Faction Profile – the Brotherhood of Steel
How, exactly, does one worship technology?
Is it as simple as praying to a golden, robotic calf? Perhaps “god” is recognized as some kind of sentient artificial intelligence who demands subservience in exchange for feats and favors?
Or maybe, just maybe, the human race has already answered this question: technology is worshipped, simply and plainly, through obsession and attainment. We are a people dominated by technology, from our electrically-powered cities right down to our scientifically engineered anti-depressant medications. And every Sunday mass we miss to stay home and watch football on our HDTVs is further proof that now, more than ever, technology is the deity we hold most dear.
Now imagine all of that compulsion, all of that addiction we as an entire race share, and encapsulate it into one group of people. Imagine the obsession and fervor, the unending need for technological superiority, and the ultimate futility of such a goal.
Imagine, if you will, the Brotherhood of Steel.
In Fallout 3, the Brotherhood of Steel is one of the most important and influential factions you’ll encounter. And while it’s true they are a military organization, the Brotherhood’s values and command structure are actually more representative of a medieval knightly order. Like the Templars of old, in their own eyes, the members of the Brotherhood of Steel are pure, they are just – they are truly human in a world filled with both physical and moral corruption.
But it is the worship of technology that truly defines and drives them. For a Brotherhood of Steel Paladin, Power Armor is his plate mail, a powered Super Sledge his warhammer. A non-combatant Scribe is more scientist than scholar, utilizing computers as a monk in the Middle Ages would a quill and ink.
It’s not enough for the Brotherhood of Steel’s members to use whatever high-tech gadgetry they’ve acquired, though. The organization’s entire existence is predicated on the acquisition of technology. Whatever they’ve got is never enough. Their best equipment? It could be better. Even if this endless search for high-tech toys means keeping the good stuff out of the hands of others who could really benefit from it, well, that’s okay with the Brotherhood of Steel.
So it really didn’t come as a surprise to anyone within the Brotherhood of Steel when the order’s ruling council, based in Southern California, decided to send a contingent of soldiers all the way to the East Coast, with two important objectives:
- To scour the ruins of Washington D.C., once the nation’s capital, and recover any and all advanced technology. After all, D.C. was the home of the Pentagon, the very headquarters of the United States Department of Defense. Who knows what secrets – or equipment – they left behind?
- To investigate the reports of Super Mutant activity in the area. Could these creatures be somehow related to those that fled eastward after the Master’s destruction (as depicted at the end of Fallout 1). Or were these Super Mutants something else entirely?
And so a small but hardened contingent of Brotherhood of Steel soldiers, led by an idealistic Paladin named Owyn Lyons (and accompanied by his friend and technological advisor Scribe Rothchild, as well as his seven year-old daughter Sarah) set out from the Lost Hills Bunker in California, and began the long trek east to what was once Washington D.C.
When the group finally arrived in the Capital Wasteland, it didn’t take long before they made some remarkable discoveries.
The Pentagon, as they had feared, was largely destroyed. But its sub-levels remained intact, and contained enough pre-war technology and weaponry to keep Lyons’ forces going indefinitely (once the defense robots were destroyed). But there was something else, as well… a technological marvel that, if restored, could help the Brotherhood rebuild a strength and reputation that had been declining steadily for years.
The discovery was significant enough to earn Paladin Lyons a battlefield promotion to Elder, and a new directive from his superiors – to establish a new, permanent Brotherhood base in the Capital Wasteland, and continue the search for any other advanced technology hidden in the capital’s ruins.
Lyons accepted his new post gladly, and founded the Citadel, built into and beneath the ruins of the Pentagon. It was a fortress the Brotherhood of Steel desperately needed, and one they rushed to fortify, thanks to their other great discovery – Super Mutants.
It didn’t take long for Lyons and the Brotherhood of Steel to find the Super Mutants, mostly because they didn’t have to: the Super Mutants found them. In the Capital Wasteland – particularly in the urban ruins of downtown D.C. – the Super Mutants simply couldn’t be avoided.
That’s why, for the people of the Capital Wasteland, the Brotherhood of Steel was the answer to their prayers. Scattered, hungry, and largely disorganized, they had lived with the constant threat of death or capture by the Super Mutants for as long as they could remember. Elder Lyons and his brave Knights and Paladins changed all that. For the first time, the Super Mutant tide was stemmed. The D.C. ruins were still Super Mutant controlled and uninhabitable, that was true, but the number of incursions against outlying settlements dropped significantly. Life was still harsh and unfair, but at least now the people of the Capital Wasteland had a fighting chance – and they had Elder Lyons and the Brotherhood to thank for that.
Fighting the Super Mutants, simply keeping them at bay, may have been enough for the area’s innocents, but for the Brotherhood, too many questions remained: how were these local Super Mutants created? Why were they capturing the people of the Capital Wasteland? Where were they taking them? Finding these answers would, ultimately, become Owyn Lyons' obsession.
The years passed, but not in a way anyone had foreseen. Indeed, the Brotherhood of Steel’s importance to the people of the Capital Wasteland was not something that Lyons ever expected. Nor was it something his superiors back in California cared at all about. Their newest Elder had a clearly defined mission – to acquire advanced technologies in and around the ruins of Washington D.C. Finding the source of the Super Mutant threat and destroying it was important too, of course. But that shouldn’t take too long… right? Surely the Brotherhood of Steel could handle a few Super Mutants? How hard could it be to locate and eliminate their source? Lyons’ prime objective was, first and foremost, the acquisition of technology. The Super Mutants were his second priority. Thus was the subject of every communication from the Brotherhood of Steel leadership in California.
But Elder Owyn Lyons had another priority, one he considered more important than his original directive or any orders received since – the protection of the innocent people of the Capital Wasteland. And so, Lyons sent word to his superiors that he would continue his search for technology when he was damned good and ready, and would not sacrifice the people who had come to rely on the bravery and strength of the Brotherhood of Steel.
The Californian corridors of Lost Hills erupted in rumor and speculation. Had Owyn Lyons “gone native,” putting the needs of the people of D.C. above those of the Brotherhood itself? Or had a Brotherhood Elder finally exhibited the selfless behavior that should serve as a model for the entire order? Caught in the middle, the ruling Elders made the only decision they could – they would still recognize Elder Lyons as a leader of the Brotherhood of Steel, and the Citadel as their D.C. headquarters. But all support from the West Coast was thereby cut off. If Lyons wanted to pursue his own agenda on the East Coast, he would do it alone.
So that’s what the stalwart Elder did. The Capital Wasteland division of the Brotherhood of Steel, headquartered in the Citadel, became its own entity: still affiliated with the Brotherhood of Steel on the West Coast, and bound by its laws and customs, but otherwise completely independent.
Most of Elder Lyons’ soldiers supported his dedication to the people of the Capital Wasteland, and were proud of their leader’s commitment to honor and heroism. But there were those who voiced their opposition – loudly, and aggressively. They believed that by abandoning the Brotherhood of Steel’s primary mission of acquiring new technologies, Elder Lyons had abandoned the very values that defined the order itself.
One night, the dissenters departed from the Citadel, absconding with weapons, Power Armor, and other pieces of technology and equipment. This was, without question, Owyn Lyons’ darkest hour. He had become a man of compassion and understanding, and couldn’t help but sympathize with those who had left: he had abandoned the Brotherhood’s primary mission. He recognized that, and took full responsibility. Some of the Knights and Paladins who left had been his battle brothers for years. Together, they had shared victory and loss, pain and elation. But to those soldiers loyal to Elder Lyons, this dereliction of duty and theft of technology was an act of cowardice and treason. Lyons was left with little choice: he branded the dissenters “Outcasts,” traitors to the Brotherhood of Steel – it was a name they would ultimately wear like a badge of honor, proud of the distance it put between themselves and Lyons’ “soldier sycophants.”
Such is the state of the Brotherhood of Steel when you, the player, enter the picture, in the year 2277. The order is still dedicated to the protection of the people. Its members are tough, loyal, and bound by honor… and they’re also barely scraping by.
Elder Lyons’ daughter Sarah is now a grown woman, and one of the Brotherhood’s fiercest warriors; in fact, she’s the only member to have achieved the illustrious rank of Sentinel, and now commands her own elite squad, Lyons’ Pride.
The war with the Super Mutants – a conflict that has continued unceasingly for over twenty years – rages on, and the Brotherhood is feeling the strain of this extended conflict. Without reinforcements from the West Coast, Lyons has been forced to recruit locally, and the results have been less than stellar: most new conscripts are overeager, unskilled, or both, and as a result their survival rate is atrocious. So low, in fact, that that word has spread throughout the Capital Wasteland – join the Brotherhood of Steel, and you’ll be dead within the week.
The Outcasts have grown in power since their split from the Citadel, and have re-dedicated their lives to what they consider the Brotherhood of Steel’s only mission – the acquisition of new technologies.
It’s certainly not how Elder Owyn Lyons expected his life to turn out, not the way he imagined his command would be chronicled in the historical archives. Such is a career of a Brotherhood of Steel Elder.
Now, only one question remains – When the Brotherhood of Steel Scribes record the events to come, what will they say about you?