Brotherhood of Steel
Reputation image from Fallout: New Vegas.
I know there's something worth saving in there. But we're in decline. Our membership is... decimated. There's got to be something we can do.”— Veronica Santangelo, Fallout: New Vegas
The formation of the Mojave chapter was a result of disagreements within the Elder council. Elder Elijah, a Scribe-come-Elder, pushed for the development of new technologies, which put him at odds with the more conservative members of the Brotherhood. As Elijah proposed developing new, ethically questionable weapons somewhere around the early 2260s, the Elders decided to send him away, east, to form a new chapter of the Brotherhood in the Mojave.
The new chapter settled into the Hidden Valley bunkers, then rediscovered Helios One. Elijah, already considered unorthodox for his focus on improving technology, rather than simply preserving it, ordered it to be converted into the Brotherhood's headquarters despite objections from nearly every paladin in the chapter. The Mojave chapter operated freely amid the Vegas wastes for several years, carrying out many reclamation missions without serious opposition. The balance of power shifted in 2273, when a large contingent of NCR troops entered the region and occupied Hoover Dam. Conflict was inevitable.
Elijah's obsession with Helios One and the need to defend against NCR forces deploying into the Mojave resulted in the Brotherhood ignoring the expansion of the Van Graff family into the Mojave, despite them distributing pre-War energy weapons. The Elder's orders were clear.
War with the New California Republic
In 2274, the NCR had officially set up a base at McCarran International Airport. From there, the NCR soon set its sights on the HELIOS One solar plant. Elijah, still believing that the plant contained an unprecedented military advantage, refused to leave the plant, and forced the Paladins to continue defending it. Two years of guerilla fighting against the NCR followed, culminating in Operation Sunburst in 2276.
The NCR launched Operation Sunburst to capture Helios One. Outnumbered by NCR soldiers, a pitched battle took place. Despite the Brotherhood being in control of far superior equipment, such as energy weapons and power armor, the Brotherhood had no reinforcements, and were gradually worn down by NCR's attacks. By the time the retreat signal was given by Paladin McNamara, more than half the chapter lay dead in the dust. The chapter’s leader, Elder Elijah, disappeared without a trace. Brotherhood survivors retreated to Hidden Valley, while the NCR regrouped at the newly occupied Helios.
With no leader, Head Paladin McNamara took the title of Elder for the chapter. Out of fear of Hidden Valley being discovered, Elder McNamara restricted activity outside heavily, locking down the bunker and limiting outside assignments to occasional reconnaissance missions and high-value raids, as well as necessary supply runs by dedicated couriers. All operations take place at night, and engagement of NCR forces is strictly forbidden. Though the Brotherhood’s ascetic lifestyle has prepared its members for a sequestered existence better than most, the passivity of their current situation has proved highly stressful.
The chapter operates a policy of strict isolationism: no outsiders are allowed anywhere near the bunker, and anyone found near it is killed. The only people cleared for surface access are nightly Hidden Valley patrols, scouts, and procurement specialists securing foodstuffs, water, and other necessities. All members of the chapter are direct descendants of the original Brotherhood, with no outside recruitment. Combined with the fact that the chapter has lost half its number at Helios and failed to recover its strength while the Republic's hold on the Mojave has only increased (with the number of troops alone increasing five times), and that extended isolation is taking its toll on the chapter, its situation is precarious. While virtual reality simulators and firing range exercises keep the Knights and Paladins (many of whom have only virtual combat experience) sharp, the chapter is incommunicado to the rest of the Brotherhood.
Without reinforcements or some kind of long term solution that doesn't involve hiding underground, it is sure to perish. This questionable policy has led Head Paladin Edgar Hardin to take steps to ousting the current Elder and implement his policy. While he has sympathizers who support his goal of replacing Nolan McNamara, he has not made any overt moves against the Elder out of respect. The Courier is the only known outsider to have visited the bunker, and thus can determine the fate of the ill-fortuned chapter. While Mr. House and Caesar want the Brotherhood dead, the NCR are a bit more flexible, and the Courier can instead negotiate a truce with the Brotherhood, which will ensure the Brotherhood's survival in the Mojave for some time. The Courier can only make a truce between the NCR and the Brotherhood if McNamara remains the elder.
The Brotherhood of Steel is a militant organization devoted to the preservation of pre-War technology and human knowledge. Their professed mission is to preserve pre-War technology and human knowledge for the benefit of future generations. In practice, its definition of technology is strangely selective, ignoring basic but potentially useful technologies (genetic modification of crops and civil engineering, for example) in favor of combat technology such as energy weapons and power armor; and even now, nearly two centuries after the Great War, the Brotherhood zealously restricts the use and knowledge of such technologies to its own membership.
Since the Brotherhood War, the Mojave brotherhood has kept its contact with the outside world to a minimum, due to heavy casualties. Other than a few scout patrols and supply scavengers, such as Veronica Santangelo, that come in and go back out at night, no members are allowed to leave the secure bunker and people outside of the Brotherhood entering or leaving the Hidden Valley base is unheard of.
Interactions with the player character
Because of the Hidden Valley lock down, only a select few are able to leave the bunker. Because the Courier is not an official member of the Brotherhood, they become a natural choice to find lost Brotherhood patrols without jeopardizing other members of the organization. Depending on the Elder leading the Brotherhood, the Courier can aid the Brotherhood further by tapping into the radar systems of Black Mountain or eliminating the Van Graffs, who hold a large of cache of energy weapons.
The Mojave Wasteland Chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel uses a mixture of both the T-45d and T-51b models of power armor, with the T-51b being used mainly. Their weapons are almost all energy weapons, with tri-beam laser rifles being almost standard issue to the guards and patrols in and around the Hidden Valley bunker, while Gauss rifles are also widely used. Scribes use the Laser RCW (including Elder McNamara) or Zap Glove. Patrols sometimes even include heavier weapons such as the Gatling laser. Their scouts continue to find weapons in the Mojave, resulting in many unused weapons being stored in the Brotherhood armory. It seems that the Brotherhood Scribes are researching Night Vision optics. One of them even wants to invent automatic doors.
- A 3-4 man patrol leaves the Brotherhood bunker in Hidden Valley at around 1:30 - 3:00am under cover of the manufactured dust cloud defense, although most, if not all patrols return to the bunker at sunrise.
- On Radio New Vegas, Mr. New Vegas comments on reports of "hulking individuals" that have been spotted around Hidden Valley after dark.
Behind the scenes
Many years have passed since the events of Fallout 1 and in the time between F2 and F:NV, the western Brotherhood has suffered very heavy losses. Because they are, by nature, insular, replacing their fallen veterans is difficult. Most of the Mojave chapter's paladins are relatively inexperienced. There isn't an army of Rhombuses down there.”— J.E. Sawyer
The Veteran Rangers in the Mojave Wasteland are also the best of a victorious army that are moved in late in the game. The Mojave Paladins are by no means the concentrated elite of the western BoS.
Think of it this way: the strength, organization, and composition of the SS in Germany, 1939 vs. late 1944. Not to draw political parallels, of course, but the BoS are not riding high in F:NV. Their Michael Wittmans are long gone.”— J.E. Sawyer
- Old World Blues is installed, reducing their Strength and Endurance stats by 3 and 2 points respectively, and removing Explosives as a tagged skill. This affects both unnamed members, particularly those found patrolling the area around Hidden Valley, as well as some named members including Linda Schuler, Knight Lorenzo, and even Nolan McNamara and Edgar Hardin. Most members of the Brotherhood of Steel become notably weaker once
- Hidden Valley bunker terminals; Terminal, Incident #4
- Robert House: "Your next assignment is to locate and destroy remnants of the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel. The NCR nearly did the job at Helios One a few years ago, but there seem to have been survivors, unfortunately. Given the Brotherhood's fanatical views on technology, they can be counted on to oppose my regime."
(Robert House's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Do you have any other family in the Brotherhood?"
Veronica Santangelo: "Just my parents, but they haven't been around for a long time. Dad was a Paladin, Mom was a Scribe. They died in the same battle trying to hold off the NCR from... something. I don't remember what it was. Guess it seemed important at the time."
The Courier: "Who was this Father Elijah to you?"
Veronica Santangelo: "I would say he was my tutor, but that doesn't cover it. After my parents passed, he looked after me. The whole Brotherhood brought me up, really, but he made sure of it. I never had a grandfather - not that I knew, anyway - but Elijah was in some ways what I'd imagine a grandfather to be."
(Veronica Santangelo's dialogue) Note: Veronica was born in 2254 and states she was brought up by the Brotherhood, indicating they passed in her early childhood, which pins the earliest known instance of NCR-Brotherhood hostility in the 2250s/2260s range.
- The Courier: "Who is Father Elijah?"
Veronica Santangelo: "He was our Elder when we came East. A wizard with technology, really. His mind just worked that way naturally. Learned a lot from him. But he started having disagreements with the other Elders. The Brotherhood's interest is in old technology. He wanted to explore developing new tech. And there were other ways he wanted to push. Other weapons. Ones with ethics questions attached. Rather than deal with him, they sent him East."
(Veronica Santangelo's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Who is Elijah?"
Ramos: "Who was Elijah, more like. He was our Elder before McNamara. Bright guy, but just between you and me he was a little off. Our mission is to recover and preserve the technology of the past, but Elijah wanted more. He sought ways to improve upon technology, make it better. When we found HELIOS One, he was like a kid in a candy store. He kept talking about the potential, and a "grand design, never realized." He even insisted we set up our base there, against the objection of nearly every paladin. What followed is a whole other story."
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.43: "Brotherhood of Steel
The Brotherhood of Steel is a militant organization devoted to the preservation of pre-war technology and human knowledge. Their professed mission is to preserve pre-war technology and human knowledge for the benefit of future generations. In practice, its definition of technology is strangely selective, ignoring basic but potentially useful technologies (genetic modification of crops and civil engineering, for example) in favor of combat technology such as energy weapons and power armor: and even now, nearly two centuries after the Great War, the Brotherhood zealously restricts the use and knowledge of such technologies to its own membership.
The Mojave Brotherhood operated freely amid the Vegas wastes for several years, carrying out many reclamation missions without serious opposition. The balance of power shifted in 2251, when a large contingent of NCR troops entered the region and occupied Hoover Dam. Conflict was inevitable. Nearly two years of guerilla skirmishes culminated in a pitched battle at HELIOS One, a solar energy plant the Brotherhood had been refurbishing for several months with the goals of bringing it back online and activating its hidden offensive capabilities (the ARCHIMEDES II death ray). The battle for HELIOS One (Operation: Sunburst) proved a disaster for the Mojave Brotherhood. More than half its Paladins and Knights were killed. The chapter's leader, Elder Elijah, disappeared without a trace. The Brotherhood was driven from the facility, which suffered extensive damage. Survivors retreated to Hidden Valley.
Since that defeat, the chapter's leader, Elder McNamara, has restricted activity outside the bunker to occasional reconnaissance missions and high-value raids. All operations take place at night, and engagement of NCR forces is strictly forbidden. Though the Brotherhood's ascetic lifestyle has prepared its members for a sequestered existence better than most, the passivity of their current situation has proved highly stressful."
(Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide faction profiles)
- The Courier: "Yes, what is the task?"
Edgar Hardin: "Back when we were stationed at HELIOS, our scouts reported that a group was establishing itself in the area as a distributor of Pre-War weapons. Our Elder at the time, Elijah, was too concerned with getting HELIOS running and fending off the NCR, so he ordered us to leave them alone. It's time that we correct that oversight, and show this region that the Brotherhood is still a force to be reckoned with. I want you to visit these weapons dealers, this Van Graff family, and make an example of them. Leave no one alive. When the job is done, report back and I'll arrange for a team to clean up the site and retrieve the weapons."
(Edgar Hardin's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Why do you hate the Brotherhood so much?"
Robert House: "Because they're ridiculous! Because they galavant around the Mojave pretending to be Knights of Yore. Or did, until the NCR showed them that ideological purity and shiny power armor don't count for much when you're outnumbered 15:1. The world has no use for emotionally unstable techno-fetishists. Just wipe them out, will you?"
(Robert House dialogue)
- The Courier: "Power armor and laser rifles are still effective."
Veronica Santangelo: "Yeah, but only if you've got bodies to fill the suits. We don't take on new members. We're all descendents from the original Brotherhood. Something's going to have to change, or the empty suits are gonna be all that's left of us."
(Veronica Santangelo's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Tell me about the lockdown."
Nolan McNamara: "It's a protective measure that was enacted after our defeat at HELIOS. The NCR was hot on our heels, and we wouldn't have survived another encounter. It was decided that we would stay quiet for a time, heal the wounded, and try to come up with a new strategy. However, after we had fully recuperated, our first scouting measures showed that the NCR's presence in this region had only increased in our absence. There are now more than five times the number of NCR troops in the area as when we fought them, and we have half the number we did at HELIOS. And so the lockdown has been extended. To go outside would be the death of us all."
(Nolan McNamara's dialogue)
- The Courier: "One of the few times an Elder was dismissed was due to it."
Edgar Hardin: "I could be wrong, but I think that's a dead end. McNamara's always followed orders, and we've been incommunicado since fleeing HELIOS."
(Edgar Hardin's dialogue)
- Still in the Dark
- Eyesight to the Blind
- Mr. New Vegas: "Scavengers report hulking individuals moving around Hidden Valley after dusk, but have been unable to identify them due to low visibility."
(Mr. New Vegas' dialogue)