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The Untold Truth Of Fallout's Brotherhood Of Steel

The Brotherhood of Steel has been a staple in every Fallout game to date, and there've been quite a few. They first appeared in Fallout in 1997 and have been in every game in some shape or form since then, spanning war-torn North America over hundreds of years. They are one of four factions you can join in Fallout 4, and you can become an initiate in the original Fallout. If that wasn't enough, you become one of the only people to penetrate their base in Fallout: New Vegas.

But what secrets do the Brotherhood of Steel hide? What inspired their creation, be it in-game or in development? What is the history of each iteration of the Brotherhood of Steel across the Fallout franchise, and what is the truth about the military order? Here we discover what their role is, their history, and the inspiration behind the Brotherhood of Steel.

What is the Brotherhood of Steel?

The Brotherhood of Steel is a techno-religious cult-like military order determined to reclaim pre-war technology in order to preserve the knowledge. They stemmed from the United States Armed Forces pre-war, eventually taking that structure and twisting it into what the Brotherhood of Steel is now.

Roger Maxson formed the Brotherhood in 2077 after discovering that there were human experiments going on at Mariposa Military Base, leading to a rebellion. The refugees and survivors of the rebellion travelled to a bunker in New California, code-named Lost Hills, which became the headquarters of the Brotherhood of Steel. The Brotherhood became dedicated to preserving pre-war technology in order to rebuild civilization, but they also became dedicated to destroying "abominations," things like super mutants and ghouls and even raiders.

Roger Maxson considered the Brotherhood the guardians of civilization: Direct aid to the Wasteland became a secondary concern in the face of the Brotherhood becoming the catalyst for humanity's rebirth.

They were inspired by Wasteland

The hostile faction the Guardians from the 1988 Fallout predecessor Wasteland was the direct inspiration for the Brotherhood of Steel. R. Scott Campbell, developer for Fallout 1 and 2, said in "The Origins of Fallout," "I simply wanted a group exactly like the monks from the Guardian Citadel in Wasteland ... an old, isolated stone fortress whose robed monks wielded insane energy weapons and would blast any trespassers." The Guardians were extremely hostile and xenophobic, hoarding technology and attacking anyone they deemed unworthy. In comparison, the Brotherhood of Steel is plenty xenophobic, but they've evolved past shooting anyone non-Brotherhood on sight. 

Even their bases share a name: In Fallout 3, the East Coast Brotherhood chapter resides in the ruins of the Pentagon, calling it the Citadel. In Wasteland, the Guardians lived in the Citadel as well, a massive structure built into the side of a mountain in Arizona. Just like the Brotherhood, the Guardians are descended from military personnel who abandoned their base after the war.

A Canticle For Leibowitz was a major influence

The Brotherhood of Steel's techno-religious ideology was also inspired by A Canticle for Leibowitz, a 1959 novel by Walter M. Miller Jr. The book explores a Catholic monastery in the desert after nuclear war and spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks gather and preserve knowledge and technology until the world is ready for it again. There was a location in Fallout 2 which was eventually cut called the Abbey. It was located north of Gecko, and monks preserved "technical knowledge" in the form of "books, blueprints, and items."

A Canticle For Leibowitz explores the sense of wonder that comes with wandering an irradiated wasteland. Isaac Edward Leibowitz, the main character from Canticle, can be closely compared to Roger Maxson, the founder of the Brotherhood of Steel. Leibowitz joined a Catholic monastery after the war and eventually started a branch of the monastery dedicated to preserving technology and knowledge, while Roger Maxson formed the Brotherhood from the US military after a rebellion and exodus from their base.

While there wasn't a huge Brotherhood presence in the latest Fallout installment, 76, that's due to change with the Steel Dawn update, which dropped on November 24.