scribe or Knight probably spend more time cataloging and maintaining stockpiles than anything, and even major Brotherhood bunkers like Hidden Valley now struggle to survive, making for a very cynical, sober collection of individuals.

    However, radical change has become more and more frequent in the Brotherhood. Lyons' chapter, though not considered rogue, had lost official support from the Council for his drastic shift toward protecting wastelanders, and recruiting outsiders. However, even when Arthur Maxson assumed command, outsiders were still brought into the order in extreme circumstances. It remains to be seen if the Council has made any accommodations for the chapter now that they are led by a Maxson. In the Mojave it is becoming increasingly apparent that isolation is not enough to preserve them, let alone allow them to prosper, and rumors and discussion of more open policies abound.

    IV. Future

    It remains to be seen if the changes that have taken place in the Brotherhood in recent years will have a lasting effect or pave the road to new success for the organization. Their golden age has long passed, and the Council continues it's tradition of endlessly arguing while nations like the NCR and Legion continue to whittle away Brotherhood strength. It seems that it will take something drastic for the Brotherhood of Steel to last another century.

    Brotherhood of Steel History

    Sources: In-game texts/dialogue; Fallout 1,2,3 and New Vegas, Fallout Bible

  • Member
    May 9, 2016

    That first quote is almost a mixed metaphor, or exactly is a mixed metaphor. Either way I love it. 

    The second and third quotes are food for thought. "...harmony of intent and cohesion of thought is maintained.” Does this mean that every decision comes from the council, or do the heads of each chapter have autonomy and freedom to pursue BoS aims as they see fit?

    Basically, is it a massive game of chess or more fluid, if that makes sense.

  • Member
    May 9, 2016

    Does this mean that every decision comes from the council, or do the heads of each chapter have autonomy and freedom to pursue BoS aims as they see fit?

    In most cases, probably the second one. An order can originate at any point in the chain, but it then has travel through direct subordinates. There is probably a little "chess play" at work, as if a subordinate, like a Chapter Elder gives an order the council doesn't approve, they would ostensibly have the power to immediately reverse it. It probably accounts somewhat for the Brotherhood's slow growth, and steady decay; the philosophy doesn't lend itself very well to rapid change.

  • Member
    May 9, 2016

    Thanks Borom  I can'5t remember if this was the same question I asked when you first posted it :p or is this new? 

  • Member
    May 9, 2016

    Nah, that's a new question

  • Member
    May 9, 2016

    Glad to hear it  coz that would have been embarrassing  

  • Member
    May 10, 2016

    Members of the Brotherhood in training are called Initiates

    So it comes to light through a series of radiant quests in Fallout 4 that Initiates can be children. In fact, all of them are in this particular quest. It has the player take child Initiates into live combat as a training exercise, and even Lancer Captain Kells refers to this as "mentoring". 

    Do you have any information on this? About how the Brotherhood views children and what other sorts of trials members who grow up in the BH are put through? 

  • Member
    May 11, 2016

    No, but that's definitely something I'll be looking for. I'm reminded of the NV quest where the two initiates lose a laser pistol outside the bunker, though they weren't on any training mission. But at least there are some other children to compare against. Thanks, Legion :)

  • Member
    May 11, 2016

    You have got to be shitting me!? The BoS take kids out on live fire exercises? Talk about getting 'em early. My level of respect for the Brotherhood just went up a notch

  • May 11, 2016

    That reminds me of one time when I had to take an initiate to Corvega. Let's just say I was, uh, worried, for the little kid